a weblog for readers and writers

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Library Journal Compares Room, Nutshell, Womb

In an earlier post, I lamented that although I’d written my first draft of Womb: a novel in utero nearly a decade ago, literary legend Ian McEwan was coming out with his own novel in utero, Nutshell, around the same time. As much as I’m a fan of McEwan’s work, the timing could have been better.

However, I’m seeing the potential benefits of being the second in a pair of twins. As Amazon might say, “If you like this, you may like that.”

Library Journal, in their review of Nutshell, compared the new McEwan novel (in terms of unique perspective) to Emma Donoghue’s Room and my Womb: a novel in utero.

“Starred Review. McEwan joins Eric D. Goodman (Womb: A Novel in Utero) and Emma Donoghue (Room) in penning an expansive meditation on stability and identity from a confined perspective." - Library Journal 

Cited in the same sentence as McEwan and Donoghue: priceless. But what’s better is that my own small-press book may have been given a larger dot on the map, thanks to this “merit by association.”

Dozens of library websites, from New York to California, New England to Houston, have published excerpts from the review, as have a number of other websites that publish reviews.

Read the review (along with some others) at the link below.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

Visiting Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future

Hard to believe, but ten years ago we were headed to Russia to spend Christmas Day in Red Square. We spend two weeks in Russia, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Nizhniy Novgorod. Here's an excerpt from this blog ten years ago:

I'm off to Russia this weekend and will be in Moscow for Christmas. I'll spend Christmas Day with my family in Red Square. It may seem somewhat sacrilegious to spend the holiday at the Kremlin, or to visit Lenin instead of Santa. But remember that beautiful St. Basil's Cathedral is there, too!

During my two weeks in Russia, I intend to do some research for a new novel. And I'll gather information and experience for a travel story to follow up on my last one. I plan to call it Vodka in the Snow: Russian Winter.

That novel is still in my "idea file," and the travel story remains a folder of notes. But I suspect both will see the light of day in the future.

Here's to embracing the future, remembering the past, and focusing on the present.

Happy holidays, and here's to a serene 2017.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Goodman Addresses the Nutshell in the Room

What are the odds? It was about a decade ago when I hatched the idea for Womb: a novel in utero and set to write a novel from the most unique and unusual point of view I could imagine.

In fact, look back at this blog post from 2007, in which I invite readers to come to the first public reading from my novel-in-utero-in-progress, Womb.

Most pregnancies take nine months. It’s taken nine years for this book to see birth. In part due to revisions, partly due to multi-year spells with the manuscript waiting on the back burner. And that pesky detail of finding the right agent and publisher at the right time.

So imagine my surprise when, just months after I got my book deal with Merge Publishing for Womb, I read about another novel narrated from within the womb—by none other than acclaimed, award-winning novelist Ian McEwan!

Ian McEwan is a living legend, and I’ve enjoyed his work very much over the years. But my mood sank when I found out that his Nutshell was being published in fall 2016, about half a year before my own Womb: a novel in utero. I wondered: will readers think I’m a copycat, even though I conceived this brainchild so many years ago?

Then, perhaps because I tend to try to focus on the positive, I reconsidered. Maybe having a literary powerhouse like Ian McEwan publish a book similar to mine is a good thing for a smaller book with a smaller press. Perhaps people who enjoy McEwan’s Nutshell will discover my Womb. Just as one zombie movie makes way for another, perhaps Nutshell will crack open the pathway for Womb to find a larger audience.

I haven’t read Nutshell yet. I look forward to reading it after Womb is published. As reviewers compare the two books, I hope Ian McEwan looks forward to reading Womb, too.

Learn more about Ian McEwan’s Nutshell by reading the Ron Charles review (not to mention the entertaining video).

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Friday, December 09, 2016

Art Imitates Vesta

About ten years ago, got my first short story published in a professional, non-academic print literary journal. The Baltimore Review was the journal. “Out for a Walk” was the story.

“Out for a Walk” was about a pet dog who had to be put to sleep, and the difficult days between long-time companions before the act. I didn’t have a dog in my life at the time that I wrote the story, but a couple years later I did. It wasn’t until a recent reading of the story, all these years later, that I realized how alike Thurber, from the story, and Vesta, from real life, were.

At the Reston Reading in November, I was invited by one of the fellow featured writers to submit a previously published story to Redux, an online journal devoted to giving new life to old print stories. “Out for a Walk” immediately came to mind as the story to submit.

Then, just a week later, we had to have our own family dog put to sleep. Art imitates life, life imitates art. Stories bring the dead new life.

I look forward to seeing and sharing “Out for a Walk” and the accompanying story behind the story in a future issue of Redux.  www.reduxlitjournal.com

In the meantime, here are some pictures of Vesta.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Support This Indie Book Store

Supporting small business is fashionable. So is reading. So why not support this local independent bookstore? There are a lot of obvious reasons why you should support small, independent bookstores. 

Carpe Librum Books and Art is giving you another big one.

Carpe Librum in Baltimore is trying to open a new brick and mortar bookstore this February, and they need donations. But they’re going to pay you back and then some. Just go to the Carpe Librum GoFundMe site and they’ll give you a $60 gift certificate for every $25 you donate to their cause!

You can use that $60 gift certificate to buy books. You can even buy Tracks: A Novel in Stories if you don’t have a copy! Or Flightless Goose, a storybook for children. Or use it to buy Womb: a novel in utero when it’s published this spring. By then, you’ll be able to buy it in Carpe Librum’s brick and mortar location. 

Gift certificates make great gifts to give to local readers so they can buy books by local writers.

Contribute $25 to get your $60 gift certificate at the GoFundMe website:

Visit the online Carpe Librum Books and Art store.

And just look at what they have in stock!