Lois Leveen


July 22, 2012

Emancipation Proclamation Smack Down

For those of you interested in flexing your history geek brain cells:
150 years ago this week, Lincoln shared a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet.

Historians are still arguing about it.

Here's an article from The National Review about why, even though it led to the freedom of millions of people, the Emancipation Proclamation isn't more broadly celebrated (like, say, the Declaration of Independence is).

Here's a response to that article, arguing that the analysis is inherently too conservative.

Note that they both believe we should commemorate the end of slavery. They're just unable to agree on how particular dates or documents should figure in. That's how contentious this stuff still is for Americans.

For those of you wishing you'd gotten a nice Emancipation Proclamation anniversary celebration going, you've still got time: the September is the 150th anniversary of the EP being publicly announced, and January will be the anniversary of it going into effect.
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July 15, 2012

Why Wy’East

Wy'East Books is a gem tucked at the foot of Mount Hood National Forest
Thrilling to see my book among these other titles
Pacific Northwest authors, represent!
Store owner Sandra Palmer made it feel like I was giving a fireside chat
Just to be clear, those are my books, but not my paintings
Many of the folks at the reading belong to the book club that meets at the store
I felt like a total celebrity, complete with paparazzi. Or at least one paparazza!
The reading and discussion went nearly two full hours! Though the days are long here in July, it was dark by the time I left.
The store is in such a beautiful location--great for hiking and camping or just a nice stop between Portland and Bend.
Wy'East is what the Multnomah tribe called beautiful Mount Hood.

Wy'East is also the perfect name for the bookstore in Welches, Oregon, nestled in the Mount Hood National Forest. A friend of mine told me she stops at this store whenever she is driving to Central Oregon, and the owner spends 20 or 30 minutes with her, helping her find books she likes based on what she's read and enjoyed in the past. "I always walk out with a stack of books, and they're always great," she said.

I watched it happen while I was there, with locals and with visitors. Sandra Palmer, the owner, took me out to dinner at the wonderful Rendezvous Cafe next door (unbelievably fresh salmon, deliciously prepared, and paired with a perfect handcrafted cocktail--a small one, because of course I was reading afterwards . . .). All through dinner, people kept asking Sandy whether she had in that book they wanted, or told her they'd be stopping in to place an order. She knows how to find the right book whatever your taste is. That is so rare and wonderful, and it means as much to an author as it does to each reader.

At a typical bookstore event, I read a couple of short sections from the novel and speak for about 30 minutes, then answer questions for another 20-25 minutes. This group was so excited and engaged, they got me to read an extra passage "off the cuff." And their questions and comments fed a conversation that lasted nearly two hours total. They asked me about everything from George Washington to Barack Obama. Because I'm a teacher as well as a writer, it really means a lot to me whenever I can have these kinds of exchanges with readers. What a treasure this store is.
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July 13, 2012

Is a Spank in the Bottom the Way to Welcome Readers to Richmond?

Here's a piece I wrote for the newsletter of the wonderful Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, Virginia. The owner made me swear to give her something just naughty enough to make readers take notice. I think the title says it all.

Is a Spank in the Bottom the Way to Welcome Readers to Richmond?

How does an author ensure a reader is . . .


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July 12, 2012

Book Club Girl

It's alive!!! It's alive!!!

Oh wait, that should be live, not alive.

And also should be was, not 's.

Ahem. It was live!

It being a wonderful discussion hosted by the inimitable Book Club Girl in which I answered questions from readers all over the country.

Listen to internet radio with Book Club Girl on Blog Talk Radio

My favorite was the person whose 12-year-old daughter was assigned Frederick Douglass' slave narrative. The parent gave The Secrets of Mary Bowser as a pre-read to get her interested in the period. I will be Douglass' opening act any time.

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July 4, 2012

What, to a Novelist, is the 4th of July?

File under: WWFDD? (What would Frederick Douglass do?)

I love the 4th of July. Here's pictorial proof:
Lois Leveen playing washboard

But, as I just wrote in the Huffington Post, maybe we should spend some time celebrating the 1st of August instead.
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