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Posted by Robin Abrahams  February 11, 2008 10:20 AM

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I has it. Let me show you it.

From Publishers' Weekly:

Robin Dennis at Holt/Times Books has preempted Mind over Manners: Etiquette for a Diverse Society, the first book by psychologist and Boston Globe Sunday Magazine “Miss Conduct” columnist Robin Abrahams. Dan O’Connell at the Strothman Agency sold North American rights. This compendium of advice will combine psychological insight, evolutionary theory and humor to tell readers how to “think” their way through the slippery rules about food, children, pets, religion, money, sex and health. Pub date is spring 2009.

Yes, folks, this means I've got a book deal! I signed the contract today. I've known about this for a couple of months, but until the contract was signed didn't want to make a public announcement, just out of general jitteriness. "I peed on the stick, but I ain't felt that kick," as Jesse Jackson might phrase it, were he a woman and thus found pregnancy metaphors more cognitively available than he presumably does.

I've felt that kick now, for sure! I must say I love this, from the first paragraph in the contract:

"The Work shall be an approximately 65,000-75,000 word (256-288 book page) witty, sophisticated compendium of etiquette advice for the modern, socially diverse world ..."

I've never been under legal obligation to be witty before! It's rather frightening. I have Kafkaesque nightmares about being sued for breach of contract. ("Your honor, we submit that the defendant only thinks she's funny ...")

I'm going to New York next week to meet my editor for the first time. I've been working on the book since Christmas break, and I'm pleased with how it's going so far. It feels very organic--I didn't just decide out of nowhere to write about diversity of values, priorities, and experiences, the people who send in questions taught me that this is what's important. That these fault lines in modern society--between parents and non-parents and different kinds of parents, believers and atheists, vegetarians and omnivores, spenders and savers--are real, and have people mystified, amused, confused, bemused.

So this is the book I'm writing. Because of you. (So you'd dang well better buy a copy!) And I thank you for it, and all the thinking you have led me to do, the insights you've given me, the pain and laughter and plain old weirdness you've shared with me. This is going to be your book, you all. I'm just writing it.

"If my slight muse do please these curious days
The pain be mine, but thine shall be the praise."

(William Shakespeare, Sonnet 38)

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About Miss Conduct
Welcome to Miss Conduct’s blog, a place where the popular Boston Globe Magazine columnist Robin Abrahams and her readers share etiquette tips, unravel social conundrums, and gossip about social behavior in pop culture and the news. Have a question of your own? Ask Robin using this form or by emailing her at

Who is Miss Conduct?

Robin Abrahamswrites the weekly "Miss Conduct" column for The Boston Globe Magazine and is the author of Miss Conduct's Mind over Manners. Robin has a PhD in psychology from Boston University and also works as a research associate at Harvard Business School. Her column is informed by her experience as a theater publicist, organizational-change communications manager, editor, stand-up comedian, and professor of psychology and English. She lives in Cambridge with her husband Marc Abrahams, the founder of the Ig Nobel Prizes, and their socially challenged but charismatic dog, Milo.

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Curious if you should say "bless you" to a sneezing atheist? How to host a dinner party for carbophobes, vegans, and Atkins disciples—all at the same time? The finer points of regifting? Ask it here, or email

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