Monday, June 1, 2009

Treat Yourself to a Good Chuckle This Saturday, Come Meet Local Author Charlene Ann Baumbich

On Saturday, June 6th, local award-winning author and humorist Charlene Ann Baumbich will be at The Bookstore to sign copies of her latest book, Don't Miss Your Life!: An Uncommon Guide to Living with Freedom, Laughter, and Grace (paperback, $14.99). You don't want to miss this event! Charlene's irresitable charm will brighten your day.

Publisher's Weekly gave the book warm praise: "[Baumbich] has set out to accomplish what few Christian humorists have succeeded in achieving: making her readers laugh deep from the belly while simultaneously trouncing on their faulty “religious” beliefs. Baumbich's writing style is such that readers will feel as though she's conversing with herself and they are her most fortunate eavesdropping audience. . . . Readers are also treated to poignant essays on the power of imagination, the importance of questioning assumptions, awakening every sense, living in a balanced way or falling with a splat. Baumbich's text is just what the doctor ordered for a time such as this; laughter is good medicine indeed and there are plenty of guffaws to be found on every page. "

I was lucky enough to read an advance copy of Charlene's latest book, and I found myself really touched by her insights. Thanks to Charlene, I now have a special bowl with little objects I just hadn't known what to do with, like my dad's dog tags and my grandmother's rosary. Now I feel a little grace every time I pass by my bowl. And that's just one little idea I picked up from her book. There are so many more.

I've had the chance to chat with Charlene about how much I enjoyed her book. Her e-mail responses had me chuckling with appreciation for her gifts of humor and insight. In Charlene's own words, she's "wonky and wonderful." I asked her if she would mind it if I shared some of our conversation. Here's a taste:

Margie: I realized as I picked up your book that I am one of those stubborn people who doesn't really like advice. I'm not often drawn to the self-help section of a bookstore, but yet I really enjoyed your book! What advice do you have for people who don't think they need advice (or your book)?

Charlene: Please tell me I did NOT write a self-help book because that would mean people would expect that I’d first helped myself. Which I did, of course, but mostly to chips and dip.

On the topic of self-help books, I’m with you. I do not naturally gravitate toward the self-help section in book stores. I like humor and good storytelling, not even always together or in that order. Typically, the self-help section feels too … um … needy and self-helpy. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but in a “way too serious about me” way. Thus, in Don’t Miss Your Life! An Uncommon Guide to Living with Freedom, Laughter and Grace (DMYL), I give us ALL permission to bypass “self help” and instead approach the book and our lives as a pluck-and-play. In other words, pluck what you like from these pages and play it into your life. (Hear the music and laughter already?)

Nor have I set forth a ten-step program. Why? Because I would forget step two, then we’d all be lost. That is the beauty of humor and story: jump in here or there, skip around, laugh until you cry, cry until you laugh and forget about the “order” of things. After all, we are each a little wonky and wonderful, and in ways unique to us. Thus, my hope is that readers don’t look for my advice and answers within the book, but that they ultimately find themselves in their own stories. That is why I write: to help bring to life one’s own stories. I do this by telling mine, and by giving readers permission to be real. Personally, I don’t know how to be anything but that. And what would be the point? To live the rest of our lives acting like other than who we are? What a DRAG!

So, go to the DMYL section of your book store, buy DMYL, and plan on at long last finding your True Self.

To answer your question (at last!), I hope I don’t give advice. I hope the power in my stories helps readers latch onto the power in their own.


See what I mean? Isn't Charlene wonderful? Trust me, you'll enjoy this refreshing book. Come to The Bookstore, buy one for yourself and several for the birthdays and gift-giving occasions coming up on your calendar.

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