Speaking at book clubs is much like a walk in a beautiful garden. You prepare for enjoyment, but there’s always a pleasant surprise around the corner. Having attended more than seventy book clubs so far, it is clear that I shall never tire of them.
I’m still not used to how well received Sky of Red Poppies is. I knew it would present some of my culture to the community and hoped to familiarize them with the true nature of their Iranian neighbors and friends, but readers seem to have taken a keen interest and connect with my from the depth of their hearts. I know this because more and more groups invite me to their warm homes and receive me with open arms. From fumbling through recipes for a delicious Persian dinner to sharing their own thoughts and concerns to new immigrants needing advice as they write their own stories, readers have turned this into an unforgettable year in my life.
Last night, the book club members all wore red in honor of my poppies and the hostess had made a lovely cake decorated with strawberries to resemble poppies. The night before, a lady had cooked the Persian Osh-e-Joe. People send me home with flowers, cards, and above all, a smile on my face and a new joy in my heart.
As total strangers turn into good friends, I am filled with gratitude. While I searched for happiness in the wrong places, it had been right here within me. I leave my little cubicle, stand outside with my arms stretched open and shout, “Hey, readers, I love you, more!”