Archive for October, 2009

Hitting the road once again

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Tonight will be my last night sleeping in my own bed for a couple of weeks. I’ve been folding shirts and stuffing socks and t-shirts into my suitcase. And of course, cramming little 3 ounce bottles of toiletries into my TSA-approved one-quart clear plastic baggie. Yes, it’s the main leg of my Longest Trip Home paperback-release tour!

In the morning, I catch a flight to Milwaukee where I will appear tomorrow night (Oct. 19) at Next Chapter Bookshop in Mequon, WI at 7 p.m. From there I fly to Chicago, and I will do a reading and signing at DePaul University Bookstore at 6 p.m. On Wednesday I hop down to Lexington, KY, for a 7 p.m. appearance at Joseph-Beth Booksellers. Thursday will find me in St. Louis where my 7 p.m. event will be at the Maryville University Auditorium.

I’m spending the weekend in St. Louis because I’m speaking at a private event on Saturday. Then on Sunday, I fly west where I have scheduled stops in Portland, Corte Madera, CA, and San Francisco. Then it’s back east again to Grand Rapids, MI (my old stomping grounds), Boston, and Philadelphia (my current stomping grounds).

Whew! I think that about does it. To check my schedule and see if I’ll be turning up somewhere near you, please click my events tab at the top of this page.

And now it’s time to print out my schedule, pack up the laptop, and get some sleep. Book tour here we come! I’m really looking forward to talking about and reading from The Longest Trip Home.

Hope to say hi to you in person at one of my stops.

The Longest Trip Home in paperback

Saturday, October 10th, 2009


I arrived home from my children’s book tour about two and a half weeks ago and have spent the time working around the yard, sailing, and hanging out with my family. Now I’m gearing up to head back out on the road. The occasion: This Tuesday, October 13, is the publication date of the paperback edition of my memoir, The Longest Trip Home. I’m excited!

The paperback has a whole new cover, a full-bleed image of me in the driveway of my childhood home, circa 1963. I like it even better than the hardcover version with the dark green border surrounding a black-and-white image. The paperback also has new material added for book clubs.

The Longest Trip Home is my story. It is also my parents’ story because I could not tell one without telling the other. It begins with me as a little boy in our family home outside Detroit and comes full circle, ending right back in that same home some forty years later as my father’s health was deteriorating and my mother’s mind had begun to drift. I knew it was time to come back again after too many years mostly away, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually, as well. I knew it was time to say those things that needed saying while there was still time. That 40-year journey was my longest trip home.

I’ve been really humbled and gratified by the beautiful letters so many of you have written to me in response to the book. There is something about my story, as personal as it is, that many of you seem to have found oddly similar to your own. Our shared experience is what ties us together.

As Leslie Jones of Montana put it: “Your book is amazing to me in a personal way.  My husband and I are just your age, and I’ve never read a book that so closely mirrors my childhood… all the everyday stuff of suburban USA in the 60′s and 70′s. You also nailed the family dynamic–the parents and the adult children, and the process of breaking away into your own new family.  I know you were just writing about  your family but the way you did it was so masterful, and allows all of us readers to remember our own experiences and relate.”

Or as Tim Bazzett of Michigan wrote: “Just wanted to let you know how very much I enjoyed your new book. I liked Marley, but this one moved me so much more.”

Jason Bowman added: “I just wanted you to know that last week I finished reading Marley and Me and today I finished reading your new title, The Longest Trip Home.  I must say that of all of the books I have read, yours struck my heart in a way
that no writer has ever been able to do.  Those books made me laugh out loud and cry… well, actually sobbing
is probably the more appropriate word.  I love you for your books.  They have given me such an inspiration.”

Melinda Boeh emailed: “After seeing Marley & Me on Christmas Day, I decided to check out your other work.  The Longest Trip Home sounded intriguing, but I wasn’t prepared for a ‘can’t put it down’ book.  The similarities to my own life were stunning.”

And from Terence Lewis in Orlando: “I just finished your book The Longest Trip Home moments ago , and had to stop and thank you for it. Coming from a large family  and as a fellow Irish Catholic, I found the parallels of our experiences very enjoyable . I have not laughed and cried so much while reading a book. Let me add, I am not one to cry.”

I could go on, but just know your notes and emails bring me much joy, comfort and inspiration. Please keep them coming! I read and enjoy each and every one, even if I cannot always respond individually.

Meanwhile, my Longest Trip Home tour begins this Sunday, Oct. 11, in my own backyard at Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, PA. From there I will be visiting over the next three weeks book stores and other venues in: New Canaan, CT; Mendham, NJ; Mequon, WI; Chicago; Lexington, KY; St. Louis; Portland, OR; Corte Madera, CA; San Francisco; Boston; and Philadelphia.

For my complete schedule, please click “Events” in the bar at the top of this page.

Hope to see you on the road.