Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 15, 2020


Harper Perennial: The Historians by Cecilia Ekbäck

Minotaur Books: The Lost Village by Camilla Sten, translated by Alexandra Fleming

Haymarket Books: We Still Here: Pandemic, Policing, Protest and Possibility by Marc Lamont Hill, edited by Frank Barat

DK Publishing: Oceanology: The Secrets of the Sea Revealed by DK

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict

Berkley Books: The Hunting Wives by May Cobb

Quotation of the Day

'I Feel Ready to Take on the Next Phase'

"As restrictions increased, almost every customer who walked in encouraged us, thanked us for giving them some sense of normalcy and supported us in every way they could.... My very favorite moment, however, was when a customer came in and picked up a book, seemingly without looking at its cover. She then proceeded to ask me what I had enjoyed reading recently. I mentioned a couple of favorites. She said she'd grab those too. Then she went around the shop and took a couple more off the shelves. 'I don't even read,' she said. 'But I simply adore your shop, and you must survive!' I plan to.

"Bless her and all our wonderful customers. And bless both the Federal and State Governments.... It’s made me thankful to be Australian. Most of all though, bless my team--Kat, Suzy, Lindsay, Cameron, Lana, Emma, Julian and Mia. Their flexibility, solidarity, calm and pure love to do the right thing by the bookshop almost, and in several instances did, exceed my own. Supported by such gems, I feel ready to take on the next phase."

--Jaye Chin-Dusting, owner of Mary Martin Bookshops, Melbourne, in a detailed blog post answering the question: "How's it all going?"

Broadleaf Books: Inspiring New Nonfiction from Broadleaf Books!


News

SIBA Discovery Show Is Going Virtual

Another fall regional booksellers association show will take place online instead: the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance's Discovery Show, originally set for September 11-13 in New Orleans, is going virtual, SIBA said yesterday. In the past weeks, both the New England Independent Booksellers Association and New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association have decided to turn their scheduled fall shows into online events.

SIBA said that it is "taking advantage of this unique opportunity to innovate, partner, and create knock-your-socks-off programming not possible at an in-person show. Publishers and other industry partners, authors, and booksellers will be brought together in both intimate and larger virtual rooms devoted to a wide variety of interests. The show will feature a fresh format spanning five days, crafted with care to answer the community's call for shared spaces, networking, the discovery of new titles and bookselling best practices, and plain old fun!"


KidsBuzz for the Week of 10.19.20


Hachette Launches Program to Assist Indies with Reopening

Hachette Book Group has launched a program to assist in the reopening of independent bookstores in the U.S. and Canada. The program, which will go into effect June 1, is designed to support stores recovering from the devasting impact of Covid-19 on their business, as well as to aid them in reopening and ongoing business.

"We know independent stores are grappling with a steep fall-off in business which has dramatically impacted their ability to pay staff and their bills," said Alison Lazarus, executive v-p, director of sales. "While they have worked to continue to serve their customers through curbside delivery, home delivery and online orders, their margins, their cash flow and their sales are nowhere near pre-pandemic levels."

HBG's program includes dating into 2021 for new orders, improved discount terms on current and future orders through 2020, a long-term timeline for stores to pay older invoices, and a freight offset credit for returning inventory that did not sell due to the pandemic, according to the publisher, which noted that "these terms are responding to business concerns that we have heard in discussions with the ABA and our independent customers."

"The survival of independent stores is critical to our business, and to the communities that depend on these stores," Lazarus noted, adding that "these enhanced terms are one of the ways in which we, and the publishers we distribute are working to ensure that independent stores survive and thrive."


University of California Press: Never-Ending War on Terror, Volume 13 by Alex Lubin


How Bookstores Are Coping: Kindness, Patience, Perspective

Elaine Petrocelli, president of Book Passage in Corte Madera and San Francisco, Calif., reported that in Marin County, curbside pick-up has not been legal for bookstores since March 16. However, that will likely change very soon according to announcements made earlier this week. Since March 16, Petrocelli and her team have been doing lots of phone and online orders.

Book Passage received a PPP loan, and Petrocelli said her local bank was wonderful to work with. The rules, though, are still unclear, and she hopes there will be some consideration for small retailers who can't bring all the staff back to work at once due to safety concerns. She added that staff members are currently "working harder than ever," and social distancing is mandatory.

On the subject of virtual events, Petrocelli said more than 14,000 people have registered for the store's Conversations with Authors series. People who register can view the conversations live at 4 p.m. Pacific time on Saturdays and Sundays, and anyone can watch the archived conversations later. The series was developed with the help of the owners of ExtendedSession, who are BookPassage customers. "We wouldn't have been able to do this without them," said Petrocelli.

Many of the store's current bestsellers were written by authors who have taken part in the Conversations with Authors series. Some standouts include The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson, A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende, Rebel Cinderella by Adam Hochschild and Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb.

One silver lining amid all this, Petrocelli continued, is how kind so many people have been. In addition to the owners of ExtendedSession helping the store create its online author series, writer Anne Lamott launched a GoFundMe campaign on behalf of the store in mid-April. So far, the campaign has raised more than $21,000 and is still bringing in contributions.

One of the nicest things that has happened, she added, was the result of an initially terrible experience. About a week after Book Passage closed for browsing, someone broke into the Corte Madera store and stole the store's four iPads and made a terrible mess. When she heard about what happened, American Dirt author Jeanine Cummins ordered four new iPads for the store and had Book Passage engraved on each one. Said Petrocelli: "So, yes, this has been a hard time, but we have learned how kind people are."

---

Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore, Delray Beach, Fla., will reopen to the public May 18, according to owner Joanne Sinchuk. "Following the City of Delray Beach guidelines, only 2 people at a time will be allowed in the store, so please make your appointment.... Walk-ins will be accommodated as long as no one else has an appointment. For all our safety, please wear a mask. It will be so great seeing you all again! Come by and browse the stacks of books you have been missing. Thank you for supporting our local bookstore.... Stay well, and safe. And hope to see you soon!"

---

Noting that Wild Geese Bookshop, Franklin, Ind., has fielded numerous calls about when it will be opening up to foot traffic, owner Tiffany Phillips responded: "The short answer is not yet. We are different than our neighbors because our footprint is so small. Being in the shop feels like a hug. There is no social distancing in here.... I've been committed to ongoing service throughout this challenging time. I know that books and cards bring a comfort. However, I'm going to continue to take every single precaution before opening up to foot traffic because our space is smaller than any other retail space around and because we have a room devoted to children. The latest news stories give me pause for those we invite to gather here.

"My business is not essential, but the people who work here are and our customers are, and the little ones who make important phone calls on the yellow phone in the kiddo room are 1,000% essential. I will continue to serve in the safest way that I can. When I feel we can do so safely, we will begin letting people walk around inside via an appointment process. I'm not there yet."

---

Janke Book Store, Wausau, Wis., "survived the Great Depression. Now, its family owners are navigating what may be the worst economic downturn since," WSAW News reported. Co-owners Jane Janke Johnson and Jim Janke's grandfather bought the store 100 years ago, after the influenza pandemic.

"It's very challenging thinking I might be the end of the era, of the bookstore, because small business is in huge jeopardy," said Janke Johnson. Asked if she has seen anything like this situation before, she replied, "No, but we do think back to the history of our store.... We're thinking, did our grandfather buy the bookstore at a fire sale, because the last bookseller was just too frustrated with the current events?...  Instead of selling books, my grandfather rented books during the Great Depression. He could've given up as well, and he chose not to."

She added that he may be watching over them now: "My brother and I certainly have his watchful eye over us every day as we navigate this pandemic. It's really hard, because I'm really sad for our whole world. Those living on the fringe, I'm sad that they might not have food or shelter above their head.... We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, or the next week, we don't know if the second wave is going to come back this fall. And we do know from the survey that the downtown river district did, that probably half of our small businesses are in jeopardy."


University of California Press: The Analects: Conclusions and Conversations of Confucius by Confucius, translated by Moss Roberts


Publishers Lunch to Host Buzz Books Editors' Panel

Next Wednesday, Publishers Lunch will host a Buzz Books Editors' Panel, where six editors from major houses will each present a book from the upcoming season. The event will be held via Zoom beginning at 7 p.m., and the Publishers Lunch team plans to use the event as a fundraiser for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. Publishers Lunch will make a $10 contribution for every bookseller who registers for the event, and will ask all viewers to contribute to Binc directly. 

The panel is inspired by but not affiliated with the BookExpo mainstay. The event will be hosted by comedian and author Cameron Esposito, and the featured titles were selected by the Publishers Lunch team out of a larger Buzz Books list for Fall/Winter 2020.

The editors and upcoming titles are:

  • Daniel Halpern, Ecco, presenting We Turn the Tides by Vendela Vida

  • Maddie Caldwell, Grand Central, presenting We Keep the Dead Close by Becky Cooper

  • John Glynn, Hanover Square, presenting Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stephenson

  • Caroline Zancan, Holt, presenting Before the Ruins by Victoria Gosling

  • Pam Dorman, Viking, presenting The Push by Ashley Audrain

  • Laura Perciasepe, Riverhead, presenting Memorial by Bryan Washington


Red Wheel/Weiser Launching Dharma Spring Imprint

Red Wheel/Weiser is launching Dharma Spring, a nonfiction imprint that will focus on "works inspired by Buddhist wisdom to help people work with today's challenges" and release eight to ten titles a year.

Headed by Peter Turner, former longtime publisher and CEO of Shambhala Publications, Dharma Spring will publish books for a general audience based on the practical application of Buddha's teachings ("dharma"). Topics will include using accessible meditation techniques to work through difficult emotions, such as grief and anxiety, as well as works on cultivating lovingkindness for oneself and others.

Turner said, "People today are looking for practical advice from authentic sources to help work through the emotional challenges they face in their everyday lives, but increasingly they want to do it in a way that is integral to their aspiration for genuine spiritual growth and will benefit others."

Michael Kerber, president and CEO of Red Wheel/Weiser, commented: "Dharma Spring flows nicely within our Red Wheel group of imprints while also extending our presence to additional categories within bookstores and to new audiences."

Dharma Spring's first title, appearing in October, is Opening to Grief: Finding Your Way from Loss to Peace by Claire Willis and Marnie Crawford Samuelson. Turner said that the imprint was originally scheduled to launch next year, "but, sadly, because the topic of Claire and Marnie's book is so urgently relevant, we decided to move up the release date."


In Carolyn Reidy's Memory

For those interested in making donations in honor of Carolyn Reidy, the president and CEO of Simon & Schuster who died suddenly on Tuesday, her husband, Stephen, has requested that contributions be made to Worldreader, an organization she wholeheartedly supported.

Condolence cards can be sent to the following address, and will be forwarded:

Stephen K. Reidy
c/o Simon & Schuster Corporate Communications
1230 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020


G.L.O.W. - Galley Love of the Week
Be the first to have an advance copy!
Tokyo Ever After
by Emiko Jean

California high school senior Izumi Tanaka has just been confirmed as the heretofore unknown love child of Imperial Highness Crown Prince Toshihito, heir to the world's oldest monarchy, Japan. Suddenly, Izzy is Her Imperial Highness Princess Izumi and is Tokyo-bound to meet a father she never knew, while facing huge linguistic, cultural and regal learning curves. "Be prepared to laugh... and also swoon," raves Flatiron's YA editorial director, Sarah Barley, who says Emiko Jean's third novel delivers "an incredibly distinct and fresh voice like no other. Heart, humor, friends, family!" With hints of a Harry-and-Meghan sensibility, Tokyo Ever After is as much fun as American Royals--and Izumi's brand of rebellion might be exactly what this ancient hierarchy needs for the modern age. --Terry Hong

(Flatiron, $18.99 hardcover, 9781250766601, May 25, 2021)

CLICK TO ENTER


#ShelfGLOW
Shelf vetted, publisher supported

 


Notes

Cool Idea of the Day: Literati's Virtual Public Typewriter

Noting that one of the consequences of temporarily closing two months ago was the inability to get new notes on the shop's public typewriter, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., wrote on Facebook: "Yet, now more than ever, I want to read the notes our customers often left behind: Notes of love, loss, introspection, hope, and, yes, the occasional fart joke. I feel like we all need an anonymous outlet during these unsettling times.

"When I lamented this to Oliver Uberti, co-editor of our book Notes from a Public Typewriter, he said, 'I have an idea.' He called up his brother Justin, a software engineer at Google, and a few weeks later, voila!--a virtual typewriter complete with clicks, clacks, and a carriage return! The world's smallest publishing house is once again accepting submissions. Head over to our homepage, and scroll down. We'd love if you left a note behind. And, as with life (and our analog machines), there is no delete key. Type strongly and don't look back."


Best Bookseller Hideout: Schuler Books

Posted on Facebook by Schuler Books, Grand Rapids and Okemos, Mich.: "So, the Grand Rapids crew gets a little punchy at the end of the day.... Lauren decided to hide out in a fort built of incoming and outgoing packages, while Hailey peeks in from the back to see if there's room for one more. All kidding aside, we're thrilled that our customers are keeping us busy! Curbside pickup available 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily."


Personnel Changes at Macmillan

In the Macmillan trade sales department:

Jackie Waggner has been promoted to director, national specialty retail.

Joseph O'Leary has been promoted to senior manager, sales operations.

Anthony Jimenez has been promoted to senior sales analyst.

Leigh George has been promoted to senior e-book account manager, U.S. and international sales.

Gretchen Fredericksen has been promoted to assistant manager, publisher liaison.

Kathleen McCutcheon has been promoted to sales coordinator for the adult merch team.



Media and Movies

TV: The Custom of the Country

Sofia Coppola is teaming up with Apple to develop an adaptation of Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country. Deadline reported that this is "the latest Apple TV+ project for The Virgin Suicides director, who has also directed feature film On the Rocks, starring Bill Murray and Rashida Jones, for the streamer."

The book is being adapted with an eye toward a limited series order, to be written and directed by Coppola. Deadline noted that in 2014, Sony Pictures Television "developed a project that would have starred Scarlett Johansson, who was set to exec produce as well."

Coppola has said that Undine Spragg, the main character, "is my favorite literary anti-heroine and I'm excited to bring her to the screen for the first time."


Books & Authors

Awards: International Dylan Thomas; Deborah Rogers Writers

Bryan Washington won the £30,000 (about $38,160) International Dylan Thomas Prize for his debut short story collection, Lot, the Bookseller reported. Sponsored by Swansea University, the award recognizes the "best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under."

Chair of the judges Dai Smith said Washington’s collection "does what all great fiction does, finds a style that can open up a world that is otherwise unknowable and he does it with wit and grace. It is a real voice, unique, unforgettable, generous, and warm and one which provides us with a sense of community and the full experience of life. As one of the judges said he has a country and western kickass voice."

---

Pemi Aguda won the £10,000 (about $12,435) Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award for her "gripping" work of fiction, The Suicide Mothers. The prize, founded in 2015 as a tribute to the late literary agent Deborah Rogers, honors "a first-time writer whose submission demonstrates outstanding literary talent and who needs financial support to complete their work."

Chair of the judges Ian Rankin said: "This novel begins with a real wow moment and sustains momentum as it draws us into a world that is utterly contemporary yet has room for the mythic and the supernatural. The politics of Lagos, environmental concerns and the coming of age of the young and pregnant protagonist make for a wonderfully kinetic and gripping story."

Stephen Buoro finished in second place for The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa, and in third was S. Bhattacharya-Woodward for Zolo and Other Stories. Each author receives £1,000  (about $1,245).


Reading with... Tom Clavin

photo: Gordon Grant

Tom Clavin was a reporter for 15 years for the New York Times and served as editor of weekly newspapers for 12 years before turning to writing full time. Four of his books have been New York Times bestsellers: Dodge City, The Heart of Everything That Is, Halsey's Typhoon and The Last Stand of Fox Company. Other recent titles include Lucky 666, Reckless, Valley Forge and All Blood Runs Red. His new book, Tombstone: The Earp Brothers, Doc Holliday, and the Vendetta Ride from Hell, just published by St. Martin's Press, completes the Frontier Lawmen trilogy that began with Wild Bill and Dodge City.

On your nightstand now:

Alas, 80% of the pile is, as usual, work-related. That is why it includes The Frontiersman by Meredith Mack Brown and How the West Was Lost by Stephen Aron, because my next book with Bob Drury involves Daniel Boone and American Indians in Ohio and Kentucky. My next solo project is about a pilot shot down over France in World War II, so the pile also includes Air War Europa by Eric Hammel and In the Shadows of War by Thomas Childers. When I do read for pleasure, I pluck from the pile the latest thriller featuring Joe Pickett, Harry Bosch, John Rebus, Amos Walker, Walt Longmire or Dave Robicheaux.

Favorite book when you were a child:

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I loved this book because it excited my imagination and it had a smart, conflicted and courageous female protagonist, which opened my eyes and mind.

Your top five authors:

John Steinbeck is very much a personal favorite. I've read every novel by Jane Austen and hope to do so again. Same for Raymond Chandler, whose The Long Goodbye is a great and still underrated novel. Of contemporary authors, I think James Lee Burke is simply the best, but it's a close shave with Cormac McCarthy.

Book you've faked reading:

Whatever I'm asked to blurb. I'm kidding! Anything written in the 1800s by a Russian author. Sorry, Leo and Fyodor, you're just not for me, even though you had nothing to do with interfering in our elections.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I think Lonesome Dove is one of the best American novels ever. The excellent miniseries is what sticks in the minds of most people, but if you read the novel itself, you'll see that every description and line of dialogue is a revelation.

Book you've bought for the cover:

About 30 years ago, I bought a paperback by John D. MacDonald that had a rather lurid cover that promised cheap thrills. Then I became addicted to the Travis McGee series and refuse to go to rehab for it.

Book you hid from your parents:

Goldfinger by Ian Fleming.

Book that changed your life:

I feel like I've had at least several life-changing experiences thanks to books, but my immediate response has to be A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. I've read it at least half a dozen times, beginning when I was 15, and each time I'm inspired to forge something significant in the smithy of my soul.

Favorite line from a book:

The Sun Also Rises, the last line: "Isn't it pretty to think so?" What Jake Barnes says to Brett Ashley is not only heartbreaking but sums up my tenuous hold on hope.

Five books you'll never part with:

In addition to the ones and others by authors I've cited previously: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Light in August by William Faulkner, Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler, Middlemarch by George Eliot and the Civil War trilogy by Shelby Foote.

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

If I can take this small liberty, I'd love to read the Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester as though it was the first time. I have a clear recollection of cutting classes repeatedly in high school and hiding under the gym bleachers as I poured through Beat to Quarters, Ship of the Line and the others in that series. It was a very visceral experience that filled me with both the hope of being a writer and the fear that I might not become one and then what would I do.


Book Review

Review: Honey and Venom: Confessions of an Urban Beekeeper

Honey and Venom: Confessions of an Urban Beekeeper by Andrew Coté (Ballantine Books, $27 hardcover, 320p., 9781524799045, June 9, 2020)

Acclaimed beekeeper Andrew Coté chronicles a year of hard work, adventure and just plain fun in Honey and Venom: Confessions of an Urban Beekeeper. Beekeeping is almost as old as civilization, and the Coté family has been doing it for four generations. "I bleed honey. It runs deep in my veins," Coté explains. His easygoing narrative, recounting his apian experience from his childhood in Connecticut to his current position as president of the New York City Beekeepers Association, will educate and entertain even the most bee-phobic reader.

Coté is NYC's go-to-beekeeper, and the subject of media stories around the world. Although there are more than 250 types of bees in New York City, he works with Apis mellifera, or the common honey bee. Coté has hives on skyscrapers, at the Museum of Modern Art and the United Nations. "I love the fact that my office is no office at all, but rather rooftops with billion-dollar views." Coté is a former college professor and although "the allure of the bees wrenched me out of it," he still demonstrates the ability to make a complex subject clear while adding enough humor to make it engaging. Discussing bee reproduction, for example, he notes that after a male drone mates with the queen, its penis is torn out of its abdomen and it falls dead to earth, "presumably with mixed emotions."

Coté structures the memoir around the 12 months of both the bees' and the beekeeper's tasks. Winter months in the northeast are quiet, so Coté uses the time to visit beekeepers around the world. His visits to Africa and Asia reveal common interests--"most obviously a shared affection for the little four-winged creatures that transcended language barriers." His nonprofit organization, Bees Without Borders, works to "alleviate poverty via beekeeping endeavors." In summer, bees are active and the possibility for unfortunate interactions between humans and bees means that Coté is on call to, among other things, remove swarms from high above Times Square, pose with bees for advertising and capture bees from neglected hives in Queens. "Beekeeping in New York City is never boring," Coté points out, and thanks to this delightful memoir, readers will have a new appreciation for these complex insects and the humans who care for them. --Cindy Pauldine, bookseller, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.

Shelf Talker: Andrew Coté knowledgably and humorously chronicles a year in the life of a New York City beekeeper.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask, No Service

My first coronavirus-inspired mask dream occurred last weekend. I was at a book conference, waiting on the sidewalk outside the venue for a shuttle bus to an offsite event. Everyone around me wore a mask and I realized mine was back in the hotel room. The usual dream drama ensued. Were they aware I wasn't masked? Did I have time to go back for it and still make the bus? What if I just pulled the neck of my sweater up over my mouth and nose?

Although January seems like another era altogether, I recall that on my flight home from Baltimore after Wi15, the guy sitting near me (we had an empty seat between us) went through an impressive pre-flight routine, using wipes to disinfect everything within range. I thought he was a little nuts at the time, but since then not only haven't I flown, I barely leave the house, and when I do I wear a mask.

At Wi15, there were no keynotes on how to cope with a global pandemic; no roundtable discussions about transitioning to full-time online operations with delivery and curbside pickup; no education sessions on reopening after governmental stay-at-home orders were relaxed. When Ryan Raffaelli discussed his white paper, "Reinventing Retail: The Novel Resurgence of Independent Bookstores," this was not what he had in mind.

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Mask, No Service

"#Smize," Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, Ohio, advised returning customers: "We're so excited to see your smiling eyes! But have already realized that loyal customers we've known for years might have to reintroduce themselves, as we're not used to identifying you by eyes alone! Take care, stay safe, and we can't wait to see you when it feels right for you to do so. And we'll keep filling mail and curbside pickup orders, so let us know how we can help. Thank you call for your incredible support that's gotten us this far!"

At Shelf Awareness, putting book swag to good use.

We'll be thinking about masks for a long time, I suspect. People have already been hurt and even killed in retail store mask confrontations. As late as February, Fast Company was listing five reasons not to wear a mask during the coronavirus outbreak, calling the trend a "poorly informed craze." This week, the same magazine offered a "four-part plan to wearing a mask all summer." The latest issue of the New Yorker celebrated the masked class of 2020, and fashionistas are apparently turning masks "from 'muzzle' to fashion's object of desire."

"We're doing our best, despite the inconvenience, and we keep our masks on," Francois Chimier, an architect who had been under lockdown in China, observed about returning to work: "Still, there are nagging questions you can't help but think about. Is there a virus on the coffee machine? How do I drink while wearing the mask? Is my colleague smiling or just pretending behind that mask?"

Protection from Green Apple Books, available here.

As states explore the seemingly infinite variations on rules for phased reopening, indie booksellers are once again compelled to reinvent their business model to accommodate new restrictions, including the mask conundrum--to wear or not to wear.

For booksellers, masking up has become commonplace, as seen in social media posts from indies like Wheatberry Books, Chillicothe, Ohio;  Heroes and Villains, Tucson, Ariz.; Let's Play Books Bookstore, Emmaus, Pa.; and Atticus Bookstore Café, New Haven, Conn. 

At Novel Bay Booksellers

Now the game changes again. Novel Bay Booksellers, Sturgeon Bay, Wis., reopened Tuesday and faced a new challenge--unmasked customers: "Despite the older man who wasn't wearing a mask and the chatty woman who simply didn't understand social distancing, our first day open was wonderful. The man left and luckily there was only one other customer in the shop who quickly figured out how to evade chatty lady's sweeping orbit. While the state order doesn't require masks, we do and we are thankful beyond words for all the amazing folks who gracefully accept that life has changed and we all need to work together.... We wish this was Fiction, but it's our new normal at the bookstore and any-place-other-than-home. A customer stopped by to browse today and said, 'I used to take all of this for granted. Not anymore.' "

At Enchanted Passage, Sutton, Mass., "Sandy started making kid masks when we couldn't find one for Kristiana to fit. We have given out many to friends, both kids and adults. She is making more! Do you need masks? Let us know. We will leave them in the mask box by the front door for you. They have a pocket to add a filter if you would like to add an extra layer. We are not charging for these masks. We are all in this together!"

At Atticus Bookstore

Atlas Obscura explored a UCLA Library collection of personal narratives, manuscripts and ephemera from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, noting that in that awful time, people "are talking about the inconveniences of theaters and shops being closed, or people wearing masks and how funny, how odd they look. Then it becomes commonplace because everyone is doing it."

As has been the case with so many previous challenges to the book trade, creative adaptation is the prime survival tactic. "Life will show you masks," Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "that are worth all your carnivals."

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

KidsBuzz: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers: First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy
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