Happy Fourth!

Happy Independence Day,

Hot dogs slightly charred and hot off the grill, ice cream that melts before you take that first anticipated swipe from the cone, watermelon that for whatever reason tastes more succulent than it does on any other day of the year–Fourth of July conjures a bevy of visceral as well as cognitive memories for most of us. And of course, no Independence Day celebration would be quite complete without fireworks (the safe public displays, if you please, at least for Yours Truly).

Enslaved, too, is taking off with a bang. This seems a good time to thank all of you who have taken the time to email me with your preview copy “sightings.” So far we have Joseph-Beth Booksellers (josephbeth.com), overstock.com, Borders stores (by order and in some cases already shelved), a Barnes & Noble (somewhere?), and a Books-a-Million in Mobile, Alabama (Pinebrook Shopping Center on Airport Drive). And of course, if anticipation is your thing (think the old Heinz ketchup jingle about “making me wait…”) you can always preorder a copy at amazon.com.

To thank readers, and to celebrate the summer sizzle, I am running a special blog contest from now through September. Please check back at www.hopetarr.com after the holiday for details on how to chime in and win.

In the interim, eat a hot dog slightly blackened around the edges and sloppy with relish and mustard and chopped onions. Go for not just an ice cream cone but a double dip. Seize the chance to lay back on a blanket, let the evening coolness wash over your sunburnt face, and savor the bliss of a perfect fireworks constellation while snuggling someone you love.

Have a great Independence Day…