January 2011

Dear Reader,

I should warn you that I’m a sucker for New Year’s resolutions. It’s the same story every January: with great hope I make my list and with great determination I tell myself that this will be the year that I will be kinder, thinner, smarter, calmer. There is a long list of how I will make this happen. Yes, I am sure 2011 is the year it will all happen.

I’ve long vowed to practice meditation but am deterred at the thought of thirty minutes. Not going to happen – so I figured the best way to do this is to start small, with five minutes in the morning. I recently picked up Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation to help me on my way. With a chapter titled “If you can breathe, you can meditate,” how can I go wrong? And I will also check out the Sounds True audios – like Mindfulness for Beginners and their meditation music.

This made me think it would be fun to have an event at the store that is all about taking care of yourself. If enjoying a more mindful 2011 is on your list of resolutions, I hope we’ll see you at the store on Thursday, January 27th for Spa Night. We’ll have stations set up throughout the store and we’ll be pampering you with a free evening of make-up lessons, Lisa Ann Skin Care, chair massages, and more - I can’t wait to try her luscious lotions.

While I have already made my parenting faux pas (Edward is a junior in college), I certainly remember the days of wondering, “Are we doing the right thing, or are we doing enough?” Well, if you want to feel guilty for not doing enough or if you want some ideas on how to do even more, Amy Chua is a powerhouse author and mom whose incredibly disciplined approach to life and parenting will leave you in awe. Her new memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is brilliant and funny – and she’s a genius, I could listen to her talk about anything. Join us on Friday, January 14th at 7 pm at the Study Hotel in New Haven for what I’m sure will be a fascinating evening.

Many, many times people come up to me and share their stories – stories that can be funny or sad or profoundly moving. But writing these same stories is another issue altogether - it can be frustrating when a life that is so fascinating and interesting doesn’t translate to the written page. That is why I’ve invited author and editor Lary Bloom and memoirist and poet Suzanne Levine to hold a workshop entitled The Art of the Memoir, which will feature exercises in the use of dialogue, character development, scene setting, and more. Classes start February 5th, and run every Saturday from 10:30 to 12:30 through March 12th (click here for more details). I hope you won’t miss this unique opportunity to preserve and share your life’s story.

Now, to share with you what I’m reading. While I was working on the sales floor this December (my absolute favorite spot to be!), three customers came up to me raving about The Hare with the Amber Eyes: A Family’s Century of Art and Loss. I’m about halfway through, and while I’m finding it fascinating the jury is still slightly out – I’ll keep you posted. Under the rubric of being smarter, I’m going to pick up All Things Shining: Reading the Western Classics to Find Meaning in a Secular Age. I’m also having fun going through The Poets Laureate Anthology. I love and adore this book: what a great way to learn about the best poetry from the best American poets of the last seventy-five years. Well, I guess I’m off to a good start!

See you in the store,

Roxanne J. Coady