Saturday, November 28, 2009

I didn't make Oprah's list. But . . .

The email came Thanksgiving morning, but I found it when I got home bloated and stoddering from tryptophan* that night. It was Oprah's newsletter, announcing the Ten Best List from O Magazine and Oprah's Book Club.

They write up one book per page, so you have to click nine more times to see them all--anxiously, if you're one of the (400,000?) authors who published a book this year.

I found myself among the 399,990. Maybe next time. It was nice to see one of my authormates at Twelve make the list, though: Christopher Buckley's LOSING MUM AND PUP.

I was way too giddy to care, though, because I didn't expect to make that list, and had just opened an email from my editor about a better one. The New York Times Book Review announced its hunred best that day, which was the list I really wanted. I somehow thought they announced it much later, so it took me by surprise. A really nice Thanksgiving surprise.

I blurted my thoughts out immediately on my facebook page, so I apologize if you've already seen this, but man, did I go to bed happy that night. Not just because of the NYT list, though that was definitely a nice topper. It was the night before, that I started thinking about Thanksgiving, my second-favorite holiday after Ash Wednesday, for kind of opposite reasons. What a pure holiday, and one I can really appreciate: just one day all year to step back and look at what has whizzed by me all year and be grateful for it. And to thank a bunch of people. So here goes:

Thanks mom and dad. Thanks Leak, Thorn, Joed, Gurt, Snort, Deemboo, Beagle and Mrs Che--my siblings--and their seven darling kids, a slew of funny and compassionate friends, a brilliant publishing team (Betsy, my agent, Jonathan, my editor, and Cary, my publicist) publicist, plus Colin and Harvey Jane and a zillion other people at Hachette, my shrink, my gym buddies, all the people who shared their stories for the book and who lived through that horror, everyone on OS and my Brokeback forum and facebook who supported me and laughed with me and made fun of me, everyone who bought my book, or read it from the library or borrowed it from a friend, or came out to see me, and all the journalists, bloggers and producers who wrote about my book or put me on the air. And I never believed in guardian angels, but I kind of feel one hovering over me the past couple years, so if you're real up there, thank you, too. (And if you're imaginary, thanks for the placebo effect.) And I rarely get overtly religious in public, but thanks, God. I appreciate it.

Man. What a year. I've had 48 of them now, and I don't normally rank them, but this was easily #1.  It has been a wild ride, and a fulfilling one, and I'm so glad to have you guys to share it with.

So I went to bed with a full heart Wednesday night, and Thursday was all about basking in it. I'm pretty blessed. Thanks. And just before I wrapped the day up, I got the NY Times news. I started off the year with no idea what my book would do, whether anyone would even hear about it, but I hoped to end the year on that list. Done. I'm a happy man.

* FYI, this wikipedia page claims the whole turkey-sedation thing from tryptophan is nonsense. It says it's got roughly the same content as other meats, and includes a chart with a dozen common foods with more, likeParmesan cheese with twice the content per gram of food. Hmmmmm.


  1. Congratulations on making the NYTimes's list! Well-deserved.

  2. Thanks Sara and J. It made me happy.

  3. Yes, incredily well deserved. I just finished "Columbine" over the weekend and found it riveting. We lived in London when it happened so we didn't get the constant coverage, but it was amazing to see how much of what I thought I knew of the story didn't square with the facts. You've done a remarkable job, and the book ought to be required reading for journalists. I could not put it down!