Tuesday, April 14, 2020

I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf

I WILL JUDGE YOU BY YOUR BOOKSHELF is out today! It's strange to be sharing a new book in these difficult and uncertain times. My hope is that everyone who is able to is staying safe at home and reading lots of books. And my heart goes out to those who are on the front lines of the pandemic, making it possible for everyone else to stay inside.

My new book collects a decade's worth of comics about the love of reading and writing. When I started drawing my weekly comic for the Kansas City Star in 2009, I had no idea it would eventually bring me here. In 2012, I started contributing to the New York Times Book Review. Editor Pamela Paul and all the other wonderful people I've worked with there have been hugely supportive of my work, and a dozen or more comics from their pages are collected in this book. I'm so glad the Book Review responded to my unsolicited email pitch, sent as I sat in a dark classroom during an orthodontic lecture.

In 2017, my first book THE SHAPE OF IDEAS was published by Abrams Books. I'm thrilled that I got to work again with my editor Charlie Kochman and the fantastic team at Abrams. They've been a joy to work with this time around as well. Charlie is a notable book-hoarder (as am I), so this project was a perfect fit. Thanks also to my literary agent, Judy Hansen, who has spent so much time and energy sharing my work and helping bring my book ideas to reality.

This month was scheduled to be packed full of travel: book conferences in New York and Dubai, and a book tour across the Midwest. Instead, I'm at home, drawing and going on neighborhood walks with the family. It's a simpler (and much louder) existence, but I'm grateful that I can still share my enthusiasm about books and reading in two upcoming Zoom events. Tune in on Friday, April 17 at 8 PM ET for my event with The Believer Magazine, or on Thursday, April 23 at 8 PM ET for my event with Watermark Books. A huge thank you to Kristen Radtke at The Believer and Sarah Bagby at Watermark for hosting these events!

And thank you to my family for always supporting my reading, writing, and drawing. To my parents, for always letting me "borrow" the best books from their bookshelf. To Gavin, for his editing expertise and creative guidance. To Jacob and Jonah, for letting me give them already-read books as Christmas and birthday presents. To my children, for their love of sitting on the couch and reading book after book. And to Kayla, for her constant, unwavering support of everything I do. She helps edit my comics, makes sure I don't go crazy with too much coffee and comics work, and tolerates a home with books stacked in every corner.

My hope for this book is it reveals some of the wonder of the simple act of turning the pages of a book and letting the words on paper transform into worlds of imagination.

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