Shelf Awareness for Friday, June 11, 2021


Grand Central Publishing: Dava Shastri's Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti

Minotaur Books: Hello, Transcriber by Hannah Morrissey

Bloomsbury Publishing: This Is Happiness by Niall Williams

Mineditionus: The Longest Storm by Dan Yaccarino

Atheneum Books: Out of My Heart by Sharon M Draper

Bloomsbury Publishing: Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Blackstone Publishing: I Am Not Who You Think I Am by Eric Rickstad

Scholastic Press: Room to Dream (a Front Desk Novel) by Kelly Yang

News

New Tattered Cover Store Opening Tomorrow

The new Tattered Cover in McGregor Square
(photo: Lucy Beaugard)

The newest Tattered Cover store in Denver, Colo., will have its grand opening on Saturday. 

Beginning at 9 a.m., a "bookworm" of more than 100 people will pass the final book hand-to-hand from the old LoDo location to the new store in McGregor Square, adjacent to Coors Field. Once the final book has arrived, the store officially will be open for business.

"Our new location marks the next phase of evolution for Tattered Cover--after a long year, we're excited to welcome people back and provide a space for connection, community and conversation," said Kwame Spearman, CEO of Tattered Cover. "The environment of the new McGregor Square development makes it a perfect fit for our family-friendly character."

The McGregor Square location spans 6,800 square feet and sells books, magazines, gifts and more. The store features a grand staircase, harkening back to both the original LoDo store and the former location in Cherry Creek.

Later this summer Tattered Cover will open a children's store in the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, Colo. The bookstore will also be celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Just Haven't Met You Yet by Sophie Cousens


Busy Bee Bookstore Relocating in Lockport, N.Y.

Busy Bee's future home

Busy Bee Bookstore, which opened in 2019 on Washburn St. in Lockport, N.Y., will be relocating downtown to 4 Market St.

Earlier this week, owner Holly Edwards posted on Facebook: "Exciting news.... Busy Bee Bookstore is moving to the Bewley Building. I signed the lease this afternoon and will be moving in next to Terroir General Store over the summer!"

The final day open at the current location will be June 26. Edwards plans to spend July setting up shop and the new location will open at the beginning of August. "I will be renaming & rebranding the shop and getting in lots of new inventory, so stay tuned for more details!" she added.


Annick Press: Living with Viola by Rosena Fung


One More Page Books, Arlington, Va., Reopening to Customers

One More Page Books in Arlington, Va., is reopening to browsing this month after being closed to customers for 15 months. On June 3 owner Eileen McGervey and her team reopened for appointment shopping only. On June 15 the store will once again be open for walk-in shopping, though masks will still be required and occupancy will be limited to seven until more people get vaccinated.

One More Page staffers welcome returning customers.

McGervey noted that local customers as well as customers from around the world helped the store survive the pandemic. "We are thankful to have weathered the pandemic with a healthy staff and a strong customer base. After shifting the way we did business several times during the last year, we were so happy when we were able to turn the store back into a welcoming place for book, wine and chocolate lovers."

Looking ahead, One More Page will continue to offer online sales with curbside pick-up and shipping options, and for the foreseeable future events will still be virtual.


Bloomsbury Continuum: Making Nice by Ferdinand Mount


Valerie Paley Named Director of New-York Historical Society Library

Valerie Paley
(photo: Wendy Mills)

The New-York Historical Society has named Valerie Paley as senior v-p and and director of the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library, effective July 1. She replaces Michael T. Ryan, who has held the position since 2014 and is retiring this month.   

Since 2017, Paley has served as New-York Historical Society's senior v-p and chief historian, as well as the founding director of the Center for Women's History. She joined the institution in 2001 as the founding editor of the museum's New-York Journal of American History, and has served in various capacities, including historian for special projects and dean of scholarly programs.

"The Patricia D. Klingenstein Library at New-York Historical serves a vital and dynamic role in the telling of American history and is an incomparable resource for our own groundbreaking exhibitions as well as for the thousands of researchers and scholars who use it every year," said Louise Mirrer, president and CEO. "Valerie understands the scholarly importance of the Library and its holdings, and I look forward to seeing the innovations and new directions she will undertake as its director."

Paley observed: "I am excited for the opportunity to continue to mine the Library for its dynamic potential to reveal the American past, and to be working alongside its accomplished staff, who deserve praise for their outstanding work to maintain and advance our collections, most recently under extraordinary circumstances."


GLOW: Top Shelf Productions: Ballad for Sophie by Filipe Melo, illus. by Juan Cavia, trans. by Gabriela Soares


How Bookstores Are Coping: Returning to Normal; Finally Optimistic

Brian Weiskopf, store manager at Interabang Books in Dallas, Tex., reported that the team is "very happy with the way business has progressed" in 2021. Last year's holiday season was very strong, and things have been brisk since. In-store traffic has stayed healthy despite mask mandates, occupancy restrictions and the availability of online shopping options. Customers, he added, were always very considerate and conscientious.

Weiskopf added that things have "pretty much returned normal"--but Interabang might have a slightly different definition of normal compared to most stores. In October 2018 a tornado destroyed the store, and while Interabang was back up and running in a new location with temporary fixtures in less than a month, it took some time to rebuild the inventory. The store had to close again to install permanent fixtures, and during those times the store encouraged customers to use online ordering options to continue to support the store.

That proved to be "great training for dealing with the pandemic," especially in the early stages, and again for the terrible cold snap Texas experienced in February. A pipe burst in an adjacent store, which flooded Interabang, and the store had to close again. No books were damaged that time, Weiskopf said, which made for a faster recovery.

The store has relaxed its mask requirements, with vaccinated customers and staff no longer required to wear masks. Some customers, he noted, still prefer to shop with masks, and Weiskopf plans to keep a close eye on infection rates. If there is a spike in cases in Dallas or if the CDC issues any new warnings or policies, masks and occupancy restrictions could return. So far there have been no complaints about the store's policies from customers or staff members.

This week, Interabang resumed hosting in-store author events. A local author stopped by and drew a crowd of about two dozen, with Weiskopf reporting there were no problems. The team doesn't plan to approach events any differently than they did in the past, though they expect unvaccinated attendees to wear masks. The store will host two more events over the weekend, including its first story time session since the pandemic began. Afterward the team will assess how things went: "Right now, I don't foresee any problems."

---

An outdoor event at Linden Tree last week.

In Los Altos, Calif., things at Linden Tree Children's Books are "pretty close to normal at this point," reported store co-owner Chris Saccheri. The store is back to its pre-pandemic hours, with the only difference being that the store will remain closed on Mondays--that was a change that Saccheri and co-owner Flo Grosskurth made during the pandemic that they plan to keep. 

Everyone is still required to wear a mask, and Saccheri expects that to continue for the foreseeable future, even though California is on track to reopen significantly on June 15. Linden Tree is primarily a children's bookstore, and since most children won't be vaccinated, the masks will remain on. He and Grosskurth have, however, removed the last of the capacity restrictions.

Sales in 2021 have been "pretty much on par" with pre-pandemic years, though the store was operating with limited hours and occupancy for the first few months of the year. Over the past month or so, people have started to "come back in full force." Los Altos's downtown is much busier, restaurants have reopened and people are "anxious to get out and about."

With more customers stopping by, online sales have dipped a bit, but they're still above pre-pandemic levels. Going forward, the store will continue to offer curbside pick-up and local delivery, as well as private appointments. Appointments are not as popular now as they were when the store's hours were limited, but people still sign up for them and appreciate having the store to themselves.

Linden Tree Children's Books has just started to experiment with hosting in-person events again. Last week the bookstore hosted a local author for an outdoor event. The reading was "fantastic," and there were cupcakes and additional activities for the kids. Everyone was spaced and wearing masks, and it "felt like the old days but outdoors." The store will continue to experiment with hosting outdoor events and may do some indoor events later in the summer. Those, Saccheri said, will likely also be broadcast online for people who don't yet feel comfortable attending events.

"We're excited," he continued. "We're optimistic for the first time in a year and a half." --Alex Mutter


G.P. Putnam's Sons: Still Life by Sarah Winman


Notes

Image of the Day: R.I. Gov. McKee Visits Savoy Bookshop

Rhode Island Governor Dan McKee visited Savoy Bookshop & Café in Westerly yesterday with owner Annie Philbrick. Savoy received a Restore RI Small Business Recovery grant from the state, and the governor and his team were visiting local recipients--and bought some books.




Parallax Press: How to Live When a Loved One Dies: Healing Meditations for Grief and Loss by Thich Nhat Hanh


Literati Bookstore's Public Typewriter Is Back on the Sales Floor

"The public typewriter is once again out in public," Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich., posted on Facebook yesterday. "Because our bookstore is not complete without random click-clacks emerging from the lower level, or someone fiddling with its keys and muttering, 'Where’s the power button?' " 

The popular sales floor feature, which had been in Covid-19 quarantine since last year, was the subject of the 2018 book Notes from a Public Typewriter, edited by Michael Gustafson and Oliver Uberti. During the pandemic, Literati has offered the alternative of a virtual typewriter, complete with clicks, clacks and a carriage return.


American Booksellers Association: ABA Children's Institute, August 30 - September 1! Register today!


Vt.'s Bear Pond Books 'Perfected Contact-Free Shopping'

"Which local shop perfected contact-free shopping?" asked Seven Days in sharing its staff's Pandemic Picks of four Vermont retailers who came through under pressure during the past year, including Bear Pond Books in Montpelier.

"Since the start of the pandemic, Bear Pond Books has offered back door pickups and free local deliveries, which co-owner Claire Benedict said 'were so popular, we are still doing them and don't plan to stop,' " Seven Days wrote. "In response to surging sales of jigsaw puzzles, the store sponsored a Facebook Live puzzle event, giving homebound Vermonters another way to pass the time in isolation. 'Don't laugh!' said Benedict. 'It's been the year of jigsaw puzzles.' "

"Yay for us!" Bear Pond Books posted on Facebook. "And for everyone who never stopped getting books in the last year!"


Rebel Girls: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic, 4 edited by Lilly Workneh


Personnel Changes at Avery and TarcherPerigee

At Avery and TarcherPerigee:

Farin Schlussel has been promoted to marketing director at Avery and TarcherPerigee.

Roshe Anderson has been promoted to marketing manager at Avery and TarcherPerigee.

Casey Maloney has been promoted to publicity director of TarcherPerigee.


Media and Movies

Movies: The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim

New Line Cinema, the studio behind the film trilogies The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, is partnering with Warner Bros. Animation on the original anime theatrical feature The Lord of the Rings: The War of the Rohirrim. Variety reported that the "stand-alone feature will depict the bloody saga behind Helm's Deep, the fortress depicted in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and the man in whose honor it's named: Helm Hammerhand, the legendary King of Rohan who spent much of his reign locked in a prolonged and costly war."

Kenji Kamiyama (Ultraman) will direct the film from a screenplay by Jeffrey Addiss and Will Matthews (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance). Joseph Chou (the Blade Runner: Black Lotus TV series) is producing. Variety noted that "the project is intended to be connected to director Peter Jackson's six Middle Earth films based on the books of J.R.R. Tolkien." Philippa Boyens, who won an Oscar for the screenplay for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, is consulting on the project. Warner Bros. Pictures will distribute the project worldwide.


On Stage: To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird, Aaron Sorkin's stage adaptation of Harper Lee's novel that has been closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic, will resume performances at Broadway's Shubert Theatre on October 5, Playbill reported.

Two of the production's original stars, Tony nominee and Emmy winner Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch and Celia Keenan-Bolger in her Tony-winning performance as Scout Finch, will return to their roles. Complete casting will be announced at a later date. Tony winner Bartlett Sher will direct and Orin Wolf has been named executive producer, succeeding Scott Rudin. 

"We've been waiting more than a year for Mockingbird--and all of Broadway--to come back, so this is a very happy announcement," said Sorkin. "I'm looking forward to the re-launch of the play under Orin Wolf's leadership, and I'm excited for the electricity that Jeff, Celia, and the whole cast will be bringing to the Shubert Theatre. Mostly I'm looking forward to being back in our rehearsal room."



Books & Authors

Awards: SCBWI Crystal Kite Winners; Forward Poetry Finalists

The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators announced winners of the 2021 Crystal Kite Awards, which are peer-selected and voted on by SCBWI members from local regions. The prize recognizes excellence in the field of children's literature in 15 U.S. and international regions. This year's Crystal Kite regional division winners are:

Atlantic: Evelyn Del Ray Is Moving Away by Meg Medina, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez
Australia/NZ: How to Make a Bird by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Matt Ottley
California/Hawaii: Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros
Canada: Night Walk by Sara O'Leary, illustrated by Ellie Arscott 
Europe/Latin America/Africa: The Hungry Ghost by Helle Norup
Mid-South: The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read by Rita Hubbard, illustrated by Oge Mora
Middle East/India/Asia: The Last Garden by Rachel Ip, illustrated by Anneli Bray
Midwest: Old Rock (is not boring!) by Deb Pilutti 
New England: Let's Dance! by Valerie Bolling, illustrated by Maine Diaz
New York: The Boy and the Gorilla by Jackie Azúa Kramer, illustrated by Cindy Derby
Southeast: The Little Blue Cottage by Kelly Jordan, illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle
Southwest: Midnight at the Barclay Hotel by Fleur Bradley, illustrated by Xavier Bonet
Texas/Oklahoma: Dusk Explorers by Lindsay Leslie, illustrated by Ellen Rooney
U.K./Ireland: Boy, Everywhere by A.M. Dassu
Western: The Starkeeper by Faith Pray

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Finalists have been named for the £10,000 (about $14,195) Forward Prize for Poetry and the £5,000 (about $7,100) Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection, which were established to celebrate "new poetry in the U.K. and Ireland, honoring fresh voices alongside internationally established names." Winners will be announced in October. This year's shortlisted books are:

Best collection
A Blood Condition by Kayo Chingonyi
A God at the Door by Tishani Doshi
Men Who Feed Pigeons by Selima Hill
Notes on the Sonnets by Luke Kennard
Cheryl's Destinies by Stephen Sexton

First collection
Poor by Caleb Femi
Bird of Winter by Alice Hiller
Honorifics by Cynthia Miller
Comic Timing by Holly Pester
Rotten Days in Late Summer by Ralf Webb


Reading with... Zakiya Dalila Harris

 (Nicole Mondestin Photography)

Zakiya Dalila Harris is the author of The Other Black Girl (Atria, June 1, 2021), about the tension that unfurls when two young Black women meet against the starkly white backdrop of New York City book publishing. Harris spent nearly three years in editorial at Knopf/Doubleday before leaving to write her debut novel. Prior to working in publishing, she received her MFA in creative writing from the New School. Her essays and book reviews have appeared in Guernica and the Rumpus. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

On your nightstand now: 

My reading list is doubling by the day, but I'm extremely excited to finally read The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw. I've been hearing so many great things about her short story collection since last summer, and when I saw Philyaw read an excerpt at the National Book Award finalists reading last fall, I knew I had to get my hands on it.

I also can't wait to read When Women Invented Television by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong; In Every Mirror She's Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström; and Wild Women and the Blues by Denny S. Bryce. 

Favorite book when you were a child:

I loved the choose-your-own adventure Goosebumps spin-off series, Give Yourself Goosebumps--and my favorite of those was Scream of the Evil Genie. Before I picked that book up, I'd been taught that there was just one way to read stories: from the first page to the last. So, I enjoyed flipping the pages forward, then backward, and sometimes backward again to get to a conclusion. And I really enjoyed feeling like I was in control of the story itself.

Your top five authors:

James Baldwin, Stephen King, Margo Jefferson, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Colson Whitehead.

Book you've faked reading:

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, which is kind of funny because it isn't a long book. It was assigned in high school, and I just have these very vivid memories of me lying on the floor in my bedroom trying to read it and I just couldn't. I found the protagonist pretty annoying.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Adichie tackles the nuances and complexities of race and Americanness and Blackness so brilliantly, and even though the protagonist is Nigerian and I'm from Connecticut, I can relate to the ways she's forced to grapple with her Blackness so, so much.

And really, it's just a beautifully written meal of a book. Every sentence is magic.

Book you've bought for the cover:

The last cover that drew me in and inevitably led to me buy it was that of Severance by Ling Ma. That dusty pink color of the jacket caught my eye because I've rarely seen that color on a jacket. But I also loved the thoughtfulness of the layout of the jacket itself: the title and the author's name look like they've been printed on a label that's been stuck on the front of the book; there's a simulated tear at the top of the page; the words "A Novel" look like they've been stamped on. The packaging sets a distinct tone for the book, and complements the dystopian plot of Severance quite nicely. 

Favorite line from a book:

"There is not a Negro alive who does not have this rage in his blood--one has the choice, merely, of living with it consciously or surrendering to it." --James Baldwin, "Notes of a Native Son"

I first read James Baldwin's essay "Notes of a Native Son" right around the time Eric Garner and Philando Castile and so many other Black names were in the news. I was feeling the same visceral rage Baldwin speaks of--a rage toward all the injustice and indifference--so I could see myself clearly in this line. Knowing that I wasn't alone and that I could place my rage in Baldwin and other Black writers like him really comforted me then, and it still comforts me today.

Five books you'll never part with:

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman by Nora Ephron

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

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I'm a huge fan of psychological thrillers and Hitchcockian-type characters, and this one had both. I wish I could hop back on that ride without knowing how it ends so I can fully experience that final twist all over again.

Book that changed you as a writer:

Kindred by Octavia Butler. It's one of the few books I've read more than once, first when I was a teenager, and again when I was writing The Other Black Girl. As a teenager, I remember thinking, Wow, you can do that? Because I'd spent so many years reading essays and memoirs and poems about slavery--never a sci-fi novel. So, Kindred really switched up the game for me, showed me what genre can do.

And for the record: it's the sixth book I'd never part with!


Book Review

Review: Born into This

Born Into This by Adam Thompson (Two Dollar Radio, $15.99 paperback, 142p., 9781953387042, July 13, 2021)

Adam Thompson's Born into This is a striking collection of hard-edged, penetrating stories set primarily in the Australian state of Tasmania and wrestling with issues of race, colonialism and individual agency. Every story features Aboriginal characters, generally in the central role; the various experiences and complexities of this identity (which the author shares) form the heart of the stories' combined impact. The collection is loosely linked by recurring characters and settings: an act of angry protest at the center of one story reappears as a minor annoyance in another. An island on the Bass Strait is home to a family over generations.

The collection opens with "The Old Tin Mine," a story about a bitter, aging guide at a "survival camp" for city youth, who may be nearing the end of his career. "Honey" offers a cold, brutal, satisfying justice in the face of hate. In "Aboriginal Alcatraz," a man wrestles with a life-changing decision in the midst of a storm, building to an ironic conclusion. Some stories lead with forceful blows, others sneak in to nag at the back of the reader's mind: an alcoholic recalls the worst thing he's ever done; a young man views a current love affair with cynicism. In the title story, a young woman fights an inherited losing battle involving eucalyptus plants. Working in the woods "was like looking into a mirror." In "The Blackfellas from Here," a young activist proposes an extreme and perhaps unrealistic, but also perfectly reasonable, resolution to a controversy. These punchy tales question family ties, infidelity, superstition and who has the right to claim Aboriginal ancestry.

Thompson's characters are stoic, taciturn, often blue-collar. They struggle with racism, exploitative economic systems, class tensions and the disappearing natural world that a culture once depended on. Their reactions to these challenges range from rage to lethargy; their stark stories are frequently, quietly, brutal. The lives and attitudes of these characters vary, offering a revealing set of perspectives on the contemporary landscape. It is not all bleak: Born into This contains as well dark humor and even slim strands of hope. Thompson's prose style appears blunt at first glance but shows nuance. His 16 stories are unyielding in terms of their values, yet somehow deft, even delicate in their storytelling and various voices. The overall effect is understated: simple, unglamorous lives and events crescendo toward a thought-provoking and memorable whole. Even (or especially) in its quietest moments, this is a haunting debut collection by a skilled writer. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: These cunning, clever, piercing stories of marginalized indigenous Australians are both compelling and illuminating.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Masking Update--'Thanks for Understanding,' Mostly

On June 11, 2019, I was probably thinking about a lot of things, but you know what I wasn't thinking about? Facemasks, plexiglass shields, social-distancing floor markers, hand sanitizer stations. 

By the time June 12, 2020, rolled around, however, the opening paragraph of my column noted that "as indie bookstores gradually reopen after months of restrictions and adaptations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, one thing seems clear: nothing is clear. The word 'phase' has upped its lexicon ante considerably. Many states in the U.S. are in Phase 1 or Phase 2 or Phase 3 of their reopening plans, while other states never used the word and some have been unphased, if not uninfected, from the start." 

A year later, few people remain "unphased" by the pandemic, and as bookstores edge toward whatever the latest phase turns out to be, booksellers are still having to deal with a certain kind of customer who finds the mild inconvenience of wearing a face mask infuriating. 

At Second Flight Books, Lafayette, Ind.

Not long ago, Inkwood Books in Haddonfield, N.J., posted on Facebook: "We're going to try out some mandatory mask hours so our families with young kids and higher risk friends have some guaranteed time when everyone in the store will be required to wear a mask, regardless of your vaccination status. Inkwood staff is all fully-vaccinated but we will continue to wear our masks at all times as an extra precaution for all. We appreciate all your patience as we navigate through this!"

Patience, or the lack thereof, being the key word here. The CDC caught everyone off guard with its May 13 guidance that fully vaccinated people could go mask-free in most situations. A recent Bloomberg Businessweek article pointed out that "relying on the honor system for ditching masks risks bringing the acrimony that has roiled the public square into the private office. Either way, the burden is shifting to employers to figure it out."

Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, Calif., reopened for browsing, with masks required.

Once again, indie booksellers have had to pivot, adapting to the new CDC guidance and state/local variations with a healthy dose of patience and common sense. Here's a sampling of how they are managing the latest phase: 

Whistlestop Bookshop, Carlisle, Pa.: "I will likely continue to wear a mask for a while because I am exposed (or 'am delighted to see') hundreds of people through the day.  Don't take it personally. I don't want to be a breakthrough case (positive after vaccination), I don't want to be an asymptomatic carrier to others I run across outside the store, only half of you have been vaxxed, and no child under 12 has been vaxxed. I want to assure the latter group, particularly, that masking is normal and routine. Yes, I would rather not wear a mask, especially in hot weather, but it is not heavy lifting, either. Thanks for understanding!"

Downtown Books, Manteo, N.C.: "It's really easy... if u want to shop at #downtownbooks, we will ask you to wear a mask. If you don't have one we can give you one. If you don't want it, there's no need for this kind of trashy behavior, just leave and we will tell you on your way out the door to 'come back again soon'. Cause we're classy like that and we're still staying cautious." 

The Toadstool Bookshop, Keene, N.H.: "Our three stores are open to conscientious shoppers. Masks are still required in our stores to protect the young and the vulnerable, and to provide the reassurance that our stores are safe places for all. We continue to offer curbside pick-up and online shopping for those who prefer. Thank you for your understanding."

Bards Alley Bookshop, Vienna, Va.: "IMPORTANT COVID-19 UPDATE! As of TODAY, in accordance with CDC and VA State guidelines, we are allowing vaccinated customers into the shop mask-free! We do ask that partially vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals continue to wear masks, to protect our youngest and most vulnerable readers. Thank you!"

Word on the Street, Marlborough, Mass.: "For now, masks are still required here. Half of our customers are little ones who still can't get the Covid vaccine. Thanks for understanding."

Second Flight Books, Lafayette, Ind.: "Most of y'all have been great at continuing to wear a mask and protect those who are still unable to get vaccinated, but we added another sign to remind everyone else. Wearing a mask is an act of love, even if you're vaccinated."

Let's Play Books Bookstore, Emmaus, Pa.: "Can we please be patient and kind? All of us are in this together, and as our friends at Sweet Memories Emmaus PA shared this morning, small businesses are doing a lot that you are likely blissfully unaware of, so please, take a deep breath, slow down, and be grateful."

As one of the fully vaxxed, will I keep wearing a face mask everywhere and forever? Probably not, though I suspect masks will continue to be a part of our lives now that their public visibility has been normalized medically and socially, if not always politically. There are still extra KN95 masks in my car's glove compartment, and whenever I leave the house I put a face mask in my pocket, just in case. It's become a habit. We shall see what the next phase brings. --Robert Gray, editor


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