Robot Love, Lippman Love

In January 2024, I fell in love with a robot. He was a jaunty fellow, perched on the edge of a shelf at the American Folk Art Museum. I was looking for a gift for someone else. I bought him for myself. This has happened before. It will happen again. Pay close attention.

I have a longstanding passion for folk art, documented here. It is a progressive disease. It doesn’t get better, it just finds new areas to attack. I’ve had my Mexican phase, my Mose/Annie Tolliver phase, my Jimmy Lee Sudduth phase, my Clementine Hunter moment. Lately, it has been robots. No,  I don’t know why. I enjoyed Lost in Space when I was young, but I actually preferred Dr. Smith to the tedious robot.

In the spring of 2024,  I started Robot Book Club. There might have been alcohol involved. I began ‘trolling eBay for robots and discovered the work of Sally Colby. This led to the acquisition of two more robots. I use one as my Facebook avatar, delighted by the fact that her name is my little-known middle name, which, by the way, has a gorgeous story attached to it.  (My great-grandmother named my great-aunt for Madeline Astor, after seeing Astor on the Titianic survivors list. The name then went to my mother, then to me.)

When I decided to give away a week’s worth of items to my loyal readers, I knew I needed to add one of Sally Colby’s robots. I ordered one via eBay. When it arrived, I could not bear to part with it. Even Mr. L agreed that it was exceptionally pretty. I decided to sub out another robot — just as cool, also by Sally Colby. And probably just as pretty and I will probably fall in love again and start scouring eBay again for yet another robot to give away during the week my book goes on sale. But, clearly, I have a problem.

Where does Robots, Anonymous meet?

Meanwhile, there has been some random Lippman love ricocheting around the universe this week. Baltimore magazine named me one of the city’s five top writers in its annual best issue and gave the new book, The Most Dangerous Thing, a rave review. O magazine was equally enthusiastic, saying in part: “Laura Lippman’s rich, multigenerational tale that explores how relationships between friends, spouses, neighbors, parents, and children wound and sustain us.  . . . The mystery is undeniably compelling, but it is the characters’ everyday lives and longings that make Lippman’s novel so knowing.”

But enough about me. The important thing is that loyal readers will have a chance to win a robot the week of Aug. 22. Just not the robot pictured above. The new one has the body of a Parmesan can, which makes it a much more fitting complement for a week that will also feature free pizza. Speaking of free pizza, Iggie’s, which will be the site of the party, has allowed me to dub one of its offerings “The Most Dangerous Pizza.” Can you guess the topping? Hint: Alafair Burke’s fans have the inside track on this. Think outside the box.



33 thoughts on “Robot Love, Lippman Love

  1. I am very amused at the Robot Book Club choice! If the Robot Book Club invited me to visit for a discussion (are carbon-based life forms permitted to attend meetings?) I would do it in a heartbeat.

  2. This week of give-aways is going to bankrupt me. I was looking for some Esskay memorabilia to see if I could find any tins superior to the ones in my own collection. Found a vintage apron and cap, used by vendors at Colts and Orioles games. Bought it for myself. One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me . . .

  3. Love the robots! How I wish I could be around during the week of your launch, but I’ll be out of the country. I’ve already pre-ordered The Most Dangerous Thing, so it will be here when I get home.

  4. Is the Robot Book Club similar to the Teddy Bear Tea parties of old, except instead of hosting glassy-eyed Stieffs, you assemble a tableau of nifty machine pals? And there’s wine instead of tea? Because that sounds fantastic.

  5. Lisa, it’s a lot like that. And come to think of it, I still have all those glassy-eyed Stieffs, not to mention my “Country Mouse House” and “City Mouse House.” Hmmmm. Imagine what might happen next.

    • I have the Country Mouse and CIty Mouse also! I always preferred the Country Mouse and her nice brown house and her frying pan. The City Mouse seemed very noveau and tawdry, like a Kept Mouse.

    • Excellent, Laura. Then my questions are as follows: 1) Might you share the occasional wine pairing (which festive beverage complements the title discussed)? 2) Which wine would you choose for The Most Dangerous Thing ? 3) Did I just give you another idea for giveaway week? :-)

    • Anna Posted on Wish I could have gone with you guys. I always want to look back at Hunter and then I asmolt fall over. Typical me LOVE these pictures of the ride.

  6. other less expensive giveaway possibilities…anything “natty boh”, coasters from any of the Fells Point bars, Mayor Schaefer campaign material (or a rubber ducky), a closed stack request slip from the Pratt Library, anything from Artscape or the great ethnic festivals, a picture of the strangest sign that was above the Peabody Book Store welcoming patrons to “Art Gallery-Peabody Book Shop-Beer Stube” , all things I wished I had kept before moving from Baltimore

  7. Whee! Found it. Maybe you could “E-Bay” all the stuff you no longer have a thing for so that you can feed your new passion. Have you checked out Etsy? They have stuff on there that is so….well, just think of it as something for everyone, and I bet you’ll find a new passion quicker than the robot one. Thanks for being patient with me. I think the robot is fab. And I am sorry I won’t be at Iggie’s for nutella pizza. I love pineapple pizza (only had it the once), but nutella and me do not agree. Have fun! Ann

  8. Is it officially “Robot Week?” I liked the robot better on “Lost in Space.” Dr. Smith used to irritate me to death, but it was a fun show to watch. I also enjoyed playing “Rock “Em Sock ‘Em Robots,” even though I did not have one myself. My friend Eddie Gordon had one and we loved to do pitched battle. So, is there a competition question, or is the giveaway a random thing? If I had to guess about Alafair Burke’s preferences (character-wise), I would guess Bloody Mary’s, Nutella, which I could never bring myself to try, Gray Goose or Bombay Gin, or some really bitchin’ shoes. If one was crafty, so to speak, a nutella jar could be part of a short robot, and a bottle of Gray Goose or Bombay Gin could be its erstwhile companion, and a pair of wicked boots to match the contents within each jar, would be way cool. Selfishly, I hope I win. Even though I am a proud Episcopalian (the liberal kind), I was raised RC, and so I can feel the selfish guilt thing cropping up on my forehead. We Episcopalians are into guilt, too, but we just say a rosary on our pearls, and drink a glass of something (in my case, something domestic-quel horror!), and try to move on. Still, I would love, love, love to win. Thanks, Laura. Ann

  9. Wish I was in Pgh. this weekend to see you and Alafair. I would bring my wit, my vast knowledge of Pgh. from when I grew up there, and also call my brother to find out the best places for eats and booze, and smile hopefully at Laura in the quest to “win the robot.” That would make me a happy girl, especially since my birthday is coming up, and that would be a fab present for someone who loves American or other Folk Art but can’t buy it. And, joking aside, I am hoping and praying that all of you potentially affected by Irene come out the other side safe. Been through four myself, and also remember Hurricane Agnes from 1972, when it seemed as if all summer it was nothing but rain. Be safe, be safe, be safe. Take your important papers and photos with you, and your animals. God bless.

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