Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bari and Brattleboro VT

I'm looking out at the Adriatic Sea, and feeling very grateful for these five days in Italy. Puglia is so different than any place I've been in Italy, or anywhere. The food is simply amazing, all fava beans and orecchiette, and burrata and focaccia. The landscape is breathtaking. And frankly, I'm not ready to leave. 

But leave I must. A bit of a hellish travel day tomorrow. Then a day at home before heading to Brattleboro VT and the Literary Festival there. I'll be on a panel with Paula MacLain, and at the flash fiction event, both on Saturday. If you're in or near Brattleboro, come to the festival. There's lots of your favorite writers there! 

The view from here:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Some random thoughts

Thank you all for your wonderful essays! Sorry to read them in  a truncated fashion, but I think I have read all of them now.

A general comment that I did post in some of my particular ones. Try to avoid the construction of "my mother" "my grandmother", etc. Name them instead. Mom, Mother, Granny, Pop...whatever you called them. The other construction is very clunky (trust me, copyeditors have a hayday with it!)

And then, watch your capitalization. Not "my Mom" but "my mom". "Mom" is a proper noun, like a name. "mom" is a common noun, like dog or tree.

And Emily has rewritten "Accidents". Please take a look?

Lots of synchronicity this week: sapphire rings, china...

I'll check back to see your comments and weigh in again.


I'm in magical Alberebello, land of the gnome-like houses called trulli, for a little R and R. It's a fascinating place, and I've copied the description from the go Italy website for any of you who might be curious, as I am. Otherwise, enjoy the picture here!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Off to Italy!

Here I am, back on Amtrak, heading home ever so briefly. Tonight I fly to Bari, Italy and then on to Matera for the International Women's Fiction Festival. So excited for the festival, and to see this part of Italy for the first time. Matera is in Puglia, which is the heel of the boot, on the Adriatic. After the festival, I'm spending a day and night in Alberobello in one of their trulli, conical limestone houses that look like gnomes should live there. I've wanted to see these for a long time, and can't wait to actually sleep in one. Then a night in Bari before my flight home on Wednesday. An adventure!

I saved the third Elena Ferrante book, and the fifth Maurizio de Giovanni just for this trip. Even though I've fondled both quite a lot, I kept my promise to wait to read them until Italy.

My bias blanket has grown too large to make it a good knitting project for traveling, so I will take either a cable hat (looks hard!!!) or the traveling vines cowl (ditto!). Or maybe both...Resisting the urge to knit dish rags instead because I'd like to have the hat and cowl for gifts, or maybe for me...

I will of course post pictures! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tonight in NYC!

I'll be at the Italian American Museum on Mulberry Street at 6:30! Can not wait! Hope to see you there. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Grace's birthday. She would have been 18. Oh! What we have all missed!

Monday, September 22, 2014

I'm so excited to read at Barnes and Noble in NYC tonight!

I'll be at the B and N on Broadway at 82nd Street at 7. Would love to see you there!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Brooklyn Book Festival is today!

What a day of authors and books! Everyone from Joyce Carol Oates and Zadie Smith to Jonathan Dee and Phillippe Petit!

And me!

A Force Unleashed presented by the Brooklyn Public Library

Borough Hall Courtroom 
September 21, 2014 
Add to Calendar

Best-selling author Ann Hood (An Italian Wife), much-lauded debut novelists Matthew Thomas (We Are Not Ourselves), and Tiphanie Yanique(Land of Love and Drowning) and Dutch novelist Tommy Wieringa (Little Caesar ) discuss the life changing roles that mothers and sisters play in their latest novels. These determined women exert a driving force upon the other characters that is sometimes debilitating, sometimes life saving — always transformational. Introduced byLinda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library. Moderated byMeredith Walters, BPL. With the support of DutchCultureUSA and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Brooklyn Book Festival Sunday

My terrific panel is at 2, but it's a day full of wonderful writers discussing their books and literary themes. I hope you can come!

I'm waiting for the train to NYC now, ready to spend the next three days there. Monday is my reading at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side at 7. 

Then Tuesday I'm off to a sold out dinner event outside Philadelphia. 

For this afternoon, I'm eager to board my train, take out my computer, and write. Followed by some knitting. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jamaica Plain tonight!

Get out your knitting needles and join me 

at JP Knit and Stitch in Jamaica Plain MA for the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl at 6 PM tonight!

I don't know about you, but I could use some knitting time. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mystic CT and NYC

Big shout out to Judy, Pat, and Sally from Island Books. They put on a sold out event at The Salvation Cafe in Newport last night that was just wonderful. Great venue (with great after reading food!), great crowd, great night!

Soon I'll be heading to BankSquare Books in Mystic CT for my noon event with Ellen Stimson, author of Good Grief. There will be a yummy lunch too! Books and lunch make for a great combination!

Next week is all NYC (yay!), starting with the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday at 2. I'll be on a panel with Matthew Thomas, author of the knock out novel We Are Not Ourselves. 

Monday night I'll be at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side at 7. 

And then next Thursday at the Italian American Museum on Mulberry Street at 6:30. 

A busy week ahead for An Italian Wife and me! Hope to see you!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Newport event sold out tonight

But I'm excited to see everyone who is coming to the Salvation Cafe!

And tomorrow (Thursday) I'll be at Bank Square Books in Mystic CT at noon. They do a terrific (and yummy!) lunch event. 

The next couple of weeks are busiest for An Italian Wife and me, including five days in Italy for the International Women's Fiction Festival in Matera, which is in Puglia--the heel of the boot. I've never been to this part of my favorite country, so I'm staying one night in a trulli, one of the odd cone shaped structures they have there. That will be fun!

Knitting my bias blanket has been just what I need. I'm at the widest part of it, so a row takes quite a bit of time. I knit two rows at a time to keep track of the pattern, and just knitting those two rows helps keep me calm and centered during this hectic September. And of course comforts me as Grace's eighteenth birthday nears. Today I tried to write about this birthday, but just couldn't. So instead I picked up my knitting needles. One row at a time, friends. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Event in Hanover tonight postponed

Unfortunately. But I'm hoping it will be rescheduled soon!

Hanover MA Library, here I come!

A rainy train ride from NYC back home this morning. Everything is washed in gray, and there's a definite autumn chill in the air. 

I'm excited to talk about Knitting Yarns tonight at 6:30! Perfect weather for knitting...which I plan on doing on this train as soon as I get my two hours of writing time in. 

I hope you get to knit today, or read, or write, or sit with your thoughts for a bit. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hanover MA, Newport RI, Mystic CT, Jamaica Plain MA

An Italian Wife and I will be in Newport at the Salvation Cafe at 6:30 on September 17 and at Bank Square Books in Mystic at noon on September 18. 

And the paperback of Knitting Yarns and I will be at the Hanover Library on September 16 and at Knit and Stitch in Jamaica Plain on the 19th. 

Hope to see you there! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Off to South Hadley MA and The Odyssey Bookshop

After a really fantastic night at the Barrington Library, I'm excited to head west for my reading tonight at 7 at The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley MA. One of my favorite places!

A weekend of rest and friends and Gogo's meatballs before next week's busy schedule in Hanover MA, a luncheon at Bank Square Books in Mystic CT, and the Island Books event at The Salvation Cafe in Newport RI!

Then I get really busy!!! Details on my website www.annhood.us. And here of course. 

Thanks for making AN ITALIAN WIFE such a big success!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Barrington, Hadley

What a great night in Norwich, VT! I love that town, the Norwich Bookstore, and the lovely Norwich Inn. Gogo and I had a blast, especially when she sang Mussolini songs in Italian while I signed books!

I'm home again, and heading to the Barrington Library in Barrington, RI at 7 tonight. Tomorrow, it's AN ITALIAN WIFE and me at the Odyssey Bookstore in Hadley, MA. Another favorite bookstore of mine!

Here's Gogo in Norwich!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Newtonville Books tonight at 7!

As you know, I love waking up to the sounds of NYC. And this morning I was lucky enough to do that. I wonder if white noise machines have a garbage truck on city street sound? That's the one I'd pick!

It's going to be a crazy busy autumn for me. Yesterday it began: an NYU class followed by my New School class, with just two hours in between and ending at 10:30 PM. And all my book tour events, which are abundant and exciting. Will need to take my vitamins these next couple of months!

Tonight I'll be at Newtonville Books at 7. Then tomorrow I take Gogo with me and head to VT and the Norwich Bookstore. Home Wednesday in time for an event at the Barrington Library. And Friday off to the Odyssey Bookstore in Hadley MA. All events are at 7 PM. 

Happy to start my day watching knitting tutorial videos. And listening to garbage trucks. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Only 7 tickets left to October 25 event on Federal Hill!

This event on Federal Hill in Providence on October 25 is going to be wonderful! Lunch at Roma on Atwell's Avenue 11:30-1:30. And an autographed book! Reserved seating for groups of 6 or more. 

Prior to lunch, Chef Cindy Salvato of Savoring Federal Hill will be hosting a food tour. 

You bet I'll be at both events!

For reservations and/or questions, email the fabulous Robin Kall:


Friday, September 5, 2014


Wonderful Judy from Island Books just told me our event for An Italian Wife at the Salvation Cafe in Newport on September 17 is almost sold out! This is a ticketed event, and I don't want you to miss it! You can get tickets here:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Providence! Boston! Norwich VT! Barrington RI! Hadley MA!

Thank you for all your good wishes and for sharing your own stories with me. Although I'm bruised inside and out, I'm doing what we all do every day: putting one foot in front of the other. 

And hitting the road with An Italian Wife. I hope to see you when I'm at your local bookstore! 

Here's what the upcoming week looks like. Details are on my website www.annhood.us. 

Tonight, September 4, Books in the Square, Providence. 7PM. 

September 9, Newtonville Books, 7PM

September 10, Norwich Books in Norwich, VT at 7PM. 

September 11, Barrington (RI) Library, 7PM

September 12, Odyssey Bookshop, Hadley MA at 7PM. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

On Being Robbed

I had planned to write here about that September feeling that never fails to hit. Back to school, although filled with so much anticipation and excitement, always makes my grief over losing Grace sharp and terrible and fresh. My own personal calendar always marks September as the start of a new year. And after Grace died, that new year reminded me of all she had been robbed of: first grade, getting her training wheels off, losing a tooth; choosing a middle school, taking art classes at RISD, finding friends and getting crushes on boys; growing tall--the same pediatrician who accurately predicted Sam would be 6't predicted Annabelle would be 5'11; growing beautiful; going to high school and making her art; college visits. This year we would have brought her to college for her freshman year and mourned her absence. That seems ironic. That seems as it should have been. Instead we were robbed of her and all her beautiful life would have been. Sam was robbed of that sister he adored, of making more memories with her. Of sam and grace, that dynamic duo.

Almost everyone I love most was born in September (with a nod to my two April babies): Gogo, GJ, Gina, and Grace. So that even her birthday is wrapped up with the joy of celebrating so many people I love. Ah. September. 

Saturday I flew to Atlanta for the Decatur Book Festival (absolutely wonderful!) and came back on Sunday (yesterday). I went from the airport to Gogo's to spend the afternoon with her, then met hubby and annabelle in Jamestown for a party. They'd camped out the night before. 

We got home some time before midnight and I went to the kitchen to set up the coffee maker. First thing amiss: the Jambox on the floor. Second thing, a window open. My heart immediately sunk because in the 15 years we've lived here, we've been broken into twice, both times through a kitchen window. As a result, I am neurotic about locking up, closing windows, etc. I asked Annabelle to please close the window (right around the same time I noticed the coffee maker was facing the wrong direction). Annabelle said the lock was broken on the window, and puzzled, I stacked cans of tomatoes on it to keep it closed. Upstairs, I went into the dressing room and saw the top of my bureau was empty: beautiful Mexican jewelry box gone. I ran into the bedroom where hubby was calmly reading and began shouting, "We've been robbed!" And babbling about the window and my jewelry box. He squinted and pointed: "isn't that your Mexican jewelry box?" And there it lay, emptied, on the bedroom floor. 

I immediately thought of what was taken: my Mexican necklace. My mother's pearls. My father's wedding ring. My Grace earrings. You see, I don't care for diamonds or emeralds. I wear the same chunk of turquoise on a cord that I got in Guatemala a few years ago almost every day. I'm not one for fancy stuff. But what I have--had--was sentimental and important. To me and only me. 

By this time, we started running around, taking measure of what had been taken. Hubby's great grandfather's gold cuff links. The necklace he made me from a stone from MtKilimanjaro. He climbed that mountain after Grace died, a way to keep grief from making him insane. 

Annabelle cried, "Did they take my violin?" I remembered that long ago, our Japanese exchange student had her clarinet stolen from a bus. So maybe instruments were something thieves take. And that violin? We rent it. I imagined how much it would cost to replace it. Annabelle was crying and scared and I ran to check downstairs. 

And fell down the stairs in my panic. 

The violin was not taken. But I have a pulled bicep, a sprained ankle, a sprained finger and thumb. 

Today was spent swallowing Advil, talking to the truly wonderful Providence police, taking inventory, fixing the window. The thief removed a window box and crowbarred the window. He wore gloves. He knocked over the Jambox as he climbed inside. 

My combination if sadness and anger has fluctuated all day. I've cried. A lot. What's been taken can't be replaced. I don't usually cry over things. Like I said, I'm not fond of fancy jewelry or labels. And I've lost so many people I love that I've come to understand what really matters. But in this month of sharp grief, as I'd already been thinking of what we've been robbed of, this seems especially cruel. 

Tomorrow, my arm will hurt a little less. School will start. September will begin in earnest. Tomorrow, I will still be measuring what we've lost, as if it could ever really be measured.