#TopTenTuesday – Books with Sensory Memories

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Books with Sensory Memories

Oooo, this is a juicy topic!

Image result for salivates gif

Okay, now that I’ve distracted us all with that Emma Stone gif…. back to it! Sense memories! You know, things you see or feel or taste or smell that remind you of such-and-such time that your brother’s sister’s mother’s uncle did that one thing and everyone was like…

You get the idea!

The first book that popped into my head was Eclipse (Twilight #3). I was on a vacation with my parents and my sister when I was reading this. And, if I remember correctly, we were in an area where the only activities were 1) go out on the lake or 2) go shopping. So, I was able to do a LOT of reading! Anyhoo, I was on Twilight 3 and I devoured it and #4 in like a day and a half. So now anytime I see these books I’m reminded of that vacay!

This next book was a bit harder to come up with. Which books did I associate with other sights, sounds or smells!?!? I yelled at myself. Enter:ย  Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations. You know those little tabby sticky notes, especially yellow ones, yeah. Those are what I associate Great Expectations with. When I was reading it in high school, like the little precocious thing that I was, I kept sticking those little yellow tabs (on nearly every page!) in the book so now anytime I see a package of them, I think of Dickens. Weird, right?

This next sense memory is NOT so pleasant. Roach spray. Yep, you saw that right. Roach spray. When I was living in Texas those things were the scariest, hugest, bane of my existence ever! And when I was trying to read The Hunger Games, those MFers just kept coming at me. The odds were NOT in my favor. I really hope my books don’t smell like roach spray now… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Stupid Texas cockroaches!

Uuuuh, uuuuh, apparently I don’t have many sense memories.

Any time I smell hot cocoa or feel the warmth from my gas fireplace it reminds me of when I was reading Queen of Shadows by SJM. There’s actually a photo of the particular night this whole sense memory came together on my IG. I was in my jam-jams. It was cold out so I had on my fuzzy booties too. I turned the fire on low, got my cup of cocoa and just read all night. Of course, that’s not the first time I had done that (book, cocoa, fire), but for some reason (maybe because there’s a picture of it) Queen of Shadows is what I associate with those smells and feels now.

Salty tears remind me of when I was reading Ned Vizzini’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Terrible movie by the way! Just awful, but the book really got me in the feels. I read it after I’d gone through a really hard time, and I will probably always associate it with salty tears on my cold cheeks on a hot summer day.

Lumberjanes vol. 1 is the next thing that comes to mind. My old office, think dungeony and soul-sucking, is what I associate with this delightful girl-power romp. Weird juxtaposition that!

All right. Made it to six! Now for four more…

Here’s another not so fun one. Period cramps. I had a particularly bad case when I was on vacation in Florida one year, which happened to be the same year that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published. So, now I associate period cramps with defeating Voldemort. I think that’s fitting.

The first year of college is always full of memories, sense and otherwise. I think maybe our senses go into overdrive that year. Or maybe that was just me. Anyway, I still remember the way my room smelled (like hairspray and mold GROSS), and the feel of the cold tile floors on my bare feet, and my soft, fuzzy blue blanket on my way-too-tiny twin bed, and on and on. My RA that year invited several of us to read a book with her. It was my first foray into fantasy, and I will never forget it, The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon.

Bubble baths and witches. Those obviously go together right? Well, for me they do. The scent of lavender bubble bath brings me back to when I was reading Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older. Also, whiskey. I was inspired by the cover art and spent one very interesting evening thinking I could be an artist. Silly ole liquid!

Iced coffee and Barnes & Noble Starbucks = Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum. That may have been the only day I actually enjoyed this book. Hmmm.

Let me know about your bookish sense memories in the comments, or point me to your TTT.

Happy reading, loves!





Sunday Quotables

I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately, and by writing I mean editing. It’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and I set a goal of editing 31 hours (1 hour a day). Of course, me being me, I can’t make myself do anything consistently, so it’s been more like: edit 30 minutes here, edit 3 hours there, etc. And, of course, me being me, I’m behind. Le sigh.

However, I’m only a couple of hours behind. I’ve found that setting a much smaller goal has been very beneficial. I feel like I can actually do it! I’m going to win Camp this year for the first time ever! I’ve also been writing every. single. day. That’s unheard of for me! I am a by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person, despite my best efforts to be organized and diligent.

So, what’s changed? Well, not to sound like an affiliate or anything because I’m not, but I found this write chain challenge over on Writerology, and it’s basically changed my whole life. Now, I’m only 19 days into my challenge. Some people have 999 links in their chain! I’m sitting at 19 links going, that is never going to be me, but who knows! Maybe it will be.

I’ll leave you today, with a thought from Mr. Hemingway…


The only kind of writing is rewriting_Sunday Quotable

Interesting notion, Mr. Hemingway.

Happy Sunday!

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham — A Review

talkingFastCanTalking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between)ย by Lauren Graham

RaeleighReads rating:ย love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236

Just go buy this and read it and love it. Can my review end there? No? Well, all right. I’ll give you a few reasons. ๐Ÿ˜›

I have been watching and re-watching Gilmore Girls since it came out in 2000. There I was, at the ripe old age of thirteen (stop doing the math!), watching Rory. A girl who loved her books. Just like me! A girl who studied, and stayed at home, and had a freakishly close relationship with her mother. Just like me! Well, needless to say I was hooked. Now, before you get mad at me, and say, “Raeleigh, this is supposed to be a review of a BOOK not the TV show.” I know. But the TV show is the reason I heard of Lauren Graham in the first place. Then I saw her through the years in various movies and then again in the beloved Parenthood (I’m not crying, you’re crying, omgthatshowbreaksmyhearteverytime).

So when I found out there was a memoir, I HAD to have it. Then it languished on my shelf for a couple of years. I know, I know, what kind of book reviewer am I!?!? But then. This year. It worked as one of my challenge books for the Read Harder Challenge. What luck! Number 12 is “a celebrity memoir.”

Now, if you liked quick-witted, fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore, then you will like this memoir. Lauren Graham’s writing is very much like Lorelai’s speaking. A fellow book reviewer told me she listened to the audio book, which Graham narrates herself. I must now get my hands, err..ears, on that! I can only imagine it’s even more amazing being delivered in her iconic voice.

Graham lets us in on some pretty private moments in her life. From growing up with her dad to schlepping it in New York, working all kinds of jobs so that she could pursue her dream of being an actor. I think for me, that was the part I liked most. I knew I would love hearing about her time on the Gilmore Girls and A Year in the Life sets. But it is always so inspiring to me to hear artists describe their early years. What I have started calling, the “lean years.”

What all of these artists, who eventually “make it”, have in common, is that they never, ever, ever gave up. They just kept working at the thing they love. It gives me the warm fuzzies and a sort of frenetic energy in my chest that makes me want to get up and do things!

Have I gushed enough yet? No? Guuuuussssshhhhhh. There you go. Now go get this!

Happy reading, lovelies!

The Dance Gods: A New York Memoir by Kenny Pearl — A Review

danceGodsThe Dance Gods: A New York Memoir by Kenny Pearl

RaeleighReads rating:ย love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236love--coffee-png-image-52236

Summary from goodreads: ย When Kenny Pearl arrived in New York City, determined to succeed as a dancer, he was penniless, friendless and jobless. His memories shine against the backdrop of the turbulent ’60s and ’70s, including Vietnam War protests, the military draft and the rampant crime that once plagued the city. From humble beginnings in the hippie-populated Lower East Side, to performing with the greats of the New York modern dance scene-he danced with the companies of both Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey-Pearl’s life is one of tenacity, hard work and passion. This is the engaging story of the hurdles he faced on his unique journey and the remarkable people he met along the way….

When Mr. Pearl queried my blog, he said in response to one of the criteria in my review policy, “Yes- there are superheroes in it, if you consider, as I do, people who take super risks to reach the top of the dance world, as heroes.”

Well, I do consider those people superheroes. Have you ever witnessed a professional dance class? They’re bloody agonizing. And the dancers go full out, on move after move, trying to reach this illusive thing called perfection. To top it off, they do it on top of sore muscles and bruised and battered feet. It’s absolutely incredible!

I used to dance, when I was a kid. I loved it! There is something about moving your body to music and trying to defy gravity that brings such a sense of joy. This memoir made me remember all of those wonderful hours spent staring at myself in a mirror, doing twirl after twirl, leap after leap. My dancing days ended way too soon, but I was able to pursue my artistic side through music as a pianist. I felt such a kinship with Mr. Pearl as he talked about the need to express himself, and the physical ailments he experienced when he couldn’t do so.

His story is so passionate and genuine, and I’m sure many, many people can relate to it. From a wide-eyed idealist as an eighteen-year-old kid in Canada to a seasoned dancer in New York, Kenny Pearl lets us peer into the world of a professional dancer during the heyday of modern dance. One of the dances he speaks a lot about in the book is Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Here is an excerpt, Sinner Man from 2016 (I think):

Pearl danced with both Alvin Ailey’s and Martha Graham’s dance companies. If you don’t know who Martha Graham is, or even if you do, here is another little gem I’d like to share with you:

If you like dance at all. If you like memoirs at all. If you like the 60s and 70s at all. This is for you. Seriously, pick it up today, and prepare to be inspired!

Happy reading, lovelies!