Shelf Awareness for Friday, June 12, 2015

Blackstone Publishing: An Honorable Assassin (Nick Mason Novels #3) by Steve Hamilton

Clarion Books: The Man Who Didn't Like Animals by Deborah Underwood, Illlustrated by LeUyen Pham

Holiday House: Bye Forever, I Guess by Jodi Meadows and Team Canteen 1: Rocky Road by Amalie Jahn

Wednesday Books: Dust by Alison Stine

Running Press Kids: The Junior Witch's Handbook, The Junior Astrologer's Handbook, and The Junior Tarot Reader's Handbook by Nikki Van De Car

Scholastic Press: Ruin Road by Lamar Giles


Tampa's Inkwood Books Opening 'Sister Store' in N.J.

Julie Beddingfield has scheduled a soft opening this weekend for Inkwood Books, Haddonfield, N.J. which is literally a "sister store" to Stefani Beddingfield's bookshop in Tampa, Fla. Bookselling This Week reported that a grand opening celebration is planned for June 20, including a ribbon cutting with the mayor.

The inspiration for the new bookstore came to Julie in February, when she noticed that the Book Swap, her town's only indie, had closed. An environmental attorney, she had been "looking for a change that would give her more time with her 10-year-old twin boys." She immediately texted her sister, who had purchased Inkwood from longtime co-owners Carla Jimenez and Leslie Reiner in 2013, suggesting the possibility of a second Inkwood store.

She and Stefani "had a lot of conversations about it and then I found a spot and it just evolved into, 'Well, I guess we're doing this,' " Julie said. "It was certainly not something that was a corporate expansion decision. It was more like an opportunity came up and I was willing to do it, and she was willing to help me."

After briefly shadowing Stefani on the job in Tampa "to take advantage of her sister's invaluable bookselling experience as well as her contacts with publishers, consultants, and distributors," the sisters unpacked the first order of books after BEA and set up shop in the 1,300-square-foot Haddonfield space, BTW noted.

"It's a very similar model to the Inkwood in Tampa," said Julie. "Just like Stefani, we plan to do lots of events. We want to have book clubs and author signings and wine and cheese nights. We'd also like to try to cross-promote with some of the other local businesses in town, and we'll have local art on the walls.... Both of us have a nonpretentious, accessible attitude about what a bookstore should be, in terms of being open to encouraging reading and just helping people get books into their hands. We're both pretty laid back that way, and, I think, able to have a lot of fun."

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ABFE Children's Art Auctions Raise $60,000

The two American Booksellers for Free Expression children's book art auctions that were held in conjunction with BookExpo America raised almost $60,000 to defend the free speech rights of kids, Bookselling This Week reported. More than 170 pieces were sold at the May 26 auction at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York and during an online auction that concluded June 8. The auction income at the Hyatt was also generated from ticket sales and sponsorship by the Random House Children's Group.

"We are extremely grateful to the artists who contributed such beautiful work, to Random House Children's Group, and to everyone whose bids made our auctions so successful," said ABFE director Chris Finan regarding the auctions, which raised funds for the Kids' Right to Read Project and Banned Books Week.

B&N College to Run Kent State Bookstores

Barnes & Noble College is the new operator of Kent State University Bookstore at the school's eight campuses. Existing bookstore staff will stay on and transition to new management, which took effect May 18 for the Kent and Trumbull campuses and will begin July 6 for all remaining campuses.

"We're especially thrilled to partner with Kent State University--one of Ohio's premier universities," said Max J. Roberts, CEO of B&N College. "We're looking forward to delivering a retail and digital learning experience that supports its students and the entire Kent State community."

U.K. Press Accepts 'Year of Publishing Women' Challenge

And Other Stories Publishing "will produce no books by men in 2018 in answer to Kamila Shamsie's recent call for direct action to beat gender bias in publishing," the Guardian reported.

"I would argue that it is time for everyone, male and female, to sign up to a concerted campaign to redress the inequality," Shamsie wrote last week, adding: "Why not have a year of publishing women: 2018, the centenary of women over the age of 30 getting the vote in the U.K., seems appropriate."

A small literary press that uses a network of readers to source its titles, And Other Stories is the first publisher to accept the challenge. "We've realized for a while that we've published more men than women," said publisher Stefan Tobler. "This year we've done seven books by men and four by women.... We have a wide range of people helping us with our choices, and our editors are women.... and yet somehow we still publish more books by men than women."

Senior editor Sophie Lewis added that her primary focus over the course of the year is "to examine the selection and promotion process, the production of their books from commissioning to reader's bedside.... By taking on the challenge we will expose our systems and the paths of recommendation and investigation that brings books to us, and we will end up becoming a kind of small-scale model for a much bigger inquiry about why women's writing is consistently sidelined or secondary, the poor cousin rather than the equal of men's writing."

Bookstore Field Trip: Part 1

In what's become an annual tradition, last month Shelf Awareness's John Mutter traveled to New England to spend a few days visiting bookstores with Steve Fischer, executive director of the New England Independent Booksellers Association, this time in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Steve and I started with a quick stop at Porter Square Books, Cambridge, Mass., which we visited last year. The store was hosting a reading by Celeste Ng (Everything I Never Told You) that evening, and at least an hour beforehand--even before the events area had been set up--fans were eagerly waiting for her.

Dina Mardell, who bought Porter Square Books in 2013 with her husband, David Sandberg, sounded as excited as Ng's audience. Speaking about owning the store, she said, "Every day, we say we can't believe we get to do this." She also praised the Porter Square bookselling staff, most of whom stayed on after the sale, as well as several new staff members. For every opening, the store gets 50 resumes from great people, she continued.

Like so many retailers in this part of New England, she was happy that spring had arrived, and the mountains of snow from the worst winter on record were gone. Independent Bookstore Day was a pleasant milestone--the store's sales were up 100% over the same day a year earlier.


Bright and early the next day, we hit the road and traveled to Concord, N.H., the state capital, where in September 2013, Gibson's Bookstore moved about 100 yards up Main Street into a magnificent purpose-built space in a new building. Before the move, it had less than 4,000 square feet of space; now the store occupies 10,500 square feet plus a 1,500-square-foot café. Owner Michael Herrmann said that he had long wanted to expand, but "Borders was on top of us for 15 years. When they went away, we started planning immediately."

With expert design help from Kate Whouley of Books in Common, the new Gibson's is bright and airy, with great views to the east, and features many tables and displays with alcoves and space so that "people can find things easily" as well as have discrete areas to browse, Herrmann told us.

There are several desks where anyone can work--often buyers and reps meet at the desks. The store can seat 100 people in the events area. Sales are especially strong at the front tables. "Kate advised that the more tables we have, the more sales we'll have," Hermann commented.

With the move, the store increased inventory across the board. "Some areas we didn't do justice to before," Herrmann said. The store's wall of fiction--"a real statement"--wraps around the core of the building. Poetry is a strong section and turns as well as current affairs, history or travel, Herrmann said. (The store hosts the monthly meetings of the New Hampshire Poetry Society. "New Hampshire values its poets," Herrmann said.) Other strong areas include "hearth and home," pets ("we're a pet-friendly store"), self-help, wellness, cooking and gardening.

The YA section is close to the children's section, "an island between adult and kids," as Herrmann put it. In the YA section, the store often displays reviews by customers aged 10 and up.

The children's section features a mural by Susan York, once a bookseller at the old Waterstone's in Boston, Mass. The mural depicts famous cats from literature--as well as Hermann's and Kate Whouley's cats.

Gibson's sells used books, which turn well, but limits the area to four bookcases containing about 700 books at a time because it doesn't want to "overwhelm" the rest of the store.

The store has also added more non-book merchandise, much of it toys in the kids' sections. (Gibson's bought Imagination Village, a children's store, several months before it moved.) The non-book merchandise represents 25% of inventory, which Herrmann called "a big number" for him. But the toys, puzzles, games and other products "give customers more reason to come in," he said.

Part of the Wall of Fiction

Among adult sidelines, cards are doing well, as are handmade leather journals and bags from Earthbound, which Bill Palizzolo, who lives nearby, owns. Herrmann buys non-book products that "I think are fun and interesting and what people will buy."

The café is in the front of the building, connected with the store but not integrated into it. Gibson's has hosted some receptions in the café, particularly with book clubs before events.

The store has 18 employees, five of whom are full-time. "I have talented managers and let them do the job," Herrmann said. He got into the business in 1994, starting as "a Jack of all trades," as he put it, and is the fifth owner of Gibson's, which was founded in 1898. Still, after more than 20 years as a bookseller, he said he's still learning. As far as we can tell, it's obvious he's learned a lot! --John Mutter

Obituary Note: Ludvik Vaculik

Ludvik Vaculik, "a leading Czech writer, dissident and intellectual, whose calls for human rights and trenchant critique of Communism helped foster a short-lived period of freedom that culminated in the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968," died June 6, the New York Times reported. He was 88. His books included The Guinea Pigs, A Cup of Coffee with My Interrogator and The Czech Dreambook.

"He was one of a small group of literary figures who not only wrote great books but also influenced events and spearheaded political changes in Czechoslovakia," said Jiri Pehe, director of New York University in Prague. "He played an important role in the reform process, and his writings were often quoted by the Kremlin as evidence that liberals needed to be silenced."


Image of the Day: Kazuo Ishiguro at Books Kinokuniya Tokyo

The highlight of Books Kinokuniya Tokyo's first anniversary celebrations was an event featuring Kazuo Ishiguro last Friday at which he signed copies of The Buried Giant in Japanese and English. Ninety pre-registered fans attended, and many had photographs taken with the author. Books Kinokuniya Tokyo opened a year ago on the sixth floor of Kinokuniya's Shinjuku South store. With a floor space of 10,760 square feet, it features books in English, French, Spanish, Italian, German and Chinese, and aims to serve the international community in Tokyo.

Ferlinghetti & City Lights: Embracing 'Literary Excellence'

On NPR's Morning Edition yesterday, Richard Gonzales profiled Lawrence Ferlinghetti, co-owner of San Francisco's City Lights Booksellers & Publishers, "one of the most celebrated independent book stores in America." Gonzales noted that 2015 is proving to be a busy year for the 96-year-old poet: "He's publishing a 60th anniversary edition of the City Lights Pocket Poets Anthology, a collection of poetry packaged to fit into anyone's back pocket or purse; a book of selected correspondence between himself and Allen Ginsberg; and Writing Across the Landscape, a compilation of his travel journals dating back to 1944."

Gonzales also spoke with City Lights head book buyer Paul Yamazaki, who has worked there for 45 years, but said the "last five years have been the best five years in City Lights bookstore's economic history in terms of sales.... I think the essence of what Lawrence does is really looking at literature that represents both hope and resistance and the broader possibilities of a just world, you know, that also embraces literary excellence."

National Book Festival Poster Unveiled

The Library of Congress has unveiled this year's National Book Festival poster, created by Peter de Sève, an illustrator best known for his many New Yorker magazine cover illustrations, as well as his work as a character designer for animated films like The Prince of Egypt, Mulan, Ice Age and Finding Nemo. His book festival poster features a young girl intensely absorbed by her book while changing positions on an overstuffed chair.

"The poster is absolutely inspired by my two daughters, Paulina, 14 years old, and Fia, 9 years old," said de Sève. "They are both voracious readers and, frankly, my heart swells every time I see one of them curled up with a book, which is basically always. More specifically, the girl on the poster is Fia, whom I have found reading in almost every position you see on the poster. For her, reading is practically an Olympic sport."

De Sève is scheduled to appear at the festival, which is held September 5, to discuss and sign his book, A Sketchy Past: The Art of Peter de Sève.

Personnel Changes at PRH, Hopkins, Chronicle

At Penguin Random House, Lori de Reza, director of Crawfordsville (Ind.) operations since 2012, has been promoted to v-p. She began at Bantam Doubleday Dell in 1992 as a temporary warehouse employee in Des Plaines, Ill.

Annette Danek, senior v-p and director of fulfillment, called de Reza "a wonderful motivator and mentor," and said her "career path has been a shining example for her co-workers… Year after year, she quickly mastered each new assignment in all areas of distribution operations, embracing her increasing managerial responsibilities with skill, and with empathy for her colleagues, in whom she brought forward their best. Last August, Lori faced her greatest career challenge as director: preparing Crawfordsville, in six fast months, to newly ship more than one million books daily. She brilliantly handled every integration assignment--from hiring and training hundreds of new employees, adapting to the doubling of the facility’s size and to the construction of the new conveyor system, to accommodating thousands of pallets of newly arriving inventory."


Kerry Cahill has joined the Johns Hopkins University Press as sales director of the books division. She succeeds Tom Lovett, who will retire June 30.

Cahill has more than 20 years of publishing experience in sales and marketing, including nine years at Cambridge University Press, where she launched a college sales and marketing division. She has held similar positions with Oxford University Press, Cengage, Simon & Schuster and AcademicPub.


Sandy Smith has joined Chronicle Books as marketing manager, entertainment and art. A product marketer, Smith has worked at Wiley and IDG Books, managing global brand launches, cross-channel marketing and developing marketing strategies and tactics.

Book Trailer of the Day: The Hopeful

The Hopeful, a novel set in the "weird, glittering world of figure skating," by Trace O'Neill (Ig Publishing).

Media and Movies

On Stage: Tipping the Velvet

Playwright Laura Wade is adapting Sarah Waters' 1998 debut novel, Tipping the Velvet, for Lyric Hammersmith's new season. The adaptation "has been in the works for four years, having been put on hold while the Lyric in west London underwent major refurbishment over the past two years," the Guardian reported. Sean Holmes, the theater's artistic director, said Waters worked closely with Wade on developing the script.

"I knew Waters's novels, loved her writing and I just thought that the subject and the aesthetic of Tipping the Velvet felt absolutely right for the Lyric," Holmes said, adding that even though the novel was first adapted for television by the BBC in 2002, the work "somehow feels more surprising and more radical within the confines of theater." Tipping the Velvet opens September 18 .

Movies: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2

The new teaser trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 2 "begins with a moment of happiness and celebration, a flash of green in a world of grey--Finnick and Annie's wedding," Entertainment Weekly noted. "But Katniss can't afford to be distracted, and words are no longer enough. 'Nothing good is safe while Snow is alive,' says Katniss. 'Snow has to pay for what he's done.' But even as the rebel districts lay siege to the Capitol, Snow is not about to go quietly. 'Make no mistake... the game isn't over,' he says with a grin." The movie hits theaters November 20.

Books & Authors

Awards: Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers

Alex Leslie won the $4,000 (about US$3,245) Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers, which is presented by the Writers' Trust of Canada to an author who "demonstrates great promise through a body of work of exceptional quality." From the jury's citation: "With assured debuts in two genres, Alex Leslie melds remarkable acuity of vision with a refreshing eagerness for formal experimentation. She's at once a writer's writer and an accomplished teller of tales. People Who Disappear, her artfully gritty and ultimately uplifting story collection, presents fresh and nuanced portraits of West Coast living far from the affluence and rhythms of the city. In rendering the inhabitants of The things I heard about you's enticing prose poems--solitary ferry rider, outlier schoolgirl, river's edge creature, and pariah scrounger--Leslie displays a tremendous gift for compassion that's equal to a talent for technique."

Book Brahmin: James Smythe

photo: Philippa Gedge

Born in London in 1980, James Smythe has worked as a computer game writer and currently teaches creative writing. He also writes a blog for the Guardian. His previous novels include the Wales Book of the Year 2013 winner The Testimony, The Explorer and the Clarke Award–shortlisted The Machine. His new book, No Harm Can Come to a Good Man, was recently published by HarperCollins360.

On your nightstand now:

I'm trying very, very hard to only read books published in 2015 this year, which means my bedside table has collapsed under the weight of enormous hardbacks. Right now I'm swimming--engulfed, drowning, perhaps more accurately--in Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life, which is just extraordinary. I know, so much has been said (or is currently being said) about it, but it's worth every bit of the praise. It's insane, how able she is to bridge so many characters and never lose them. I'm basically in awe. Ryan Gattis's All Involved was before that, and it's similarly superb--I keep dipping back to certain passages to make notes about the deep envy I feel for his skill. But then there's the last book I finished in 2014, William Gibson's The Peripheral, which I can't seem to let go of--such a ridiculously well-realized world, with a central story (as with so much of his work) so plausible and yet terrifying and yet wonderful and yet OH GOD that you never want it to end.

Oh, and there's also some nonfiction books, which are all research. James Barrat's Our Final Invention (about A.I.), Eric Schlosser's Command and Control (about the Cold War), Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach (about math and equations) and a giant coffee-table book about the history of Vogue magazine. My nightstand is crumbling under the strain.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I used to be in love with this kids' book called Tubby Tin and the Munching Moon. Basically: the moon is alive and eats everything. It's wonderful. I'm sure it's terrifying, as well, and probably explains a LOT of my adult neuroses, but there we go. Aside from that, I can chart my transition of loves: Narnia > Hardy Boys > Christopher Pike > Stephen King.

Your top five authors:

Five. Tough.

Okay, and in no particular order. Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Michael Chabon, Shirley Jackson, Bret Easton Ellis.

Hang on, that's six, right? Oh. I'm terrible at self-editing.

Kazuo Ishiguro. See? Terrible self-editor.

Book you've faked reading:

Ha. Okay. So, here's a confession. I'm doing a thing for the Guardian newspaper, where I reread every Stephen King book and write about them. (You can find it here.) So, I've read them all before. Ish. See, I told a little lie. There's one that I haven't read. I forgot that I hadn't. I will be admitting to this in the article, as we haven't reached it yet, but yeah. Pretty egregious lie that calls into question every other book I claim to have read, right?

Book you're an evangelist for:

Austin Wright's Tony & Susan. This is one of the best books I have ever read. It was first published in 1993, and then it disappeared. Then it was republished in 2010 by publishers with a good eye for a lost classic. And it's absolutely that. Amazing novel, terrifying and gripping. Maybe my favorite thriller ever, which given that it's a book about somebody reading a book, is quite something.

Book you've bought for the cover:

For me, covers are all about the re-buy. So I'll get a copy with a review cover, or a hardback, and then there'll be an amazing paperback or a special edition that means I'll double-dip. Sometimes triple-dip. Recent purchases based on a) a love of the books and b) the covers are Jeff VanderMeer's Area X; the U.S. anniversary super-shiny edition of Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities; the limited-edition exposed-spine edition of Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being. I'm an idiot who buys too many books.

Book that changed your life:

Stephen King's On Writing. Which really does hammer home how hard you need to work to actually be any good at this writing lark.

Favorite line from a book:

"O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark." That's from T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, which have provided an enormous inspiration for me in my writing.

Which character you most relate to:

Merricat Blackwood from We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

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

I'd really like to read Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves for the first time. That book astounded me. I read it on a beach, aged 18, and I remember having to run to find a bathroom with a mirror so that I could read the bits that are printed in reverse; even though it was blisteringly hot, the middle of the day, I was scared. Actually genuinely unsettled. Rare for books to frighten me, and that really did. I want that feeling again.

Book Review

Review: Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France

Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France by Max Leonard (Pegasus Books, $26.95 hardcover, 9781605987866, May 2015)

Even non-cycling fans recognize the Tour de France as the sport's biggest annual event. Naturally, the attention of the press and the viewer is focused at the front of the race, where attacks, group sprints and winners are born. In Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France, Max Leonard directs overdue consideration to a different segment of the Tour, where he finds a less fairytale-like but very sincere story.

Ever since the Tour was founded in 1903, as a struggling newspaper's publicity stunt, someone necessarily has come in last place. Cycling's term for that someone dates back almost as far: based on his research, Leonard argues that it must have been in use before World War I. The usage of lanterne rouge, or red lantern, is generally accepted as having come from the railroad, where a red lantern lit the last car, letting signalmen know the line behind was clear. Over the last century and more, the lanterne has been variously a joke, a dishonor, an achievement to be sought after and a source of controversy, conflict and myth.

Importantly, the lanterne rouge achieves the accomplishment of finishing the race. The Tour has always had a high rate of attrition. Many men withdraw from the race over weeks of mountain passes, long days and severe weather; some years, Tour staff have pulled trailing riders from the race as well. The lanterne is the man who finishes last--but finishes, a respectable feat.

Leonard makes his passion easily felt as he follows his underappreciated subject. In his prologue (a word not only for a book's introduction but also a preliminary time-trial stage of the Tour), he attempts to ride a mountain stage of the Tour, but DNF's ("did not finish"), and his failure will haunt him for the rest of his research and writing process. He then spends nearly two years meeting with surviving lanternes and those who remember them, and searching French libraries for scraps of information about the earliest ones. For example, he pursues the legends of the first lanterne rouge, Arsène Millocheau of 1903 (but did he really finish the race?), and of Abdel-Kader Zaaf of 1951, whose story involves wine, naps, religious difference and colonial racism. Leonard studies the lanterne (and, somewhat resignedly, the leading yellow jersey as well) exhaustively, throughout history and through the race's evolutions and rule changes. A chapter on drug and doping scandals rounds out any analysis of the Tour, and yes, some lanternes were involved.

Lanterne Rouge is an engaging, exhaustive survey of the last man in the Tour de France, a history, a collection of appealing anecdotes and a psychological consideration of winning and losing. An obvious choice for serious cycling fans, Leonard's approachable study will also please general sports fans, history enthusiasts and those who root for the underdog. --Julia Jenkins, librarian and blogger at pagesofjulia

Shelf Talker: An amiable history of a largely unsung hero pays respects to the last-place finisher of the Tour de France.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: 'Beach Reads' & Booksellers #1

A sure sign of late spring is the perennial blossoming of "beach read" lists. This year, however, I'm opting for a variation on the theme in the form of occasional columns focusing on my summer reads--longtime favorites as well as new discoveries--and their indie bookseller connections.

On Monday, I read this Facebook post from author Elinor Lipman: "Ticketing for the (New York) stage adaptation of 'The Inn at Lake Devine' is live! At $18 per ticket you can't afford NOT to buy a seat! (And it's wonderful, having seen a staged reading, as previously reported.) The run is Oct. 7-24."

photo: Michael Lionstar

That stirred the memory banks. Way, way back at the turn of the century, I began handselling what soon became one of my favorite "summer reads." Lipman's The Inn at Lake Devine features a marvelous narrator, Natalie Marx, who opens her story as a 12-year-old in 1962 this way: "It was not complicated, and, as my mother pointed out, not even personal: They had a hotel; they didn't want Jews; we were Jews,"

Planning a summer vacation, Natalie's mother has written several letters to resorts in Vermont, "which someone had told her was heaven." One response, however, comes from Ingrid Berry, reservations manager for the Inn at Lake Devine, and concludes: "Our guests who feel most comfortable here, and return year after year, are Gentiles."

Fascinated by "the letter's marriage of good manners and anti-Semitism," Natalie begins a decades-long quest to comprehend and address this attitude, including infiltration of the resort with a friend's family and, in 1964, mailing the inn a copy of the new Civil Rights Act. Humor plays a key role in Lipman's novel, but it never detracts from the issues and the humanity at stake.

I was intrigued by the stage adaptation notice and contacted Lipman, who remembered our first meeting. She'd been visiting Manchester Center and stopped by the Northshire Bookstore, where she immediately noticed "a stack of Inn at Lake Devines.... It came up to about mid-thigh." Lipman recalled that during our conversation then, I described her novel as the perfect answer for customers who ask: "Do you have something that's not depressing?"

Since then, she has written more fine books (most recently The View from Penthouse B and I Can't Complain: (All Too) Personal Essays), and even become a noted political poet within the Twitterverse. Her commentary on the 2012 election was collected in Tweet Land of Liberty, and she's already in great form for 2016.

Now her impressive list of accomplishments includes an upcoming theater production. Lipman traced the precise moment when this process began to June 9 last year and an e-mail "from a woman named Jake Lipman (no relation)." Having read The Inn at Lake Devine when it was first published, the actress and producer who runs Tongue in Cheek Theater in New York wrote that the novel "continues to pop into my mind as a piece that would make a fabulous adaptation from page to stage, and I wanted to find out if you would be open to discussing my company working on it, as inspiration material for a theatrical production." So it began. On April 23, Elinor saw the staged reading. "I'd always hoped that one of my books could be adapted for the stage," she said. "It was just wonderful. I grinned from beginning to end." She's looking forward to the full production in October. So am I.

And I'm re-reading The Inn at Lake Devine for the first time in years. It's still a fine summer read, with indie bookseller credentials. What more could you ask for? Lipman has always cultivated a strong relationship with indies: "When my first novel, Then She Found Me, came out in paperback, the late Carla Cohen of Politics & Prose wrote to my editor and said she'd handsold over 300 copies of the paperback so far. I had never even known there was a verb, 'handsold.' She offered to write a note to every indie bookseller in the country about it. Can you imagine?"

For many years, until she recently sold her house in Northampton, Mass., her home indie was Broadside Bookshop. "I went up for their 40th birthday in 2014, and it was tribute after tribute to the late Bruce MacMillan, its founder," she noted, adding that she had even named a college after him in The Way Men Act.  

Lipman said her connection with indies "is about personal relationships and continuity and history. And it's about the introductions on the road, too, almost always lovingly crafted and personal. One of my dearest friends is a bookstore owner, Naomi Hample, the middle of the three Argosy Books-owning sisters in New York. When I met her for the first time she said, 'I've always known I'd meet you someday.' I said, 'How come?' She said 'because I've read all your books and I felt like I already knew you.' Sigh. Is such an answer not the exclusive intellectual property of an indie bookseller?" --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

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