Shelf Awareness for Friday, November 20, 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


Weisberg President of Macmillan; Loja Moves Up at Penguin

Don Weisberg

Don Weisberg is leaving his position as president of the Penguin Young Readers Group at the end of the month to become president of Macmillan Publishers U.S., where he will manage the U.S. trade publishing houses of Macmillan (which include Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Flatiron Books, Holt, Macmillan Children's, Picador, St. Martin's Press and Tor Books), the audio and podcast businesses and the trade sales organization. He will report to Macmillan CEO John Sargent. The appointment is effective at the beginning of January.

At the same time, Jen Loja, currently senior v-p and associate publisher of Penguin Young Readers Group, is being promoted to president of the Group, effective December 1. She will report to Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle, join the Penguin Random House North America board and become a member of the Global Executive Committee.

Jen Loja

Weisberg has been president of Penguin Young Readers Group since 2008. He started working at Bantam Books in 1980 as a sales rep and spent 28 years in many roles at Bantam, then Bantam Doubleday Dell, and later Random House, rising to COO, North America. He left Random House in 2007.

Sargent, who in August was named executive v-p of Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, reporting to CEO Stefan von Holtzbrinck, and who is responsible for the higher education business and the global trade business, commented: "Macmillan Publishers has grown significantly over the past years, and the publishing business continues to increase in complexity. Our business in the United States has expanded greatly even as we have become more integrated globally. As my role has changed, it is clear that the U.S. business needs a dedicated senior executive to lead our publishing efforts. I am delighted to welcome Don Weisberg to Macmillan. Don has a remarkable track record of success across many aspects of the publishing business, and his unique combination of skills and management style are a perfect fit for our organization. Don is smart and experienced. He has proven to be great leader with a true passion for books and the book business. He will bring tremendous focus and energy to our publishing, to the great benefit of our company and our authors."

Weisberg commented: "As difficult as it will be to leave my team and authors at Penguin Young Readers, I am greatly looking forward to working with the group at Macmillan that I have always admired from afar. The culture that John and Stefan have created there, and the creativity, innovation, and talent they foster, makes this an exceptionally exciting new beginning for me."

For his part, Dohle called Weisberg "one of the most versatile and accomplished executives in our company, and I wish I could work with him forever. But he has a chance to oversee all the adult as well as children's publishing and sales operations of a major U.S. trade publisher. It is too great an opportunity to pass up, and I respect and support his wish to accept it." Speaking of his time at Penguin, Dohle said Weisberg had "raised the bar for leadership excellence. He has our everlasting appreciation for his more than three decades of contributions to our company, and our best wishes for great success always."

Dohle said that replacing Weisberg is no "easy task, but the choice of his successor is as natural as it is obvious." He called the promotion of Loja "a logical evolution and expansion of her current responsibilities, and a recognition of the crucial role she has played side-by-side with Don as his deputy in the transformation of Penguin Young Readers into one of children's publishing's great powerhouses. As associate publisher, Jen has been vitally hands-on in the long-range and day-to-day decision making to move the company forward and to broaden its reach. She is a solutions-centric sounding board for her 10 publishers and a motivating leader of the brand management, design, and digital content development groups. Jen inspires enormous trust and confidence from authors and colleagues alike. Simply put, she knows and understands how her company works--and how to make it even stronger."

Help a Bookseller, Change a Life: Give today to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation!

Books with a Past in Md. Opening Second Store

Savage Mill

Erin Matthews, owner of Books with a Past in Glenwood, Md., will open a second location on Thanksgiving weekend in nearby Savage, Bookselling This Week reported. While the shop she has owned since 2009 sells predominantly used titles, the new 1,500-square-foot location is going to "offer more new books and, like the original store, will also sell cards, toys and literary sidelines."

She had originally been approached about opening a bookstore by the owners of the Savage Mill historic building, who hoped to replace a used bookshop that moved last year. "This is a great opportunity for us to expand into a community that is currently without a bookstore," she said. "The Mill is home to a number of other small businesses and offers a cooperative atmosphere that we love."

While money to cover operating expenses, licensing and various costs will come from other revenue sources and loans, Matthews has set up an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds that "will help us make our new store as fun and well-stocked as possible.... I really think it is important to get buy-in from the new community, so I'm hoping that anyone who lives in the area and contributes to the campaign will have reason to come by and see us."

Indies Prepare for a Return of Cider Monday

Some independent booksellers in the northeastern United States are getting ready for Cider Monday, a laid-back indie alternative to Cyber Monday, set for November 30. Willard Williams, the owner of the Toadstool Bookshop in Peterborough, N.H., came up with the idea two years ago, and the idea is simple: on the Monday after Thanksgiving, participating indies welcome customers with a cup of cider and a thank-you for supporting independent bookstores.

"Personally I was sick of hearing about Cyber Monday and the huge dollars spent online everywhere you turned," said Williams. "And I felt we needed an alternative that with a little word play would be fun and easy, yet serve as a statement about the differences."

On Cider Monday, Toadstool Bookshop will have free hot mulled cider available at all three of its locations. Vicky Titcomb, the owner of Titcomb's Bookshop in East Sandwich, Mass., will also participate and have cider from a local farm stand. And over the past few years, Cider Monday has spread well beyond New England: according to Williams, bookshops as far away as Vancouver Island in British Columbia, including Coho Books, have participated.

Despite its growth, Williams added, Cider Monday has not changed much since its beginning. "The intent and simplicity are still the same, which is as it should be." --Alex Mutter

Obituary Note: Stephen Birmingham

Stephen Birmingham, a "prolific novelist, purveyor of popular sociology and raconteur of the rich and famous in bestselling books," died Sunday, the New York Times reported. He was 86. Birmingham's books included "Our Crowd": The Great Jewish Families of New York and The Right People: A Portrait of the American Social Establishment. The Times noted that "his books were often bestsellers--"Our Crowd" was on the Times list for 47 weeks--and most of his nine full-length novels were acclaimed by critics, too."


Image of the Day: Cancer Insights

Earlier this week, Christopher Bidwell, author of Cancer Insights: Chronicles of a Couple's Journey Through Breast Cancer (available through IngramSpark), met with the nurses and support staff at the infusion center at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, where his late wife, Carolyn, was treated. Chris reported: "These are all people that we came to know over the course of our cancer treatments here. They were excited to read the book, and I had trouble getting them to pose for this picture because they were busy looking at the book! They were laughing about the insight on page 12 [concerning doctors' tattoos on reconstructed breasts] and then being serious about some of the things that cancer patients go through on the other pages." A typical insight: "You will want to take all those trips that most people put off till retirement... sometimes you feel like hitting as many sights as possible, and sometimes you fell like just finding a coffee shop and have a low-energy day. We call it being locals for a day. Oftentimes those 'being local' days would be the most memorable part of the trip." The illustrated book, serious but lighthearted, highly readable, full of love and affection, is in the medical center's gift stores. Most of the proceeds from the book go directly to the Carolyn Bidwell Memorial Fund, which benefits the research on treating and curing metastatic breast cancer being done by Dr. Peter Kabos and his team at Anschutz. (Full disclosure: Christopher Bidwell is John Mutter's cousin.)

'Booksellers' First or Worst Jobs'

Algonquin Books asked 13 booksellers and Shelf Awareness for Readers editor Marilyn Dahl to share their first or worst jobs:

  • Emily Adams, Third Place Books: fish processing in Valdez, Alaska
  • Cindy Dach, Changing Hands Bookstore: designer, wholesale handbag company in New York City
  • Jessica Stockton Bagnulo, Greenlight Bookstore: Sno Shack in Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Tom Campbell, the Regulator Bookshop: paperboy in Malvern, Pa.
  • Jill Owens, Powell's Books: temporary secretary at a chicken-slaughtering plant in Athens, Ga.
  • Rachel Cass, Harvard Bookstore: projectionist at a movie theater in Peterborough, N.H.
  • Wendy Hudson, Nantucket Bookworks: field hand in Nantucket
  • Julie Wernersbach, BookPeople: receptionist/security guard for the Nassau Inter-County Express bus system office on Long Island, N.Y.
  • Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness: dining room server at the Hearthstone retirement condominium in Seattle
  • Dan Chartrand, Water Street Bookstore: 4 a.m.–12 p.m. shift at Pearson's Candy factory in St. Paul, Minn.
  • Adrian Newell, Warwick's: family ministry across the U.S.
  • Emily Crowe, the Odyssey Bookshop: lab assistant at Georgia Pacific in New Augusta, Miss.
  • Kelly Evert, Village Books: Toys "R" Us in Phoenix
  • Jessilyn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers: stagehand for Cirque du Soleil (not true, as it turns out.)

Cool Idea of the Day: On Stage in a Bookstore

Milwaukee Opera Theatre and the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre are presenting The Story of My Life, a tale of love and friendship set in a bookstore, with music and lyrics by Neil Bartram and book by Brian Hill. The production will be performed at Boswell Book Company December 3-5 and 10-13, with a curtain time of 9 p.m. for most performances because it is taking place in a working bookstore, during its busiest month of the year.

"The two-person show set in a bookstore had a short run on Broadway and is... Sondheimesque," noted Boswell Book Company owner Daniel Goldin. "Several of the creative types putting this together are crazy about the show and since Jill Anna Ponasik and the Milwaukee Opera Theatre specialize in alternative venues, they started a campaign to get us to partner in this... last February. I caved, and planning began."

The Story of My Life lasts 90 minutes with no intermission. The bookstore will be open for browsing 30 minutes before each performance.

Why Indie Bookstores 'Are a Parent's Best Friend'

"I'm a parent. And that means, by definition, that I am very tired. So, as a parent, I tend to gravitate toward things that make my life easier," Tom Burns wrote in Brightly. "That is one of many reasons why I love independent bookstores. Indie bookstores--independent, brick-and-mortar bookstores--make life easier for parents."

Burns noted that when "it comes to book shopping--for yourself or for your children--they do all of the hard work for you. When your kid walks into the children's section of a great independent bookstore, imagine that they are walking into the most lovingly assembled search results page ever. Everything that surrounds them is page one results. Nothing was chosen by an algorithm. They're not recommending THIS because you once bought THAT.

"Indie bookstores exist because there are people in the world who want to share the very best books with you and your family and, as an exhausted parent, I can't tell you how much I appreciate that."

Media and Movies

PBS to Livestream Miami Book Fair

As it did last year, PBS will offer live coverage of the Miami Book Fair International, starting today and continuing through the weekend. The live stream will be available today 1-4 p.m. (with a special Young Readers presentation), tomorrow noon-5 p.m., and Sunday noon-5 p.m. (all times Eastern). Coverage, which will include a range of author interviews and features, will be produced by Detroit Public Television for PBS and be hosted by Jeffrey Brown, chief correspondent for arts, culture, and society for PBS NewsHour, and Book View Now host Rich Fahle.

Live stream coverage will be available online via and at, plus selected PBS station websites and Some segments will be archived and available for on-demand viewing on, PBS station websites and all PBS video apps, as well as YouTube. Coverage will also be available via online video player to bookstores, publishers, blogs and media outlets wishing to share the material with their audiences.

In addition to the Miami Book Fair International, PBS Book View Now also covers the National Book Festival, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, BookExpo America and BookCon.

Media Heat: Wintley Phipps on Super Soul Sunday

Face the Nation: Karl Rove, author of The Triumph of William McKinley: Why the Election of 1896 Still Matters (Simon & Schuster, $32.50, 9781476752952). He will also appear on CBS This Morning.

OWN's Super Soul Sunday: Wintley Phipps, co-author of Your Best Destiny: Becoming the Person You Were Created to Be (Tyndale Momentum, $15.99, 9781414390307).

Movies: The Merlin Saga; A Man's World

Disney has hired Philippa Boyens to write an adaptation of The Merlin Saga, based on the book series by T.A. Barron. reported that it is "a coup for the studio to land Boyens, who hasn't really worked outside her long collaboration with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh," with whom she shared a 2002 adapted screenplay Oscar for The Return of the King. Her resume also includes The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, as well as King Kong and The Lovely Bones. Gil Netter (Life of Pi) is producing.

Disney "now has a writer with a strong grasp of how to launch a franchise in a period fantasy world, and a franchise is certainly a hope for the Merlin movie," wrote.


Director Lenny Abrahamson and producer Ed Guiney (Room) will make a movie based on Donald McRae's book A Man's World: The Double Life of Emile Griffith. reported that the champion boxer is "best remembered for beating to death Benny 'The Kid' Paret in the ring during a live nationwide TV broadcast. The vicious incident occurred after Paret grabbed the buttock of his opponent and called him a homosexual at the weigh-in. Fact is, Griffith led a secret life as a bisexual man, but in 1962, such a thing was taboo and most especially in the macho culture of boxing." Abrahamson intends to adapt it with a co-writer and direct the film as soon as possible.

"It is so rich that it's hard to know where to start," he said. "As a character study, Griffith is incredibly compelling. There was a gentleness and innocence about him, and he never seemed conflicted about his sexuality; indeed he found joy in it. He inhabited two worlds--the underground gay scene in New York in the '60s and the macho world of boxing. The societal stigma at that time was dreadful and created a crushing pressure on him."

Books & Authors

Awards: Guardian Children's Fiction; Lit Review's Bad Sex

David Almond won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for A Song for Ella Grey. Jury member Jenny Valentine described the book as "an absolute masterclass in the transformative power of language. It is fearless, free and full of wonder and I am changed by reading it"; while judge Natasha Farrant said reading the story "hasn't just changed the way I look at Orpheus. It has changed the way I look at the world."


Eight books made the shortlist for this year's Bad Sex in Fiction Award, established 23 years ago by the Literary Review "to draw attention to poorly written, perfunctory or redundant passages of sexual description in modern fiction, and to discourage them." The "winner" will be announced on December 1. The Guardian helpfully featured "the contenders in quotes." This year's finalists are:

Before, During, After by Richard Bausch
Book of Numbers by Joshua Cohen
Against Nature by Tomas Espedal
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
The Making of Zombie Wars by Aleksandar Hemon
Fear of Dying by Erica Jong
List of the Lost by Morrissey
The Martini Shot by George Pelecanos

Book Brahmin: Beatriz Williams

photo: Marilyn Roos

Beatriz Williams is a Stanford University honors graduate with an MBA in finance from Columbia, and the author of the novels Overseas, A Hundred Summers, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, Tiny Little Thing and Along the Infinite Sea (Putnam, November 3, 2015). She lives in Connecticut with her husband and children.

On your nightstand now:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which is sitting underneath a few research books for my current work-in-progress. I've heard so many good things about this one, and I can't wait to start it.

Favorite book when you were a child:

The Anne of Green Gables books by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne gave hope to all of us dreamy, bookish misfits and, without a doubt, Gilbert Blythe is my all-time book boyfriend.

Your top five authors:

Patrick O'Brian, Vera Brittain, Fanny Burney, Daphne du Maurier, Anthony Trollope. The list could be so much longer--I admire and adore P.G. Wodehouse, for example--so I cleaved it down to those who have most influenced either my own passion to write or my approach to storytelling. (I'm only leaving out Karen White and Lauren Willig because they go without saying--they're my best writer friends in the world and we've just written a book together!)

Book you've faked reading:

Oh gosh! I barely have time to read for pleasure anymore, let alone to fake read. I guess I might count The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt--it's been sitting conspicuously on my nightstand for a year now, and I still haven't gotten around to actually reading it.

Book you're an evangelist for:

Not nearly enough people read Bee Ridgway's wonderful The River of No Return. Just a huge, rich, wonderfully written story.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Most recently, The End of Innocence by Allegra Jordan.

Book you hid from your parents:

Lady Vixen by Shirlee Busbee. If Gilbert Blythe was my book boyfriend, Christopher Saxon (alias Captain Saber) was my book lover.

Book that changed your life:

Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth absolutely shattered me as a college student over 20 years ago and brought me into an obsession with the first half of the 20th century that remains the wellspring for pretty much everything I've written so far.

Favorite line from a book:

" 'She is the Surprise,' said Stephen, and he whispered, 'The joyful Surprise, God and Mary be with her.' " --the last line of Patrick O'Brian's The Far Side of the World, and really one of the most satisfying endings in English literature.

Five books you'll never part with:

Anyone who knows me will laugh at that question--I haven't thrown out a book in my life, except for when I discover a duplicate copy somewhere--and sometimes not even then! But if we narrow this down to "books I can't do without," I'd have to include my set of omnibus editions of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels (that counts as one book, right?) the rare editions of Sir Charles Grandison (Samuel Richardson) and Cecilia (Fanny Burney) that my husband gave me when we were courting, the weather-beaten copy of Frenchman's Creek by Daphne du Maurier that I found in an old bookshop in Cornwall, and my grandmother's copy of The Scarlet Pimpernel, which she gave me when I was 12.

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

Oh, I'm going to go with the hoary old chestnut here--what a revelation it was, the first time I read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice! You never forget your first brooding hero.

Book Review

Review: Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World

Stoned: Jewelry, Obsession, and How Desire Shapes the World by Aja Raden (Ecco, $27.99 hardcover, 9780062334695, December 1, 2015)

Jewelry designer at Tacori in Los Angeles, former House of Kahn auction director, historian and scientist, Aja Raden pretty much takes on the full history of the world in a fascinating story of the human passion for jewelry. Her title, Stoned, is apt: a slightly irreverent description of our addiction to glitter and the violent retribution men (and women) have pursued in finding, taking and hoarding it. In a clever, funny narrative laced with slang, footnotes and asides, Raden traces the impact of the quest for diamonds, emeralds, pearls and other precious stones on the political geography of the world. She is focused not so much on gold and silver (often just the infrastructure for elaborate settings), but rather on the gems that put the jewel in jewelry. Monarchs, explorers, conquerors, tycoons, marketers and scientists get their moment in her crosshairs and take their hits.

Marie Antoinette is a typical example. Married in 1770, at age 14, to the "dorky grandson of the... lecherous old king, Louis XV," the semi-literate queen, bedecked in jewels, went gaga for parties that helped drive starving French peasants to revolution. As Raden notes: "the folks at Versailles brought the crazy... [it] was the eighteenth-century equivalent of Graceland." Cecil Rhodes ("a failed cotton farmer... a young man with major imperial aspirations") stumbled on a South African river full of diamonds and created the De Beers supply oligopoly, which in the 1940s ingeniously convinced young girls that "a diamond is forever." Then there was the 300-year reign of Russian Romanovs, who took decadence to a new level of excess, spawned the fabulous Fabergé Imperial eggs, and ended badly in another bloody revolution. About their extravagance Raden comments: "When our hundred-million-year-old brain tells us to eat as much as we can... we end up obese. When [it] tells us to acquire all the valuables we can... we end up like the Romanovs." If it seems an obsession with jewelry leads only to war, colonization, slavery and revolution, Raden provides some balance with her story of how the Japanese noodle-maker Mikimoto spent decades finding the secret to farming perfect cultured pearls--and did it for the glory of Japan (with not just a little profit for him).

Stoned is not only an omnibus, sometimes snarky world history. Raden also explores the origins of jewels and the art of jewelry-making. She digs into the psychology behind our coveting: "You want it because everybody else wants it, and everybody else wants it because someone else has it. Nobody wants it if everyone can have it." Finally, she concludes with a history of the wristwatch--not just as jewelry, but as technology that helped decide victory in World War I and soon may strap access to everything on our wrists. Stoned is an intriguing take on world history with plenty of adornment and anecdote to entertain us along the way. --Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Shelf Talker: With wit and storytelling flair, Aja Raden explores world history through the prism of our universal and often violent obsession with jewelry.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: A Moment of Calm Before the Retail Storm

I feel most at peace in a bookstore, or in between the pages of a book. Somewhere where I am surrounded by ink on a page, the quiet whisperings of printed words.

--Note left by a customer on the public typewriter at Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Note to booksellers: By this time next week, you'll begin feeling the first breezes of a retail storm that will, ideally, engulf you in the annual Black Friday, Indies First/Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday retail maelstrom.

Just for a moment, however, while you still can, consider the blessed silence of a bookstore before it opens. Not silence, really, but rather a particularly delicious flavor of quiet. Inside the shop, you may still hear muted sounds: the distant murmur of traffic, the furnace kicking on, indecipherable snatches of conversation as people walk by on the sidewalk. But the books, even the audiobooks, keep their words to themselves for now. There is a peace here. You know all about what Literati's customer called the "quiet whisperings of printed words."

Feel better? Now you can think about Thanksgiving weekend. The crowds will most assuredly descend upon you. It is what crowds do. Something compels people to wake up on the day after Thanksgiving and say to each other: "It's the busiest shopping weekend of the year. The stores will be mobbed; people will be rude and annoying; and traffic will be absolutely unbearable. We sure don't want to miss that!" And on Small Business Saturday, you'll be one among hundreds of booksellers who hope to feel that stiff retail wind in their sails as well.

Thanksgiving Day, however, is the calm before the storm. Most independent bookstores are closed... and quiet... and the booksellers are, well, thankful.

Village Books & Paper Dreams, Bellingham, Wash., noted it "is closed for Thanksgiving so all of our employees can enjoy the holiday with family and friends. Have a wonderful day!"

In a recent e-newsletter, the Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, Vt., wrote: "As we go into November, a month associated with bounty and gratitude, we want to take a moment let you know how thankful we are for having you as a customer. We will be celebrating a Week of Gratitude, leading up to Thanksgiving, as our way of showing our appreciation of all of the people who make our job one that is fun to go in to every day."

For Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, Mass., "Thanksgiving is about family, and our global family is being tested in the fire right now. In a metaphorical sense, I hope that in the coming months we open up the kitchen and let the children do some of the cooking; that we can forgive the teenagers for their surly, self-destructive behavior and invite them to the table; and that we will really listen when our elders say grace. And that we will look at ourselves in the mirror and decide that the buck stops here. Peace in this world always begins with you."

Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, N.Y., is partnering with Workman and Food Bank for NYC: "For every copy of Good and Cheap: Eat Well on $4/Day purchased from Greenlight, one copy will be donated to Food Bank for NYC for use in their nutrition education programs.... As we're looking forward to Thanksgiving feasting, it's a great time to give the gift of cooking good food to those in our city who need it most. Thanks for your support on this project, and happy cooking and giving!"

Inspired by REI's #optoutside campaign, Bank Square Books in Mystic, Conn., will open its doors late on Black Friday: "We are encouraging our staff to enjoy some family time, finish a few more pages and get outside! We'll be ready with our recommendations at noon on Friday and on Small Business Saturday, when we will have some of our favorite local authors on hand to talk books and help you shop."

Thanksgiving Day can be complicated for booksellers. The family gathers, with so many relatives and friends enjoying a long weekend off while you worry if you've ordered enough copies of this year's National Book Award winners; or chart storm patterns online at NOAA (weather being a critical ingredient in your weekend's success); or rework the staff schedule in your mind, hoping you've got enough sales floor coverage so customers are as overwhelmed with good service as you will be with the crowds. While those around you wrap up leftovers or sleep through bad football games, you'll be thinking about last minute tasks and everything that might go wrong. The stakes are high. Really high.

Here's a little holiday tip: exhale. On Thanksgiving Day, just take a few moments to think about your bookstore. It is quiet. It is waiting for you. It is ready. --Robert Gray, contributing editor (column archives available at Fresh Eyes Now)

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