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April 2012

Chatting Up Other Authors On Literary Panel

Dollhouse-cast-2009-winter-tca-fox-panel-gq-01Yesterday I moderated a literary panel put together as a fund raiser for the New Rochelle (NY) Library Foundation. I really enjoyed it, because I got to ask fellow authors some questions about the writing and publication process that I have been wondering about.

Two of the authors, David Hadju and Deborah Baker, were National Book Award finalists, and Deborah had been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a biography she wrote. (I know it's not all about prizes, but it still impressed the heck out of me.) It was comforting to hear about the anxiety everyone else was also dealing with - creative, financial, etc. - the relationship they had with their subject matter (yes, some biographers feel they have to "break-up" with their subject at the end of a book), not to mention the disconnect between the solitary act of writing and the very public act of book promotion.

And the bonus - it all benefited a library, another subject we talked about, as libraries are near and dear to the heart of most writers.

Note: This photo is not actually us on the panel. Those people are actors. Writers are far thinner and more beautiful than that.  


My blogging has really been falling by the wayside lately, and I can only blame the craziness that surrounded the publicity for the book. It's been great - more attention than I could have dreamed of - but it does keep you really busy. For the latest, check out my author's face book page

Meanwhile here's a piece that was just on

April 17, 2012 12:51 PM
"The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger," by Kate Lombardi
Jeff Glor

The Mama's Boy Myth, Kate Lombardi(Credit: Penguin Publishing)

Jeff Glor talks to Kate Lomdardi about "The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger."


Jeff Glor: What inspired you to write the book?

Kate Lombardi: My son and I have always had a close relationship. So do so many other moms and sons I know. But the only cultural image we ever see of mother-son closeness is a negative one. Not only in books, but also in movies, on television and in commercials, the portrayal is always that stereotypical "Mama's Boy" image: the controlling, smothering mom and the weak, dependent son. But in real homes, mothers are nurturing warm, close relationships with their sons, and far from raising wimpy guys, they are raising strong, emotionally intelligent, independent young men. I wanted to explore that disconnect - what accounted for this big gap between the popular image and the reality?



JG: What surprised you the most during the writing process?

KL: So many mothers I interviewed said something along the lines of, "You have to understand, my son and I have a particularly close relationship" or "We're unusually close." Young men, too, would talk about how they opened up to their moms more than most guys. The truth, it turned out, was that mother-son closeness was really very prevalent. But all these moms and sons thought their relationships were unique, because no one ever talks about it. The taboo about moms and sons is still so strong that this was all going on underground.



JG: What would you be doing if you weren't a writer?

KL: I would probably spend a lot more time cooking. I love every aspect of it - shopping for ingredients, coming up with new ideas, preparing the food while listening to my favorite music. I even have a few playlists with titles like "Music To Cook By" and have been caught using a spatula as a faux-microphone. (I could do without washing the pots and pans, of course.)



JG: What else are you reading right now?

KL: Just finished "Sense of An Ending," by Julian Barnes. Before that it was "Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell, and I've been a little obsessed with "Room" by Emma Donoghue.



JG: What's next for you?

KL: "The Mama's Boy Myth" seems to have really touched a cultural nerve and opened up a conversation on the issues of mothers and sons. I followed my instincts in pursuing that topic, so I'm going to follow them again and see where this theme leads me.


For more on "The Mama's Boy Myth," visit the Penguin Group website.


"A Boy's Best Friend Is His Mother"

ImagesWhen I was taping "All Things Considered" late  last week, the host mentioned that she might have me read a bit from my book. But then she corrected herself and said, "Oh, no, actually, I think were going to use a scene from 'Psycho' for the lead in."

I knew I wouldn't be able to escape Freud when I wrote about mothers and sons, but it turned out that Normal Bates would be another perennial. Not that it's inappropriate - I use him myself in the book, because he is the ultimate symbol of a sick mother-son relationship. And he's a stronger cultural touch stone than some of the other introductory material that has been used, like scenes from the movies "Mama's Boys" and "Failure to Launch." 

That, and he uttered one of the great movie lines of all times. (See title of this blog post.)

Mother-Son Book -Anne and Sam Lamott

UnknownStarted reading "Some Assembly Required" last night, a book co-authored by Anne Lamott and her son Sam.

Like many mothers, I had been a big fan of Lamott (Anne)'s book, "Operating Instructions" which chronciled her son's first year of life. This book promises to be a kind of sequel. Sam himself became a father at the age of 19; the book is about his son Jax's first year of life, and Anne's experience as a grandmother.

So far I'm a little perplexed. The book is vintage Anne Lamott - her strong voice, her own brand of Christianity woven in, her keen descriptions of what a newborn's soiled diaper looks like. But - at least at this point - I don't know why the book is co-authored. I have yet to hear Sam's voice ( Unknown-1except when she quotes his emails), and the book seems entirely from her point of view. Perhaps the voice will switch later on. I must confess that I bought this book in hardcover, so I was able to peek ahead and didn't see anything forthcoming from Sam, but it was late at night, so I might have missed it.

Meanwhile in my book land, I am going to be on NPR's "All Things Considered" this weekend, which is exciting and a little nerve-wracking. Taping it tomorrow.