Shelf Awareness for Friday, February 16, 2018

Atria/Primero Sueno Press: The Witches of El Paso by Luis Jaramillo

Bramble: Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

Soho Teen: Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

Berkley Books: Hair-raising horror to sink your teeth into!

Berkley Books: The Hitchcock Hotel by Stephanie Wrobel

Queen Mab Media: Get Our Brand Toolkit

Ballantine Books: Gather Me: A Memoir in Praise of the Books That Saved Me by Glory Edim

Editors' Note

Presidents Day

In honor of the Presidents Day holiday, this is our last issue until Tuesday, February 20. See you then!

Watkins Publishing: Fall Into Folklore! ARCS Available On Request

Quotation of the Day

Booksellers 'Have a Special Responsibility'

"My gratitude to the booksellers is so deep because I know they are nothing but lovers of books, and they are going to be honest and critical, and they have a special responsibility in what books they are going to hand to a child. What better group of people to say, 'OK, Jewell, we think you did good.' "

--Jewell Parker Rhodes, whose novel Ghost Boys is the #1 pick for the Spring 2018 Kids' Indie Next List, in a q&a with Bookselling This Week

Carolrhoda Lab (R): They Thought They Buried Us by Nonieqa Ramos


Larry Law Named GLIBA Executive Director

Larry Law

Larry Law has been named the new executive director of the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association, effective March 1. He most recently worked as director of e-commerce & marketing at Anderson's Bookshops in Naperville, Ill., where he began his career as a frontline bookseller.

In 2015, Law joined GLIBA's board of directors, serving on the executive, education, and New York trip committees. An accomplished artist and graphic designer, he redesigned the GLIBA logo to better represent the current membership and its geography. He also sits on the board of ArtBar, a local arts organization committed to promoting and helping local artists reach patrons in the community and connect with other artists.

"After an extensive search that resulted in an incredibly rich and impassioned pool of candidates, we chose Larry for his deep commitment to not only our organization and our mission, but his love of the region as a whole," the board commented. "His many skills, both technological and interpersonal, make him poised to provide our association with the tools and enthusiasm we need to move forward into the new vibrant landscape of bookselling."

"I am privileged to have been a member of the bookselling community in the Midwest for over 15 years," Law said. "It is with no hesitation that I say we have some of the best bookstores, publishers and sales reps in the country. Now, it is my great honor to represent them. I am eager to help GLIBA continue to grow, and to help our bookstores and partners successfully move forward. We are a community built on relationships both within our neighborhoods and within our bookselling family. I am so excited to help these relationships thrive and to bring some new energy and perspective to our region."

Law can be reached at beginning March 1.

ABC/CBC Silent Art Auction to Honor Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan

Children's book illustrator Ashley Bryan will be the honoree for this year's Silent Art Auction during BookExpo in New York City. according to the American Booksellers Association's ABC Children's Group and the Children's Book Council.

In a joint statement, ABA senior program director Joy Dallanegra-Sanger and Shaina Birkhead, programming & strategic partnerships director of CBC and Every Child a Reader, said: "Now more than ever, events supporting free speech, great art, and children's literacy are vital. We are thrilled that Ashley Bryan will be this year's honoree!"

"It is a true honor to be chosen by ABC and CBC for this recognition," Bryan said. "The work they do, in so many ways, with the charities and programs that they support, that ultimately bring books to children, is wonderful. I'm glad to do what I can to help."

The Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards ceremony, co-hosted by Selina Aiko and Sean Qualls, will precede the auction. The joint awards and auction program takes place May 30 at from 5:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Javits South Concourse. The Silent Art Auction will benefit the American Booksellers for Free Expression and Every Child a Reader. CBC has sent out a request for artwork donations industry-wide. Susannah Richards, professor and children's literature advocate, will organize the undertaking. Full details are available here.

Bryan was recently named a Newbery Honoree for his picture book, Freedom Over Me. He has also received the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award; the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award; and is a Coretta Scott King Award winner, among his many honors. His books include Sail Away; Beautiful Blackbird; Beat the Story-Drum, Pum Pum; Let It Shine; Ashley Bryan's Book of Puppets; and What a Wonderful World

'Golden Man Booker Prize' Launched to Mark 50th Anniversary

The Booker Prize Foundation has launched the Golden Man Booker Prize to mark the 50th anniversary of the prestigious literary award. This special, one-time award "will crown the best work of fiction from the last five decades of the prize, as chosen by five judges and then voted for by the public." The Golden Man Booker will put the 51 winners "back under the spotlight, to discover which of them has stood the test of time, remaining relevant to readers today."

The judges appointed to read winning novels from each decade are writer and editor Robert McCrum (1970s); poet Lemn Sissay MBE (1980s); novelist Kamila Shamsie (1990s); broadcaster and novelist Simon Mayo (2000s); and poet Hollie McNish (2010s).

Each judge will choose what, in his or her opinion, is the best winner from that particular decade, and champion the title against the other judges' selections. Their "Golden Five" will be announced May 26 at the Hay Festival, after which and the elite shortlist will be put to a month-long public vote from May 26 to June 25 on the Man Booker Prize website. The overall winner will be announced July 8 at the Man Booker 50 Festival.

"The very best fiction endures and resonates with readers long after it is written," said Baroness Helena Kennedy, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation. "I'm fascinated to see what our panel of excellent judges--including writers and poets, broadcasters and editors--and the readers of today make of the winners of the past, as they revisit the rich Man Booker library."

The Golden Man Booker Prize will be supported by retailers, libraries and publishers through online promotion. Readers can revisit the previous winners for the #ManBookerPrize50 challenge on Instagram.

American Lawyer Opens Bookstore in Hong Kong

Albert Wan, who closed his Atlanta, Ga., law practice in 2016, has opened Bleak House Books, specializing in new and used English-language titles, in San Po Kong, an industrial area of Hong Kong. The South China Morning Post reported that when his wife, Jenny, accepted a teaching position at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Wan "knew it was a chance not only to spend more time with his family (he was born in the U.S., but his parents are Hongkongers), but also to try a new industry."

"I had my own law practice in Atlanta--mostly civil rights and criminal defense," he said. "I practiced for 10 years and loved every minute of it, but it's time for a change, a new challenge.... There's a saying in the U.S.--'retail sucks'--but I'm ready for this."

Wan noted that his decision to invest in a bricks-and-mortar store was the result of wanting to cultivate connections with customers and the community that are lost in the e-books world, the Post wrote, noting that he "has plans for walking tours and talks by local authors."

Obituary Note: Wilbert Hasbrouck

Wilbert R. Hasbrouck, "a pioneering Chicago preservation architect who breathed new life into buildings designed by some of the city's renowned architects and co-owned a beloved architectural bookstore," Prairie Avenue Bookshop, died February 10, the Chicago Tribune reported. He was 86.

With his wife of nearly 60 years, Marilyn Whittlesey Hasbrouck, he co-edited and co-published the architectural magazine Prairie School Review, and to help support it, Marilyn Hasbrouck opened what became the Prairie Avenue Bookshop, which the Financial Times once called "the best architectural bookshop in the world."

Hasbrouck distinguished himself "with high-quality restoration work on a lot of Chicago's important 19th-century buildings," said Pauline Saliga, executive director of the Society of Architectural Historians. "But he also was kind of an intellectual backbone of Chicago because of his passion for the Prairie Avenue bookshop."

Originally a catalogue operation, the bookshop opened as a store on Chicago's Prairie Avenue in 1974. By 1995, "it was housed in impressive quarters at 418 S. Wabash Ave., where it held 50,000 books and gold letters on its forest-green walls spelled out the names of more than 300 architects," the Tribune wrote. The bookshop closed in 2009.


Image of the Day: A Suspenseful Dinner

Los Angeles-area booksellers celebrated the March 6 publication of Candice Fox's novel Crimson Lake (Forge) at the Napa Valley Grille in Westwood. Pictured: (r.-l.) Katie Orphan, The Last Bookstore; Maureen Palacios, Once Upon a Time; Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy; Kris Williams, Pilgrim School author events; Kristin Rasmussen, Pages; Kelcie Des Jandins, Chevalier's; Candice Fox (seated, center); Cheryl Ryan, Diesel; Gail Mishkin, Flintridge Tea and Coffee; Amanda Youngman, Barnes & Noble at the Grove; Jenny Wannier, Flintridge Tea and Coffee; and Mary Williams, Skylight Books.

Women Authors Only at Penguin U.K. Pop-Up Shop in London

To celebrate International Women's Day March 8, Penguin U.K. is launching a pop-up bookshop stocked solely with titles by female authors. The Bookseller reported that the shop, called Like a Woman, will be open March 5-9 on Rivington Street in East London in partnership with Waterstones. It will feature more than 240 writers.

Penguin Random House said the initiative is a celebration of "the way that women contribute, often under the radar, to every facet of society" and recognizes women who have "made a difference or fought for change" in various fields, including politics, activism, writing, art, science, sports and culture. The hashtag #LikeAWoman will be used online to promote the pop-up. The bookshop will also host workshops and evening events, with proceeds from ticket sales donated to Solace Women's Aid and shoppers also having the opportunity to purchase books to be donated to children housed in the organization's refuges.

"Women's voices being heard and taken seriously is key to achieving gender equality, and with the Like a Woman Bookshop we're making room for those voices to be elevated and celebrated," said Zainab Juma, creative manager at Penguin Random House. "We're creating a space where readers can look to incredible writers, activists and pioneers for the inspiration to go forward and make change like a woman."

Lucy Grainger, Waterstones festival manager, commented: "To create a unique bookshop and event space which is dedicated to a full range of women's voices, experiences and ideas is tremendously exciting. We're delighted to be working together with Penguin Random House and we think it promises to be a fantastic and inspiring week for everyone that joins us."

Media and Movies

Media Heat:

Late Show with Stephen Colbert repeat: Katy Tur, author of Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History (Dey Street Books, $26.99, 9780062684929).

On Stage: To Kill a Mockingbird

Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) "will reunite with Aaron Sorkin as he headlines the writer's stage adaptation of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird," Playbill reported. Directed by Bartlett Sher, the production is a collaboration between producer Scott Rudin and Lincoln Center Theater. It will begin performances November 1 at a theatre yet to be announced, with opening night set for December 13.

Daniels, in the role of Atticus Finch, joins a cast that includes Celia Keenan-Bolger as Scout, Will Pullen as Jem, and Gideon Glick as Dill. Playbill noted that "the casting of the three--each notably older than their respective characters--indicates Sorkin's previously reported intentions to present the drama as a memory play."

Also in the cast are Stephen McKinley Henderson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Stark Sands, Dakin Matthews, Frederick Weller, Erin Wilhelmi, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Phyllis Somerville and Liv Rooth. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

TV: The Tiger that Came to Tea

Celebrated British children's book The Tiger that Came to Tea "is heading to television after Lupus Films and HarperCollins Children's Books struck a deal to produce an animated special marking the 50th anniversary of Judith Kerr's book," Deadline reported.

The Tiger that Came to Tea has sold more than five million copies since it was first published in 1968. The adaptation will be produced by Lupus Films' founders Camilla Deakin and Ruth Fielding, along with Ann-Janine Murtagh, Katie Fulford and Mia Jupp at HarperCollins Children's Books.

"We are thrilled that HarperCollins has chosen to work with Lupus Films on this very special project," Deakin said. "It is an honor to be adapting such an iconic children's book in its landmark anniversary year and we will do our very best to capture the charm and magic of the original book to create a timeless film for children and family audiences."

Murtagh, executive publisher, HarperCollins Children's Books, commented, "Quality and authenticity is paramount to our success and it is fantastic to be partnering with Lupus Films who share this vision and have created some of the most treasured animated films of recent years. We are incredibly proud to publish Judith Kerr and how wonderful to be bringing her iconic picture book to life for television whilst we celebrate the golden anniversary year of The Tiger Who Came to Tea."

Books & Authors

Awards: CILIP Carnegie, Kate Greenaway Longlists

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals released longlists for the Carnegie Medal (author of a book for children & young people) and Kate Greenaway Medal (illustrator). Winners will each receive £500 (about $700) worth of books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 (about $7,000) Colin Mears Award cash prize. You can find the complete CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway longlists here. Shortlists will be announced March 15 and winners named June 18.

One title from each of the medal shortlists will also be named recipient of the new Amnesty CILIP Honor "for a book that most distinctively illuminates, upholds or celebrates freedoms. The honor aims to increase awareness of how great children's books encourage empathy and broaden horizons."

Judging panel chair Jake Hope commented: "It is so important that young people growing up today have access to and are represented in books that fire their imaginations and open worlds of possibilities. Which is why I am so pleased that we will shortly open a public consultation as part of the ongoing diversity review of the medals which aims to ensure we can be the best champions of equality, participation and inclusion possible."

Last year, the longlists sparked criticism for not including a single black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) writer among the 40 titles. Sunny Singh, co-founder of the Jhalak Prize for Book of the Year by a Writer of Color, called the absence of BAME writers from the longlists a "deliberate snub," while Wei Ming Kam, sales and marketing assistant at Oberon Books and co-founder of the BAME in Publishing group, called the lack of diversity "appalling."

CILIP subsequently announced an independent review into how equality, diversity, inclusion and participation can best be championed and embedded into the work of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals. Chaired by Margaret Casely-Hayford, the Diversity and Equality Review is taking place throughout the 2018 medals cycle and is currently in consultation phase, which involves an online survey and focus groups. The survey--in development with Coventry University--will be launched by March.

Midwest Connections March Picks

From the Midwest Booksellers Association, Midwest Connections Picks for March. Under this marketing program, the association and member stores promote booksellers' handselling favorites that have a strong Midwest regional appeal.

What Are We Doing Here?: Essays by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $27, 9780374282219). "Marilynne Robinson has plumbed the human spirit in her renowned novels. In What Are We Doing Here?, her peerless prose and boundless humanity are on full display in this new collection of essays on theological, political, and contemporary themes. This collection is a call for Americans to continue the tradition of those great thinkers and to remake American political and cultural life. Marilynne Robinson trains her incisive mind on our current political moment, offering fresh wisdom in an era of rampant political and cultural pessimism."

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill (Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616207977). "Award-winning, New York Times bestselling-author Kelly Barnhill weaves a stunning collection of short fictions, teeming with uncanny characters whose stories unfold in worlds at once strikingly human and eerily original. Barnhill's stories draw their power from startling metaphors, unforeseeable twists, and universal themes of love, death, jealousy, and hope."

The Undertaker's Daughter by Sara Blaedel (Grand Central, $26, 9781455541119). "Widow Ilka Nichols Jensen's life in Copenhagen is rocked with the unexpected news that her estranged father has died in America. Furthermore, he's left her something in his will: his funeral home in Racine, Wisconsin. Hoping for closure and to settle her father's affairs, Ilka flies to Wisconsin. But once there, she stumbles upon an unsolved murder--and a killer who's very much alive."

A Problematic Paradox by Eliot Sappingfield (Putnam, $16.99, 9781524738457). "When Nikola Kross's inventor father is kidnapped by evil extraterrestrials, she's suddenly transported to a secret boarding school for scientific geniuses, a place where classes like Practical Quantum Mechanics are the norm, students commute via wormholes to class, and the student body isn't entirely human."

Reading with... Joshua Zeitz

Joshua Zeitz is a contributing editor at Politico and taught American history and politics at Cambridge, Harvard and Princeton. He has written for the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Smithsonian, the Atlantic, the New York Times and Dissent. Zeitz earned a Ph.D. in American history from Brown University and is a former political speechwriter and policy aide. He lives in Hoboken and Ocean Grove, N.J., with his wife and two daughters. His book, Building the Great Society: Inside Lyndon Johnson's White House, was just published by Viking.

On your nightstand now:

Three books! I'm working through Robert Dallek's fine new biography, Franklin D. Roosevelt: A Political Life. It's a masterful one-volume treatment of FDR--all the more bracing in the age of Trump.

Also, Richard White's The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, the latest installment in the Oxford History of the United States series. White is a specialist in the history of the American West, which differentiates this volume from other books in the series in the best way possible.

Finally, I'm returning to Golden Age, the concluding volume in Jane Smiley's fictional trilogy about an Iowa farm family. I was spellbound by the first two volumes when I read them a year or so ago, but having two small kids running around our house, I let the third book slip.

Favorite book when you were a child:

I re-read Esther Forbes's Johnny Tremain so many times that the binding came undone. I also had (and still have!) a weakness for mysteries. As a kid, I inhaled the Nancy Drew titles. Little wonder that, today, my e-reader is packed with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. It's my not-guilty pleasure.

Your top five authors:

Richard Hofstadter: out of fashion among most scholars today, but I think he was the most original and intellectually challenging American historian of the last 100 years. Also a brilliant stylist.

Gordon Wood: if you only read one book about American history, make it The Radicalism of the American Revolution. (Then read all of the others.)

Richard Russo: I grew up in a small town, and no one gets small-town America--the dark and the light--like Russo. He's the modern-day answer to Sherwood Anderson, and every bit as sharp an observer of class and place as anyone I've read.

Ann Patchett: I loved Bel Canto and Run--but I also admire Patchett for her commitment to books, the people who write them and the people who read them. 

Philip Roth: I've been hooked on Roth since I first read The Ghost Writer and plan to revisit The Plot Against America. Enough said about that.

Book you've faked reading:

Moby-Dick. Honors English in 11th grade. (Sorry, Dr. Mawer.) I was a congressional page, and the hours were brutal: school at 6:30 a.m., work in the Capitol Building from 9 a.m. until the House recessed for the day. I tried, but it just wasn't happening for me.

Book you're an evangelist for:

James Goodman's Stories of Scottsboro, a superb history of the famous Scottsboro case, told from multiple perspectives. Goodman is a fine historian who captures the intersections of class, race and region with a perfect mix of empathy and objectivity. When I was a classroom instructor, I incorporated it in every course that I could.

Book you've bought for the cover:

Gish Jen's Mona in the Promised Land. Glad I did! It's a great cover and an even better novel.

Book you hid from your parents:

I'm reasonably certain that my brother and I stashed away a few contraband periodicals at some point, but our parents were otherwise pretty liberal-minded. We didn't need to conceal our more conventional reading habits.

Book that changed your life:

Taylor Branch's Parting the Waters. It made me realize that ordinary people, working within the framework of their local communities, can change the course of history.

Favorite line from a book:

"What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?" --The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Five books you'll never part with:

Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform
Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution
Philip Roth, American Pastoral
Isaac Bashevis Singer, The Family Moskat
David Donald, Lincoln

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

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon. I've read it a few times, and it's always a magical experience. But it's a singular experience to read it from the first turn of the first page.

The greatest influences on you as a writer:

My dad, Carl, who was an AP political reporter. From grade one to grade 12, house rules stipulated that we show drafts of our school essays to Carl, who would do unspeakable violence with his red pen and assign a shadow grade (did you know there was such a thing as an F-minus?) to "motivate" us. We hated every second of it. But damned if it didn't work.

Bob Bannister, my favorite professor at Swarthmore. He's old school: a rigorous thinker and a great stylist. He taught me that writing history is an art, not a science. Clarity and grace needn't be opposing virtues.

Jim Patterson, my graduate adviser at Brown. He's a Bancroft Prize winner--a prolific and influential scholar--and he takes writing seriously. He had neither the time nor inclination to sugarcoat his marginalia, and though the comments often stung, we all benefited from them.

Book Review

Review: Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life

Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson (Pegasus, $35 hardcover, 544p., 9781681776538, March 6, 2018)

Known as the Queen of Crime, and a perennial bestselling author decades after her death, Agatha Christie is a subject of fascination. Born and raised in the coastal town of Torquay, England, she enjoyed an idyllic childhood and an unusually close relationship with her mother, Clara. Christie married twice and had one daughter, spent significant time in the Middle East on archeological digs, wrote hundreds of letters in addition to dozens of mystery novels and short stories, and created two of literature's most enduring detectives, Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple.

Biographer Laura Thompson (The Six) delves into Christie's personal history in Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life. She paints a charming picture of her subject's childhood and young adult years. A lifelong observer of people's quirks and character traits, she was "more astute in her art than in her life," Thompson says. She points to Christie's convoluted relationships with her first husband, Archie, and her daughter, Rosalind--contrasting them with Poirot's cool detachment and Miss Marple's keen insight into human nature. Thompson also makes much of the six novels Christie wrote under the pen name Mary Westmacott, especially Unfinished Portrait, which draws heavily on her life experiences.

Fans have long been intrigued by Christie's 11-day disappearance in 1926, when her first marriage was on the rocks and her health (physical and mental) was in question. Thompson narrates this episode from Christie's perspective, so that the interlude takes on a dreamlike quality. Only later does she report the facts of Christie's husband finding her in a Yorkshire spa town, and the newspaper articles surrounding her actions. The book picks up speed after that, focusing on her career as a novelist and playwright, and her seemingly infinite ability to conceive brilliant mystery plots. Thompson praises her "supremely deceptive simplicity" as a writer and the sparkling clarity of her books. Later Thompson focuses on Christie's second marriage, to the archeologist Max Mallowan, and the increasing difficulty of being Agatha Christie the woman (and writer) while managing Agatha Christie the commodity and public figure.

"No life is a code to be deciphered," Thompson writes. "Omniscience is for Hercule Poirot. Real life knows less; it has the beauty of mystery." Christie captured that mystery brilliantly in her books, and Thompson does her best to explore--though never entirely to solve--the mysteries of author's life. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

Shelf Talker: Laura Thompson's extensive biography of Agatha Christie delves into her personal history and prolific career.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Remembering ARC Time

Willy Vlautin's instrumental soundtrack for his tough, tender and brilliant new novel, Don't Skip Out on Me, is playing on the Bose in my office as I write this. I picked up a sample CD during the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association Fall Discovery Show in Denver last October, along with an ARC of the novel, which I read on the flight back home.

Last week, I learned from Bookselling This Week that Vlautin "will perform songs from the book's soundtrack at indie bookstores, libraries and literary festivals across the American West" while on tour for the novel, which is a March Indie Next Pick. For U.S. readers, a download code for the soundtrack (here's a taste) is available on the book's page on HarperCollins' website.

The BTW piece, along with an ever-rising ARC skyline on a table near my desk, got me thinking about New Release Tuesdays vs. ARC time. While it's exciting to see a book I love finally hit bookstore shelves, it can also be a little bittersweet because reading an ARC is like being let in on a secret. Now the secret's out.

Tayari Jones, Willy Vlautin and Sara Blaedel

I also considered the fact that some ARCs have another soundtrack, if you are lucky enough to hear the author speak during ARC time. For example, when Vlautin appeared at the MPIBA show's Authors of Future Releases Breakfast, he said, "I really appreciate bookstores. I'm kind of a bookstore addict. Every town I go to I just end up buying tons of books.... And any town I go to you know you have a safe place to hang out and someone that's a weird book lover. And anyone that's a little cracked is all right in my book. So, I'm sure I'd like all you guys."

That was nice to hear. And it isn't in the book. Recalling those words, I began thinking about other ARCS I've read and loved this past year, and some things those authors said long before their books were released.

Tayari Jones spoke during the same MPIBA breakfast about An American Marriage, which has now been released to well-deserved acclaim and recently became the first Oprah's Book Club choice of 2018. In Denver, she recalled leaner times, promoting her novel Silver Sparrow in the region, and driving a Chevy Suburban over the Red Mountain Pass to an event at Maria's Bookshop in Durango: "It was dangerous! I was like I'm going to die for my art! But I was thinking the thing about authors and independent booksellers: When we're on tour, you see us at our not best. By the time I arrived, I was not my best. But everywhere I've gone--and I went to 43 independent bookstores with Silver Sparrow--every place was a port in a different storm. I don't think I could have done it without so much care along the way."

Sara Blaedel (The Undertaker's Daughter), the third author featured at the event, said that about 25 years ago she "had my own small publishing house in Denmark, only publishing crime fiction. And that was way before any Scandinavian crime fiction wave hit anything, so it was so bad timing. But at the time I was driving around trying to charm booksellers, and what actually happened on my tours around was that they took me in. They gave me a chance, even though everyone knew this wasn't the best idea I ever had. But I think they felt pity because I was coming all around and so they said, 'Okay, give us two books of each' or something like that. So there my respect and love for booksellers started up."

At BookExpo '17, Jesmyn Ward was part of the Adult Author Breakfast lineup, discussing her upcoming--and ultimately National Book Award-winning--novel Sing, Unburied, Sing. During ARC time, she offered a compelling tribute to the independent booksellers in her home state of Mississippi, noting that her experiences with Pass Christian Books in Pass Christian; Turnrow Book Co. in Greenwood; Lemuria Books in Jackson; and Square Books in Oxford "go well beyond that of merchants and producers.... They have all advocated for me in my work, have encouraged me through events and festivals, and been my cheerleaders and supporters as I try to write honestly about our very complicated state."

Uzodinma Iweala, whose stunning novel Speak No Evil is a March Indie Next Pick, was a guest speaker at the MPIBA show's Author Banquet. Noting that while attending Harvard he spent a lot of time in the Harvard Book Store, he recalled "that feeling, that sense of being surrounded by all that story, the weight and the presence of all that collective knowledge, imagination and insight curated by people like you, who love books and who really live books. What I'm trying to say is thank you, because it's people like you who care not just about selling books, but who care about how they're sold and the importance of the physical space of the bookstore as a location for growth and as a space for connection, which was so profound and so important for me."

What I'm trying to say is that in the flush of excitement over a new book's release, it's also worth remembering the magic of ARC time, when we first opened those magical pages that everybody's reading now.

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

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