Shelf Awareness for Friday, May 24, 2024


Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny

Editors' Note

Memorial Day Weekend

In honor of Memorial Day, we will be stepping away from the computers this weekend. We'll see you again Tuesday, May 28.


Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny


News

The ABA Annual Meeting and Community Forum

In the past year, membership in the American Booksellers Association climbed 11% and the association's financials were "sound," according to reports yesterday at the ABA's annual meeting and community forum. Issues discussed included the general challenges faced by booksellers, booksellers' resilience and creativity, the IndieCommerce upgrade, problems with on-sale date violations by competitors, how IndieBookshop.org payments to bookstores are calculated, and whether the association should call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

ABA co-vice president and secretary Cynthia Compton, owner of 4 Kids Books & Toys in Zionsville, Ind., and MacArthur Books, Carmel, Ind., said that the association's membership as of May 15 includes 2,433 bookstore companies with 2,844 bookstore locations.

The ABA had operational revenue of $7.1 million last year, and expenses of $8.5 million. At the end of the last fiscal year, the association had an endowment of $25.9 million, which during the past year grew to $27.4 million. During the year, the ABA spent nearly $725,000 of the endowment on capital investments, including a $200,000 investment in Bookshop.org to create an e-book option for independent bookstores, and almost $525,000 for a continuation of the IndieCommerce upgrade.

Compton added that the ABA hit two "important benchmarks" for associations. For one, they are supposed to have one to three years of liquid reserves at all times, and the ABA has three. Associations are also supposed to spend no less than 70% of the budget on programming, and the ABA has spent 76% of its budget for programming.

Tegan Tigani

In her report, president Tegan Tigani of Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, Wash., thanked a variety of board members and ABA staffers, including CEO Allison Hill, who wasn't able to deliver her annual report because of a family emergency.

Speaking of the challenges independent booksellers face, she said that in traveling around the country, "I've been listening for what it takes to open a store and then to keep it open. For one year, three years, 10 years, 50 years... or 75 years. I've seen incredible creativity and determination. I've seen you working so hard and doing so much. For example, when I got to Yu & Me Books in New York last month, I saw a flourishing, beautiful store that had arisen from the ashes after a devastating fire in their building, a testament to the resilience of independent bookstores and the strength of the communities that they build.

"I understand that times are difficult. Many stores struggle to have enough booksellers on the floor. If store owners have to juggle credits, not pay themselves, or work for weeks without a day off, if frontline booksellers have to double down on their side gigs to pay rent and figure out how to make a job they love fit with a life they can live, it's hard to keep creating the alchemy of people and books that makes our business. But I have hope every day because every day independent bookstores shine on. We have new bookstores opening, new booksellers joining the industry, and established bookstores selling to hopeful, creative new owners. The diversity of bookstores, booksellers, and bookstore owners heralds a bright future. For me, every Tuesday is a reason for hope because I see so many wonderful new books to share with my stores' readers, and the range of new voices for us to display gives me great joy."

She also praised Batch and Edelweiss for helping "streamline more and more tasks" in her store. She noted that Independent Bookstore Day was "a wonderful day for many stores" and thanked Amanda Gorman for her role as indie ambassador. And she expressed gratitude to Binc, Bookshop.org, and the IndieCommerce team.

Community Forum
During the community forum, David Nurick, of Cellar Door Bookstore in Riverside, Calif., shared an open letter to the ABA regarding the association's response to the community forum at Winter Institute 2024 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where a succession of booksellers called for the ABA to use its platform to advocate for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The letter's writers and signatories felt that the ABA "is not doing enough to represent us," and found it unacceptable that the organization's response to the community forum and the calls for it to "speak loudly" has been silence. The writers wished to "formally protest the way the ABA has handled all this," and noted that "continued non-action" will force them to "reassess if the ABA is really an organization we want to be a part of."

In response, Tegan Tigani said the board has had "many long discussions" about this, and "really thought hard about this" and how "we as a trade organization have an impact." The board has heard "from so many people about many different sides of this issue," and Tigani said she really believes "that we want to continue to support your stores so that you can continue to do the important work you do in your community."

On the topic of booksellers and their stores facing threats or backlash for their stance on Palestine, Tigani said the ABA is "committed to supporting freedom of expression." Board member Lisa Swayze of Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca, N.Y., emphasized that booksellers should report any specific instances of threats, attacks, or harassment to the ABA team. Noting that her store recently received a bomb threat due to hosting a drag story hour, Swayze added: "Anything that makes you feel unsafe or threatened about the things you are trying to do as a bookstore, we are 100% going to back you up."

The rollout of IndieCommerce 2.0 was brought up a number of times, with booksellers noting that it has been "slower than everyone has hoped." Cynthia Compton said the rollout is "extremely top of mind," and pointed out that the ABA has so far spent around $3.3 million on the IndieCommerce upgrade and put an additional $525,000 toward IndieCommerce last year. The board is looking at other ways it can help ABA staff with the transition, and also considering what lessons can be learned for the next time a technological upgrade takes place.

Robert Sindelar, managing partner at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park, Ravenna, and Seward Park, Wash., brought up the system for dividing shares from Bookshop.org, and wondered whether the ABA could advocate for a change that would give more weight to things like the size of the store and number of employees. It did not seem equitable, Sindelar suggested, that similar factors will affect his store's ABA membership dues but not its Bookshop.org shares.

Booksellers also expressed frustration with big-box stores selling major releases before their on-sale date apparently free of consequence. Tigani said that strict on-sale dates are a major theme during meetings with publishers, and the ABA is working with the Book Industry Study Group to develop and disseminate best practices with on-sale dates, as well as create "clear terminology" everyone can agree on. She also advised booksellers to send pictures and receipts of any strict on-sale date violations to the ABA at onsaleviolation@bookweb.org.


Minotaur Books: The Grey Wolf by Louise Penny


Grand Opening Set for Magnolia & Main Books in Ridgeway, Va.

Magnolia & Main Books will host a grand opening celebration on Saturday, June 1, at 810 Main St. in Ridgeway, Va. The bookstore, which had a soft opening earlier this month, is owned by Traci Morten, who was inspired to launch a bookshop after noticing a brick building located on Main Street in town, the Martinsville Bulletin reported. 

"I kept thinking it looked like it should be a bookstore," she said. "And that was what first put the idea in my head."

Though that building wasn't for sale or rent, Morten considered other ways to bring her bookstore dream to life, including a pop-up. During that process, however, she noticed that a building across the street from her original dream location had become available. Already having started the paperwork and securing the LLC for her business, Morten shifted her vision and began looking into the bricks-and-mortar space, the Bulletin noted. She named the store Magnolia & Main after the original building.

"I realized it was manageable and I thought 'I'm gonna try,' " she said, adding that the process happened so quickly she didn't have time to get her first pop-up underway. 

"It actually turned out like what I had in my head. It looks really close to what I had pictured," Morten noted. "I want to have what people are looking for. I'll have some brand-new books, like new releases, but I want to try and keep everything in budget for our economy here--most of us can't go out and spend $30 on a brand-new book every week."

She added: "I've always loved books. Always. Reading has just always been my favorite thing to do.... I've always lived here so I haven't seen a whole lot, but I feel like I have because I've been there in books."

Morten said that the importance of local bookstores to her rests in the sense of community they can bring to the area: "We have all the festivals uptown, in Bassett and Fieldale--there's not a lot that goes on in Ridgeway. I kind of feel like its overlooked. And there's so much down here."


For Sale: The Bookworm in Camarillo, Calif.

The Bookworm, which is located at 93 E. Daily Dr. in Camarillo, Calif., has been put up for sale. The Moorpark Acorn reported that the shop, which was originally called Mrs. Figs' Bookworm before current owner Julie Brown purchased it in 2019, is on the verge of closing unless a buyer can be found.

"I've had this store five years, and I've loved every minute of owning it, but owning a small business is all-inclusive," said Brown. "My husband and I haven't been on vacation in five years.... We're going to retire and, hopefully, travel. It just feels like it's time to do something else."

She recalled the steep learning curve she faced when she bought the store: "I'm a book person, not a business person. I had to learn by doing, but the former owner Connie Halpern was amazing." Halpern stayed on for months after the sale to help the new owner find her way.

Thanks to her predecessors, Brown said she took over a business that offers everything a bookworm could want: "It's definitely a pillar of the community. It's so well-loved, everyone that comes in and sees we're selling is saddened. So I would love to have somebody pick up the torch and carry it on."

She noted that the best days at the shop are when strangers leave as friends: "It happens more than you think, the customers connect with each other."

Although her goal is to find a buyer, if none come forward, the final day of business will be July 31. For more information, contact the Bookworm at 805-482-1384 or by e-mail at Camarillobookworm@gmail.com


True Leaves Bookshop, Princeton, Ill., Closes for Move

True Leaves Bookshop in Princeton, Ill., has temporarily closed while it completes a move to a new location, Shaw Local reported.

The store, which opened last October, is moving to a new, larger space in the Sash Stalter Matson building, which was the home of the Princeton Public Library from 1913 to 2007. In 2013, the building was donated to the Bureau County History Center. It is being renovated in partnership between the bookstore and the History Center, and the store will be a tenant of the History Center.

Angela Adams, who owns the bookstore with her husband, Matthew Adams, told Shaw Local that the new space will allow True Leaves to increase the size of its inventory as well as grow its event program.

The owners expect to have the new space open in early June; a grand reopening celebration is scheduled for Saturday, June 29.


Notes

Image of the Day: Book Passage's 'Cooks with Books' Features Ruth Reichl

Book Passage in Corte Madera, Calif., partnered with the Larkspur restaurant Left Bank Brasserie for a "Cooks with Books" event featuring Ruth Reichl, whose new book is The Paris Novel (Random House). Reichl selected a multi-course lunch inspired by her book, and the event--attended by more than 180--featured a lively author talk, meet-and-greet, signing, and photo ops. Pictured (left to right): Mario Canela and Carolina Data (Left Bank); Karen West (Book Passage); Ruth Reichl; Marguerita Castanera and Zack Dubac (Book Passage).




Bookshop Typewriter Poetry: Read It Again Bookstore

Posted on Facebook by Read It Again Bookstore, Suwanee, Ga.: "Found this lovely poem on the typewriter":

Independent bookstores
like lifelong friends
are there for you
in the hardest of times
in the harsh desert of
"what should I read?"
there is always a bookstore friend
to lend a helping hand
to point you to the perfect book
the one meant for you
the one destined to nestle between your hands
while you spend the night
and wee hours of the morning
feverishly flipping pages
until the last parting word.



Media and Movies

Media Heat: Ada Limón on All Things Considered

Today:
Here & Now: Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, authors of His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice (Penguin Books, $20, 9780593490822).

Tomorrow:
NPR Weekend Edition: Doreen and Brian Cronin, authors of Mama in the Moon (Rocky Pond Book, $18.99, 9780593698204).

Sunday and Monday:
All Things Considered: Ada Limón, editor of You Are Here: Poetry in the Natural World (Milkweed Editions, $25, 9781571315687).


TV: Presumed Innocent

Apple TV+ has released a trailer for Presumed Innocent, based on the 1987 novel by Scott Turow. The eight-part limited series, which stars and is executive produced by Jake Gyllenhaal, comes from multi-Emmy Award-winners David E. Kelley and J.J. Abrams. 

The cast also includes Ruth Negga, Bill Camp, O-T Fagbenle, Chase Infiniti, Elizabeth Marvel, Nana Mensah, Renate Reinsve, Peter Sarsgaard, and Kingston Rumi Southwick. Presumed Innocent will make its global debut on Apple TV+ with the first two episodes on June 12, followed by a new episode every Wednesday through July 24.
 
The project is from Bad Robot Productions and David E. Kelley Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Abrams and Rachel Rusch Rich executive produce for Bad Robot. Kelley serves as showrunner and executive produces through David E. Kelley Productions alongside Matthew Tinker. Dustin Thomason, Sharr White, and Gyllenhaal also serve as executive producers. Turow and Miki Johnson serve as co-executive producers. Anne Sewitsky is an executive producer and directs the first two episodes and episode eight, with Greg Yaitanes executive producing and directing episodes three through seven.


Books & Authors

Awards: Women's Prize Discoveries Winner

Niamh Connolly's novel-in-progress Game Theory won the Women's Prize Trust Discoveries award. Curtis Brown Creative and Curtis Brown partner with the Women's Prize Trust and Audible to run Discoveries, a writing development award and program for unpublished women writers.

As winner, Connolly receives an offer of representation by Curtis Brown, a cash prize of £5,000 (about $6,350) and a place on a Curtis Brown Creative six-week online course. In July, she will also join CBC's specially designed two-week Discoveries Writing Development course alongside the other 15 writers longlisted for Discoveries 2024.

Zeynep Kazmaz is this year's Discoveries Scholar for her novel-in-progress Viscid Residue. She has been awarded a scholarship place on a three-month Writing Your Novel course with CBC, where she will receive support to develop her novel.

Judging panel chair Kate Mosse said: "The works-in-progress of both our winner Niamh Connolly and scholar Zeynep Kazmaz had everything to intrigue and engage a reader--a strong sense of place, distinctive characterization, accomplished writing, strong emotion and exquisite storytelling. Most of all, each of the judges could not wait to follow these two very different stories through to the end."


Reading with... Amit Chaudhuri

photo: Geoff Pugh

Amit Chaudhuri is a novelist, essayist, poet, and musician. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he lives in Calcutta and the U.K. Chaudhuri is a professor of creative writing and the director of the Centre for the Creative and the Critical at Ashoka University, as well as the editor of literaryactivism.com. He has made several recordings of Indian classical and experimental music. His first three novels, A Strange and Sublime Address, Afternoon Raag, and Freedom Song, were just reissued by New York Review Books.

On your nightstand now:

There are two books that are of interest to me at the moment--the first, Michel Chaouli's Something Speaks to Me, is a work of criticism, and I'm halfway through it. It reminds us that criticism's proper domain is outside professionalized academia, though Chaouli himself is an academic (a philosopher) and an intellectual. But it's the job, Chaouli implies (and as the departments of the humanities may have forgotten), of the intellectual and critic to find a new language with which to express love: in this case, the love of the literary and the arts.

The second book, The Savage Detectives, is a novel by Roberto Bolaño, a writer I have always warmed to for his admiration of Borges and his imperious dismissal of the Latin American "boom." I have taken a while to get round to reading this novel, partly because of my nervousness to do with the quality of the translations that Bolaño's works come to us in English; but, dipping into this tome, I find its abrasive narrative is energized by the same love I mention above.

Favorite book when you were a child:

It had to be the series by Hergé about the Mackintosh-wearing reporter Tintin (though I can't actually remember him writing or sending off a report). I loved these for the visual detail and colour--as if (it seems to me in retrospect) the tranquillity of Japanese prints had been crossed with detective fiction and adventure.

Your top five authors:

I don't have a top five: I must have admired at least a hundred writers. Having said that, I will say that D.H. Lawrence, in particular, was important, in showing me that modernism was, essentially, a way of celebrating the "here and now"; Joyce and Katherine Mansfield, for the same reasons. I also rediscovered the Calcutta street through their work, as well as a maternal uncle of mine: that rediscovery, and experience of translation, led to the writing of my first novel, A Strange and Sublime Address. V.S. Naipaul, for radically extending our idea of the realist novel by borrowing, in The Enigma of Arrival, from the essay and from autobiography; Rabindranath Tagore, for dismantling the demarcation between song, philosophy, and poetry in the lyrics of his extraordinary Bengali songs.

Book you've faked reading:

A certain kind of book becomes indispensable for a particular variety of academic discourse: That's when it becomes an abstraction, and you can discuss it without having read it. You don't even to have claim you've read it; the question becomes redundant. This is an injustice to the book, of course.

There are any number of books in my room I long to read, mainly because they have titles and covers that transfix me. That's precisely why I don't get round to reading them--because I find it difficult to move forward and leave that state of being transfixed behind.

Book you're an evangelist for:

I'm an evangelist for the modernist experiment and avant-garde play to be found in literatures in the Indian languages of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Engaging with them--and their counterparts in other locations in the world (Japan, for instance)--might rescue modernism from its currently fossilized incarnation, where it's mainly available to us as European "heritage," like the paintings in the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Ulysses by James Joyce. I bought it in Bombay when I was 17 largely for its giant 'U' and long, thin 'L,' for the faint pink art deco font in which the rest of the title appeared, and the uninterrupted charcoal-black background.

Book you hid from your parents:

The Godfather. I read it when I was 15: I think fellatio comes up in the first two or three pages. My father wanted to keep it and its horrors from me, but didn't want to say so--he hid it in his drawer and pretended nothing had happened. I would take it out of his drawer and read a bit every day, then put it back. When the book came up at a dinner-table conversation with a guest, I referred to its ending, and my father smiled worriedly and said, "So you've just read the first and last pages?" Strictly speaking, I didn't hide it; my father did. I only hid the fact that I was reading it.

Book that changed your life:

Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence changed my life only inasmuch as it revealed to me what was important to me as a writer: not great civilizational or personal crises, but a setting aside of protagonist, story, and interiority in favour of the fact of existence. That early novel blazons the conviction he expressed (not long before he died) in his eccentric reading of the Revelations, Apocalypse: "Whatever the dead or unborn might know, they cannot know the marvel of being alive in the flesh."

Favorite line from a book:

It occurs in A House for Mr. Biswas by V.S. Naipaul, a novel about the eponymous Mr Biswas (based on Naipaul's father) who begins his life in Trinidad as a sign-painter. The three extraordinary instants of marvelling in the sentence are juxtaposed and joined to each other by the semicolon: "He thought R and S the most beautiful of Roman letters; no letter could express so many moods as R, without losing its beauty; and what could compare with the swing and rhythm of S?"


Book Review

Review: Jellyfish Have No Ears

Jellyfish Have No Ears by Adèle Rosenfeld, trans. by Jeffrey Zuckerman (Graywolf Press, $17 paperback, 192p., 9781644452967, August 6, 2024)

Adèle Rosenfeld's Jellyfish Have No Ears is a strange, haunting story of sensory presence and absence, language and loss, relationships and choices. Translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman, this first novel follows a young woman whose limited hearing has left her always straddling the experiences of the hearing and the deaf. Her progressive hearing loss eventually poses a choice between a cochlear implant and profound deafness. In a world she finds increasingly incomprehensible, Louise navigates work (in the French governmental bureaucracy, processing first birth and then death certificates), friendship (with the eccentric Anna, who views Louise's deafness as poetic), and a romantic relationship with a hearing man. She is accompanied as well by a dog, a soldier, and a botanist who deals in "miraginary" plants; these three characters are hallucinations or creations of Louise's imagination who offer valuable advice.

"When someone can't make use of a particular sense anymore, the cortex reorganizes so that area of the brain is repurposed by the senses that person still has." Because her world contains less and less sound, Louise's vision is vibrant. Jellyfish is bursting with sensory descriptions, including sounds heard and missed, "the warmth of timbres, this soft sheen of wind, of color, of all sound's snags and snarls." Visual details are evocative and often surprising: "eyes as blank as an ice floe after an orca had gone by with a penguin in its mouth." The effect of this unusual perspective is riveting.

Louise ponders large, philosophical questions of whether she will still be herself if she agrees to an implant. With an implant, she's told, she won't hear like she did before, but a psychologist also asserts, "Your brain will have forgotten what 'before' means." She wonders if she needs sound to activate memory and whether "[s]ilence set free words and images held captive by language." She investigates the experiences of those "uprooted from their language" and creates for herself a "sound herbarium." In Zuckerman's translation, Louise's voice on the page is by turns stark, stoic, and dramatic. As those around her pressure her to take the implant or to embrace deafness, Louise reveals a strong personality: fiercely obstinate and attached to her vivid interior world.

A curious, thought-provoking, intensely mind-bending exploration of the loss of a sense and the potential richness as well as struggle of life with an invisible disability. Imaginative and spellbinding, Jellyfish Have No Ears is unforgettable. --Julia Kastner, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: This engrossing first novel illuminates an experience of hearing loss that is both frightening and beautiful, filled with surprising imagery.


Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: The Bookshop Band (with Pete Townshend)

I am enchanted, such variation and delicacy... such latent power, really great work. It reminded me of my days listening to Sandy Denny and Fairport [Convention] and The Incredible String Band... a great discovery and inspiration.

--The Who's legendary co-founder Pete Townshend, describing the Bookshop Band's new album Emerge, Return 

The Bookshop Band at Winter Institute in 2019.

In 2019, many of us were lucky enough to meet and hear the Bookshop Band (Ben Please and Beth Porter) during Winter Institute 14 in Albuquerque, N.Mex. At the time, they had just completed a U.S. tour that included several indie bookstores. 

Last week, the Bookshop Band released "Sanctuary," inspired by Philip Pullman's novel The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage. The song is from their upcoming album Emerge, Return, which will be released June 28. Produced by Pete Townshend--who also features as a musician on every track--the album is described as one of the band's darker releases, "responding to themes surrounding the oppression of bodies, free will and free speech, explored in the books." 

The works were chosen through a number of curations, including events at Mr. B's Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, England; the V&A Museum, written for its season on banned books; and the National Portrait Gallery, responding to its exhibition on the Brontë sisters. 

The songs on Emerge, Return were inspired by the following works:

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
The Seven Ravens, a traditional folk tale
Underland by Robert Macfarlane
Orphans of the Carnival by Carol Birch
The High Mountains of Portugal by Yann Martel
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell
The Vanishing Hours by Barney Norris
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

The Bookshop Band describes itself as "the musical offspring of an artistic love-affair" between the musicians and Mr. B’s: "The songs are the musical outpouring of the band’s own response to books they have read, curated by the bookshop." 

During Wi14, Mr. B's co-owner Nic Bottomley introduced the band to enthusiastic applause at a morning author breakfast. He recalled that the genesis for the Bookshop Band came when he spoke with Please about doing something different for shop events, possibly something musical. In response, Please formed the band and said they would write and play songs based on books. Emerge, Return is their 14th album.

In April 2020, as Covid-19 was sweeping across the planet, I tuned into a livestream event from Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo., of the Bookshop Band's international "concert of book-recommendations for lockdown reading."  

Four years later, in a blog post, Porter wrote that the band started making the forthcoming album in 2019 after a fortuitous meeting: "I was asked to do a recording session with songwriter and folk musician Reg Meuross who was working with Pete Townshend on some songs about Woody Guthrie. It was an enjoyable session in a great studio. We went to the local pub for some grub and Pete was very generous and accommodating with us and Molly [their daughter]. We were mid-tour ourselves and also in the middle of writing some songs for our event about censored literature at the V&A a few days later. We were already staying overnight at Pete’s studio so asked if we could stay an extra night to finish writing these songs."

When Please and Porter left the studio, they gave Townshend a box set of their CDs as a thank you gift. "A couple of months later, we had a lovely e-mail from Pete saying he’d listened to our music and loved the concept of the band and the songs," Porter recalled. "This led to a conversation about recording some songs at his studio, namely the ones we had written for the V&A event. We felt like this would be relevant because some of the songs were inspired by the archived Oz magazines, some of which featured Pete Townshend! He willingly agreed but when it got closer to the time of recording, he said 'Why don’t we just make an album together!' "

The Bookshop Band recorded 12 songs in studio sessions with Townshend pre- and post-pandemic. "It was a wonderful experience being in his studio surrounded by amazing microphones, organs and synths, guitars, percussion and harmonicas," Porter noted. "We recorded the songs as they existed with just the two of us playing and then Pete would create sounds around them to make them into something unique and quirky. If he had an idea, he would make it happen."

I think about the Bookshop Band's description of their new album--"responding to themes surrounding the oppression of bodies, free will and free speech, explored in the books."--and recall a question I posed four years ago during the pandemic: Why do we turn to music in times of crisis? Back then, the World Economic Forum had noted that music "is an antidote to the growing sense of alienation and isolation in society in general--even more so now we are being asked to actively practice social distancing and isolation."

But we also listen to the Bookshop Band because, well, they're gifted readers and musicians.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

 


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