Something would not let me celebrate until I saw the words in print, the list. I’m a person who trusts my eyes more than my ears. For over 24 hours I thought I was an author on the top 10 list of religion books of 2010 from Publisher’s Weekly! I did mention it to my husband, Shabda, who announced it to 60 or more people. They cheered. But it didn’t feel right. Today I found page 5 with the real list. Untold is not listed. I’m reminded of my friend, song-writer Robbie Long, who had a song picked up by Whitney Houston in the day when she was nearly as popular as Lady Gaga. He could buy a house and go on vacation with the money that came with this kind of exposure. At the very last moment a decision was made to cut the song from the album, the song Whitney Houston had already lent her voice to…
The title of the radio show: A year in Books: What’s Hot (December 30, 2010.)
Here’s what happened. My friend, author Lea Terhune, heard a program called “Interfaith Voices” out of Washington DC. She wrote me that Untold was mentioned so I found the podcast.
Host, Maureen Fiedler, was interviewing Marcia Z. Nelson, Religious Review Editor of Publisher’s Weekly. “How do you decide on the top 10?” She is asked. “Twenty-five reviewers offer a review of merit, a starred review of the best from 250 or so books reviewed by PW over the last year.” The book must be “distinctive, well-written, and surprising.” Nelson goes on to mention three or four of the chosen books. This is followed by Fiedler’s questions about trends, then books on Islam. Without the list to refer to, I wrongly assumed we were still on the subject of top ten books. The next question was: “How about books on Islam?” Deepak Chopra’s Muhammad “was an interesting pairing of subject and author.” “Untold, A History of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad –– what was remarkable about it was how the writer incorporated poetry as part of her narrative. The book was really very distinctive.” I’d call that an honorable mention, especially those words from Marcia Z. Nelson.
As for this… dream on!
The Publisher’s Weekly Top Religious Books of the Year 2010
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion ~ Gregory Boyle
Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India ~ William Dalrymple
Fishers of Men: The Gospel of an Ayahuasca Vision Quest ~ Adam Elenbaas
The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam ~ Eliza Griswold
Hannah’s Child ~ Stanley Hauerwas
Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years ~ Diarmaid McCulloch
American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us ~ Robert Putnam and David Campbell
Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith ~ Stephanie Saldaña
Hillel: If Not Now, When? ~ Joseph Telushkin
Made for Goodness: And Why This Makes All the Difference ~Desmond M. Tutu and Mpho A. Tutu