This Saturday is one of my favorite secular holidays, Independent Bookstore Day. In my family’s tradition, a jolly bearded man comes home with a bag full of books for himself and his loved ones from local independent bookstores and no one says, “Jolly, you? Really?” They just believe.
So what to expect this year? I posed the question to the CEO of the American Booksellers Association, Allison K. Hill. You may remember that she was a book reviewer for these newspapers and former CEO of Vroman’s and Book Soup. Allison is also one of my favorite bibliophiles and she explained to me.
“This year’s Independent Bookstore Day is the biggest in the event’s nine-year history: 872 stores across the country (a 14% increase from last year’s event) are participating this year, as well as independent bookstores from as far away as India,” Hill said. email me on the way to the airport.
“The biggest difference this year is that all the stores are open; COVID-related shutdowns are a thing of the past. Everyone was so excited that the celebration started earlier this year with a spirit week before the big day.
Angie Thomas, bestselling author of ‘The Hate U Give’ and ‘Concrete Rose,’ is the day’s ambassador, and Southern California stores will be celebrating in a variety of ways, so call ahead for details. . (For example, Vroman’s and Book Soup will offer treats, but they’ll also close early on Saturdays.) There’s also IBD-exclusive loot from Don Winslow, Holly Black, and more.
Looking for another way to enjoy the day? I also plan to attend LitFest Pasadenaa free, multi-day event that kicks off Saturday and features an incredible array of Southern California authors, including Natashia Deón, Steph Cha, Antoine Wilson and Joe Idé. The day ends with a conversation between two successful heavyweights, Michael Connelly and Gregg Hurwitz.
Additionally, opening day of LitFest Pasadena takes place at Mountain View Mausoleumwhich is not the usual space for a book festival.
“If you love architecture, it’s amazing,” says Kat Ward of LitFest Pasadena, who praised the beauty of the space.
Even better, it is a multi-day festivalso you can also attend events at other venues such as Altadena Public Library, Pasadena Presbyterian Church, Red Hen Press, and Vroman’s on May 4, 7, 11, and 14.
I look forward to a May 4 panel titled “To Change the World: Can Writing Truly Transform” with Reyna Grande, Rachel Harper, Naomi Hirahara, Attica Locke as well as a May 14 panel on Memoirs with Cassandra Lane, Tembi Locke, Maggie Rowe, Erika Schickel which will be moderated by my colleague Samantha Dunn.
“We don’t necessarily care about getting fat,” Ward said. “We want to improve. We care about engaging audiences and making sure authors have fun.
Sounds like a plan to me.
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Finally, congratulations to Naomi Hirahara, Southern California author and occasional contributor to our pages, for winning the Simon & Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award for “Clark and Division” at the Edgars, Mystery Writers of America Awards, on Thursday. Read the book if you haven’t already.
A question, a comment, a recommendation? Email me at [email protected] and I can use it in future newsletters.
Thanks, as always, for reading.
Shelley Wong shares Southern California poem and book recommendations
Raised in Long Beach, Pushcart Prize-winning poet Shelley Wong releases her debut album “As She Appears” on May 10. relationship ended. Wong’s poetry is rooted in his environment and place, particularly that of California. The poet also graciously allowed us to share a poem, “How to Live in Southern California,” which is not in the new collection but included in “The Best American Poetry 2021” (Scribner). Shell read with UCI professor and poet Natalie Shaperoauthor of “Popular Longing”, at Bel Canto Books on May 15.
Q. Is there a book or books that you always recommend to other readers?
Poetry sometimes seems daunting and academic, but it’s more alive than ever thanks to the internet. You can find poems and poets on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and, since the pandemic, through virtual readings taking place around the world. For those who are curious about poetry, I recommend these poets who grew up in California or who currently live there: “Magical Negro” by Morgan Parker, “Oculus” by Sally Wen Mao, “Kingdom Animalia” by Aracelis Girmay, “A Nail the Evening Hangs On” by Monica Sok, “I’m So Fine” by Khadijah Queen, and “Contemporary American Poetry” by John Murillo.
Q. Do you have a favorite book or books?
I’ll share five favorite poetry books that were deep sources of inspiration and comfort in writing my first book “As She Appears”: “Incarnadine” by Mary Szybist, “Slow Lightning” by Eduardo C. Corral , “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé” by Morgan Parker, “Stag’s Leap” by Sharon Olds, and “Sycamore” by Kathy Fagan. All of these books spoke to me of wonder and vulnerability, as well as the intimacies of to be together and apart.
Q. What are you reading now?
As my book release date of May 10th looms, I am immersed in the abundance of books coming out – there is so much to celebrate! And I always catch up, because there are so many presses. I want to support other writers as much as possible by buying books or finding them at the library and spreading the word, because it’s hard to launch a book during a pandemic. Some current books on my bedside table are “Constellation Route” by Matthew Olzmann, “Time is A Mother” by Ocean Vuong, “All Heathens” by Marianne Chan, “Field Study” by Chet’la Sebree and “Love Letter to Who Owns”. the heavens” by Corey Van Landingham.
Q. How do you decide what to read next?
It varies – sometimes I want to read similar books, especially if I’m interested in poetic conversation around a certain theme like nature or art. Other times I need a break from poetry and switching to prose helps restore my focus for longer work and allows me to read faster as I read more for fun than for myself. focus on DIY.
Q. Is there anyone who has had an impact on your life as a reader – a teacher, parent, librarian or someone else?
My parents (who just moved to OC!) read to me so often when I was young that people thought I could read when I had just memorized books. I grew up in Long Beach and spent many happy hours at the library and the neighborhood bookstores (RIP, Crown Books), and attended the Young Writers Camp at Cal State Long Beach. I’m grateful that my parents always supported my creative writing curiosity and made sure I had plenty of books to fuel my imagination.
How to Live in Southern California
By Shelley Wong
Stay in the car and move from an air-conditioned location
in another place of relaxation, perhaps during a tour of cinemas.
After a long winter in the east, 76% of California’s population
faces drought or abnormal dryness. my family went
to Palos Verdes to look for gray whales, where the water was choppy
and lined with mansions. As of June 19, 2018, three percent
is affected by extreme or exceptional drought. The Pacific Ocean
is a stage for an altar or a talk show. On the boat, my mother said,
“Don’t turn your back on the ocean.” Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway
in a long curved line – past sandal palaces, neon seafood shacks,
and offshore oil rigs – while listening to Fleetwood Mac, Katy Perry,
and Frank Ocean. Since the 1800s, my family has lived
along the west coast, from Seattle to San Francisco via Long Beach,
where the sun so often set without us looking at it. Come to Disneyland,
the Hollywood sign, in paradise by the highway. At 3 o’clock in the morning, there is always
Another milkshake, another bowling strike
of an Art Deco hotel. After discussing polygamy in Utah in 1875,
President Ulysses S. Grant said, “I call the attention of Congress
to another, but perhaps no less evil – the import
of Chinese women, but few of them are brought to our shores to pursue
honorable or useful occupations. The Spectrum of Drought Conditions
is color coded from yellow to dark red. In Los Angeles, people drive
for the driving experience, to be at the beach and in the hills
in the same hour. The drought site is maintained
by the National Center for Drought Mitigation. To go for a walk
to the end of the pier. The good life is when you don’t feel
weather. With sunglasses you own a special glamour.
Published in The Best American Poetry 2021, Guest Editor Tracy K. Smith (Scribner)
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What’s next on ‘Bookish’
On the next free Bookish event on May 20 at 5 p.m., host Sandra Tsing Loh chats with Don Winslow and Melissa Chadburn.