Win TWO Signed Hardcover Books! Happy Holidays, Readers!!

Autumn House Caroline Tanski Marla Druzgal
It was exciting to meet Candice Millard at her reading for Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. L-R: Caroline Tanski of Autumn House Publications, Candice Millard, Traveling Marla

“He probably would have been successful if he hadn’t been insane.” Just one of Candice Millard‘s great quotes of the evening, about Charles Guiteau, the assassin of President James A. Garfield.

I’ll be honest with you. Before Millard spoke at Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, I thought, like many people do, that President Garfield was boring. Now…

I can’t wait to dig into Millard’s new book, Destiny of the Republic, about President Garfield’s life and murder, and the lesser known ways in which his death at the hands of a prideful and careless physician changed the practice of medicine in the United States. I had goosebumps listening to the story, and sadness over the kind and honest leader who died before he reached his 50th birthday.

Candice Millard signed best seller Destiny of the Republic President James Garfield Chester Arthur
Best selling book Destiny of the Republic.

Millard was introduced by Dr. Don Fischer of Highmark (supporter of Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures) who talked about the simple practice of hand-washing. I chuckled a little when he insisted to the audience “You have a right to stop someone from touching you if they haven’t washed their hands.” But as I thought about it, I remembered how many times this scenario still plays out, how many times we’ve been in hospitals, wondering whether or not we had the right to question hospital staff on this very issue. His parting quote, while humorous, was even more poignant when understanding that before the changes in American medicine, someone as great as Garfield was brought down not by the bullet that lodged in his spine, but by the infection brought on by so many “healing” hands reaching carelessly into his body.

But there is so much more to Destiny of Republic: the changes in our country; reformation and transformation of his successor Chester A. Arthur; and pieces of these men as only understood through their letters, loves and the way Millard carefully and intriguingly reanimates them. Her political statement about the story of Garfield resonated through the quieted audience, “We have probably outgrown the day when Americans can recognize an honest man…with no financial support…and elect him to office.”

She also spoke and answered questions about River of Doubt, “Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey,” about his trip through the Amazon after losing his third run for presidency. Millard used her experience as a National Geographic writer with her passion for research and history to engage readers in the life and struggles of one of America’s most beloved presidents. This lesser known chapter of his life, usually only a blip in biographies, is examined in detail.

Candice Millard signed hardcover River of Doubt President Theodore Roosevelt
Signed hardcover River of Doubt, Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey. See Contest #1 Below!

Millard talked a little of her own writing as well, patterning her work ethic after one of her own idols whom she has met, Michener. Much like the blog post I had about Patchett and Loren, Michener insists “I’m not brilliant. I just work hard.” Personally, I think most of the writers I like are brilliant as well as hard-working, and I think Millard is no exception.

She argues that “the right story is always worth the effort of finding” and the audience came to realize just how seriously she meant it. In researching River of Doubt, Millard told of immersing herself in the Amazon, retracing steps of his expedition. At one point the single-engine plane she was in cut out over the rainforest canopy, leaving her and her pilot in deadfall. Fortunately for us he recovered the engine and she went on to finish the book.

I have a signed hardcover of each of these books for you to win. See contest information below for each. Good luck!

As you can see, I’ve given you many ways to enter Contest #1. I know it makes extra work for me in keeping track of entries, and I’ve already created a spreadsheet. But I put a lot of work into bringing you these fun things and I hope you’ll enjoy the many opportunities to enter to win these great books.

Love, Marla

CONTEST #1 – Win a Hardcover of River of Doubt, Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey, signed by the author, Candice MillardTheodore Roosevelt Amazon biography Candice Millard

CONTEST 1 HAS SEVEN (7) WAYS TO ENTER (Enter once or enter up to 7 times – how much do you want this cool book?)

1) Comment! Receive one entry by commenting on this post. Not something lame like “Hi” but something real, maybe about this blog, maybe about Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures or about one of my previous posts. One entry per commentor. Multiple comments by the same person only count as one entry.

2) Your comment will count for TWO entries if you use it to discuss any post I’ve written prior to July 31, 2012.

3) One entry if you link to the contest on your blog or website (make sure you tell me about it!)

4) Share today’s Facebook post about this contest.

5) Retweet today’s tweet about this contest. (@travelingmarla)

6) Thank Candice Millard on her Facebook Page for signing a book for the Traveling Marla contest

7) Thank Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures on Facebook for bringing Candice Millard to Pittsburgh. (Feel free to reference this post. I won’t mind 😉 ).

DEADLINE: Thursday, Dec 13th, NOON!

Any questions, please email me: marla at marlasinkdruzgal dot com

CONTEST #2 – Win a Hardcover of best-selling book Destiny of the Republic, A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, signed by the author, Candice Millard

President James A. Garfield biography Candice Millard Destiny of the Republic
See details below to win a signed copy of Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard


Donate to Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures. Every dollar donated gets you one entry to win this book. (If you donate $1, you get 1 entry. If you donate $50, you get 50 entries.) I need proof, so please email me your receipt or a photo of it that I can confirm through PA&L, to marla at marlasinkdruzgal dot com (if you’re worried about privacy, you can either blackmark your receipt or cut out a section.  See what I did in my Hurricane Sandy donation as an example). Remember, your donations are tax deductible and it’s the time of year for giving, isn’t it? I can’t say enough how amazing this nonprofit organization is. Look at all the great authors they’ve brought to Pittsburgh!

DEADLINE: Thursday, Dec 13th, NOON!

22 thoughts on “Win TWO Signed Hardcover Books! Happy Holidays, Readers!!

  1. You and Mr. Don Fischer seem to have much in common in terms of the humorous but also poignant. That’s why your blog is awesome (fun contests/giveaways aside ). You always have such a nice mix of literary and anecdotes (my favorite post being the “It’s a good thing you’re already married” succubus and “drink-drink” conversation). Your hard work is inspirational — and also, I just miss seeing you around, lady!

  2. You and Mr. Don Fischer seem to have much in common in terms of the humorous but also poignant. That’s why your blog is awesome (fun contests/giveaways aside 🙂 ). You always have such a nice mix of literary and anecdotes (my favorite post being the “It’s a good thing you’re already married” succubus and “drink-drink” conversation). Your hard work is inspirational — and also, I just miss seeing you around, lady!

  3. Marla, I enjoy reading about your adventures! My daughter’s favorite teacher is Mr. B, her history teacher. He used to teach gym, but his son was diagnosed with cancer and didnt coach anymore to have more time with his boy. The book would be an awesome gift from Jesse to Mr. B.
    Thanks! & TY. for keeping me smiling 🙂

  4. Since I attended the reading mentioned, I can comment that it was, indeed, totally awesome and inspirational. Candice Millard is who I want to be when I grow up, right down to the shoes.

    And, mentioning a past entry, I’m still reading Erik Larson’s “In the Garden of Beasts,” and had a really weird dream about it last night. Thank you, Marla, for breaching even my subconscious with culture.

  5. As a historian, I love this giveaway. The River of Doubt looks extremely interesting.

  6. OMG sis, had to read contest rules twice just to try to understand it! (You know I’ve never been very good with directions) I don’t think I’d ever find my way to one of those So-Cal tree hugging festivals! I would, however get you as many national park entry stamps as I could on the way! Even if I had to take a riverboat down the Ohio to get them!

    1. Hahaha. Well, I’m glad you entered anyway. I feel bad you’re not able to enter the Facebook portions of the contest as well. I will try to have a variety of giveaways – some with less work. Awesome recall on the NP stamps, btw. You rock!

    1. Just for you, one of these days I’m going to do an entire blog that’s nothing but bad photos. I promise you I take really bad photos. I just lately try to do myself up when I know I might get a photo taken for the blog so it hopefully increases my odds of a good one. My brother will be the first to tell you how awful my photos can be. I’m surprised he hasn’t offered one up yet, haha.
      And your comment counts as an entry in the contest. Good luck!

  7. Both books sound so good! How lucky we are to have this contest. I wonder if Theodore Roosevelt was anything like your dad and spent any time rappelling on his journey through the Amazon? (I did look it up and rappelling seems to originate in 1876 although it would be tough with no mountains).

    1. Thanks for your comment, Michelle. And way to get that bonus entry by discussing the previous post about my dad and his rappelling!
      I’m so excited for people to win these books and get reading. Good luck! 🙂

  8. Marla
    Looking toward to your blogs, after our coffee date and reading your post every day gets more entrusting. Like a shoot at one of the books my faer likes to read those type for me I am more sifi kind of guy. Thanks and look toward to your adventure

    1. Thanks for commenting and entering the contest, Pete. I saw you retweeted too, that’s great! I hear ya about scifi. I love reading that, too. Glad you’re entering to try and win it as a gift though. It was great meeting for coffee and catching up. Good luck!

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