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—from BookWomen, August-September 2010
|For more information about Pieces of Eight or to order a copy, visit www. piecesofeightbook.com.|
To learn more about the authors or to contact Maggio, see www.rosaliemaggio.com and www.theeightofus.com.
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A family affair
BookWomen readers are familiar with Rosalie Maggio, whose "Last Word" feature has graced page 28 of this publication-and delighted readers-since the very first issue.
A prolific and award-winning author, Maggio is known especially for her books on language and her anthologies of women's words—some of which have become classic reference books. Now she has written a memoir, of sorts, and she has seven co-authors—her six brothers and one sister.
The book is Pieces of Eight: Still Best Friends After All These Years, published this spring, a collection of "mostly humorous and occasionally touching stories" of the Maggio siblings' growing-up years, along with present-day e-mail exchanges, which "often read like stand-up comedy."
"All of us are storytellers," said Maggio, who was the coordinator/editor/designer of the collection. "I've had so much fun—even if at times it felt like herding cats."
The book is organized loosely around themes, with chapter titles like "A Literary Chapter in Which We Explain That When Mom Said, 'Half a Dozen of You, Get out of Here!' She Was Using a Figure of Speech."
On her website, Maggio describes the clan: "The eight Maggio siblings are what the world would call 'professionals.' They have jobs, they pay bills, they contribute to their communities. But the best thing about them is that they love a good story, especially a funny good story."
Not only does "Pieces of Eight" represent a new genre and a new level of collaboration for Maggio, it's also a new experience in that it's self-published. For her other books, Maggio's publishers have included McGraw Hill, Prentice Hall, Beacon Press and Oryx Press. But she believes self-publishing is the wave of the future, "and I wanted to learn how it works."
She seems to be a quick learner. The book is available in hardbound, trade paper and e-book editions; it has two web sites, which include info, photos, excerpts, a blog, fun interactive pages, and an easy-to-use order form. There's even a video on YouTube.
In her 25-year writing career, Rosalie Maggio has written more than 20 books. Last year, she published The Art of Organizing Anything: Simple Principles for Organizing Your Home, Your Office, and Your Life, from McGraw Hill.
"I like this book because I went against the usual approach," she said. "Before I began writing it, I read every book on organizing that's out there, and they all made me itchy. They're about cards and systems and boxes—oh my gosh." Her aim was a more light-handed, realistic approach to the idea of organizing.
"The book is saying, look at how you want to live, and only think about the areas that bother you—you don't need to try to organize your whole life. The point is to be a friend to yourself."
Maggio knows a lot about organizing—given her writing life and interests, she has to. Always on the lookout for quotes by women and examples of gender in language, she estimates she has read 10,000 books by now, which works out to a book or two a day. "Every day I'm reading old books by women; there's no end to books by women that have fallen through the cracks. Every time I see anything interesting I tuck it away." Which means entering it into her finely tuned reference system, where it's sourced and ready to access.
And if any BW readers are writing a book and want special quotes, Maggio says she's "happy to share. It hurts me to see books by women that use quotes by men."—Mollie Hoben
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