Friday, June 21, 2013

Just a good little book

I'm so excited. But I wasn't going to post about my book project here on the MT until it was complete (or nearly complete), that is until I read this short piece by Dennett and thought, well jeepers, my post that covers similar ground (lolhumans) wasn't so bad was it?

So, as I'm feeling like this monstrous summer book project is actually rather worthwhile and as I'm also feeling extremely grateful for how the MT has more than paved the way for this opportunity, well, here's my official hurrah.
Party time. (?from here... still tracking it down)
For the rest of the summer I'll be holed up in my little old house writing a little popular science book. It's science faction. Or, if you will, it's evolutionary anthropology fan non-fiction. It will be a hoot. At least for me. And I hope for any readers as well.

What it is is a biography of the 'birds and the bees.' (Hinted at here.) And it's got a lot to do with the image above.

I bet you're thinking that there are tons of books about sex, evolution, and human evolution out there! 

And that seems to be true! But my book's not about how or why reproduction, sex, and love works the way it does (and doesn't), like these....How We Do It , Dawn of the Deed, Bonk, Why Sex Is Fun, Mothers and Others, On Fertile Ground.

And it's not about evolutionary psychology, about how to find love or a mate, or about whether humans are naturally monogamous, like these...The Mating Mind, Mating Intelligence Unleashed, Sex at Dawn.

It’s actually completely different. It's really just about how evolution works. And it's been consciously cooking since 2008 when I submitted a proposal to an anthropology book contest at the University of California Press. Obviously it didn't win a book deal then, but the editor sent me some kind and encouraging feedback. And, as you will be able to imagine when/if you read the book, once this idea gets in your head, it's hard to let it go.

I couldn't. I posted a few little musings on it back in 2009 here on the MT, but took them down once things got very real when I hooked a terrific agent (a remarkably less-than-difficult feat thanks to a college connection, a good query letter, and all the support, writing practice, and encouragement from the MT community). Getting a publisher took us about a year and now here we are!

I'm not just writing this book because I'm fascinated with evolution, enjoy sharing that fascination, and dream of writing a funny, thought-provoking, and informative evolution book. It's also because I can't responsibly, let alone sanely, go on teaching biological anthropology without figuring out some very difficult stuff. The book’s my struggle with that. By getting a book deal, that struggle is justified. And by writing it as popular science, I get to enjoy the bleep out of the struggle.

It’s not a 'big book.' It’s not 'one long argument.' It’s just something I need to do in order to understand human evolution better and in order to teach it better.

I'm not gonna lie: one goal is to parlay a book deal for Elroy's. But my biggest goal here, this summer, is to make just a good little book.


Glenn Geher said...

The build-up here is awesome and makes the book seem as exciting and important as it likely will be - can't wait to have it on the shelf!

EllenQ said...

Have a wonderful, frustrating, exhilarating, heart-breaking, overwhelming, totally worth it summer!