Book Help Web


Monday, October 02, 2006

Sheila Williams and Communicating Online

Perhaps the most frequent question I get here at Book Help Web is how to contact an author. Most of the time, I don't have contact information that I can give out. I can only recommend that the person contact the author's publisher or send an e-mail through his or her Website.

It's one of the reasons it is encouraging to have more and more authors who are communicating with their readers through e-mails and online communication. Sheila Williams talks about her love for e-mails and her online readers at the Love of Reading book fair.

I found it interesting that though she gets hundreds of e-mails, she's received only three letters through the mail in the past five years. We just don't write letters as often as we used to. We're far more spontaneous and think nothing of taking two minutes to write an author just to tell him or her how much we liked (or didn't) what we read.

I'm not terribly suprised that Sheila Williams is so open to e-mail. I read her book Girls Most Likely earlier this year. It was a book that demonstrated what a warm and personable person its author was. She has a beautiful writing style that was warm and engaging. Here's what I had to say earlier this year:

Sheila Williams' Girls Most Likely demands an immediate adjective. Something like elegant or compelling or soulful. Perhaps gripping or mesmerizing or enthralling. But while all of those adjectives would work, they must be rejected as inadequate.

Girls Most Likely is, indeed, something special. Perhaps that is because it appears to be one thing while slowly revealing itself to be something more. On one level, it is a perfectly ordinary book. It tells the story of four women, four friends, from when they meet in fifth grade to their 30th high school reunion. They maintain a fast friendship, albeit with some pretty major fissures, protecting each other and each other's secrets.

On another level, it's a richly lyrical and metaphorical book which looks with great affection upon four decades in the lives of four archetypical examples of womanly success. It's a book of ideas and of relationships. It's a book about our definitions of success and how we hollow ourselves out in pursuit of those elusive pictures.

If you haven't had the chance, I'd encourage you to check out Sheila Williams, either at the book fair or in her pages--or better yet, at both.


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