Phew! I'm finally back, having survived -- and actually managed to enjoy -- another book tour. I had wonderful readings and enjoyed meeting so many of you at Vroman's in Pasadena, at Third Place Books in Seattle, at Powell's in Portland and Black Oak Books in Berkeley and points in between. The reviews that have been keeping me up at night are all in, and all positive -- grudgingly positive in a few cases (I guess critics always have to throw in at least one "But...." sentence, or else the critical establishment comes and takes away their spurs or something) -- but I feel like the hard stuff's mostly over with, and now I can just enjoy having IN HER SHOES out in the world -- and being home, too. For a whole week this time!

Adam and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary on Sunday. Actually, we acknowledged our first anniversary on Sunday, because I got in really late from Seattle and was too tired and jet-lagged to do much more than eat a bite of the defrosted top layer of our wedding cake (note to future brides -- the raspberry filling that was so delicious on the big day might not be so delicious once it's thawed out a year later), watch the taped first episode of The Amazing Race, which is the greatest reality show ever -- I think I've permanently forsaken The Bachelor.

And if anyone's looking for what to read next, I read a ton of books on tour (all those plane rides, don'tcha know), and can recommend the following. CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL was terrific. ALL IS VANITY was....interesting (I guess I'm a little superstitious about books that concern novelists who can't get their novels going). THE SUNDAY WIFE was, for me, a glimpse at a life and a lifestyle I know nothing about, but the clunky dialogue drove me crazy -- I kept wanting shake the book and say, "People don't really talk like this!" I have nothing but praise for the two Laura Lippman mysteries, BALTIMORE BLUES and CHARM CITY, that kept me occupied from Portland to Seattle and home again. THE HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS was way disturbing, and probably fine if you're into that sort of thing, which I don't seem to be any more. THE HOURS was so damn impressive it made me want to curl up in a worshipful ball. Andrew Vachss's latest, ONLY CHILD, was fast and engrossing -- a welcome return to NYC. And I got to see one movie, "White Oleander." The acting was great, but I could not get over Michelle Pfeiffer's hair. She's in jail and her highlights still look better than mine? Please.

Meanwhile, I'm hard at work on my tour diary piece for Philadelphia Magazine....and on Book Three. And on catching up on all of my postponed viewing. Is everyone watching The Real World? Is anyone else wondering how, in a penthouse wired for picture and sound, producers still managed to miss Brynn hurling a fork at Steven's head, and wound up resorting to showing shots of the harmless-looking fork just lying on the carpet? I guess if Brynn had thrown the fork in the hot tub, the cameras would have been right there.

Jen