How to Sew a Button
How to Sew a Button

Big, happy news!

74280a3ebba72f99_landingI’m writing another book! It’s called How to Build a Fire: And Other Handy Things Your Grandfather Knew (Ballantine), and it will hit stores this December.

I’ve been thinking about this book for a while now. When I was doing publicity for How to Sew a Button, almost every interviewer, including The Today Show’s Ann Curry and WNYC’s Brian Lehrer, asked me, “What about the grandfathers? What can we learn from them?” Well, the way I see it, the list is long and varied. It includes everything from the basic (how to change a flat tire), to the sweet (how to make homemade ice cream), to the serious (how to be brave), to the celebratory (how to play the harmonica). As members of The Greatest Generation, our grandfathers were not only defined by the Depression, but also by their heroic service to the country in World War II. Courageous, responsible and involved, they understand sacrifice, hard work and how to do whatever is necessary to take care of their loved ones.

I only knew one of my grandfathers, and though I loved him, I didn’t know him well enough. When my family managed to make the two-hour car trip to visit him, my older sister and I would greet him with hugs and kisses and then dash to his two-tiered electric organ, where we’d plug in the giant head phones, bang away at the keys and toy with the rumba beats until it was time to leave. When I think about my memories of him, only two really stand out: When I was little, he let me occasionally “shine” his bald head with a rag, and when I was in college, he taught me to play a few chords on his guitar. In what I now realize was an act of supreme generosity, he even let me borrow his beloved Gibson, so I could practice. I still have it. I still play it. And I still wonder what else he would’ve taught me, if only I’d asked.

The fact is, for whatever reason, many of us didn’t ask (or didn’t even think of asking) our grandfathers about their lives. And had we started these conversations, we’d all be stronger, smarter and richer for it.



So, that’s exactly what I’m going to set out to do this spring, and I need your help. Over the next few months, I’ll interview ten grandfathers nationwide to collect their practical advice, sweet stories and hard-earned wisdom that’ll help us all save money, build confidence and get back to what’s really important in life. If you have or know a sharp-minded grandfather, age 80 or up, who lives in the United States and who would be willing to share his stories with me, please shoot me an email at eebried (at) gmail (dot) com and tell me a little bit about him. All of the grandmothers I interviewed for How to Sew a Button seemed to have a good time with it, and some were featured in their local newspapers. One grandmother’s family even threw her a party, where she signed copies of the book!

I can’t wait to get started on How to Build a Fire. There are so many new things I’m excited to learn. I hope you’ll stick with me as I share some of these new adventures!


6 Responses to “Big, happy news!”

  1. Erin, Congratulations on the new book! I’m looking to following your journey writing this book via this blog. Best wishes on the project, Christine.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Looking forward to the new book. Oh how I wish I still had a grandfather. Both of mine were full of practical, useful knowledge.
    My mother’s father (8 children of his own who each had 6 or more children of their own) would look over all of us, piled on each other in his living room, and boom out “Everybody happy?” And we were. Very.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I’m looking forward to the new book! Oh, how I wish I still had a grandfather. Both of mine were farmers, and full of practical knowledge. My mother’s father (8 children of his own who each had 6 or more children of their own) would look over all of us, piled on each other in the living room, and boom out “Everybody Happy?” And we were. Very.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Sorry, posted twice.

  5. Gladys says:

    Oh MY Gosh! I can not wait. I so enjoyed your first book and the oppportunity to review it. I have had soo many emails from readers and followers who have thanked me for suggesting it to them.

    I have one cyber friend who bought a bunch of copies for the upcoming wedding season.

    I will be watching to pre-order this one.

  6. Gladys says:

    Oh and can I share a grandfather quip with you? My grandfather was a jack of all trades but a cabinet builder by trade. We were building my father a workshop and we were hammering studs. He had on overalls and the way he was standing was so that his back was to the stud and he was hammering away. He tried to walk away but had nailed his overalls to the 2 X4. He just looked at me and said “Well I guess it’s time for a break.” Then he just leaned up against the 2 X 4 and took a nap standing up. He told me later that you have to take advantage of every opportunity.

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