The Things People Send Me: Amy Stewart on The Earth Moved

Since The Earth Moved was published in 2004, I have received:

          • Two paintings of earthworms, one more abstract and one in a more photorealist style.
          • A handpainted greeting card, suitable for framing, of a mass of wriggling worms creating using paint pens and gold glitter.
          • A dried, dissected earthworm pinned to a specimen board, framed behind glass, with neatly-typed labels indicating the anatomical features.
          • A dead nightcrawler encased in lucite, intended as a paperweight,
          • Two collections of earthworm-inspired poetry.
          • A coffee mug sporting the worm-shaped logo of a company that makes earthworm bins.
          • A pink, plush, stuffed earthworm.
          • Countless gummy earthworms, including some that are disturbingly realistic.
          • An offer of a business partnership involving the use of worms to clean polluted waste sites.
          • Dozens of requests for advice from aspirational worm farmers.
          • Dozens of photographs of strange worms, with requests for assistance with identification.
          • An earthworm-themed board game, sent by its creator, who was looking for a distributor and hoped I could help.
          • An earthworm jigsaw puzzle.

These unsolicited gifts continue to arrive, years after the book’s publication. I can’t explain it, really. No other book I have written has inspired such an outpouring of gifts, handmade crafts, and business offers. I wrote a book about the flower industry, and do you think bouquets arrived on my doorstep? I’m at work now on a book about cocktails, due out next year, and I have yet to receive a single bottle of free booze. But the earthworms? They keep showing up, like nightcrawlers on the sidewalk after the rain.

–Amy Stewart

And now we’d like to give something back to you! We are excited to be giving away three copies of The Earth Moved. Have you ever received anything odd in the mail? Let us know with a comment on this post and we will choose three people at random to receive a copy of the book.

Read an Excerpt of The Earth Moved 
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35 Comments On This Post:

March 8, 2012
12:06 pm
matkeltri says...

The oddest things I’ve received have been promotional items from companies. Stuffed toys representing bacteria (e.coli, MRSA) have probably been the oddest. Not nearly as odd as worms!

March 8, 2012
12:06 pm
Cari R. says...

A couple of months ago I received a wig in the mail. There was a handwritten note in the box saying that the customer was returning the wig because it was too tight. Mysterious because I have never been in the wig business and have no idea have the customer got my address. Hmm.

March 8, 2012
12:07 pm
Michael says...

Received a soda can tab pin with a Darwin fish on it! I wrote a paper in college about Darwin’s earthworm studies. This book looks very interesting!

March 8, 2012
12:08 pm
Jill Hartmann says...

An invitation to attend a talk where you could win a free cremation for you or your loved one!!!
Would love to win a copy and read this!

March 8, 2012
12:08 pm
Irene Wright says...

Would love to have your collection of ‘worms’ – they sound interesting.
I’m always getting letters from ? telling me I’ve won ££££££ in a lottery I have never entered. Just the usual ‘junk mail’. Other than that, nothing interesting has arrived in my mail box.

March 8, 2012
12:10 pm
Jaime A. Geraldi says...

When I lived out west, my friend mailed me lox and bagels from NY!

March 8, 2012
12:11 pm
JJT says...

I once received an unsolicited package that had 3 identical shoes in it.

March 8, 2012
12:32 pm
Betty Hamilton says...

I just get the normal everyday mail. ;o) BUT would love to get this book in the mail!!

March 8, 2012
12:34 pm
Pilar says...

Someone sent me a sea urchin shell which she had wrapped in one kleenex and mailed in a regular business-size envelope. So I received an envelope full of seashell dust.

March 8, 2012
12:52 pm
Debbe says...

I get a fair amount of junk mail at times but I have received an invitation this weel to a retirement home walk through… I think they may have gotten there demographics off a bit as I have a ways to go for that.

March 8, 2012
1:07 pm
Myron McVeigh says...

The strangest thing I’ve gotten in the mail would have to me a used eye pillow. I had ordered a Cd from a band and this came along with it.

March 8, 2012
1:16 pm
Stephanie says...

Lately I have been getting Similac. I haven’t had any children and none on the way so not sure why it keeps showing up. My favorite was the one specially formulated for fussiness and gas!

March 8, 2012
1:27 pm
Robert says...

I’m going to check my mailbox now for something odd.

March 8, 2012
1:52 pm
Pam S. says...

People are so funny

March 8, 2012
2:01 pm
Jennifer Kelley says...

So, we were just talking about books about earthworms and this shows up on my facebook page!

March 8, 2012
2:17 pm
Brooke says...

A friend sent me pumpkin muffins, but she didn’t wrap them up air tight. So I got a box of ants eating my pumpkin cookies. Slightly less exciting than worms!

March 8, 2012
2:51 pm
rhonda says...

A package. Full of salamis and hotdogs sent regular mail,I can still smell it.

March 8, 2012
3:48 pm
Sue Schwartz says...

My mother, who was in NC, mailed a 50lb burlap bag of raw peanuts to me in Ohio about 40 yrs ago. I was feeling homesick for parched peanuts..that’s what we called roasted peanuts in my childhood.

March 8, 2012
5:46 pm
Barbara says...

I received through the mail a Murder Mystery Tea Party game based on the Flavia De Luce mystery series by Alan Bradley. It was a cool game, but I have no idea why I received it.

March 9, 2012
2:58 am
Allison says...

The strangest thing I have ever received in the mail was an invitation to start working at a new company to the area that sold knives. In order to work there, you had to buy everything from the company and then hope to be able to sell it all back to people.

March 10, 2012
3:50 pm
melanie says...

The strangest thing I ever received was a letter enclosed in a plastic fish. The fish itself was addressed and stamped. Weird… and nice!

I’d love to read this. Thanks!

March 11, 2012
12:55 pm
Sally Anne Sadler says...

Great got a card and a box of chocolate covered cherries from my chicken named Turkey Lurkey. No idea who sent it. I don’t think it was my chicken. While she is a clever, if uniquely ugly chicken, alas, she has no thumbs.

March 11, 2012
6:26 pm
Karyn says...

I once got a pocket-knife in the shape a shotgun shell. Very weird…

March 12, 2012
6:30 am
Jackie DiGiovanni says...

I am on various lists for press releases. I sometimes hear from groups I am not familiar with. The events they describe are creative and sometimes offbeat. The ones I have been able to go to are fabulous and better than advertised.

March 12, 2012
11:22 am
Monday Miscellany: Giveaways, Rocky Mountain Gardening, and St Patrick’s DIY | North Coast Gardening says...

[…] up, the ever-delightful Amy Stewart has a book giveaway hosted by her publisher, for her book The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms. You may be thinking, […]

March 12, 2012
11:47 am
Ed Remsrola says...

Greetings Earthworm… uhhh… Author of book about Earthworms. Gen mentioned your book on her blog today, so I thought I had better make my way here. Afterall, who can resist a book about earthworms when it is described with words such as, “Intrigue! Drama! Mystery!”?

March 12, 2012
1:13 pm
Alison says...

Someone once sent me, anonymously, a calendar from the James Herriott “All Things Bright and Beautiful” series. Used and out of date. I’d love to read your earthworm book.

March 12, 2012
3:48 pm
Jennie says...

I receive catalogues from companies I’ve never heard of. and just try getting off a mailing list like that. it’s darn near impossible!
your book though, I would love to receive that in my mailbox.
Thank you!

March 13, 2012
11:26 am
Humboldtjen says...

The strangest thing I’ve ever received was a box of my mother’s used undies!! She meant to send the scrapbook she bought me for a present, but instead, threw it away and accidentally sent me the similarly sized box of her carefully concealed expired underwear. She must have gotten the two boxes mixed up somewhere along the lines.

March 13, 2012
2:11 pm
Kelly says...

My daughter recently sent me a bag of licorice kittens!

March 13, 2012
3:12 pm
Terry Jenkins says...

I regularly get mail for a friend who died many years ago, only her name and title have now morphed with mine. Now I have a doctor in my family! She would be pleased with the joke. I love worms too!

March 15, 2012
9:37 am
Jonquil says...

I’ve received Christmas cards addressed to a former housemate from a different city….who never lived at my current address.

March 16, 2012
11:40 am
Wes says...

Well, surprised as I was, the excerpt was quite entertaining.

Ya never know, the last book I read was about cannabalism and headhunting in the new world. Yeah, sounds terribly morbid but as a history buff I couldn’t put it down…

“The Earth Moved” appears to be an interesting read.

March 18, 2012
11:32 am
KathyG says...

I received a package of music from Austria, from a vocalist I was going to accompany. She misheard my address, which is on Iowa Avenue, as ‘Ohio Street’. But the post office figured it out (or guessed correctly, since there is no Ohio Street or other MidWestern state street in our town) and it was delivered right on time.

March 22, 2012
5:42 am
Carole Bryan says...

I am psycho when it comes to my worm witness protection and relocation program. I carry an old teapot with a little dirt and water in it while I am digging and whenever I find a worm, I lovingly put it in the pot with it’s friends and carry it to my compost piles…then I stand there and ponder, “which of the 4 piles is going to be your new home?”

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