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 Weekly Words about New Books in
Independent Bookstores

April 21, 2019

Independent Bookstore Day Celebrates Five Years!   
 
Six years ago, booksellers in the San Francisco Bay Area got together to figure out how to spread the word about the revitalization of independent bookstores, both in California and across the country. After years of bookstore closings and a narrative that had all books being purchased online by the end of the decade, indies had begun a resurgence that was both quantifiable and more than a flash in the pan. The result was California Bookstore Day, a celebration that aimed to both change the litany of "bookstores are dying" stories and thank customers of independent bookstores for their support. The event was an unqualified hit and became a national phenomenon the next year.
 
Why? Well, it turns out that book buyers agree that independent bookstores are not just stores; they're community centers and local anchors run by passionate readers. They are entire universes of ideas that contain the possibility of real serendipity. They are lively performance spaces and quiet places where aimless perusal is a day well spent. In a world of tweets and algorithms and pageless digital downloads, bookstores are not a dying breed. They are living, breathing organisms that continue to grow and expand. In fact, there are more of them this year than there were last year...and the year before that, and the year before that.  
 
And for that, independent booksellers have their customers to thank, and on Independent Bookstore Day - Saturday, April 27 - more than 500 bookstores will do just that with parties, activities, events, and more taking place nationwide throughout the day. If you'd like to see whether a bookstore near you is participating, click here to see the list.   
 
"Consumers control the marketplace by deciding where to spend their money. If what a bookstore offers matters to you, then shop at a bookstore. If you feel that the experience of reading a book is valuable, then read the book. This is how we change the world: we grab hold of it. We change ourselves."
- Ann Patchett, bestselling author and co-owner 
of Parnassus Books,  
Nashville, TN  
Can Artificial Intelligence Find  True Love?  

Machi nes Like Me by Ian McEwan. The always-interesting McEwan has an enviable literary resume, with both a National Book Critics Circle Award (for Atonement ) and a Booker Prize (for Amsterdam) topping the list. He also can be thought-provoking with his plot choices, as witnessed in novels like The Children's Act, where a judge must decide whether a teenage boy should get a potentially life-saving blood transfusion being blocked by Jehovah's Witness parents, or Nutshell, in which a murder plot is overheard by a soon-to-be born child in his mother's womb.
   
McEwan's latest examines the role of artificial intelligence as he imagines an alternative reality in 1980s London, where Alan Turing is still alive and has helped create a line of very real androids.  Charlie, drifting through life and dodging full-time employment, is in love with Miranda, a bright student who lives with a terrible secret. When Charlie comes into money, he buys Adam, one of the first synthetic humans and - with Miranda's help - he designs Adam's personality. The near-perfect human that emerges is beautiful, strong, and clever. Unfortunately, Adam also soon falls for Miranda, creating an unusual love triangle (to say the least). As Kirkus Reviews puts it, "McEwan brings humor and considerable ethical rumination to a cautionary tale about artificial intelligence." 
WHERE TO FIND 
AN INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE

Many of you already have a favorite local bookstore, but for those of you without such a relationship, you can click here to find the
nearest indie bookstore by simply entering your postal code.  

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WHY THE COLUMN?
Hi, I'm Hut Landon, and I work as a bookseller in an independent bookstore in BerkeIey, California.

My goal with this newsletter is to keep readers up to date about new books hitting the shelves, share what indie booksellers are recommending in their stores, and pass on occasional news about the book world.

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