Book Banter: After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid

SRC blog headerTitle: After I Do
18775359Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid
Genre: Romance
Length: 352 pages
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From:  An ARC from BookSparks/Summer Reading Challenge

Plot Basics: Lauren and Ryan have hit the point in their marriage where everything about each other is no longer fun, sweet and adorable. Instead, it is horrible, aggravating and intolerable. Like many couples, they decide that they need a break. Neither is read for the Big D, but they can’t continue like this either.

A year long furlong — including the freedom to date other people — might be just what they need. But does it mean that they will stay together? Or go their separate ways?

Banter Points: I was really nervous about this book.  I’ve married to my husband for 11 years and we’ve known each other for 14.  Reading about a couple that falls out of love and then decides what to do about it put me on the edge.  Was it going to be edgy and full of one night stands?  Would they even try to keep their marriage together?

And what would it make me think about my own marriage?

Just like in real life, the things that divided this couple aren’t the big things.  No one cheated on the other person or caused a big financial discord.  It was a myriad of little things that drive you crazy.  Like socks on the floor.  Or always doing the laundry.  Or never getting an answer about where to go for dinner.  Many of the griefs lodged in the book are ones I’ve experienced and it made Lauren and Ryan feel so real to me.

I’ve never read a romance like this one before.  Traditional romances about falling in love and living happily ever after haven’t interested me in ages.  Personally, I’m comfortable in my relationship and I really enjoyed reading about characters like me.

Bummer Points: There wasn’t much too this book that I didn’t like.  I wanted to hate Ryan, for him to have done something really stupid, but I couldn’t.  Or find some sort of flaw with Lauren.  Again, not possible.  It was just a beautiful story.

Stacie’s Recommendation: If you have ever wondered if there is love after marriage, read it.

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Monday Mish-Mash

It’s 6:35 in the morning, and I’ve realized I don’t have a blog post for today.

So, here we are for a few random thoughts:

1. As I was sitting here at the computer pondering a post, new email popped up in my inbox, telling me the eBook copy of “World of Trouble” by Ben H. Winters was available to check out from the Library. I had both the eBook and the print book on hold and obsessively checked the catalog to see my status on these. I grabbed my iPad, downloaded the book and now want it to be lunchtime so I can dive in. Ben will be a Word Nerds guest in the coming weeks, so if you aren’t paying attention to these books and this author, you’ve got time to catch up.

2. Over the weekend, I finished Ally Carter’s great “Heist Society” trilogy. I hope she writes more of these. Smart, fun YA with a great girl character who’s smart and trying to do the right thing (even if she’s a thief.) I give major thumbs-up to Carter for keeping the romance in the book at a tame level. Parents of teenagers who worry about that sort of thing could confidently give their daughters these books and not have to be nervous about what kind of example is being portrayed. And if their daughters end up with a fictional crush on W.W. Hale the Fifth, he’s a pretty good guy (aside from the whole aspiring con artist thing) for her to dream about.

3. I believe that the ending of season 2 of Endeavour (thank you, Masterpiece Mystery) has to mean there will be a season 3. HAS TO. It might even be possible right now that Endeavour Morse has taken the “#1 brilliant, British, tall, lanky detective” spot away from a certain other brilliant, tall lanky British detective in my head and that’s saying something. All of season 2 is available to stream on right now

4. @sketchlibrarian and I share a love of Jamie Cullum tunes. She does these clever “sketch-a-quote” drawings that she posts on Twitter. Weeks back I mentioned it’d be fun to do a Jamie Cullum one and on Saturday, I got this:

famous penguin


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There’s a guideline in running that states if your body needs sleep, it will tell you.

It is something that I never really understood as a new runner. I mean, of course you’d know, right? How could you not know if you were tired and should nap or simply go to bed? Sleep was sort of a luxury too. The demands of a young family mean that sleep is a second choice at times to other activities. I have logged a few sleep deprived years; this nerd is part of that club too.

I would lie awake some mornings and wonder if I was too tired to run. If that comfortable feeling in bed meant that I should stay and wait for sleep to return. I can always switch around a rest day if I need to. Pushing yourself could cause an injury and getting a bit of extra sleep might be what I needed.

Then, there are the nights that disappear because sleep demanded its time and you wake up only to move to bed and resume your activity. I believe that those are the nights that body has said, you need it and it’s good for you. I don’t have many, thankfully, as it prevents much from happening. But when I do, I take it in stride, and tell myself that my body knew better and sleep was better than the book I had planned to read.

Runner is a label I’m starting to feel applies to me, especially when talking with someone who is starting out. I have about four years to my credit. As with many things, practice makes perfect. I’m still slow and probably always will be. I’m satisfied that I’m out there, competing with myself.

And I follow the guideline that my body will tell me when I need sleep.


Feelings… nothing more than feelings…

A week ago, I attended an emotional intelligence workshop, thanks to work and a generous board member.

When I first got the email about it and was in my office alone, I probably rolled my eyes at the screen and channeled my best Joe Friday. Emotional Intelligence? Who needs namby-pamby feelings? Feelings are for wimps. Just the facts, ma’am.

I was coming down with the summer crud when I took the self-assessment and dealt with test items like, “I am aware of the feelings of others.” When dosed up on cough syrup, decongestant and ibuprofen, I was rather unaware of much but the massive headache I had from being so stuffed up.

While I was healthy when I actually went to the workshop, I still went in with a giant dose of skepticism in my system.

I was pretty sure my scores would be low when I got my assessment results.

But they were lowBelow average low.

I do think that some of the lowness was a result of how I was feeling (oh, the irony) when I took the test. But ick. My scores may have also seemed really low compared to who I was in a room with — lots of extroverted, HR, employee-training people.

According to the test, I’m really bad at perceiving emotions (mine and others) but good at making decisions and pretty good at using emotions to achieve things (self-motivation) and influence others.

We talked in the workshop some about how some personality types are maybe more inclined toward feelings. On the DiSC profile, I’m a high DC, meaning I’m oriented to being fast-paced, direct, questioning and cautious. Feelings, to me, are slow and require acceptance. I don’t have time for that. There are decisions to be made and a world to be conquered.

But the reality is, I need to make time. As the discprofile site notes, “If you want to support a DC, you might help them understand the feelings of others.”

For those of us who are INTJs (ok, I know lots of people say the MBTI is bunk, but whatever, I’m going with it), we’re pretty good at intuiting our own feelings, but are blind to the fact that others have feelings. We just forget. I think we forget we have them too in any kind of specificity, just they they are part of the data we’re processing internally all the time.

A week after the workshop, I’m still rather skeptical of the whole thing. But I am finding that I’m at least trying to pay attention to what I’m feeling and what others might be feeling.



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Question for you:  Do you journal?  If so, why?  How did you get started?

I found my first journal by accident.  I was in one of those stores that has bits and pieces of everything and nothing (they used to be called five and dimes, but I’m actually too young to know that.)  The store was in my mom’s hometown, which was located in the middle of nowhere.

I wanted nothing so much as I wanted that.  I don’t exactly recall how I got the money, but I do remember success in getting the journal.

I still have it, although it hasn’t been opened in too many years to count.  I’m positive that it is filled with anguish as I was in my early teens when it was purchased.  I wanted nothing so much as to fill that journal.  I didn’t necessarily care how, just that it was filled.

Fast forward a few years and I have more journals on my shelves, in various states of filled.  A few are complete.  Others, at the half way mark before something stopped their progress.  I wonder if any more will join them as I’ve switched to a digital version now.  It feels safer as it is behind some passwords and in the cloud; the old ones felt safe too, mainly because my handwriting is atrocious.

I feel like I have to journal in order to process something.  When the world starts to swim around me, I have one of three reactions:

  1. Make a To Do list
  2. Organize the sets of information
  3. Journal

Really, all three are related.  As I organize emails (or what ever format of information), I realize what I need to do and start to jot those things into a list.  I journal as a way to talk myself through the ideas that I have or comments that linger in my mind.  This is where I practice saying things that I want to say.

I cannot imagine not doing this, yet, as I look at my current journal (albeit digital), I haven’t written anything in at least a month.  I’m positive that my life is just as chaotic as ever and that the three items above will help  me get it back under control.

As an INTJ, journaling helps me process information and organize it.  It helps me see patterns in things that otherwise I could not.  It helps me make sense of the world.  The amount of thinking that I do and analyzing of things (that may or may not require it) is overwhelming.  And this helps.

So, back to the question, because I want to understand the readers here better:  Do you journal?  If so, why?  How did you get started?

Monday music funny

A big hat tip to @ScribeJay for this one.

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I’m the sort of person that collects random data about my reading habits, cross stitches pictures that are filled with tiny stitches, and crochet projects for friends and family. I like to think that I have a fair amount of patience for projects that are time consuming, tedious, and have limited monetary value.

Yet, I cannot fathom the type or person who recreates an entire scene, let alone whole movies from LEGO. I’m so glad that they do. I love the various Star Wars clips or Matrix movies that have popped over the years in various places.

But this one really take all: Dr. Who Day of the Doctor. Honestly, LEGO and Dr. Who should be done together more often. Too bad that LEGO pieces don’t naturally fit the kind of beings that regularly appear in Dr. Who.

Hmmm…that should be the next set that is licensed by LEGO.

In the meantime, I’m off to raid the kiddos LEGO box. Who knows, one of the Doctors might be in there.

Indiana Authors Award

IAA logo



The 2014 Indiana Authors Award Winners and Finalists were announced on Tuesday. I don’t get to pick these people, but I’m thrilled to be part of this award as a staff person and show off the literary talent from Hoosiers.


Word Crimes

We’re not sure if General Grammar knows about Weird Al Yankovic (it’s a safe bet the General has no idea about Robin Thicke), but we’re pretty sure that the General would approve of these sentiments.


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