Book of Marvels
Saturday, March 24, 2007
What's on my nightstand...

Well, not really on my nightstand. It's on my dining room table so that every time someone stops by, I can pick it up and shriek, "Look! look!"

I didn't expect to be this excited about the book's release. After all, I'm only the co-author and you have to turn a few pages before you even see my name. You might even have to put on your reading glasses to see it. Maybe my subconscious was being hypervigilant, guarding my ego against the slings and arrows of non-attention. But what the heck, my ego seems to be saying. It's still really exciting.

The book is so pretty! Of course, I saw the cover image months ago and have been observing it daily at Amazon. Then the editor at Random House sent me a copy last week, well in advance of the book's arrival in bookstores April 10. There's something very different about holding it in my hand. It's pleasing in a satiny, tactile way. And that color that the designer used around the border and in the Kabul Beauty School font--fresh and vivid, like the new leaves about to unfurl in the next couple of weeks. I like it very much.

The Kabul Beauty School is more than a book for me, too. When I was asked to help write it, my second or third question was, "Will I have to go to Afghanistan?" I was so pleased that the answer was yes. It didn't occur to me to be nervous until the night before I left, when I actually went to the globe and saw how far away Kabul was-- really, on the other side of the earth. I had to remind myself to breathe deeply for about an hour on the plane. After that, I was fine.

I've always wondered about people who wind up living atypical lives far from home, either people who live by travel and only touch down now and then or who actually sink into another culture entirely. I've wondered how they wound up living in Saumur or Rome or Kabul and I've wound up living in Cleveland-- not a bad choice, I hasten to add, but it's not Saumur or Rome or Kabul. I've wondered if this was a conscious decision that they made at some point in their lives or if they were sort of blown there by the winds of serendipity. In either case, I've wondered if that meant that they were deeply, truly not at all like me. I generally embrace the fallacy that everyone is basically just like me.

So I spent six weeks in Kabul and met all sorts of expats there-- Debbie and many others. I don't really have an answer as to what snaps that thread that ties you to the familiar, but it fascinates me. I'm going back in May for a month to write some articles. Snapping my own thread briefly, then knotting it back to my ordinary life again at the end of June. Posted by Picasa
Let me be the first to congratulate you, Kris,. .. it IS a stunning cover and I'm sure the writing follows. . .always look forward to your next entry.
Hello mackflute--Congratulations on making it through the scrambled letter challenge. And thanks for your ever kind words.
I am going to have to track down your book. It looks fascinating!

Your blog makes for great reading ... you live an amazing life!

Thanks for sharing.
I love your thread metaphor; and the cover looks wonderful.
what a fantastic cover - and congratulations! I'm so excited to read it...

I love the cover. Hey, post the page that has your name on it. I'm excited to see it.
It's a lovely looking book, Kristin, all the lovelier knowing you co-authored it.

Yes, I wonder myself why I didn't end up living somewhere far away. Cleveland sounds nice, though. And you have all the places you've ever been with you, no matter where you live.
Oh, Kris, how wonderful that the book is coming out, and that you can hold a copy in your hands! Do post a photo of the page with your name on it-- I want to see it! I've been thinking about what it would be like to move to the remote chateau I've been living in. It's so beautiful there, and the winters are mild compared to Cleveland. The others that live there did just that-- left their "normal" lives in London, South Africa, Peru, Paris and the US and hunkered down here, fixing up the Chateau to make it livable, continued to create art, and made their lives something most of us would find extraordinary, to some extent. I'm not sure I'd have the courage, if that's the right word. What does it take to leave your own home identity and culture and adopt another one?
Congratulations! I'm looking forward to reading it and also hearing the truth behind Van's comments on my blog about Kabul (by Hirsch)...But we can leave that for later ;)
Best of luck on the success of the book (aren't glad you got on that plane!)I can't wait till my copy arrives! I had the same idea of starting something similar here in S.E. Asia and stumbled upon this site in my research - Yes, I am another American hairstylist let loose and roaming the planet and I would very much like to get in contact with Debbie, if she is willing to share some of her insights with me. I'd REALLY appreciate it if would pass her my email info( course if the book is a step-by-step account then I'll be fine.
Safe Travels
I thought about you yesterday... because Deborah Rodriguez was on Diane Rehm's show yesterday talking about the book. :)

You're very right about that shade of green. It's a very fresh but almost gilded-looking green...
Your book is reviewed in today's NY Times, by William Grimes, who likes offbeat things. He liked the book, and I'm only sorry he didn't mention the ghost writer! Maybe the Times has some policy. But here's a sentence that belongs to you: "'Kabul Beauty School' transcends the genre largely because of the author's superior storytelling gifts and wicked sense of humor." Brava!

I was amused by his characterization of Crazy Deb's marriage to Sam as having "a Lucy-Desi quality."
Congratulations, Kris! Can't wait to read it!
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