If you’d like to read Blush, a memoir written by former Goshen College professor and president Shirley Showalter, I have a few tips on how to fully enjoy the book.
1. Don’t expect this to be like Mindy Kaling’s book, or other celebrity autobiographies. Blush is much more detailed and written on a more serious note. It’s about Showalter’s life, but she doesn’t make fun of herself or glamorize her experiences.
2. Take advantage of helpful footnotes explaining Mennonite cultural references. Showalter understands that not every reader knows what a cellar is, or the significance of the Lancaster Central Market. So she explains these things in little notes at the bottom of the page. There’s also a glossary of terms. I appreciate that.
3. Don’t try to read this book on commercial breaks during your favorite show. This book needs a quiet room and a cup of tea. Cuddly cats optional.
4. Make a couple of the recipes in the back of the book. Try “Food for a Barn Raising.” The recipe includes 115 lemon pies and notes, “enough food for 75 men.” I’m actually thinking about trying that one out for my sister’s upcoming baby shower. There won’t be 75 men there, but I think I know a group of women who could put this spread away. If you’re feeling less ambitious, there’s also recipes for deviled eggs and cherry pie.
5. Try to come up with one-word titles for your own memoir. This is an interactive activity, as you can get your friends and family in on the fun. Showalter chose “Blush” for the title of her book because she used to blush a lot as a kid. Could you come up with one word that describes your life?
You can meet Showalter this week or next week at the following local events:
- Better World Books, Goshen 6-7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 4. Informal book signing, meet-and-greet.
- Goshen College Newcomer Center 17 1:30-3 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5 Part of GC homecoming activities. Showalter will do a reading from her book.
- Goshen College Sauder Concert Hall afternoon sabbatical 1-3 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8 This is a longer, more formal event. It’s free and open to the public. Showalter will speak about how she came to write the book and about the process of writing memoirs.