by Jen Hatmaker on July 20th, 2012

I lived in Houma, LA from 4th to 7th grade. Oh, how we loved that place. Within five days of moving there, I’d eaten crawfish and alligator and shrimp poboys, and that’s a true story. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Crochet, was the Queen of Mardi Gras, and there are not enough superlatives to describe the loot and parties we scored that year as her students. (Then there was the year me and my friend Julie kyped Screwdrivers from her parents’ car trunk, which was doubling as a bar at a parade, and the rest is very fuzzy history and another story altogether.)

Anyhow, we had the hands-down, tip-top fabulous, best babysitter in the history of babysitters in Houma: Amy Bowen. Why she agreed to sit the four rowdy King kids is absolutely beyond me, but she did, and we loved her like a fat kid loves cake. She was fun and crazy and hilarious, and we basically wanted our parents to adopt her so we could have her every second of every day.

One time when I was in 4th grade, Amy was babysitting, and I don’t remember how it began, but she started tickling me. Because she’d let us all have Coke and Kool-aid and chocolate milk all night (GAH I loved her), my bladder was full, but because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t make sound much less produce words to tell her I was in trouble, right there, right in our living room, I peed my pants.

I have a point.

Somewhere between the emails this week that said, “STOP POSTING BOOKS THAT JACK WITH US” and “I like you so much but sometimes I wish all ten of your typing fingers were broken,” I realized that Book Week is about to make a bunch of you pee your pants. You’ve hit your limit. The bladder is full. Time to back off.

So. I’m still going to recommend books today, but these are guaranteed to not urge you to sell your house or move to Guatemala or start using recycled toilet paper. These are in a different category: fiction or memoir or humor or anything else in the genre of Lighten Up, Jen.

These are books I looooooooved. Loved. Loved. Lovelovelove. L.O.V.E.D. Loved. (Not all of these books are G-rated. The end. Great literature never has been. The Bible has some very X-rated material, in fact. Do not send me emails saying some of these books said ess aych eye tee.)

Tina Fey

Oh my gosh. OHMYGOSH. Help me, Lord. Help me not pee my pants again like in 4th grade. It’s like this: Tiny Fey is my comedy muse. How can anyone be this funny and smart?? I love her so much, I want to break into her house and whisper into her ear while she sleeps that Jen Hatmaker should be her best friend.

You cannot read this book in public, because it will induce snorting and outbursts and tears of hysterics. I have read this book four times, if that tells you anything. Funny, funny, funny, funny, funny! Especially if you’re a Saturday Night Live fan. Or a fan of comedy. Or laughter and joy. Or smiling.

Let me give you this excerpt from Tina’s “Prayer for my Daughter” in Bossypants and leave it at that, because if you don't think this is hilarious, all hope is lost:

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with Beer.

Guide her and protect her when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.”
The Middle Place
Kelly Corrigan


SIGH. Sigh. Memoirs have been my favorite genre for the last three years, and it all began with The Middle Place. READ IT. I’m not even kidding. I’m not even afraid to boss you around right now. I cannot even tell you how much I loved this book. Every word. Every story. Every perfectly, beautifully, poignantly, endearingly captured moment. It is a masterpiece. Kelly Corrigan should be sainted as a writer. She is a glorious gift to literature. This family. This story. These people. It’s just too much. I can’t handle it. The writing and the stories and the love and the heartache…it’s too good. I’m sick.

Even writing about The Middle Place makes me want to run back to my tattered copy and read it for the 8th time. (Kelly’s dad, Greenie, bears such resemblance to my larger-than-life, beloved, infamous Dad, that as my sisters and I read this book individually, we’d text each other on breaks, in airports, and from workplace bathrooms to discuss which parts made us think of Dad while we were bawling and trying to act inconspicuous.)

I’ve mentioned before here that thanks to my Dad, I’ve been overvalued my entire life, so I’ll leave you with one of my favorite sections from The Middle Place:

In a revealing scene from the period right after she and Edward move in together, she gets in a snit when he isn't appropriately demonstrative following her midday phone call saying she's landed a new, high-paying job: Instead of arriving home that evening with a bottle of Champagne, he walks through the door and starts reading a bill from the day's mail. She explains her disappointment, and he smooths things over, but she knows she is inwardly comparing him to her dad, “a man who crowed about her ordinary achievements to strangers on the commuter train as if she had learned to live underwater.”
I Was Told There'd Be Cake
Sloane Crosley

Sometimes, when a writer reads other people's writing, she is overcome with a weird cocktail of awe, adoration, and envy, and that is exactly the narcotic that overwhelmed me when I stumbled upon Sloane Crosley. Smart. Hysterical. Nuanced. Inventive. This is the way Sloane Crosley writes her satirical essays. When will I ever be this funny and observant and awesome and bonkers?

She is a young New York resident and writer, which provides us its own bizarre demographic of retail, society, neurotic, and ambitious hilarity. She manages to draw you into the grief and confusion of life, as well as its outrageousness and irresponsibility. She is unique and endearing and hilarious, I’ll just leave you with some quotes from I Was Told There’d Be Cake and let you decide for yourself if you want to become one of her converts:

“I never asked my mother where babies came from but I remember clearly the day she volunteered the mother called me to set the table for dinner. She sat me down in the kitchen, and under the classic caveat of 'loving each other very, very much,' explained that when a man and a woman hug tightly, the man plants a seed in the woman. The seed grows into a baby. Then she sent me to the pantry to get placemats. As a direct result of this conversation, I wouldn't hug my father for two months.”

“Because, ten-year-olds of the world, you shouldn't believe what your teachers tell you about the beauty and specialness and uniqueness of you. Or, believe it, little snowflake, but know it won't make a bit of difference until after puberty. It's Newton's lost law: anything that makes you unique later will get your chocolate milk stolen and your eye blackened as a kid. Won't it, Sebastian? Oh, yes, it will, my little Mandarin Chinese-learning, Poe-reciting, high-top-wearing friend. God bless you, wherever you are.”

“Life starts out with everyone clapping when you take a poo and goes downhill from there. ”

“…and there's something about having an especially different name that makes it difficult to imagine what you would be like as a Jennifer.” (Cry me a river, Sloane. I was the 7th Jennifer in every class EVER.)
The Book Thief
Markus Zusak


Well, I cannot possibly say anything that hasn’t already been said by every critic, every reader, every human with a beating heart that has read this book and gone straight mad over it.

This book grabbed my heart out of my chest, pulverized it into oblivion, and handed it back to me as if it could ever be the same. Fiction. Narrated by “Death.” Set in Nazi Germany. It describes a young girl's relationship with her foster parents, the other residents of their neighborhood, and a Jewish fist-fighter who hides in her home during the escalation of World War II.

I can only tell you that I sat in my reading chair, getting to The Critical Parts, and I sobbed like a sobbing, hysterical, inconsolable baby until I thought I would simply die, I would die from sorrow and love. I would die from this perfectly written story and these characters who belonged to me, they were mine, they were my precious people and I was devoted to them. I would perish without them. I was there. In the basement. In the terror. In the bravery. In the devotion. In the sorrow. In the elation.

Gavin told me a few weeks ago: “Mom, I have to read a book this summer for AP English. It’s called The Book Thief. Do you have it?”

And I came unraveled and overreacted and staged a reading schedule and book talk and made my 7th grade daughter read it too and said YES YES YES we will read this together and we will cry and we will be moved and inspired and we will never be the same, and they are reading it right now, and if my kids don’t respond like I need them to, I will be forced to send them to boarding school and pretend like they are not of my blood line.


So there you have it. And for the other emails saying, “You are making us poor with these book recs you’re forcing us to buy. Why do you hate us?” I’ll remind you that all of these gems are in your local library. You can have free awesomeness. Unless, of course, you never return your books on time, and by the time you actually do, you owe more fines that the books actually cost, and your little “money saving initiative” has basically turned into a bill.

I’ve heard of people like this.

Back me up, people. Did you love these books too? What else have you read lately that we just have to know about?

(Last day for comments on Sacrilege and Anything. I'll draw winners this weekend!)

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Carmen - July 20th, 2012 at 8:35 AM
"The Reading Promise: My father and the Books We shared" by Alice Ozma. This is a book about a father and daughter who read together EVERDAY night for 9 years! OH as a lover of books and read alouds this book just met me in my heart. The types of books this father and daughter read together, the discussions, the amazing connection, the lessons learned, and the list goes on and on. I am not a parent (yet!), but I do have nieces and nephews and a few friends' children whom I am close to, I would love to be able read with them each chance I get. AND when I am blessed with a child, reading will be so much apart of our lives. Ozma talks about how families don't spend time together, kids are so busy! Let's step back and look at what our priorities are. ... SUCH A GOOD BOOK!
Marla Taviano - July 20th, 2012 at 1:26 PM
I loved that book too!
Mary Clifford - July 20th, 2012 at 8:50 AM
Ok, ok, please stop! I can't start any of these books yet because I have to read the following in the next two weeks: The Odyssey, The Aeniad, Plato 's Republic and some Sophocles. (can you tell I'm a teacher??) also have a PILE of books I have borrowed from others and should get back to them at some point...

Which leads me to another way to read books for free: borrow them from friends! : )

Best book I have read lately (besides Interrupted and 7, seriously) is an out of print book by Dorothy Sayers "Creed or Chaos?". Not a light read, but thought-provoking and good nutrition for the mind.

P.S. just so you don't get the total wrong idea I also "read" Calvin and Hobbes and love the kids' series "the Lightening Thief" by Rick Riordan.
dawn - July 20th, 2012 at 8:52 AM
I'm so excited your sharing your favorite books. I wanted to pick your brain and viola here it is!!! Ha ha. Thanks ;)
Katherine Willis Pershey - July 20th, 2012 at 9:02 AM
Please forgive the crass self-promotion; I'm in the jumping up and down for attention stage for my new book. But, I also love, love, love The Middle Place and it plays a significant role in the introduction to my book - Any Day a Beautiful Change: A Story of Faith and Family. I should be so bold as to trust that you would enjoy it.

I also loved, love, love 7. Thanks for kind of ruining my comfortable life, lady. ;) I'm going to pass along the ruination by reading the book with my Moms in Faith group this fall.
Jen Ardill - July 20th, 2012 at 9:06 AM
I Was Told There'd Be Cake
Old Married Lady - July 20th, 2012 at 9:25 AM
Please do yourself a favor and check out Bossypants as an audiobook. Tina reads it herself and if it is possible, it is even funnier that way. I am reading Halter's book now, it is excellent. Thanks for all of the recommendations, my Kindle is filling up!

Another awesome audiobook read by the author--Jane Fonda's memoir "My Life So Far"...what a fascinating lady. Did you know that she became a Christian in her late 50s? And her relationship with Ted is some kind of character. She is wise and gracious. I don't know how the print book would read since I checked out the audio from the library for another business road trip.
~angie - July 20th, 2012 at 9:26 AM
"Love Does", by Bob Goff. An easy, refreshing read that I laughed and cried through. No way you won't love it, or him, afterwards. He stinkin leaves his cell number at the end of the book. Founder of Restore International. You won't be sorry.
Emily - July 20th, 2012 at 9:43 AM
You've been gone far too long, Jen.

From now on I will attribute everything I love about you to your time in Louisiana, and everything I dislike to your leaving this awesome state.

Looking forward to reading in the Lighten up, Jen genre. :)
Lesley - July 20th, 2012 at 9:45 AM
I ADORE "30 Rock" and can't fathom Tina Fey's brain capacity - she is a genius. And "Mean Girls" might have changed my life way back when...

I will definitely be looking into these books - thank you so much for sharing!
Anita Neuman - July 20th, 2012 at 10:58 AM
If you're into biblical or historical fiction, nothing - I mean NOTHING - beats Liz Curtis Higgs' "Thorn In My Heart" series.
Christy - August 20th, 2012 at 9:12 AM
Absolutely, fantastic series.
Addie - July 20th, 2012 at 11:03 AM
The Book Thief totally killed me... :)

If you like the Hunger Games trilogy, then you should check into The Maze Runner trilogy.

Sheila - July 20th, 2012 at 11:07 AM
"The Book Thief" is one of my favorite books! After I finished it, I carried it around with me because I didn't want to return it to the library. I put it on my Christmas list so I would have my own copy.
Elizabeth - July 20th, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Perfect timing to post light entertaining reading. I have not read a one and would read each.
Dena Dyer - July 20th, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Okay, that does it. I'm coming to YOUR house and whispering in the night that we must be friends. Because I adored The Book Thief and The Middle Place, I'm a writing/speaking "minister's wife" who has been through the same re-orienting of life and faith that you have over the last few years (worked with refugees for two years, and I'll never be the same)-- and I have the same combination of awe, adoration and envy right now, as I read Seven. Oh, and I have been known to pee in my pants due to laughing at my kids, hubby...or Tina Fey.

Hope that doesn't make you fear me...I sound like a stalker, right? :) Sorry about that!

We traded emails when I lived in Fredericksburg a couple of years ago. Now, I'm back in Granbury and I wish I had made more of a priority to get together and share a taco with you. Perhaps one of these days? I could use a good road trip. :)
amanda - July 20th, 2012 at 12:28 PM
If you haven't read Jeannette Wall's The Glass Castle (another memoir) please do! It's incredible... and it makes me feel like my childhood was COMPLETELY normal!
Andrea A - August 5th, 2012 at 8:29 PM
One of my top 5 of all time. Horrific circumstances; zero self pity.
Tiffany - July 20th, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I'm so excited to see someone else who loves Sloane Crosley! I don't think she's gotten near enough credit. :)
Eryn - July 20th, 2012 at 1:17 PM
Thank you Thank you for the past couple posts. I checked out No Bike Riding in the House W/Out A Helmet from the library because it was briefly mentioned by you in 7. I loved it (we are adopting 3 right now) so I told my husband that I wanted to be able to ask Jen Hatmaker for more book recommendations and then you post these posts. Thanks for reading my mind :)

(And I woke my husband up at least 10 times with guffaws while reading Bossypants late at night- couldn't stop! Love that one.)
Kristen - July 20th, 2012 at 2:02 PM
I LOVED Bossypants. Her mother's version of "The Talk" was just a tad more informative than my moms.

Thanks for the suggestions. Child #1 has a double elimination baseball tourney this weekend so I need something to read while I pray for a loss, I mean, watch him play...
Doris - July 20th, 2012 at 2:13 PM
Yep, I really like Tina Fey's book, ESP. Her prayer for my daughter. Recommended it to my granddaughter for her use with my greats! Also enjoyed The Book Thief.
Danny - July 20th, 2012 at 5:08 PM
I started to read Bossypants right before reading 7. I thought you were pretty darned hilarious, yourself, and I got wrapped up in it, and then went on to read Interrupted. But thanks for the reminder to read Bossypants!
Angela Giles Klocke - July 20th, 2012 at 5:23 PM
"The Book Thief" KILLED me, and so then I had to make sure everyone else read it too. Also loved "The Middle Place."
Danielle D - July 20th, 2012 at 5:55 PM
I just cannot read Bossypants. The cover freaks me out. Maybe i'll buy it and rip the cover off.
Lanita - July 20th, 2012 at 6:36 PM
Your first three books on the list are some of my favs too. I agree with whoever said you must listen to Tina Fey reading Bossy Pants. Also liked the audio version of Rob Lowe reading his memoir "Stories I only tell my friends". He does voice imitations and it's hilarious.
Jenny - July 20th, 2012 at 7:19 PM
I can totally back you up on The Book Thief. It was on the required reading list for a young adult fiction class I took, and I'll admit, I went into it with low expectations. I was definitely wrong. I, too, had that moment (let's face it, that extremely long interlude) of sobs in the final sections of the story. So good. So inventive
Laura - July 20th, 2012 at 7:24 PM
And God Created the Au Pair is hilarious:)! There is *some* bad language, but I have to say I've never laughed louder reading a book. Also Same Kind of Different as Me is amazing.
Julie - July 20th, 2012 at 8:06 PM
I cackled out loud so annoyingly on a road trip with other people while reading Bossypants. Then made them suffer through that annoyance of me trying to read excerpts out loud which could not be understood since I was sobbing with laughter every other word. I love that Tina Fey.
Debbie stevenson - July 20th, 2012 at 8:39 PM
My absolute favorite book is 1000 gifts by Ann voskamp. She writes like no one else I've read. She has an incredible blog too a holy You will spend much time on there.
Joi - July 20th, 2012 at 8:47 PM
One of the best books I have ever read is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I read it out loud to my 11 year old son, and couldn't put it down. He begged me to keep reading. It has crossed over to adults reading it, because it has such a powerful message behind it. I PROMISE you that you will love it! Best book ever!
Lynne - July 20th, 2012 at 9:07 PM
The reading list grows longer and longer...whew...or listening list, and buying list., and reading on a tiny little thingy called a Kindle... Sorry I can't write more, but I've got to get started!

Loraine Erickson - July 20th, 2012 at 9:18 PM
I loved the book thief and the middle place. Would recommend Little Princes by Conor Grennan. AMAZING story.
Kathy - July 20th, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Should have listed these books in June, not at the end of July when summer is almost over! My time to read is quickly passing and there is WAY to big a pile of books on my bedside table!
Catherine Besk - July 20th, 2012 at 10:32 PM
For historical fiction, read Unbroken, it will kill you. Cultural fiction, set in India: readSister of My Heart - My husband asked if I should stop reading because I was sobbing so loudly- I dearly loved it.

A few more great reads: The Art of Racing in the Rain, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Same Kind Of Different as Me, The Glass Castle, Secret Daughter.

I LOVED The Book Thief and Tina Fey is a dear friend of mine, as she is yours.
flower patch farmgirl - July 20th, 2012 at 10:36 PM
Stop it. Stop it. This phenomenon just can't be adequately explained. If ever two people were cosmically connected by a comedienne, it would be you and I, sister. I wanted to interrupt our meeting earlier and ask BH what book you posted today, but it felt like it might be the wrong time. I have to admit, it cuts to the core that you asked TF to be your BFF on the same day I asked you to be my BFF.

Sidenote: TF is my husband's #1 celebrity crush. Nothing could possibly make me love him more.

Now, have you read Haven Kimmel's The Solace of Leaving Early? You need to. And I'm reading Hold Love Strong by Matthew Aaron Goodman and it's cutting me into the tiniest pieces. It's pulverizing me. Set in the projects and totally rated R. Make me care. The writing is so much perfection that I now believe I should hang up the thought of ever writing another paltry word. Just leave it to the experts.


Talia Scottt - July 21st, 2012 at 12:22 AM
Is it totally stalkerish that the best part of the whole post for me was the part about you living in Houma, LA!! I was born and raised in Houma, still live here almost 35 years later. We totally could have passed each other up in the mall or something! I keep envisioning where you might have lived or went to church, and I just feel this totally awesome bond between us now! I know you must feel it too! Lol!

Thanks for all the book suggestions, I love your blog and your books! I will see you at dotMOM in September! Can't wait for that! I'll be the one with the sign that says "me and Jen used to be neighbors!" Too much?? Nah, I didn't think so! Haha!
Barbara Belman - July 21st, 2012 at 1:57 AM
loved this contributed list. One of my faves is The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox. Currently reading Seven Sacred Pauses (thank you for that title in Seven).
Erin - July 21st, 2012 at 6:51 AM
I absolutely adored The Book Thief. I finished reading it one hour into a 24 hour flight back to Australia from Europe and cried unashamedly in front of all the other passengers for a good half hour before I decided I'd read it again (I did have a good 23 hours to kill still). One of those books that is so good you never want it to be finished.

I also really enjoyed The History of Love by Nicole Krauss - another beautifully written book addressing themes of identity and loss related to the Second World War.

Another great one is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary-Ann Schafer and Annie Barrows, also set during World War Two. Also beautiful for the story behind it. It is the author's first and last novel - she contracted cancer and became to ill to finish it so asked her niece, Annie Barrows, to finish it. Sadly Mary Ann died three months before the book was published. but a beautiful and uplifting story.

The Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde is also hilarious, creative and great fun. The first one in the series in The Eyre Affair - if you love classic literature and have always wished you could just jump in and out of your favourite books, you will love these :-)

Thanks for sharing these Jen, looking forward to chasing these up
Christa - July 21st, 2012 at 7:50 AM
Just read first two of the Divergent Series. I think I enjoyed it more than Hunger Games. You should give it a shot. I don't remember any ess aych eye tee.
Kathi - July 21st, 2012 at 11:09 AM
LOVED all of these too!!! Tina Fey...ha ha ha!!! She's awesome. I also liked Rob Lowe's autobiography. I've heard the Keith Richard's book is really good too but haven't read it. I loved Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (BEST book ever!!!!)
Holly - July 21st, 2012 at 1:26 PM
Sounds like great books! And my 2.5 year old's name is Sloane! :)
Jami - July 21st, 2012 at 9:23 PM
I now want to read all of these books! I have The Book Thief on my "to read" books. I'll move it to the forefront. Since I *might* not be able to check out any books from the library because of a few too many fines, I am going to have to set myself a book budget. You made me want to stop reading the David Silva novel I am reading (because I just read a novel about two teens with cancer _The Fault in Our Stars_ and _Her Fearful Symmetry_ which is a little about ghosts, a little about death, and a little about right and wrong and I needed something that just took me away for a bit). I might need one more sassy,fun read before I start _The Book Thief_. I can only cry so much in one month :-).
Kim - July 22nd, 2012 at 10:18 AM
love love loved bossypants and am excited to check out some of the other books you mentioned in parts 1, 2,
carol - July 22nd, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Wild by Cheryl Strayed.It is a Must Read! Do not be like I was ....I dont want to tead a book about a woman hiking. THE CANDOR that she writes with is unbelievable.It is my one book title this year that I offer up. UNBROKEN is another must!
aussie monica - July 22nd, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond. You will laugh and cry copiously!
Elisabeth Shabouk - July 22nd, 2012 at 5:14 PM
The Book Thief was great and so real; my favorite character was Rosa. I would recommend The Help, I just finished it and want to read it again; favorite character is Minnie. For those lovers of elephants (like myself) I recommend The Elephant Whisperer.
Lindsay - July 24th, 2012 at 12:53 AM
I'm the kind of person who used to be so clean with my books, so gentle and loving... and then I read your book "7" (currently reading with my book club) and I'm marking that thing up like it's is an essay! (in a good way). Highlighters, pens, arrows, comments... oh man Jen I think you broke me lol!
Julie - July 24th, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Um..I wish you could've been a teeny hysterical fly on the wall when, in an unmentioned Lifeway bookstore, I picked up one of your books that referenced Bossypants, and marched myself up to the counter and had the little girl search for it, to see if perhaps they had a copy of this book you recommended! Um, no. Oops. :)
Sarah M. - July 24th, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I read Girl Walks Into a Bar by Rachel Dratch last week. This week I'm reading Bossypants. Guess I'm feeling the SNL thing these days. I try not to read them in public, though, because of the huge bursts of laughter that come forth whenever I'm reading. Then again... guffawing to myself in public wouldn't be the worst thing I've done.
Chrystal Murphy - July 26th, 2012 at 12:53 PM
I just finished Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend - great book. Also the Maze Runner series if you like teen fiction - really good series.

The Book Thief was on my list to read but this may have bumped it up to "next". Thanks for sharing.
Tarah Hoffland - July 28th, 2012 at 10:39 AM
LOVE book recommendations! I always go straight to my library website and get them, especially if they are memoirs! Apparently I'm not the only reader of your blog in my area. I'm in line for all of these.
Courtney - July 30th, 2012 at 11:39 AM
AH! I just read The Book Thief and I've been dying to talk to someone about it. I read it on the way home from vacation. My husband was driving and I was in the passenger seat sniffling, wiping my nose, and then outright sobbing. I finished it and just sat there, stunned and amazed, heart so full and torn and beating so loudly I could hardly bear it. My hubby (bless his soul) tried to ask me what it was about and why I was suddenly an emotional wreck, but there were no words. Just sighs, and heart clutches, and "well you see....there was this little girl..and she liked this boy...and there was the one in the basement...and....ahhh! I can't explain it." Anyway, I borrowed the book from the library which was clearly a mistake because I want to have this book on my bookshelf at every moment so I can pick it up and read whenever I need to be whisked away, broken, healed. So. freaking. beautiful.
alinna - August 3rd, 2012 at 8:23 PM
saving this and going to the library TOMORROW. thanks for such an awesome list. i loved bossy pants like whoa, and i have loved books on the holocaust since middle school.. so, i'm thinking i'll be head over heels for all of these. gracias!
Meg Davis - August 4th, 2012 at 1:13 AM
You make my soul hungry. One day ... One day!!! Meantime, I'm reaching for my frozen parsley ... God's gift to all kitchens.
Claire - August 7th, 2012 at 5:33 PM
"Today, on a small couch in the lobby, one social-security recipient asked, “Who do you think would enjoy that book more, me or my wife?”

Well that depends, sir. How much does your wife enjoy fart jokes?"

Read my full Bossypants reaction here.
Margie - August 11th, 2012 at 3:59 PM
Getting to this late: Two of my favorite books are The Middle Place and The Book Thief. Just read The Book Thief for the second time in a year - I had to. And The Middle Place is just plain good. And real. Thumbs up for your recs.
Ayesha H. - August 22nd, 2012 at 11:15 AM
If you love Tina Fey and wants some light hearted humor (and to tell you the truth so remembrance of self) I love the book "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me" by Mindy Kaling. It is funny and mostly clean. I can relate to her a lot. All your books are great choices. Love your blog.
rachel - August 23rd, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Jen. Where has your blog been my whole life?!

The only book on this list I haven't read is the memoir - which, after seeing your other suggestions, I need to run and get RIGHT NOW.

My favorite book is Freddy
Kelly - August 21st, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Jen. I love your blogs so much and couldn't agree with Rachel more...where has your blog been all my life?? You speak my language and I swear we are twins, separated at birth!

I am such a reader and have read only one of the books on your lists so CANNOT WAIT to get started!!
Shea Jones - February 1st, 2015 at 4:12 PM
I ordered The Book Thief two years ago I think when you posted this and just now got around to reading it. Might be my favorite book of all times. Thanks for suggesting it. And sorry I'm so slow :)
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