Rich, I’m going to be rich I tell you.
July is over and there’s very little trace
of it, though the Bastille fell on its face—
and August’s gotten orange, it will drop on
the edge of the world like a worm-eaten sun.
The other night, I was putting my daughter to bed and she asked me, “Why is it so dark?” She’d gotten used to the long summer evenings we get up here past the 49th parallel. But here it was, 8:30 and already mostly dark. The leaves are falling, the ice cream truck’s tinny song has a little edge of desperation. Somehow, the summer is almost over.
I had big plans for my blog this summer. Just as a for example — I was going to blog every day for three weeks starting June 30. (June 30 being the first day of camp in The Path of Names.) The idea was that I would blog every day that The Path of Names has Dahlia at summer camp. My blog entries would hilariously evoke the summer camp experience, interweaving with the events in The Path of Names. I also had ideas about inviting my friends and readers to write about their summer camp memories, striking while the nostalgia was iron hot.
And here it is, August 19 and this is my first blog since (okay: this is embarrassing) … May 13. More than three months. In my defense, I’ve been busy. Busy working on a new book. (Although not enough, never enough). Busy chasing and being chased by my children. Busy preparing for the fall semester of teaching. Pretty much everything except blogging.
I did write two blog entries for other people. One for the Nerdy Book Club (which you can find here) and one for the Scholastic ‘On Our Minds’ blog (which has yet to be posted.)
During my long silence, I’ve been reviewed by three of the big daily newspapers in Canada and most of the publishing industry’s review journals. That has been super fun (and, okay, occasionally a little mystifying). You can find a selected list on my website here.
Also very fun: I’ve received a bunch of pictures from my friends of their kids reading The Path of Names. See below. And, no, I can’t believe that my friends have kids that old, either. Not when I’m barely turned thirty. (Okay, thirty-five. Thirty-seven max.) Anyway, allegedly none of these were staged. In that light, I’m especially a fan of the one taken in the super market.
Well, five in the U.S. For some reason The Path of Names is coming out on April 30 in Canada and on May 1 in the U.S.
In the meantime, I’m keeping busy grading final exams, cleaning up after my sick babies, and posting the flier below, inviting people to my Vancouver book launch on May 8.
The good people at Scholastic Canada designed the invite on my behalf, and I love it. Not least because it contains the phrase ‘An Evening With Ari Goelman.’ So by implication, I will be spending an evening out. Unless the idea is I go to the bookstore and clean up after sick babies.
Yesterday I heard from my editor that The Path of Names got a starred review from the magazine Booklist. Hurray! Then, this morning I woke up to find that The Path of Names got a very nice, very intelligent review in The Quill and Quire, which is sort of the Canadian publishing industry’s version of Booklist or Publisher’s Weekly. Neither of these reviews are posted on the Internet yet, so you’ll have to take my word for them at this point. I’ll post links when they are made public / free. That said, somehow a snippet of The Quill and Quire review has already made it onto The Path of Names’ Amazon.com page. Read it here. (Scroll down to the editorial reviews section.)
So what’s the big deal? As I understand it (based on my exhaustive research (by which I mean a four minute Google search carried out via cell phone)), there are a handful of periodicals that cater to various segments of the publishing industry. Booklist, for instance, particularly caters to librarians, the idea being that they’ll read the starred review and be more likely to order a copy of The Path of Names for their library. The idea is that though these periodicals don’t have the biggest circulations, their readers are influential – book buyers for bookstores, librarians, reviewers for newspapers and bigger magazines, etc. (Most of this information is cribbed from this ten-year-old Slate piece, but what are the chances anything has changed in the publishing industry in the last ten years?)
Okay. So that’s why this is a big deal. The other reason it’s nice is, well… Come on. It’s nice when anybody likes a story of mine.
The reviews are also an exciting sign that the publication date is almost upon us. After I read the review in Q & Q, it occurred to me that at this point, nineteen days before The Path of Names’ release, my novel has already been read by a few dozen people. By my calculations, this is almost exactly a few dozen more people than will ever read any of my academic publications.
Speaking of the imminent launch of The Path of Names, I will post soon about my book launch events (in Vancouver and New York City), plus some additional events I’m doing in Philadelphia and maybe even Bethesda (I’m going to Bethesda for a teaching conference but may fit in some book events before or after.) This next post will include the beautiful flier that the good people at Scholastic Canada produced for my Vancouver event.
Nineteen days left until publication…
That’s right. Fifty seven days from now, my baby will be on the book shelves. And I will say, “Mister, please climb down from there, it’s not safe.” And I’ll pick him up and bring him into the kitchen to try interesting him in banging pots on the floor. Meanwhile, my other baby will be taking her socks off. And all the while, The Path of Names will be on sale in bookstores and websites everywhere.
As you can see, I’m a little giddy at the thought. Given my lifelong love of bookstores and libraries, the idea that my book will be on the shelves with … like real books, seems wholly delightful to me.
This might be a good time to mention how to buy The Path of Names. It already has an ISBN: 978-0545474306. With these 13 digits you can preorder from whatever online or real life book store you like.
At some point soon I will put up information about my micro book tour of the East Coast. I have a professional development conference for my day job in Washington D.C. at the end of May, and a book launch in NYC in early June. In between, I’ll be doing some readings and classroom visits. More details to follow!
Yesterday I got the exciting news that THE PATH OF NAMES is a Junior Library Guild Selection for Spring 2013.
It happened like this: I biked home from work yesterday. Leaving my bike at the front door, I walked inside to grab the garage clicker and found a package from Scholastic waiting atop the baby detritus that we like to keep scattered around … well, everything, but most relevantly to this case, atop the living room couch. I picked up the DHL package from the little nest of clean onesies where it lay. “Hmm,” I thought. “Too light (and too early) to be a copy of the actual book. What could it be?”
Inside the DHL package I found another envelope from Scholastic. And inside that envelope another smaller envelope. And inside that envelope another envelope – no, wait. Inside that envelope I found a letter from the Junior Library Guild telling me that THE PATH OF NAMES has been made a Junior Library Guild Selection for Spring 2013. (Three months before its actual publication, which is apparently how the JLG rolls.)
I’ve seen that designation on the cover of other books, but I never really knew what it meant. After doing some exhaustive research on the topic (which included both reading the letter they sent me and googling the Junior Library Guild, I now consider myself something of an expert. The way (I think) it works is the JLG reads books before publication, and then operates as a kind of early filter to help libraries decide which kids books to acquire. According to the JLG website, over 95% of their selections go on to receive other awards and / or positive reviews. As a statistics instructor, I can tell you that 95% is a pretty high percentage. Higher than 93%, for instance. (I did that in my head, if you were wondering.)
Not just that. It also came with a cool little golden pin which has met with the approval of at least one of my fourteen-month-olds as well as my five-year-old. My other fourteen-month-old has indicated no clear preference on the matter, preferring to hone his ability to climb up sheer surfaces where he might better injure himself.
I would post a picture of it, but my cell phone keeps crashing every time I try. I’m pretty sure it’s jealous – when was the last time you heard of a Nokia cell phone getting a book selected by the Junior Library Guild? (Or getting any other recognition, come to think of it. Ha, in your face, Nokia cell phone. You got burnt!)
But seriously, I’m thrilled to have my debut novel recognized like this. Thank you Junior Library Guild!
For more information on the JLG check out their website at: Junior Library Guild
Post script: two weeks later I’ve just gotten news that the other thing that comes with this recognition is the JLG buys a couple thousand copies of THE PATH OF NAMES. Which makes me even happier about this, of course. Not only does this mean I’m a little closer to earning back my advance for my publisher (always a good thing); it also means there will be thousands of copies of my book out there being sold to libraries. I suppose this shouldn’t feel so surprising, but seriously… thousands of copies of a book that I wrote will be in libraries!