2013 was the year of Rainbow Rowell. She was endorsed by John Green in the New York Times Book Review, this quote from Eleanor & Park is blowing up Pinterest boards everywhere, and a high school library here in Minnesota caused a controversy when they tried to ban E&P (the book and I are on nickname basis) from their shelves for its “227 uses of of profanity or using the Lord’s name in vain.” (Fun fact: Michele Bachman graduated from that high school. This explains a lot, right?)
I jumped on the Rainbow Rowell bandwagon as soon as I could. Eleanor & Park was one of my favorite books of last year, and while it’s too soon to tell whether Fangirl will make it to 2014’s list, I definitely enjoyed it.
(But I have to say I found myself missing Eleanor and Park and their school bus relationship.)
The gist: Cath, a snarky introvert and writer of the internet’s most popular Simon Snow fan fiction, goes away to college and learns that maybe – just maybe — there’s more to life than Simon Snow.
Simon Snow is clearly supposed to be Harry Potter, and as the one singular person in the world who just couldn’t get into Harry Potter, I thought I would maybe not be into this book. And while there were excerpts from Cath’s fanfic that I didn’t really pay attention to, you don’t need to be a Harry Potter fan in any way to really get Cath. And if you are a fan, well, you’ll probably like it even more.
One thing that annoyed me about this book: the “intimate” scenes. Cath is into… biting chins? I didn’t get it.
1. There’s this part in Fangirl, this totally insignificant question asked by one of the main characters, that comes out of nowhere and changes everything about the world these characters live in. It was so clever and unexpected and completely unimportant, but I think it might have been my favorite part.
2. I learned something super important from this book: an aerie is an eagle’s nest. Doesn’t the world of teen underwear just make SO much more sense now? (Confession: I say “teen” underwear but 80% of my underwear is from Aerie.)
3. Another thing I loved — and am stealing — was Cath and her twin sister’s way of dealing with stress. One of them hops on the bed and pulls an imaginary lever, yelling “EMERGENCY KANYE PARTY”. The other twin runs to the laptop, pulls up a Kanye playlist, and they dance their cares away. What a genius idea.
4. This is the fourth book I’ve listened to narrated by Rebecca Lowman, and I think she does these Rainbow Rowell characters perfectly. I saw on Twitter yesterday that she’ll be narrating Rowell’s upcoming book Landlines too.
Up next: Young adult fiction is so hot right now. Here’s what I want to read:
Clockwise from top left: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4
crow pose at Crater Lake outside of Aspen
I’m not the kind of person who makes friends at the gym, but I just have so many thoughts about my exercise. So let’s pretend we’re gym buddies. I promise not to sweat on you. Or cut you with my toenail.
1. You know that episode of Girls where Shoshanna is on crack and she keeps saying she needs to go to the front at kickboxing? She’s so right. Once you take the plunge and move to the front of a class, you’ll just kind of feel like everyone is looking up to you (even though they probably couldn’t care less about you) and you’ll work harder.
2. Having said that, the other day I was late for a workout class and ended up smushed in the back between two huge guys. I have never worked harder — I had to keep up with them or I would lose the secret competition we were secretly having. Which would obviously be unacceptable.
3. Recently, teachers in the workout classes I take have started announcing that we’re doing “Madonna arms,” which basically means that you hold your arms straight out beside you and pulse them up and down, back and forth, for a few minutes. I have two issues with this. First of all, I refuse to believe that this exercise works because how have humans had arms for their entire existence and yet never thought to tone them by waving them up and down? And secondly, it’s time for us, as a society, to find a new arm role model. I don’t want Madonna’s arms.
4. One of my teachers plays Michael Jackson’s “Will you be there” during final shavasana. Two things you should know: One, shavasana is when you’re supposed to lay still on your mat, relax and think about nothing. Two, that song is from Free Willy. How am I supposed to think about nothing when I’m desperately trying not to sob thinking about saving the whales and wondering what happened to the kid from Free Willy?
5. I have to tell you about the time I actually did sob during a yoga sculpt class. Everything was going fine until suddenly, there was a hair in my mouth. No big deal, I pulled it out. But it wasn’t a hair. It was a hairball. I gagged a little, but still, no big deal. I placed the mystery hairball far away from my mat and bent over, catching a glimpse of my mat. It was covered in hairballs.
This is when I should tell you that I hate hair. I respond to unattached hair the way most people (including myself) react to tarantulas.
I frantically swept away the hairballs, but they kept appearing on my mat, between my toes, in my mouth, stuck to my water bottle, ET AL. Does anyone else still look around for Ashton Kutcher when stuff like this happens? I definitely thought someone was playing a cruel prank on me. I don’t know where all the hair came from, but it seemed to multiply throughout the class. I spent a lot of that hour with my head buried in my [hairy] towel, crying. And maybe laughing a little. But mostly crying.