Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Book: How to Get It, What to Do with It

What well-dressed shelves are wearing this season.
Photo by Lawrence Leritz.

Officially, May 1 was the publication date for Madeline Kahn: Being the Music • A Life — though several days earlier I began hearing reports of sightings of the book in some stores in New York, and the distributors for the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites managed to deliver several copies well before the dawn of May 1. My “author copies” — a term of art, meaning just what you think it means — arrived on my doorstep April 22, and I nearly tripped over them as I dashed out of my apartment.

At long last, almost seven years to the day since I started this project, I opened a box and found ten copies of Madeline’s story. Yes, I cried. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

Chances are that you haven’t been waiting quite so long to get your copy, but there’s a very real chance that you don’t have a copy yet. How to get one? There are several ways.

First, you really can order the book online, either in the electronic or in the print edition, from Amazon (where we’re the top-selling new release in theater biographies) and from Barnes & Noble; the electronic edition is also available from some other dealers. If you prefer hardcover books, you can also ask for Being the Music at your local bookstore, and if they don’t have it in stock, you can ask them to order it for you. Independent bookstores love to order books for customers — and often they’re just about as speedy as online services. If you’re in the United States, your favorite bookseller can order directly from the publisher, the University Press of Mississippi; in the United Kingdom, booksellers can order copies through the Roundhouse Group.

Once you’ve gotten a copy of the book, the next step is to read it. If at all possible, the next step is to derive enjoyment from it. And then, if you have anything nice to say about the book — tell your friends, and post reviews on the book’s Amazon and B&N pages. If you’ve got a blog and you review the book, please let me know (either here or on the book’s Facebook page). Douglass K. Daniel of the Associated Press has reviewed the book already — but why should he have all the fun?

However, if you don’t like the book, then I hope you will do me the very great courtesy of telling nobody at all. Really. It will be our secret. Thank you.

Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham was first to get her copy autographed by the author, backstage after a performance of The Merry Widow at the Metropolitan Opera.

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