Today my first “professional” book review was posted online — The Postmistress by Sarah Blake. In addition to getting to review the book, I also got to interview Sarah while she was in Denver on her book tour, so some of her thoughts on writing the book are part of that story.
I have to admit, I was a little bit intimidated working on this story because doing a mainstream review is a different style than what I write on the blog. I didn’t get to use the word “awesome” as much, and I felt like I had to pull back my personal opinions on the book a bit to talk about it in more general terms. My editor at the paper is excellent — she really helped me articulate my ideas about the book more clearly than I initially could. Writing this kind of review was a challenge, but one that I hope I get to try again!
There were also some things from my interview with Sarah that I didn’t get to include with the story. One thing I asked her about was how she feels about the growing need for authors to be online and publicizing their own work. She said,
One of the great things about being able to have a presence online and being able to go and give readings and tours for me, and I suspect most others, is the chance to speak to readers. For me it’s very energizing because oftentimes, as you know, it took a long, long time to write this book. To be out and reading it and to hear questions puts me in a conversation that makes the book feel alive in a way that is very exciting. I enjoy that very much.
I think that the more person-to-person contact that comes when a book goes out into the world the better it is for everybody – readers and writers and for books. Books are these living, breathing, entities and it’s a great thing to be able to have them alive in the marketplace and not get lost with any other media. I think any chance to have books be exchanged and part of a conversation, the better.
Sarah also told me she’s currently reading Wallace Stengner’s Angle of Repose, and just finished a collection of short stories by Alice Monroe and Howards End by E.M. Forester because, “My next novel has to do with a big, old family house on the coast of Maine, so I’m reading a lot of novels that have to do with that – family stories that take place in big houses.” Exciting!
Anyway, I’m curious to hear what you think and hope you’ll hop over to read the interview/review. And if you’re in Madison, be sure to go to Sarah’s reading on Tuesday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m. at the West Side Barnes & Noble (7433 Mineral Point Road).