Happy Friday, everybody! This week has just flown by. I guess that’s the advantage of holiday Mondays, right? Kobo hit a huge milestone this weekend – we delivered our ten millionth free eBook to readers who are choosing to stay at home and read during this time of social distancing. Ten million! That’s huge! To all of those who are either doing their part by staying at home to flatten the curve, or who are providing the words that are keeping us entertained, thank you.

Let’s start off with some good news this week: A children’s bookstore in Madison Connecticut brought the community together and saved their employees’ jobs by holding a book drive for a kids’ lunch program.

R.J. Julia Saves Staff by Giving Away $150,000 in Books

As the impact of the new coronavirus became clear for Madison, Conn. indie R.J. Julia Booksellers, owner Roxanne Coady was faced with the question of how to ensure that the store’s 30 full-time employees have a paycheck and the store itself has a future. The answer was to give books away to children who need them.

Unfortunately, not all indie bookstores will survive this global shut down. While some stores are managing to make the switch to online selling, not all have been able to do so, leaving them in danger of closing for good – including the iconic City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco (warning: this article contains profanity).

Is This the End of the Indie Bookstore?

It was one of the biggest days in the history of Point Reyes Books. On Saturday, March 14, it had “holiday-level sales,” said Stephen Sparks, who has owned and operated the Marin County, California-based independent bookstore since 2017. “We were up 350 percent.” But Sparks wasn’t celebrating.

More good news! Comic book creators are coming together in an online auction in an effort to raise money for comic book stores.

Comic Creators Unite to Benefit Stores

A large group of comic book creators are banding together to help support comic book retailers whose business have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Using the Twitter hashtag #Creators4Comics, more than 120 creators will be auctioning comic books, artwork and one-of-a-kind experiences.

It’s not just comic book creators banning together though. The hashtag #authorstakeaction went viral on social media this week as authors around the globe promoted both their work and social distancing.

#AuthorsTakeAction, Authors Save Lives

For the last several weeks, authors have worked hard to amplify on social media with various hashtags new releases written by themselves and others during the widespread shutdown in response to the new coronavirus. Here’s another one: children’s author Padma Venkatraman is spearheading the official launch of #AuthorsTakeAction, a social media campaign that is designed to amplify authors’ books – and also save lives.

The arguments surrounding the National Emergency Library continues, with the Internet Archive founder defending the library as a resource for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access books during the pandemic.

Internet Archive Responds to Senator’s Concern Over National Emergency Library

Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle is defending the legality of the organization’s National Emergency Library initiative to a U.S. Senator who last week raised concerns that the effort may be infringing the rights of authors and publishers. “You raise the question of how this comports with copyright law,” Kahle wrote to U.S.

In Italy, authors are rushing to publish their books about the coronavirus.

In Italy, Coronavirus Books Rush to Publication

Doctors, novelists and other writers are exploring, as quickly as they can, the pandemic’s impact on a country that was among its earliest victims. MILAN – On Feb. 29, Paolo Giordano went to a dinner party in Rome. He didn’t shake hands or kiss anyone’s cheek, a serious breach in Italian etiquette.

And in the UK, one author’s book about a pandemic-induced lockdown in London has been rushed to publication a decade after publishers turned it down for being “unrealistic”.

Novel rejected for ‘unrealistic’ portrayal of London in pandemic lockdown published 15 years later

A dystopian novel about a deadly pandemic wreaking havoc across the world that was rejected 15 years ago has finally been published after reality once more proved itself stranger than fiction.

Alex Trebec has announced he’ll be releasing his memoir this summer. What is, a book guaranteed to make me cry?

Alex Trebek writing memoir, to be published in July

Simon & Schuster will publish the longtime Jeopardy host’s memoir, The Answer Is…. Simon & Schuster will publish the longtime Jeopardy host’s book The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life on July 21, one day shy of Trebek’s 80th birthday.

Disney’s has released the cover art and the first excerpt from their upcoming fairy tale quartet, The Mirror.

First look: Disney’s epic new fairy-tale series begins with Julie C. Dao’s magical ‘Broken Wish’

We could all use a little magic nowadays, and fortunately, Disney’s The Mirror is promising to offer that in spades. The upcoming quartet from publisher Disney Hyperion, announced earlier this month, centers on an intricate family curse and will move through generations and across continents from book to book.

The CBC has announced the shortlist for their short story prize. You can read the finalists’ stories here:

5 writers make the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize shortlist | CBC Books

Five writers have made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize shortlist. The finalists are: Each of the finalists will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and their stories have been published by CBC Books. You can read their stories by clicking the links above.

For the first time in the award’s history, an author from Algeria has won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

Abdelouahab Aissaoui has won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction.

A novel set at the beginning of France’s long conquest of Algeria has won the 13th International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Algerian writer Abdelouahab Aissaoui is the first from his country to win the prize, which comes with a $50,000 purse and funding for an English translation of his book, The Spartan Court.

The Beekeeper of Aleppo has won the 2020 Aspen Literary Prize. The prize is awarded to a work of fiction that illuminates a “vital contemporary issue”.

‘The Beekeeper Of Aleppo’ Wins 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize

Christy Lefteri grew up in the shadow of trauma. Her parents fled Cyprus after the Turkish invasion in 1974, and though the Cypriot refugees eventually made it to the United Kingdom, they couldn’t help but bring their pain with them.

If, like all of us here at KWL, you’re working from home and are in a lot of Zoom meetings, why not spice up your virtual background with one of these beautiful libraries?

8 Great Libraries for Your Zoom Background

Whether you’re a librarian doing storytimes from your couch or a library fan missing in-person visits, here are eight photos of light, bright, and beautiful libraries to ensure that next time you go on camera, the library’s behind you all the way.

A sound artist has enlisted the help of people all over the world for his new project, “Social Distancing, Haiku and You”.

This Sound Artist Is Asking People to Record COVID-19 Haikus

smithsonianmag.com With most brick-and-mortar museums shuttered due to COVID-19, cultural institutions across the world have had to get crafty with their offerings. One of the latest projects to come out of this uncertain time is a collaboration between the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) and Los Angeles-based sound artist Alan Nakagawa.

If you’re hoping to get a better scientific grasp on the world we’re currently living in, check out Duke University’s online library – all of the material on contagion and pandemics is now available free of charge.

Books About Pandemic and Contagion Free Online via Duke University Press

In an effort to increase public knowledge and conversely decrease the urge to run screaming into the nearest panic room during the current coronavirus crisis, Duke University Press made its books on pandemics and contagion free to publicly access online through June 1. Journal articles on the same topics are free until October 1.

Alternatively, if you’re looking to escape the world we’re currently living in for a while, you should check out this great collection of maps from fictional worlds.

Escape Into These Fantastical, Imaginary Maps

Last week, we recommended some gloriously intricate maps to roam around in, from a 1913 schematic of the New York Zoological Park to the branching arteries of France’s early-20th-century train lines. This week, why not venture even farther afield, to lands that don’t really exist at all?

Lastly, I wanted to share my favourite article of the week: a short and sweet piece about finding hope in these perilous times written by the wonderful Margaret Atwood.

Margaret Atwood: It’s the Best of Times, It’s the Worst of Times. Make the Most of It

Do you think you remember a movie in which a knight gallops toward a castle just as its drawbridge is going up, and his white horse jumps the moat in one glorious airborne leap?

Have a wonderful weekend folks! Stay home, wash your hands, stay safe.

Staff Recommendation and Social Distancing Update
Rachel Wharton: Author Engagement Intern

I’ll be honest, since social distancing began, my productivity levels have been pretty much zero. Rather than taking up a new project during this period of self isolation I have been catching up on all of the movies, books, video games, and TV shows I didn’t have time for previously. That being said, the one place I have been surprisingly productive is my home office. I’m not sure if it’s the working in sweatpants or the “comic book shop exploded in here” aesthetic, but I’m feeling incredibly lucky to be able to work so well at home.

Ten points if you can name all of the fandoms.

My favourite read in the past little while has been Joanne Vannicola’s memoir, All We Knew But Couldn’t Say. It’s dark, visceral, brutally honest, and surprisingly hopeful. I was worried that the book would be too much for me right now — the world is already dark enough — but I couldn’t put it down.

All We Knew But Couldn't Say ebook by Joanne Vannicola – Rakuten Kobo

Read “All We Knew But Couldn’t Say” by Joanne Vannicola available from Rakuten Kobo. Finalist for the 2020 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize in Nonfiction Joanne Vannicola grew up in a violent home with a physica…

%d bloggers like this: