We’ll let Publishers Weekly tell you about Karen Maezen Miller‘s Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life: “Miller (author of Momma Zen) uses daily household chores — laundry, kitchen, yard — to demonstrate timeless Buddhist principles. The skillful weaving of personal anecdotes, a few Zen terms, and acute insights — sometimes addressing the reader directly — distinguish this book from others in the genre. Miller, a Zen priest and student of the late Maezumi Roshi, argues for the faultless wisdom of following instructions when going about the mundane activities that form the substance of everyday life. Candid about some of the difficulties of her past, Miller stresses the importance of changing perceptions, which can lead to more beneficial outcomes for oneself and others: All practice is the practice of making a turn in a different direction. The book wears its Zen lightly; indeed, Miller skates over the years of study — as well as the decision to become a priest — that undoubtedly ground her current perspectives. By choosing to focus on the conclusions rather than the process of her Zen journey, Miller has tilted her writing more toward self-help/advice than spirituality/religion. This disarming book is full of deft and reassuring observations.” (New World Library)
The world’s best contemporary writers — from Michael Chabon and Claire Messud to Jonathan Lethem and Amy Tan — engage in a wide-ranging, insightful, and oft- surprising roundtable discussion on the art of writing fiction. Drawing back the curtain on the mysterious process of writing novels, The Secret Miracle: The Novelist’s Handbook, from the 826 Valencia writing centers and edited by Daniel Alarcon, brings together the foremost practitioners of the craft to discuss how they write. Paul Auster, Roddy Doyle, Allegra Goodman, Aleksandar Hemon, Mario Vargas Llosa, Susan Minot, Rick Moody, Haruki Murakami, George Pelecanos, Gary Shteyngart, and others take us step by step through the alchemy of writing fiction, answering everything from nuts-and-bolts queries — “Do you outline?” — to perennial questions posed by writers and readers alike: “What makes a character compelling?” From Stephen King’s deadpan distinction between novels and short stories (“Novels are longer and have more s**t in them”) to Colm Toibin’s anti-romanticized take on his characters (“They are just words”), every page contains insights found nowhere else. With honesty, humor, and elegance, The Secret Miracle gives both aspiring writers and lovers of literature a master class in the art of writing. (Henry Holt)
Strategy consultant, visual thinking guru and author of The Back of the Napkin and Unfolding the Napkin Dan Roam‘s Blah Blah Blah: What to Do When Words Don’t Work, explaining why it is essential to use both visual AND verbal thinking to understand and communicate ideas in business, politics and life, and presenting his unique, groundbreaking toolkit for Visual-Verbal Interdependent Thinking, in a significant deal, again to Adrian Zackheim and Courtney Young at Portfolio/Penguin.