Favorite Book Blog

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Way to go As I Lay Reading!

As I Lay Reading

Starting this blog has been one of the most refreshing things for me, because it is encouraging me to become more involved in the books I read. My book club teases me relentlessly because I always show up with PAGES of notes that I’ve taken about the book–it’s become almost involuntary now.

And not only that, but the discussions I am getting into, here, and on Tumblr, are incredible. The Book Community on Tumblr is unlike anything I’ve ever imagined. Sure, I’ve gotten more recommendations on books to read. That I expected. But I am also quickly gaining friendships–that I didn’t anticipate from a relatively “anonymous” website. Everyone has each other’s back, and everyone (for the most part anyway) keeps an open mind. The goal here is to fuel constant discussion, and that is not something you see anywhere else.

It is also a place for humor and beauty, creativity and…

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(days since), the first 5,000

(346 days since)


The thing about grief is that everyone deals with it differently. When going through a bad breakup, you might drive by your ex’s house just to get a glimpse of them; or go on a weeklong bender with your friends. I once saw a TV show where a man dealt with the death of his wife by dressing up every day as a mime. Either way, it all depends on the person. When I was eight, my dad ran over my prized Sky Dancer with the lawn mower. In my grief I collected the pieces and buried them in our backyard. I held a small funeral with my best friend Alyssa, and my dog Chelsea. That was how I grieved over my favorite toy. I did not shed a single tear when my father apologized for the accident, or while Alyssa and I dug the shallow hole. But when I visited the tiny grave alone, I would silently sob. And yet, in a week or two I got over it and started playing with my Skip-It instead. I’m not saying that people are like Sky Dancers or anything, but who am I to tell someone that they’re grieving wrong? That would be like telling someone that they’re breathing wrong.

But when I walk into the kitchen to find the sour smell of weed wafting in the air, I can’t take it anymore.

He is grieving wrong.

Reaching into the cabinet, I grab my favorite worn Tony the Tiger bowl and prepare my usual breakfast. Back when cereal boxes actually gave out prizes I would spend my weekends watching cartoons and demolishing boxes of cereal, hoping to collect enough proofs of purchase to send away for the bigger and better prizes. After two months of weekend binging, and three weeks of waiting, I finally received my classic Kellogg’s cereal bowls. I cherished those bowls—the Tony the Tiger one especially—and wouldn’t allow anyone else to use them. But now, after thousands of cycles in the dishwasher, Tony’s stripes are faded and his face is almost unrecognizable. At first glance, it seems ridiculous to hold on to. But its sentimental value makes it worth keeping. That and the fact that it’s the largest bowl we have, excluding the mixing or salad bowls we keep under the kitchen island. As I pour my bowl of Frosted Flakes, I look at my boring start to the day and decide to liven up my meal by pouring a glass of orange juice.

As I take my first few bites, the garage door swings open and Dad steps into the kitchen with fingertips of smoke trailing behind him through the doorway. His eyes are red and puffy and he begins mumbling under his breath something about being allergic to the dust in there. Over the past year, my dad has gained a significant amount of weight—mostly due to late night McDonald’s runs. He constantly looks bloated, as if someone turned an air compressor on into his clothes and forgot to turn it off. His button ups are at their last stand and with one wrong move they’ll be popping off in every direction. I imagine one landing into my bowl of cereal with a bloop. His light brown hair is always disheveled, and has begun to just stick out at random angles. Since shaving has become a chore for him as well, he leaves the house with a face covered in patchy gruff instead of being the clean-shaven man I grew up idolizing. My morning soundtrack used to play with the sounds of Dad’s razor clinking against the bathroom sink, paired with my mother grinding coffee beans in the kitchen. But all we hear now is silence.

We have our usual awkward small talk: him being high and me being uncomfortable. Since returning home for summer vacation, this has become a new thing for both of us. Instead of his usual weed-addled morning routine with no consequence, he has to find reasons for locking himself in the garage each morning. But I’ve got to hand it to him; his excuses are getting quite impressive. Just last weekend he ran towards the garage exclaiming, “My electric razor fell into the toilet!” sounding more excited than alarmed. “I need a screwdriver to fix it!” Twenty minutes later, when he floated back in from the garage, he’d forgotten all about the screwdriver, and instead returned with a hammer in hand. Everybody knows what he is really doing in there, but no one talks about it.

We are a family specializing in avoidance.

Mornings like these are when I wish for Before It Happened Dad. When weekends sounded like sizzling bacon and smelt of maple syrup. My feet pattering against the wood floors, I would sprint down the stairs, jumping from the second to last step. Dad would be wearing an apron with flour on his face, and pouring Mom a fresh cup of coffee while she completed The New York Times crossword in pen. Waiting for me would be a plate of pancakes that spelled my name, and a canister of whipped cream. If I asked for strawberry milk he already had it ready for me with a spoon in the glass waiting to be stirred, my favorite part. That was what I wanted. But now I was nauseous from the smell of weed and eating far more bowls of cereal than usual.

While shoveling a spoonful of Frosted Flakes into my mouth, I instinctively check my cell phone, even though I know that nobody has tried to reach me. I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that I am alone. I thought your first year of college was supposed to help you make everlasting friendships. That’s what I always saw in movies or on TV shows at least.   But apparently I did something wrong, since my freshman year gave me social leprosy, causing everyone I thought were my friends to run away screaming. I shuffle through my old texts with Rose, trying to pinpoint the exact moment where I should have known she was plotting something against me. But no matter how many times I look, I still can’t find it. I guess I should have known though. As a freshman in college, you tend to become friends with the first person you meet and during that first semester the friendship goes through a trial run.

If by the end of that semester, you are happy with one another, you decide to upgrade to a full friendship subscription. And if you have found other people that you connect with more, you can walk away without question because you weren’t really that close anyway. But even then, I was so sure about Rose. We lived across the hall from one another making us almost destined to become friends. It was during move-in day while I was balancing a crate and trying to unlock my door that hers opened. Rose, wrapped in a pink towel and carrying her shower caddy, stepped out and caught me.

“Do you need help?”

I jumped, dropping my crate and spilling both my entire supply of Easy Mac and book collection everywhere.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” she said. Gently placing her shower caddy on the floor, she bent over to help. Her movements were dainty, refined almost.

“Thanks,” I groaned. I had been in the dorms for less than an hour and was already making a fool of myself in front of my new neighbor. When I first met Rose there, I couldn’t describe her in any other way except perfect. She was tall and slender with long, auburn hair that even when thrown in a ponytail had the right amount of wave without a hint of frizz. Her complexion was pale without looking sickly. Even her face was a perfect circle. The only imperfection I could see was a slight scar below her right eye, and even then it was perfectly placed, drawing you to her green eyes. She radiated confidence. She was in a Target-brand towel and yet, she worked it as if she were ready for a night out.

Handing me my books, she looked at the titles.

The Bell Jar, Mrs. Dalloway, and Live or Die. You’re not going to stick your head in the oven during finals week are you?”

I raised an eyebrow and smiled. Of course she was pretty and well read. “Well, if you picked up these books,” I held up The Beautiful and the Damned, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and A Farewell to Arms, “You’d think I was a raging alcoholic.”

She giggled. “I wouldn’t know. I only know those first titles. Half of your book collection just covered every book I’ve ever read—and only because it was assigned in school.”

I looked at her, trying to figure her out. So she wasn’t that well read?

“What kind of progressive, new-age high school did you go to that the only books you read were written by female writers who eventually offed themselves?”

“An all-girl boarding school in Connecticut,” she giggled. “I’m Rose,” she said extending her hand. “Rose Greenleaf.”

“Really?” I said, taking her hand.

Rose rolled her eyes. “Yeah, really.”

“I’m sorry,” I laughed. “But you’re like an accidental hippie.”

Rose giggled again, “My older sister’s name is Dahlia.”

“That’s rough,” I said, “I’m Addy Tate.”

“Addy? That’s unusual.”

“It’s short for Adelaide. It was my grandmother’s name.”

“Oh, that’s sweet.”

“Adelaide!” My mother’s voice echoed. I looked up and she was heading our way, dragging my suitcase of winter hats and scarves behind her. When she met us, she put down the suitcase and began playing with my hair. I knocked her hand away. “Oh, honey,” she gushed, ignoring my physical warnings, brushing her hand on my shoulder now. “This is such a big step for you.” Rose looked over at me. I pushed my mom’s hand away again and rolled my eyes.

“Yeah, sure. Anyway, Mom,” I said, trying to distract her, “This is Rose. She’s my neighbor.”

“Rose! It’s so nice to meet you!” All of a sudden my tiny mother lunged at Rose, wrapping her in a large embrace, rocking her back and forth. “You need to promise me you’ll look after my Adelaide,” she mock-whispered into her ear. I became mortified and actually smacked my hand against my forehead in embarrassment. Over her shoulder, I saw that Rose was more shocked than annoyed by my mother’s actions. I mouthed an apology to her and she nodded back in acceptance. “I’m Adelaide’s mother,” Mom continued, “Isn’t this exciting?”

Rose smiled. “It sure is Mrs. Tate.”

“Oh, please! Call me Pilar.” She went back to playing with my hair, tucking my curly locks behind my ear.

“Mom!” I interjected, taking a step away from her. “Rose needs to go take a shower now.”

“How silly of me,” she said. “It was so nice to meet you, Rose.”

“You too, Pilar.” She picked up her shower caddy and walked down the opposite end of the hallway my mother had come from, towards the showers. “See you around, Adelaide.”

“Bye,” I said.

When she was out of earshot my mom looked at me, wrapping her arm around my waist. “Well she seems sweet.”

“Yeah,” I said. “She does, doesn’t she?”


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You Like Me, Right Now, You Like Me: The Liebster Award

I really like what the Liebster Award sets out to do.  Smaller blogs get some recognition for entertaining whatever size their audience is — and I’m about to go all philosophical Dr. Seuss on all y’all — because a person’s a person, no matter how small (or blog, in this instance).  And nominators, as well as nominees, get to talk a little more about themselves outside of the blogosphere.  So it’s time for me to take off my receptionist skirt and put on my Barbara Streisand in The Prince of Tides ass-masking therapist pantsuit (or comfy, ass-enhancing blogging sweatpants, in my case).

liebster-award-300x300The Official Liebster Award Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Display the award somewhere on your blog.
  3. List 11 facts about yourself.
  4. Answer 11 questions chosen by the blogger who nominated you.
  5. Come up with 11 new questions to ask your nominees.
  6. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you think deserve the award and who have less than 1,000 followers.  (You many nominate blogs that have already received the award, but you cannot renominate the blog that nominated you.)
  7. Go to their blog and inform them that they’ve been nominated.

I would like to thank the Academy and my parents for always believing in me and allowing me to chase my silly, silly dreams.  But most importantly, I have to thank Rick @ Another Book Blog for nominating me for this little award.  And just for you, as well as everyone else out there, I made this little video to help anyone who hasn’t googled how to pronounce the name of my blog yet:

And as rule two states, I now have a nice little display of my award at the top of my page. Okay so now for the juicy bits.

11 Facts About Myself:

  1. I seriously feel as if Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers is me.  You know that famous quote from Wuthering Heights?  The whole, “I am Heathcliff,” jibber jab?  I feel the same way with Tina Belcher — except for you know, the whole “I’m crazy and going to make him miserable by marrying his enemy” mentality.  I don’t think I ever grew out of my utter awkwardness, yet complete obsession with boys.  And their butts.
  2. I have two different thumbs.  The joke in our family is that when I was a baby, I didn’t have a left thumb so they took a big toe and made it my thumb.  I have even had people ask me if I slammed my thumb in a door or got in an accident.  No, I was just born this way.  With one “normal thumb,” and one “toe thumb.”  And the PC term is “spoon thumb,” just an fyi.
  3. I hate politics.  As soon as someone begins an in-depth conversation about politics, my eyes glaze over and I mentally count how many of the original 151 Pokemon I can name. I can almost name ‘em all.
  4. The soundtrack for Now and Then was my go-to album when I was nine.  That song Sugar, Sugar was my favorite song in the entire world.  And I was obsessed with the movie.  Mostly because Brendan Fraser was the man of my dreams at that point in my life. 
  5. I got in a rap battle with a drunk old guy in a pub rapping the 14-minute-long song, Rapper’s Delight.  I won.  Obviously.
  6. I am afraid of sewer grates.  Every time I have to walk over one while holding my keys, I clench them in my hand because I always picture myself dropping them, and watching them fall inside the abyss of the sewer system with nobody but TMNT to save them.
  7. I really like reading/watching shows about serial killers.  Real or fake.  Whenever I stay at home, I DVR documentaries about them and it freaks out my parents.  They think I am insane.  But it’s just so fascinating!
  8. I hate it when men have ponytails.  It’s my personal fedora dilemma.  Every time I see a man with one, I want to walk up to him, cut it off, and say, “You’re welcome,” while handing the bit back to him.  They just gross me out.
  9. The song A-Punk by Vampire Weekend always makes me want nachos because of the opening scene in Step Brothers.
  10. I wish there was a way to instill GIFs in everyday life.  I know some people hate them, and others find them to be stupid, but sometimes I just want life to be like Tumblr because I always have the perfect reaction GIF.
  11. I have walked into a plate glass window in public surrounded by strangers twice in my life.  And once while I was running to work because I was late, I tripped over my own feet and faceplanted on the sidewalk.  I decided to just lie there and contemplate my life for a moment.  My clumsiness is considered a hazard to society.

11 Questions From Rick:

  1. Why are you a book blogger? What is it you truly want to get out of this?
    I started blogging about books because it was what I was passionate about.  And I thought that if I wanted to become an author, I had to get used to publishing my works for all of the world to see.  My blog was like my training for it.
  2. Rank these in order of preference: reading, listening to music, watching TV & movies.
    I don’t know!  I love them all equally…  But that’s such a cop-out answer.  I always have to have music with me at all times, and I do usually have a book with me, so I would have to say it’s listening to music, reading, and then watching television/films.
  3. What’s your favourite genre of book? Why do you think that’s the case?
    I really love anything that is mystical/magical/ folklore/mythology.  I used to read a lot of Young Adult fiction that had any supernatural element involved.  But I think what I like most are those books where an everyday girl (or guy) discovers that s/he is magical.  I think I’m drawn to these types of books because I grew up in such a blah atmosphere (catholic school in Connecticut) that I would have died if something extraordinary did happen to me. (insert “yer a wizard, ‘arry” here.)
  4. If you had to lose one of these senses, which would it be and why: sight, taste, hearing, speech.
    Taste.  Easily.  Because then I could eat veggies no problem and not eat crap foods simply because I liked the taste.  But the fat kid in me would probably still eat doughnuts knowing what they used to taste like.
  5. What qualities do you typically look for in a book?
    I like a strong female protagonist.  And I can go all ranty on this subject, because I wrote my MA dissertation on the evolution of the female protagonist in YA literature, but it’s important!  Girls need to know that they can be the one who does the ass-kicking instead of being the damsel in distress.
  6. What qualities do you typically look for in a friend?
    Humor.  I have a really weird sense of humor, so if they can keep up with me, or laugh along, we are golden.  I also really appreciate people who speak up when they have something to say.  And loyalty.  I would do anything for my friends, and knowing that they would too makes me know that I chose wisely.
  7. If you had the time (and energy) to write a blog about any other thing, what would it be and why?
    It would probably be about television.  And it would be a vlog where my friend and I drink a bottle of wine and critique the recent episode of The Mindy Project or Broad City.
  8. What’s the worst book you’ve read in the last two years?
    Oh Jesus, how much time do you got?  It’s actually a tie.  If anyone regularly follows my blog, they understand my utter hatred for Lauren Weisberger and her Prada books.  I tried to read Revenge Wears Prada and just threw it in the corner of my room and forgot about it.  But I also just read The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty because everyone told me it was amazing.  It was terrible.  I have never read a book with three different female protagonists and ended up hating each one at the end.  They were terrible people!
  9. If you suddenly had 50 million dollars, do you think you’d read more or less?
    More.  Because I could not work and just spend my time Scrooge McDucking it, and swimming in money while reading anything and everything I’ve ever thought about reading.
  10. How much practical use have you gotten from your college degree? (if you have one)
    Umm, I would say 45% of my BA is used and 60% of my MA.  When I first graduated, I got an internship with Yale University Press, so that was like “Oh my god, my major is working!”  But then I came home, lived with my parents for a year, and worked as a receptionist.  But now, I do quite a bit of editing and copywriting.  And I get to play with Twitter, giving my Creative Writing MA some work.
  11. If you had to go back to college, with the condition that you could only take a different major, what would it be?
    I would stay with my original major, Psychology, but go to a different university that works on behavioral analysis.  I would have really liked to become someone who helps track down serial killers based on their behavior (again with the damn serial killers).

My Nominations:

Although some of these might seem a bit random, I really want to hear more from these bloggers.

  1. Haley – As I Lay Reading (my new interwebs friend!)
  2. Matt and Ariel – Bad Books, Good Times (I hope they mean legit following, and not email alert following… If not, then you can both do one for your individual blogs! Solutions!)
  3. Lily – Lily’s Book Blog (some great YA recommendations)
  4. Sarah Clare – A Bit Behind on Books (everyone gets caught up in reading.)
  5. Cait – The Hopeful Heroine (it’s all so silly and brilliant.  I love it.)

My 11 Questions:

  1. Do you listen to music when reading, or do you prefer silence?
  2. What book did you not like when you first read it, but liked the second time (or vice versa)?
  3. What is your favorite book to movie adaptation?
  4. What is your least favorite?
  5. Would you rather die unexpectedly and sudden, or from a long-term illness?
  6. Bang, marry, kill: Jane Austen, John Green, George RR Martin?
  7. Other than books, is there anything else that you geek out about?
  8. What high school book did you not really read, but say that you did?
  9. Which fictional character would you want to be best friends with and why?
  10. Which childhood-actor-to-disaster-area was most tragic for you to watch?
  11. What are your thoughts about cheese?