Also published on this date: Friday, January 3, 2020: YA Maximum Shelf: The Kingdom of Back

Shelf Awareness for Friday, January 3, 2020


Flatiron Books: The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation by Anna Nti-Asare-Tubbs

Candlewick Press: In the Half Room by Carson Ellis

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant Island by David Goodner, illustrated by Andrea Tsurumi

Candlewick Press: A Polar Bear in the Snow by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Shawn Harris

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Shadow Mountain: The Paper Daughters of Chinatown by Heather B Moore

Quotation of the Day

'Lifting Up Our Favorite Things'

"As a bookstore we spent a good deal of the year, and with breathtaking customer warmth this season, lifting up our favorite things--the books and art and stories that nourished and altered us most, but we could not always place into hands the actual things that most truly did this: the boy who came back to the store, after original, careful debate about his age-readiness for Catcher in the Rye, with a handwritten note indicating his deep love for the book, his recognition that its language may not be for all but was most definitely for him... a grandparent allowing a toddler to select a book as tall as her and bring it into the cafe for a lunch of cookies and milk; a teen raising their eyes to a sign reading LGBTQ YA and saying 'oh, sh**. i'm alive.'; a staff member (or more) writing and reading--out loud--a detailed recognition of the beauty of this workplace, its culture, its cause, its soul, alongside its economic and time injustices--in graceful departure from an important role.... These are a few of the things to have carried us through a remarkable year and that will be called upon into the next. Happy New Year, dear, dear friends."

--This Is a Bookstore & Bookbug, Kalamazoo, Mich., in a "A Note from 2019" posted on the store's Facebook page (See Robert Gray's column below for more booksellers looking back on 2019 and forward to 2020)

Sharjah Book Authority: Publishers Conference, November 1st - 3rd 2020


News

The Phoenix Bookstore Opens in Laredo, Tex.

The Phoenix Bookstore hosted its grand opening recently at 1602 Victoria St. in downtown Laredo, Tex. The Morning Times reported that co-owners Margarita Govea and Jose Cantu want "to contribute to the fabric of the city's culture" by offering the community "a unique bookstore. They don't want to be like Barnes & Noble or Books-A-Million. That's why Govea and Cantu decided to highlight books that have ties to Laredo culture, Hispanic culture and even Spanglish culture."

"This is a bookstore where you are going to find books promoting our culture, like our Latinx culture," Govea said. "When you walk through the door, this is what you are going to see. You are going to see books that reflect your daily life. Books in Spanish, books in Spanglish and books on Mexican and Hispanic role models, and books of our region like our city, our state or from Mexico, ones that you are proud of and feel an attachment to it."

Another incentive for the co-owners was their desire to help downtown continue to prosper. The Morning Times noted that before Govea and Cantu "bought the location, it was a demolition wanting to happen. Originally, one could walk in, look up at the ceiling and see the sky. Since taking over the building, they have completely renovated it. Govea and Cantu have added chandeliers and have redone the exposed brick walls. They have tried to create a friendly ambiance within a building that has been standing since 1885."

Although officially open, the Phoenix Bookstore is still evolving. The second floor will be opened in February featuring the work of local artists. Govea and Cantu are also taking applications for food truck vendors to join their team.

"We want to work with local artists," Govea said. "We want to use our walls within the bookstore to exhibit their art, have art exhibitions and art classes. The artists want to be downtown."

They ultimately want the bookstore to become a place where Laredo's culture can thrive. "We are friendly and are community activists," Govea noted. "I want this to be a community place. We want them here and having a good time."


University of Minnesota Press: My Life in the Purple Kingdom by Brownmark and Cynthia M Uhrich


Hoboken, N.J.'s Little City Books Opening Second Location

Little City Books, Hoboken, N.J., which opened on Independent Bookstore Day in 2015, is opening a second store in Hoboken this month, according to Patch.com. The second story will be about a mile north, in uptown Hoboken, and will be accessible through a new Bwe Kafe location. (Bwe Kafe is a popular local coffee shop.)

Little City Books co-owner Donna Garban told Patch that the new location will be 350 square feet and will have a mezzanine in back. There will be no seating in the store, but customers can sit in the coffee shop. "A town has to want a bookstore in order to have a bookstore," she added. "Lots of our customers are from uptown, and they're excited about the new store."

The original store, which has some 1,200 square feet of space, expanded into neighboring storefront in 2016, adding an 800-square-feet children's wing of books and educational toys.


Storey Publishing: Wake Up Grateful: The Transformative Practice of Taking Nothing for Granted by Kristi Nelson


NYC's Books of Wonder Staying on 18th St. Through February

Books of Wonder in New York City, which announced in October that it would be moving its flagship store to a new location at the end of 2019, has reached an agreement to stay in its current space on W. 18th St. through the end of February.

In a message to customers, owner Peter Glassman explained that he still intends to move the store to a location in downtown Manhattan later this year, and lease negotiations and fund-raising are underway.

"While we continue to negotiate on a new downtown location and work to raise the working capital necessary for the relocation, we are happy to say that we will be staying open at 18 West 18th St. for at least another two months," Glassman said.

To help raise the necessary funds, Books of Wonder launched both a GoFundMe campaign and an online auction, the latter of which features signed books, original artwork and more.


KidsBuzz for the Week of 09.28.20


BookGive Names Executive Director, Founding Board

Melissa Monforti has been named executive director and a founding board of directors has been appointed at BookGive, a nonprofit arm of BookBar, Denver, Colo. The organization's mission is to spark "a lifelong love of reading by fueling metro Denver with free books." From its headquarters at 49th & Lowell in the soon-to-be renovated Regis 66, BookGive distributes new and gently used books to individuals, schools and nonprofits throughout the metro area. A spring 2020 opening is anticipated for the BookGive Service Station.

Monforti is best known in the North Denver community as a music educator with Music Together. She comes to BookGive after building three small businesses simultaneously over 15 years, prior to which she worked for one large and several small nonprofits. She holds a Masters of Nonprofit Management from Regis University as a Colorado Trust Fellow. ​As executive director, Monforti "is the key management leader overseeing the administration, operations, programs and strategic direction of the organization," BookGive said.

BookBar owner Nicole Sullivan will serve as president of the board of directors. She originated the Northwest Denver Community Book Exchange in 2009. In 2017, she launched the Local to Local program, which pairs local authors with schools, donating roughly five cases of each author’s books to students. Both programs will be incorporated into BookGive.

Other members BookGive's board of directors include treasurer Eric Crouser, a realtor/investor on the iMPACT Team at Your Castle Real Estate; secretary Kalen Landow, account manager at National Book Network; Rebecca Caldwell, who manages marketing and community outreach for Skinner Middle and North High Schools; and Elizabeth Martinez, a realtor with Porchlight Real Estate.


California Bookstores: Opt-into CALIBA's Fall Email Marketing Campaign - Free to You!


Obituary Notes: Ward Just; Da Chen

Ward Just

Ward Just, author of 19 novels, two nonfiction titles and many short stories, died on December 19. He was 84 and suffered from Lewy body dementia.

After working for the Waukegan News-Sun, his family's newspaper in Waukegan, Ill., Just worked at Newsweek and then covered the Vietnam War for the Washington Post before leaving journalism to write fiction. The New York Times called Just "a journalist for whom the Vietnam War was both a personal trauma and a national tragedy, inspiring him to write novels about people whose lives are shaped by war, political intrigue, myopic diplomats and other forces beyond their control."

Echo House, about three generations of a family of Washington power brokers, was a finalist for a National Book Award in 1997. In 2004, An Unfinished Season, about rabid anti-communism, labor unrest and class differences in the U.S. in the 1950s, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

The Times observed: "Some critics consider In the City of Fear (1982), which depicts Washington during the Vietnam era, to be his most ambitious novel. But he said his favorite was American Romantic (2014). It follows the life of Harry Sanders, a foreign service officer, from his posting in Southeast Asia in the ominous early 1960s on to Africa, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

"As he ages and tires, Sanders has more wisdom but fewer certainties, describing himself to a listener as 'like a blind man in a dark room searching for a black cat that isn't there.'

" 'And do you want to know something else?' Sanders goes on. 'The stakes are not small. This world is filled with mischief, and more than mischief.' "

In an e-mail to the Martha's Vineyard Times, author Geraldine Brooks called Just "an inspiration to me as a newspaperman, a fearless foreign correspondent, a prolific and talented novelist, and as a friend. He was witty and modest about his gifts. Accepting [the New England Independent Booksellers Association's President's Award in 2009], he thanked independent booksellers for their passionate support of his literary novels throughout the years. 'No one gets rich selling Ward Just,' he told them, 'including Ward Just.' He is a loss to the Vineyard and to the world of literature."

Ann Nelson, former owner of Bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Martha's Vineyard, called Just "one of the great writers.... His writings were so diversified and beautifully written, they transported you into his pages.... Customers and guests in my home would ask me for a recommendation for reading, and I would always have a Ward Just book among my recommended books. Without fail, the reader or guest would ask for another book written by Ward. To me, Ward's words on his typewriter have been cut short. There is no doubt in my mind that in today's political climate, having such a rich field to work with, he would have written another great novel. The world has lost a star among writers. I shall not only miss his writings, I will miss a good friend."

---

Da Chen

Da Chen, "the brilliant storyteller who drew from the hardships he suffered as a persecuted child growing up in the midst of China's Cultural Revolution to create the critically acclaimed memoir Colors of the Mountain," died December 17, the Associated Press reported. He was 57. Published in 1999, the bestselling book recounted abuses he and his family suffered during the latter years of the period.

"He watched his father being hung up by his thumbs and beaten and his grandfather stoned frequently with rocks thrown at him by children," said his wife, Dr. Sun-Ling Chen. "He would undergo a lot of humiliation parades where they would throw fruit and other things at him. Frequently he was sent to labor camps where he worked with people twice his age digging irrigation trenches in the mountains."

After Mao's death in 1976, Da Chen "was allowed to take the country's college entrance exam, on which he scored among the highest in the country. He was admitted to the prestigious Beijing Language and Culture University; upon graduation he joined the faculty teaching English," the AP wrote. Offered a scholarship to Nebraska's Union College, Da Chen "recalled arriving in the United States with little more than $30 and his treasured bamboo flute. He supported himself for a time as a waiter in a Chinese restaurant." He then received a scholarship offer from Columbia University in New York City.

Da Chen earned a law degree, then worked as an investment banker on Wall Street. Inspired by John Grisham, he tried to write a legal thriller. After his second failed attempt, his wife, who worked as his editor, suggested he write the stories he'd told his family about his early years in China. The result was Colors of the Mountain.

His other books include Sounds of the River; Brothers: A Novel; Wandering Warrior; and his most recent work, Girl Under a Red Moon.  


Rick Riordan Presents: City of the Plague God by Sarwat Chadda


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Do Right by Me
by Valerie I. Harrison and
Kathryn Peach D'Angelo

GLOW: Temple University Press: Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces by Valerie I. Harrison and Kathryn Peach D'AngeloAn essential guide for non-Black parents and caregivers by authors with authority and first-hand experience, Do Right by Me: Learning to Raise Black Children in White Spaces arrived at a fortuitous time for Ryan Mulligan, editor at Temple University Press: "I couldn't find the book I was looking for: an orientation to raising a Black child in America for someone who hadn't grown up with the experiences, networks and knowledge that most Black parents bring to the task. And then Val and Katie reached out." Mulligan and his publishing team were "blown away by the authors' honesty, friendship and message." Presenting a brutally honest assessment of the ways in which the justice and education systems often work against Black children, Do Right by Me offers bold, uplifting strategies for helping them develop the awareness, resources and resilience to thrive. --Shahina Piyarali

(Temple University Press, $20 paperback, 9781439919958,
November 27, 2020)

CLICK TO ENTER


#ShelfGLOW
Shelf vetted, publisher supported

 


Notes

Image of the Day: Bookseller Wedding

Tina Ferguson, owner of Face in a Book, El Dorado Hills, Calif., was married last weekend. Among the attendees at the happy event: (l.-r.) with Ferguson (c.), Ann-Lisa Sandstrom, Chronicle Books, San Francisco; Kristin Rasmussen, {pages} a bookstore, Manhattan Beach; Carolyn Hutton, Mrs. Dalloway's, Berkeley; Calvin Crosby and Ann Seaton, (n)CIBA; and Keith Jones, Book Passage, Corte Madera. At the wedding but not pictured: Terry Sullivan, Books Inc., San Francisco.

 


Wesley Sanders Receives NAIBA Diversity Scholarship

Wesley Sanders

Wesley Sanders, a bookseller at Boogie Down Books, Bronx, N.Y., is the recipient of this year's New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association Diversity Scholarship to Winter Institute. Learning to read and write, which was a struggle, changed his life--and makes him want to attend WI to learn more about bookselling and get tips on how to reach more people to get them to fall in love with reading as he did.

"I struggled with reading," said Sanders, who began his career as a bookseller last year. "I could not read or write. Not being able to read had a significant impact on my personal development. I could not effectively communicate, and I had low self-esteem. I made it my mission, with the help of my parents and teachers, to learn how to understand the written word. Learning how to read changed my life. I was confident in myself and my ability. I was finally doing well in school, and I fell in love with books. After learning how to read, I became so obsessed with reading that I snatched anything I could get my hands on."


'Tulsan of the Year': Jeff Martin of Magic City Books

Congratulations to Jeff Martin, president of the board of the Tulsa Literary Coalition and co-founder of Magic City Books, who was honored by TulsaPeople as the Tulsan of the Year for his love of books, Tulsa and making things happen that have elevated the cultural reputation of the community.

Noting that Martin's Booksmart Tulsa and Magic City Books have presented more than 1,000 author events in the past decade, TulsaPeople wrote that he "is the first to say he hasn't done this alone. He had a gifted business partner in the late Cindy Hulsey, and he has talented, hard-working collaborators and colleagues, but others know he is the one with the dreams and the drive. Bestselling author Claire Dederer wrote Martin is 'single-handedly bringing all kinds of authors to Tulsa and, what's more, getting Tulsans to come see the authors.' "

Author David Sedaris, a Magic City advisory board member, said, "Jeff Martin doesn't seem to know what 'No' means. 'Not now' is vague to him, as well. It's pretty amazing how he makes things happen."

For some, Martin's stellar accomplishment is Magic City Books in the downtown Arts District. TulsaPeople noted that in 2015 Martin began talking with Hulsey "about his romantic notion of opening an independent bookstore. Hulsey, then Tulsa City-County Library's director of adult services, was older than Martin, but the two had a strong connection through the power of books. She had worked in the securities field for 17 years when she switched careers, got a master's degree to pursue her passion in literature and reading, and became a librarian. Then she gave up that secure job so she and Martin could form the Tulsa Literary Coalition as the nonprofit umbrella for Magic City Books."

"If she had said no, I would not have done it," Martin observed. The bookshop opened in November 2017. "One of the top days of my life." Tragically, Hulsey died in September 2018 of a brain tumor at age 58. "Earth shattering," Martin recalled. "I miss her every day. She was a friend and my partner in the biggest thing I've ever done. I just had to carry on as a tribute to her. That was my motivation. Now it's a legacy project."

"People often ask how I do all the things I do," Martin posted on Facebook. "The honest answer is 'I don't.' There's a whole network of people making these wheels turn. It's like Hands Across America with books and art."


Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks

Carrie Conlisk, formerly manager at Bookie's Bookstores in Chicago, has joined Sourcebooks as sales coordinator.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Springsteen on Fresh Air

Today:
Fresh Air repeat: Bruce Springsteen, author of Born to Run (Simon & Schuster, $19.99, 9781501141522).

TV: Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker

Netflix has unveiled the official title, premiere date and a selection of first look images for its four-part limited series Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker, Deadline reported. Based on the book On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C.J. Walker by Walker's great-great-granddaughter, A'Lelia Bundles, the series will debut March 20.

Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer stars as Sarah Breedlove, known as Madam C.J. Walker, "the black hair care pioneer and mogul who overcame hostile turn-of-the-century America, epic rivalries, tumultuous marriages and family challenges to become America's first black, female self-made millionaire," Deadline wrote. The cast also includes Blair Underwood, Tiffany Haddish, Carmen Ejogo, Garrett Morris, Kevin Carroll and Bill Bellamy.

Produced by SpringHill Entertainment and Wonder Street in association with Warner Bros. Television, the series is helmed by co-showrunners Elle Johnson & Janine Sherman Barrois, along with writer and co-executive producer Nicole Jefferson Asher. It is directed by Kasi Lemmons and DeMane Davis, and executive produced by Janine Sherman Barrois, Elle Johnson, Maverick Carter, LeBron James, Octavia Spencer, Mark Holder, Christine Holder, Kasi Lemmons and Jamal Henderson.


Books & Authors

Awards: Dinaane Debut Fiction Award

The Jacana Literary Foundation has announced a shortlist for the 2019/20 Dinaane Debut Fiction Award, which "aims to promote new southern African fiction that speaks to both a local and international audience," the Reading List reported. The award "encourages new writers and new readers by publishing material that would likely otherwise not have been selected--for purely commercial reasons--by local publishers of literature." The winner, who receives R35,000 (about $2,470), will be announced in March in Johannesburg. The shortlisted works are:

Christopher by Nozuko Siyotula
Scatterlings by Resoketswe Manenzhe
Sleeping Naked by Julia Landau

The JLF will also present the R25,000 (about $1,765) Kraak Writing Award, with the winning writer selected from the runners-up.


Reading with... Mary Higgins Clark

(photo: Bernard Vidal)

Mary Higgins Clark has written 40 suspense novels, four collections of short stories, a his­torical novel, a memoir and two children's books. With Alafair Burke, she writes the Under Suspicion series, including The Cinderella MurderAll Dressed in WhiteThe Sleeping Beauty KillerEvery Breath You Take and You Don't Own Me. With her daughter Carol Higgins Clark, she has co-authored five other suspense novels. More than one hundred million copies of her books are in print in the United States alone. Kiss the Girls and Make Them Cry is a new standalone thriller (Simon & Schuster, November 5, 2019)

On your nightstand now:

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts. Am just finishing this engrossing story about Judy Garland when she was first discovered. When I was a child, she was a superstar, first as a singer, then as an actress. This novel brings back lots of old memories.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Jane Eyre. I just reread it for the umpteenth time. A truly great story. Every time you read it you'll find something you missed the previous time.

Your top five authors:

Agatha Christie
Maeve Binchy
P.D. James
Raymond Chandler
Alafair Burke

Suspense novels were always at the top of my list. When I was looking for a genre, no surprise I chose this one!

Book you've faked reading:

The Americanization of Edward Bok. I did school book reports on this title several times. I was confident that my teachers knew even less about him that I did!

Book you're an evangelist for:

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This is a truly splendid tale, totally satisfying in its premise and resolution. My daughters have read it, and I've recommended it to my grandchildren.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Covers affect my purchase decision less than what's written on the book jacket. A good teaser summary can hook me.

Book you hid from your parents:

The Sheik by Edith Maude Hull. A very racy story for its day from the "desert romance" genre. A strong-willed young woman, against the advice of her friends, goes out into the desert for a month accompanied only by a male guide, and a love relationship develops. Not the type of book parents recommended to their daughters in the 1930s and 1940s.  

Book that changed your life:

My book Where Are the Children? It launched my career!

Favorite line from a book:

"The end." Especially when referring to a story I wrote.

Five books you'll never part with:

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
Confessions of St. Augustine
Trinity, Leon Uris
Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
Evergreen, Belva Plain

Book you most want to read again for the first time:

Ulysses by James Joyce.

How technology has altered the way a mystery is written:

If in your story you want to put a body in a dumpster, it's hard to find one that doesn't have a camera pointed at it.


Book Review

Review: The Man Without Talent

The Man Without Talent by Yoshiharu Tsuge, trans. by Ryan Holmberg (New York Review Comics, $22.95 paperback, 240p., 9781681374437, January 28, 2020)

Readers have an easy choice here: to read this resonating six-chapter collection as an entertaining, albeit sobering, manga about the middle-aged life of a seeming slacker, or approach it as a prominent, pivotal example of 20th-century graphic literary history. Originally published as a magazine serial from 1985 to 1986, Yoshiharu Tsuge's The Man Without Talent makes its English-language debut, translated by comics historian and professor Ryan Holmberg. 
 
Tsuge's protagonist, Sukezō Sukegawa, has "been reduced to selling stones" in a makeshift tent along the Tama River after several unsuccessful career ventures, including "cartooning, selling used cameras, junk and antiques." Despite the wrath of his agitated wife and pathos of his neglected young son, Sukezō lingers on in an aimless existence: he recalls his past hopes and failures, visits other doomed businesses and their ineffective proprietors, and occasionally, half-heartedly, ill-fatedly attempts to improve his impoverished conditions. Drawn in stark black-and-white panels, Tsuge's frank narrative portrays an artist-in-decline, an anti-Bildungsroman that offers effective storytelling, enduring characters, poignant reflection and, most notably, gratifying art. Audiences who shut the book after the final panels would certainly leave Sukezō in his solipsistic reverie with satisfying closure. 
 
But, yes, there's more. Presented in its original Japanese back-to-front reading format, the manga's final pages run into translator Holmberg's essay, which, by the standards of Western publishing's front-to-back order, could act as the book's introduction. Whether read before or after Tsuge's manga, Holmberg's "Where Is Yoshiharu Tsuge?" is an illuminating enhancement--biographically, historically, literally. Augmented with black-and-white photos of Tsuge and his family, as well as selected book covers and panels from Tsuge's other publications, Holmberg's piece firmly places Tsuge and The Man Without Talent into the modern graphic canon "as one of the premier examples of the 'I-novel' (shishōsetsu) [autobiographical fiction] in comics form." Although Tsuge stopped drawing in 1987, new editions of his books, as well as film adaptations of those works continue to proliferate in Japan, ensuring his pioneering cult status. 
 
Tsuge's debut for Anglophone audiences is not without a few missed-in-translation stumbles: "worshipped as the bee's knees" is not a Japanese aphorism; the valley-girl affectation of "Do you, like, ever..." certainly would not have been in 1980s vernacular Japanese usage. Minor missteps aside, Tsuge's path toward recognition and praise in the West seems paved by the success of his established brother, Tadao Tsuge (Slum Wolf; Trash Market), and internationally bestselling pioneer Shigeru Mizuki (Kitarō series), for whom Tsuge worked in the 1960s. Indie publisher Drawn & Quarterly has already announced a Tsuge series, beginning with a collection of his early works, The Swamp, due in April 2020. For urbane manga aficionados, the coming proliferation of Tsuge titles should promise further delight and enlightenment. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon
 
Shelf Talker: Cult manga artist Yoshiharu Tsuge makes his English-language debut with his autobiographical stand-in, The Man Without Talent, whose frustrated, aimless wanderings prove more resonating than ever.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: '2020--It's Gonna Be Big'

Watermark Books

Long after NORAD stopped tracking Santa Claus during the holiday break, I was still monitoring indie bookseller social media radar as 2019 came to a close. The new year has begun, so I'm just going to leave these here for you and step aside:

Sassafras on Sutton, Black Mountain, N.C.: "As this year draws to a close, I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your support. We are a little local business in a big pond with a very large and hungry fish. And we are thriving! Thanks to you.... Sassafras started the year closed with a crumbled roof and a sad owner.... We've had an amazing year and can't wait to see what 2020 brings."

Beastly Books

Capitol Hill Books, Washington, D.C.: "One cool thing about 2019 was how we found a bunch of good books and put them in our store and you guys came and bought a lot of them."

Cream & Amber, Hopkins, Minn.: "I love that the book club who was just here celebrating their year of reading couldn't decide which book to read next, so they polled the customers at the bar (and me). The winner: Beartown. Cheers to a whole new year of reading!"

Reads & Company, Phoenixville, Pa.: "Some reflection--and gratitude--as we approach the end of our first year (7 months, really) in business. A shout-out today to three authors [Laura Lippman, Jerry Spinelli & Madeline Miller] who--through their generosity, endorsement, and sincere support of independent bookstores--gave Reads & Company immediate legitimacy and launched us on this road to success.... and to all the Readers who show up for author events at Reads & Company. Please support events at your local indie bookstore--authors, readers, and booksellers are exactly the community this world needs."

Zenith Bookstore

The Brain Lair Bookstore, South Bend, Ind.: "Our biggest and, I believe, most impactful event was bringing @kwamealexander and @randyprestonmusic to South Bend. They left a lasting impression on me, the teachers, and all of the students who were able to attend the morning show. We are all still talking about it. I'm hoping 2020 allows us to continue impacting the lives of the children in our communities and to continue sending the message that they matter and they have the ability to change the world...."

Russo's Books, Bakersfield, Calif.: "Dollar for dollar, we sold more books in 2019 than in any year since 2010 (an amazing feat if you recall how big & busy our Marketplace store was). With the lower overhead of a single showroom/office, we were able to more than double the discount we gave to customers compared to when we had traditional stores and still remain profitable. Thank you Bakersfield for sticking with us for 30+ years."

Kew & Willow Books

Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.: "In 2019, our little indie bookshop put on a record 424 events! This is a big reason why supporting local businesses is so important. Without you, we NEVER could have hosted so many events for our community, from memorable school visits to big literary festivals. Thank you, Houston. We can't wait to make 2020 our best year yet!"

Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, Mass.: "Heading into the new decade grateful for an engaged and loyal island community--locals and visitors alike, inspired authors, visionary activists, discerning publishers, and everyone else who makes, moves, consumes, and loves all the soul-nourishing words that find their way, printed and bound, into our hot little hands. Thank you, and happy new year."

The Spiral Bookcase, Philadelphia, Pa.: "THANK YOU from Calliope and her bookshop minions for a wonderful year! We sent a ton of books into the world... and spent so many lovely afternoons with all of you talking about literature, the city, cats, magick, outer-space, revolution, art, the merits of different @luckyslastchance burgers, and so much more. We love you all and can't wait to see what's coming our way in 2020!"

Prologue Bookshop, Columbus, Ohio: "As 2019 draws to a close, we thought we'd revisit our literary resolutions from last January! Looking forward to an even better year in 2020."

Pagination Bookshop, Springfield, Mo.: "Happy 2020 from Pagination! We are so (!) thankful that 2019 brought us our bookshop! Thank you with all our hearts to our community, to our beloved guest authors, to our thriving open mic and book club groups, to the beautiful books and conversations shared in our space. We are so grateful. Here's to a new year of reading, writing, and fostering literacy and creativity! We can't wait for what 2020 will bring!"

Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, Kan: "It's that time of year again, where we all reflect on the year before and resolve to make big changes for the coming year. Thanks to #StellarBookseller Robin, we now have a road-map to designing our 2020 reading resolutions. Which of Robin's resolutions will you be focusing on next year?"

Next Page Books, Cedar Rapids, Iowa: "2020. It's gonna be big."

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

KidsBuzz: Vesuvian Books: 7th Grade Revolution by Liana Gardner
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