My friend Charles snapped this photo of the boys and me at Pike Place Market yesterday under the Turkish Delight sign. I have two books on the bestseller list in Turkey, and hear from Turkish readers every day. I’m so very grateful for the book love from this lovely country, and I cannot wait to travel to Istanbul from November 9-16 to meet my readers and tell them thank you in person!
I just got off a plane from Houston to Seattle, completing the first leg of my book tour, to learn that the great Dr. Maya Angelou had passed away. A friend texted me the news, and my eyes immediately stung with tears, and then this overwhelming feeling of loss came over me. The only way I can describe it that the world felt emptier without her in it.
I heard Dr. Angelou speak at my university in 1997, and then, years later, I had the great privilege of interviewing her for Glamour. On the phone one afternoon, we talked about women’s health, the importance of women caring for themselves and other women (and supporting each other, forgiving each other, bolstering each other), and other serious and important things. And yet my favorite part of the call was when, on a whim, I asked her what she had for lunch that day. She laughed (I loved that about Maya, she was generous with her laughter, and was quick to share a laugh or a story with others. Her presence was … joy) and immediately told me this, rather long and detailed story, about a batch of tomato soup she’d made from scratch with a bit of leftover steak from the night before. Here’s the thing: I’m a vegetarian, but I was salivating for a bite of that soup after listening to her speak about it.
I suppose that’s why I have loved her so much over the years: her way of making the ordinary extraordinary. Her way of finding beauty in pain, or in drudgery, or in the weeds. Still I Rise remains one of my very favorites of her body of work, and during the personal turmoil I have walked through in the last year, I have returned to those words frequently (daily sometimes) and have let them comfort me, wash over me, remind me to keep going. Remind me not to let anyone or anything derail me or drag me down.
That day in 2012, when I spoke to Maya on the phone, our phone call ended abruptly. I could have talked to her all day, but she kindly said, “Sarah, I must go. I’m so sorry. My lunch guest, President Carter, just arrived.” And so she hung up to go have lunch with the President, and I sat in awe for hours, grateful that I’d had the opportunity to share a conversation with one of the world’s wisest, most beautiful women.
The world misses her already. And so do I.
Maya, I hope you got that motorcycle ride you always wanted.
Today GOODNIGHT JUNE debuts in the US! I’m so very proud of this novel and can’t wait to share it with you.
Here’s a description of the story:
The New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight Moon
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Goodnight Songs) is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history. In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.
June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness. Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.
GOODNIGHT JUNE (which has gotten rave early reviews from Kirkus, BookList, Library Journal, and is one of a dozen featured books for June by the independent bookstore association of America, IndieBound).
I would be eternally grateful if you found a moment to look for a copy at your favorite local bookstore this week, or online:
And, as always, I adore talking to book clubs, so if you are in one and want to read GOODNIGHT JUNE with your friends, I’d love to call in to say hi and answer your questions!
Hugs, and many, many thanks!
I just updated my events page with tour dates for GOODNIGHT JUNE and others. I hope to meet as many readers as possible this year!
HOUSTON: Tuesday, May 27, 6:30 PM, Murder by the Book
PORTLAND, OR: Monday, June 2, 7 PM, Powell’s (Cedar Hills store)
SEATTLE: Saturday, June 7, 1 PM, Pacific Place (downtown) Barnes & Noble
CHICAGO: Sunday, June 22, Book Cellar/City Winery “Books & Bubbly” ($5 for a glass of champagne and a reading/talk with fellow NYT bestsellers Jen Lancaster, Stacey Ballis, and Amy Hatvany)
NEW YORK: Posman’s in Grand Central Terminal, 12-2:00; reading with fellow authors of the Penguin anthology, GRAND CENTRAL.
OSLO, NORWAY: Early November (exact dates to be announced)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY: November 9-17. Sarah will be signing books and speaking at various locations in Turkey, including at the Istanbul Book Fair on/around November 15-16.
Lovely readers: Would you like a SIGNED and PERSONALIZED first edition copy of Goodnight June, mailed to your door the week of publication (or even a little before!)? I’m signing hundreds of copies of Goodnight June at the fab Seattle bookstore, Third Place Books, and I’d love to sign one for you!
Put your order in this week or next, and I’ll sign your copy, and personalize it however you like (think: “To Lisa, you are the most awesome human being in the history of the world.” Ha!) And order two, or three! Signed books make awesome gifts (teachers, grandmas, best friends, moms), and I’d love to write a special note to whoever you designate in the order. Thank you for supporting my work, and Third Place, a truly fabulous Seattle independent bookstore. I hope you love this new story as much as I loved writing it. (Sorry, US readers only for now.)