5.26.2009

Book Review: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

(Below is the book review I wrote for Crucial Pop this week)

It is pretty rare for me to read a book twice.

I mean, I work in a library. Every day I walk through the stacks, and there are soooo many books to read, so many books already checked out to my account, and sometimes it saddens me to think that I’ll never be able to read everything I want to, even in my lifetime as I walk through aisles and aisles of books.

So, for me to read a book twice is pretty rare.

But, on this holiday long weekend, I made a pledge to unplug from the TV, loaf on the couch with my new puppy, nibble on tasty bits, and read, read, read.

(Y’all can keep your barbecues – especially since it’s raining!)

And to start my weekend of words, I revisited a book I read years ago and loved. It’s short, it only takes a little time to read, but it says so much.

Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal is the perfect book for an easy, inspirational read.

Amy, as she says in her own words… "I have not survived against all odds. I have not lived to tell. I have not witnessed the extraordinary. This is my story."

I mean, how can you not want to read that?

I knew I did when I saw it.

This is shelved in the biography section, and is quite literally an encyclopedia-style memoir of Amy – some entries are funny, some are short, some are touching, and some just make you smile, and want to start an encyclopedia of your own – in alphabetical order, of course. Packed with quirky tidbits and well-written entries, you get to know Amy in such a real way. It may not have the revelations of Nietzsche, or the insight and impact of Proust, but is just as real and honest in its own way.

Entries range from everything to anagrams of her name to the effect of leaning in a bowling game to sad stories to tales of her husband, her jobs, and her life. Some may be trivial, but you have to applaud anyone willing to write down not only the extraordinary, but also the mundane and then share it with the world. If only every struggling writer, myself included, had the courage to expose so much of themselves in their words – trivial or no.

There are a few excerpts (and lots more goodies) on Amy’s website for the book, http://www.encyclopediaofanordinarylife.com, and here is but a sample:

Brother

My brother, who grew up with three sisters, was I won’t say how many years old when he finally realized that he did not have to wrap the towel around his chest when he came out of the shower.

Doesn’t that make you want to read more?

This is the perfect book for inspiration, amusement, and easy reading with a puppy snoozing in your lap.

Ordinary life, indeed.

Amy can be found on the web at: http://whoisamy.wordpress.com/

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