Shelf Awareness for Friday, March 10, 2017

Atlantic Monthly Press: Those Opulent Days: A Mystery by Jacquie Pham

Feiwel & Friends: The Flicker by HE Edgmon

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers: The Pumpkin Princess and the Forever Night by Steven Banbury

St. Martin's Griffin: Murdle: The School of Mystery: 50 Seriously Sinister Logic Puzzles by GT Karber

Carolrhoda Lab (R): Here Goes Nothing by Emma K Ohland

Allida: Safiyyah's War by Hiba Noor Khan

Ace Books: Servant of Earth (The Shards of Magic) by Sarah Hawley


David Cully Named President of Baker & Taylor

David Cully

David Cully has been appointed president of Baker & Taylor, effective April 1, by Follett Corporation, which acquired the company last spring. Cully joined B&T in 2008, and was most recently executive v-p of merchandising/digital media services. He will report to George Coe, who was president and CEO of B&T when Follett bought it and recently became COO of Follett and B&T.

"David has a strong background and extensive experience in retail sales, merchandising, marketing and supply chain with in-depth knowledge of the business," said Coe. "His unique qualifications make him the ideal candidate to lead and grow the Baker & Taylor business for long-term success."

Prior to B&T, Cully held executive and leadership positions at companies in the retail and publishing industries, including Barnes & Noble, where he was president of B&N Distribution, Simon & Schuster, Putnam Berkley Publishing Group and Waldenbooks.

PM Press: P Is for Palestine: A Palestine Alphabet Book by Golbarg Bashi, Illustrated by Golrokh Nafisi

Book Festival Coming to Maplewood and South Orange, N.J., in June

On Friday, June 9, the first-ever Maplewood South Orange Book Festival will open in the neighboring towns of Maplewood and South Orange, N.J. The two-day event begins on Friday night with a reading by Mary Roach, author of Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War, at the South Orange Performing Arts Center, with the bulk of the festival taking place on the following day at two locations in Maplewood. According to festival organizer and co-founder of Ig Publishing Robert Lasner, more than 50 authors are already booked for the event, with a total of around 65 expected. In addition to Roach, some of the big draws include Christina Baker Kline (A Piece of the World) and Peter Moskowitz (How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood), and though the programming is still being worked out, Lasner said he was very excited for a panel about gentrification featuring Moskowitz, DW Gibson (The Edge Becomes the Center: An Oral History of Gentrification in the 21st Century) and Mindy Fullilove (Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, And What We Can Do About It).

"The author response has been fabulous, that's been the best part of it," said Lasner. "We're local to New York City, so getting authors hasn't been that hard."

Maplewood's [words] Bookstore is the festival's official bookseller, and there will be exhibitor space available for small and independent publishers. Lasner added that he and the other festival organizers are hoping for a turnout of around 5,000 for the festival's first year. There is an annual music event in Maplewood called Maplewoodstock that usually draws  8,000-10,000.

"We don't want to do anything too crazy large in just the first year," said Lasner. "We'd rather be smaller and well-run than big and confused."

Lasner moved to the Maplewood/South Orange area from Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2015 and not long afterward had the idea of organizing a book festival. The inspiration came, he recalled, when he attended a children's event in downtown South Orange that in some ways reminded him of the Brooklyn Book Festival. He began seriously pursuing the idea of a starting a book festival in late 2015 and early 2016. Said Lasner: "There was a really great outpouring of support."

Robert Lasner may be reached at --Alex Mutter

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: Intermezzo by Sally Rooney

BookExpo Editors' Buzz Panels: The Titles

Three committees of booksellers, librarians and other industry professionals have chosen the authors and books that will be the focus of this year's BookExpo editors' buzz panels, which will be supplemented with an Author Stage appearance for the chosen authors. The selected titles are:

Adult editors' buzz panel:
Unraveling Oliver by Liz Nugent (Scout Press)
Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo (Knopf)
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent (Riverhead)
The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews (Little, Brown)
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (Putnam)
The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (Morrow)

YA editors' buzz panel:
Spinning by Tillie Walden (First Second Books)
Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill)
All the Wind in the World by Samantha Mabry (Algonquin Books for Young Readers)
The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives by Dashka Slater (FSG Books for Young Readers)

Middle Grade editors' buzz panel:
Auma's Long Run by Eucabeth Odhiambo (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner)
The Witch Boy by Molly Ostertag (Graphix)
Greetings From Witness Protection! by Jake Burt (Feiwel & Friends)
The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore (Knopf Books for Young Readers)
The Unicorn Quest: The Whisper in the Stone by Kamilla Benko (Bloomsbury Children's Books)

More Book-Related #Resistance

Bookstores have continued to seek ways of addressing political issues since the November election. Here is a roundup of events, programs and more.

Bookends & Beginnings in Evanston, Ill., has declared this to be "March Month," and the featured books are the March trilogy (Top Shelf) by Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, an inside look at the civil rights movement in graphic novel form, and Why We March (Artisan), a photo celebration of the Women's March on Washington in January and its sister marches across the country and around the world. Customers who buy either of those books this month will receive a free copy of the U.S. Constitution. Since the election in November, Bookends & Beginnings has sold nearly 200 copies of the Constitution, and 150 of those copies were purchased by one customer for the distribution at the Women's March. The store also reported an increase in popularity of books with dystopian themes, including Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale and Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here.


For the month of March, Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, Calif., is holding a nonpartisan, educational speaker series called Democracy Wise. It began on Wednesday night, March 8, with University of Southern California professors Christian Grose and Allison Dundes Renteln providing a small refresher course on the fundamentals of the U.S.'s democratic system. On March 17, the topic will be effecting change in government, with members of the League of Women Voters leading the discussion. The series will conclude on March 30 with Lindsay Bubar, the Southern California program director for Emerge California, discussing opportunities for running for office.


On March 15, Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley, Mass., will host an Ides of March Political Postcard Party; community members are invited to drop by in the evening and write postcards to local, state and national politicians. The event is free and open to anyone. The store will provide tables, chairs, postcards, pens and light refreshments, and the addresses of various politicians; participants must provide their own postage.


The Booksmith, San Francisco, Calif., which has been particularly active politically in the past few months, is holding a similar event: on Monday, March 13, at 7 p.m., the store hosts an Ides of Trump party, the first in its new Booksmith Resists series, at which participants are encouraged to fill out postcards, to be sent to the President on March 15. As the store writes, "So sharpen your wit, unsheathe your writing implements, and write from the heart. All of our issues--DAPL, women's rights, racial discrimination, religious freedom, immigration, economic security, education, the environment, conflicts of interest, the existence of facts--can and should find common cause. That cause is to make it irrefutable that the president's claim of wide support is a farce."

The store will have postcards and pens courtesy of Chronicle Books and Papa Llama Press, including Papa Llama's new line of protest postcards. There will also be blanks cards. Ritual Roasters is providing coffee and Lagunitas Brewing Company will offer beer "in case you need fuel for the resistance."


Greenlight Bookstore, with two locations in Brooklyn, N.Y., has launched a new literary event series focused on the voices and experiences of immigrants, with the first three events in the series featuring writers from the Middle East, South Asia and the Asian Pacific.

The series kicked off Tuesday night, March 7, with novelist Mohsin Hamid reading from his new novel, Exit West, at Greenlight's Fort Greene location. On March 14, Greenlight's Prospect Lefferts Garden location will host a launch event for Deepak Unnikrishnan's first novel, Temporary People, about the terrible conditions facing immigrant "guest workers" in the United Arab Emirates. On April 3, Thi Bui, author of the graphic memoir The Best We Could Do, about her family fleeing Vietnam for the United States in the 1970s, will speak at the Fort Greene store with John Jennings and Damian Duffy, creators of the graphic novel adaptation of Octavia Butler's novel Kindred. After that, Greenlight plans to have at least one event in the series per month.

"We live in a country and in a borough that was built by and thrives because of its immigrants," said store co-owner Rebecca Fitting. "We wanted to create this reading series because it's vital that as a community and culture, our world view stays broad, open, supportive and wide."

Obituary Note: Bonnie Burnard

Canadian author Bonnie Burnard, best known for her debut novel A Good House, died March 4, the Globe & Mail reported. She was 72. Her first story collection, Women of Influence, won the Commonwealth Prize for best first book in 1989; Casino and Other Stories (1994), won a Saskatchewan Book Award and was shortlisted for the first Giller Prize; A Good House won the Giller in 1999.

"She was wonderfully gifted, a revelatory writer. Nobody could understand the emotional ties and demands of family as she could. ‎I will miss her very much," said her long-time editor and publisher Phyllis Bruce.

Iris Tupholme, publisher of HarperCollins Canada, described Burnard as an "elegant and meticulous writer, her prose was deceptively spare. Yet, she understood the complexities of family life and excavated those relationships with precision and compassion. Bonnie was a keen observer of life with a wry sense of humor and a Prairie practicality which informed all of her work."


Image of the Day: 'Queer as Volk' in NYC

Festival Neue Literatur director Brittany Hazelwood, novelist Francine Prose and FNL curator and Grove senior editor Peter Blackstock participated in last Sunday's "Silence Is Violence: LGBTQ Writing in a Fractured Political Climate" event at McNally Jackson Books in Manhattan. In its eighth year, the Festival Neue Literatur brings German- and English-language writers together for a series of events in New York City. This year, with the theme "Queer as Volk," the festival focused on sexuality, writing and translating from the margins, and today's political climate.

Bookstore Chalkboard of the Day: Main Street Books

In a Facebook post featuring their latest sidewalk chalkboard message, Main Street Books, Mansfield, Ohio, warned: "Don't threaten the bookworms. They have pens, too. #powerofthepen #bookstore #bookworm #poetryreading #poetryofprotest."

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Adam Hochschild on Fresh Air

Fresh Air: Adam Hochschild, author of Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (Mariner Books, $15.99, 9780544947238).

CBS Sunday Morning: Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner, $18, 9781439170915).

Meet the Press: Helene Cooper, author of Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451697353).

TV: Elena Ferrante Series; GoT Season 7 Date, Trailer

Italian director Saverio Costanzo will helm and help write a 32-part television series based on Elena Ferrante's four Neapolitan novels--My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave & Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child, the New York Times reported. Costanzo (Private, Hungry Hearts) said his biggest challenge was how "to convey the same emotions as the books in a cinematographic way."

He is writing the script with Francesco Piccolo and Laura Paolucci. The pseudonymous Ferrante "was also expected to contribute to the screenplay," the Times noted. Costanzo, who anticipates communicating with the author via e-mail, said he wasn't interested in Ferrante's true identity: "It's her literary reality that counts. I'm one of those people who don't care who she is."

Filming is expected to begin in Naples this year, with the first season airing in the fall of 2018. A spokeswoman for Wildside (The Young Pope), an Italian producer making the series with Fandango, told the Times that talks were in the final stages with a major American producer, as well as the RAI state broadcaster.


Yesterday HBO announced that Season 7 of Game of Thrones would return on July 16, but fans waiting for the big reveal first "had to spend over an hour watching ice melt," the New York Times reported. "In a memorably misguided marketing gimmick, HBO revealed the premiere date in a Facebook Live video but made fans work for it, concealing the information in a block of ice and asking viewers to comment 'Fire' as a torch heated it."

The gimmick worked better in theory than practice, and after several glitches over more than an hour "and countless derisive tweets, the date was revealed," the Times wrote. HBO also posted a teaser trailer for Season 7.

Books & Authors

Awards: In Other Words

BookTrust unveiled the shortlist for In Other Words, its inaugural children's books in translation project. Funded by Arts Council England, the project is designed to showcase great writing from outside the U.K. and to help U.K. publishers to acquire children's books in translation. The shortlisted titles have been partially translated for U.K. publishers to review and English language rights are now available to buy. A marketing bursary of £1,500 (about $1,825) is available from BookTrust to support the U.K. publication of each of these titles.

Four Honor Titles will be revealed April 4 at a reception during the Bologna Book Fair with Children's Laureate Chris Riddell and Carnegie Award winning author Kevin Brooks. The In Other Words shortlisted titles are:

Jigsaw Puzzle by Maria Fernanda Maquieria (Original Language: Spanish, Argentina)
Sputterfly by Simon van der Gees (Dutch)
The Amazing Adventures of Groana Schmitt by Finn-Ole Heinrich (German) -
A Good Day for Climbing a Tree by Jaco Jacobs (Afrikaans)
Her Name's Not Cruella de Vil by Anna Lavatelli (Italian)
Elise and the Second-hand Dog by Bjarne Reuter (Danish)
Some Kid Lived Here and Other Stories by Mi-kyoung Song (Korean)
The Raven's Children by Yulia Yakovleva (Russian)

Carnegie/Kate Greenaway 'All-White Longlists Prompt Inquiry'

The Chartered Institute of Library & Information Professionals announced that there will be an independent review of diversity in the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals "after an exceptional year for children's books by minority authors failed to make an impact on the prize longlists," the Guardian reported. The review is part of a wider diversity and equality action plan by CILIP, which runs the awards, to address the lack of diversity in the information sector.

"Recent concerns have shown that we need to articulate very clearly what we are doing to address the issues of equality and diversity," said CILIP CEO Nick Poole, adding that although the association believed the decisions made about this year's medal longlists were "appropriate" and reflected the existing criteria for selecting books, there may be a case for changing the criteria to protect the prize from unconscious bias.

Prizewinning author Alex Wheatle, who with Sunny Singh had led a call for black, Asian and minority ethnic writers to boycott the award, said, "Something had to be done. What has to be addressed is any unconscious bias in the nomination and judging process."

Singh added: "I hope this will not be yet another review that repeats what we already know and does little towards real change."

Reading with... Yewande Omotoso

photo: Victor Dlamini

Yewande Omotoso was born in Barbados, grew up in Nigeria, and moved to South Africa with her family in 1992. She is the author of Bom Boy, published in South Africa in 2011. She won the South African Literary Award for First-Time Published Author, was shortlisted for the South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize, and was a finalist in the inaugural pan-African Etisalat Fiction Prize. She lives in Johannesburg, where she writes and has her own architectural practice. Her U.S. debut, The Woman Next Door, was published by Picador on February 7, 2017.

On your nightstand now:

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley. Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika. Taduno's Song by Odafe Atogun. The Sellout by Paul Beatty. Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila. The Story of Anna P as Told by Herself by Penny Busetto. Things Unseen by Pamela Power. I'm not reading them all at once though, I've never been able to read more than one book at a time. Instead they represent the most recent books I've read, the one I'm actually reading and the ones I'll be reading next.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot. Some of my earliest memories are of my mother reading these poems to my brothers and me at bedtime. She was very good with the voices and we never tired of them.

Your top five authors:

I'm not a top-five person. I'm not even a top-10. Perhaps I could create a top-25 list without too much of a sweat, but seriously I hate to choose. There are so many incredible authors that inspire me. So perhaps I'll take the liberty of rephrasing the question. There are so many authors I love and respect, but there are a few whom I read where I know this isn't just loving a work, this is instruction. A writer like Siri Hustvedt feels like instruction. Similarly, Toni Morrison, Helen Oyeyemi--I feel compelled to read all their works, that this is somehow important for my own growth as a writer.

Book you've faked reading:

Being a Nigerian and knowing that the book was taught in schools across the country, I don't know how I missed this, but for a long time (too embarrassing to give specific time period) I hadn't read Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. And I never had to work hard to fake it because it was pretty inconceivable for anyone to imagine that I hadn't read it. Anyway I can confess this here because I've now corrected this grievous error.

Book you're an evangelist for:

There are many books I turn to in worship. Of late Three Strong Women by Marie NDiaye just amazed me. In general I think Helen Oyeyemi's writing demands evangelism.

Book you've bought for the cover:

None. While I have a deep appreciation for aesthetics when it comes to books, I seem to abide by the cliché that says don't judge based on looks. In the end, though, I usually buy based on the first sentence and the typeface.

Book you hid from your parents:

Love at Second Sight by Cathy Hopkins--a very Mills & Boon-y book. I was quite young and thought my parents would be scandalised to see me reading a book with the word "breast" on so many of the pages.

Book that changed your life:

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. She's an architect, I was studying architecture at the time and not really loving it, wanting to write but thinking I'd lost my chance somehow. Reading the book gave me courage and a sense of hope that things could still work out.

Favorite line from a book:

Again there are many. My problem is my memory is useless! But one I remember often and smile (cry?) about: "Why be happy when you could be normal?" from Jeanette Winterson's book with the same title.

Five books you'll never part with:

I struggle to part with any of the books I read, and I lend them out reluctantly, because I imagine I'll never see them again. But then again I've moved a lot and so, strangely, many of my favourite books aren't on my shelf, they are in storage somewhere or "lost." As a result some of the books I have loved dearly are nowhere to be found--Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, So Long a Letter by Mariama Bâ, all the plays by August Wilson and many more.

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

I can think of several, and most are tied in with nostalgia. The books I read when I was between the ages of 12 and 14: Yoruba Girl Dancing by Simi Bedford. In The Castle of My Skin by George Lamming. Beka Lamb by Zee Edgell. As with music, the books you read at certain times in your life hold a special space, not only because of the specialness of the books themselves but also the particularity of the actual period you encountered them in.

Book Review

Review: The Road to Jonestown

The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple by Jeff Guinn (Simon & Schuster, $28 hardcover, 544p., 9781476763828, April 11, 2017)

Trumpeting assurances of a Promised Land, Jim Jones welcomed followers into his fold. Using intimidation, fear tactics and blatant falsehoods, he kept them there, berating them into submission if necessary. "When lying on his bed, not completely blacked out in a drug stupor, he would harangue" them over a loudspeaker. Insubordination was not tolerated; betrayal injured his ego and garnered severe retribution. He saw hope in an alliance with the Soviet Union and adversaries in the American news media. He was a demagogue, "uniting a disenchanted element of society against an enemy, then promising to... bring about rightful change."

The volatile religious leader and his Peoples Temple are the focus of Jeff Guinn's The Road to Jonestown. The former investigative journalist records the electrically charged history of events that led up to November 1978's horrific mass suicide. How could a tragedy of such scale occur in apparent devotion to one man? With the same methodical research and meticulous prose that he brought to the chilling biography Manson, Guinn unravels the bewildering rise and fall of the American cult that inadvertently spawned the admonition "Don't drink the Kool-Aid."

Jones began his career as a Methodist preacher in 1953, at the age of 21. He built his early following on ideals of integration and socialism, unpopular views at the time, but a few years later he would really find his stride. This is when Jones claimed his gift of miraculous healing and connected with the mystic Father Divine, worshipped by his flock as God incarnate. Following the example set by Divine and wowing congregants with charlatan faith healing, Jones watched his popularity inflate. He enlisted the aid of his politically savvy wife, Marceline, and several unwavering devotees to set about establishing his Peoples Temple--moving from Indianapolis to California and ultimately to Guyana in search of space to build his idea of paradise. All the while, Jones made increasingly disturbing demands of his followers, using rape, blackmail, cuckoldry, death threats and more to ensure they did not stray.

Guinn doesn't flinch at the gruesome details of Jones's final stand against interlopers encroaching on his supremacy. By 1977, temple defectors were enlisting the help of Congress to retrieve family members from Jonestown, and newspapers were deep into investigating the colony's leadership. There was a fleeting chance that Moscow would offer Peoples Temple asylum, but as American forces closed in, Jones pulled the trigger. If he couldn't have his paradise, no one would get out alive.

Entering the minds of megalomaniacal mass murderers is a talent of Jeff Guinn's. Nearly 40 years after the fact, he carefully examines how a reckless obsession with power greedily destroyed those in its sway. One hopes that today's demagogues won't get the same satisfaction. --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Shelf Talker: Former investigative journalist Jeff Guinn unravels the confounding history of a demagogue and his cult.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Loganberry Books Is 'Illustrating the Gender Gap'

Harriett Logan, owner of Loganberry Books in Shaker Heights, Ohio, planned several March events this year to honor Women's History Month, including a philanthropic celebration with other shop owners on Larchmere Boulevard; an art exhibition in the bookshop's Annex Gallery; and an International Women's Day/Harriett's 50th birthday combo featuring "refreshments, music, political activism, surprises and a special sale for Loganberry Perks members."

But the centerpiece has turned out to be Illustrating the Gender Gap in Fiction, an inspired and eye-opening performance art project launched March 1, when bookshop staff and volunteers re-shelved works by male authors in the LitArts room backwards, leaving only women's works spine-out to highlight the disparity in numbers. Altogether, 25 columns of general fiction and five sections of poetry--approximately 10,000 volumes in total--were involved. The display will remain in place through March 14.

"I have been bookselling for over 20 years, and every year I have taken the time and effort to highlight women's works for Women's History Month in March," Logan told me earlier this week. "This year I wanted to do something different, something that would highlight not just the good works by women, but also the disparity in the industry. As someone who tries to carry female authors, the white-out effect is shocking. As a new/used/rare bookseller, my inventory has many older titles, and the general fiction section will not include the current bestsellers (which are on display in the front of the store). I am certain the ratio has improved in my generation, and Dickens, James and Trollope take up an awful lot of space, but I took an overview count of the 7,500 works of fiction we worked on, and female authors represent 37%. It's worse in poetry (about 2,000 books), and we didn't work on genre fiction or mass market paperbacks."

Logan said customer response has been "fantastic and warm. Many people just stand there looking at the space, shaking their heads. I want people to think: is the gender gap really this uneven, and why? What does my personal library look like? What can be done to change this imbalance? And then go find a title by a female author you may or may not be familiar with (it's easy to find them), and give it a try."

It's not just customers who have found themselves considering the implications. In addition to local coverage (Cleveland Scene, Cool Cleveland and more), the project has garnered headlines in publications as various as the Guardian, National Post, Daily Mail, Kathmandu Post, AdWeek, A.V. Club and Upworthy

"I really didn't expect this to be a big deal," Logan observed. "It's a shelving exercise, a temporary art project to answer a question, visually. Everyone who has visited the store (unwittingly or not) has been positive, and inquisitive. The online trolls have been surprising. I guess I'm just not familiar with the troll community, and their outlandish comments are ridiculous. I wish they could actually pause long enough to think about the project and comment appropriately. I don't think I'm pointing out anything new here."

One of Logan's favorite Illustrating the Gender Gap moments occurred during an art opening at the nearby gallery, when "some of the guests came in to see what we were doing. Most were blank-faced and silent as I explained the project, let it sink in, and then the corners of their mouths lifted and they started slowly nodding their heads, saying, 'That's cool.'--and then they helped us shelve for a while."

She added that her favorite response thus far in the the wake of the publicity came from a male teacher from St. Augustine, Fla., "who turned all the male-authored books backwards in his classroom for the month of March, and had a discussion with his students about gender disparity in such an important educational industry. Wow."

I asked Logan if she had speculated about what the gender disparity would look like if she expanded the project to other sections. "This illustration begs the question, and if it makes you look twice, I think it has served its purpose," she replied. "When one troll told me to go back to the kitchen, I thought we should do cookbooks next. You know, a traditionally female realm, with books written by male celebrities dominating the field.

"Women authors will certainly dominate the romance field, and mysteries and fantasy will have closer gender balances. Graphic novels will be heavily male-written, and you can't blame the trends from a century ago there. I'd like to try the exercise on children's picture books and middle grade novels. In my head those genres are more gender equal, but a quick look at the shelves tells me otherwise."

On Tuesday, Logan e-mailed me this update: "So, a guy just brought in three bags of books for sale. He browsed the store while I was looking, and later we discussed the Gender Gap project while settling up. I mentioned that in his three bags there wasn't a single one written by a woman (they're still good books! Beckett, DeLillo, Reich, sure, I'll buy those), and he shrugged. I said, sure, but it's going to affect your world view if you only read books written by men. He conceded this was true, and you can tell he'd never considered it before. So maybe it is worth it, this crazy art project of mine."

As author Joe Hill tweeted: "Wouldn't it be interesting to try this with your own TBR pile for a while? Might try it with mine."

Yes, it would be, I respond, eyeing my bookcases, which look just a little guilty.

--Robert Gray, contributing editor (Column archives at Fresh Eyes Now)

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