Can’t view it? Click on the link below.
So excited to see a review of Stump the Librarian: A Writer’s Book of Legs!
Check out the review at Amplitude, an online and print magazine with the tagline “Powerful, Practical, and Positive Living with Limb Loss.”
Click on the cover below to see Amplitude magazine’s home page, which includes a PDF of the current January/February 2019 issue. The review is on page 7.
I sent out advanced copies of my book to several amputee related publications for reviews. Whatever your subject, find publications on that subject. Submit your book. Also, if you’ve read my book, please post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. A few honest words would be appreciated. Just click on the respective logo on the right. If you have already reviewed it, thank you.
In other book news, I found the children’s picture book Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, by Jessica Kensky Patrick Downes, and illustrated by Scott Magoon, in Amplitude magazine. It just won the Schneider Family Book Award, the American Library Association’s best book for young children with a disability experience. It was included in my Best of 2018 list.
Here’s the best of 2018! By category, only one winner per category, no runner ups, no honorable mentions, no blah blah blah. I’ve culled the list from 427 articles, 119 Youtube videos, 67 books, and 41 movies. Unlike many other best of’s on the internet, I’ve actually read, watched, or listened to the media that tops my list. Enjoy and Merry New Year!
Books by an Amputee
Stump the Librarian: A Writer’s Book of Legs (I’m rather biased, it’s mine!)
Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, by Jessica Kensky, Patrick Downes, illustrated by Scott Magoon
The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles, Gary Krist
Ready Player One, Ernest Kline (A PBS Great American Read)
Journey: An Illustrated History of Travel, Simon Adams
Children’s Picture Book
Her Right Foot, Dave Eggers, Art by Shaun Harris
Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keene
Emma Stone learns British slang from Rachel Weisz
Also a language lesson to everyone not living on Cape Cod. It’s an island, so it’s “on Cape Cod” not as this headline reads “in Cape Cod.” It’s like when when people call the Gulf of Mexico, the ocean. Sorry, rant over.
Long Form Journalism
The Disaster Artist
We’re the Millers
Beat Root Revival, Live At the Saxon Pub in Austin, Texas
Big Little Lies
Thanks for reading, watching, and listening.
Jump over to my personal page to learn more about the best Christmas present!
This past month I’ve been on an incredible journey. Here’s a few photos from Stump the Librarian‘s book stops. Thanks for supporting a local author and your hometown librarian.
I was in great company at my Page and Palette book signing. Frye Gaillard (A Hard Rain), political cartoonist, JD Crowe (Half-Thunk Thoughts), and The Grinch!
The event at Barnes & Noble in Spanish Fort on the 28th was special too. The Brewster family came by and so did a former co-worker and now Spanish Fort Public Library Librarian Zach Basler.
Sue’s always by my side, em well, except when The Grinch is around.
On Thursday, I talked about leg stories and leg history at the “Tea for Two” program at the Fairhope Museum of History. Director Phillip Bolin and Special Projects Assistant Darby Wiik were gracious hosts. The audience had lots of questions, which I love because, questions usually turn into conversations.
Until then, want to know where you would be cataloged in the Dewey Decimal System?
Take this quiz at Spacefem. It’s fun! You can find Stump the Librarian in Biography, but here’s my nonfiction section. The “What it says part about you” is surprisingly true.
I had a room full of family, friends, patrons, and strangers that are now friends attend the book launch for Stump the Librarian: A Writer’s Book of Legs at Fairhope Public Library. Here’s a few highlights of what happened and some incredible library and amputee related stories that have happened since.
Check out the legs on these cookies!
I mentioned Gouverneur Morris, as a guy who most people don’t know. Morris wrote the final version of the United States Constitution, and single-handedly penned the Preamble. He was considered a ladies man, even with a peg leg in his day. Someone in the audience said something like, “that sounds right.”
“That was not my experience,” I said to a roomful of laughs. “But you’ll read all about that in the book.”
I mentioned a few other leg amputees in the book including Henry Highland Garnet, an African-American Abolitionist, a local man named Bob Youens, Bert Shepard, and a few not in the book like Bill Veeck, and a three-legged cat named Tripod.
John Woods, my publisher at Intellect Publishing, and emcee for the evening suggested I mention being in a movie.
“Good thing Rosalie’s not here, she’s always saying how much I’m milking this movie thing,” I say, turning to the audience.
“I was in a movie with Nicholas Cage!” I said, about my role in the movie USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage about the ship that delivered the atomic bomb in 1945 and was sunk by a Japanese submarine, and more than a thousand sailors lost their lives. I recognized the tragedy, but tried not to dwell on it. The book launch was a celebration, after all.
“I’m in it for about 16 seconds. Look for me in the SPAM scene.”
Hmmm…what would be Stump the Librarian’s favorite part of the night?
The Q and A!
There are many amputees in the book, but one I had not heard of and mentioned by an audience member was Peg Leg Bates. I believe it was Elizabeth, who asked me about the new prosthetic cover I was sporting.
Here’s a picture of me at The Gulf, a restaurant in Orange Beach.
It’s from a Canadian Company called Alleles, and pronounced “all Ls” and they are catching on fast. Mine’s the Future Plaid model in cobalt and silver. They are intended to have results like my book cover, to stand out and hopefully, act as a conversation starter.
What’s amazing is the people who came into my circle while finishing the book that have had a personal impact and connection. Jasmine was that person for me, not only did she do a stupendous job editing my book (all remaining errors are mine), but we learned of our common link through Shriners Hospital. I stressed the importance of Shriners in the book and in my life. After the book launch, I heard from people who have given to Shriners, like my retired coworker Darlene. My being a patient provided a connection with donors who now know someone who directly benefited from services at Shriners.
My sister Laurie surprised me! She came down from Massachusetts to celebrate.
Me with John, Susan, Laurie, and Helen
I personalized books for family, several coworkers, blogging friends, Friends of the Fairhope Library, book club members and a bunch of new friends. Bless everyone for your patience. I’m glad I didn’t look up to the line. I learned that children’s author Karyn Tunks (Mardi Gras in Alabama is available now) has a three-legged cat. I’ve known Karyn for five years and was part of a fantastic blogging group with her and others in attendance, including Lorraine, who gave me a fabulous painted rock of my cover that I’m holding below. read more about it here. Don’t you find it strange that I had to write a book about missing legs before Karyn told me about her three-legged cat Hop Along? (Name changed to protect feline’s privacy).
It’s been one heck of an awesome week. Patrons, some I knew, many I didn’t, came up to the desk to share stories.
“Do you know the man who wears an artificial leg that goes to the Methodist Community Center?” I did not.
Oliver told me about a stray his family adopted. “Skippy was part of the family for five years,” he said. I mentioned Skippy when I signed books for Oliver’s grown children.
My coworker Allyson relayed to me that her friends, whose daughter is an amputee, loved my inscription. Allyson is buying another book to give as a gift for someone she knows from her medieval fair circle.
Also, I learned that Fairhope’s famed storyteller Connie Cazort’s father was an amputee. At the desk in the library she remembered learning new words when she was five. I was alongside her as she told the story and also seemed to teleport into the memory of learning the words “amp-u-ta-shun,” and “art-i-fish-ul leg.”
My coworker Kris told the reference desk staff about 2018’s Hero Dog of the Year. Chichi is a quadruple amputee, apparently some person destined for hell cut off all four of this dog’s legs. Chichi has four new ones, including two front legs with wheels almost like Benito Badoglio. Who’s Benito Badaglio you ask? hehe, wait for it…you have to read my book. bwahahaha! Seriously, if you have an amputee in your life or are caring for someone with a limb difference, please tell them about my book. Let’s keep the conversation going.
Where Can I Buy It?
If you want to buy my book, you can find it online at Amazon (print and e-ink) and Barnes and Noble. You can also get it locally at Page & Palette in Fairhope, where I’ll be chatting with customers and signing books Nov. 18 from 1-5 PM. Soon, Barnes & Noble in Spanish Fort will have it and I’ll be signing books there Nov. 25 from 2-4 PM. Of course, you can also get it directly from the person writing these words.
I was giddy bringing my books into Page and Palette and talking with Stacy and Leigh.
Click on the photo or here to buy the print book from Amazon.
Also available as a Kindle Book.
What are People Saying?
Alan Samry’s kaleidoscopic book, Stump the Librarian is at once a glorious compendium of quick biographies of one-legged individuals, a moving memoir, a fascinating history of amputations and prostheses, and a medical investigation of the congenital anomaly that left the author with a disability at birth. Samry, a librarian in Fairhope, Alabama, takes joy in the quest for answers and pursues information with the sublime sense of mission that the best librarians possess. With clarity, candor, and a down-to-earth directness, he takes us with him: fascinated, outraged, horrified, thrilled, and ever curious about a world populated—and profoundly changed—by those who not only get by on a single leg but stand far more firmly than many people with two. Samry weaves poignant personal recollection through his tapestry of information, making Stump the Librarian a must read.
—Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst and The Paper Garden
Alan Samry takes readers on his personal journey of curiosity, humor and exploration. In an unlikely narrative readers learn about Alan’s life as a congenital below-knee amputee. In a very delightful and provocative manner, Alan relates his personal memoirs and shares historical and imagined characters who are like-amputees. Alan’s writing style is fascinatingly varied, and insightful into his own self-discovery. He shares intimate details that enable readers to appreciate his story and perspective. This book is a celebration of Alan – his person, determination, and his insatiable desire for truth.
—Tamara Dean, Director, Fairhope Public Library
It was late Sunday afternoon, Susan had already left the house to join the Slow Bike Society on the Eastern Shore for a round trip ride from Mullet Point to the Grand Hotel for afternoon tea and cookies.
Later on, around 5pm, I grabbed my 1980s era Huffy Bay Pointe 3-speed and headed to book club, Drinkers with a Reading Problem. Bikes, books and beer are a few of my favorite things. It started out as a nice leisurely ride to the The Book Cellar, a space next to Page and Palette for adult beverages, book launches, and live music.
As I crested the hill near the tennis courts, I was riding on the shady sidewalk with the whir of distant lawnmower when I heard a Crack! I looked up and saw a dead limb snap away from a pecan tree and it was falling into my path. I quickly rode off the sidewalk and toward safety. It never made it to the ground. Turns out it had fought gravity and won, thanks to it being caught in a cocoon of kudzu. And that was that. I pedaled on to book club and didn’t think anything more about it…but perhaps it was a sign.
At book club, I was enjoying a Grayton Beach Salt of the Gulf and listening to my fellow book clubbers comment on In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead, by James Lee Burke. Just as I was about to spout my thoughts on the book, my cell phone rang. My bride, Susan. She never calls me at book club.
“I’m calling because I knew you’d be mad if I didn’t,” she says.
“What happened?” I’ve already assumed the worst with her intro.
“I fell off my bike, and scraped up my leg and elbow. I’m okay. I’m home. I’m going to take a shower and put some ice on it.”
“How bad is it? Do you want to go to the ER?”
“No, it looks bad, but it’s just below my knee, I’m just gonna rest.”
“Do you want me to come home?”
“No, stay at book club, I’ll see you soon.”
“Thanks for letting me know, and yes I would have been mad if you didn’t call and tell me.”
When I got back to the table at book club, they were still talking about the gratuitous violence, and that the book was well written.
“Irene, (her book pick) I thought with an amputee like John Bell Hood so prominent in this book I thought you picked it with me in mind.” I did enjoy the book, the writing, and yes, especially the confederate dead. I did feel like there were a few too many deaths, i.e. plot points, that made the book about 100 pages to long, but I’ll read more Burke.
When I got home I looked at Susan’s leg and did my best Dr. Samry. Her leg looked like a red raft floating over a sea of skin and she told me what happened.
“I was riding beside Valerie on our way back to Mullet point and I hit a trash barrel with my handlebar. I misjudged how close it was. When I hit the barrel I fell and knocked Valerie off her bike. I’m glad we were wearing helmets.” Valerie had a puncture in her ankle and was able to ride back later with some of the group and thankfully, it didn’t stop her from playing her Monday morning tennis match.
Of course, the slow bikers are all Eagle Scouts, nurses, teachers, and mothers. Not only do they have Band-Aids on board their bikes, they have alcohol swabs and all manner of first aid. I think one of them carries a defibrillator. Everyone, genuinely concerned, including Maureen, Rosalie, Patricia, Liz and others, helped clean and dress the wounds. For some reason I thought of Bill. He’s like MacGyver, I would trust him with a scalpel, needle and thread. Thankfully they didn’t need any of that, no broken bones, nor a trip to the ER. A good Samaritan, Linda an employee from the Grand Hotel who had just finished her shift, stopped to find out what all the commotion was about and gave Susan a ride back to her car. Dadgum, people are so nice here.
My wife, bless her heart, has a history with mayhem. When she was a kid, she ran into the corner of a house. Yes, A house! Can you imagine…”it was during a game of tag,” so her story goes, “another judgement gone wrong.” Anyway, she’s fallen off her bike before too, but when she was a kid, over the handlebars and all. She was even bit by a dog while riding. Yes, while riding, and then she fell off, not wanting to run over the second dog, a pocket dog from the grassy knoll. Honestly, she comes home more battered and bruised from her classroom, no, not physical abuse from her 330+ second graders over the last fourteen years, but from walking into desks, tables, and quite frankly anything stationary. Oddly enough, I think she’s been fine on the stationary bike at the recreation center. Thanks to her cadre of caring cyclists Susan will be back on her Raleigh M-20 bike in no time, but this week she’s back to school. Stepping gingerly around all those desks I hope.