a most special gathering: let us pull up chairs and launch this book together
it’s monday. i know. and that’s not a day when i usually leap out of the cyber-vapors to plop onto whatever is the glowing screen of your choosing.
but i come with invitation:
please join me in pulling up your very own chair to gather round this virtual old maple table to attend the birthing of my next book, the one titled The Book of Nature: The Astonishing Beauty of God’s First Sacred Text (Broadleaf Books).
we’ll gather on the evening of Tuesday, March 21––its actual pub date––when we shall send The Book of Nature soaring into the everland. it’s free and it’s just for friends of the chair––wherever you are––and it’ll be at 7 p.m. chicago time, when we’ll gather by zoom. and all you need to do is click this link to register. the zoom link will be magically sent to you. and, since i’ve never ever done this before, beyond that we will all find out together what happens next.
but what i do promise you is that i will be right here. perched on my stool, snug against the kitchen counter. and i can’t imagine a cozier way to begin this latest adventure in book-birthing.
it is a downright thrill to imagine seeing many of your faces for the very first time because after 1,102 meanders here at the chair, it’s about time we look into each other’s eyes, feel the smiles wash up from the depths of our very own soul, and revel in the collective goodness of those who have so buoyed me over the years.
truth is, i can think of no finer way to gather the graces and muster the courage i’ll need to tell the world all that i’ve tucked into these 200-some pages. this is a book that stands on the shoulders of wisdom seekers across the millennia, and across cultures and faiths and geographies. it’s a book that pokes around in the nooks and crannies of all creation, seeking the thrum of the sacred––the holy Divine––in our very midst. it stands in awe of the moon and the night sky. it awaits the dawn, and gathers the dusk. it traipses through the woods, and settles into the murmurous grasses that rise from the mounds not far from the water’s edge.
this book has been called “a field guide to the depths of your holiest places,” and i hope and i pray that as you turn its pages you find yourself inching deeper and deeper, closer and closer, into your own holy encounters with the ineffable wonder and wisdom that stirs in the wind and rustles the meadow.
but this gathering––this rare leap off the page and into the virtual––is how my heart yearns to begin the book’s first breathing.
you can find out more about this newest book on its very own page here at the chair, where you can even find links to buy it from your favorite indie bookstore, or direct from its publisher Broadleaf Books, or, yes, our friends at the behemoth that is amazon.
here’s a peek at the first review that’s crossed the transom. and, yes, i will be forever grateful to that lovely, lovely soul at Booklist, the publication of the American Library Association, who wrote this in the January edition of Booklist:
The Book of Nature: The Astonishing Beauty of God’s First Sacred Text
By Barbara Mahany
Mar. 2023. 191p. Broadleaf, $27.99 (9781506473512). 200–Karen Clements
Writing with a nurse’s foundation, a scientist’s eye, a theologian’s mind, and a poet’s soul, journalist Mahany (Stillness of Winter, 2020) contemplates God’s presence as revealed in nature, His “first sacred text.” Tracing the Judeo-Christian belief that scripture succeeds and augments nature by directing humanity to knowledge of the divine, Mahany looks to nature itself, marveling at its intricacies and blending scientific facts with literary descriptions that all point unquestionably to a grand designer worthy of worship. She incorporates literary writing by a host of essayists and poets (Annie Dillard, Henry David Thoreau, Mary Oliver, Walt Whitman) and Christian and Jewish religious writers as well as Islamic, Greek, Chinese, Celtic, and Indigenous traditions. She implores readers to continue reading the book and not to allow the noise of modern life to obscure its message. Supplemental material includes an annotated list of recommended reading and an extensive bibliography. Mahany’s lyrical, thoughtful, most recent work beautifully complements her shelf of awe-inspired books about nature and will appeal to fans of Shauna Niequist and Anne Lamott.
till then, i’ll keep finding you here on fridays. and while i dream up ways to sign books for those not nearby, do know that there will be real-live book events in person at bookstores and sacred places in the days and weeks and even the months after the 21st. in fact, an actual in-store book launch is on the calendar for thursday, march 23, at 6 p.m. at that charmed bookstore, bookends & beginnings, in their brand-new space at 1620 Orrington, Evanston.
i hope, hope, hope, you can pull up your very own chair on march 21. though i won’t be able to pass a tin of cookies, nor pour you a spot of tea or bubbly, the conviviality alone will fill my lungs, and set my heart a soaring….
please let me know if you encounter any glitches, and i’ll don my thinking cap. and turn to the wizards at Broadleaf who seem to know how to guide me at every turn.
with love, babs, the chair lady.
p.s. the book in the photo at the top here is the Advanced Reading Copy, or ARC, and it’s the only edition i’ve got, though i hear the final final is due to plop on my stoop any day!