Shelf Awareness for Friday, September 23, 2022

Inkyard Press: The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos

Other Press (NY): The Rebel and the Thief by Jan-Philipp Sendker, translated by Imogen Taylor

Holiday House: Welcome to Feral (Frights from Feral) by Mark Fearing

Charlesbridge Publishing: Too-Small Tyson (Storytelling Math) by Janay Brown-Wood, illustrated by Anastasia Williams

Berkley Books: Stone Cold Fox by Rachel Koller Croft

Blackstone Publishing: The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page

John Scognamiglio Book: In the Time of Our History by Susanne Pari

Quotation of the Day

Book Bans 'Should Alarm Every American'

"The wave of book bans that has swept across our country in recent years is a direct attack on First Amendment rights and should alarm every American who believes that freedom of expression is a fundamental pillar of our democracy. The efforts to remove books from schools and public libraries simply because they introduce ideas about diversity or challenge students to think beyond their own lived experience is not only anti-democratic but also a hallmark of authoritarian regimes. During this Banned Books Week, we must call attention to these threats to freedom of expression, reaffirm our commitment to protect First Amendment rights, and, most importantly, read banned books." 

--Rep. Jamie Raskin (D., Md.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Yesterday, he and Sen. Brian Schatz (D., Hawaii) introduced a bicameral resolution recognizing Banned Books Week and "condemning the profound attacks on books and freedom of expression in the U.S." 

Atria Books: The Night Travelers by Armando Lucas Correa


Brookline Booksmith Expands

Brookline Booksmith in Brookline, Mass., has expanded into an 800-square-foot adjacent space. 

Co-owner Lisa Gozashti told the Boston Globe that the new nook, which houses the store's art and design books, opened on September 16, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for October 14.

The art and design nook is connected to the bookstore's gift room, which was created in 2020 when Brookline Booksmith expanded into an adjacent 4,000-square-foot storefront. The successive expansions have allowed the store to carry "many more books than we've ever had since our founding."

Gozashti added: "It just feels like we're spreading our wings. We always wanted to have a huge wall full of design books because we didn't have the ability, and now that we do, I just feel overjoyed."

Barefoot Books: Save 10%

Lion's Mouth Bookstore, Green Bay, Wis., Moving to Larger Space

Lion's Mouth's current location

Lion's Mouth Bookstore in downtown Green Bay, Wis., is moving to a larger space at the end of the month, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The bookstore will be moving two blocks away, from 401 N. Washington St. to 211 N. Washington St. It will close in its current home for the final time on September 28 and will reopen in the new location in time for an October 6 author event.

The new space will allow owner Amy Mazzariello and her team to expand the bookstore's children's section and host much larger events. Mazzariello told the Sentinel that the new location is "near the action" and has better access to parking. And while she declined to give specifics, she noted that the new location will sell beverages that pair well with books, though that may not be ready in time for the reopening.

Prior to opening The Lion's Mouth in 2019, Mazzariello was buyer and events coordinator at the Reader's Loft. When Virginia Kress, the owner of the Reader's Loft, retired, Mazzariello acquired the business, changed the name and moved the store to downtown Green Bay.

In advance of the move, Lion's Mouth Bookstore is running a 15% off "storewide moving sale." The bookstore has also temporarily stopped buying used books until after the move. During the move customers will still be able to order books for pick-up and delivery, and volunteers are welcome to help with the move.

Ginger Fox: Free Freight and a Free Book Lovers Mug

International Update: BA, IPG Express Concern over Energy Price Cap; Booktopia Board Resigns

Meryl Halls

The Booksellers Association and the Independent Publishers Guild have warned that the British government's decision to cap gas and electricity prices for six months "will not go far enough to help bookshops and publishers weather the cost-of-living crisis," the Bookseller reported. Business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg recently announced that wholesale gas and electricity prices would be fixed for businesses for six months, with a review set for next March.

"Bookshops on our high streets are crucial elements in the high street recovery from Covid, and all retailers are already disproportionately impacted by cost increases, having been badly damaged by the pandemic," said Meryl Halls, managing director of the BA. "Indie booksellers especially operate on extremely slim margins, and even subsidized energy cost increases could knock newer and less-established bookshops out of viability."

She added that even some of the organization's larger members, and "those who have costs under control, and running efficient businesses," would find the increases hard to absorb: "Bookshops can't typically pass on price increases to consumers, so they are uniquely disadvantaged--and are uniquely valuable to our recovering population as we all face an autumn and winter of uncertainty, increased costs and shaky consumer confidence." 

Halls reiterated the BA's calls for the government to reform business rates "as a matter of priority," to encourage investment in renewable energy and to extend the government cap and subsidy on energy costs for longer than the proposed six months.

IPG CEO Bridget Shine commented: "Businesses face some very high bills over the autumn and winter, and the effects of other mounting costs and high inflation are going to be significant. Independent publishers have a bright future in the long term, but support beyond this relief scheme will be needed to help sustain some of the more vulnerable small and medium-sized enterprises through this challenging period."


Tony Nash

Australian online bookseller Booktopia's board has resigned. The Age reported that "ousted Booktopia boss Tony Nash has effectively taken back the reins of the company he co-founded after its independent directors resigned amid a stoush with the eccentric entrepreneur. Nash had been pushed out of the online bookseller's executive ranks in July after an investigation by the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald revealed how the once-market darling had become an investment pariah following an ill-timed share sale by Nash ahead of a profit warning. Nash remained a company director, but the board had asked him not to return to the company's offices."

In August, Nash demanded a shareholder meeting, planning to use his family and friends' 30%-plus stake to purge the board and appoint new directors based on his recommendations. In a statement, Booktopia said the resignations of its remaining four independent directors followed discussions with Nash about the future composition of the board following his notice of meeting in mid-August. "The two priorities for these discussions have been having a quality independent board and ensuring a good transition and stability for the company," the Age wrote. 

The board walkout comes in the wake of a drawn-out search for a new CEO for the company. Booktopia said three of the four resigning directors, including long-standing chairman Chris Beare, would remain on the board until replacements are elected or appointed.

In a statement issued via Booktopia's external media manager, Nash said he would not resume an executive role with the company, but would stay a non-executive director, adding: "The company will now undertake a search for new non-executive directors, one of which will be appointed chairman. The recruitment of a new CEO is progressing well, and the resolution of recent board issues is expected to assist in this process."


A guide to the best English bookstores in Berlin was featured by Exberliner, which noted: "Berlin is home to some world-class English-language bookstores. We round up the oldest, the newest and the best of the bunch. From long-established literary dens to fresh-faced feminist nooks, there's plenty of bookworm fodder to be found across the city." --Robert Gray

Red Comet Press: Robin Robin: Based on the Netflix Holiday Special by Dan Ojari, Mikey Please, illustrated by Briony May Smith

Binc Offers $750 Scholarships to Diamond Summit in Baltimore

The Book Industry Charitable Foundation is offering two $750 scholarships to comic book store owners and their employees to attend the Diamond Summit in Baltimore, Md., set for October 26-27. The funds may be used for travel, replacement wages, lodging and meals. 

"We are thrilled that Binc sees such value in our programming and the summit's networking opportunities that they are supporting retailers who could otherwise not attend," Diamond noted. "Their continued support of the comic industry and our retail partners is unmatched."

Binc's executive director Pam French added: "We are proud to offer this new professional development scholarship to comic retailers and their employees to attend the Diamond Summit. Through this scholarship, more retailers will have the opportunity to attend the Summit gaining valuable learning and networking opportunities." 

To apply for a scholarship to the Summit, applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • The applicant's store must be in the U.S. and either a retail bricks-and-mortar store owned by an entity a substantial portion of whose revenue is derived from the bricks-and-mortar sale of books/comics; or a mobile or pop-up store with an ongoing overhead investment that is open to the general public and maintains an annual average of 30 hours per week with an employee present.
  • The applicant must be a regular part-time or full-time employee or owner of a comic shop.
  • Applicants must be currently employed and have 90 days of continuous employment with the comic shop.

Applications are now open. The deadline to apply is October 3 by 5 p.m. Eastern. Comic store owners and their employees can apply for a scholarship here.  

Camcat Books: Armadas in the Mist: Volume 3 (The Empire of the House of Thorns) by Christian Klaver

Obituary Note: Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel, author of the Wolf Hall trilogy and twice the winner of the Booker Prize, died yesterday at age 70 of a stroke, according to the New York Times.

She won the Booker for the first two books in the trilogy, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. Bring Up the Bodies also won the Costa Award. The third book in the trilogy, The Mirror & the Light, was published in 2020, was longlisted for the Booker and won the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction. Her many other titles included Learning to Talk: Stories, Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir, A Place of Greater Safety, Beyond Black, Fludd, An Experiment in Love and The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories.

Quoted in the Bookseller, HarperCollins CEO Charlie Redmayne said: "This is terrible, tragic news and we are filled with sorrow for Hilary's family and friends, especially her devoted husband, Gerald. We are so proud that Fourth Estate and HarperCollins were Hilary's publisher, and for such a peerless body of work. A writer to the core, Hilary was one of the greatest of her generation--a serious, fearless novelist with huge empathy for her subjects. Who else could have brought Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII and the huge cast of the Wolf Hall Trilogy to life with such insight, frailty and humanity but her? We will all miss Hilary's company, her wisdom, her humour, and treasure her incredible literary legacy--she will be read as long as people are still reading."

Mantel's longtime editor Nicholas Pearson, former publishing director of Fourth Estate, said, "The news of Hilary’s death is devastating to her friends and everyone who worked with her. Hilary had a unique outlook on the world--she picked it apart and revealed how it works in both her contemporary and historical novels--every book an unforgettable weave of luminous sentences, unforgettable characters and remarkable insight. She seemed to know everything. For a long time she was critically admired, but the Wolf Hall Trilogy found her the vast readership she long deserved. Read her late books, but read her early books too, which are similarly daring and take the reader to strange places.

"As a person Hilary was kind and generous and loving, always a great champion of other writers. She was a joy to work with. Only last month I sat with her on a sunny afternoon in Devon, while she talked excitedly about the new novel she had embarked on. That we won't have the pleasure of any more of her words is unbearable. What we do have is a body of work that will be read for generations. We must be grateful for that. I will miss her and my thoughts are with her husband, Gerald."

Bill Hamilton, Mantel's agent, said: "I first met Hilary in 1984 after she sent in the manuscript of Every Day Is Mother's Day. It has been the greatest privilege to work with her through the whole of her career, and to see all the elements that made her unique come together spectacularly in the Wolf Hall Trilogy. Her wit, stylistic daring, creative ambition and phenomenal historical insight mark her out as one of the greatest novelists of our time. She will be remembered for her enormous generosity to other budding writers, her capacity to electrify a live audience, and the huge array of her journalism and criticism, producing some of the finest commentary on issues and books.

"E-mails from Hilary were sprinkled with bon mots and jokes as she observed the world with relish and pounced on the lazy or absurd and nailed cruelty and prejudice. There was always a slight aura of otherworldliness about her, as she saw and felt things us ordinary mortals missed, but when she perceived the need for confrontation she would fearlessly go into battle. And all of that against the backdrop of chronic health problems, which she dealt with so stoically. We will miss her immeasurably, but as a shining light for writers and readers she leaves an extraordinary legacy. Our thoughts go out to her beloved husband, Gerald, family and friends."

More remembrances in Monday's issue.


Image of the Day: Walk on the Wildlife Side at Warwick's

Warwick's, La Jolla, Calif., hosted Rolf Benirschke (second from right, front row), former San Diego Charger and founder of Kicks for Critters, as he discussed his book Saving Wildlife: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Dr. Kurt Bernirschke. Dr. Kurt Benirschke ("Dr. B") was a trailblazing physician-scientist and wildlife conservationist. Rolf Benirschke is Dr. B's son, and describes his father's fascinating life and adventures.

In upcoming weeks, Warwick's will host events with the authors of three children's books (Koala Crossing and Sloth's Treehouse Inn by Carrie Hasler, and Raising Don: The True Story of a Spunky Baby Tapir by Georgeanne Irvine) also published by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. These events will be complemented by in-store appearances by Animal Ambassadors from the San Diego Zoo and/or Safari Park.

Boulder Bookstore Celebrates Arsen Kashkashian

Arsen Kashkashian

Yesterday, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo., posted on Instagram: "Today is an important day---our Head Buyer and co-general manager Arsen Kashkashian is celebrating 30 years at the Boulder Bookstore! If you've witnessed his antics over on our YouTube channel, met him in the store, listened to one of his KGNU Bookclub interviews, or even just browsed our bookshelves, you've witnessed just how important he is in making Boulder Bookstore the special place it is. Thank you Arsen for an amazing 30 years!"

Cool Idea of the Day: Banned Books Display in Bank Vault

Old Town Books, Alexandria, Va., shared photos of the bookstore's unusual display idea: "In honor of Banned Books Week we're unveiling our first special collection of books inside our 1850s walk-in bank safe at the store. Visit the exhibit to see some of our favorite books that have been challenged or banned from schools, libraries, and other public places. There's no better time to think about the freedom to read than now, when book banning is reaching unprecedented highs." 

Personnel Changes at Insight Editions; Abrams

At Insight Editions:

Tim Golden has joined the company as director of sales, business development and national specialty. He was previously director of sales, special markets and new business development at Sourcebooks.

Benjie Reyes has joined Insight Editions as a performance marketer.

Jeff Barton has been named trade sales manager.


Tara Lehmann has joined Abrams as senior publicist, working primarily with the Abrams ComicArts imprint and licensed/brand entertainment titles on the Abrams list. Lehmann was previously at Oni Press and Beyond Words.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Mary Roach on Fresh Air

CBS Mornings: Angie Thomas, author of On the Come Up (Balzer + Bray, $14.99, 9780062498588).

Fresh Air: Mary Roach, author of Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law (Norton, $16.95, 9781324036128).

TV: Rogues' Gallery

The Iron Man franchise actor Don Cheadle's production label This Radicle Act has optioned Hannah Rose May's Image Comics comic book Rogues' Gallery "in a competitive situation," Deadline reported, adding that Cheadle (House of Lies, Hotel Rwanda) "has a first look with Industrial Media and the plan is to adapt Rogues' Gallery into a TV series."

May wrote and created "the high concept home invasion thriller, which is set against the backdrop of toxic fandom and obsession," featuring art by Marvel's Spiderpunk artist, Justin Mason, Deadline noted. May will serve as an executive producer and will be producing the series through her Weird Neighbour Productions banner alongside Cheadle, Karyn Smith-Forge and This Radicle Act.

Books & Authors

Awards: Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Winners; Financial Times's Business Book Shortlist

The Wilbur & Niso Smith Foundation named Giles Kristian's Where Blood Runs Cold the winner of this year's £10,000 (about $11,420) Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize for best published novel. 

"The prize encapsulates the idea of adventure: there is a book for everyone on this shortlist," said founder Niso Smith. "Where Blood Runs Cold is an action-packed winner with an emotional core, that reminds us to value the loved ones in our lives. Giles's Norwegian heritage shines through in his masterful portrayal of the beauty and peril held in the frozen landscapes of northern Norway. Congratulations, Giles!"

Five writers were selected for the inaugural New Voices award to support them to take an idea and turn it into a finished manuscript. In partnership with Bonnier Books UK, the shortlisted authors, who are from Australia, South Africa, the U.S. and the U.K., "will be supported through their journey by the foundation as they received one-to-one editorial guidance and mentoring."

The Author of Tomorrow category is open to writers 21 and under, who have completed a short adventure story, with prizes awarded in three age categories. 


The shortlist for the Financial Times's £30,000 (about $33,770) 2022 Business Book of the Year Award, recognizing a book that "provides the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues," consists of:

Dead in the Water: Murder and Fraud in the World's Most Secretive Industry by Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel (Portfolio)
Influence Empire: The Story of Tencent and China's Tech Ambition by Lulu Chen (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order: America and the World in the Free Market Era by Gary Gerstle (Oxford University Press)
The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Art of Disruption by Sebastian Mallaby (Penguin Press)
Chip War: The Fight for the World's Most Critical Technology by Chris Miller (Scribner)
Disorder: Hard Times in the 21st Century by Helen Thompson (Oxford University Press)

Reading with... Lynda Cohen Loigman

photo: Randi Childs

Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Mass. She received degrees from Harvard College and Columbia Law School. Her debut novel, The Two-Family House, was a USA Today bestseller and a nominee for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards in Historical Fiction. Her second novel, The Wartime Sisters, was selected as a Woman's World Book Club pick and a Best Book of 2019 by Real Simple magazine. Her third novel is The Matchmaker's Gift (St. Martin's Press, September 20, 2022), a story about two women from different eras who defy societal expectations.

Handsell readers your book in 25 words or less:

A turn-of-the-century matchmaker and her divorce attorney granddaughter share the same gift for matching soul mates. Lower East Side history, whimsy, magic, pickles.

On your nightstand now:

Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn. I adore the message of self-love this novel promotes. The quirky relatives feel so familiar, and Yinka--with all of her insecurities--is a complete delight.

An ARC of Lunar Love by Lauren Kung Jessen, about a young woman taking over her grandmother's matchmaking business, which pairs people according to Chinese zodiac symbols. It was such a joy to read another matchmaking book that focuses on a grandmother-granddaughter relationship.

An ARC of Daughters of Nantucket by Julie Gerstenblatt. This novel reminds me of Gone with the Wind. It's an epic saga about the days leading up to Nantucket's historical fire of 1846.

Favorite book when you were a child:

Half Magic by Edward Eager. I must have read it 50 times. The magic in the story felt attainable, maybe because it was so flawed. The family dynamics among the four siblings and their mother was not only hilarious but incredibly poignant. I read it again recently and, not surprisingly, I related to the world-weary mother character in a whole new way.

Your top five authors:

Edith Wharton, Alice Hoffman, John Irving, Ann Patchett, V.E. Schwab.

Book you've faked reading:

Moby-Dick. I started reading it so many times, but I could never get through the extremely long passages about whales. Also, there are no women in Moby-Dick, and I think that makes me care about the story less.

Book you're an evangelist for:

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. I've told everyone I know to read it. Also, Julia Whelan narrates the audiobook, and she is fantastic.

Book you've bought for the cover:

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill. It's on my nightstand, and I can't wait to dig into it.

Book you hid from your parents:

Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews and Forever by Judy Blume. A friend's older sister had Forever, and we would sneak into her room to read it. I had my own copy of Flowers in the Attic, but I can't remember how I got it.

Book that changed your life:

The Chosen by Chaim Potok. I read it for the first time when I was 12 or 13, and I remember being surprised to find a book about Jewish teenagers. This was 40 years ago, and there were very few books with Jewish representation at that time. Although I was raised Jewish, my family was not religious and I knew nothing at all about the Hasidic tradition. It never occurred to me back then that there could be such tensions within the broader Jewish community.

Favorite line from a book:

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." I thought about this line from Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy all the time when I was working on my first novel. It's a line many of us have heard before, but it never loses its truth.

Five books you'll never part with:

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Plus an old, damaged paperback that has both Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet and the script for West Side Story in it. I got it when I was maybe 10 years old after seeing a local summer theater production of West Side Story.

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

The Once and Future King by T.H. White. In middle school, I was obsessed with the legend of King Arthur and then, in high school, my English class read The Once and Future King. I think all the prior reading I had done about the legends made T.H. White's book feel more meaningful. I loved thinking about Arthur as a young boy who carries so much responsibility on his shoulders.

Book Review

Review: Idol, Burning

Idol, Burning by Rin Usami, trans. by Asa Yoneda (HarperVia, $24.99 hardcover, 144p., 9780063213289, November 15, 2022)

"Prodigy" comes to mind when examining Rin Usami's brief (thus far) but astounding literary trajectory. Her 2019 debut novel, Kaka, made her the youngest recipient of the prestigious Yukio Mishima Prize. Her intriguing follow-up, Idol, Burning, published in 2020 when Usami was just 21, garnered the Akutagawa Prize, one of Japan's highest literary honors.

Youth is at the center of Usami's disturbing narrative, which highlights a 16-year-old's withdrawal from family, school and eventually the rest of reality. Akari--a name that means "light," "bright"--is a high school student who effectively disappears into the all-consuming void of obsessive fandom. Her sole reason for living is to support her "oshi"--the titular idol, Masaki Ueno, a former child star who is now part of a coed music group called Maza Maza. Akari has never actually met him, but she's learned every detail of his personal life and career, compiled his videos and interviews, analyzed every bit of news about him--including the latest allegation that he assaulted a female fan. Her support never wavers, and she works part-time so she can invest in virtually every piece of Masaki memorabilia. She buys three copies of every Masaki CD, DVD and photo book--"one to lend to others, one for personal use, and one to keep." With unflinching clarity, Usami expertly transforms Akari's devotion into debilitating disconnection.

Asa Yoneda translates from the Japanese for Usami's U.S. debut. Yoneda's thoughtful note at the novel's end skillfully augments the narrative with historical and cultural revelations that might not be obvious to non-Japanese audiences. What might seem to have been a sparse meditation on teenage isolation gets brilliantly contextualized with nods to nuclear destruction, Western occupation and the core of Japanese identity. Yoneda also adds that Idol, Burning was 2020's "single bestselling novel published in Japanese"--further proof of its powerful, universal resonance.

Affecting black-and-white drawings by Leslie Hung introduce unnamed chapters, meant to "capture the quiet moments of loneliness that Akari experiences," Hung writes in her own afterword. Book designer Delaney Allen also gets his say, projecting a sense of "teetering on collapse" for his distinctive cover art. A village emerges to ensure Usami's Stateside success. Pair with Mieko Kawakami's All the Lovers of the Night or Sayaka Murata's Convenience Store Woman for haunting, enhanced understanding of social detachment and contemporary malaise. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

Shelf Talker: A poignant, disturbing international bestseller from Japan exposes teenage detachment and isolation in the frenetic world of obsessive fandom.

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: Banned Books Month 1922--The Vice Society's 'Field of Uselessness'

It is ridiculous for one man to set himself up to decide what people shall read and shall not read. It would be an attempt to impose his temperamental and intellectual limitations on the general public. The reading public is the best judge of whether a book is moral or immoral. 

--Sir Gilbert Parker, in a New York Times item headlined "Against Censoring Books" (September 8, 1922)  

With self-appointed book vice squads ever mustering across the U.S., Banned Books Week focuses public attention on a year-round challenge (think whack-a-mole but with censors) by celebrating the hard work being done to confront pernicious Booksnatchers.

But what if we turned the clock back a hundred years; if we read the New York Times in September 1922. What might a comparable bookish news cycle look like? 

John Saxton Sumner

Well, on September 13, 1922, the Times reported that, in a decision by Magistrate George W. Simpson in the Municipal Term Court, a charge made by John S. Sumner, secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, against publisher Thomas Seltzer was dismissed and Seltzer discharged. Also exonerated was Mary H. Mark, a circulation library employee, charged by Sumner with loaning, for a consideration, one of three books involved in the case.

The titles on trial were A Young Woman's Diary, attributed to a Viennese girl between the ages of 11 and 15; Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence, described by the magistrate in his decision as a book in which "the author attempted to discover the motivating power of life"; and Casanova's Home-coming by Dr. Arthur Schnitzler, referred to by the magistrate as "a leading man of letters" whose book was "the story of the last love affair in his declining years of one Casanova, famous for his memoirs."

"Books will not be banned by law, merely because they do not serve a useful purpose nor teach any moral lesson," Magistrate Simpson said, adding: "I have read with sedulous care Casanova's Home-coming, Women in Love and A Young Girl's Diary. Following the tests laid down by the cases in this state, both as to the manner of judging publications and as to the meaning of the statutes, I do not find anything in these books which may be considered obscene. On the contrary, I find that each of them is a distinct contribution to the literature of the present day. Each of the books deals with one or another of the phases of present thought."

Seltzer commented: "The people have shown clearly that they recognize the menace of literary censorship, and they have served notice on Mr. Sumner that they will not tolerate dictatorship of what books they may read and what books they may not read. They have the right to choose the reading matter for themselves and they mean to exercise that right.... The American People, I am sure, will soon find a legal way to put a stop to it.... I do not consider this my victory alone; it is the victory of the entire reading public."

D.H. Lawrence

Noting that "you can't win every case," Sumner was not disheartened by the loss, stating: "It is simply a case of his opinion differing from the opinion existing here and on the part of the people who called out attention to these books." Having confiscated many copies of the books he found in Seltzer's Manhattan office, Sumner was ordered to return them. 

A day later, a commentary in the Times noted that "Sumner comes near to giving his case away. If there may be difference of opinion among intelligent and decent people about the morals of a given book, the Vice Society is going to find its field of uselessness restricted to something like its original objects. Luckily, the Court's opinion prevails; we are not yet, as it seemed not long ago we would be, in bondage to those members of the Vice Society whose minds were most avid and acute to scent evil where none existed."

By September 17, a lawsuit for damages of $10,000 had been filed against Sumner by Jonah J. Goldstein on behalf of Seltzer on the grounds of false arrest and injury to his business. A similar suit was to be filed soon on behalf of the employee. 

But Sumner sprang up like a weed again later in the article, saying: "We have not this year obtained any convictions for the publication of indecent books, but we did last year. Although some publishers succeed in winning the cases against them, the chances of being convicted and the fact that others have been convicted is the chief deterrent against a flood of still more vicious books than we have today."

He quickly took another loss, however. On September 28, the Times reported that Magistrate Charles S. Oberwager had dismissed Sumner's case against Boni & Liveright, Inc. for publishing The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter

"The legislature did not intend to confer on any individual or society general powers of censorship over literary works," the magistrate observed, "for if such were the case the power could easily be abused and the destruction of freedom of speech as well as freedom of the press would be the resultant effects of such a statute.... One who is not content with repressing scandalous excesses, but demands austere piety will soon discover that not only has the rendering of an impossible service to the cause of virtue been attempted, but that vice has thereby been added."

--Robert Gray, contributing editor

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