Archives for posts with tag: awesome

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!

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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.

This is a question I get A LOT, and while I don’t really know what sort of answer people expect (“pretty shitty, actually”?), I am thrilled to be able to answer honestly that it’s AMAZING and I HIGHLY recommend it.

Nothing has really changed in any sort of substantial way between Feller and I, but there’s something just … GREAT about knowing that this is it. We’re stuck with each. We’re both fully committed to the long haul. I mean, we both were before we got married, but now, it’s OFFICIAL. And it’s so cool. And weird. And wonderful.

I was asked this question three times today, and I got to tell people about how we had just been talking the night before about how happy we were to be together. How wonderful our relationship is and how glad we are to have found each other.

Our marriage is still new enough that we get congratulated at other people’s birthday parties, and, if given the opportunity, we will both happily talk about the wedding and being married and other gacky love stuff. It’s pretty great.

Pre Wedding Kiss

I know we said we probably weren’t going to get married until I was done with school, but about three weeks ago, practically old news at this point, Feller started asking what the heck were we waiting for?! I mean, he’s been joking for a couple of months about “when we get married next month (for tax reasons)”, but I never really super thought that we WOULD actually get married “next month”. I thought we’d have lots of time to think about it and plan it and … I don’t know.

But he was right. What WERE we waiting for? Neither one of us wanted to have any sort of major EVENT with the money and the planning and the drama and UGH. But I think, I sort of still expected that we’d have something more traditional, even though that’s NOT what I wanted, it’s the kind of thing that is so societally ingrained that the idea of ACTUALLY going off the rails and running away seemed crazy and unlikely.

Gathered Here Today...

But we did! We went from making the decision to married in less than 48 hours. Feller spent the day before calling around trying to find an officiant and witnesses. We ended up having the ceremony in Santa Cruz, about 45 minutes away from where we were staying Salinas because that’s where the officiant was. And it was beautiful! The weather was perfect and the beach not too crowded, and we got to just be there together and focused on each other. We didn’t have any distractions or anything.

Hey, baby, we got married

As we stood looking at each other, holding each other’s hands, saying our vows, I couldn’t stop laughing. I mean, WHAT THE FUCK was even going on?! We were getting MARRIED. Like for reals. Really really married. It was by far the most bizarre thing I have ever done, with making the decision on our marriage license to change my name being a close second, but it was also the most glorious.

Everything around us faded away, and it didn’t matter one bit where we were or who was there to witness or that the officiant was some lady we had found on the internet. All I could see and hear was Feller.

Barefooted

(And to the delight of our photographer and my mother, I got married barefoot. Not because of any statement I was trying to make or any real conscious decision, but simply because I forgot how much I hated sand when I chose my footwear. I took one step off the little path down the beach, and my shoes filled with sand that was touching my feet and being all icky and sandy and UGH. SAND. So, shoes came off just so I could get away from the sand with which they were filled.)

Now, it’s been three weeks since our wedding, and it’s been wonderful. We’re happy and being all grownup and shit and planning budgets and talking about joint bank accounts and changing my name. I’ve got all new forms of identification coming to me and work has already changed my name in the system, and it’s very strange and exciting and new and wonderful to go from Amy MaidenName to Amy Feller. I am certainly looking forward to spending the rest of my life as Mrs. Feller.

Hey, we're married

The Night Circus
It all started when I’d been seeing things about Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus on the internet, and I’m not entirely sure I knew anything more about it than it had something to do with a night circus, the cover was awesome, and I lot of people I know were interested in it. Then BookTrib hosted a giveaway for a chance to win The Night Circus, and I entered, not really expecting much because I am not one of Those People who regularly wins contests and giveaways, so imagine my surprise when I received an email from BookTrib telling me that I HAD won! For a book I really wanted! Yay books! For free!

Then began the waiting. And the waiting. And the WAITING. To be fair, I only waited for the book about four or five weeks, which is not really that long of a time to wait for book which you are getting for FREE, but DANG, it felt like FOR-EV-ER. Finally, finally, FINALLY, it came on a UPS truck, in a fairly mangled package, and I immediately reported it’s arrival to the internet. Unfortunately, I still had about six library books sitting on my shelf that I needed to finish before reading anything I owned. So it sat on my dining room table, looking lovely and immensely readable. I will admit, having this book sit staring at me day after day gave me a pretty good incentive for finish all my library books. I read like a person possessed! Until I finished the Pirate Captain’s Daughter on Friday, the last of all my library books, and I allowed myself to pick up The Night Circus. I’m so glad I did.

Wow.

I LOVE this book. Strictly speaking, I do believe this book is considered Adult Fiction, but it has major Young Adult crossover appeal (and I would almost certainly include it in a YA collection were I in charge of such things). It’s magical. Set at the turn of the 20th century-ish, this is a story about a challenge between two magicians in which their proteges try to out do each other in a game of skill, and the setting for the game is Le Cique des Reves, the Circus of Dreams, which arrives unannounced at each destination and is only open from sunset to sunrise. The story is comprised of short second person descriptions of the circus from the perspective of an attendee, chapters about the magician’s challenge and the players, and chapters set several years later which describe a boy named Bailey’s experiences with the circus. By the end of the novel the chapters about the challenge and the chapters about Bailey have come together to create a really rich, full story.

I love the story in this book, for sure, but I also adore the language Morgenstern uses. It’s no secret that books with lovely, descriptive tones really appeal to me, which is the main reason why I enjoyed Atonement and East of Eden so much, despite not much happening in either book, and this book has that same tonal quality in additional to an intriguing plot. Morgenstern really manages to create a dreamlike, magical aura throughout the entire novel, while never veering off into a descriptive wonderland where the reader is left with beautifully worded settings and characteristics but no story, no MEAT, to go along with it. She creates a world in which I truly wish I lived; a circus which I long to visit.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough for anyone interested in magicians or circuses or the late 1800’s or beautiful prose or romance or precocious twins or kittens. I really do think there’s something in this book that will appeal to just about anyone, and I highly encourage everyone to check it out.