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Archive for May 30th, 2008

Thursday Morning, Oakland International Airport

For the next few days – Thursday through Sunday – I will be attending Book Expo in Los Angeles, Calif. I am going with Publishers Weekly, for whom I frequently write, and will try and pick up and write several stories for them from the floor show.

But I will also be attending as a blogger and hope to file two or more dispatches about the new and forthcoming titles I see that are about prayer, contemplation and – dare I hope ?– prayer beads. Actually, I guess I don’t hope, because MY book is new and I don’t want the competition, right? That’s the smart writer’s response anyway. But the stoopid seeker inside me says hey, there’s room for us all.

So, stay tuned. I hope to post once a day, but if things get interesting, I’ll do more.

Thursday Evening, Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Los Angeles

The exhibition hall does not open until tomorrow, so I was not able to walk around and inspect the books. But I was able to go to the press room and register – or, rather, re-register, as they mistakenly had me registered as “Kimberly Winstine.” Daisy Maryles, the executive editor at Publishers Weekly welcomed me as “one of the tribe.” We got the badge mix up figured out and I am now plain old boring me again. Darn.

In the press room, I picked up some materials from publishers who produce some religion books. The most exciting book in these pages to me is the forthcoming Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks and a Writer’s Life by Kathleen Norris, which Penguin releases in September. I read her Amazing Grace and The Cloister Walk years ago and they just electrified me. They were my first indication that the richest personal relationship with God can exist outside the boundaries of organized religion. As the title suggests, Norris discusses her own battle with acedia, a kind of spiritual depression. As some of you who read this blog know, I have suffered from depression since childhood, so I am keenly interested to see how Norris, one of my favorite writers, links depression, creativity and spirituality. Publishers Weekly gave this book a starred review.

Dinner tonight was sushi with my editor at Publishers Weekly, Lynn Garrett, and Daisy Maryles. Whenever I see Daisy, which is about once a year – I ask her what she’s read lately that excites her. She gave me a long list. Daisy is involved in The Rorh Family Foundation which awards literary prizes to young, up-and-coming Jewish writers, so many of her suggestions came from what she has read for her work there, and some of her other suggestions are just good books she picked up and liked:

The Man in the White Sharkskin Suit

Those Who Save Us – A Holocaust survival tale that moved back and forth between the past and the present.

The New Philippa Gregory

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umringer

Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Lynn has on her nightstand My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor. I blogged about a New York Times piece about this author, a brain scientist who suffered a stroke and after her own rehab believes people can train their brains to access bliss.

So that’s the first day. Off to bed with the show program to plan tomorrow’s events.

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