No, I am not surprised by Amy’s gender. I have known it all along; Amy is, after all, one of my favorite authors. I am just glad that I could read her newest book for adults, Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal (hereafter to be referred to as Textbook AKR because Amy has a long-ass last name) this summer. A couple of months ago, I picked up Late One Night by Lee Martin, another favorite author of mine, and charged through one chapter before I remembered my New Year’s vow–only books written by women this year.
Textbook AKR, Amy’s newest book, will be released next Tuesday, August 9th. I’m feeling a little braggy here, but I received an advance copy. I’ve read it three times already. I was lucky enough to see a call for a group of advance readers who love Amy’s books, and I applied with a hearty “Pick Me! Pick Me!” And they did.
This means that in June, when the rest of the world was without Textbook AKR, I had a copy in my hot little hands. And my hands were hot because I was on the beach.
I want to tell you why I love Amy’s books and why I love her-no I’ve never met her, but if you’ve met me, you know that I am ultra-lovey and like to throw love around in all directions.
Ten years ago, I discovered Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. It’s fair to say that I had never before been so delighted, enchanted, and enthralled with a book. I have given hundreds (okay, exaggeration) of copies away, and if I were to give you mine, I would have another in two days thanks to Prime shipping. When I teach creative writing classes, I use the basic structure of the book–encyclopedic listings–to help students find structure and a way into their own lives. Hell, I used the structure myself in a blog post a couple of months ago.
Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, my 500th copy of this book, is always close to me. It is one of the only books I never have to look for–I do not have an impeccable shelving system for books in my house. Books are everywhere, tucked onto bookshelves or beside bookshelves, on shelves in closets, in stacks on the coffee table and on the end tables, in big plastic bins in the garage, in a staggeringly high pile on the back of the toilet. When I need to find a book, I might be searching for hours (not an exaggeration). This isn’t the case with Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. I have been unable to find it only one time because the biggest book thief of all time, my husband Eric, stole it from my bedside and took it to work.
I’m telling you this because I want you to understand just how freaking happy, how filled with joy, how jumped up with anticipation I was when I found out that Textbook AKR would be in my hands before it was even released. I’d been waiting for new Amy for a long time.
Because this book is a gift, folks. That is why I love it. It’s a gift. All of Amy’s books are gifts, but this one feels even giftier than the rest. Maybe it was the beach, but I don’t think so. In fact, I know it wasn’t the beach. It’s the gift of connection.
I had a bad teacher with some kick-ass red boots one semester. (I mention the boots because they were so red and so kick-ass that I was shocked she didn’t live up to them.) However, self-involved as she was, she taught me something about writing that I have carried with me ever since. While lots of other instructors and writers were talking about tension, she talked about connection. She contended that connection could be the beating heart of any piece of nonfiction. I believe she was and is right. I believe connection is why I can’t get enough of Textbook AKR.
page 121, Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal
I have read this page so many times, to remind myself that we are, all of us (maybe not Donald Trump) doing our best at this very moment. I need the reminder. I love the reminder. The reminder is a gift.
If that were the only page in the book, it would be enough. But thankfully, it’s not!
The book is a textbook, and who doesn’t love a textbook? Okay, lots of you don’t love textbooks, but I do. There is nothing better than a big hard-covered textbook filled with words and pictures and graphs and multiple choice pre-and post tests. There is little better than a new book period.
I love imposed structures. I love the way Amy brings her life together under the headings of Geography, Social Studies, Art, Science, Romance Language, History, Music, Math, and Language Arts. Every page is a surprise. And there’s a ton of white space for notes and thinking.
This book is also a textbook because it is a book with a texting component. I didn’t think I would love this. I don’t really like texting all that much. And I’ll tell you that you don’t have to text to enjoy Textbook AKR, but do text. It’s so much fun. The texting component is about connecting. It’s immediate connection. It’s cool and fun and unique. I texted on the beach, and I felt like I was talking to Amy while watching the waves come in. It made me happy. In fact, I smiled all the way through this book. I am still smiling.
And that is why I have pre-ordered two extra copies.
I want to be part of the gifting of this book. I want to be a force of connection between this book and two readers. I want to be generous because generosity too beats in the heart of Textbook AKR.
All you have to do is share this post, and I will enter your name into a drawing for one of two copies of Textbook AKR. In the meantime, I suggest you pre-order your own copy because if you win one of mine, you can be generous too and give yours to someone who needs love and connection–hell, we all need love and connection, right.
Here’s something else: if you haven’t read Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, you are in for a treat because the two lucky winners will also receive it–a double set. Again, all you have to do is share this post on Facebook.
If you are interested in reading more about Amy or Textbook AKR, here are a few links you might want to check out:
There’s something else about this wonderful book. It’s about getting older. It’s about how precious each and every day/person/connection/chance encounter is. It’s about standing still and racing towards the future, grabbing up each moment like the gems or flowers they are.
And so I leave you with another page from Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal.
page 47 Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal