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The Day I Met Rory (and Jenny Lawson)

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I know, I know. You are all insanely jealous that I met Rory. And by “met” I mean struck a pose in the middle of public DC while my husband tried to suppress his mortification. (Mi dispiace, Topino mio. Keep loving me anyway.) The whole meeting was really a debacle and started with a frantic arrangement of work hours, possible transportation alternatives, and ultimately ended up with us standing outside of Politics and Prose in Washington, DC starvinGardettos-2014g because the cafe was sold out of food. (Disclaimer: Grilled cheese was available but it was $6. I could buy a loaf of bread with half a pound of cheese at those prices.) The only other source of nourishment was CVS, which meant our “dinner” consisted of Gardettos. For those of you that don’t know what Gardettos are….this is a bag of the deliciously addictive snack –>

I’m going to apologize in advance because that one small bag is approximately 1,000 calories. I wish I was joking. Those buggers are responsible for an entire pant size.

So, with dinner in hand, we ventured into the extremely crowded bookshop and purchased a copy of Jenny Lawson’s second novel, Furiously Happy. I’ve been to to a number of readings over the last few years, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been to a reading where there was such camaraderie between an author and her readers. There was fangirling and stories shared, but it felt less like a Q&A and far more like an organic conversation amongst friends. I’m going to chalk this up to Lawson’s incredible personality and the relationships she has developed over the years through her blog, The Bloggess. Even though I had never met her, I felt like I’d spoken with her before through her posts and responses. Which is why my husband stood with me (okay, he stood while I sat on the floor) waiting to meet her in person for approximately 3 hours on a work night. We were in line when we’d normally be in bed.

While waiting to get our book signed we observed an incredible feat by a gentleman that we call the Line Ninja. It’s so impressive that I simply have to share it. He arrived during the Q&A and managed to socialize his way to the middle of the room by the end of the session. Please understand how impressive this feat is. People at the front of the room arrived hours before the reading and the entire store was packed all the way to the exit. An hour before the event my husband and I managed to claim a spot in the middle. This lolligagger mingled his way through other eagerly waiting readers armed only with his charm. By the end of the night he was about a dozen people ahead of me. What do you call that? Talent.

Since we had some time on our hands, my husband and I discussed what I might share with the Bloggess. Eventually I decided on humoring her with the fact that my anxiety companion dog, Maverick, has anxiety. Confident with this little anecdote I approached the table only to say “Hi” and smile. Twas not my finest moment, but a firm nudge from Matt pushed me forward and eventually the words came out in some kind of order. I’m pretty sure I called Maverick a “she,” which would have probably made him duck his little furry nose in shame. However, I did manage to take this awesome picture:

20151012_222750On our way out my husband told me that if he had stood around for over 4 hours only to have me stand there and smile he would have lost his mind. And that, my friends, is true love.

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Enjoy what you read? 
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Popular Posts:

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Spoon Shares: Sometimes our issues are more serious and impact the way we live day-to-day. Spoon shares is a great place to share, connect, and learn tips and tricks from others with a variety of maladies.

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Reading on the Go!

I started this post a few weeks after my wedding. I thought that I might share a couple of my pre-wedding reads (none of them had anything to do with weddings) and then 4 months passed. Even though that whole concept doesn’t make sense anymore I’m doing it anyway. I’ve also started graduate school (while working full time- my classmate from Germany says I’m crazy), and  I’ve managed to cram a few books in. Basically, everything I read was worth the time. Saying that, I didn’t want to just brush them off and just list them on the 2015 Bookshelf. Here are some short reflections on my reads.

Pre-Wedding Reads:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony DoerrAll the Light

I’m making my husband read it. He’s going to read it and he is going to love it. This book was beautiful to read. I’m a huge fan of World War II novels and Doerr did not disappoint. He crafts his book just as the locksmith crafted the neighborhoods for his daughter, with care and attention. While the novel starts off at a leisurely pace, the lives of these strangers begin to collide and the reader will be completely engrossed until the end. Yes, some parts read slow but push through because it really is worth it.

Boss

Bossypants by Tina Fey

This book really helped me get my head on straight before the big day. Tina made me laugh, cry (from laughing), and think (while laughing). The book isn’t so much a continuous memoir as it is a collection of stories. Tina’s thoughts and experiences presented me with a new lens to view my own accomplishments and goals through. Afterwards, I felt a lot more confident about where I am and where I’m heading. Sometimes, you just have to do it.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy KalingMindy

Mindy is as big of a Tina Fey fan as I am. She hilariously compares the two of them throughout her book, but reading them side by side unveiled how different they truly are. Both women are very humorous, resourceful, and intelligent. Mindy’s memoir, however, has a lot more pause for her analysis of a situation. It’s more organized and thoughtfully conceived. While still funny, Mindy has an undertone that makes you take everything with a grain of, what I call, serious salt.

BloggessLet’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

I’m going to see her and it’s going to be incredible. Jokingly, I refer to Jenny Lawson as my spirit animal. Throughout the novel I’d wake up my husband to read him sections. He would nod, respond with, “She’s you!” and promptly return to dreamland. Her perspective is one of a kind. I particularly recommend this to my friends battling chronic illness. It’s not too hard on the brain but is incredibly inspiring and funny. Lawson is a well-known blogger who has her own health struggles. Her humor inspires me to wake up and start fresh. Her second book, Furiously Happy just hit the shelves, so if you love her there’s more to read.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret AtwoodHandmaid

This is one of those books that I never had assigned in high school and also never came across in college (but should have read independently at some point). Basically, it needed to be checked off my list. After my reading I can definitely see how this would have caused a stir when it was published, and some parts of the story still call forth foreboding feelings. It’s well written and I don’t think it could have ended any other way. The ending was just right and I do recommend taking this novel for a spin. It wasn’t my favorite but it was valuable.

Everything Else:

In the Woods (Dublin Murder Squad, book 1) by Tana French

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My mind was blown. Not only was the case complex and challenging but the perspective was raw with characters and their relationships evolving radically throughout the novel. Part of the stark perspective stemmed from the personality of the first-person narrator who filters the entire experience. Be warned, this novel is very murky and very realistic. The language is also dense and incredibly well-crafted. French’s style is unable to be replicated. It’s not to be picked up for a bit of light reading.

Would you like a summary of my Macroeconomics textbook? Because it’s ruling my life right now and that’s what else I’ve read.

Okay, I lied, I did manage to get in Bardach’s 8 Steps (which I do highly recommend if you’re interested in public policy).

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Enjoy what you read? 
Follow me on Twitter @KeepStride

Popular Posts:

Who Am I?– The painful name change experience

Giving a Voice to Invisible Illness– A short poem read by a number of incredible bloggers

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Other Sites I Recommend:

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.

The Bloggess: Great for a laugh and also thoughtful.

Scary Mommy: I’m not a mom yet but that doesn’t even matter.

Spoon Shares: Sometimes our issues are more serious and impact the way we live day-to-day. Spoon shares is a great place to share, connect, and learn tips and tricks from others with a variety of maladies.

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Who Done It?

I am a huge mystery lover and have recently indulged in picking up one of the most renown mystery authors, Agatha Christie.

agatha_christie_80This woman was an incredible badass. Excuse the language, but it is literally the best adjective I have in my vocabulary to describe the genius that created Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple, and the husband and wife sleuthing team, Tommy and Tuppence. Christie takes the art of a Who Done It novel and crafts an elegant piece of writing filled with wit and charm. Despite being introduced very quickly to a plethora of characters, I feel as though I know them all!

I began my journey with The Murder at the Vicarage, which is the first in the Miss. Marple series. In an interesting twist, the novel is written from the first-person perspective of the vicar- a mystery that does not follow the actions or point-of-view of the detective! Despite being considered an older mystery novel, I didn’t find the writing style difficult to follow. Passages and language flowed and though the phrases were a bit outdated I was perfectly able to take a gander at their meaning or look them up. With the stress of planning a wedding (7 Weeks!) and the host of spontaneous fires going on in my life I found myself escaping into this novel frequently. It was an absolutely fascinating experience, and one that I plan on repeating over and over again. I can not wait to pick up the next Miss. Marple.

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Enjoy what you read? See what else I’m reading on
My Bookshelf
Follow me on Twitter @KeepStride

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The Magical World Of: For the Disney fan in your life. She’s funny, sassy, and you don’t want to miss her March Madness series in the spring.

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.

Spoon Shares: Sometimes our issues are more serious and impact the way we live day-to-day. Spoon shares is a great place to share, connect, and learn tips and tricks from others with a variety of maladies.

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Book Nook Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

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Stein’s work is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship depicting the human experience in a candid and very honest way. In fact, the words “very honest” simply aren’t powerful enough to describe the experience of reading The Art of Racing in the Rain.

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R. Williams in Dead Poet’s Society. If you haven’t seen it we’re probably not friends.

Only Robin Williams can do my feelings justice!

The story is experienced through the eyes, ears, and nose of the lovable and forever loyal Enzo as his master, Danny Swift, lives and races. Despite knowing little about the racing world (and honestly having almost no interest in it) I adored the book. The extended metaphor captures the little moments within this little family so well, a slow down of the high speed pace of life. Sometimes a turn is made with such precision that you can hardly believe the execution and at other times you end up in the pit with a flat tire and blown transmission. Take Two!

At one point during the novel Enzo says that although he cannot relate the details of a particular event he knows the emotions behind it and thus, despite the specifics probably being incorrect, the story is still true. I found this story to be so true it was almost unbearable at times. We walk as Enzo beside Danny when his daughter Zoe is taken from him by his in-laws, when he watches his wife being buried from afar, and when he is destitute in a hovel. One of my favorite recurring symbols throughout the novel is the evil zebra, which first manifests when Enzo is forgotten and becomes delirious without food or refreshed water for days. Afterwards, the zebra appears when anything Enzo declares to be evil touches or interacts with the people he considers family.

Despite the dark topics that the novel deals with, there is a lighthearted undertone that is never lost. I was miraculously inspired as I read, even at the darkest of times. If you haven’t thought about Stein’s book or added it to your GoodRead’s list, I would seriously re-consider. We can learn so much from observation, and our furry friends are the ultimate observers.

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Enjoy what you read? 
Follow me on Twitter @KeepStride

Popular Posts:

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Other Sites I Recommend:

The Magical World Of: For the Disney fan in your life. She’s funny, sassy, and you don’t want to miss her March Madness series in the spring.

Abby Has Issues: I have issues, she has issues, and it’s fantastic.

Spoon Shares: Sometimes our issues are more serious and impact the way we live day-to-day. Spoon shares is a great place to share, connect, and learn tips and tricks from others with a variety of maladies.

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Book Nook Sneak Peek: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder

Instead of doing a traditional, rather long-winded review, I’ll give you just a taste of what you’re missing out on if you haven’t picked up Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.

Why Dive In: It’s refreshing. Meyer’s brings in all the main characters from Cinderella that I love and then twists them into something completely different while adding in an entirely new world that you can’t help but want to explore. I’m not naturally inclined to sci-fi but the world of cyborgs, androids, humans, and lunars absolutely captured my fascination.

What Will Drive You Mad: The ending of the book. It’s a huge cliffhanger and left me flipping through the Study Guide in the back saying, “No, I want more!” So I guess I’m just going to need to go out and buy book 2 of the Lunar Chronicles this weekend.

Don’t forget to check out other reviews on The Bookshelf and browse my new Good Reads account and to see what’s coming up!