The skies are clear and the sun is bright. But the coolness in the air is telling me that it is, indeed ,February. I am in the midst of the most successful lecture season yet. Visiting great clubs, showing off amazing novels, many that are not even published until spring and summer. Life is good.
A couple weeks ago my daughter, Alicia, flew down for a weekend. Sans kids and husband. We had big plans.
Yes, we had a blast at a matinee of the block-buster musical, Hamilton. We both loved every minute of it. I had been concerned that I might not be able to understand some of it. After all, I am not a big fan of rap music. And there is a lot of that in this musical. Not to fear, it was easy to keep up with and we did not miss a beat.
Alicia is a reader. So I went through my upcoming books to let her know what is going to be great. She left with more books than she came with. All good.
Shortly after Alicia left, the controversy over AMERICAN DIRT began to fester, and then it just ignited and blew sky high. To tell you the truth, I was shocked. As most of you know, I read the manuscript for AMERICAN DIRT over a year ago. I found it to be the most compelling literary thriller I had ever read. I still do. In fact, the publisher added my blurb to the review copies that went out all over the country. I was in good company: Stephen King; Don Winslow; Tara Conklin; Sarah Blake, along with many booksellers from all over the country. When the finished copy came out the bookseller’s blurbs had been left out in order to add some pretty big author’s names. Kristin Hannah, Ann Patchett, Sandra Cisneros, John Grisham and Julia Alvarez. King even went on to say that the prose is immaculate. These are authors I respect and admire. And trust.
So, I am saddened and disheartened to hear the backlash about the novel. First of all, it’s a NOVEL. It’s hard for me to address this. This important book has an audience. And it’s making people understand how desperate a person would be to do what Lydia Perez did in AMERICAN DIRT. I have read mostly wonderful reviews of AMERICAN DIRT. But it’s the harsh and hurtful ones that are getting most of the attention, sadly. Have you read Lauren Groff’s review in New York Times? It’s super. And she is one of this country’s best writers. So, I say to you, read the book and try to read it with an open mind. Make your own decision. I’m grateful to have been able to read the book before anyone else. I just knew I loved it and I knew it would be so important. I also believe everyone should read it. Not looking for flaws, but for the experience.
We have some great books coming out this month. I’m currently reading
APEIROGON by Colum McCann. This man can WRITE. He can make a dust ball blowing around in a NYC alley sound amazing. A great one to look forward to is A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD by Therese Anne Fowler. Once slated to come out this month I believe they have pushed it back to March. It is wonderful.
Tomorrow I’m looking forward to the weekly market near my new house. The vendor line-up swells exponentially during season and I know I can find the freshest veggies and fruits as well as organic meat and locally grown herbs and even cat grass. It’s a nice time wandering in and out of the tents enjoying the local color.
Cheers! I sure hope you’re reading something wonderful.