#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

New Book Day and Why I Love Words

Tuesday is the day new books go on sale, whether audio, digital, or in print.  Little wonder, with my hunger for books, books and more books, that it’s my favorite.  (Well, okay, tied with the other six, which all have engaging qualities of their own.)  I mostly buy audiobooks these days, as I’ve mentioned, and this week, I’ve discovered a new (to me) author, Elizabeth Berg.  I know, I know–she’s hugely popular, an Oprah’s Book Club veteran, but somehow, I missed her.  Here’s how I got there: after listening to “The End of Your Life Book Club”, I was inspired to read or listen to several books, also previously mentioned on this blog.  One subject of particular interest to me was etiquette, as it relates to illness and tragedy in general.  I think we’ve all felt awkward around sick friends and loved ones at times, wondering if we’re imposing by visiting, if we’ve stayed too long or not long enough, which questions and comments are appropriate and which are not, what to bring or do and what not to bring or do, etc.  We love these people, and we want to help and encourage them, but it’s all too easy to lose sight of the most important fact of all: this is about the person suffering, not about us.  If ever the Golden Rule applied, it’s in situations like this.

I decided to explore the topic, thinking of my aging mother and a very dear friend who is coping with a serious illness, and ways I might might show love and support in real and viable ways, respectful ways.  Too often, wordsmith though I am, I get tongue-tied, or put my foot in my mouth, or tiptoe around the painful stuff, as in, not knowing what to say on the matter, I don’t say anything at all.  I’m sure you get the idea.

Anyway, I downloaded Lettie Cottin Pogrebin’s excellent book, “How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who is Sick” and I’m glad I did.  Pogrebin, a first class writer, tells of her own experience while being treated for breast cancer, and those of other patients suffering from a wide variety of ailments and injuries.  She explains what friends did or said to comfort her–or send her into fits of anger or despondency.  Gifts that pleased and cheered her, and those that didn’t.  There is a lot of warmth in this book, and a great deal of humor, along with the heartbreak, and it is worth reading.  She happened to quote Elizabeth Berg’s “Talk Before Sleep”, a novel about a woman and her best friend, who is dying.  I listened to it, loved it, and immediately went to Audible.com for more Berg.  Talk about taking the long way around to why I finally discovered one of the world’s favorite authors, but there you go.  For me, books work this way–rather like dominos; one leads to another.  It’s still true: word of mouth (or print) sells books. 

I read a LOT of self-help books, to the point that it concerns some of my friends.  Bless their hearts, they worry about my self-esteem, thinking I must feel pretty badly about myself, if I’m into so much self-improvement material.  The truth is, I don’t devour motivational stuff because I feel “less than”, I do it because I always learn something important about myself and people in general in the process, and it’s a rare tome that doesn’t reveal at least one better way to do things, or think about things, or paint them, or cook them….I love to learn.  I’m into experiments, big time.  Win or lose, succeed or fail, every attempt teaches me something–even if, to paraphrase Thomas Edison, I can only say, “Well, at least I know 10,000 things that don’t work.”  If a cake falls, or a painting turns out to suck, I don’t feel like a failure.  I feel a sort of thrill, because I’ve learned from the experience, and I don’t have to make the same mistake again–I can go out there and make new ones!  (And believe me, I make plenty.)  

And now, back to the Civil War Pennsylvania…the story people in “North of Eden” have a lot to tell me.  In the summer of 2018, I’ll let you in on everything they say and do.  :)  In the meantime, there are hundreds of great books out there, waiting to teach, to touch, to encourage, to console, to draw attention to situations crying out to be changed.  Let’s grab a book or an MP3 player when we can, and take a ride on the magic carpet. 



26 comments to “New Book Day and Why I Love Words”

  1. pat Dennis
      · February 7th, 2017 at 1:56 pm · Link

    With all the options for reading, I still love the PRINTED pages in my hand!! I just cannot help myself. I need to read Elizabeth Berg – my youngest brother-in-law is on hospice, and it is very difficult to talk him and to console my husband as the end approaches.

    • linda
        · February 7th, 2017 at 2:02 pm · Link

      God bless all of you. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through such a difficult time.

  2. Gloria Herring
      · February 7th, 2017 at 1:59 pm · Link

    I know exactly what you mean about not knowing what to do, or say, but I’ve heard so many people, including family, say…I don’t want to see them this way, I want to remember them the way they were. They never give the first thought to the person who is sick or dying, and how that person feels to be ignored in their final hours, because the other person is only thinking about the other person and their own feeling.

    Sorry for the rant, but it just gets to me that a person can do a sick person that way when the sick person was always there for them.

  3. linda
      · February 7th, 2017 at 2:03 pm · Link

    Yes, I completely agree. It’s better to risk saying the wrong thing than to stay away.

  4. Donamae Kutska
      · February 7th, 2017 at 2:07 pm · Link

    That is a hard situation, I need to read up on that myself. I love to learn too at 66. Never too old right?

  5. Elaine Key
      · February 7th, 2017 at 2:51 pm · Link

    I liked when you said you tried new things that didn’t work. You didn’t feel like a failure but you learned something from your experiences. I never thought of it like that before.

  6. Pamela Devereux
      · February 7th, 2017 at 2:55 pm · Link

    Great blog today Linda. Yes it is hard to do or say the right thing when someone is ill or has a life long illness. People are taught to be caring and generous. So trying to teach them another way without offending is like walking a tight rope. I think children have it best. I was in the store and a kid asked, “What is that?” Mother is horrified and I calmly explained that my lungs don’t work that good so I need more oxygen. They proceeded to asked more questions. I loved it. I told the mother to let them ask questions. Who knows, they might find a cure for something.

  7. Monika
      · February 7th, 2017 at 2:59 pm · Link

    Most inspiring today. They are definitely books I will get and download. Comes in a time of my life when surely needed. Thank you again.

  8. Melaine
      · February 7th, 2017 at 3:48 pm · Link

    I still can’t get into audio books. I like the feel of a book in my hand and don’t mind packing at least 30 or more for when I spend a couple months away from home.

  9. Linn Carlile
      · February 7th, 2017 at 4:13 pm · Link

    Linda, you always seem to have good things to share with us.
    I have been into Suspense books lately. I am reading about lawmen who solve their toughest cases with the help of their canine partners.There is eight books in the series, each by a different author. I have always liked books with dogs in them
    and how they help people, and western old country stories.Thanks for all your wonderful books. May you have a
    good week and stay safe.

  10. Prairie
      · February 7th, 2017 at 4:14 pm · Link

    My mother right now is going through the onset of dementia and it is very difficult for her. She is 87 years old, lives alone and quite independent. Her problems are a night. In the daytime, she is her normal self. Knowing what to say is often difficult without upsetting her. It can be quite stressful for all of us. I’ll have to look into some of your book suggestions. I do love books, too. I have a lot of non-fiction because I love to learn.

  11. Ruby Norwood
      · February 7th, 2017 at 4:31 pm · Link

    Great blog Linda, as usual. I can’t get into audio books for the life of me. I have got to have that book in my hand when I read, paperback or hardcover, but has to be one or the other.

  12. Virginia Horton
      · February 7th, 2017 at 4:43 pm · Link

    Linda about the only time I do audio books is when I ride my exercise bike so it takes me a while to finish one. Because if I can get out and take a walk I will do that instead of riding the bike. I have been riding some lately because of all of this rain and cold we are getting. I do read paper books of the Kindle at night before going to bed. Most are all romance books and stuff like that. Hey you can still learn from them.

  13. Diana E.
      · February 7th, 2017 at 5:07 pm · Link

    So enjoyed your blog today, Linda. I will look into Lettie’s book. Sounds like something I’d really like to know about. Blessings.

  14. Teresa W
      · February 7th, 2017 at 5:14 pm · Link

    A new book=one of the great wonders of the world. :-P

  15. Shari G.
      · February 7th, 2017 at 5:19 pm · Link

    Thank you for these recommendations. i have to admit that I read fiction more than non fiction, but the books mentioned here sound interesting and as i get older information that I will need.

    I am currently reading your trilogy about the Carter brothers, Slater, Drake and Mace. Just finishing book two and have preordered book three. While I am waiting may be a good time to check out Elilzabeth Berg and/or Lettie Cottin Pogrebin. Shari :-?

  16. Leanna
      · February 7th, 2017 at 6:23 pm · Link

    I love to learn as well, reading helps you in so many ways with this. Years ago I was tested after a stroke and had not graduated college and because I read and have such a large vocabulary I tested well above someone with a graduate degree.

  17. Jo Ann Holcomb
      · February 7th, 2017 at 9:03 pm · Link

    Well little bit of rain today, but not a bad day. Reading your blog today hit home in 2 different areas. First was when my older daughter was dying of Ovarian cancer, her friends seemed to disappear but one. He showed up every day that he could & they just talk. See he was sick also with Sickle cell that some black people get & it would wear him down to walk a few blocks but did anyway. Pretty cool, I thought. the second was listen to books on tape. Bought a lot when my husband, before he pasted away, eye site was bad, gave him something to help in passing time. Well, hope your weather is better & you have a wonderful week. Jo Ann

  18. Lois Rotella
      · February 7th, 2017 at 9:33 pm · Link

    It is hard to say or do things for others. You don’t want to say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. My brother was in a car accident last year. I stayed with him and try to help. We would get on each others nerves . At times I thought I was a bad nurse. In the end we appricate each other.

  19. DWn Roberts
      · February 7th, 2017 at 10:55 pm · Link

    I’m not sure if I would enjoy N audio book, I think I’d get so engrossed in listening so not to miss anything I’d forget everything else, which would probably be quite a problem if driving.

  20. Evelyn Baldwin
      · February 8th, 2017 at 8:55 am · Link

    I love paperbacks! Reading is number one for me! First the Bible, then my favorite authors, as you! Then if you don’t keep trying, you never learn by your mistakes! Thank you! God Bless!

  21. Lorelei Sawtelle
      · February 8th, 2017 at 5:54 pm · Link

    Once again your insight inspires and encourages the lot of us. Thank you for willingness to address the hard issues in your compassionate voice.

    My mom is 81 and has Alzheimer’s. No matter how often I call she always claims that she hasn’t heard from me in months. Thank you for the gentle reminder that it is about her not about me.

  22. midge watkins
      · February 8th, 2017 at 10:07 pm · Link

    Not too many places I’d rather be than on the Magic carpet! My
    Mother used to tease me when I was a little kid that a war
    could be waged in the same room and I’d never notice when I
    was reading a book. Do you have a special place where you get
    your audio books, or do you just download them? I don’t have
    a kindle, so I usually get mine from the library or Amazon or
    the discount booksellers. 2018 is a very long time for your
    North of Eden book, Linda. But, I’ll wait.

    • linda
        · February 9th, 2017 at 9:11 pm · Link

      I download most of my books from Audible.com these days, but before streaming became so prevalent, I bought them on cassettes, then CDs.

  23. Diana Martin
      · February 8th, 2017 at 10:20 pm · Link

    Can you PLEASE tell me if you are going to do a 3rd book for Mojo Sheepshanks,, I feel alot was let hanging..Like what happen to Greer…did her a Tucker make it ..PLEASE PLEASE do a third book an finish the series..I have read all your books an I would like to finish this one.

  24. Eugenia Riddick
      · February 10th, 2017 at 8:52 am · Link

    I found a lot of motivation and encouragement in Living Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen. I’m caring for my 10 months old granddaughter and assisting my daughter. My daughter is anxious about everything. Career, baby, job, homeownership, body image, lack of relationship, etc. So in turn I needed something to help me feel hopeful. There’s still life to live.

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