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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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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

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Book Nook Sneak Peek: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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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!