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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Andy Did You Hear About This One?

Constitutional Law Professor Kenji Yoshino offers a brilliant analysis of ten Shakespeare plays through the prism of justice, showing both the evolution of the law and its impact on contemporary issues of justice. David Orr‘s guide to modern poetry likens reading  poetry to visiting Belgium — not altogether unpleasant even if you don’t speak the language or know the customs. Hamilton Cain‘s lyrical evocation of a Southern Baptist childhood ultimately asks how our religions imprint on us, even when we lose our religion, especially when we face crisis. If you like sex and travel, pre-order Elisabeth Eaves Wanderlust, a memoir that covers five continents in 12 years as Eaves pursues an unfettered life. And for new and expecting parents, Morning Song is a must — a beautifully assembled collection of poems from Blake to Billy Collins by Susan Todd and Carol Purrington.

It’s an amazing feeling to get finished copies of a book you’ve sold,  a manuscript you’ve watched  develop for a year or more, the arrival of galleys, jackets, blurbs, all the phases of production, all the push and pull, the good cop, bad cop, the encouragement, prodding, listening, check chasing, etc. All that, like childbirth, falls away in the joy of holding that book. Of course, most authors think this is the end, but it’s just the beginning of the true torture known as a writer’s life. Clawing to get attention, the anxiety of bad press, no press, lukewarm press. The passive aggressive comments from friends and family. The publication party and the false smile lacquered on your face as deep down you feel like a fraud, and haunting bookstores and not being able to find your book and calling your agent, your voice high and strained because you don’t want to be needy or ungrateful, but god fucking damn it. So, to my darling brilliant writers with whom I have worked and worried beside, take a moment to hold that new baby (2.2 ounces), and for a brief moment feel really good because for the all the struggle, whatever happens or doesn’t, you are here, now.

34 Responses

  1. As a former lawyer and now teacher of Shakespeare, I can’t wait to get my hands on that first one. Well done, Betsy!

  2. Congratulation on all the new babies. They’re beautiful.

  3. I love you so much that a puff of smoke just leaked out of my charred and desiccated heart.

  4. I’m ordering Beautiful & Pointless for the title alone….

  5. whatever happens or doesn’t, you are here, now

    Just found my new mantra.

    And my Dad’s next birthday and Father’s Day gifts (after I read them).

  6. I am so pre-ordering Wanderlust! (But they all look fabulous).

    Congrats to you all.

  7. Thank you, Betsy. I needed that.

  8. What a good Mama you are. Mazel tov!

  9. Congratulations! (Bet I can guess which book Lizi buys first!)

  10. Ah, Shakespeare, my nemesis. Those classes, I must be honest, Shakespeare classes, were the most disappointing for me. Interpretation is a wiling business. I didn’t understand how good Shakespeare is until I checked out an old book from the university library and started reading him for myself. I thought about stealing the book, it was nice and old and felt good, but I couldn’t figure out how to get away with it. So be it. Some twenty-tear old might stumble over it and fall in love. What a sense of humor, what a sense of love. Betsy, a reading list. Thanks. I think I’ll go with it. What a great title—A Thousand Times More Fair. That guy’s been reading Shakespeare. And don’t worry folks, you won’t need to bend your mind too much, Shakespeare is pretty simple and straight forward—there is only one thing that is worth living for.

  11. Justice and beauty and faith and wanderlust–I want to read them all.

  12. I know that all publishers are looking at ways to cut costs, but a 2.2 ounce book would be nearly thin enough to shave with..

  13. I feel like you’re just giving us a tip of the iceberg here regarding how hard you and your writers work on getting a book to see the light of day. What it shows is how much you care. Thanks, Betsy. The world of words is a little brighter today and I’ll check out This Boy’s Faith and Wanderlust, probably at least peruse Morning Song.

  14. Betsy,
    Thank you for posting this. I am much more likely to pick something up if I’ve seen it mentioned somewhere. There are just so many books vying for our attention, it’s helpful to know someone I respect had a hand in it. Silly maybe, but true nonetheless.
    I was at Barnes & Noble this weekend picking up a copy of Writer’s Marketplace. Small town, Illinois. FYI, Forest was on the shelf. One copy, but still it was there. And yes, I check.

  15. As someone about to publish her debut collection of literary stories through a university press, I can only imagine. Press? Bookstores? Reviews? Those are going to be foreign worlds. But I don’t care. I love my publisher, I’m trying my best to not feel like a fraud, and it’s all going to be fabulous. IT IS.

    Until I inevitably break down at the launch party when only 5 people show up, of course. I can see it now, in this order: 1. Develop massive outbreak of hives, especially on chest and face. 2. Get drunk. 3. Announce “This is for all the assholes who bitched about my story endings” and 4. Start signing copies to myself, my own biggest fan. Oh god.

    • I cannot wait to read these stories. As for the hives, wear a turtleneck and have drink before you leave. Launch Party…yes!!

  16. A gracious introduction for the authors and their books- congratulations to them and you!

  17. Not only do the books sound intriguing, one and all, but the covers are fabulous. But I’ll be buying Morning Song asap for a friend with a 5 yr old and a 3 yr old who thought she was done having children and surprise, she is pregnant with twins. She is a little overwhelmed with the prospect and lovely motherhood poetry could be just the salve she needs. Thanks, Betsy. And do this more often, we all love seeing the fruits of your labors.

  18. Well done you. Each one seems utterly compelling. Thank you for bringing them…

  19. Testing testing. I’m wanting to see if by commenting a picture comes up of me because I just bought a new mac and the person at the apple store getting me set up had my computer take a picture of me and blah blah blah I just realized that an email I sent to my dad’s wife had my picture in the top right corner… yikes. I’d never do that.

    • Whew. All is good. Now to figure out how to get that picture off my emails. Anyone know how to do that? It’s a MacBook Pro.

  20. Betsy! I just came up with a thesis: The use and the meaning of the word Cruelty. It has a strange U in there, and I’m not sure how that plays out with the linguistic folks, but it sounds interesting to me. If anyone who might happen to read this thinks that is also interesting, please, help yourself. I will never, as long as live, write an academic paper, or even attempt to write one. Fiction, baby, fiction. Ah, Shakespeare, fucking ball hog. In all sincerity, thank you.

  21. False smile? Are you kidding? My new book came out last week and my smile, at the book party and elsewhere, is huge and genuine.

    Congrats on all your babies! Non-writers have NO idea what it takes to get there.

  22. Hooray for Elisabeth!!!! Can’t wait to read Wanderlust! Congratulations to you and your other authors with new babies too!

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