With Blueprints going on sale in paperback this week, I just reread it to refresh my memory. Does it surprise you that I would need to do that? But consider this. I’ve written and published more than 80 books. No human mind can keep straight all the details of 80 books. Moreover, it’s been two years since I finished writing Blueprints, and since then, I’ve been immersed in writing The Make Up Artist. I’ve often made the analogy that moving from book to book is like cramming for final exams. You jam as much as you possibly can into your mind, take the exam, then push it all out to make room for the next subject.
A reader just wrote that she heard I was retiring. Who said that?
No. I’m not retiring. Let’s be clear about it. I. Am. Not. Retiring.
Not that I haven’t considered it in moments of frustration. Life for a writer has changed. When I started – more than 30 years ago – all I had to do was write. Ha ha. That’s funny. I was a full-time mother of three young sons, a full-time wife, a full-time homemaker. And all I had to do was write.
I swore I wouldn’t. Social media is only good if you do it well, but how many social media sites can one writer do well and still write her book? I’ve done Facebook for a long while and have a healthy following. For posting news, sharing events, offering contests, and simply getting the opinions of readers who matter, Facebook is my go-to site.
So why join Instagram? Instagram is just about taking pictures, right? But pictures alone? Why would a writer do that?
“That’s the best thing since …” How do YOU finish this sentence? When I was growing up, the answer was sliced bread. When I was raising my own kids, the answer was bagged lettuce. Now, it’s Post-Its. At least, in my humble opinion.
That’s because I’m a list keeper. Rarely does a day go by when I haven’t made one list or another. Studies show that people who keep lists are more productive. I do think that’s true for me, and for four reasons.
Last week was for audio, but here are three books I recently read in the flesh, as so many of you choose to do as well. Audio or print, the stories remain the same. If something in one of these books appeals to you and you’re an audiobook person, by all means, listen.
First, The Marriage of Opposites, by Alice Hoffman.
I have loved Alice Hoffman’s books for years, and “The Marriage of Opposites” didn’t entirely disappoint. Her portrayal of setting is exquisite – in this case, St. Thomas in the first half of the 1800’s, then Paris. Her imagery is vivid, and her research through. I have no doubt but that the historical detail offered in “The Marriage of Opposites” is accurate.
I’m new to listening. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to intersperse eye-reading with ear-reading. And it’s taken discipline, keeping my mind on every spoken word, rather then letting it wander, as sometimes happens with a book. But for those times when you can’t be glued to the physical page – like when you’re driving or working out – listening to audiobooks is really pretty cool. I guess I can say that because I’ve lucked into some well done ones. Lucked into? Actually, the best were recommendations from a local independent bookseller. In case you don’t have one of those yourself, there’s me. Here are three recommendations of books that I loved. You may want to read them in print. I just happened to listen.
Commitments is my 42nd child – but every single child of mine is special to me. Their birthdays are cause for celebration, which is what I’m doing today. I’m celebrating the birth of Commitments as an eBook.
It’s about time! Commitments was first published in 1988 and has been issued in every other format but digital. Why? For one thing, because eBooks didn’t exist in 1988, when “electronic rights” weren’t even on publishers’ radar screens. For another, because more and more of you are reading electronically each year. And for a third, because my current publisher agreed that publishing Commitments digitally is long overdue.
There are many things on my to-blog-about list, like multi-tasking, cat videos, and food expiration dates. But you read my blogs because you read my books, and right now, in the thick of the summer reading season, I need to blog about books – specifically the ones I’ve read.
Summer is a great reading time for me. Last weekend being a quiet one, no guests, just DH and me, I read all day Saturday and Sunday, AND continued listening to an audiobook for six hours, back and forth to the lake.
I’ve done a lot of reading this summer. I’ve also spent a lot of time studying reader reviews on Amazon, as well as taking part in discussion groups on Goodreads. Two of the books I’ve read, in particular – Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Lisa Genova’s Inside the O’Briens – had endings with which readers took issue. And I don’t just mean readers saying they didn’t like the ending. I mean readers saying that the ending “stank,” that the author “blew it,” that the ending “ruined” the book. We’re talking over-the-top stridency.
There’s reading. And then there’s READING. The first is a solitary endeavor from start to finish, done on the subway, or curled up in a chair, or in bed. The second adds a step at the end: discussing a book with someone else who has read it. That person may be a single individual. It may be a group of women in a nail shop. It may be a formal book group, either one you’ve been in for a while or one affiliated with a bookstore.