An Interview with Taylor Jenkins Reid, author of After I Do

I am SO excited about getting to be a part of the Taylor Jenkins Reid blog tour for her new book After I Do. I’m a big fan of Taylor’s work, (check out my review for her last book Forever Interrupted here), so I jumped at the chance to ask her some questions about her latest novel.

After I Do1. Can you please describe After I Do in one sentence?
After I Do is the story of a couple that has been unhappily married for some time and decides to take a year apart to assess their marriage.

 

2. What inspired you to write After I Do?
I’m very interested in the day-to-day life of two people sharing a life together. I don’t believe that monogamy is as natural as our culture makes it out to be. I wanted to explore what happens when a couple approaches the problem of falling out of love in an unconventional way.

 

3. In the first sixty pages of the book, the reader is introduced to Lauren and Ryan, discovering how they fall in love and then watch their marriage fall apart. After those pages, their plan goes into place and we’re thrown into an unconventional love story. Did you choose to take your time writing these pages so the reader was better able to identify with their dilemma and decision to take a year long break from their marriage?
I knew that in order for the reader to understand just how bad things had gotten between Lauren and Ryan, they had to understand how good it once was. Also, I wanted to make sure the reader knew that things soured slowly, as if they were unintentionally falling out of love brick by brick.

 

4. Every situation is different and every couple is different, but would you suggest their plan to other couples struggling in their marriage?
Let me put it this way: If I got to where Lauren and Ryan are, I hope I’d try this before giving up.

 

5. Why did you include the definition of ‘flagrant’ at the beginning of the novel?
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan is a heartbreaking and brilliant book. Some of his definitions perfectly capture the way two people can enrage each other with the smallest of gestures. Every person in a marriage can relate to that one thing his or her spouse does that feels like a wild disregard for everything they hold dear and true, even if it’s as simple as not putting the cap back on the toothpaste — as The Lover’s Dictionary defines it. I wanted to put that into the reader’s mind from the start.

 

6. When you originally came up with the premise of After I Do, did you know that the narration would only be told from the point of Lauren?
It took me a long time to figure out how to make this a book about both Ryan and Lauren without using two narrators. I wasn’t entirely opposed to the idea of two narrators but I just felt that two narrators would turn this into too much of a He Said/She Said — a dynamic I’m actually quite fond of but one that I didn’t think worked for this. So I settled on seeing the world through one of their eyes, and Lauren seemed the most natural fit. Luckily, I found a way for Ryan to speak up throughout the book.taylor-jenkins-reid-author-writer

 

7. The reader gets to know Lauren’s family and friends really well in the book. If you were to write a novel based on any of her family members or friends, who would it be and why? Rachel? Charlie and Natalie? Mila and Christina?
Oh, I’d write full books about any of them, honestly. But Charlie and Natalie seem the most obvious choice. They leave a lot to discuss and explore! And I’ve found that readers, so far, have been divided on what they believe Charlie and Natalie’s future holds in store.

 

8. Unsent emails become a third character in this book, have you ever written someone an email and chose not to hit send?
Oh, of course! Although, I normally delete them. Mostly because I’m a person that says what’s on my mind or if I’m not willing to say it, I work on letting it go. The unsent emails for Lauren and Ryan are, if anything, emblematic of the fact that both of them are holding so much in. They are both thinking things, assuming the other one knows it, and yet, they won’t just…hit send.

 

9. What are your thoughts on the following quote,
“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever. If it doesn’t then it was never meant to be.” ~Unknown
You know, I both believe this wholeheartedly and strongly disagree with it. Which is to say that I think if you have to let something go, and you find your way back to it, it’s a great sign that you’re on the right track. On the other hand, I think we too often put things in the hands of fate, we assume that things will work out if they are meant to be, and we allow ourselves not to fight for what we want. If Lauren and Ryan had been active about keeping their marriage alive and happy, if they hadn’t been so laissez faire, maybe they wouldn’t have been in the state they are in when the book starts. So I think the saying has profound truth but I think living by it encourages complacence.

&npsb;

*My thanks to Taylor Jenkins Reid and SparkPoint Studio for arranging for me to be a part of the After I Do blog tour.
** Be sure to follow Taylor on Twitter @tjenkinsreid

 
 

A Visual Representation of What it’s Like to Lend Books to Friends

I recently stumbled upon a great YouTube channel called Epic Reads. As their ‘about section’ explains,

Get book nerdy with Epic Reads as we bring you the latest YA news, take you along to our favorite events, meet YA authors and learn some of the skills we read about in our favorite books. And tons more!

I’ve been looking around on their channel and I’ve stumbled upon some really great videos including,

And that’s just a few, there are so many more I think you’ll enjoy. I’m sharing this video, because it’s my favourite… so far:
 

Be sure to subscribe to their channel on YouTube and follow them on Twitter @EpicReads

Reading Slumps, the Month of May & a Reading Comeback

Oh, hey, remember me.

I use to blog here.

Well, here’s what’s been happening. I took a reading break… well kind of. We book bloggers always have a lot of books on the go, we always have a looming pile of books that should be read and sometimes we have people look at us and say “you haven’t read that before?” But let me tell you something about readers, sometimes breaks are needed. So even though I wasn’t really planning on taking a break, I did and it was amazing. Here are some of the reasons I took a much needed break:

  • The weather has been incredible here in Toronto and I’ve wanted to get out and enjoy the sunshine with friends.
  • My family was in town for a few days.
  • I’ve been at events celebrating books. So even though, I may not have been reading books, I’ve been out celebrating their release and success.

But here’s where the “kind of” part comes into play. I’ve been listening to books. Each morning, I wake up at about 6:00am and now that it’s getting warmer, I like to walk around the park near my home and instead of listening to my local FM station or Beyonce’s album for the 103rd time, I’ve been obsessed with the Harry Potter audio books. This revelation has been exciting to me for two reasons. One, who would have thought I’d fall in love with a series I so actively avoided for years. Two, I love audiobooks. It’s so fun to do an activity, whether it’s walking, doing dishes or commuting and have someone read to you. This is why I feel like taking a break from “reading” is iffy, because I’ve still been reading… or technically I’ve been listening to books. Either way, I may not be physically turning pages, but I’ve been flying through J.K. Rowling books! You’ll be happy to know that I just started the sixth book and it’s fantastic – I know you know that, seeing as how you probably read the book 10 years ago, like a normal person. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this in a future post.

All that being said, I miss the smell of books, I miss the feeling of turning pages, I even miss lugging around a book all day, even if I only read 15 pages on my commute. So, I’m stopping the “reading break” and I’ll be back in full swing starting this week. Expect to see lots of tweets, shots on Instagram and future posts about books in no time.

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I might not have read books, but I went to lots of book events, many of which are documented in my most recent Document Your Life video. David Mitchell, The Tastemakers, Pongapalooza, a sighting of TIM RIGGINS and my Dad dancing. <– that one’s a bonus.

Have YOU ever taken a reading break? If you have, how long did it last?

 

[Book Review] Jason Priestley: A Memoir by Jason Priestley

07-jason-priestley-memoirMy favourite line from that Icona Pop song that everyone loves is,

You’re from the 70’s, but I’m a 90’s bitch.

I think I love it so much because I am a HUGE fan of the 90’s. I was seven years old in 1990 and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to grow up in a decade of boy bands, the Spice Girls and of course, Beverley Hills 90210. I remember begging my Mom to let me stay up and watch show with her on Sunday nights, even though I didn’t understand much of what was happening. I did know that Brandon and Dylan were hot and I, like many other girls my age, had both of their faces plastered all over my walls. I also invested heavily into the Beverly Hills 90210 merchandise; dolls, a hairdryer, a makeup mirror. So you can imagine my delight when I heard that Brandon Walsh, er, um, Jason Priestley had written a memoir.

Now in recent years, the 90210 cast have each taken their own paths.

  • Dancing with the Stars
  • Reality TV
  • Star in another hit show
  • Marry Megan Fox

But one of the shows biggest stars has kept a very low profile… or at least that’s what I thought until I’d read his self titled memoir, Jason Priestely. Starting with his childhood in Vancouver, we meet a young (and by looking at the photos) a very adorable Jason Priestely. Aspiring to be a person that “lives inside the box”, Jason was quickly swept up by the acting bug and started doing films for the CBC was fun, be he knew as a teen that if he was going to actually pursue this dream he’d have to make the leapt to Hollywood. So at seventeen years old, with his diploma in his back pocket, he made the big move to the States to make a go of it.

In the beginning, he had to do lots of commuting between the US and Canada, as Canada seemed to be calling with the job offers. That was until he got the opportunity to star in the show, 21 Jump Street. Starring in this show, as well as a show called, Sister Kate opened many new doors, one that included the chance to meet and try out for a new Aaron Spelling show, aptly titled Beverley Hills 90210. It’s clear that reading the pages about getting his start in Hollywood, that Jason had a strong admiration for Aaron Spelling and never once took their bond for granted. He knew when he was hired for the role of Brandon Walsh that learning from the best in the “biz” was a chance in a lifetime and he took it, getting the chance to direct many times for the show, including the episode we all waited for… ‘Donna Loses Her Virginity’

With a dose of 90210 gossip… it turns out everyone was sleeping with everyone and everything you’ve heard about Shannen Doherty is true… she really isn’t nice. Jason Priestley explains the impact the show had on him and how it help shape him into the man he is today. He, of course, explains lots and lots of details with the reader which is a real treat and I can promise you that you’ll want to text your friends and your Mom about all the things you find out. But the thing that warmed my heart the most (in this section of the book) is that he regrets leaving the show when he did and wished that he could have ended the Kelly & Brandon story in a more fulfilling way. Say it with me now… ahhhhhh.

What follows after his 90210 days is the budding of his 11 year relationship with his wife, makeup designer Naomi Lowde-Preistley and the birth of their two children. As well as the horrific race crash he endured that nearly cost him his life. And of course, the relationship he now shares with his fellow 90210 alumni. There’s also a great chapter about the roles he’s chosen post 90210 in an effort to shed the Brandon Walsh “good guy” image… see his new show, Call Me Fitz.

This is a well written, fun and nostalgic memoir from a man that ironically really did end up “living inside the box”. You won’t be disappointed if you decide to pick up this great read!  I also encourage you to check out this great article in Vulture, titled 9 Things 90210‘s Jason Priestley Remembers in His New Memoir. It was one of the many reasons that made me decide to pick up this book.

[Book Review] Lazy Days by Erlend Loe

Loe - Lazy DaysYou know how you’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover? Well I broke that rule when I saw the cover of Erlend Loe’s Lazy Days. Then I read the description on the back of this beautiful package of a book and I knew I was hooked. It reads,

From the bestselling author of Doppler, a wry and very funny look at the pitfalls of human existence . . . and the charms of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson.

Aspiring playwright Bror Telemann loves all things British. His wife, Nina, loves everything German. So a family holiday at the foot of the Alps, south of Munich — which Bror believes to be the birthplace of Nazism — is bound to cause tension. Especially when Bror spends the whole time virtually stalking (and constantly fantasizing about) his greatest obsession, British chef Nigella Lawson.

Can Telemann continue to bear the pressure of his empty existence? Or will his long-suffering family be the first to snap?

We’re all different people when on vacation. We let our guards down, stress goes out the windows and sometimes you do things a bit out of character. Lazy Days is the story of a Norwegian family’s holiday to Germany. Telemann isn’t a fan of Germany, his wife, Nina is a big fan. This obviously creates a lot of tension, but tension hits an all time max when you mix in an extreme crush on Nigella Lawson. Using his love and passion for theatre as an excuse to have alone time to “think”, takes the reader on a strange and sometimes hilarious journey. 

While reading Lazy Days, I was reminded of the movie, ‘This is 40′, starring Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd. You know at the end of the day they love one another, but you’re pretty sure that they can’t stand each other. I remember seeing this movie in theatres and thinking that it was funny, but kind of sad at the same time. That two people have disconnected in such a way that they end up resenting one another. The same premise applies in this book, you know that they have love for one another, but it’s very obvious to the reader that they’ve become disconnected, in an obvious and sad way. At one point, Nina whole-heartingly believes that she’s allergic to Telemann.

Reading this book was an interesting experience, because I found myself enjoying the writing, but not loving the characters all that much. I think that’s okay though, I think sometimes we’re not supposed to connect with the characters, so that we can learn something new and possibly look at things a little differently. Charming, smart and witty; Lazy Days is a great Saturday afternoon read.