Book Beat October Newsletter 2020

Dear Book Friends,

Book Beat is now open for appointment browsing during the hours of 12-7 PM: Mon.- Sat., and Sunday: 12 PM-5 PM. Appointments can be made any day by calling ahead; (248) 968-1190 or emailing us at We are keeping our outdoor sale tables stocked and available through the month of October… if you see a book you’d like to purchase, knock on the door or call. A permanent indoor sale book section has recently been created. 

The American Bookseller Association and the major publishers have informed us to expect delays in shipping this fall. We are recommending buying gifts early to avoid disappointment. We encourage you to call ahead, and begin thinking about the holidays “sooner than later.”

We encourage you to visit our affiliate page: Bookshop supports independent bookstores, and has been a lifeline for us in 2020. “Bookshops are essential to a healthy culture, and online sales are vital to safeguarding their future,” said Andy Hunter, founder and CEO of Bookshop in a recent issue of Publisher’s Weekly.

In our newsletter this month, we present book reviews by Tom Bowden (a savior of the small press), Virtual Museum Visits, A Pandemic Halloween, and the Novelty recordings of Nervous Norvous (a reprint from 2006).

Growing our newsletter is important for our continued health.  We thank you for reading, supporting Book Beat, caring for one another and being kind.  

Wishing everyone a safe and frightfully fun October. Remember to Vote! 

Peace, Love and good readings!

Cary, Colleen, and the staff at Book Beat

 Nominated Books for the 2020 National Book Awards 

The ten titles nominated for the Non-fiction National Book Award, 2020.

“Perhaps you’re an avid reader — or you’re just stuck at home and suddenly have more time to read. Either way, if you’re looking for reading recommendations, why not start with one of the 50 works contending for a National Book Award?”

The National Book Foundation released its annual book award longlists over the past few days, ending with fiction on Friday, featuring work from seasoned and debut writers alike, as well as a collection of short stories from an author who died last month.
npr National Book Awards

Ten titles nominated for the National Book Award in fiction.

Three debut novels: “Douglas Stuart’s novel “Shuggie Bain,” which traces the life of a boy with an alcoholic mother, is a queer coming-of-age story, an intimate study of familial bonds, and, in the author’s words, a “love story to Glasgow,” the city where he grew up. “Shuggie Bain” is one of three débuts on the longlist for this year’s National Book Award for Fiction. “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies,” a story collection by Deesha Philyaw, narrates experiences of Black women across regions and generations, mapping desire and friendship within the confines of religious communities. “A Burning,” Megha Majumdar’s novel set in present-day India, begins with a terrorist attack at a train station and unfurls into a complex story of poverty, corruption, and injustice.” — The New Yorker

Trio of Black female authors among 21 MacArthur Foundation ‘genius grant’ winners

Jacqueline Woodson, N.K. Jemisin and Tressie McMillan Cottom were among 21 winners of the 2020 MacArthur Foundation “genius grants.”

Three prominent Black female authors in science fiction, young adult literature and essay writing are among the 21 winners of this year’s MacArthur Foundation “genius grants.”

N.K. Jemisin, the speculative fiction writer of the “Broken Earth” trilogy; Jacqueline Woodson, the author of children’s and young adult books including “Brown Girl Dreaming” and “The Other Side”; and Tressie McMillan Cottom, the author of the essay collection “Thick” were all named as 2020 MacArthur fellows.–Source: CNN

Start your day with Poem-a-Day!

Without poetry we lose our way.
–Jo Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate

Stay sane and safe, and receive a FREE poem daily sent to you by e-mail. Sign up is easy at POEM-A-DAY . Begin your day with poetry!

Why does poetry matter? “Poetry at its best calls forth our deep being. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind; it calls to us, like the wild geese, as Mary Oliver would say, from an open sky. It is a magical art, and always has been — a making of language spells designed to open our eyes, open our doors and welcome us into a bigger world, one of possibilities we may never have dared to dream of.” —Why Poetry is Necessary, Huffington Post

Concert of Colors Oct-6-Oct 11

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 28th Annual Concert of Colors and partner institutions will transform the Detroit Film Theatre at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) into a sound stage, filming live performances by headline artists and then broadcast the festival on Detroit Public TV-WTVS Channel 56 and WDET 101.9 FM in October of 2020.

Concert of Colors will air in prime time on WTVS two hours a night, for four consecutive nights, on Detroit Public Television, and simulcast on Detroit Public Radio (WDET) radio and streamed online worldwide. The full lineup and dates will be announced soon, and will include the Don Was All Star Revue with a tribute to Detroit radio legend Ed Love.”

A Photography Book of Special Note

To Make Their Own Way in the World is a profound consideration of some of the most challenging images in the history of photography: fifteen daguerreotypes of Alfred, Delia, Drana, Fassena, Jack, Jem, and Renty–men and women of African descent who were enslaved in South Carolina.

Photographed by Joseph T. Zealy for Harvard professor Louis Agassiz in 1850, they were rediscovered at Harvard’s Peabody Museum in 1976. This groundbreaking multidisciplinary volume features essays by prominent scholars who explore such topics as the identities of the people depicted in the daguerreotypes, the close relationship between photography and race, and visual narratives of slavery and its lasting effects. With over two hundred illustrations, including new photography by Carrie Mae Weems, this book frames the Zealy daguerreotypes as works of urgent engagement. Co-published by Aperture and Peabody Museum Press

“For a century, they languished in a museum attic. Fifteen wooden cases, palm-size and lined with velvet. Cocooned within are some of history’s cruelest, most contentious images — the first photographs, it is believed, of enslaved human beings.”– read the complete New York Times review of To Make Their Own Way in the World.

Heroes for Children

Colleen Kammer, co-owner of Book Beat suggested and wrote up a few book reviews on “Heroes for Children” reprinted in: Mint Artist Guild, a local group promoting visual arts and creativity for teens in the Detroit area.

Author Swap with Michael Zadoorian & Josh Malerman

Local Detroit authors Michael Zadoorian and Josh Malerman both had novels released this year: Zadoorian’s The Narcissism of Small Differences, and Malerman’s Malorie. Both authors had major films produced about their books, but they could not be more different. The authors decided to read and promote each other’s books in a live ‘Author Swap’ zoom talk, where they shop talked about writing, read from each other’s books and asked questions. Here’s a link to the zoom video on FB. Book Beat helped sponsor the event and has signed books available.  To order, call us directly at: (248) 968-1190, or

Banned Book Week

Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 3, 2020) may be over, but we’d like to share our catalog: Frequently Banned Books, that spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
Book Beat staff member Gwen has put together a video aimed at often censored books for YA readers, it can be seen below:

Literacy Matters, a few local resources:

There are many ways to address literacy and story-telling in the home, and if you have time to volunteer and work with literacy groups, we’ve made a short list of Detroit area contacts that can always use help by either being a volunteer reader, giving books donations, or other support.

The Detroit Literacy Coalition is a non-profit that supports adult literacy programs to address the needs of metro Detroiters with low literacy skills.

The Michigan Reading Association is committed to empowering all Michigan students and educators through literacy.

Retooling Detroit is a non-profit, volunteer-based public service organization dedicated to breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty and illiteracy through a community-wide effort that is holistic and multi-pronged.

The Storytellers Guild was formed in 1992, after a luncheon to honor Helen Southgate Williams, an 85 year old woman who devoted her life to enriching the lives of children through books and storytelling. Inspired to act upon the idea of fostering “an army of storytellers with books under their arms, reading and telling stories to children everywhere.” Guild members travel to underserved schools and read books to elementary students. StoryTellers are active in three counties, 21 underserved schools and Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital. They serve about 3,000 children. Members promote literacy and donate hundreds of books to classrooms and libraries every year.

Reading is much more than an alternative to boredom and stress. Literacy is the foundation of learning for all subjects in the world, and for all ages. A command of language and good literacy can help get us through almost anything life throws at us.

At a time when only one in three fourth-graders are reading at grade level, we must begin teaching children the joy of reading early and often. Contact your State and elected officials and let them know that literacy can’t be ignored.

Creativity in Education

Sir Ken Robinson who passed away this past August from cancer, created the most watched TED TALK ever made with over 67 million views. In his talk on children’s education, he said, “My contention is that creativity now, is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status..”

In his book The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, Robinson looks at the conditions that enable us to find ourselves in the Element and those that stifle that possibility. Drawing on the stories of a wide range of people, including Paul McCartney, Matt Groening, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, and Bart Conner, he shows that age and occupation are no barrier and that this is the essential strategy for transforming education, business, and communities in the twenty-first century.

“While the world is changing faster than ever, our organizations, our schools, and too often our minds are locked in the habits of the past. The result is a massive waste of human talent. The Element is a passionate and persuasive appeal to think differently about ourselves and how to face the future.” —Alvin Toffler, author of The Future Shock

“The challenges parents face and the options they have are naturally affected by their circumstances. Parents living in poor neighborhoods with limited resources face different challenges from those in wealthy suburbs with paid help. Some parents can pay for the education they want; most cannot.

In general, they have three options: They can work for changes within the current system, particularly in their children’s own school; they can press for changes to the system; or they can educate their children outside the system. Whatever their circumstances, parents are not powerless and their voices must be heard.” –Ken Robinson, interviewed in the New York Times

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4 comments on “Book Beat October Newsletter 2020
  1. Thank you Book Beat! This issue is frightening, thrilling and enlightening! As usual. The Halloween photos, postcards, poems followed by, “Slip the fluid to me, Louie,” and his story told by the real live, “ape-man” caller – it doesn’t get much better than this in my ‘book;’ in addition to the great titles, features and reviews you include. Thank you for packing your newsletter with so much wonderful art and thought each and every month.

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