101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge

13 Jan

Earlier this week, I discovered the 101 Things in 1001 Days Challenge, and I love the idea. Being unemployed takes a toll on the psyche, so it would be really great to set myself some goals and accomplish them on a regular basis.

The tasks I chose span a wide range. There’s self-improvement, there’s entertainment, there’s travel, there’s Big Life Planning, there’s small organization, and lots and lots in between. Some of them will be easy and fun to do, and some of them will be big and difficult. But I look forward to nailing them, and to writing about them as well!

Start date: January 14, 2017
End date: October 12, 2019

Big Life Stuff

1. Get a full-time job: accomplished 2/28/2017
2. Be able to explain my career goals more clearly
3. Get my own apartment: accomplished 5/1/2017
4. Get a pet

Self-Improvement Stuff

5. Learn Hebrew
6. Make something from Pinterest
7. Learn the basics of Python
8. Read that meditation book from mom I’ve had for almost a year now (sorry, mom)
9. Meditate 10 days in a row
10. Take professional ukulele lessons
11. Take an improv class at Second City
12. Take a course on Coursera
13. Dye part of my hair a different color (ever since I saw a picture that accidentally looks like I have a single hot pink curl, I can’t get it out of my mind): accomplished 8/2017
14. Get a crochet lesson
15. Learn a legit magic trick from Danny
16. Learn a sentence in Chinese or Mongolian from Kacey
17. Learn to recognize a new constellation

Travel Stuff

18. Visit two new countries
    -Spain, February 2017
19. Visit Shelby in Salt Lake City
20. Visit Kacey and Krista in Phoenix
21. Visit Christina in Atlanta: accomplished 10/13-14/17
22. Visit two other new US cities
23. Visit the Madison Farmers’ Market: accomplished 6/10/2017
24. Spend a day in Milwaukee

Stuff Outside

25. Go on a hike
26. Attend another roller derby class/workshop: accomplished 7/2017
27. Run/walk a 5K
28. Build a snowman

Read Stuff

29. Read a book alone under a tree
30. Go to a coffee shop alone just to read
31. Leave a good book somewhere for someone else to discover
32. Read two complete book series (serieses?)
33. Read a book grabbed on impulse from the library
34. Read 50 books I own but haven’t read yet (I KNOW, I HAVE A PROBLEM)
    -24/50 as of 10/18/17

Watch Stuff

35. Watch Agent Carter
36. Finish season 9 of Doctor Who
37. Finish watching The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
38. Watch Freaks & Geeks
39. Watch Dollhouse
40. Watch Fargo (the movie): accomplished 6/2017
41. Re-watch O Brother, Where Art Thou? as an adult
42. Watch The Godfather

Entertainment Stuff

43. Bring a group of friends to see live music of my choice
44. See 10 plays/musicals
    -The Bodyguard, 1/31/2017
-Gloria, 2/1/2017
-Carmen, 2/28/2017

    -Hedwig and the Angry Inch, 3/7/2017
    -Aladdin, 4/2017
    -Something Rotten, 7/2017
45. Attend three Meetup group meetings
   -North Side Social Club, 3/10/17
46. Attend a comic con: accomplished 4/2017 (C2E2)
47. Write a short story
48. Host a potluck dinner with friends
49. Sing karaoke in public
50. Go to a drag show
51. Catch up on Hello From the Magic Tavern (I’m more than halfway there!): accomplished 9/17/17 (just in time to see a live taping!)
52. Attend a Chicago street festival
53. Play Kingdom Hearts
54. Replay an N64 or GameCube game from my childhood
55. Attend a friend’s performance: accomplished 6/2017 (Rachel & Geoff’s choir)

Eating Stuff In

56. Make a dessert for someone else
57. Make one of my grandma’s recipes with her
58. Make one of my mom’s recipes with her
59. Make one of my dad’s recipes with him
60. Have a picnic
61. Open a cookbook to a new page and make that recipe
62. Learn what to do with a butternut squash: accomplished 11/2017
63. Actually make Yael’s challah recipe

Eating Stuff Out

64. Visit three Chicago coffee shops I haven’t been to before
    -Chicago Grind, 1/27/2017
-Queen of Hearts, 7/2017
    -Ritual Coffeehouse, 6/2017
65. Visit Kibbitznest Books, Brews & Blarney
66. Visit The Berkshire Room
67. Go to Howl at the Moon
68. Visit Little Bad Wolf: accomplished 5/2017
69. Visit Luella’s Southern Kitchen: accomplished 7/2017
70. Eat Korean BBQ
71. Go on a Chicago food tour
72. Open the Entertainment coupon book to a random page and go where the coupon is

Boyfriend-Related Stuff

73. Watch Memento together (one of his favorite movies I’ve never seen)
74. Watch What We Do in the Shadows
75. Watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi (and eat sushi)
76. Kiss in the rain
77. Figure out more details for our future (we’ve got a general plan, but details are neat): accomplished (more or less 10/14/2017)

Organizational Stuff

78. Upload all of my photos from my computer to Flickr
79. Upgrade my laptop’s iOS
80. Figure out the weird iTunes issue that separates songs into different albums by artist (for example, The Producers soundtrack is split into separate albums – one is Nathan Lane, one is Matthew Broderick, one is Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, etc.)
81. Clean out the trunk of my car
82. Fix the hole I keep ignoring in my favorite skinny jeans: accomplished 3/6/2017

Get Stuff

83. Get a Moleskine notebook or planner: accomplished 2/26/2017
84. Buy and use a grown-up candle
85. Get an autograph from someone famous (or at least famous to me): accomplished 3/29/2017 (John Scalzi, author of Old Man’s War)

Giving Stuff Back

86. Donate 30 items of clothing
87. Donate blood: accomplished 6/2017
88. Volunteer for a political cause that matters to me
89. Review 10 favorite local restaurants on Yelp
    -Patisserie Coralie, 1/23/16
    -The Lunatic, The Lover, & The Poet, 6/2017
-Sushi Tokoro, 6/2017

    -Ritual Coffeehouse, 6/2017
90. Review 5 hotels/trip providers on TripAdvisor
    -Room Mate Mario (Madrid hotel), 2/23/17
    -El Jardi (Barcelona hotel), 2/23/17
91. Mail someone a care package for no reason
92. Volunteer at the Uptown Cafe

Financial Stuff

93. Look through the Wall Street Journal financial planning book from my grandpa; figure out what applies
94. Put $5 in savings for every task I accomplish: 1, 3, 13, 21, 23, 26, 40, 46, 51, 55, 62, 64, 68, 69, 77, 82, 83, 85, 87
95. Donate $5 to charity for every task I don’t accomplish

Future Stuff

96. Come up with items 97 – 101 as needed
97. Go out dancing with Shelby in Chicago
98. Re-read A Tale of Two Cities
99. Host a murder mystery party

(Setting goals for the next 2.74 years is fun, but I certainly hope I have new ideas during that time. I don’t want to box in all 101 goals just yet.)

So, this should be a fun 1001 days! I plan on updating this list as I complete them, and hopefully writing some blog posts about the experiences as well. If you want to join me in accomplishing any specific or general goals, I can’t wait to have your company.

Wish me luck, and bring it on!



Rereading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone as an Adult

3 Jan

I decided to make 2017 the Year of the Series *sweeping hand gesture*, in part because I realized I’ve never read all of the Harry Potter books together as a set. I’ve read each one individually anywhere between two and fourteen million times, but never as a set and not really as an adult. So I began to wonder, would the books hold up? Would Adult Allie find them as fun, wonderful, and, well, magical?

Adult Allie found out the answer, at least for Book 1: it’s not as good as I remembered – it’s BETTER. (And this is saying something, considering the level of Young Allie’s obsession.)

It helps that rereading Sorcerer’s Stone came in the form of the Illustrated Edition, with absolutely gorgeous artwork from Jim Kay. Next time you find yourself at a bookstore, flip through a few pages. It is worth ogling.

But I couldn’t help noticing things a little differently as an adult. For example (please note, if you are one of approximately seven people left on earth who hasn’t read this book, please skip due to spoilers):

  • The Mirror of Erised is so much more dangerous than I realized as a kid. I mean, of course I wanted things as a kid, but they fell more along the lines of “a Furby” or “summer”. As an adult, I think about what I might see in the Mirror and how easily a person could waste away staring into its depths.
  • Where do hand-me-down wands come from? A recurring theme of the book series is that the wand chooses the wizard, and wizards are significantly more powerful when using their correct wand. But if Ron is using his older brother Charlie’s wand, why did Charlie get a new wand – and thus have an old wand for Ron to use?
  • Hagrid kind of has an alcohol problem. I mean, he drinks A LOT. After he and Harry go to Gringotts and he feels sick from the carriage ride, he sneaks in a quick day drink while Harry gets measured for his robes. Not to mention he lets slip the trick of getting past Fluffy to a MYSTERIOUS STRANGER entirely due to alcohol.
  • I know this comes more into play throughout several of the later books, but it is incredible to me that Ron doesn’t have more of an inferiority complex between his brothers and Harry. For goodness’ sake, when he exits the Hogwarts Express, his own little sister – who hasn’t seen him in almost a year – is pointing out Harry Potter instead of Ron. I commend Ron immeasurably for not flipping over his cart right then and there.
  • I find Malfoy less of a villain and more of a pathetic kid. It’s so interesting how I just want to laugh at him instead of punch him now. I think that means I grew up!
  • When Harry and Hermione bring Norbert up to the roof so Charlie’s friends can take him, they risk expulsion (and they do get caught and lose enormous amounts of points from Gryffindor). But why couldn’t Hagrid take Norbert to the roof, thus saving Harry and his friends the trouble? Harry and Hermione used the invisibility cloak, so it could be argued that Hagrid wouldn’t have fit under it – but he wouldn’t need it. Hagrid ain’t no student, so he wouldn’t get in trouble.
  • No wonder J.K. Rowling started writing mysteries after this – she is a masterful mystery writer, even though this is considered a Fantasy book. Just look at the Gringotts break-in. Harry realizes it’s so obvious that Quirrell had tried to steal the Stone just after they met at the Leaky Cauldron, but think of all the other people he met at the Leaky Cauldron and throughout Diagon Alley that day. You hardly even remember!
  • Let’s all remember the time Fred and George Weasley hit Voldemort in the face with snowballs.


And finally, I’d like to wish for us all to be more like Dumbledore in this book: wiser than we let on, humbled by ourselves and those around us, and never taking ourselves too seriously.

A Year in Books

31 Dec

This year, I tackled a book challenge with an awesome friend of mine. The challenge wasn’t by number of books (I did the 50 book challenge in 2013 – I made it, but I was super stressed); instead it was by categories. Look how I did!


Overall, this was a fun new way to think about my bookshelves. I really enjoyed filling in the categories and finding books that interested me at the same time.

Some highlights:

  • The Mistborn trilogy (a book with more than 500 pages, a book with magic, and a trilogy). The first book had been sitting on my shelf for a year or two before I decided to try it out, and I think without the challenge I would have been missing out on it for another several years to come. I wrote a previous blog post about feeling emotionally invested in this series, and the ending of the trilogy found me sobbing. Incredible.
  • A Wrinkle in Time (a book from your childhood). I had started it with my mom when I was a kid and never finished it – even though when we started reading it, she flipped ahead to the end and gasped because she remembered the ending from when she was a kid, but could never remember which book it was. Loved having an excuse to get back to it and find out what that ending was.
  • Neverwhere (a book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet). I have a distinct memory of staring intently at the pages while sitting at the kitchen table of my old apartment when I had finished dinner but couldn’t put the book down until I had finished it too.
  • You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) (a funny book). Charming!
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (a book that became a movie). Just fun.

I never planned on finishing the entire challenge, since it asked for 50 books and I had no intention of reading that many. But I think 36 is a pretty solid number and I’m proud of it. I had plans for some of the categories, and I’m a little bummed I didn’t get to them. Some unfinished business:

  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning book: All The Light We Cannot See
  • A book based on a true story: 1776
  • A book written by an author with your same initials: The Dragon Queen (happened to see it sitting on my shelf, written by a fellow AB)
  • A book you started but never finished: Dune (a friend of mine has a theory that everyone reads less than 100 pages of it and gives up, then years later reads it and loves it – I’ve done step one…)

And there were a few categories I had no aim to fulfill:

  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t. I read every book I was supposed to in school. (I guess I could have read a book other classes read that I never did, but still. I was a good student.)
  • A book that scares you. I have a book I’m scared of because it’s a massive hardcover (The Crimson Petal and the White). I’m less scared of the content and more scared of the shoulder pain I’ll have from carrying it around in my purse.
  • A book with bad reviews. Life is too short, man.

I also had an excellent encounter this year for which I can thank this challenge. I read Every Day Is A Holiday, and thought I could finagle it into the “a book with antonyms in the title” category, but it was debatable. The author is self-published and mentioned in the book (which was a very fun read) that he enjoyed receiving emails from readers. So I emailed him for his opinion and we had a lively debate in which I presented my case Supreme Court-style, and as judge, he ruled against me. He pointed out that “every day” is not “everyday” and that I might as well try to argue “each ice cream flavor is different” is comprised of antonyms. Fair point, George. Fair point. Into “a book set in a different country” for you.

Overall, this was a fun year of reading. May 2017 bring good books for us all. (And some other nice things too, please.)

The Twelve Desserts of Christmas

20 Dec

Since I’m Jewish, and one of my dearest friends is Baha’i, we recently had a difficult time remembering the lyrics to The Twelve Days of Christmas. How many lords are there? Who’s a-playing what? Why are there so many birds?

So naturally, we decided to write our own lyrics as an ode to a subject we are much more passionate about: desserts. You’re welcome, earth.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
A fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Four melting snow cones
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Fiiiiive gold-flaked caaaaakes!
Four melting snow cones
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Six pies a-baking
Fiiiiive gold-flaked caaaaakes!
Four melting snow cones
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Seven flans a-flaming
Six pies a-baking
Fiiiiive gold-flaked caaaaakes!
Four melting snow cones
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Eight milks a-shaking
Seven flans a-flaming
Six pies a-baking
Fiiiiive gold-flaked caaaaakes!
Four melting snow cones
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Nine cupcakes frosting
Eight milks a-shaking
Seven flans a-flaming
Six pies a-baking
Fiiiiive gold-flaked caaaaakes!
Four melting snow cones
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Ten trifles layered
Nine cupcakes frosting
Eight milks a-shaking
Seven flans a-flaming
Six pies a-baking
Fiiiiive gold-flaked caaaaakes!
Four melting snow cones
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Eleven fondues dipping
Ten trifles layered
Nine cupcakes frosting
Eight milks a-shaking
Seven flans a-flaming
Six pies a-baking
Fiiiiive gold-flaked caaaaakes!
Four melting snow cones
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –
Twelve bananas flambeing
Eleven fondues dipping
Ten trifles layered
Nine cupcakes frosting
Eight milks a-shaking
Seven flans a-flaming
Six pies a-baking
Fiiiiive gold-flaked caaaaakes!
Four melting snow cones
Three French croissants
Two turtle brownies
And a fresh doughnut from a bakeryyyyy!

Happy holidays, everyone!


Photo credit: leahwsprague

Following up on the last post

12 Dec

…and then I plan to never write about this guy again (save for any major new developments, of which I hope there are none).

My last post about the anti-Semitic rant I received via customer service emails inspired some pretty incredible reactions. I was genuinely touched by all of the compassion I received. Friends I talk to every week, as well as friends I haven’t talked to in 5-10 years, rallied together to stand up for me. I got comments, likes, shares, texts, tweets, emails, and calls from people throughout the day and well into the next one. And I can’t even begin to describe how much that means to me.

Before I posted it, I had started gaslighting myself. Was this really as big of a deal as I thought it was? The answer, from all of my friends and family, was a resounding YES.

So other than the single comment from a Holocaust denier on my Facebook post (which was offset by texts from two separate friends and comments responding to him from two other friends), I really felt like I was part of a community who cared about each other.

(I also appreciated that about four or five separate friends were of course offended by the anti-Semitic remarks, but seemed more upset by the customer service he provided. One friend in customer service pointed out that he refunded the third plushie without asking me first how I would like to proceed. One friend pointed out that not only did he acknowledge scolding me, he defended it. One friend called his customer service worse than Comcast.)

I want to follow up here and answer a few frequently asked questions about the experience.

Can you escalate this? This guy’s boss has to be told.

The short answer is no. The long answer – I did some research into the company, and it seems that Zac pretty much is the company. As far as I can tell, there isn’t anyone higher up to talk to about it. I also couldn’t find a single website for his overarching business, but could only find individual websites for each of his products.

Can you leave reviews about this so the public knows before they buy?

Once again, the short answer is no. None of the websites offer a place to leave reviews. Some of the products seem to be sold through Amazon or Etsy, but since I didn’t buy from those, I don’t feel comfortable leaving a review there (especially since it would only be on that product, rather than on his company as a whole). One friend sent me a screenshot that she was giving one star to the Legendary Suitjamas on Amazon anyway and expanded upon why in the comment section. I also tried searching on the BBB website for every company name related to him, and couldn’t find a single listing.

Can you tell the people who own the comic about this?

Once again – nope. The comic is crowdsourced, so anyone on the Internet can draw one and post it. There’s no single owner to tell. It seems his company was able to make the plushies due to funding through a Kickstarter campaign.

Are you going to send this to the media?

No, I’m not. I sent it to family, friends, and Jewish groups both local and national – but not the media. The main reason is simple: I’m not trying to publicly shame this guy. My goal, instead, is to make this experience a rallying cry. There is a lot of hate and bigotry out in the world, no matter how safe we may or may not feel. Please, remember to speak up for those who don’t have a voice – whether they’re Jewish, Muslim, Christian, or any religion, race, creed, gender, sexuality, etc. I don’t think there’s much point in arguing with strangers on the Internet, but please try to have important and thoughtful conversations in real life.

But seriously – does he have at least some point? Did you have the option to change the shipping costs?

No, I did not. When I got to the PayPal confirmation page, the shipping cost was $9.95, take it or leave it. If there was a cheaper option, I would have taken it. (I’d also like to note that the website did not say the $2.95 + $1 per ball was an estimate, as Zac explains it was. And it still says exactly what I saw at the time – I just took the following screenshot today.)


What else does this guy sell?

I’m not sure if his company’s name is ZBOSS, Inc. or Borrowdale Group, Inc. I also can’t tell where the company is based. But regardless, they sell the countryball plushies, the Legendary Suitjamas, and Knight Hoodies. Not including links because I don’t really want to improve his SEO right now.


Again, thank you for reading, and thank you for the overwhelming support I received. I plan to move on, and I hope you’ll join me in remembering the impact just a few emails had – and in continuing to be a voice for the unheard in the future.

Yesterday, I Received an Anti-Semitic Rant

8 Dec

You may know (either from knowing me in real life or from reading this blog) that I am American and my boyfriend is Israeli. We each live in our home countries and only get to see each other every few months. So I am thrilled that for the first time in our almost 3-year relationship, he’s able to fly here for the holidays (for what I’m calling #BabysFirstChristmas).

I’m unemployed and living at home, so money isn’t exactly on my side right now. But when it came time to think of the very first Hanukkah present I’d get to give him in person and watch his face as he opens it, I wanted something perfect. I had a million ideas to start because luckily, he and I share countless nerdy obsessions together. Should I scour ThinkGeek? Or The Tinker’s Packs? Or Marvel gifts? Or Book of Mormon musical gifts?

But one idea stood out above all the rest. A few months ago, he mentioned offhandedly how much he loves the countryball comics and that he would love to find toys of them. (If you aren’t familiar with the comics, this one is my favorite.) Being the good girlfriend that I am, I took note of the comment and squirreled it away for future gifting – which, I decided, would be used this Hanukkah.

With a quick Cyber Monday-inspired search, I found a website that sold adorable plushies of the countryballs. Since their pricing meant that I could order three almost for the price of two, I decided to order USAball, Israelcube, and UKball (the last one entirely because it has a top hat and a monocle).

At the time, the website said that shipping would cost $2.95, plus $1 for every plushie ordered. I had just ordered presents for several other loved ones, so my wallet was already hurting, and shipping for $5.95 seemed like a good deal. But when I went to confirm payment through PayPal, it said shipping would be $9.95. Since I wanted to be sure to order them in time for a holiday arrival, I agreed to it and decided to figure it out later.

When I got the automatic confirmation from their store, I saw that it was from an Info email address and decided to ask about the shipping cost discrepancy.


A few days later, Zac from the company responded.


The easygoing part of me wanted to be satisfied with the response. But the part of me that tries to stand up for myself, encouraged by the part of me that is almost four-months-unemployed and scared by the numbers in my bank account, wasn’t really satisfied. So I emailed him back.


A few days went by and I didn’t hear from them. But then I got an email that said my order was ready to be shipped soon – just the US and Israel plushies. I wasn’t thrilled about how this was going, so I followed up.


And this was the response I received. I’d like you to pay special attention to the last sentence of the first paragraph, just like I did.


After reading this, I had the new experience of literally shaking with anger and I couldn’t seem to get warm. I didn’t want to give this person my money, and I knew I could never look at the plushies without remembering this email. So I asked him to cancel the order.


Perhaps I should have known at this point that Zac would want the last word in this conversation, so I shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was when he responded with this (and once again, please pay special attention to the last sentence as I did).


A part of me wanted to respond to Zac and let him know that my concern over $4 didn’t come from being Jewish. The concern came from being unemployed, having more debt than income, living at home with my family, and trying desperately to afford thoughtful holiday presents for my loved ones.

But I didn’t.

The initial reason I didn’t respond was because I don’t owe Zac an explanation. But the more honest reason was that I don’t want to receive another email like these from him. Not only do I not want to receive more scolding – I’m a little scared, and I hate admitting that.

A lot of thoughts went through my mind last night as I tried to process this and couldn’t sleep.

Clearly, anti-Semitism is much more real than I want to admit.

I can’t exactly organize a boycott of this individual website, or the site that seems to be their parent company based on the emails, Legendary Suitjamas (which is really too bad, because I like How I Met Your Mother and didn’t even know this existed in real life).

I didn’t want to spend this holiday season being forcibly reminded of anti-Semitism on a personal level.

Would he have sent this kind of response if my email was from a man’s name?

Regardless of the anti-Semitic statements in each email, they seem like a bit of an overreaction.

When they go low, you go high.

Ironically, based on the length of his emails, he seems to care a lot more about these $4 than I do.

And on top of all this, now I have to find a present for my boyfriend with only two weeks before the holidays.

So, before I end this, I’d like to ask something of you, good readers. Please like this post, whether on WordPress or wherever you found it, so that I can remember Love trumps Hate this December. Please share this story with others so we don’t forget that bigotry is still out there, alive and well. And, most importantly, please show each other love and respect by being there for others and for unifying against hate, no matter how small a comment may seem. Because it may shake the entire world of someone on the receiving end of it.

I’m going to go leave some reviews.

Read ‘Til You Cry. Or Laugh. Or Whatever.

2 Dec

Those of you who know me might have a teeny tiny suspicion that I like to read books. I may or may not have an overflowing bookshelf of books I have purchased and haven’t read yet (which I’ve calculated would take me four years to read straight through). I may or may not have active GoodReads, LibraryThing, and PaperbackSwap accounts. I may or may not have a pin that declares I am not a bookworm, I am a book dragon. I may or may not pick my purse based on the size of my book. I may or may not have purchased a Kindle for my six months spent in Israel and considered it a lifesaver.


Just maybe.

I’m currently reading the third book of the Mistborn trilogy – The Hero of Ages, by Brandon Sanderson. Each of the three books has had a similar trajectory for me. The beginning is interesting, but not thrilling. The middle starts to get more interesting. About two-thirds of the way through, I have a physical gut reaction to a plot twist. And then I cannot put down the book until the end.

The plot twist has gotten a more severe reaction from me each time. In the first book, I genuinely didn’t believe that it had happened and was convinced something else was about to be revealed. In the second book, I actually gasped and quietly said “No!” out loud. In the third book, I read it just before bedtime and literally lost sleep because I kept thinking about it and muttering “whyyyyyy” into my pillow.

I generally take it as a good sign for a book when it can elicit a physical reaction. Some books that made me cry include Watership Down by Richard Adams and The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs in hope, and Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins in sadness (DAMMIT RUE). Books that have given me chills include The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Books that still make me smile fondly include Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan.

So, what books have made you react outside of your head? I love a good recommendation.

Just maybe.


One final thought with which to leave you. (Thanks for sending, Shelby!)