Wednesday, August 6, 2014

three books. four gifs.

This month's reading went a little slower. I don't know if it's the sunshine or the cornhole set, but reading has sort of slipped to the back burner... I'm almost done with Born to Run and also well over halfway through Wild so those'll be up next month for certain. Regardless, another month gone means another three books loved and learned and ready for review.

But first, Hazel. 

That girl's made it clear that she's felt left out around these parts lately. She feels like all the attention she deserves has slipped through her little paws and landed in the hands of all the other members of Team Thomas. So, today her and some friends decided to provide us with the GIFs that'll illustrate the goodness of all the words consumed in July. 
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by Anne Lamott

“Jealousy always has been my cross, the weakness and woundedness in me that has most often caused me to feel ugly and unlovable, like the Bad Seed. I’ve had many years of recovery and therapy, years filled with intimate and devoted friendships, yet I still struggle. I know that when someone gets a big slice of pie, it doesn’t mean there’s less for me. In fact, I know that there isn’t even a pie, that there’s plenty to go around, enough food and love and air. But I don’t believe it for a second.

I secretly believe there’s a pie. I will go to my grave brandishing my fork.” 

No book has made me laugh so hard as this one. No book inspilanred me in the way this one did. Every flip of the page had me ready to write my own novel all the while praying it could be half the light Lamott shines in the world through her words. A recovering alcoholic, drug user, and bulimic, she uses her brokenness and fear to beautify the world around her. You're sure to feel exhilarated to live, to make mistakes, and then make the most of the mess that comes in their wake. 

Lamott manages to talk about grace (and faith and hope) without explicitly mentioning it's many manifestations in her life. Her ability to balance all the moving parts so beautifully is mind-blowing and inspirational. Be warned: her words will snowball into an impetus to look for grace in your life, in little details and big stories and wild moments. Realize grace is here, now, constantly pursuing you -the difference is, do you notice it?

A little note for you:
The last fifty pages of Grace Eventually take a political turn. As a reader (and as an overall person) I'm not engaged in those debates or conversations so I struggled through them. When I passed my copy on to my mom (who reads much like I do), I mentioned how disinterested I was in that part of the book's content and that I wish I'd simply set the book down when they started as they didn't add anything for me. So, she did. And, well, I'm sort of jealous about that.  
by Norton Juster 

"Don't be too sure," said the child patiently, "for one of the nicest things about mathematics, or anything else you might care to learn, is that many of the things which can never be, often are. You see," he went on; "it's very much like your trying to reach Infinity. You know that it's there, but you just don't know where-but just because you can never reach it doesn't mean that it's not worth looking for." 

One of my favorite childhood reads is Where the Wild Things Are. Still to this day I love every bit of the dreamy adventure Max bravely faces. You can imagine my delight when I found The Phantom Tollbooth to be reminiscent of Where the Wild Things Are. It felt as though Milo was the older brother of Max taking on a larger, more extensive adventure in an imaginary land of irony and double entendre. While Milo began the novel as an indifferent little dude, I quickly fell in love with his honest approach to the many misfortunes and escapades as well as his intense curiosity -something I wish for myself.

The Phantom Toolbooth took me back to the phenomenon that was Shrek: appropriate for and geared toward children, but completely entertaining for adults. The many "morals" of the silly stories throughout the novel had me giggling because how much I have to learn! Milo felt like a mirror: bored by the monotony that is his life, unaware of the lovely adventures contained within his imagination. I won't wait for a toolbooth to appear on my step, or a Tock to remind me of how I'm using my time, but instead, I will lean into the fun cast of characters that share life with me today.
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by Mindy Kaling

"I am the only person besides your mom who has the right (and responsibility) to tell you that. I should never be overly harsh when something doesn't look good on you, because I know you are fragile about this, and so am I. I will employ the gentle, vague expression "I'm not crazy about that on you," which should mean to you "Holy shit, take that off, that looks terrible!" I owe it to you to give feedback like a cattle prod: painful but quick." 

I must begin with the fact that I'm not an Office fan, or Saturday Night Live fan, or really any TV show diehard fan outside of the Real Housewives of all the cities. It's not for lack of enjoyment or humor in those shows, but for lack of time. And, well, #RHWivesFoLyfe. That said, I don't care much about what it looks like to grow and succeed in the Comedy TV industry. I struggled through the longest section of the book that covered all the beauties and uglies of establishing one's self as a successful writer and comedian. 

However, I adore Mindy's take on all things life. The sections dedicated to romance (what is so cool about a one-night stand anyway?) and to what it means to be a real friend (you best be telling me when I look fat in my outfit) and her childhood (hi adorable parents and hilariously troublesome sister role) had me laughing out loud and dog-earing pages. I guess Kaling's book is like most things in life: love some of it, don't love others, it all depends what you take away. My takeaway: Mindy is adorable and hilarious and humble, so in my book, she wins at life. 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
As ya'll might have noticed on Instagram, we have a new Thomas in the house, errr rather the yard. We (mostly me though) are thrilled to have Guillermo -yes after Jimmy Kimmel's right hand man- Thomas adding some spunk in our backyard (while keeping the lawn mowed nice and tight). Mo, as I so affectionately call him, seems to be settling in relatively well, though we call him Grumpy Mo (after the cat) because he's grumpy when he's being watched, touched, moved, or even breathed near. We're hoping he'll warm up to all the attention eventually, but for now: grumpy. 

That said, here's a bonus GIF courtesy of the Thomas pets. 
Please note: These aren't Hazel and Mo. 
Also note: the tortoise is trying to establish it's domain, it won't injure or bite the boxer even though the dog is sure it's being chased by a threatening over-sized rock. 
Also, now that the reading challenge is coming to an end(ish), who's got amazing reads going on in their lives?? 


  1. I LOVED Mindy's book. I just adore her in general!

    So excited for you to finish up Born to Run. I couldn't get enough of it!

  2. I downloaded Mindy's book on my Kindle for my flight to China and I can't wait to read it!! Love your GIFs, lady!

  3. theblahblahblahgerAugust 6, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Listening to Mindy's audiobook was one of the week's of commuting I had last year. She is my spirit animal. :)

  4. Oh man, such good reads! Born to Run was one of my faves and I'm still waiting to read Mindy's book, I've heard such great things!

  5. I'm trying to finish Best of Me. Its by Nicholas Sparks. The movie comes out in October and it looks good. Here lately I just can't seem to stay in a book long. I love those gifs. Too cute girl.

  6. I have been wanting to read Mindy's book so I'm so glad you read it and liked (most of) it!! Thank you for the gifs :) I mean, who does love a tortoise and boxer gif?!?!

  7. Hahah the last gif is wonderful. And I can't wait to read Mindy's book!

  8. Isn't she just so precious?!? I felt like her personality shined right through all that she covered! :)

    And I finished Born to Run, LOVED it. And have found myself repeating "Light, Easy, Smooth... Fast" when runs get especially hard and ugly for me! :)

  9. You are the only person who seems to understand how much GIFs mean for ALL the things in the land. :)

  10. She IS your spirit animal! :) She felt familiar as I read... Maybe that's because things about her (totally the sense of humor) reminded me of you!

  11. Oh girl I can't make it through Nicholas Sparks' stuff... I don't know why I struggle so much, maybe because it's too romantic for me?

  12. I think you'll enjoy it. She's got an awesome sense of humor about all the things in her life... Even the hard things. And we all know that I'm such a love of humor in the hardness. :)

  13. Read it and let me know what you think! :) I found her to be so refreshing because she's humble and humorous all in a single body!

  14. that's exactly the best part of it. That's the kind of chick I am. I love it. but some of it's not for everyone. Understandable. You may like the book "The Love Dare" from the movie Fireproof.

  15. i swear on everything in the world that mindy is my bff but like she just doesn't know it yet.
    so i'm still trying to make that happen in my life. like forcing my friendship on her.


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