There is a certain kind of magic that can only happen in the world of books…

Early August, warm day ~

My front door stands open all morning for the breeze.

No sound or sight of a delivery truck, but suddenly, as I turn the corner into the kitchen, I see a slim package lying in the unswept entry.

A book, though I haven’t ordered any.

Return address: TOR Books, NYC

Mailing label: Malmo, Sweden

And within: an uncorrected proof copy of “A Prayer for the Crown-Shy”, by Becky Chambers.

My mind circles and spins. This is the sequel to by far my favourite book so far this year: “A Psalm to the Wild-Built”.

But who/why/how?

I’m not on the author’s mailing list, didn’t rate the book on Goodreads, haven’t won any free-book contests.

In the book is a “Letter to Readers” in which Becky speaks of ”…wondering why hopeful stories are something we’re expected to grow out of, or no longer need.” “Hope,” she continues, “is a key ingredient in every book I’ve written, but I wanted to lean into that even further.”

“Same,” I whisper. My climate fiction, though not always the happiest of themes, is never eco-thriller— the inspiration, the foundation, the epigraph are all hope. In my Middle Grade novel, rude ghosts beset a diverse step-family MG, and it is hope that begets the listening that is finally the solution. Two children run away from the endless crises of the world in my just-completed adult literary novel. How could I have written this without placing them in the sheltering hands of the Maine Woods, without channeling the certain heart of the child?

I look down at “A Prayer for the Crown-Shy” as it sits, wholly unexpected and still inexplicable, but comfortable, truly beautiful, in my hands. Perhaps hope magnetizes hope?

   And books, on August mornings, fall from heaven…


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