HITTING SHELVES #28: Liar by Rob Roberge


Liar by Rob Roberge comes out today!

It’s a memoir about mental illness and addiction. Roberge, who is both a writer and a rock musician, won’t be able to remember his past much longer, thanks to frequent concussions and a memory-eroding disease. This book is his attempt to preserve his memory before it’s gone. It’s tough to read about Roberge’s blackouts and relapses, but his vivid life and his meditations on death make Liar an intense account of day-to-day survival.

We asked the author one question.

How are you celebrating the publication of Liar?

Liar is my fifth book, and while I hope I haven’t lost any of the gratitude and pleasure I took in my first book coming out, I don’t tend to really celebrate when a book is being released. In fact, I may celebrate this one least of all—as I’m more nervous about its reception that I’ve been with any other book I’ve ever put out. My first four books were fiction—three novels and one book of stories, so, even if there were highly personal or autobiographical things in them, I could always just say, “I made that part up” and be done with it. But with a memoir, you really don’t have that shield, so I’m sure I’ll spend a good part of the release date being nervous about releasing a book where everything in it will be taken as the truth about me and judged the same way.

And then, I’ll also be filled with nerves about things I can in no way control: people I know and their reaction to the book, people I don’t know and their reaction, sales, and reviews. I’ll probably obsessively check my Amazon rating and get depressed it’s not higher. I’ll do what every friend I have who has ever written a memoir has emphatically told me never to do: I’ll check Goodreads for reviews.

I will, in short, do just about everything wrong.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. How will the day itself go? Well, I actually have an event the night before the official release of the book. So, I’ll be driving from La Jolla, where I’ll have done a reading the night before, up to my hometown of Los Angeles. I’ll try to beat the traffic so that I can get everything done that I need to get done, but Los Angeles no longer has a gap between rush hours. It’s pretty much always bad. So, I will be stressed on the drive up to town. At red lights, I may check my Amazon page. Though my partner will be with me, and she’ll probably force me from doing it with the threat of taking away my phone as if I were a nine year old.

Rob Roberge
Rob Roberge

Then? Then it’s off to a Trader Joe’s because they have good, but still relatively cheap wine. For an author’s launch party, I have been told, it’s standard for the writer to provide the wine and cheese and whatnot that you usually see at launch parties. I really had no idea and now feel like pretty much a complete asshole regarding my other four books. But, anyway … buy wine at Trader Joe’s (I think you buy red wine, but I’m sure my partner will know what and how much to buy), buy some sparkling water for me and the other recovering alcoholics in the crowd (and buy myself a small bottle that I can drink onstage because it has a lid and I won’t have to worry about spilling a cup of water on Skylight Books’ stock that sits behind the stage). I guess there will be some cheese to buy, too. Which is kind of annoying, because Trader Joe’s, while having relatively good cheap wine, does not have big cheese plates. So, we’ll look for one of those. And I’ll buy a bottle of Jameson’s, because that’s what my partner drinks, and she deserves better than the relatively good cheap wine I’m giving everybody else.

Then, if there’s time, dinner with some friends. After that, it’s off to Skylight Books, the outstanding local indie that is hosting the event.

Then comes the easy and most celebratory part—minus worrying that no one’s going to show. Doing a Q&A with my good friend David Ulin, taking some questions from the audience, and maybe reading a short (very short … no one has ever walked out of a reading saying it was too short or too funny) section of the book. And then, after that, wondering if I’m responsible for cleaning up all the wine bottles and plastic cups, and sweaty cheese, or if someone at the bookstore does that, and worrying that I’m being an asshole if I don’t clean up after myself.

Later, I’ll go out and watch people drink and wish I could join them. But I’ll be with good friends, which is cause enough for celebration—book release or not.

Get the book here.

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