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Archives - Weekly Update

We closed the office early today in observance of Good Friday, thus our newsletter is arriving in your mailboxes earlier than usual. I hope this does not interfere too much with your regular reading habits! I hear from many of you that you have rituals for reading us on Friday night or Saturday morning. Apologies for tugging you from your comfort zones!

I also need time to shop for pre-dyed eggs (which were a huge hit last year) and jellybeans (the black ones are my favorites). Yet another amaryllis bloomed (see the photo above), and it’s in a perfect Easter pink! It’s also time to walk into the attic to hunt down Easter decorations, with a vow to practice the same restraint that I practiced at Christmas. The concept: Hold each item in your hand and think, “Will I want to put this away in April?” It’s amazing how many bunnies will be left behind with this mantra in practice. Move over, Marie Kondo! I think I have a whole new franchise idea for holiday decorating. Oh, but wait, it’s only one line of questioning. Maybe I can invent a few more to say to the decorations left behind in the attic.

I started the week with daylight saving jet lag but was perked up by an unexpected visit with Mary Kay Andrews. The New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association (NAIBA) hosted an industry event at Watchung Booksellers in Montclair, New Jersey, and MKA (as we call her around the office) was on hand to talk to booksellers about her writing and her upcoming book, THE WEEKENDERS (coming May 17th). You may recall that my plan for the weekend was to kick back a notch, read it and think warm summer thoughts. I was 200 pages in on Sunday (and completely wrapped up in the story of this barrier island resort town) when I headed to Montclair.

Everyone knows that the clocks change this weekend, right? I am working double time here to make up for the anticipated lost hour. Next week I will be jet lagged all week!

Just hours after our newsletter went out last week, I learned the sad news that Pat Conroy, perhaps best known as the author of THE PRINCE OF TIDES and THE GREAT SANTINI, had died at his home in Beaufort, South Carolina at age 70, just weeks after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. My heart goes out to his wife, Cassandra King, whose work we have featured here; his wonderful agent, Marly Rusoff; and all my writer friends who were so close to him. Facebook tributes to him all week have been brilliant; it was like an online wake with loving and special tributes from so many folks. He was such a champion of so many authors, especially southern ones. Reading their comments on social media this week, as well as those from many readers, made me realize that this was an author loved for much more than his written words.

Last weekend, we emptied the kitchen pantry, painted it and replaced everything. Well, almost everything. One shelf had cookbooks on it. I thought there were two rows of them, but alas, further investigation led to a discovery that they were three-deep. Right now they are in a pile on the dining room table, where each day I am winnowing them down. So far there has only been one duplicate book. I did not realize that I had six books on cakes and decorating for children's birthday parties. There are some treasures there that were wedding presents; there are others that were purchased on vacations decades ago to Vail and Beaver Creek. There are lots of memories in many of these pages.