SO. This blog got off to a great start for me. As I admitted from the very beginning, I have huge focus issues, so no surprise, my weekly reading goal hit a big ol' bump. I've taken a month off from updating this blog and that's because I have also taken a month off from reading. Why? Well. Life is fucking stressful. And my mind has been all over the damn place. But now here I am, back to blogging, and more importantly back to reading. Since I missed a month of books and blogs, I'll be reading two books every week for the next month. Not as a punishment, but as a reward. To myself. Because all the reasons I like reading are totally selfish, and the true impetus for me starting this book was to treat myself better. Because for the last year I haven't been treating myself very well at all.
The most fitting book for my return to readingblogging is Rob Bell's How To Be Here. This book isn't one of the many that I've hoarded, however, this year's Mother's Day gift to my beautiful Mom. One day about a month or so ago she made me watch an interview with him on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday (ps- I really love saying the words "Super Soul Sunday"). It was there he talked about his ikigai (Japanese for "reason for being"). My ikigai has been constantly called into question this past year, so I for sure was intrigued. "THAT'S what I want for Mother's Day" my Mom subtlety hinted.
She read the book super quick and told me I HAD to read it. So here I go. The book deals with your purpose and also about being present. I resent that we as a society have gotten to the point where we need to read books to learn how to be present, as that should be a pretty natural thing. But when your body is literally releasing a chemical every time you hear a text message sound, I guess we need to read a fucking book about chilling the fuck out and getting reacquainted with being here.
Book #3 in my little reading adventure is The Raven by the legendary Lou Reed, adapted from the works of the even more legendary Edgar Allan Poe. The Raven is a theatre piece that Lou created with one of my favorite theatre directors Robert Wilson. I’ve seen a bunch of Wilson’s work, so I was uber stoked to read what he had created with Lou Reed.
I picked the play up at a bookshop in Princeton a while back when I was working on a program I co-created with the fabulous Janie Hermann called Page to Stage. Janie and I worked for three years on this program for the Princeton Public Library in which we presented staged readings of plays that had been adapted from literature. I picked up a bunch of literary adaptations at the time, but for some reason never ended up reading this one! Reading it now brings back such fantastic memories of this three year program that means the world to me. Princeton Public Library even produced a mini documentary about the program which you can view HERE. Also check out this article my friends at Library As Incubator Project did about the series HERE.
Time to dive into this world created by Reed, Wilson and POE!!!
Finally, months later, I have given Sara her book back! The occasion was marked with lots of wine, food, sunshine and our friend Kevin. I think every time someone returns a book, they should throw a party, however small it may be. Wouldn’t that make life much better? We’d read and return books much faster, because then there would be a party and parties are just the freaking best.
It was fitting that Kevin should be here because my friendship with Sara began about two years ago at a party Kevin invited me to in a hotel lobby (it was in New York, so that isn’t weird). Sara and I knew each other in college and were super friendly, but since that encounter at a hotel lobby in the greatest city on earth, we have been pretty inseparable. We even created a graphic novel together.
Next up: book #3!!
This week I’ll be reading Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris. This is another book I borrowed months ago and never returned (I’m an incredible friend). My pal Sara lent me this after a memorable evening sleeping in New York. I had spent the week couch surfing around the city... one night hummus and wine at my friend Simone and Kate’s apartment, another night babysitting Taryn Manning’s cat, more nights and other couches I don’t remember, and finally Sara. We spent the evening bopping around the city, consuming at least one bottle of wine each. All tuckered out, we shared her bed (I don’t mean that in the Biblical sense) and I woke up in the middle of the night and had no freaking clue where I was (side effects of a new couch/ bed every night). Eyes opened, I rolled over and saw this strange person sleeping next to me which caused me to begin screaming at the top of my lungs. This of course woke up Sara who was the person sleeping next to me. She very calmly said “You’re okay. Stop screaming.” And then I realized where I was because I recognized Sara and also recognized the random squirrels tail she keeps hanging over her bed. Then Sara told me a beautiful bedtime story about this book I had to read and said I could borrow it. So here we are.
I thought this would be an ideal time to read this book, because while it isn’t the holidays, it sure looked like it the other day when we got fucking snow in April. Here’s a picture of Batman on the Boardwalk. Photocredit to my book burning friend Kirsten.
Also, Sara is coming to visit in a week, so I figured now would be a great time to read and return the book.
Book #2, let’s do this!
The other night, Kirsten (the girl who lent me the copy of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and told me to burn books) came over and we watched the Fried Green Tomatoes movie. It's a film I've loved since childhood, but you don't realize how great it is until you watch it as an adult (well, I'm old enough to be an adult anyways...). We spent the evening laughing, crying and screaming at the TV. By my third glass of wine I was a total blubbering mess. Watch the trailer below and then go get yourself a copy (and get yourself a copy of the book too. Preferably one you don't borrow and hold hostage for months. Libraries are a great option as well...)
I'll be posting my second #BrandonHoardsBooks book tomorrow!
“I’m a book hoarder. So I’ve decided to start a blog where I-”
“Get rid of a book a week?”
“NO! READ a book a week.”
I shook my head at my my friend and tried to imagine what a blog of me getting rid of a book a week might look like. Loads of book burning comes to mind. But no, I won’t be burning any books. I will however be reading a book a week. I’m well aware some people can read a book in a day, but my mind can’t focus for shit, so a book a week for me is pretty epic.
It’s true, I am absolutely a hoarder of books. I love going to book sales and discount book stores and buying heaps of books that decorate my room and make me look very well read, but I so seldom read them. And if I do read them, I rarely finish them. Not because they aren’t great books, but because Oprah will have a really moving Super Soul Marathon on that will better my spirit, or I’ll get an acting job where I have to play a dog for a few weeks, or I’ll drink myself to sleep every night for a month while crying and watching Bob’s Burgers. The intent to read them all has always been there, but my mind is always elsewhere. So in the true 2016 fashion of “if it wasn’t on the internet it didn’t happen”, I’ve decided to start a blog detailing my weekly adventures through literature.
I won’t be writing reviews, because I’m pretty sure none of these books need another freaking review. I will however share why I wanted to get these books in the first place and some quotes I find worth posting along the way.
First up is Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I was telling my friend Kirsten (the same friend who suggested I burn a book a week) about my favorite movies, the Kathy Bates classic Fried Green Tomatoes being one of them. She got super excited and exclaimed that not only did she love the movie, it was also one of her favorite books. I didn’t know it was a book, but got very excited at the thought of going to the book store so I could buy another book I would never read. “You can borrow mine” she said, which seemed like a great solution due to the fact that I'm poor. This was in November 2015. Flash forward 5 months later and Kirsten asked me “do you still have my book?” That’s when I knew I needed to start this blog, not for me, but for Kirsten, so I could return her book and everyone would know it because I wrote about it on the internet.
Books are always better than the movie, and Fried Green Tomatoes is one amazing movie, with its exquisite acting and its subtle lesbian romance (which I'm happy to hear in the book is not so subtle), so I’m pretty jazzed to have this be the first book I cross off my hoarding list. When I was younger, I would watch the movie over and over again with my mom, so there is certainly an emotional attachment to the story because it makes me think of spending time with her. Plus I love food and there was a lot of food in the movie, so I’m hoping for the same in the book. Literary calories don’t count (the ones I make while I eat and read and cry probably do... but we’ll pretend they don’t).
Book #1, here we go.