It’s D.E.A.R Day!

And that means you should drop everything, and read this!


As it turns out, today is National Drop Everything And Read day. Of all the obscure holidays (April is apparently not only home to April Fools Day, which really distinguishes the deluge of assheads from the rest of humanity, but also to National Love Your Produce Manager Day) this is one I can get behind. For the uninitiated (and don’t feel bad if that means you), the holiday is an annual celebration which takes place on April 12 (not coincidentally Beverly Cleary’s birthday) that encourages people to DROP EVERYTHING AND READ! Now, if you’re familiar with Saturday Night Live and more specifically Seth Meyer’s Weekend Update and even more specifically Jacob the Bar Mitzvah boy, “it sure beats doing homework.”

For those of us who can’t swing a full on celebration of the day, we’re posing three questions below. Because we like books, and we like you, and we like hearing what books you like. Also we like talking, so our replies, as well.

1. Seminal ‘turning point’ book?

For Leandra: This is a toss up. Even though Joan Didion’s Slouching Towards Bethlehem helped me realize I really wanted to be a writer, I also learned that in spite of Didion’s expert ability to allow her readers into her mind and really, truly make us believe that we too have scintillating, evocative thoughts, the fact of the matter is, those thoughts are still hers. On the other hand, The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders turned me off the Upper East Side, so, that’s something. No? Ah, the contradictions! And finally, the first book I ever read was actually a short story called “The Red Ribbon” about a woman who wore a red ribbon necklace, which she refused to take off. As it turned out, that was because it kept her head attached to her shoulders. (We learn this when she finally unties the ribbon and her head falls off.) To me, that is creative thinking.

For Kate: Dave Egger’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius; I didn’t grow up reading for pleasure, and this one changed my whole relationship with books. It was relatable, personal, tragic with an overall tinge of triumph and flat-out funny. Followed by Bill Bryson’s A Walk In the Woods and John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of DuncesI finally figured out why people liked the whole reading thing.

For Mattie: The Giver by Lois Lowry, which was the first time I read a book that I felt trusted me as a reader. Which is some powerful stuff when you’re eleven and think you have a clue about The World. And later, I fell pretty hard for The Great Gatsby. I reread it this year for a class, and it was so satisfyingly just as good as it had been the first time. It’s the book that convinces me I can never write fiction and also the only one that makes me want to try.

2. Paperback, hardcover or e-reader?

For Leandra: Paperback. My relationship with books is pretty similar to my relationship with handwritten notes which is to say facing a strange blazon of denial.

For Kate: Paperback. And what’s more, paperback that’s dog-eared, probably fell in the tub once or twice, and has notes scribbled throughout. By the end of a book I often feel like we’ve been through something together, and it’s comforting when the book reflects that in its worn-ness.

For Mattie: Like any humanities-major worth her salt, I love the feel, scent, materiality, and gorgeous unsustainability of books. I’m addicted to them. I want to grow up to be a creepy old lady surrounded by them. That said: my Kindle has accompanied me on every trip I’ve taken since its purchase in the summer of 2010. It has proved invaluable in my longstanding warring with TSA regulations. When deciding between shoes and books, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m all too happy to suffer the Kindle in exchange for an extra pair of packed pumps.

For Charlotte: Hardcover with the sleeve taken off, or a paperback because it can fold into my bag. Nooooooo e-reader!

3. Book-bound confessions?

For Leandra: When I say R.L. Stein is one of my favorite authors “ironically,” I’m not being ironic at all.

For Kate: Part a: I’ve never read Harry Potter. Part b: I read all the Twilight books in a week. Part c: when i’m engrossed in a book I start narrating my life in the tone of the book; it is wholly unintentional. Example: “Parched, she stood abruptly and scanned the room with a familiar sense of purpose and optimism. Scouring piles of clothes for an errant water bottle, she looked forward to framing her pack rat-like nature as a wisp of foresight.”

For Mattie: Defer to previous answer.

For Charlotte: I cry when books end because I’m sad they’re over.

And in case you’re looking for a good weekend read, I suggest (as photographed above) the following. If you’re into interviews and quotable moments, The Paris Review Interviews, Volume 1 has interesting bits from Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Bishop, Don Delilo and Joan Didion. If you’re looking to laugh you ass off, pick up Paul Rudnick’s I Shudder (And Other Reactions to Life, Death, and New Jersey). If you want to dip your toes into the thick of French existentialism and let your mind wander to the darker places de Beauvoir is known to take it, try her fictional three part memoir, The Woman Destroyed.

Maybe you’ll feel ambitious and want to continue. Read Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day Figure it a de Beauvoir chaser. (Like Rice Milk, it’s nutritious and non-dairy.) If you want to feel good about your neck, try Nora Ephron’s heartwarming, soft, hilarious and yet dark I Feel Bad About My Neck. Finally, it ain’t a drop everything and read without some Didion, so, go there.

Your turn!

1. Seminal ‘turning point’ book?

2. Paperback, hardcover or e-reader?

3. Book-bound confessions?

Get more Brain Massage ?
  • Saakshi

    I swear to God I wanted these Caroline Issa shoes since I laid eyes on them 2 months ago. I think we are long sisters now COME AND REUNITE WITH ME YOU SEXY LADY!

  • Claire

    Emma Forrest’s “Your Voice in My Head” for everything, or Richard Siken’s “Crush” for the turning point!

  • Like Kate, i had a strange penchant for “dropping” books in the tub, the kind of bath reading where the water has cooled, fingers wrinkled and the pages have already started to crunch its way to new shapes.

    My favorite bookworm stage had to be when in the YA age, when library books were still a thing. Tamora Pierce books, fantasizing about being a medieval lady knight happened more often than I cared to admit. Also Ender’s Game, which is still a favorite and changes feeling everytime I read it. Biographies of Marie Curie, Jane Goodall, a book called Herstory. Seeing a trend here?

  • monkeyshines
  • Charlotte

    The narrating my life in the tone of the book part made me laugh out loud! (this became a bad thing since ‘lol’ was introduced, but can’t help it. Such witty writing!)

  • the narrator

    i completely forgot about d.e.a.r. but now that you mention it. i do have some distant elementary school memories of ‘dropping everything and reading’ for a day. however back then it was all about who scored the bean bag chair, and who’s mom packed the best snacks.

    on another note. i too just reread the great gatsby. (amazing). needless to say i will be at the theater at midnight to see leo act this timeless story on screen.

  • Drop everything. Read Margaret Atwood’s dystopian (too close to the mark) “The Handmaid”s Tale”

    • I’ve read that and it totally freaked me out, but was definitely a good read.

  • Will you call my employer to discuss my absence?

    • N G

      Can you also add in the D.E.A.R. spiel? I’m sure they’ll understand. I wanted to start the Hunger Games trilogy.

  • Hannah

    Hey guys, thanks for posting this. I have been a bookworm my whole life, this is refreshing to see.

  • Laurie

    Ironically you spelled you favorite author’s name wrong.

  • Alex Talks

    I was obsessed with The Red Ribbon as a child and continue to feel strongly about The Giver.

  • I totally remember reading “The Red Ribbon” too – totally freaked me out for days after!

    • Oh my gosh, me too! When Leandra summarized it I got re-freaked out, all these years later. Weird how a story can do that.

      • Same here! I had that same odd reaction…kinda makes me want to go re-read it!

  • Harling

    I had completely forgotten about D.E.A.R. day, but now I’m having flashbacks to lower school and jumpers with pleats and folded-down turtlenecks and ponytail braids and Stuart Little and bean bag chairs, so there’s that. And Mattie’s observation that The Great Gatsby is “the book that convinces me I can never write fiction and also the only one that makes me want to try” is one of the most brilliant, home-hitting truisms I’ve seen put into words. Great post today.

  • This made my day! Definitely the part about SNL….that was hilarious the other night! Your awesome I just want to hang out with you for a day..I am sure I would learn a lot. Love this post, I hope you have a great weekend!

  • Aubrey Green

    I’ve read all the Harry Potter and Twilight serious books – I’m not ashamed. I also LOVE the smell of books. I choose paperback, or if hardcover with the sleeve off. I don’t think I can ever get with the kindle. “He’s Just Not That Into You.” – I think all girls/women should own this book and re-read it, numerous times, until you get it, he’s just not that into you, sorry. Dear Leandra, please do a story/post on this! Would love to know your opinion.

  • Kelly Caseley

    Leandra: The Red Ribbon inspired me to wear a yellow scarf tied around my neck for the better part of a year(I went with yellow as I didn’t want to be too obvious where my inspiration was coming from).

    Kate: For a fun narration style read Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M Delafield. I go back to it again and again to help alter my inner monologue and change my life into something much more dramatically interesting and monumental.

    • Kate Barnett

      thanks, kelly — just purchased!

      • Kelly Caseley

        Ooooh! I hope you love it. I actually kept a diary for 6 entire months after reading it! And that’s a huge commitment for me. Huge.

  • Sgravalli Fashion Jewellery

    I started reading the post and I already had a question in my head before I even got to the end; can you recommend something? So thanks for that!

    It is hard for me to select just a few books that moved me, so many of them moved me in a different way. “The Kite Runner”, I`ve heard that there was a movie recorded after this book, could not watch it cause I hardly survived the book itself. A year later, my brave heart wanted some more of Khaled Hosseini, so I went for “A thousand splendid suns”. Several times over the past several years I`ve been reading “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse and “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, because every time, they make me recognise something new about me and my life or life in general. I loved “The distance between us” by Maggie O’Farrell, I also have a younger sister and she is my other me and it kills me to live now a world apart… “The fifth child” by Doris Lessing, shocked me, made me wonder how it would feel like, what would I do. Nick Hornby “A long way down” is a very interesting one. I loved, loved, loved “Proud Beggars” by Albert Cossery. I also enjoy Russian classics, some writers
    from my home-country; ex-Yugoslavia like Milos Crnjanski and his “Migrations” or Ivo Andric and “The Bridge on the Drina”. I love Ernest Hemingway and his “For whom the bell tolls”, imagine how I was happy when I had a chance to visit his home at Key West, Florida and see the place where he actually wrote that piece. Recently, picked up a book by a young US writer, Tea Obreht and her novel “The Tiger`s wife”, only when I got home from the store I realized we have the same roots!
    What I wanted to stand out from this list are: “American on purpose” and “Between the bridge and the river” by famous comedian and TV-show person Craig Ferguson. He is my idol, so many times did I say, thank God we have this guy on earth. And just recently I`ve read both of his books and just left amazed by his stories, the real ones and fictional, his freaking fantastic writing. These books made me laugh, cry out loud, and left me so inspired.

    I love books, I wish I have more time for it, I live a different life for a moment and that is so relaxing – be out of this world for a change. I love papercover books, love to smell them and feel them, love to display them on my shelves. I must buy those shoes btw, so beautiful, and since it is not every day a heel day for me, I can frame my books like so!

    • N G

      +1 on “The Kite Runner.” I read it back in college and I loved it so much I forced my family and friends to read it – needless to say, they all LOVED it. And don’t fret about not catching the movie…it didn’t do the book any justice.

  • Lindsey R.

    Though Middlesex is probably the single greatest work of fiction I’ve read (have you seen the DEPTH of that thing?), I read The Once and Future King at least once a year. It never fails to remind me…at least for a little while…that pursuing virtue and perfection is worthwhile.

  • I’m on a small challenge of reading one book a month. However I’ve started so many books at once I haven’t finished any and its April.

  • Last week, I finally decided I had put off reading “The Satanic Verses” for long enough. It’s one of those books that comes up in conversation a lot, and I was tired of ducking my head, changing the subject and/or trying to come up with witty excuses for not having read it yet.

    Turning point book, I’d have to call out both Don DeLillo’s “White Noise” and Haruki Murakami’s “The Elephant Vanishes.”

    “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” is an old friend that I re-read when I’m out of new books but still want to read.

  • I took an Asian American studies class once to fulfill an elective requirement, entering into the notion that it would an easy A. My surprisingly comfortable acquisition of an outstanding body of East Asian Literature made my thirst for more. These novels have literally changed my life, and have opened my mind into all that may be unseen through symbolism materializing through writing. Although “Memoirs of a Geisha” has remained my all time favorite & Murakami’s abstract vision reveal a world upside down in “Hard Boiled Wonderland and The End of The World”, takes the reader on his spirited fantastical journey. Also, Balzac and Proust have taught me more about the pain of love. Paulo Coelho is another favorite. I could go on forever..

  • Jamie

    I’m always looking for book recommendations because once I start something I always have to finish, even if I hate it 10 pages in. Don’t ask me why, that’s just how it is. So getting some insight before I even crack the page is a great way to ensure I won’t be wasting my time 🙂 Thanks for this!



  • Gahh! This is one of my favorite posts, like, ever. I think my favorite book of all time
    (although it is excruciating to choose would be Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murkami. Never have I read a book
    that appeals so much to the senses. Murakami has this amazing way of capturing
    ambiguous notions that so many others have failed to capture, or have just
    fallen short in doing so. Also, the characters in the novel have a certain
    codependence that ultimately brings out qualities that we can find in one
    another, only growing with our interactions. Sharing is caring, you know? And,
    should the storyline not be of interest to anyone, it MUST be read for sheer
    appreciation unto the genius of Murakami. SO VIVID, people – but in a way that doesn’t
    compromise the simplicity and clarity of the language.

    Another favorite book
    would have to be Virgin Suicides
    by Jeffrey Eugenides. There’s something about that book that gets me every
    time. I’m not sure if it’s just the way it’s written or its implications, but
    it also captures these relationships that we all experience. It accurately
    details the wants, needs, hopes, dreams, and interactions of the teenage years,
    all in a way that enchants and provides for an intriguing read.

    My favorite children’s novel (but also just a favorite novel
    in general) is The Giving Tree
    by Shel Silverstein. If anything can teach or shed light on moralistic
    situations, it would be children’s books. This one is the king (or queen) of
    all. I cry each time I read it because the message is so strong. For one, on an
    environmental level, we must learn to respect our earth because this is all we’ve
    got. Just the way the tree is so caring to the boy-turned-man-turned-old man is
    a telling scenario about our values (which, according to the story, are very
    much routed in accomplishing individual need) and their consequences.
    Silverstein in general is an essential writer – and I think that goes for
    readers of all ages. But this book is for sure an essential.
    Reduce, reuse, recycle. That goes for books, too! I think
    passing around a novel is just a really uplifting thing that makes me look at
    the world with a smile. Just think, we can all read those same words, gain a
    unique experience, pass the book on, and then discuss (on places like this

    P.S. I cry EVERY TIME
    I read The Great Gatsby. Ugh, especially
    when Mr. Gatz comes in for the funeral. I mean…..

  • MGF

    Waouhh you American people are mad to create such days 😉
    we should do it too in France and effectively do it. That would be effingly awesome

  • alcessa

    1. There is a Ulysses-shaped hole in my life I am convinced I need to fill to be whole(r) – I am not joking.

    Tea Obreht “The Tiger’s Wife” belongs to my life-shaping reading experiences as well. OK, so I’d know a lot about her background, but even without it: she’s damn good. Unfortunately, there are aspects of the novel any writer should be able to polish to some perfection or even get right from the scratch and she didn’t seem to care enough or overlooked them and that made for a terribly irritating reading. IMHO she’s so good the assessment automatically happens on a very high level and those bad things I discovered marred everything. It still irritates me to be have been taken so high and dropped from that height repeatedly.

    Another book that has me gritting my teeth is The Elegance of the Hedgehog (by Muriel Barbery), because I find it so terribly phony and construed and BLÄH … nothing good about it, I’m afraid (and aware how subjective this opinion is)

    2. Kindle wins. But I’d read anything, anything at all: timetables, manuals, signs, contracts, packages, any inscriptions, car plates … I simply need to read 🙂

    3. I also try to read when doing other things: brushing AND flossing my teeth, eating (alone), working, talking to people … (yes, in the toilet, too). And when I can’t, I use an MP3-player with audio books – when cleaning, doing the dishes, going to buy things, sitting in a train …

    • Krista

      I can relate with your #2… I need to read. Cereal Boxes, prescriptions, the list can go on.

  • Dana

    1. The Hobbit. Don’t judge me. The Year of Magical Thinking was pretty special as well.

    2. iPad reader. It’s very addicting to have any book in your hand at a moments notice.

    3. I’ve never kept a hardback or paperback preferring rather to release it back into the wild by giving it to friends or donating to a charity. Spread the love.

  • Megan Myers-Bell

    1. When I was in the 5th grade, my teacher (who also happened to be my mom) made us read “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry. For the first time in my life, I felt empathy. I truly tried (though utterly unsuccesfully) to imagine what it was like to be poor Ellen Rosen. To this day, I gravitate towards books about the Holocaust. If you haven’t read “The Book Thief,” it’s a must.

    2. Without a doubt, paperback. I own a Nook (which was a wedding gift) and have only turned it on once.

    3. I’m supposed to be drafting discovery, but instead I shut my door and am reading “Sister” by Rosamund Lupton. Hey, it’s Friday!

  • myrna

    great reads, thanks! I would love to take the time off and just cuddle and read

  • KV Morency

    ‘The Red Ribbon’!!!!! I loved that story and please believe right after I read it I then began a period of wearing a red ribbon around my neck.

  • Johanna Moroch

    An quiet afternoon with a book is my definition of luxury….

  • Im with Kate: My most-loved books are bent and cracked at the spine, have random tears out of the edges and chew marks (im a weirdo, I cant explain why), have water marks and coffee marks and warped, wavy pages, some that are falling out, with notes and highlighted sections and is literally falling apart.

    • Im just re-reading for about the 16th time Lolita by Nabokov- amazing writer

  • 1. Jane Eyre. It’s hot. It’s heavy. It’s sexier than Mario Lopez riding a white stallion.
    2. Paperback. For some reason, most of the books I read are almost always falling apart. I remove loose pages as I read ’em, and leave them along the way.
    3. Robert Langdon could use some humility & Roald Dahl is perhaps one of my greatest literary heros.

  • I totally remember Red Ribbon! I read it when I was really young and still remember the story. Something I always think about for some reason. And omg RL Stein. lol. Haven’t heard about his books in ages. 🙂

    I definitely prefer hardcover with the cover off.

  • Aaah, D.E.A.R. Memories. At my midwestern middle school, we had D.E.A.R. time every morning during second period. It wasn’t long….just enough time to get into your book before you had to put it away. I loved it. Mr. Bates was the man in charge. We of course, called him Master Bates. Middle school……


    I love your blog hunny
    well done
    Follow me back

  • Gabrielle Pedriani

    If I had a red ribbon for every time I’ve tied a ribbon around my neck and made someone ask me why I wear a ribbon around my neck I’d have a lot of red ribbons.

  • ana romero

    read,read, read, is all I want to do now ! kisses

  • poodletail

    Yes! “The smell of books/paper” is part of the experience. For travel, an e-reader. The book? “A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving. The first time I read it, it changed my life. And the second. And the third. Etc.

  • Krista

    Your turn!

    1. Seminal ‘turning point’ book?
    The Giver, too, because it WAS an eye-opening book to read at twelve. The first Margaret Atwood book I read (The Blind Assassin or was it Cat’s Eye), because old women, speculative fic, and art, and love where things I loved separately, and I was amazed that they could all come together in one piece. Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles because a cult follower never leaves. These books’ worlds were so detached from whatever I was going on with at the moment. I got completely lost in the pages, the voice, the story. So when I re-emerged, dazed, I was able to look at my situations with fresh eyes… and well, make a turning point.

    2. Paperback, hardcover or e-reader?
    Paperback! Collect em all. But then working life happened, and my reading streak dropped to about a measly 3-5 a year and that made me sad and unproductive. Played around with the e-reader (on a tablet) and now I’m back to my regular churn (1 in a couple of days if there’s no deadlines) and I’m happy. Hardcover if it’s a Filipino author like Alex Gilvarry 🙂 and Haruki Murakami’s beautiful international covers.

    3. Book-bound confessions?
    Not really a confession, but I seriously started out on Sweet Valley and The Baby Sitters’ Club. And I don’t really mind. And I didn’t like The Casual Vacancy at all, sorry JK Rowling.

  • Joanah Ela

    1. Seminal ‘turning point’ book? Catcher in the Rye. It was funny, intellectual and provocative, and I was young. I’m still young.
    2. Paperback, hardcover or e-reader? Paperback. I like the smell of paper, and being able to see my thoughts in red ink on paper. I also the feeling of touching, holding and nursing a book, and I like book covers. But to be honest I haven’t bought paperback in over a year since I got my iPad. It’s just so convenient! There’s dictionary, and English not being my first language, it makes it easy for me not to go back and forth a book and the dictionary. Also, I can highlight, and scribble still. (I still hate typing though)
    3. Book-bound confessions? (1) I’ve never read Harry Potter. (2) I hate Coelho. To me, he’s preachy, and I feel that he only writes to be quoted. (3) I am Jane Austen’s bitch.

  • GlamourGirl_bg

    Drop Everything And Read! Ha, I didn’t know :d

  • Karli

    I am so thankful that Leandra pinpointed that ribbon story! I have been looking for that for years and years. I remember hearing it on the floor at primary school and being entranced. I totally get where Kate is coming from. I too read Twilight swiftly and had objected to Harry Potter until about 4 years ago. A friend challenged me that I couldn’t comment on it until I’d read it and so, I am now in love with the boy who lived. Great post/blog.

  • Unterhosen

    What a fabby piece.

    A: Reading The Adventures of Hiram Holliday by Paul Gallico as a child made me decide to become a journalist, which I did many years later.

    B: The extra luggage space afforded and the fact I can have whatever book I want, instantly, has nudged me into favouring e reader. I still love the smell and feel of books, but have grown to love my e reader as much….because my books live there.

    C: When I was a child, and was taken to a bookshop or the library (which was a favourite outing), I almost immediately started wanting to use the toilet and had to play the squeeze game if facilities weren’t available.
    It still happens to this day and, as it has shaped my perception of the phrase: “I’m so happy I could shit.” It may also be responsible for my amazing sphincter control!

    Thanks for your book recommendations all….fascinating reading.

  • My mom used to give me a dollar for every book I finished when I was younger because I hated reading. Things changed by middle school… I still think about Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. The Subtle Knife?! That title rules. My love of the bizarre began. Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore (talking cats, a character named Johnny Walker, beautiful Japan, general creepiness) is a more recent preoccupation in that vein. –Paperback for life. –I couldn’t stand The Road with its two word sentences with no verbs in them. The story was impressive, but the voice, just, no. So I’m one-and-done with Cormac McCarthy.

  • Marina Martinez

    Confession: part A) Harry Potter is not an obsession for me, it’s a lifestyle.

    part B) My college offers a class on Harry Potter where you read all seven books, analyze them through different lenses, etc. I told myself I DO NOT (repeat, WILL NOT) graduate from college until I take that class.

    I’m not sorry. And I haven’t graduated yet, don’t worry I’m only a junior though.

  • Paperback or hardcover forever, no e-readers please!

  • alice

    I am infatuated with vintage books. The musty smell, the yellow-turning pages, the thickness of the pages back then… My turning-point book was a 1965 edition of Gone with the wind. I know, but somehow I’ve got obsessed with it and reread it 3 times through 8th grade. Oh, Ashley

  • Anne-Linn

    The trilogy of the four (hehe) “Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy” books are by far some of the most jarringly funny-to-the-bones books that I’ve ever read (they provided me with quotes like “I’m so hip I cant even bend my pelvis” and “The art of learning how to fly, is just to throw yourself at the ground – and MISS”). I’m currently in the process of jumping into the deep dark ocean of Marcel Proust and his wonderful “In search of lost time”. Right now I’m on volume two – in my native language norwegian – and I’m not sure that translation actually does the masterpiece in question justice. Is there anybody here who knows if the english translation of Proust is the best? (This is such a epic piece that I would actually love to learn french just to read it in it’s most original way, but thats a project that will have to wait for now.)

  • Boop

    I remember reading The Red Ribbon to my nephew when he was four, not knowing that the ending was going to be her head falling off and had to ad lib an alternate ending! Mine wasn’t nearly as good as the original!

  • ana romero

    Me dieron ganas de leer! asaltaré mi biblioteca 🙂 besos de

  • Allison

    if a whole book is too much for you…spend the day checking out
    good reads


    My turning point book was actually Me Talk Pretty One Day! I had never read anything of the genre before and I just fell in love with how Sedaris was able to take annoying/confusing/banal subjects/topics and turn them into wise and hilarious stories. That book helped me see literature and (so cliche) life differently.

  • Manu

    awesome post 😉
    thank you !!!
    xoxo manu

  • Ideal Cheese

    Turning point book: The Bell Jar. Close second: Catcher in the Rye. I credit Plath and Salinger for turning me on to fiction and writing. Later on my favorites became Kafka, Joyce, D.F. Wallace, Pynchon, Woolf. Anybody looking for a great, gripping, wonderful novel to celebrate D.E.A.R.: read Middlemarch by George Eliot. Don’t have enough time for a novel? Read the New Yorker.

  • Aimee

    A turning point book- I have a few that pop out in my mind from different points in my life, but “The Little Dictionary of Fashion” and “Blog Inc” were major in my decision to start my fashion blog.
    Paper back all the way!
    I have cried more over books than any sad or romantic movie.

    xoxo Aimee

  • Hayfa

    Yay for the Gatsby love 😀 If I could chose one fictional world to live in, it would be Gatsby’s. And obviously I’d be Daisy…anyway!

    1. I’ve pretty much always been into reading but I remember the very first “grown up” book my dad bought me: And then there were none by Agatha Christie. I was probably WAY too young to b reading Christie but I remember reading her name in a (don’t laugh!) “Sabrina The Teenage Witch book” and my dad thought I should give it try. I did and I loved it. And to this day, she remains one of my favourite authors. Oh and recently, “The Handmaid’s Tale” got me out of a very long reading slump!

    2.Right, I might sound dysfunctional on this one but I like all of them for different reasons. I’m a huge “on the go” kinda reader and Ebooks, obviously perfect for travelling (paperbacks are the next best)… but when it comes to classics, I’ll always prefer reading them in hardback, preferably old, worn-out and tea stained 😉

    3. I have never, and probably never will, read Lord of the Rings. This is also kind of strange, but I love it when small theatre companies do novels’ adaptations on stage. I’m not a huge fan of movies, but I love going to the theatre. And recently I’ve seen so many novels adaptations that I may never see an actual play ever again.


  • Dandy

    I tried e-books when I was travelling, they are definatly not the same! there is nothing better than a new book, freshly printed, or freshley aged book smell!!

  • Totally agree with you on The Great Gatsby!

  • Aly O

    1. Picking a seminal ‘turning point’ book is hard for me. I have been a bookworm my entire life (probably due to being an only child and parents who always took me on long trips, i still have the ability to read for hours in a car without getting even a tiny bit car sick) and was obviously teased during elementary school for it. What does stand out for me is The Hobbit (not the Lord of the Rings, I could never get through them easily and I found them too tedious). I can remember my dad reading me that book as a bedtime story when I was quite young (probably so he wasn’t bored) and it was the first ‘grownup’ book I read by myself a couple of years later. It is by no means my favorite book but it represents a step from children’s books to adult literature.

    2, I have a forever love of both paperback and hardcover books and can easily wander around a bookstore for hours. However, with constant travelling I have had to switch to Kindle for the majority of my reading. Blame the airlines and their ever diminishing weight allowance. Luckily my parents still bring me paperbacks whenever they visit so I do have a decently filled bookshelf.

    3. I’ve read Harry Potter (multiple times) and Hunger Games (also too many times). I also have that habit of narrating my life in my head after reading certain books. Oh and I have anger issues with Hamlet which led to quite a showdown between me and my highschool English teacher.

  • Christina

    It’s so damn refreshing to see a fashion blogger who is actually intellectual, articulate and just flat out hilarious!!! You are my favorite.

  • az_raw

    1. Seminal ‘turning point’ book?
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which has turned into a full blown obsession with his novels. I have bought four more of his books and am now a collector of copies of Brave New World with all its fantastic covers.
    2. Paperback, hardcover or e-reader?
    Definitely paperback. The older and more wrinkly the better.
    3. Book-bound confessions?
    I can’t finish a book without immediately picking up and starting a new one. Finishing stories makes me unusually sad, like I have lost the characters in the novels. Also, there are few things I enjoy more than finding a book I have been looking for in a second-hand store for months instead of buying it new and freshly printed. Nothing compares to 50 year old hand written notes between the covers.

  • Cassandra

    1. Seminal ‘turning point’ book?

    When I was way too young to read it, I became fully engrossed in Jane Eyre. Engrossed as in, I read it for 6 hours in my hotel room on a family beach trip. I forgot to go out on the beach. After that, I read the book again, and then had to read it again in high school. It made me love classics (I was afraid they’d be boring or difficult to understand), and it made me love reading more than I ever thought I would.

    2. Paperback, hardcover or e-reader?

    I ashamedly take my ipad or kindle with my always because of the convenience. I read a lot at the gym and I burn through books VERY quickly, so I always have a new one to start that way. Lately, though, my loving boyfriend bought me a book in a good old fashioned hardcover, and I remembered just how much I love them. They don’t do that funny thing where they won’t close. They feel so solid in the hand. They kinda hurt my wrist, but I feel so damn classy reading one.

    3. Book-bound confessions?

    I’m a total combo of Kate and Charlotte. I totally narrate my life in the style of the book i’m reading, and I totally cry when a book is over. I also get way too involved in books sometimes and try to make them my life. I cried through the entire Time Travelers Wife (which is the most profound example of a book being better than the movie).

    Also, this was perhaps my most favorite blog post ever!

  • Lauren at adorn la femme

    I am seriously thinking of abandoning my television~ and to do nothing but read for relaxation! ‘Love stumbling across little out of the way book shops where I could literally spend hours!!! I am old school and favor paperbacks!! Yes, I do want to read Hemingway to see what I’m missing!!!


    Lauren at adorn la femme

  • andie

    When I took up a book, I could see that though I opened it and shut it twenty times, it did not deteriorate. Gliding over that incorruptible substance, the text, my gaze was merely a surface accident; it did not disturb anything, did not wear anything away. I, on the other hand, passive and ephemeral, was a dazzled mosquito, pierced by the rays of a beacon. I would put the light out and leave the study: invisible in the darkness, the book kept sparkling, for itself alone. I would give my works the violence of those corrosive flashes, and later, in ruined libraries, they would outlive man.

    Jean-Paul Sartre

    The Words

    • Kari

      I realize you posted this a year ago, but I just had to let you know this gave me goosebumps, it’s so beautiful.

  • ray

    1.on the road jack kerouac, catcher in the rye and the great gatsby, these aren’t books these are adventures that make you wish you could have lived through them all.
    3.whenever I read a book such as those in I listed in 1. I day dream for days at school imagining myself telepathed into those books living those lives as if I were a character, and then get solidly brought back to earth by some materialistic action of the shallow minded girls at my school

  • danada

    Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace, Catch-22 and Underworld – those just smell of high school through college for me. It came later so it “defined” me less but i do love Lush Life by Richard Price.

  • Growing up my school system had a pretty kick ass list of books we had to read. Great Expectations is still one of my all time favorites but it was Susann’s Valley of the Dolls that made me want to become a professional writer. I always wrote short stories for myself but Valley gave me the desire to push for more.
    I am an old school gal and while I prefer hardback books I will take paperback almost as easily. I love the weight and smell and turning the pages of old books. I too enjoy writing in my journal and taking notes by hand so it is pretty obvious i choose paper over tech.
    My friends forced Twilight upon me and I hate them for it to this day. I live for Will Eisner’s graphic novels and nothing really shook my imagination like Harry Potter when I was 12 years old and read the first HP book. WOW!


    PS: Leandra: R. L. Stein brings me back to my childhood faster then almost anything! It made me so excited to see that my nephews are reading books I had once read at their ages. Quality really does last throughout the ages in a state of timelessness.

  • Cherry.

    Seminal turning point book: Michael J. Sandel – Justice or What Good Is God by some Christian Journalist.
    Paperback, of course.
    Book bound confessions: after reading Edgar Allen Poe, my life is tinted semi blue and grey.

  • Rhett

    Seminal turning point book: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I have yet to read a book that so lyrically and empathetically encapsulates the development of the female voice.

    Paperback, preferably worn in and coffee-stained with that irreplaceable “book smell.” I like a book that I can fold into a bag for doctors appointments or curling up on the couch.

    Book bound confessions. I read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and Thoreau’s Walden every year. They are the perfect way to reconnect with fundamental roots and personal purpose in one’s life.

    Thank you, I loved this post 🙂