My husband – darling man that he is – loves to send out email announcements featuring good news regarding my books to the school community where he teaches. He always writes something like “Shameless Self-Promotion” in the subject line, so after many years his colleagues know what to expect. I decided that it was high time that I compose a similar missive.
What follows is a list of book recommendations. Full disclosure: these books were all written by people I know – some a little, some a lot; some I’ve shared bottles of wine with, some I’ve only met in cyberspace. Nevertheless, I consider them all good friends, good writers, and good people. They are universally people I respect and admire, and in many cases am completely in awe of. In that sense these folks are my teachers as well.
I have little else to say except this: Go directly to your favorite independent bookseller and buy as many of these books as you can. You won’t regret it.
Abby Carter: The Alchemy of Loss
Anne LeClaire: The Lavender Hour; Listening Below the Noise
Carol Cassella: Oxygen, Healer
Craig English: Anxious to Please
Dave King: The Ha-Ha
Erica Bauermeister: The School of Essential Ingredients, The Leap Year
Garth Stein: Raven Stole the Moon; How Evan Broke his Head and Other Stories; The Art of Racing in the Rain
Heather Barbieri: Snow in August; The Lacemakers of Glenmara
Jamie Ford: The Corner of Bitter and Sweet
Jenna Blum: Those Who Save Us; The Stormchasers
Jennie Shortridge: Riding with the Queen; Eating Heaven; Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe; When She Flew
Jim Lynch: The Highest Tide; Bordersongs
Jonathan Evison: All About Lulu
Kate Ledger: Remedies
Kit Bakke: Miss Alcott’s Email
Leif Enger: Peace Like a River; So Brave, Young, and Handsome
Maria Semple: This One is Mine
Mary Guterson: We Are All Fine Here; Gone to the Dogs
Nancy Pearl: Book Lust; Book Crush
Nassim Assefi: Aria
Phil Jennings: Nam-a-Rama; Goodbye Mexico
Randy Sue Coburn: Owl Island; A Better View of Paradise
Sheri Holman: A Stolen Tongue; The Dress Lodger; The Mammoth Cheese
Stephanie Doyen: The Greatest Man of Cedar Hole
Sue Monk Kidd: The Dance of the Dissident Daughter; The Secret Life of Bees; Traveling with Pomegranates
Susan Rich: Cures Include Travel; The Alchemist’s Kitchen
Timothy Egan: The Worst Hard Time; The Big Burn
I’ve had many friends tell me over the years how thrilling it is to walk into a bookstore, see one of my books on the shelves, and think “I know her!” Believe me: I have the same feeling whenever I see my friends’ books. That thrill never goes away.
Here’s a suggestion for the next time you’re in a bookstore: when it comes to any book you love and want others to take note of, I encourage you to engage in what I call “guerrilla marketing” – this simply involves turning the book face-out. You might have to do a little reshuffling and/or re-shelving of other books in the vicinity, but trust me: you can get away with this. And it’s a great way to nurture your inner-Outlaw.