5.13.15 | Kristallnacht
Margit Naarmann, the historian who traced my German relatives’ lives through the Holocaust and showed me around her corner of Westphalia when I visited in 2012, recently emailed a photo she found of my great-great-grandfather Jacob Nordhaus’ home on Kasselerstrasse 8 in Paderborn. | READ MORE
5.7.15 | Chairlift Networking (Denver Post) and Desert Nonfiction (Newsweek)
So I met this guy skiing powder with some friends this winter, and I showed him my secret tree stash, which didn’t have quite enough snow, but which we all quite enjoyed until he hit a rock and destroyed his ski. But I digress: on the chairlift, we got to talking, and I told him I was a writer with a new book coming out, and he told me he was an editor at the Denver Post, and voilá: three months later, the Post, which had resisted all entreaties to read and review the book, ran a review. A true testament to the power of chairlift networking. | READ MORE
5.6.15 | Old Woman in a Nightgown
In the interest of crowdsourcing Julia Staab, I am sharing both family stories and ghost stories. I’m particularly keen on hearing from anyone who’s had an experience at the hotel.
This one wasn’t at the hotel, but it did occur in Santa Fe, and the woman who shared it feels very certain that her experience somehow involved Julia . Susan lives in New York, and when she heard the review of American Ghost on Fresh Air she quickly emailed me with this story. Here’s what she had to say. | READ MORE
5.1.15 | Jezebel Interview
4.19.15 | Crowdsourcing Julia Staab
Since American Ghost came out, I’ve received emails from a number of readers sharing their own memories of Julia Staab, her family, La Posada Hotel, her ghost, and ghosts in general. Distant cousins have sent me family photos of Julia’s siblings and nieces and nephews; hotel guests and Santa Fe visitors have sent me stories of their own ghost encounters.
I had always hoped that when the book came out, I’d gather more information about Julia’s life and family — tidbits that were hidden in family keepsake books or photo albums. I also was curious whether people continued to have encounters with the ghost of La Posada. Now I am beginning to hear some of those stories, and I’ve created a new blog on my website to share them as they come in.
4.9.15 | What I’m Reading
BookPage asked me recently to share with them what I’ve been reading lately. I can’t say there’s any rhyme or reason to my book selection these days: a little nonfiction, a lot of fiction. A little American West, a little Spanish Inquisition. And a lot of new work by friends like Bill Gifford, James Hannaham, Jonny Waldman and Gretchen Rubin, who all had books come out within a week of my own. But for BookPage, I decided to stick with the theme of the American West and wanderers along frontiers real and imagined. Here’s what I came up with. | READ MORE
3.28.15 | People Mag, Fresh Air, Dallas Morning News, Shelf Awareness
It’s been a big week! American Ghost was a People Magazine “Best Book” of the week: “In this intriguing book,” says People, [Julia] Staab’s great-great-granddaughter shares her journey to discover who her immigrant ancestor really was—and what strange alchemy made the idea of her linger long after she was gone.”
A few days later, I was bombarded with emails and Facebook messages letting me know that literary critic Maureen Corrigan was reviewing American Ghost on NPR’s Fresh Air: “Whether you believe in ghosts or are just intrigued by their persistence in popular culture,” she said, “American Ghost is itself a haunting story about the long reach of the past.” | READ MORE
3.11.15 | “Habits Interview” with Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin is author of The Happiness Project and the upcoming Better than Before, and is an authority on all things habits and happiness. I spoke with her last month about my own habits: good, bad, and ugly. Now the entire world knows that I crack my knuckles and am a cheap drunk. And also, how much my great-grandmother Julia Staab affected how I try to live my life. | READ MORE
3.2.15 | Forgive Yourself
The American Scholar asked me to write an essay recalling one piece of advice that was most helpful to my writing career. I wrote about Mrs. Bluitt, my fifth-grade gifted-and-talented teacher. She died two decades ago, but she towered huge over my development as a writer, and as a person. Here’s what I wrote. | READ MORE
2.13.15 | Elle Magazine
Elle Magazine’s March Issue includes a lovely review of American Ghost. “It’s ironic,” writes Elyse Moody, “that the Santa Fe, New Mexico, hotel occupying journalist and historian Hannah Nordhaus’ ancestral home is named La Posada, or “place of rest,” since no one who stays there seems to get any.” | READ MORE
2.3.15 | American Ghost Sneak Peak on Scribd