book club

BOOK HUNGRY: just one day

who says you have to be crowded into the living room, kitchen, and/or dining room to hold a book club? we are ladies of the 21st century. we don’t need no stinkin’ couches. so pull up a blog and join in the conversation.

the members of the BOOK HUNGRY are (alphabetically): patty blount, kelly breakey, karla nellenbachand myself. we pick a book to read. we discuss via email/phone. we post a review on our individual blogs the 3rd thursday of the month OR, well, we used to all post reviews. now, i think, it’s just patty and me. but anyways, go for it. click on their names above and if they have a review up, it’ll take you to there. enjoy.

this month’s BOOK HUNGRY selection is: 

JUST ONE DAY by gayle forman

what it’s about from amazon: 

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay.

When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

Just One Day is the first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

my opinion:

woah, boy. i had a lot of expectations for this book considering IF I STAY (one of gayle’s other novels) is one of my all time favorites. we all know i don’t do well with expectations, and yeah, i didn’t do so well with this book. allyson goes through a lot of change and is wonderful at the end, but up until the end? yeah, i didn’t like her.

but the real reason i didn’t like her is probably because,umm, well…here, sarah from forever YA says it better… “It took me a while to warm up to Allyson, and ironically, it’s because she is a lot like my teenage self. (*abby nods, agrees*) She’s uptight and anxious and has absolutely no confidence when it comes to boys. Her internal freak-outs initially drove me craaaaazy cakes, but I completely understood her confusion. I just wanted her to get over it a lot faster than I ever did because seriously, jump Willem’s bones already! And also, when girl got depressed, DAMN. It SUCKED, and there was nothing I could do about it. Over the course of the story, she takes more risks, and gains more courage, and by the end, I was so proud of her, I wanted to go to one of those kids’ party places where they have trampolines everywhere so I could jump and jump and jump with joy. Allyson is a real, live teenager, artfully drawn with crippling emotion and soaring hormones, and I cherished our journey together. Also, seriously, let’s go to one of those trampoline places because they are AWESOME.”

in a nutshell, yes, that’s basically how i felt about this book. a slow beginning and middle, but by the end, this character and this book had found its stride. i was very dismayed when it ended. i wanted, nay, needed to know what happens next! although, if my sources are correct, i don’t have too long to wait because the companion novel JUST ONE YEAR comes out this fall!! woohoo!

you might be surprised by my enthusiasm considering my review above, but let it be known that i’ll read anything gayle forman writes because she’s got a magical gift with words.

wordpress com stats plugin
convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #52

i am talking to strangers?! what? why?

as my drink was set in front of me, my phone whistled the arrival of a text which explained why my friend was running so late, well, later than usual — traffic.

waitress: oh, i thought that was my phone. i have the same tone.

me: a lot of people do. my little sister has it and she is constantly confused when our phones are in the same room.

waitress: have you ever seen the big bang theory?

me: no, but you’re about the fourth person this week to ask me that. should i be watching it?

waitress: oh, well, it’s great. i changed my ringtone to the guy’s voice so my phone would stand out.

me: that sounds like a smart idea. *wonders how that ringtone is the same as mine*

waitress: i’ll come back when your table fills out.

me: thanks.

as i sat there sipping my guinness and waiting for traffic to clear so my friend could join me, i pondered the possibility of individuality and the way we try to stand out whether it’s in what we wear, what our hobbies consist of or how our phones sound.

despite my ringtone imitating so many others, i was an individual that night. you see, the date was 2/14 and with my friend running late, my solo presence stood out.

i guess i’ll add “unintentional” to the list of ways one can be individualistic.

wordpress com stats plugin

slow learner

the first time i heard those words was when my first creative writing assignment of my junior year of college was being handed back to me.

my professor’s words slammed into me banging around my brain ripping holes and leaving bruises only i could feel but amidst the whooshing air of that tornado of words, i caught a snippet of what she said after that.  though she wasn’t the nicest of teachers nor the best nor the most tactful, this time, her words weren’t meant to harm. they were meant as an observation.

and it was true.

she’d noticed a big difference in my writing from one semester to the next which was why she chose then to unleash her opinion.

before that moment, the only feedback re: my style of learning was receiving an A or B (okay, maybe a C in math). those letters were general and uncomplicated and simple and rarely showed how much hard work or time i’d spent (or not). i’d always known numbers weren’t my thing but to have a creative writing teacher point out something negative was a blow.

it threw me off course.

while in the weeds, i remembered something. after a long day of high school + sports practice, i would always always always go directly up to my room. i didn’t realize this was a habit nor did i consciously decide to do so nor did it occur to me this was something odd because i was unloading my books/homework/sports equipment/decompressing from my day, etc. in fact, it wasn’t until my mom told me she’d expressed her worry to my aunt A that i realized this was slightly unusual behavior.

upon hearing this, my aunt A laughed and said, of course. abby’s an introvert. she recharges her self/energy by spending time alone.

i’d always thought an introvert meant someone who was shy or a loner or something.  i was (still am) shy, but i’m also very social. i can often be found with friends and family, which didn’t fit with my understanding of what an introvert was, so this new (and very correct) definition opened my eyes. after a long day surrounded by dozens of people at all times, i was merely recharging my batteries.

as i peered up out of the you are a slow learner weeds i realized maybe being told that was like being told i was an introvert. maybe this wasn’t a bad thing but rather a new way of understanding how/who i am.

the second time i was told i was a slow learner was earlier this week. i was in the middle of doing a power clean lift and the coach was studying my movements. he’d already corrected my form during earlier instructions of how to do the snatch (tee hee) lift. i pulled the bar up (which was wrong) and into position when i realized my bottom half also landed incorrectly. i adjusted my angles and the coach, seeing my (delayed) thought process at work, applauded and said those “slow learner” words to me.

this time, i (put down the weight and) nodded.

granted, if i was ever a fast learner, it was in a sports capacity which is probably why i’ve always gravitated towards sports. weight lifting (in a crossfit arena) is completely new and foreign and i’m learning types of lifts done in the olympics and am way beyond out of my comfort zone (which is another post in and of itself). form and technique are the two most important things here, but the movements are so unnatural to me if i’m not literally thinking about each individual step as i make it, i lose it. trust me, when you’re holding a kettle ball or a barbell with heavy weights or you’re in a handstand holding your own body weight, it’s not the time to lose focus, form, or technique.

but it’s difficult holding such strict concentration when also struggling to lift heavy things and count reps and listen to the coach and decide if you can do more and compare your progress to those around you and you’re still lifting and it’s still heavy and am i almost done and wait, how was my form on that one.

it’s exhausting. it’s exciting. it’s difficult.

just because i know i’m a slow learner doesn’t make it any easier to accept that fact, especially when you add in my perfectionism and my competitive nature… SO instead of thinking about the ways and pace at which i learn, i should probably start trying to figure out tricks to get my brain into gear faster because this is incredible, is it not?

any tips or hints? are you a slow or fast learner? visual or auditory? does practice make perfect? how do i practice without a barbell at home? should i drop and give you twenty?

wordpress com stats plugin
convos with strangers

conversations with strangers #51

i am talking to strangers?! what? why?

my brain was full of to do lists and errands to run and upcoming bills and author names and that cute boy who got his haircut before me and things to pack and get there faster and family members and trips and sicknesses and concerts and what to wear and which suitcase to use and rushing, rushing, rushing.

the glow from the girl’s phone illuminated not only her coat but the fact she was directly in my path.

both my brain and my body halted.

well, my brain did. there was too much momentum behind me to slow my body that fast. i shifted to the left. she shifted to her right. i moved to the right as she moved to the left. i went up on my tiptoes to avoid crashing into her as we yet again unintentionally blocked each other’s paths.

forced into a conversation, my brain solidified, which was much better than the meltdown it was just in.

her: SORRY!

me: SORRY!

laughing, we paused long enough to pick separate paths and continued on our ways. my brain resumed its frantic pace, as did my feet. i churned through errands until i found myself in the exact. same. situation. but this time, it was on two different sides of a door.

giving in first, i pulled away, as did the other girl.


i reached for the door at the same time as the other girl.

i paused. looked. focused.

it was me.

i was doing the “we’re trying to walk the same route” dance with my reflection.

laughing, i burst through the door and out of my muddled, mashed up thoughts.

p.s. i want to squeeze the noodles out of all of you who entered the contest on tuesday’s post! that said, there can only be two winners and they are: EMILY AND JULIE! (thank you, ladies, check your emails for details. :)