First of all, National Readathon Day is on Saturday!! I’m over halfway to my goal, and I would LOVE your support! Because who doesn’t love books and literacy? Please make a donation over here. I’ll love you forever.

Feller and I are on the second leg of our Portland-Seattle-Portland vacation, and so far it’s been great. We spent the past few days hanging out in Beaverton, Oregon and not doing much. We discovered a Fred Meyer down the street from our hotel, which is sort of like an even BETTER version of Target, if you can believe it. Needless to say, we engaged in some light retail therapy and grocery shopping, since our room had a teeny tiny kitchen. We also discovered the 24 hour delights of WinCo, and their crazy huge bulk section. These two stores are certainly making a good case for Oregon being a pretty decent place to live.

I also discovered that I wasn’t quite as prepared for the amount of rain we were going to be doing with as I thought as I was. I brought my umbrella from home, but then I misplaced it somewhere between home and the hotel. Turns out, I had just put it in a different bag and forgot. But not before I bought a new one! And a raincoat! (My first raincoat ever. It’s like one more step to being a Real Adult.)

Actually Important Portland Purchases: rain gear. #vacation #Portland #raining

A photo posted by @amysaysread on Jan 18, 2015 at 2:21pm PST

Turns out the raincoat came in real handy when we hiked up Multnomah Falls. It wasn’t raining most of the day, but it started to as we came back down the mountain, and it was certainly nice to have the protection when we were walking by the falls.

That was the only Big Thing we’ve done since we arrived, but I think we both needed some time to relax and recharge and recover from Life. Life’s been exhausting recently, and we were ready for a break. We have, however, reached the point where we have to start making the most of our days and Doing Things. We were gonna try to go to Ecola State Park yesterday, but after the ass kicking the Falls gave us the day before, we decided to take it easy. (Also, we got up kind of late, surprising exactly no one who knows us.) So it was to Seattle we came, and we got here just in time for me to get in a nice run in the neighborhood around our hotel.

Guess where I got to run tonight #vacation #Seattle #SpaceNeedle #running #writeandrun31

A photo posted by @amysaysread on Jan 19, 2015 at 5:42pm PST

Not a bad way to greet a new city. Also, it seems the #writeandrun31 is turning me into one of those weirdos who looks forward to working out. Except for one Fuck It Day and a few days where I was sick, I’ve been sticking with my goals, even on days when I was really not feeling it or thinking that it’d be okay if I skipped. Like today. I was not going to go for a run, but we got checked into our hotel a couple blocks from the Space Needle right before sunset, and off I went.

Anyways, we’ve got a lot of stuff we want to do and see in the next couple of days. We’re only in Seattle until sometime on the 22nd, and there’s a lot to do! I, in particular, want to see the library.

YOU GUYS. Penguin Random House, Goodreads, Mashable and the National Book Foundation are starting a NATIONAL READATHON DAY. I cannot even begin to describe to you the amount of joy with which this fills my heart. A whole day. For READING. (Or, as I like to call it, Tuesday.)

So I’ve actually heard of libraries organizing readathons before, and I always thought it was a cool idea, and maybe a good way to promote reading for pleasure. And the other day, as I was tootling about the internet, I came across the link to a national readathon! How exciting! I immediately decided that I would be dragging Feller along with me because he likes to read, too, and what better way could we possibly spend an afternoon together?

Upon further inspection, I discovered that the readathon, in the true fashion of all -athons everywhere, is meant not just for sheer joy of reading all afternoon, but to promote and raise funds for the National Book Foundation, who bring us the National Book Award and a variety of programs designed to promote literacy in the US and help instill a love of reading in people. And who can’t get behind a group that brings attention to authors such as Jacqueline Woodson (winner of the 2014 National Book Award for Young Adult) and Ursula K. Le Guin (recipient of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution and who gave a kick ass acceptance speech).

So, if you feel like supporting our readathon, and we would LOVE to have it!, click on the logo down below, which will take you to our donation page. I’ve set our goal as $100, but it would also be great to surpass that!

national readathon day

And if you’re interested in participating in the readathon yourself, there are venues hosting readathons all over the country, but you can also read from the comfort of your favorite reading spot. Just read along with us on January 24th, from noon-4pm!

Well, hello, you. It’s been awhile. It’s all my fault, I know. I’ve been terrible at keeping in touch. Life has been, well, LIFE, and it was easy for me to put all this on the back burner (or, you know, take it off the stove entirely and stick it in the random cupboard that you never open). But for 2015 and, more importantly, my 30th year, I want to get back in the habits of regular chats with y’all.

In the past year, my life has gone through some pretty major and mostly awesome changes: I finished school (FINALLY!), and I started working in my chosen field (fucking FINALLY [not that I spent a lot of time looking for a job or anything; I found a paying gig within 3 months of graduating, but I’ve known what I wanted to do since I was 16, and nearly half my life is a long time to wait]). I recently turned 30, which is way more exciting than distressing. And have we talked since I ran my first (four) half marathon(s)? And I realized that I don’t like running for that long? I still enjoy running for shorter periods of time, and though 2014 was all about slacking off when it came to running, I want to make it more of a priority in 2015, especially now as I’m starting to establish a routine with work.

I’m also trying, as you can tell, trying to write more often. Primarily, that it going to take place on my book review blog: Amy Says Read This, and, ps, all my social media happenings have migrated over to @amysaysREAD as well (Instagram [be prepared for a LOT of cat pictures] and Twitter). I’ve got almost two months of posts scheduled over there, which sounds pretty impressive, but is really just drafts that I had written AAAAAGES ago but never cleaned up and posted. My goal is to post 1-2 book reviews a week, and to help keep me on track, I’ve signed up for the Cannonball Read 7, which is like an online “race” to read and review 52 books this year. Hopefully, this will help me get into a regular review writing habit and just generally exercise my writing muscles.

I’ve also signed up for #writeandrun31, the purpose of which, as the name implies, is to write and run for 31 consecutive days. My 31 days started on 5th, and my daily goals for writing and running are pretty small: spend a minimum of 20 minutes a day working on my blogs and run a minimum of one mile or 20 minutes of other activity at home, if I’m not feeling up to a run. I realized after making this commitment to myself that I’m going on vacation for two weeks later this month, so this is going to be more challenging than it might normally be, but if I can do it then, I have no excuses for the rest of the year. And I’m signed up for a 5 mile race in March, so I really gotta get to it.

My only other big resolution for this year is to be a bit more discriminating with my reading. I get in this cycle of feeling like I need to EVERYTHING, so I check out everything from the library and then I, surprise, surprise, don’t have enough time to actually read everything, and I have spent so much time the past year or two thinking about what I’m going to read next and how I’m going to juggle all the books I have checked out from the library and just feeling a general anxiety about this obsessive need to read everything ever, omg. And this year, I am releasing myself from that. I’m going to force myself to just effing RELAX about the library books. I don’t know if I can stop myself from checking out so many of them, but I am going to make an effort to not have so many out at any given time. And I’m going to focus more on reading the ones I want to read rather than the ones that are next due at the library, which gives me permission to re-read old favorites and, oh yeah, the entire bookshelf full of books I have purchased and never read because I always have library due dates looming.

At any rate, dear friends, I’m hoping to post over here more often in the coming year.

Feller and I made the trek into the city last Friday night to attend Neil Gaiman’s Last US Signing Tour. He’s one of my favorite authors and pretty much the only person in the world for whom I would sit around for five hours to get something signed. We got there just as the doors were opening, and, somewhat as I was expecting, the line to get in stretched down the block. Thankfully, we still got some pretty decent seats.

When he walked onstage around 715, he looked pretty much the way one expects Neil Gaiman to look: all in black with hair that goes in every direction. When he started speaking, I was somewhat surprised to learn that in real life, he sounds exactly the way he does in interviews and audiobooks and the like. I find his voice very soothing and absolutely ideal for telling stories. I told Feller that he reminds me of a cozy granpaw, who you love tucking you into bed because he’s got THE BEST stories.

He read to us from his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The excerpt was delightful and witty, and I am looking forward sitting down and reading it myself. I’m also going to be downloading the audiobook, which he narrates. As I said, his voice is soothing, and he has a delightful cadence and inflection reading the story. (It doesn’t hurt that the audiobook is less than six hours long, which will provide me a nice break from the 43 hour long audiobook to which I am currently listening.) I was actually a little surprised at how short this book for adults is, clocking in at 181 pages, but it’s also a relief. I have so many other books in my To Read pile, that the prospect of adding a tome is not thrilling.

After the reading, he answered some questions and then read a bit from the children’s book he has coming out in September, Fortunately, The Milk, which sounds utterly wonderful. Following that, the signing begun. Feller and I were on the far side of the lower level, so we didn’t even get close to the stage until nearly 11. Feller was wonderful throughout, especially since he doesn’t love Gaiman as much as I do and was there primarily as my Book Mule (they only allowed each person two signatures).

When we finally got up there, Neil was warm and personable. He joked about Amy!, who comes with her own exclamation point, said that now he was really excited about my name, too, and went back to the “Amy and Feller” inscription to add an exclamation point when I asked him. He signed my copy of Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader “Bats Wishes” and drew a little moon on our copy of Ocean. He told the audience beforehand to just ask for a hug if we wanted/needed one. After Feller and I got our somewhat creepy hover picture behind him (as he wasn’t pausing in the signing for pictures), I asked and received a warm, wonderful hug that just cemented his place in my heart at Best Author Ever.

It was just such a phenomenal evening. Almost exactly what I expected but perfectly delightful nonetheless. It was one of those times when you meet your hero, a person you admire greatly, and they don’t disappoint you. He was just as warm and funny as I could have ever imagined, and I’m so glad I had this experience.

I have just, as of this writing at 1.22 am, come home from an amazing concert. I don’t really go to a lot of concerts, partly because I’m too cheap for big shows, I’m too particular for small shows and partly because I never have anyone to go with. But there are a handful of bands for whom I will make the trek into the city by myself without complaint. Tonight was one of those nights. No, no one you’ve ever heard of, but two of my favorites, Micky and the Motorcars and Reckless Kelly.

You know how when you’re at a concert, and your favorite bands are playing your favorite songs, and the energy is really high and the vibe really great, and you’ve got a nice smooth buzz from the beers you just drank, and you’re making new friends with the girls standing next to you, and you’d like some random dude to hit on you despite the fact that you’re married (but they don’t) and, man it’s practically the best concert experience you’ve ever had? That was tonight. It was fucking magical, nearly. I want to experience the feelings and highs and rush and music that I felt tonight every day. Every damn day.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t last, that wonderful, magical feeling, but I know that this will be a night I look back on with gratitude and awe. Everything aligned tonight for just the absolute best possible show I could have hoped for. And not even the drunk-ass lady rubbing her fake boobs all over me could have ruined it.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 468 other followers