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Friday, December 25, 2009

Missed Opportunities

I went into this blog with my eyes open and my fingers ready. I vowed (to myself, not in print) that I would avoid the most obvious pitfall of blogging, that I would not let the blog lapse into silence, that I would find something meaningful to say, something that would allow me to post every few weeks.

My last posting? July 19.

Enough said.

Apart from sloth, I do have another excuse. For much of the past five months, I've been on a kind of perpetual book tour for Annie's Ghosts, and blogging about promotion feels too, well, too self-promotional. The prospect of talking about my book, and then going to the keyboard to write about talking about my book, made me self-conscious, I now realize.

That means I missed some opportunities to write about some of the wonderful people I have met in Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Baltimore, on the radio and online, where I have received some truly remarkable e-mails from readers in reaction to the book.

I'm particularly fond of the woman who pulled me aside after one of my talks to say: "I was talking about your book at a family gathering, and it led to a conversation about some family secrets that we had always avoided discussing. Thanks for making it safe for us to talk about things that we needed to bring out."

As 2009 comes to a close with family gatherings all around the country, her comment has a particular resonance. Whatever your holiday tradition, whatever your religious tradition, wherever you celebrate those traditions this year, whether close to home or far away, I'm betting that family will be a part of your thoughts if not your celebration.

Later today, I'll post a essay I wrote about my family's holiday tradition, posted today on my newspaper's website, The Washington Post. (It first appeared a week ago as part of an "author holiday blog" at, a website that reviews books and publishes interviews with authors.)

For Annie's Ghosts, this has been quite a year. The book has been featured on NPR's All Things Considered and the Diane Rehm Show, and in Parade Magazine. It landed on the Independent Booksellers Association’s Fall/Winter list of recommendations for reading groups, one of only three nonfiction books to make the cut. Then, earlier this month, it won two prestigious honors: The Library of Michigan chose it as a Michigan Notable Book for 2010, and it was selected for The Washington Post's Best Books of 2009 list.

Back soon with a posting of my holiday essay, which The Post titled "A Jewish Christmas story."

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