Invasive Bracelet!

Invasive Bracelet

This bracelet was created for me by the wildly wonderful Liberty Hardy, bookseller extraordinaire at the equally wonderful RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Coolest thing? It incorporates all the colors from the cover of Invasive Species, my latest novel.

Invasive Species cover

Sometimes the most memorable parts of the whole book-publishing experience are also the most unexpected. This one ranks right up there with the best.

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Bookstruck: Crowdsourcing For a 9-Year-Old Reader

BookstruckA friend who lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was looking for books for his adventurous 9-year-old daughter, who is being raised bilingually and is hungry for books in English. I had some ideas of my own, but it was more fun to ask my friends on Facebook.

Boy, did they come through! Here’s the first selection–many suggested by more than one reader–accompanied by my short comments, linked to a wonderful children’s bookstore, Wild Rumpus in Minneapolis. More to come!

Elisabeth Enright, THE SATURDAYS (This is a wonderful book about kids in NYC back the 1940s.)

Beverly Cleary, RAMONA QUIMBY, AGE EIGHT (and the rest of this charming series)

 Jeanne Birdsall, THE PENDERWICKS (Four girls having adventures)
Louise Fitzhugh, HARRIET THE SPY (Still a masterpiece)
Mary Pope Osborn, THE MAGIC TREEHOUSE books (Simpler stories than most of those listed. My son loved them at this age.)
E.L. Konigsburg, FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER (another NYC-based classic)
Walter Brooks, FREDDY THE PIG and its 30 sequels. (About a pig and other barnyard animals…Jacob adored these books.)
Sydney Taylor, ALL-OF-A-KIND FAMILY (Another NYC-set tale!)
Roald Dahl, MATILDA
E. B. White, CHARLOTTE’S WEB
Wendy Mass, TWICE UPON A TIME: RAPUNZEL, THE ONE WITH ALL THE HAIR (and its fractured-fairy-tale sequels.)
Maud Hart Lovelace, BETSY-TACY and its sequels. (Vivid, charming portraits of life in mid-twentieth-century America. A huge favorite of my daughter’s.)
Madeleine L’Engle, A WRINKLE IN TIME
Kevin Henkes, JUNONIA (A lovely portrait of a thoughtful, wise young girl.)
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Eat This Book!

So, as part of the International Edible Books Festival–in which enterprising bakers transform their favorite works of literature into dessert–my nephew Tucker came up with the idea for the below entry, based on my new, not obviously food-friendly novel, Invasive Species. It was then turned into an eye-opening reality by his brother Jonah and their mom and dad.

Guess what they called it?

Invasive Reeses, of course!

Invasive Reese's

And you can’t even see the “eggs” inside!

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Happy Anonymity

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If you look closely, you’ll notice that my name isn’t even on the front cover of this collection of short stories, the latest in the Mystery Writers of America‘s annual series of “themed” anthologies. (Ice Cold will be published out next month.)

Then why am I so excited?

Well, first of all, look at whose names take up all that cover space: Laura Lippman, Joseph Finder, T. Jefferson Parker, Sara Paretsky et al. It will be another lifetime before I can be jealous about being edged out by such talented and successful authors, people I admire so much.

Secondly, my story “Deep Submergence” is in the book alongside their works!

Thirdly, as part of their Edgar Week Festivities, the MWA will be hosting a launch party for Ice Cold at the Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan on Tuesday, April 29. I’ll be there, which means that I’ll get to meet some of these writing heroes of mine.

And lastly, writing “Deep Submergence”–which is set mostly onboard a deep-sea research submarine–inspired me to write my newest novel, currently titled Something Terrible Has Happened. I’ve written the first draft, and will be returning to it as soon as I’m done with The Slavemakers, my sequel to Invasive Species.

In the face of so much fulfillment, what’s a little front-cover anonymity? Answer: Nothing.

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Calling All Biographers!

AKB Photo -- BIO blog posts the survivor of writing two cradle-to-grave biographies, I am an active member of Biographers International Organization. We are a relatively new group and are having our 5th annual conference at UMass Boston, May 16-18, 2014 with three days of panels; tours and receptions; and opportunities to meet with literary agents..

The conference is aimed at working biographers, but anyone interested in the craft of – and/or reading of — biography is welcome. It’s a great group: there’s something about writing about someone else’s life that makes one a better — or, at least, more empathic — person, I firmly believe!

The main conference day is Saturday, May 17, with more than 20 panels — I will be moderating a panel, Cultivating Blurb Writers, and will be a panelist on What Happens After You Turn in Your Manuscript? – plus a keynote address by Pulitzer-prize winning biographer Stacy Schiff (Cleopatra; Véra), and a net-working reception and award ceremonies for the Plutarch Award for Best Biography of 2013 and the BIO/Hazel Rowley Prize. Pre-conference tours to Boston archives and libraries are scheduled for May 16th, and master classes with veteran biographers are offered on May 18th. www.biographersinternational.org/conference.

If you come, do find me to say hello. I’d love to welcome you to the art and craft of biography.

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Do you have a “beautiful question” you’d like to share with the world? (and if not, maybe you should)

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Tomorrow, March 14, is “Question Day 2014,” in honor of that master questioner Albert Einstein, who was born on that date, 135 years ago. Einstein is known for his curiosity and passion for questioning. He told us, “The important thing is not to stop questioning” and urged us to “Question everything” and “Never lose a holy curiosity.”

A More Beautiful QuestionI happen to be very interested in questioning myself. My book, A More Beautiful Question, is all about the surprising power of questioning to transform our lives and spark big breakthroughs. The book was published last week by Bloomsbury and now, of course, I’m in full promotion mode. And that’s why I couldn’t just let Einstein’s birthday pass by without marking it.

An official Einstein’s birthday / Question Day connection was made in 2008 when National Question Day was declared by an entity called the Inquiry Institute. This year, in partnership with the nonprofit Right Question Institute (which teaches kids in schools across the country how to ask better questions), we’re sponsoring a day of celebrating questioning, via social media and the QuestionDay2014.com website. There’s lots of interesting info and links on that microsite—take a moment to check it out.

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Why questions matter

We’re inviting you to go on Twitter*, LinkedIn, and Facebook and share a thought about the importance of questioning, or a famous quote (you can find plenty of them here; feel free to borrow one and tweet it). Or, better yet, share your own question with the world: Is there a “Why…” “What if…” or “How might we…” question that’s particularly meaningful to you? If you like to share listicles, here’s a link to a funny gif-laden “12 Questions That Changed Everything (and 1 Statement That Will)” in Buzzfeed (http://bzfd.it/1ia3l91). And to find out what happens when Benedict Cumberbatch and Kanye West (among others) release their inner Einstein, see the “Einstein Fusion” Slideshare below.

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Albert Einstein’s “beautiful question” as a teenager

Or you can just say, “Hooray, it’s Question Day!”

The sponsors of this event think it’s worthwhile to try to increase awareness and appreciation of questioning. Questions enable us to learn and understand; they often spark new ideas; and they tend to be the starting point of innovation (and a good starting point of conversation, as well).

So to all the readers who follow the Marmaduke group and our site (by the way, my book on questioning was written almost entirely in the Marmaduke-Forster House), I invite you to take part in the conversation on questioning on Friday. Thanks for helping us spread the word about the importance of questioning, and about why we should never lose what Einstein called our “holy curiosity.”

*Tweets:

You can simply retweet my tweets at @GlimmerGuy or here are some sample tweets:

­ Celebrating Einstein’s birthday as #QuestionDay2014. Let’s ask more & better questions. http://QuestionDay2014.com

­ “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Einstein’s birthday is today. http://QuestionDay2014.com #QuestionDay2014

Hashtag: #QuestionDay2014

P.S. If you’re member of Goodreads.com, they’re doing a weeklong book giveaway of A More Beautiful Question starting March 14.

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INVASIVE SPECIES in Hardcover!

P1010785When your novels are published as paperback originals, as mine have been, seeing them in a hardcover is a bittersweet experience. In a way, it’s like getting a tangible glimpse of the Road Not Taken or the Ghost of Novels Yet To Come. (At least possibly.)

For me, it’s mostly a fun way to add a new book to my bookshelf, right next to the paperback version that most everyone owns.

As soon as Invasive Species was sold to the book clubs, I knew I’d be getting some hardcover mementos, and this week the package arrived. If you’d like one of your own, check out The Book of the Month Club, The Scientific American Book Club, The History Book Club, among others.

And don’t forget: If you’d like a signed bookplate to adorn your copy (hardcover or paperback) just let me know through this blog or my website, http://www.josephwallace.com/, and I’ll send it right off to you.

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