Color me very grateful for the interest in Strange Gods and I have felt a little helpless when emails and social media messages asked when the book would be out on Kindle. The answer, finally, as of right now!
I’m also grateful to folks who have been very kind in their assessments of the book, although I do have to admit that Terry Nelson from Abbey-Roads blog — one of my favorite blogs, I don’t link to enough — gave me a start. I happened upon it this weekend and read: “At first I thought, ‘the cover is the best thing about it!’”
Oh no! It is a great cover — Ave Maria Press outdid themselves with it, I think — but Terry’s ambivalence had me cringing.
I said about a week ago that promoting one’s book is an odd and uncomfortable thing (and a few writers have told me it never gets “comfortable”). On one hand, in the period between writing the thing and actually seeing it in print, one becomes detached from it, forgets all about it or what it contains. Then you see the thing, all pretty and three-dimensional and you become as neurotically protective as a first-time mother with a newborn; you want everyone to tell you it’s handsome and smart and lively and observant, which of course, people don’t always do — not for babies and not for books. In both cases you have to be grateful to God for the gift and content to love what the rest of the world may well find unlovable, or even unbearable to look at.
So I was prepared to discover that Terry was coming from the “eww, take it away” side of things, especially when he wrote this:
I wasn’t real excited, thinking the cover was probably the best thing about it. Fr. Barron called it a ‘must read’ and to be honest, I couldn’t go that far. Scalia is online and one has access to her thoughts and point of view, but… I thought, ‘It’s not a bad book – but it seems to be just another theme book.’ I wondered if Ave Maria might have invited Elizabeth to write a book because she is so well known online and has a good following in new media.
But then, after actually reading it, he wrote: I like it. I really like it. I even have to agree with Fr. Barron, it really is a must read
And I was like:
She begins with a large idea, one that seems so distant. It takes her less than a chapter to bring it home, and with each following chapter, she circles around it and brings it in closer and closer.
Believe me, it’s more accident, than art. I have such a short attention span! But I’m so grateful, as I am for Rick Rice’s thoughts at Brutally Honest, where he recalls an interesting, if well-intended tussle (he called it a squabble) he and I had just about four years ago.
Pat Gohn, on the other hand, remembers a total non-tussle!
Sarah’s review, and I think Rick Rice’s and possibly a few other reviews and chats will be added to the Book Club roundtable this week, and I’ll be discussing idols and idolatry on The Drew Mariani Show on Thursday, May 30 on Friday at 4PM Eastern, and on Saturday (June 1st, already?) with DaTechGuy, Peter Ingemi, on WBWN, WPLM, WESO AM & FTR Radio.
So, the promotion continues but yes, it’s an uncomfortable experience, specifically because for all that it gratifies, it also completely humbles one. And for all that, it’s a treacherous thing for the soul. It’s like living on a life-raft: the sun is warming until it burns; the water is abundant but one dare not drink, and mirages are always a risk.