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Your Book Has a Birthday

Yesterday was Wild's publication day — the day my book was released into the world and available in bookstores and online across the land. In my Sugar column, Tiny Beautiful Things I wrote: "Your book has a birthday. You don't know what it is yet." That's true enough, but I've known for months that March 20, 2012 would be the day Wild was born. I circled it on my calendar last summer and then waited, patiently and impatiently, fearfully and gleefully, for the day to arrive.

It was pretty fun when it finally did.

I spent the day with my darling husband Brian Lindstrom driving around Portland, Beaverton, and Tigard signing Wild at local bookstores. I also made a stop at the Powell's warehouse in Northwest Portland, where Brian and I chatted with Powell's employees Chris Farley and Jill Owens while I signed a bazillion copies of Wild. Here's a shot of me after signing one of the bazillion:

The excellent part about getting to meet booksellers is that just about every single one of them is the sort of person you'd want to be trapped on an elevator with if you had to be trapped on an elevator. I'd passingly mentioned having recently come across a list of the bestselling fiction authors of all time on Wikipedia and within moments Chris was reading the list out loud to us from his phone. Who would have guessed that William Shakespeare and Agatha Christie would be tied for first place, each of them having sold somewhere between two and four billion books? Alexander Pushkin beat out Stephen King and Karl May beat out Mickey Spillane and who the hell is Karl May anyway?

These are the sorts of things we pondered as I signed and signed. I love people who love books.

On the way to the Powell's warehouse, I snapped this shot, which needs no explanation:

I don't believe I'll ever really get over seeing that.

As Brian drove me from store to store today, I checked Facebook and Twitter on my iPhone and was delighted to see a lovely bunch of Wild photos from friends and readers. My favorite has to be this one of Jordan Foster's cat:

If that feline is any judge, my own name will never be on any Wikipedia list of the bestselling authors, as it seems quite clear that in cat-land Wild is a real yawner. My friend Yuvi Zalkow appears to regard my book with a bit more enthusiasm (if a thumb can communicate enthusiasm, that is):

Kelly Bergin bought her copy of Wild at Skylight Books in Los Angeles, then propped it up among the palm trees:

Kati Roessner found hers at Bank Square Books in Mystic, Connecticut:

Ken Yee got his Wild on at Booksmith in San Francisco before his yoga class:

The folks at Bookshop Santa Cruz have a designated staff member who will hug you if you buy Wild (thanks, Kat!):

And my writing group mate Chelsea Cain found hers at our hometown Powell's Books on Hawthorne:

All in all, it was a spectacular day.

Tonight I'll be giving my first official Wild reading and talk at Powell's Books on Burnside. I don't yet know what section I'm going to read or what exactly I'm going to say or how I'm going to say it without bawling my head off. Everyone is welcome. Except Jordan Foster's cat.

÷ ÷ ÷

Cheryl Strayed is the author of the memoir Wild and the novel Torch. Her third book, Tiny Beautiful Things, a collection of the "Dear Sugar" columns she writes for TheRumpus.net, will be released in July. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Wild: From Lost to Found on the...
    Used Hardcover $11.95

Cheryl Strayed is the author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

2 Responses to "Your Book Has a Birthday"

    maddy March 21st, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    So happy for you! Reading this made me cry a little. I wish you great success with Wild!

    Reese M. March 22nd, 2012 at 5:54 pm


    What a lovely post to mark your book's birthday. I am a devotee of Bookshop Santa Cruz, and it is no surprise to me that they had a desingated hugger for anyone who bought Wild. ;)

    I found my copy as a Nook Book first, as I will be out of the country for a couple of weeks pretty soon. I still plan to purchase the physical copy from my beloved Bookshop Santa Cruz when I return home. Of course, I started reading it last night and flew through the first six chapters, even in my tax season induced haze. I have no doubt that I will finish it before the weekend begins. :)

    I'll tag you on twitter when I review it on my book blog, Miss Bookish Girl. ;)

    Congrats on all your success, and maybe I'll be able to catch you on book tour soon!

    Reese M.
    (@MissBookishGirl on twitter)

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