Sunday, September 11, 2011

Publication Party for Kate Whouley's "Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words"

Yesterday, Kate Whouley held a publication party for her latest book at Titcomb's Bookstore in East Sandwich on Cape Cod. Kate's book, Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words, is a heart-warming memoir about how she, as a single woman, dealt with her mother's final years in a struggle with Alzheimer's. While the story might sound grim, it reads like a frank conversation over a soothing cup of tea. Treating the reader as a trusted friend, Whouley shares her decisions and dilemmas, as well as moments of grace and humor, and the deep compassion that ultimately saw her and her mother through.

The book launched on September 6, 2011 to much fanfare, including a glowing review in USA Today (read it here), and a great review on Shelf Awareness (read it here). In addition, an excerpt appeared in, and an essay about her mom's birthday (which is 9/11) appeared in Obit Magazine. So...the only way Kate could top all this was to throw a bang-up pub party. Which she did.

Kate having a word with the 'Titcombs Man' - a statue outside the bookstore. He has good taste in books too!
The day was perfect - sunny, and slightly cool. Titcomb's Bookshop is located on a picturesque stretch of Route 6A on the Cape. The traditional Cape-style cedar shingle building was swathed in lush plantings, offering plenty of room for Kate's readers and fans to gather both inside and out. Throughout the event, readers waited in line to get their books signed. In addition to a delicious cake, guests sipped wine and nibbled cheese and crackers. Kate read from the book, admitting this was her first time reading it aloud, except when she read to herself or her cat in the editing process. Attendees wore buttons indicating whether they were a character in the book, from Beacon Press, or a member of the Cape Cod Conservatory Band, which also plays a big role in the book. The buttons were great conversation starters. Helene Atwan, the book's editor and Director of Beacon Press, as well as Beacon's Associate Publisher Tom Hallock, and Senior Publicist Caitlin Meyer were also on hand to cheer Kate on.

Photographer Anne Sweeney, known to television audiences as a friendly WGBH-TV fundraiser, took photos. Check out Kate Whouley's author page on facebook if you want to see them. Above, some of the book's characters, including Anne, joined Kate around the Titcomb's Man.

You can order a hard copy or e-book on-line from Titcomb's (link here). If you'd like a signed copy, call them at: 508-888-2331. If you are lucky enough to be on Cape Cod, stop by Titcomb's. In addition to a captivating collection of new and used books, they have a wonderful selection of greeting cards.

Congratulations, Kate! Obviously, I highly recommend Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Habibi Magazine - Archives on-line

My first published writing was a series of essays that appeared in a Habibi, a newspaper/magazine from California. The series was called "Arabian Journal". In it, I wrote about my adventures living as a young wife and college grad with my American husband in Jeddah in the late 1970's. I wrote about exploring the folk dance scene and some of the interesting characters I met in the process of trying to learn about the traditions there.

Habibi served the burgeoning belly dance scene in the 1970's, and was originally published by Bob Zalot. Later, in the 1990's, Shareen El Safy revived it, and during that time I wrote a stand-alone article for the magazine, a kind of summary of what I'd learned about the folk dances of the women of Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Gulf. Just recently, Shareen digitized the articles from the years 1992-2002 and put them up on a website. I highly recommend this as a research tool if you're interested in the Middle Eastern performance arts. You can search by author or keyword. Some of the best writing about Middle Eastern dance was published in Habibi, and it's worth a serious browse. The link is here.

Here is the link to my story from the Fall, 1997 edition, Loosening their tresses: women's dances of the Arabian Gulf and Saudi Arabia