Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 13, 2022


Little Brown and Company: Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America's Overdose Crisis by Beth Macy

Legendary Comics YA: Enola Holmes: Mycroft's Dangerous Game by Nancy Springer, illustrated by Giorgia Sposito

Sourcebooks: Helltown: The Untold Story of a Serial Killer on Cape Cod by Casey Sherman

Soho Crime: Lady Joker, Volume 2 by Kaoru Takamura, translated by Allison Markin Powell and Marie Iida

Simon & Schuster: Recording for the Simon & Schuster and Simon Kids Fall Preview 2022

Bantam: All Good People Here by Ashley Flowers

Union Square & Co.: A Broken Blade (The Halfling Saga) by Melissa Blair

Sourcebooks Landmark: The Ways We Hide by Kristina McMorris

News

Nominations Open for ABA’s Booksellers Advisory Council 

 

The American Booksellers Association has opened nominations for four open spots on the Booksellers Advisory Council, which serves as a sounding board and advisory council on issues facing the bookselling community and ABA. 

BAC members "provide feedback about ABA programs and services as they are being developed; offer suggestions to help ABA improve programs and services to better serve the bookselling communities; help identify and respond to emerging threats and opportunities related to antiracism, equity, representation, and access in the industry; bring concerns of booksellers and bookstore owners to the ABA staff and Board; and generally assist ABA," Bookselling This Week reported.

A candidate for the BAC:

  • Is a full-time bookseller or bookstore owner at an ABA member bookstore (any format or model)
  • Has not served on the BAC before
  • Does not currently serve on the Diversity, Equity Inclusion Committee (DEIC) or the ABC Advisory Council
  • Is able to meet the time obligation (see below) and serve for two years

Nominations are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on May 30, and will be reviewed that week by current BAC members and ABA staff, who together will select four new members (one each from MIBA, NAIBA, MPIBA and SIBA) to fill the empty seats. Booksellers are invited to nominate themselves. Nominees will be informed of final decisions by June 17. 

For more information about the committee, contact bookseller committee members collectively or individually; or ABA staff committee members CEO Allison Hill or COO Joy Dallanegra-Sanger.


Kensington Publishing Corporation: Such a Pretty Girl by T. Greenwood


The Nook in Baldwin City, Kan., to Close

The Nook, a bookstore, bar and coffee shop in Baldwin City, Kan., that was opened by Niki Manbeck in 2019, will be closing. In a Facebook post yesterday, Manbeck wrote: "It is with great sadness that I have to announce The Nook will be permanently closing its doors. I do not have the exact closing date but will keep you informed. Unfortunately with the cost increases all around us (food, gas, etc.) recreational spending is at an all time low. We are not making enough to cover our monthly bills. It has been a pleasure serving this community and I'm sure I will see you around."


Tundra Books: The Further Adventures of Miss Petitfour (The Adventures of Miss Petitfour) by Anne Michaels, illustrated by Emma Block


International Update: U.K. Publishers Facing 'Industry-wide Burnout'; Canadian Indie Bookstore's New Small Press

Publishing in the U.K. is facing "industry-wide burnout," according to a survey conducted by the Bookseller, which found that 89% of staffers responding had experienced stress during the course of their work over the last year, while 69% reported burnout. With more than 230 responses, 87% of whom were publishing staffers, the survey showed that 64% of people working in the industry "felt their work had impacted their mental health in the last year. Many attributed this to unsustainable workloads and an 'always on' culture, worsened by the pandemic." 

In total, 63% of respondents said they worked more than their contracted hours each week, with some saying they worked up to 20 or 30 hours extra, while 73% agreed their workload had increased in the last year, and 37% said they were not satisfied with their work-life balance. The survey also showed 38% of respondents wanted to leave their job. Although 67% felt supported by their manager, they said "little could be done to change their heavy workloads which were causing the stress in the first place," the Bookseller noted. 

Burnout is not limited to publishing staffers. A number of booksellers also reported problems with stress due to working conditions, the Bookseller wrote, though "one store manager, who has worked as a bookseller for more than nine years, said despite the issues they are 'constantly impressed by how supportive other people in the industry are to each other'.... Social media is a godsend in this, and I'm not sure you would get a similar thing in other industries," they said. Another bookseller, who has worked in the trade for two years, noted "conditions are okay but pay isn't substantial and doesn't encourage building a career."

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The owners of Glass Bookshop in Edmonton, Alb., Canada, "are taking their mission to support queer and racialized authors directly to the page with the launch of a new small press," Quill & Quire reported. Glass House Press launched this spring with three chapbooks by Edmonton writers: Bellow, a poetry collection by Shima Robinson aka Dwennimmen; Notes on Digging a Hole, an essay with photos by Zachary Ayotte; and Ancestors and Exes, featuring poems by Emily Riddle.

"There is an incredible pool of literary talent here in Edmonton," Glass House Press co-publisher and co-editor Matthew Stepanic said. "We knew some really great folks who had work that was ready to go that we could publish, and we wanted to make sure that these exciting voices hit the scene and had a press behind them to really push it into people's hands."

Glass House Press plans to publish three chapbooks in each of two seasons, spring and fall. The books are currently available for purchase online and in-store at Glass Bookshop, and will also be offered by select indie booksellers, including Massy Books in Vancouver, B.C., and Flying Books in Toronto, Ont.

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Physical bookshops in Austria have recovered significantly, according to recent sales numbers. The European & International Booksellers Federation's Newsflash reported that the country's bricks-and-mortar bookshop sales "grew by 66% compared to April 2021. The first quarter of 2022 shows a growth of more than 30% in comparison with Q1 2021. The German book trade also reports strong growth in sales in April 2022, with a 40.3% sales increase in comparison to April 2021. In Q1 2022, German booksellers reported a 24.2% increase in sales compared to Q1 2021."

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Love for Livres, a French literary platform dedicated to the promotion of reading, is launching the "Erasmus+" project, "bibliotherapy sessions for women and young victims of all forms of violence," EIBF's Newsflash reported. "The project is set to begin in June and its objective is to support women and young victims of violence or social precariousness through bibliotherapy sessions conducted in France, Italy and Spain. The sessions will be led by psychologists and librarians trained in bibliotherapy and will focus on literature as a tool to advance people in their professional and personal lives." --Robert Gray


MPIBA: Last Chance: The Great Summer Reading Guide


University of Georgia Press Acquires NewSouth Books

The University of Georgia Press has acquired NewSouth Books, Montgomery, Ala., which has a focus on Southern culture and history, particularly civil and human rights.

On July 1, NewSouth co-founder Suzanne La Rosa will join UGA Press; she plans to publish eight to 12 new titles annually under the NewSouth imprint. Randall Williams, who co-founded the publisher with La Rosa in 2000, will continue to edit selected titles and recommend works for acquisition.

“NewSouth Books has always punched above its weight in representing the culturally complex and socially significant Deep South to the world," said Lisa Bayer, director of UGA Press. "We are thrilled to honor Randall and Suzanne’s work by becoming the new publishing home for these award-winning, critically important books and are delighted to continue the imprint as part of UGA Press."

"NewSouth is proud to align itself with such a distinguished press going forward, one with which we have such excellent compatibility," said La Rosa. "Our association with the University of Georgia Press will enhance our visibility and expand our reach. We could not imagine a better partner.”

Williams said: "NewSouth has succeeded due to the talented authors who have trusted us with their research and creativity and to the support of our readers. Both groups will continue to be well served by our alliance with Georgia.”


Obituary Note: Marshall Smith

Marshall Smith

Marshall Smith, bookseller, entrepreneur and longtime co-owner of Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass., died on May 10 at age 90.

Originally called Paperback Booksmith, Brookline Booksmith opened in 1961 and became the first of a chain in the Northeast that had 75 stores at its height. Smith also founded Videosmith, a chain of video rental stores that he sold in 1989; Learningsmith, founded in 1991, an educational multimedia company that had 87 stores at one point, many of which were affiliated with public radio stations (it closed in 1999); and Cybersmith, a cyber cafe, among several other ventures. Altogether he opened some 180 stores.

When Smith retired in 2019, he wrote in part about Brookline Booksmith, "We were always socially active, eager to learn and change. With Dana Brigham, who joined us as store manager over 30 years ago, we became Brookline Booksmith, a cultural center for the Town of Brookline and eventually the entire Greater Boston area. We knocked out Barnes & Noble, who opened a larger store less than two blocks from us; we faced up to Amazon who helped close 50% of the independent bookstores in the country--but not us."

Smith was active in politics and civil rights. He was chairman of the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, chairman of the Brookline Human Relations Commission (a precursor to the current Diversity & Inclusion Committee), an elected town meeting member in Brookline; the founder of a prison book program, a leader in solving food desert inequities in Dorchester, treasurer of Michael Dukakis's campaign for Governor, and publisher of Judge Garrity's ruling during the bussing crisis and the Celebration of Freedom, highlighting the great documents that form our country's civil rights.

 

 

He was contemplative and found solace on the dunes of the National Seashore in Truro, where he spent decades staring out to the great ocean, reading book after book, and contemplating the world's comings and goings. Always a visionary, he acquired the Wellfleet Marketplace and turned it into a vital community hub and, of course, adding a lovely book selection.

 

In an announcement by Brookline Booksmith, Jed Smith called his father "a great man, sweetheart, dad, son, brother, uncle, friend, creative spirit and legendary retail entrepreneur. Marshall absolutely loved the Booksmith, and what a gift to Brookline and our community. It was 1961 when he and Judy Smith decided that the burgeoning publication of serious literature, both fiction and non-fiction, in a paperback format, provided the opportunity to reach a whole new audience of potential readers. He left his Wall Street job when he was 29 years old and opened what they called the Paperback Booksmith....

"Marshall was one of the greatest readers of all time. For decades he would read three or four books at a time. It was quite astonishing. Two weeks before he passed, he was proud that he read Moby Dick... again--"It's 850 pages you know!"--while also reading a non-fiction account of early Boston leaders. On his reading stand today sits a Ken Follett novel open to page 699. Just 103 pages to go.

"Marshall leaves us saddened and appreciative. He was a gift to our community and left us the legacy of his creative spirit, the Brookline Booksmith. As he said when he retired, 'I'll see you all in the aisles.'

"Thank you, Marshall Smith--a creative man, civil rights activist, bold entrepreneur, family man, wonderful dad, caring partner and generous friend."


Notes

Image of the Day: Unthinkable at Browseabout Books

Browseabout Books, Rehoboth Beach, Del., and the Lewes Public Library co-hosted Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin in conversation with Delaware Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. Attendees are holding up signed copies of Raskin's book Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy (Harper) as well as copies of Common Sense by Thomas Paine, one of Raskin's favorite books.


Timely Display: DIESEL, A Bookstore

DIESEL, A Bookstore, Brentwood, Calif., shared photos of one of the shop's topical displays on Facebook, noting: "We've created a table to celebrate female autonomy and provide educational resources in light of the recent disturbing developments in United States law. And if you are able, please join the Bans Off Our Bodies March at Los Angeles City Hall, this Saturday the 14th at 10 a.m."


Readerlink's Printers Row to Launch Canelo U.S.

Readerlink Distribution Services' Printers Row Publishing Group is the new exclusive North American publisher of Canelo titles. The Canelo U.S. imprint will include thrillers, genre fiction, romance and historical fiction. Eight titles will appear in Summer 2022 and nine titles in Fall 2022. Canelo was founded in 2015 as an e-book and paperback publisher.

Canelo managing director Iain Millar said, "Print has been a huge growth story for us over the last three years. Although we started as a digital publisher, print is now core to everything we do. We've been thinking about the best way of getting our titles into the U.S. market for some time and are absolutely delighted to partner with Readerlink and Printers Row Publishing Group to make Canelo U.S. a new and exciting reality."

Printers Row v-p and publisher Peter Norton said, "We've been interested in entering the genre fiction business for a while as a way to complement our robust Canterbury Classics line. Partnering with Canelo, one of the fastest growing U.K. fiction publishers is a perfect fit. It provides Canelo U.S. entry to a huge range of quality authors, a huge range of quality authors and a myriad of genres for the North American market. This partnership also affords us speed to market."


Reading Group Choices' Most Popular April Books

The two most popular books in April at Reading Group Choices were The Tsarina's Daughter by Ellen Alpsten (St. Martin's Griffin) and Activities of Daily Living by Lisa Hsiao Chen (Norton).


Media and Movies

Movies: Dune: Part Two

Denis Villeneuve "is adding another high-profile talent to an already-loaded cast," according to Deadline, which reported that Christopher Walken (The Outlaws, Severance) will play the Emperor in Warner Bros. and Legendary's Dune: Part Two

Walken joins the ensemble that includes Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Zendaya and Josh Brolin, who are expected to reprise their roles, as well recently announced cast members Florence Pugh and Austin Butler. Villeneuve will again write, direct and produce. Production is expected to start in the fall, with the film set to bow on October 20, 2023. Jon Spaihts is returning to co-write script with Villeneuve.


On Stage: Life of Pi

Life of Pi, Lolita Chakrabarti’s stage adaptation of the novel by Yann Martel, will make its North American Premiere at the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University Theater in Cambridge, Mass., Playbill reported. The West End production in London won five 2022 Olivier Awards, including best play and best supporting actor, awarded collectively to the team of puppet performers who play the tiger. 

The London creative team will helm the A.R.T. production, including direction by Max Webster, scenic and costume design by Tony Award winner Tim Hartley, and puppetry and movement direction by Finn Caldwell, who designed the puppets along with Nick Barnes. 



Books & Authors

Awards: Dylan Thomas Winner

Patricia Lockwood has won the £20,000 (about $24,405) Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize for her debut novel No One Is Talking About This, published in the U.S. by Riverhead Books. Founded in 2006, the Dylan Thomas Prize is awarded annually for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 years or younger, in the form of poetry, novels, short stories or drama.

The organizers said Lockwood's novel "unpacks modern day internet culture and its impact on the individual psyche with immense sensitivity and surreptitious humor." Chair of judges and author Namita Gokhale said: "No One Is Talking About This is a searingly witty and innovative take on modern day internet culture, and the experience of family trauma in the modern world. The book's flow of consciousness, almost diary-like in quality, is remarkably deft at capturing the psychological impact which simultaneous alienation and 'group think' life online has on us as individuals. Lockwood is an astonishing and wholly original new voice. We are delighted that the jury of the Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize decided on her debut novel as its choice for the 2022 prize. We cannot wait to see what comes next from this uncompromising talent."

Lockwood received the prize yesterday at a ceremony in Swansea University's Great Hall, two days before International Dylan Thomas Day.


Reading with... Chantal V. Johnson

photo: Noah Barrow

Chantal V. Johnson is a lawyer and writer. Her debut novel, Post-Traumatic (Little, Brown, April 5, 2022), follows a millennial Black Latina who works as a lawyer representing psychiatric patients and privately struggles to keep at bay what may or may not be her own PTSD from an incredibly tough childhood. Johnson is a graduate of Stanford Law School, a 2018 Center for Fiction Emerging Writer Fellow and lives in New York. 

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

Post-Traumatic is a darkly funny novel about the aftermath of childhood trauma, the challenges of gender and the power of friendship.

On your nightstand now:

I just finished the novella Whimsy by Shannon McLeod. It's about a young woman trying to forge connections in the wake of an accident that leaves her disfigured. I kept it on my nightstand because it's very cool-looking (small and orange).

I'm currently reading The Four Humors by Mina Seckin and am really enjoying it: it's wry and sweet and filled with interesting digressions about language, history and familial gossip.

I'm also making my way through all of Percival Everett's novels, and Telephone is up next.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I loved Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. In addition to the surreal and wacky plot, it's a celebration of language and what you can do with it: perfect for a young writer.

Your top five authors:

Anita Brookner is a master of the character study, and she writes perfect paragraphs. I love that her writing is as meticulous as many of her main characters, who work very hard to avoid the messiness of life.

Elena Ferrante is a model for propulsive writing about gender and relationships.

Zadie Smith manages to be a brilliant novelist, essayist, cultural critic and reader all at once.

Ben Lerner has been a major influence on me. His writing is cerebral and interior, while also being really invested in intimacy and relationships.

I love all of Marie NDiaye's strange, somewhat surreal novels of troubled women, personal and inherited shame and familial estrangement.

Book you've faked reading:

Probably something by Deleuze and Guattari in graduate school.

Book you're an evangelist for:

There are currently two. First is The Great Offshore Grounds by Vanessa Veselka, which is a female road novel, a shipping-and-boating novel and a novel about social class and the complications of family. Vanessa is also just great at making things happen, plot-wise.

I am also championing The Trees by Percival Everett, which is a darkly comic police procedural crossed with a race revenge story. It's marvelous and utterly distinct.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Painting Time by Maylis de Kerangal, which features a lovely Picasso painting and hand-written lettering on the cover. It's a perfect design for a novel about ambitious young artists who paint all night. Na Kim has got to be one of the best book designers in the business.

Book you hid from your parents:

I don't remember ever having to hide a book.

Book that changed your life:

There are so many, but I was lucky to get to read Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek in a high school English class. The idea of a brilliant woman taking herself and her thoughts seriously--and prioritizing solitude and reflection--really affected me at that age.

Favorite line from a book:

It's from "Privilege," one of the stories in Alice Munro's The Beggar Maid: "Learning to survive, no matter with what cravenness and caution, what shocks and forebodings, is not the same as being miserable. It is too interesting."

Five books you'll never part with:

I still have my high school copy of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek: it's filled with my teen scribblings and naïve thoughts--and I love it.

My first year of college I took a course devoted entirely to Virginia Woolf, and I still have most of those books. But The Waves stands out as a keeper.

Sylvia Plath was formative for me, and I'll never part with the tiny Faber & Faber paperback version of Ariel that I bought in Paris at Shakespeare & Company when I was 19.

I reread Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler once a year, so I've got to keep that.

Finally, I'll never part with The End of Vandalism by Tom Drury, because it is a perfect book and one that makes me feel better each time I read it.

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

Milkman by Anna Burns is an incredible book that really opens up new formal possibilities for the novel. It is written in a completely original style and contains brilliant insights on gender and oppressive communities. I am far too cynical to experience much awe or wonder in life, but that's what I felt while reading Milkman.

A book you love that readers might not know:

Pig Tales by Marie Darrieussecq. It's a gender satire about a woman who turns into a pig.


Book Review

Review: Keya Das's Second Act

Keya Das's Second Act by Sopan Deb (Simon & Schuster, $26 hardcover, 288p., 9781982185473, July 5, 2022)

New York Times journalist Sopan Deb wrote poignantly about family in his memoir, Missed Translations: Meeting the Immigrant Parents Who Raised Me. He turns to fiction in Keya Das's Second Act, further exploring how parents and children can become detached and, perhaps, discover new paths to lasting connections. As an Indian American with a New Jersey upbringing amidst familial challenges, Deb's empathic affinity ensures an exquisite first novel.

Keya Das has been dead for five years. She was the younger of two daughters of an Indian American family in suburban New Jersey. She was just 18, had "the grades to go to Harvard" and "was so good in 42nd Street," her high school production. She was in love with best friend Pamela and had come out to her family. Her parents, Shantanu and Chaitali, reacted with words along the lines of "inappropriate." Shantanu declared, "This is a phase." Chaitali worried about others' opinions: "What will the other Bengalis say about us?" Keya's sister, Mitali, returned to college with barely a response. The month-long silence finally became too much. "We need to make sure that she knows we love her, first and foremost," Chaitali said. "We will tell her everything is okay," Shantanu added. But their remorse came too late; Keya was killed in a car accident.

The family splinters. Shantanu and Chaitali divorce. Chaitali marries someone else. Mitali moves to New York City and still has "her shields up," but she's recently downloaded dating apps, hoping to move forward. She accidently swipes right on Neesh and maybe they're a match. Meanwhile, Shantanu ponders selling the empty family house. Clearing the attic, he finds a wooden box filled with folded notes, clipped-together papers, things he was never meant to see. Some of Keya's most intimate memories are contained within. Those surviving words will be the miraculous impetus for, if not closure, then dramatic understanding for her left-behind loved ones.

Deb writes with effortless openness, even as he confronts what are certainly many of life's deepest tragedies: the loss of a child, the breaking of bonds, the betrayal of trust. He transfers his journalism prowess into clear, crisp sentences. His reporter's skills transform small but distinctive details into presenting an impressive cast of indelible characters (grieving Shantanu subsists on Froot Loops procured always on Friday shopping days, he borrows cologne from a neighbor hoping to "smell like something that isn't a mid-life crisis"). Insightful, resonating, surprisingly funny, Deb's own second act could earn him a standing ovation. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: A New York Times writer deftly transfers his reporter's prowess into an exquisite first novel featuring an Indian American family dealing with the loss of their youngest child.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: More Bookshelves, Please!

One of the things that always frightens me about DVD box sets is when it says how many minutes there are to watch. It's a good thing our shelves don't have that functionality, because it would add up to more than our lifetimes. I try not to collect books in order to amass a particular kind of physical object: all the editions of a particular book or all the first editions of a particular author. I don't completely succeed here.

--Author Emma Smith in a Guardian q&a

Like Smith, I do not consider myself a book collector so much as a book amasser ("late 15th century: from French amasser or medieval Latin amassare, based on Latin massa 'lump.' "). Books do, however, seem to collect me and shelf space is always at a premium. 

It's not that we lack for shelving. A few years ago, we renovated space in the finished basement of our home into a personal library/guest room. There are also bookcases in each of our offices as well as a table near my desk just for ARCs and comp copies of new titles. Other books amass on end tables, bedside tables, basically any convenient flat surface. You know the drill. 

"Too many books? Perhaps what you mean is not enough bookshelves." If you've never seen that meme, you're either not a reader (but then why are you reading this?) or you're not online (if so, congratulations, but then how are you reading this?). Earlier this week, Author's Note bookstore, Medina, N.Y., shared the bookish wisdom on its sidewalk chalkboard, noting on Instagram: "The sun is out, the door is open, and we're here to tell you there is no such thing as too many books."

I've never purchased books by the yard, though I have no objection to people who do. Celebrity Ashley Tisdale went viral recently for admitting to Architectural Digest that she had rushed to fill the in-built shelves in her Hollywood Hills home specifically for an on-camera tour. "These bookshelves, I have to be honest, actually did not have books in [them] a couple of days ago," she said. "I had my husband go to a bookstore, like, 'You need to get 400 books.' " Tisdale dismissed her husband's alternative plan of "collecting books over time, and putting them in the shelves," the Guardian reported. 

More shelves in progress.

Fortunately, Architectural Digest is not coming to our house any time soon, so the strategy here is not buying books by the yard, but adding more shelves wherever they'll fit. We're currently in the process of hacking out space under the basement stairs for a combination storage cabinet and shelving for large art books.  

We try to stay on pace, but the books keep coming. Just this week we bought Geoff Dyer's The Last Days of Roger Federer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), Steve Toltz's Here Goes Nothing (Melville House) and Ali Smith's Companion Pieces (Pantheon).

Since I come from more of a personal set of bookends than personal library background, a scene in Ali Smith's novel particularly resonates. Her narrator recalls a precious reading moment in the ruins of a stone castle when she was a student: 

Look, that's me sitting on the stone thirty feet up in the air, my back against more stone, reading a novel for pleasure, it's called Loitering with Intent, in the ruins of some long-gone rich person's castle, someone who would never have imagined possible a day that the roof would be off his house--definitely his house rather than her house here--and never have dreamed that one day the sun would hit this stony corner so uninterruptedly let alone that someone who, given history's predilections, would in other times have been skivvying up and down the stairs, would be sitting in it that sunny day reading a book for pleasure.

In many ways, I'm also that kid whose ancestors would have been servants "skivvying up and down the stairs," yet somehow the elusive personal library has found me, gradually taking over the house. 

And even though I'll always be an amasser rather than a collector, I'm utterly fascinated by those who "have an eye" for rare and precious (however that word is biblio-defined) books. In a recent store newsletter column titled "Choosing Books for One's Library," Tony Weller, co-owner of Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, Utah, deftly explained how such choices are made: 

"Beginning in my teens I believed a person should have a library," he wrote. "I was fortunate to be surrounded by avid readers who helped me discover worthy books. The stories and ideas in my books excited me. Early in my college years, I discovered the meta-fictional tales in Robert Coover's 1969 collection, Pricksongs and Descants, and they delighted me. One day I stopped into a new Salt Lake City bookstore, Scaliwagiana's, later Scaliwags, run by the late Kent Walgren, who became my friend. There I discovered an attractive and affordable 1st edition of Pricksongs--I bought it and it became my first recognized experience of collector's joy. Then began my desire to own great copies of books I admired. That was about 40 years ago. Listening to good readers--friends, colleagues and customers--my library grew past its practical limit (I like to see them all) possibly 20 years ago. That is another, more complicated story." 

Readers love complicated stories. More bookshelves, please!

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

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