An Open Book – The Inprint Blog https://anopenbookblog.org a place for literary conversation Thu, 21 Mar 2019 17:13:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 Dispatch 16: Chris Cander and The Weight of a Piano make a final tour stop in Chicago https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-16-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-make-a-final-tour-stop-in-chicago/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-16-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-make-a-final-tour-stop-in-chicago/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 17:10:52 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2507 Continue reading ]]> Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), comes to a close with Dispatch 16, from Chicago.

Friday, March 15, 2019

I blew into the windy city for the final official stop on my book tour. Before my event, I asked my Uber driver to take me to the Brewster Apartments, which was the building I fictionalized in my novel 11 Stories. I took along the miniature piano I photographed in Death Valley while I was writing The Weight of a Piano, and held it up right about where my protagonist Roscoe fell from the roof of the building in the novel. (Roscoe, meet Mini #Blüthner; Mini Blüthner, meet Roscoe.) 

The National Book Award finalist, Rebecca Makkai, whose work I’ve long admired, invited me to be in conversation with her at Women & Children First Bookstore. Her interview format was so much fun; it felt like a continuation of our hilarious dinner conversation beforehand, but with some audience participation thrown in. It was a delightful ending to my nearly 8 weeks of traveling.

I’m so grateful to all the bookstores and booksellers and readers and reviewers who’ve helped contribute to this novel’s success since its release. Thank you, dear readers, for sharing this journey with me, and Inprint, for graciously posting these dispatches. I’ll always look back on this time with gratitude and love.

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Dispatch 15: Chris Cander and The Weight of a Piano go to LA! https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-15-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-la/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-15-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-la/#respond Mon, 18 Mar 2019 17:54:07 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2502 Continue reading ]]> Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), continues with Dispatch 15, from Los Angeles, California.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

From blizzard to beach: after an early flight to L.A. and before my interview with the legendary Michael Silverblatt for his Bookworm podcast, I put my feet in the sand and watched the blue-green Atlantic Ocean waves roll in on the beach where, in The Weight of a Piano, Clara’s parents took her as a child during happier times.

After meeting with my film agent, who’s very excited about the directors and actors who are currently reading, we went to Skylight Books. Helga Kasimoff, the German octogenarian who was so instrumental during my early research on Blüthner pianos was already there along with Russian pianist Sergey Silvanskiy and a mid-century upright that her son had brought in especially for tonight’s event. At points during my presentation, Sergey performed a moving piece by Mikail Glinka, the 19-century composer considered the fountainhead of Russian classical music, another by Alexander Scriabin, and concluded with “DieReise,” the piece by Konner Scott that appears in the novel. The highlight of the Q&A with the standing-room-only crowd was when Helga sat down with me at the piano and talked about her family’s emigration to the U.S. and establishment of their famous Blüthner dealership. It was an emotional moment for me when I was able to personally give her a copy of the novel that has her influence on nearly all its pages.

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Dispatch 14: Chris Cander and The Weight of a Piano go to Stillwater, MN https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-14-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-stillwater-mn/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-14-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-stillwater-mn/#respond Fri, 08 Mar 2019 00:46:39 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2496 Continue reading ]]> Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), continues with Dispatch 14, from Stillwater, Minnesota.

February 21, 2019

Pamela Klinger-Horn is an angel among booksellers. She founded and has, for years, run something called Literature Lovers’ Night Out™, a ticketed event that draws usually a hundred readers to hear 3-4 writers talk about their latest novels. She was a big fan of my last novel, Whisper Hollow, and offered early endorsement of The Weight of a Piano, and I was so delighted that she invited me to be part of her literary tradition.

Tonight’s reading was in Stillwater, a quaint little town on the Mississippi River, east of Minneapolis. I was there with the wonderful author Anissa Gray, whose debut The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls has captured the attention of reviewers and readers all over the country. Before the event began, Anissa and I shared fried Brussels sprouts and fish tacos at a great place called Lolo, and found in each other a kindred spirit. Two notable commonalities were that we’d both worked with the writer Alice McDermott when we were scholars at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference two years apart, and neither of us much enjoys the presence or smell of dogs. (Sorry dog lovers.)

After selling and signing many books, we, along with local mystery writer Allen Eskens, said our goodbyes, and headed off in separate directions to continue our respective tours. Tomorrow I’m going back to Houston for a few days, where I hear it’s raining, and it will be good to be home again, if only for a little while.

 

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Dispatch 13: Chris Cander and The Weight of a Piano have a day off in Minnesota https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-13-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-have-a-day-off-in-minnesota/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-13-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-have-a-day-off-in-minnesota/#respond Fri, 01 Mar 2019 18:16:13 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2488 Continue reading ]]> Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), continues with Dispatch 13, from Excelsior Bay, Minnesota.

February 20, 2019 

Due to the 9” of snow that fell today, tonight’s event–Literature Lovers’ Night Out™ in Excelsior Bay, MN–was canceled. So while everyone else bundled up and hunkered down, I shed my outerwear (see previous post re: my actually being a polar bear) and went for a walk in the blizzard. Afterward, I got to spend a few hours in the company of one of my very best friends for more than twenty years, the author Charlie Baxter. We got to toast to the completion of his newest novel and to the publication of mine, and to catch up on the many things we love to talk about. 

It was disappointing to miss the reading, but with such good friends, the snow, and a quiet evening in a comfortable hotel, this unexpected day off in the middle of book tour turned out to be perfectly wonderful.

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Dispatch 12: Chris Cander and The Weight of a Piano go to Minneapolis https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-12-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-minneapolis/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-12-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-minneapolis/#respond Thu, 28 Feb 2019 01:06:54 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2484 Continue reading ]]> Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), continues with Dispatch 12, from Minneapolis.

February 19, 2019 (Dispatch 12)

It was 0oF in Minneapolis when I boarded my flight from Houston this morning. Fortunately, I have the constitution of a polar bear, so was delighted. My sister-friend Ellory, whom I met 14 years ago when my husband was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN to receive a kidney transplant, picked me up from the airport, and we got to spend some time together before tonight’s event.

It was cold enough to thin the herd of readers, but even with the weather, there were close to 20 in attendance at Magers & Quinn Bookstore. The small crowd made for an intimate gathering, and after I talked about and read from the book, my dear friend and fellow Knopf writer Peter Geye led a conversation about The Weight of a Piano. I was moved by a woman in the second row, who said that four years ago she’d chosen Whisper Hollow for discussion at the Minnesota chapter of the American Association of University Women, and had been awaiting the arrival of my next book. Her sincerity almost made me tear up. I’ve always known the transformative power books can have on people’s lives. But recognizing, perhaps for the first time, that my books might also was quite a special moment for me.

 

 

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Dispatch 11: Chris Cander and The Weight of A Piano come back home https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-11-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-come-back-home/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-11-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-come-back-home/#respond Fri, 22 Feb 2019 19:34:27 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2479 Continue reading ]]> Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), continues with Dispatch 11, back in Houston.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

As much as I’ve enjoyed being on the road, it’s been great being back home the past few days. And while my family is proud of me and supportive of my work, they also like it when I return to my usual post in the kitchen. And laundry room. And driver’s seat…

Tonight’s event at Blue Willow Bookshop was delightful. Valerie, girl boss extraordinaire, created a towering display of books (which were nearly gone by night’s end) and welcomed me as only she can. There were readers and friends in attendance who’d already heard me talk about the book, but wanted to hear more. A friend all the way from Denmark, and a few from across the street. Several people shared their own piano stories, both painful and poignant, which I’m always so moved to hear.

Readers, thanks for sticking with me on this tour. We’re more than halfway there.

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Dispatch 10: Chris Cander and The Weight of a Piano go to New York City https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-10-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-new-york-city/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-10-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-new-york-city/#respond Fri, 15 Feb 2019 22:33:30 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2475 Continue reading ]]> Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), continues with Dispatch 10 from New York City.

February 7, 2019

Not only because I dedicated the book to her, but because I love being with my daughter, Sasha, I invited her to join me in NYC for my event at the gorgeous McNally-Jackson Books. She originally said she couldn’t miss school that week, but on Monday, she called and said her schedule was light and she really wanted to be there. So on Wednesday, she flew up from Houston—by herself, clever girl!—and was able to be with us last night for a truly memorable event.

My agent, Jess, and editor, Gary, along with many other wonderful members of the teams at HSG Agency and Knopf were there, as well as some old friends and family who came from far and wide, and many, many others who’d read or heard about The Weight of a Piano. The store very nearly sold out of books, in part due to one reader who loved the talk so much he bought TEN copies to give away to friends.

Everyone adjourned to the home of my dear friends Louise and Charlie Marburg (please check out her collection The Truth About Me, which is amazing) for a party that lasted into the wee hours. I was so delighted that my friend, the author Christina Baker-Kline (who gave my book a beautiful blurb) was there, along with many other writers, artists, and all-around interesting people. I know I keep saying it, but this has been an incredible experience, and I’m so appreciative for all the love and support from my publisher and agency, all the booksellers and bookstores, and the many friends and readers who continue to spread the word about my beloved book.

Tomorrow I return to Houston, where I’ll have a few days off and then get to be with Valerie and friends at the amazing Blue Willow Bookshop on Wednesday, Feb. 13. I’d love to see you there.

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Dispatch 9: Chris Cander and The Weight of a Piano make it to Springfield, Mass https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-9-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-make-it-to-springfield-mass/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-9-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-make-it-to-springfield-mass/#respond Wed, 13 Feb 2019 01:07:18 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2466 Continue reading ]]>

Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), continues with Dispatch 9 from Springfield, Massachusetts.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

I caught the train from Penn Station to Springfield, Mass for a relaxing, 3-hour ride. About the time we were to arrive, the train stopped. Nobody said anything, nobody moved. I assumed we were letting a southbound train pass, as we had a while earlier. My friend was at the station waiting for me, and sent a text asking if we were late. Finally, just as the train started moving again, I asked the conductor what was happening, and he said, “Springfield was twenty minutes ago! Why didn’t you get off?”

My face flushed. “I didn’t hear an announcement.”

“You’re just supposed to know!”

“I’m from Houston!” I told him. “Texans don’t do trains!”

He laughed and patted my shoulder. He called my friend so they could decide where she should pick me up, then moved me and my stuff close to the door and said he wouldn’t let me miss my stop this time. Now Greg and I are pals for life.

The event that night at Odyssey Bookshop was so great. The store, founded by current owner Joan Grenier’s father, is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year. I got there early to sign 200+ copies for their First Editions Club and finished in time to visit with some of the attendees, including my cousin Sheri and her friend who drove 90 minutes to be there, and the nephew of a woman in my mother’s book club in Industry, TX. Even with extra chairs, the room was packed, and the attendees asked many interesting and thoughtful questions. We went way over our allotted time, but it was so worth it. Afterward, Joan asked me to sign their infamous bathroom wall. I found a spot next to the mirror and sent this message out to all you beautiful readers.

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Dispatch 8: Chris Cander and The Weight of a Piano go to Washington D.C. https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-8-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-washington-d-c/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-8-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-to-washington-d-c/#comments Sat, 09 Feb 2019 00:08:25 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2460 Continue reading ]]> Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), continues with Dispatch 8 from Washington D.C.. 

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Sunday morning, in Washington D.C., I rushed down to the hotel lobby to pick up copies of the New York Times and the Washington Post, both of which ran their wonderful reviews of The Weight of a Piano. The day could’ve ended happily right then, but it was just the beginning of what would be one of the best of the tour thus far.

My sister Sara, whose birthday is today, had joined me for the weekend, so naturally we had cupcakes for breakfast. The reading at Politics and Prose, which is one of the 6 stores to choose The Weight of a Piano for their Signed First Edition Club, was at 1 pm—early  enough to satisfy those who are both book lovers and football fans. My agent was there, as was my publicist, and a packed house of wonderful readers. I read from two sections of the book, including a scene in which Katya, the Soviet concert pianist, and her husband are discussing whether to emigrate to the U.S. After the reading, a little girl about 8 years old stood up at one of the microphones to ask the first question: “What kind of music would Katya play once she got to America?” I loved that question, and even more that she had the curiosity and confidence to ask it. Attendees aren’t always comfortable with the exposure of standing up from their seat and walking to a microphone to ask a question, but the others must have been inspired by her moxie because a lengthy and interesting Q&A session ensued.

Afterward, there was a party hosted by my agent’s amazing parents, Deborah Ashford, who’s long served as lead counsel on the PEN/Faulkner board, and Kevin Klose, who was president of both NPR and Radio Free Europe. Everyone was as kind as they were intelligent, and I loved meeting so many wonderful people. Deborah had a cake made with the image of the book’s cover, and put a candle in it so we could sing happy birthday to my sister.

Later, Kevin drove us to the U Street Corridor, where we dined at Le Diplomate, a charming rendition of a Rive Gauche bistro. After a lovely Bordeaux and several small plates, we were sleepy, but with all the memories of such an ideal day still fresh, only reluctantly did we return to the hotel and go to bed.

 

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Dispatch 7: Chris Cander and The Weight of a Piano go from Mississippi to Tennessee https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-7-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-from-mississippi-to-tennessee/ https://anopenbookblog.org/dispatch-7-chris-cander-and-the-weight-of-a-piano-go-from-mississippi-to-tennessee/#respond Wed, 06 Feb 2019 22:13:34 +0000 https://anopenbookblog.org/?p=2455 Continue reading ]]> Houston author Chris Cander’s “Dispatches from Book Tour,” a multi-week blog series of reflections and updates along her 17-city U.S. book tour for her new novel The Weight of a Piano (published by Knopf), continues with Dispatch 7 from Mississippi to Tennessee. 

Friday, February 1, 2019

My new friend and sales rep Jess Pearson and I made a pilgrimage to William Faulkner’s grave before starting our road trip from Oxford, Mississippi to Nashville via the peaceful, historical Natchez Trace Parkway. It was a long drive, so we stopped in Collinwood for a cup of coffee and some sugar-free fudge, and then at my editor Gary’s house in Franklin, where I got to see The Weight of a Piano lined up alphabetically next to Peter Carey and Raymond Carver and others on the wall of shelves containing all the books he’s ever edited. Swoon.

The reading at the legendary Parnassus Books was terrific, and impressively attended, especially for a Friday night in Nashville. I was thrilled to meet Karen Hayes, who along with Ann Patchett, owns the store. We and a couple of their terrific booksellers enjoyed a great conversation over dinner at a little place called Miel.

After several days of non-stop festivities, I thought I’d drop into a profound sleep, but here I am, awake at 1 AM, still thinking about all the old and new friends I’ve gotten to see, the bookstores and booksellers whose gracious hospitality and enthusiasm for the book are connecting it with so many readers, and the incredible opportunity to spend time talking about this book and these characters that I love so much. I’m not taking a second of any of this for granted.

 

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