“You won’t find many other cities where black people were doing so well in the ’30s and ’40s. I wanted to show the decline in successful black America that was disproportional—to show that, in some ways, we’re not doing better than in the ’40s, even though Jim Crow has been abolished, and you’d assume there’d be marked progress. In some areas, we’ve regressed.” —Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of A Kind of Freedom and 2017 National Book Award finalist, on why she chose New Orleans for her debut novel’s setting, in the Mercury News
“I find it...strange that a mediocre website can decide it wants to be a publisher, and one month later hit #1 on the NYT Bestsellers list.” —YA author Phil Stamper (@stampepk) uncovers the Handbook for Mortals scandal on Twitter. As reported by Bustle and many other outlets, Stamper’s sleuthing led the New York Times to remove the debut novel by Lani Sarem from the No. 1 spot on its Young Adult Hardcover bestseller list for allegedly attempting to game the system by placing bogus bulk orders at NYT–reporting bookstores. (Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give returned to its rightful place at No. 1.)
“Since the lead-up to the election, my response to every pivotal national or world event has been to ‘go to the stacks.’ To shore up our selection of books, to elevate the right kind of information so that people are better able to find it....I could be one body at JFK or five copies of the Koran on the shelf in my stores." —Rebecca Fitting, co-owner of Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, referencing her response to the “Muslim ban” protests of January 2017, in “Booksellers Respond to Charlottesville,” in the American Booksellers Association’s Bookselling This Week blog
“I want you to hear every gunshot—and in order to replicate that feeling, it’s not enough to stay on one page and say this happened 10 times. The time you take to turn the page is enough time for the gun to fire again. I’m always trying to give the reader at least as much of me in person as I can on the page.” —Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art, a poetry collection including a series entitled “Sagas of the Accidental Saint,” on mothers who have lost unarmed children to police brutality, at The Millions
“...I went back into the original book and put a phone in her hands, now and then. I also switched out some teen magazines that have folded in the past decade and a half, gave her Netflix, [and] cut the references to Hostess Cupcakes, because it turns out no one eats them anymore.” —YA novelist Carolyn Mackler, who, with publisher Bloomsbury’s blessing, modernized the 2003 bestseller The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things to match its eagerly anticipated sequel, The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I, in Entertainment Weekly
Megan Labrise writes “Field Notes” and features for Kirkus Reviews and is the co-host of the Kirkus podcast, Fully Booked. Photo above left is Rebecca Fitting; photo to the right is Carolyn Mackler photographed by Sarah Klock.