meg says read this, Read This

Meg Says Read This: Dear Mr. You

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One of my favorite reads of 2017 also happened to be one of the last books I read this past year. Let me start off by saying, I’ve always been captivated by Mary-Louise Parker’s acting skills. I think it’s  phenomenal how she can play such a variety of characters, and make the audience believe those traits are a part of her core. I remember when Dear Mr. You, was first being marketed back in 2015. I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to read it because I was fascinated by the premise. Now that I have? I can’t shut up about it. I’d been in a bit of a reading rut, fiction hadn’t captured my attention as quickly as usual, and I didn’t want to read something technical, so I grabbed this book from my stack of “to-read” on the shelf. Instantly I was blown away by MLP’s ability to weave such beautiful words together. She truly is a master of the art of story telling. This book is written in a letter format that basically reads like essays, or short stories. There’s a variety of topics covered – dating, insecurity, adoption, friendship, learning yourself. Sometimes, she writes in such a raw and vulnerable way that hit me so hard, I had to take a break with tear streaked cheeks. Not in a heartbreaking way, but in a beautiful way that was totally recognizing the special qualities or difficulty of certain moments in life. This was definitely a thought-provoking read, at times comical, and all around it felt very genuine and sincere. If you’re looking for something that’s refreshing, and a little different than I highly suggest you check out Dear Mr. You. 

If you’ve ever felt like you’ve lived a dozen different lives in your time on earth, and sometimes it’s mind boggling how they all could roll into one another and be the map of one single life – than I think you’ll appreciate this book. If you’ve ever snapped at a stranger who meant you know harm because you were literally at your wits end and they were the unfortunate soul to cross your path? You’ll appreciate this book. If you’ve leaped head first into romantic adventure knowing whatever fate you crash into has to be better than to sit on the sidelines wondering? You’ll appreciate this book. If you feel like you know what you want to do in life, and you’re taking all the wrong roads to get there? You’ll appreciate this book. If you’ve connected with random passerbys and your interactions resonate with you years later, you’ll appreciate this book. If you feel like you have no idea what you’re doing with your life, and some days you’re hanging on by a thread? You’ll appreciate this book.

Mary-Louise Parker writes in such a way where sharing her experiences so openly, even if they’re not all specific events you could name – sometimes, they’re the observation of significant interactions – makes you examine the interactions in your own life. Who is your emergency contact? What do you want so badly out of this life that you will scrape by to achieve those goals? What makes you find the magic, on the days when life looses its sparkle?

Dear Mr.You is poetic, soul-searching, gut-wrenching, insightful, and truly just a work of art that aspire to harness just a sliver of the talent it took to create. If my gushing hasn’t convinced you already, just go ahead and give this one a try.

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meg says, Uncategorized

So, This Is the New Year

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it’s a good day to have a good day. (Hillsboro Village, December 2017.)

Well, hello and happy new year to anyone reading this four days into 2018. I’m not one for “New Year Resolutions,” but I am one for goals, and I feel like a serious slacker for my lack of posts as 2017 came to a close. Oh believe me, I was still consuming plenty of music, books, and (maybe a little less) film, but what the heck is wrong with me, in why it’s taken so long for me to share it with you? So, here’s to a new year and me sharing the things I stumble upon when I find them instead of dragging my feet. On top of that, how about I throw in a mix of some other things I discover now and then? I’ve really tried to avoid chains in the past few months – whether it be food or retail (though, let’s face it – I can’t give up Target or Trader Joe’s.) More than just sharing food photos, I’d love to share when I’ve had great encounters at small businesses. I love that moment when I walk away from an interaction with a smile on my face. It’s even better when you also get to eat something yummy, or find the perfect little gift to send someone to let you know you were thinking of them, or you know the pets and fetch you get to give a shop dog around the corner when you don’t have your own pet at home. It’s just as much about the moments that effect us emotionally, as the tangible things we take in. SO – here’s to just sharing more in 2018. I’m in this wonderful city, I’m constantly taking in great experiences, even on the rough days you know someone nice chats with me over buying coffee, or an Uber driver gives me a great music store recommendation, and it’s just a shame I don’t write about them more. So maybe 2018 will be something more like “read this, listen to this, watch this, try this.” Let’s all just simply try more in 2018. If i’m honest, it’s not even always trying “harder” it’s just the pure effort of putting yourself out there and making those attempts now and then. We get caught up in our comfort zones, those safe warm cozy spaces where we don’t have to go out on a limb because we only reach for things in an arms length. Well, take it from me – it’s those moments when we stretch a little further that become the game changers. Sometimes it happens in such small increments you don’t even realize it’s happening, until you look behind you and realize how far you’ve come. So, join me in this endeavor if you’d like – no wild, outrageous expectations for 2018 – just more trying, just more hopping out of that easy space, and let’s just share with one another more. If the past tumultuous year has taught us anything, I think it’s really been that although we collectively as a culture forget it far too often – we do really share so much common ground.  When we share our experiences, passions, hopes, hurts, etc. with one another is when all these things come to light. I don’t know, I’ve always been on the optimistic side – painfully so; I’ll hang onto that sliver of hope til my fingernail is snagging on that last piece of thread – BUT I do this without shame. You should drink in that optimism sometime. It tastes good. And I have a good feeling about our coming days. Something is stirring in everyone, and once that’s been woken up – there’s no going back to sleep. So, welcome to the other side. I’m looking forward to this journey we’re all on, together.

meg says read this, Read This

Read This (Again): The Opposite of Loneliness

Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 10.08.54 AMAlright guys, one of the first posts I remember interacting with people in person the most about after having shared it here, was when I first read The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan. I’m going to share that originally post again, (I’ll just include it below.) But I also want to write a little about what made me want to share it. A few weekends ago, the Southern Festival of Books was held in Downtown Nashville at the Nashville Public Library and the War Memorial Auditorium. Some of my favorite authors were there, and some I have yet to read their books but I instantly wanted to after hearing their panels. The writing processes, the leaps of faith, the points of inspiration, or the internal struggles people are managing that all come through in their stories, completely fascinate me.

Yesterday, I read a quote from Tom Hanks. “God gave all of us burdens, and some of us typewriters.” Have you read more true words? He has a point. (Partially talking to myself here because there are things I’ve been neglecting to write, and the words are screaming to get out. I believe when that happens, we owe it to ourselves to write those stories, those words, even if another pair of eyes never sees them.)
Anyway, years ago I read Marina Keegan’s words for the first time, and they struck a chord so deep in me, that I feel like some of the passages settled inside and have remained there. I often think of her words. I’ll be in the midst of a great moment with friends, (the kind when you realize how wonderful it is, while it’s happening) and I’ll think back to her Opposite of Loneliness essay. There are other occasions this happens too, long car rides, or late night adventures that make it feel as if youth will never fade. Maybe it’s weird? But I don’t think so. I think it’s just the work resonating with a reader, and don’t you secretly wish that the words will resonate with someone when you write them?
So, I was attending this book festival with one of my most favorite girl friends in all the land. We met the weekend before college started, when we were both eighteen and knew immediately we were kindred spirits. Of course, in the beginning we bonded over our shortness, and Gilmore Girls and One Tree Hill love, the thrill of making pina coladas in a blender, or creating ridiculous matching costumes for date functions, and how the bookshelves in our dorm rooms housed some of the same wonderful YA authors. But later on of course that friendship transcended into so much more. Good times, and not the best of times, but all things that strengthened our bond in the end. (I write all of that because Keegan’s work made me think a lot about the relationships we have in our lives, and what becomes of them.) So after attending a few author panels we went outside where there was an array of vendors – book sellers, local authors, food trucks, etc.
I paused in one tent, and I felt myself take in a sharp breath when my eyes crossed over The Opposite of Loneliness. Originally I’d checked it out from the library, and I don’t know why I didn’t own it yet. Except because obviously I was meant to find it that day. I immediately started gushing about it to my friend. I need to add because I just love the friendliness of people, and anyone who’s willing to talk to a stranger about books (because when we’re talking about books are we really strangers?) The guy next to us overheard me rambling about Big Little Lies and asked if he should get it for his girlfriend? Of course he should because it’s such a fun read and it doesn’t matter if she watched the show because reading their characters from the page is a great thing!
Anyway, back to my story….I knew I couldn’t leave without it, (and a copy of a biography on Harper Lee called I Am Scout, that I’m so excited to read.) When I went to pay for it, the man asked me if I’d heard of The Opposite of Loneliness before, or what struck my interest in it? I explained how I’d read it a few years earlier, and her words had stayed with me ever since. We locked eyes in that moment, (and not in a weird way, but in the way, where you and this person you’d never talked to five seconds earlier, had a complete understanding transpire in an instant.) He told me he felt the same way, and that’s why he knew he had to carry it in his selection. He went on to say, how unfortunate it was that she died in a car accident and we aren’t able to see what more she would have written, what she would’ve become. I swear in that moment, I had to hold back my tears in the middle of Church street. We agreed we’re lucky to have the words from her that we do. I know, it’s such a small moment but to me it meant so much all at once. I mean, it’s my favorite thing on the planet to do…encounter people you share a niche interest with, and even for a moment in time can bond over. Our conversation spread from there, as he asked what brought me to Nashville, and what area of town I was living in. He then went on to tell me about a Motown Monday music night at a spot near me, and a funk night on the weekends, and some other gems I wasn’t totally aware of yet. It was just an all in all great interaction and I felt like it deserved to be written down.
Now, if I can connect with a stranger on a Saturday over how incredible The Opposite of Loneliness is, and what a shame it is that Marina Keegan’s life ended so soon…then if you haven’t read it yet, isn’t that reason enough?
meg says read this, Read This

Read This: Today Will Be Different

30book-blog427-v2It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a book post with you all, but I’ve been sluggish on working my way through some books right now. I never do this, but at one point, I’d actually started four different books simultaneously and was about 50 pages into each of them. (Horrible, I know.) BUT! While I was still in Florida, (and soaking up the end of those summer reads at the beach, or by the pool, or let’s face reality – in the air conditioning laid out on the floor after either one of those activities because the heat can be brutal…I finally read Maria Semple’s Today Will Be Different. 

If you’ve ever asked me for a reading recommendation, regardless of your age, gender, whatever – I have probably brought up Where’d You Go Bernadette? at some point in the conversation. It’s one of my favorite books of all time. (Soon to be a movie, so if you haven’t read it yet, read it before you watch!) Maria Semple is a quirky writer, and I don’t know how else to say that. If you have a brain that transitions between about a dozen thoughts in the span of thirty seconds, and you start telling a story with about twelve tangent ideas, and can’t remember where you started? then you’d probably have an easy time getting into Maria Semple’s style. That’s not to say she writers erratically and scatterbrained, as the thought process I’m describing above. No, it’s quite the opposite actually. I think her style is wonderfully crafted. There’s just a special flare to her characters that you have to appreciate.

So, with Where’d You Go Bernadette holding such a special place in my book loving heart, I was excited to finally read Semple’s most recent novel, Today Will Be Different. Let me say, I was not disappointed. I had no idea what to expect, and I kind of went into the read that way intentionally. Unless I see a ton of hype about a particular book on Twitter, or if I’ve read the book jacket intently, I tend to try and go in pretty oblivious to synopsis and such because I hate the spoilery nature. Even if something surprising is going to happen early on, I want it to be a surprise if it was intended to be a surprise. That all being said, (wow, I’m long winded today!) I’d rather you have a similar experience if I can help it.

So, get ready to jump along for the ride in a day in the life (and chaotic mind) of Eleanor Flood, with her son Timby, husband Joe, and a slew of other intriguing characters. It’s a whirlwind of a read, covering so much ground, in such a short period of time. Career, goals, ambitions, marriage, sisterhood, family. Eleanor lives in Seattle, but she and her husband had planned to return to New York at some point. She thinks about this constantly. She thinks about everything constantly, actually – or maybe not enough, which is perhaps the problem. She’s flighty, and impulsive, but outrageously entertaining and all of her whimsical movements really do seem to run deep as you get to know her, contrary to what her behavior may lead you to believe.

Eleanor has a plan for how the day will go, all the normal things she will accomplish, but as life often goes…the day doesn’t unfold quite as planned. Follow the misadventures, and be prepared to laugh out loud because Semple’s style is splashed all over the pages again with this great read!

meg says read this, Read This

Read This: We Are Okay by Nina Lacour

It had been quite a while had been quite awhile since I’d read anything by Nina Lacour when I picked up We Are Okay. I’d seen a lot of positive feedback on Twitter, so I figured I’d give it a shot. Let me tell you, I was not prepared for the emotional journey it took me on. I read it on a hot summer day in Florida, melting by the pool. At one point, I couldn’t tell if I was sweating or crying (not kidding, it was feels like 103 that day.) This is such an emotionally stirring story.

The book begins with young college student Marin, preparing to stay in the dorms alone in NYC while her school shuts down for winter break. The groundskeeper is the only other human, close by. We don’t yet know why Marin is staying there, or who Mable who might be coming soon, is. Well, soon we learn.
This is one of those books that I think is best to read without having a whole big overview, going into it. It’s better to just let the story unfold itself sometimes.
Instead of a plot summary, I’ll share some of the basic takeaways from this story. We’re reminded that people aren’t always who we think they are, that each of us has our own demons we fight everyday, that family doesn’t have to be someone we’re related to by blood, or can connect the branches on a family tree. We’re reminded how strong the bonds of friendship can be, that sometimes, even if we’d rather shut the whole entire world out, that those bonds can be an immense link to something that will feel like it’s reviving you when you’re drowning – a life preserver of sorts.
We’re reminded that you don’t always have to disregard your entire past to move forward. It’s possible to use those experiences to shape and grow who you will become.
Marin experiences quite the personal journey of growth in this story. She begins to learn healthy ways to navigate grief, she recognizes the importance of keeping close those who truly know and love you, and she fights to get to the point where she’s not just surviving, but she’s ok.
This is not a light hearted read, by any means but I think it’s a special story. By the end, I was in tears. It’s a quick read, partially because of length, but also because the vague details near the beginning will make you want to turn the pages faster to get the full idea of everything going on. Check it out!