So, I admit, it’s been awhile. I’ve been blog neglectful. Forgive me, friends? I believe I have a valid excuse: I’ve been deep in the caverns of research and writing where no social media network extends. And that is a very exciting place to be right now. Very.
All this being so, I have some equally thrilling news that I couldn’t wait one more day to share. Ahem…
The stork has officially dropped the paperback of The Baker’s Daughter at my publisher in Random House Tower. Woo hoo! I am ecstatic. She is just as gorgeous as her big sister, only now she comes with some bonus features: a book club question & activities guide and my Q&A chat with author Lisa See! All of that plus the novel and recipes in a handy-dandy paperback edition. BOOK CLUBS get your pre-order on! The book will officially be shipped to doorsteps on August 14! Two more things to keep in mind: 1) I’m a Skype-aholic and would love to virtually visit one of your parties to chat. 2) I have bookplates that I can personalize and send on request. Simply contact me via my website and I’ll have those in the mail ASAP.
To go along with the paperback parade, I’ve just finished uploading all the current paperback book tour stops– virtual and bookstore events. So click over and see where and when we might meet… then check back in often because I seem to be adding cities and sites every day. I absolutely love meeting readers and since this is my second book tour for The Baker’s Daughter, I’m thinking of doing more fireside chat-style events where YOU, my good readers, are able to ask questions. Shoot, I might even throw in some The Baker’s Daughter-related games and such–maybe a baked good will be involved. Hm, I’m not entirely sure yet. I just know I like interaction. It’s always more fun to attend an author event when the author is OUT from behind the podium. Don’t you agree?
I would normally do a #FridayReads tea party today, but the truth is that I can’t divulge what I’m reading as it directly pertains to my third novel. I wouldn’t want to give that away and spoil all the future fun! So in lieu of talking about my reading (though my eyeballs some nights feel as if they’ve been pickled in vinegar from sheer quantity), I’m going to share what my momma is reading. A better title for this real-life short-short might be:
~~~~~The Odd Case of ‘Where The Heck Did This Book Come From?’~~~~~
I called my mom to catch up the other day. She’s been on the road quite a bit this summer and asked me at the beginning of July for some book recommendations. Knowing her travel trajectory, I tried to offer some novels that suited her journeys and tastes. We both adore everything BBC so I suggested Dodie Smith’s I CAPTURE THE CASTLE. She was headed to Colorado for a spell so Sandra Dallas’s PRAYERS FOR SALE made the list. And I take after my momma in dog fanaticism and love of the classics, thus THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE by David Wroblewski too. I figured three books would keep her entertained for the month of July.
So, as I said, I called her between trips to see how things were going. After we’d touched on all the particulars of daily life (Gilly’s still barking up a storm; the weather in Virginia is raining like a monsoon; mom made a new GF cauliflower pizza crust that sounds delicious, etc.), we turned to books.
“I really liked most of your recommendations,” she said.
I was in the middle of frying chicken in a skillet so I was half listening– not surprised that she liked the books. So I said something like, “Uh-huh, uh-huh, good, good.”
“I’m in the middle of the one set in the Carolinas–the biography– Backwoods Barbie or something. I’ll admit I’m kind of struggling with this one. If you hadn’t recommended it, I probably wouldn’t read it.”
“Huh?” I won’t lie, I screwed up my nose something ugly. Not because she wasn’t liking the book but because I had absolutely no clue what she was talking about. I thought perhaps she was taking HUGE liberties with the title. Carolinas? A biography? I cycled back through all the book recommendations I’d given her since Christmas, and I swear to the moon, the only memoir I’d suggested was Cheryl Strayed’s WILD. That’s in the woods, I thought, but not the Carolinas and certainly no backwoods or barbies involved. Plus we’d already had a lengthy discussion about WILD and my mom loved it. So maybe she was lost on the reading trail.
“Oh, I can’t remember,” she said. “Let me pull it up on my Kindle. Hold on, hold on.”
So I waited. Turned my browned chicken. Added salt, pepper, thyme. She first had to find her reading glasses before she could work the Kindle.
“Okay,” she returned. “Yes, Backwoods B___ : A Tale of One Woman’s ______.”
(I’m butchering and fabricating the title a touch so as not to defame the work in case there are those who cherish it.)
“Mom,” I said. “I did NOT recommend that. I have never, never heard of that and I guarantee, I would never, never recommend it.”
I’ll spare you the back and forth banter of a mother insisting that her daughter did recommend this title and a daughter emphatically protesting that she did not. I even busted out the ‘senile v. youth’ card because I would not be held responsible for my mom reading a random ‘backwoods’ book.
“Well, where the heck did this book come from??” she finally conceded. “I must’ve fallen down the Kindle rabbit hole. Probably was looking at a book you recommended, then clicked on a ‘If you Like this novel then you’ll like this’ sidebar then clicked off that to something else with an interesting cover and before you know it, I’m paying good money for Backwoods B____, and it’s not even the right book!”
By this point, I was laughing so hard, I was crying over the fry pan, and it had nothing to do with the sautéed jalapeños. My mom was entirely frustrated by it all, she shut the Kindle off and swore never to return to the Backwoods.
I thought this so very exemplary of why we desperately need our living, breathing book communities in brick and mortar bookstores. We need guides! We need friends to steer us back to the path of good literature. We need to be able to ask questions and get answers that have nothing to do with sales numbers, dollar signs, and New York Times bestseller lists. Because if we follow those, we’ll be lost down the rabbit hole having a mad tea party with the cast of Fifty Shades of Grey or tromping through the Appalachian backwoods, bemoaning the journey, and wondering how we came to be there— as was my momma’s case.
Recently, one of my Twitter friends, Leigh Newman, tweeted a quote from Franz Kafka: A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. I thought that so inspiring. We need more axes that break open our minds in positive ways and bring us fresh water. Being able to have a person-to-person discussion with other readers is critical to that. The “If you like this novel, you’ll like this” link just doesn’t cut it.
Reading this post back, I do believe it may be a big love letter to book clubs and bookstores… but I’m not one bit ashamed of that!
Yours truly, Sarah