Read. Laugh. Love.

When was the last time you read a book that affected you in any way? Arguably my latest read, a Nick Hornby novel, fits the bill, if only because it keeps me on the cardio machines while I find out what happens to my wacky heroes.

But seriously. When was the last time you read a book that made you think you were ahead of Oprah's curve? A book that took you on a 'journey'? Tonight I went to see Elizabeth Gilbert speak about her memoir "Eat Pray Love". I should probably begin by saying that I'm generally not the memoir-y type. The memoirs I have liked have been about people who are so funny that I forget I'm reading about them and not me. Or, like Running With Scissors (which, for the record, I liked less round 2), a memoir that tells me "hey, my life is more f*ed up than yours could ever be. find solace in this." When I've represented memoirs (THE NON-RUNNER'S MARATHON GUIDE and THIRTY TO WIFE), even those have had this underdog angle where the protagonist fights the odds until the bitter, bitter end (couch potato-to-marathoner and bachelor-to-husband transitions, respectively).

To be honest, the reason I picked up this book was that I was at Costco, my dog had just died, and I needed to buy something. I tend to buy books the way a junkie buys drugs. If I'm having a great day, I buy. If I'm having a bad day, I head down to my local seedy corner (bookstore) and buy from my dealer (literary fiction if I"m having a particularly rough spot). Some people like crack, some people like pages. That's not the point here.

So I bought the book largely because it has a really purty cover (exhibit A, attached). Eyecatching. I didn't know much about it. In fact, much of me thought I'd buy it and leave it lying around just to know I owned it in case I ever needed to, well, own it. Like I said, I don't do memoirs. Everyone knows I love Madonna, but I can't even bear to get through a whole book about HER. As I tell my clients, readers love to read about themselves. But I was feeling particularly, I dunno, pretty-cover-ish, so I took it on a trip with me.

I read it pretty much in one shot. I found myself trying to end conversations quickly so I could get back to the scene I was reading. This worked with my mom as she and I flew away for the weekend but didn't work with a guy on my flight back (but he got my phone number, so it all comes out in the wash). I won't get too NY Times book reviewy on you (mostly because, well, I don't get paid to blog) but the book made me laugh and cry. Usually at the same time. Happy-cry, not Terms of Endearment cry.

Who ever thought reading about someone else's life would change mine? Usually I read about how messed up someone's life is (thank you US Magazine, with a shout out to Paris Hilton!) and become more grateful about my status quo. Now I got to read about someone's life and decide mine was fine but I could make it better. The cliffnotes version is that she has a bitter divorce and decides to spend a year traveling the world 4 mo in Italy to eat, 4 mo in India to pray on an ashram and 4 mo in Bali trying to find pleasure, to find a balance.

The point is the there's more to life than this, "this" being whatever it is you're obsessing about this week. And aren't we all obsessing about something?

Thing is, I had gotten really caught up in my life in the past few weeks. (start the string section) In little things that seemed so big. Ok, well, to be fair, some of them were big. But they weren't worth having a breakdown over and that crap quarterlife crisisy feeling that follows me around most of the time is an accessory, not a body part.

Point is, I went to her book signing and as I listened to her talk I thought, well, finally, someone with a message. Everything I love about this book and why it is important to me came flooding back. I guess part of me knows that I"ll get self-centered and obsessive and whatever other un-Buddha-y traits I've got up my sleeve now and then, but I'm feeling pretty high on life and I'm amazed at how one person can light the candle like that for everyone else. (did I just plagiarize a scene from Rent? i think i did)

Wishing you all books you love so much that you have to blog about them. Nitey night good readers of the world!

Things That Make You Go "Ha!"

1. Reading a book called "Are Men Necessary?" 360 pages (of nails-on-chalkboard irritating alliteration) later, I found out the question was rhetorical.

2. My brother told my friend and I that he went sailing the other day and ended up near a penguin reserve by Sea World. I'm not sure how this works, me being, well, over the age of 7 and all. He said that Sea World lets the penguins roam when they're not doing shows. Our minds immediately went to the scene. Penguins chilling in their own little utopia, then the boss calls. "Hey, Moe, we're on in 5. Get over here!"

3. My brother (same brother. he lives an adventurous life) asked me, completely straight-faced, if I've ever worn a diaper. As an adult. Apparently when you're 20 you'll really try anything once.

4. A Frenchman propositioned me. I think. (I wouldn't know. I don't generally get propositioned.) He asked me (in complete seriousness, I regret to inform you) if I wanted to be friends with benefits. Perhaps funnier is the fact that rather than freak out I pointed out that "um, don't you have to be friends first?" I blame it on his accent.

5. An email from one of my reporter (read: grammar-gifted) friends. It said: "Sounds like you’ve got a whirlwind of things going. I am impressed you’re dating like a maniac. Last time I talked to you you had discovered you were dating, like, a maniac. That’s a difference of only two commas, but a much more encouraging situation!"

It's the little things, people.