Hello. I’m Gavin Edwards, the public speaker and the New York Times-bestselling author of The Tao of Bill Murray, the ’Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy series, and Last Night at the Viper Room. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. I like caffeine, boardgames, and lists with three items.

Two Remarkable Women

This past week, I had obituaries printed in The New York Times for two very different, very accomplished women: Marie Fredriksson and Rose Mackenberg.

Marie Fredriksson was one-half of Roxette, the Swedish pop group that was intensely successful in the United States between 1989 and 1991; she died on Monday after a long illness. I shared the byline with Iliana Magra, a Times reporter based in London. “Swedish critics said we’d never make it, but they were wrong,” Fredriksson said in 1990.

Rose Mackenberg died in 1968; she was a professional debunker of phony psychics whose work led her to collaborate with Harry Houdini and to testify before the United States Congress. She was also described as a “ghost-buster” decades before I imagined that word was ever used. The article was part of the exceptional “Overlooked” series at the Times, edited by Amy Padnani.

Inspirational wisdom from Mackenberg, circa 1949: “I smell a rat before I smell the incense.”

posted 13 December 2019 in Articles. no comments yet

Holiday Shopping: How to Buy a Signed Copy of One of My Books

So you want to buy a copy of one of my books for a loved one in the upcoming holiday season? Well, I’d certainly recommend that: I’ve got twelve books now, one of which is certain to be perfect for somebody on your list. (I’m particularly partial to my latest, Kindness and Wonder, but it may be that you know someone who’s a big fan of Bill Murray (in which case you might treat them to The Tao of Bill Murray) or Tom Hanks (The World According to Tom Hanks) or River Phoenix (Last Night at the Viper Room) or surrealist drawing games (The Beautiful Book of Exquisite Corpses).)

You can buy my books at your local bookstore (my favorite option!), or at major retailers such as Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or Powell’s. If, however, you want a copy that’s been signed and inscribed by me, your best bet is to call up my local bookstore, Park Road Books in Charlotte, North Carolina. They will be happy to sell you one or more of my books and ship them to you (or anywhere else in the world you like)—and before they send them out, I will swing by the store with a Sharpie and personalize them.

The phone number for the good people of Park Road Books is 704-525-9239, or you can reach them via orders@parkroadbooks.com. They also have a store dog, Yola, who has become something of a local celebrity, but I can’t promise they’ll put Yola on the phone.

If you want a personalized copy (not just signed) to arrive before Christmas, please make your order by Thursday, December 12th, to allow sufficient time for shipping. And whatever holiday you celebrate this winter, I hope it is filled with joy and light.

posted 24 November 2019 in Buy My Stuff. no comments yet

Thank You, Cary Regional Library!

On Sunday afternoon, I visited the Cary Regional Library in Cary, NC, which opened only a few weeks ago—it still has that new-library smell. (And it’s apparently been a huge hit: they had thousands of visitors on opening day. Kudos!)

I was there to read from Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever, and I had such a great time with the large, lively crowd (lots of smart questions afterwards, plus somebody who had met Fred Rogers!), I wanted to put up a few photos of the event for posterity.

Me, striving to better explain Fred Rogers’ philosophy through the magic of hand gestures.
Roughly a hundred people in the room, raising their hands to signify that they had spent time in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.
General merriment with Amy Whitfield of the Cary library!

If you live in Wake County in North Carolina, I strongly recommend that you pay the Cary Regional Library a visit—it’s a gem.

posted 19 November 2019 in Outside. no comments yet

Top Five Songs with “Disco” in the Title That Aren’t Actually Disco

There are many many great disco songs that name-check the genre in the title, and then as often as possible during the song itself, so you don’t forget that you are getting down to a disco beat. But what of those songs that evoke disco so they can hit a less-exuberant emotional note?

  1. Pulp, “Disco 2000”
  2. Stereolab, “French Disko”
  3. St. Vincent, “Slow Disco”
  4. Yo La Tengo, “Last Days of Disco”
  5. Morrissey, “The National Front Disco”

(Honorable mention to Surf Curse’s recent entry “Disco,” but not to the Who’s benighted “Sister Disco.”)

posted 18 November 2019 in Tasty Bits. 1 comment

Library Visit: Cary, North Carolina

Hello citizens of North Carolina, specifically those in the Research Triangle area, and even more specifically those in the town of Cary!

I will be coming to your fair metropolis tomorrow and visiting the brand-new (and by all accounts, gorgeous) library. Let’s format that conveniently:

Sunday, November 17 (2 pm) / Cary

Cary Regional Library: 315 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary, NC, 27511. The event is free but they request preregistration: click here to go to the event page.

I will be reading from Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever, fielding questions of all stripes, and doing super-excellent spontaneous stuff that will make this your favorite Sunday of the year. Books will be available for purchase before and after the event, and I will be happy to sign them and personalize them. Bring your friends–I hope to see you there!

posted 16 November 2019 in News. no comments yet

Kindness and Wonder: Some Interviews

In the wake of the release of Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters More Than Ever, I have been doing interviews about Mister Rogers, his neighborhood, and my book with a variety of media outlets. If you want to catch up with them, now is your chance!

I visited the show Good Morning Charlotte at the Fox affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina; I walked in just minutes before I went on the air (traffic was hopelessly snarled in the pre-dawn rain), but they just clipped a mic on me and shoved me onto the set. You can see the result on the Fox 46 website.

I’ve also done dozens of radio interviews recently, including with 550 KTRS in St. Louis, and most notably an hour-long conversation on “Charlotte Talks, ” hosted by Mike Collins on WFAE (Charlotte’s NPR affiliate), that also included Maxwell King, author of The Good Neighbor.

And The Hasty Book List website, which dubbed Kindness and Wonder a “must-read,” conducted an email interview with me that you can find here.

posted 4 November 2019 in Outside. no comments yet

Kindness and Wonder: Out Now!

I am pleased to inform you that this week marks the publication of Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever.

If you’d like to buy a copy (which I recommend), this HarperCollins site can send you to your preferred retailer (including your local indie bookstore).

If you don’t trust me–after all, I wrote the book and I’m hardly objective, am I?—you might be interested in what some other people think about the book.

“[I]n Kindness and Wonder, Edwards fuses his reporter’s investigative and narrative ability with his vast interest in popular culture’s long shadow to tell a tale that is both gentle and wonderful, in a manner befitting its subject,” Cory Doctorow wrote at BoingBoing. “This is such a sweet and gentle and loving book; many times it brought tears to my eyes, and many more times it made me smile.”

USA Today named it one of their “five books not to miss” for this week, alongside Prince and Lee Child. Barbara VanDenburgh wrote, “This book pays tribute to the man who helped raise so many of us, and argues the case that his wisdom is more essential than ever.”

The BookTrib website dubbed it “fascinating” and said, “Looking back at the history of the show and the creative visionary behind it, pop culture aficionado Edwards reminds us of the indelible lessons and insights that Mister Rogers conveyed—what it means to be a good person, to be open-hearted, to be thoughtful, to be curious, to be compassionate—and why they matter.”

And my dear friend Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote in Salon, “One half biography, one half practical guide to life, Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever reads like a balm to the anxious soul. It’s a reminder of the courage that it takes to be decent, and a call to find the good neighbor inside all of us.” She also called me up to interview me about the book and why I wrote it: you can read the resulting conversation here.

posted 30 October 2019 in Buy My Stuff. no comments yet

Kindness and Wonder: News and Tour

Hello neighbor! I am extremely excited because my next book, Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever, is being published one week from today by Dey St., on October 29. I wanted to share another early review, from the good people at Library Journal: “This engaging, perceptive narrative examines the show, its popularity, its long-term cultural impact, and the criticisms it received when it was broadcast,” Carol J. Binkowski writes. “All readers will find inspiration in this uplifting book, particularly in today’s complex world.”

And I will be doing a few readings and signings for the book the first week it’s out! I may add some more appearances, but for the time being I’ll be staying close to home: that means that if you live in North Carolina, you’re in luck.

Tuesday, October 29 (7 pm) / Greensboro

Scuppernong Books: 304 S Elm St., Greensboro, NC 27401. 336-763-1919. scuppernongbooks@gmail.com

Wednesday, October 30 (7 pm) / Charlotte

Park Road Books: 4139 Park Rd., Charlotte, NC 28209. 704-525-9239. books@parkroadbooks.com

Sunday, November 3 (2 pm) / Davidson

Main Street Books: 126 S Main St., Davidson, NC 28036. 704-892-6841.

If you are nowhere near North Carolina and you’d really love a signed copy of Kindness and Wonder, I suggest calling up one of the above three bookstores before my signing and asking if you can purchase a book to be signed and/or inscribed by me and then have the store ship it to you. My guess is that they’d be delighted to help you out.

And if you are in North Carolina, I hope to see you at one (or more) of those events! Come say howdy (and bring along everyone you know)!

posted 22 October 2019 in Buy My Stuff, News. no comments yet

R.I.P. Kim Shattuck

I was very sad to hear of the death of the mighty Kim Shattuck, the creative force behind the Muffs–the band never achieved the commercial success of some of their pop-punk peers in the early 1990s, but they made some excellent albums and Shattuck had one of the all-time great rock screams, right up there with Roger Daltrey and John Lennon.

I wrote an obituary of Shattuck for The New York Times last week. I also corresponded briefly with her bandmates in the Muffs, double-checking a few biographical details, and so I share with you now this note on her employment history from drummer Roy McDonald:

I only remember Kim working as a morning receptionist at a gym and that she used to arrive at work in her pajamas. She also worked briefly as a file clerk at my wife’s employer in 2006… very briefly. I think it was the 2 1/2 hour lunches. She also briefly worked in “bird management.” I have no idea what that was. Ronnie might know. The three of us always cracked up over Kim’s employment history.

Kim Shattuck, rock star and bird manager, I salute you for a life well-lived.

posted 7 October 2019 in Links, News, Outside. no comments yet

Early Praise for Kindness and Wonder

Hello neighbors! I’m very excited to share Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters Now More Than Ever with you. I am forced, however, to wait until the end of the month; it goes on sale on October 29th, exactly four weeks from today. (Click here for information on places where you can buy it and preorder it.) Until that happy day comes, can I direct your attention to a couple of early press notices?

USA Today included Kindness and Wonder in their recent preview of “This autumn’s must=read books,” alongside heavy hitters such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, John Le Carré, and Elton John. They write, “This book pays tribute to the man who helped raise so many of us, and argues the case that his wisdom is more essential than ever.”

And Publishers Weekly gave the book its first official review, a glowing notice: “Edwards (The Tao of Bill Murray) affectionately captures the spirit of Fred Rogers (1928–2003) in a crisply told biography that focuses on the enduring lessons Rogers shared with his viewers…. Edwards’s enthusiastic prose vibrantly captures Rogers’s spirit and wisdom.”

More news soon!

posted 1 October 2019 in Buy My Stuff, News. no comments yet