First: On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Everything about this guy is amazingly poetic, including his name. Really, I just enjoy looking at it. I think I have a thing for “k’s” in names. I always have. When I was younger I wanted to name my daughters Kassandra, Kellie, and Katie.  That just reminded me of a journal entry I have from college. Apparently, I like to plan ahead for stuff like this. So, here it is

“Possible children’s names”:

Girls:Leilani, Adrienne, Jayden, Mackenzie, Ariana, Rorie, Rosalind, Galadrial (Obviously, I was reading a lot of Shakespeare and Tolkien at the time)

Boys: Mason, Marshall, Clayton (And I want my boys to all grow up and be country singers…)

Directly before my list of future children’s names I have an address to somewhere in Grand Rapids (196 W–> 1st Ch Drive Exit … Merge –> 8th Ave … Yellow Sign). And immediately following I have a Laffy Taffy joke (What did one leaf say to another? I’m falling for you). Hmm…

Seriously, though, J.K. (and I don’t mean Rowling) is fantastic, especially when you are on the road a lot anyway. I listened to this on CD as I was driving home for Gracie’s high school graduation and then finished it on the way to Amanda’s wedding. I especially enjoyed when he waxed poetic about Colorado. But, mostly, I realized how brave some people are. Yes, I like to experience new places, but I also just like to be with close friends and family. And most of my friends and family who know me well know that my ULTIMATE “happy place” would be to have everyone together at one big worship service praising God and loving each other and Jesus. But, I think I might have to wait until Heaven for that one.

Second: The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster. Recommended by Jay Johnson. Well, he didn’t personally recommend it, but I read his little recommendation card at Schwartz’s on Downer while taking a break from tutoring a friend. The tone of the book was very conversational. I thought I might be a bit bored at first, but eventually I found myself engaged in the story and invested in the characters. The ending was a total surprise especially for a person who usually pays close attention to dates.

Third, First Boy by one of my absolute favorite authors and friends, Gary Schmidt. Well, I suppose we aren’t really friends. I met him at The Festival of Faith and Writing  and we’ve exchanged a few emails in which I told him his book, The Wednesday Wars, was fantastic and recommended a few books to him. Oh, and he teaches at Calvin which is basically a sister to Cornerstone (really, if they were in the Reformation together, they would have been friends… well except that C-stone is more Armenian, but minus a few petals to the TULIP… 😉 or at least right down the street. And I have been involved in a few TP pranks on Calvin back in the day. So, yeah, we’re friends. And First Boy is every bit as good as TWW. Can’t wait to read the next one, Trouble.

Fourth: So Long, See You Tomorrow  by William Maxwell  recommended by Liam Callanan. Again, I really enjoyed the tone of this book. All of the connections between the characters was fascinating to watch, especially when M. started including the feelings of the dog. I didn’t cry when reading it… no really! Or not really. I think I might have to add this one to my collection of books that I re-read often. Right next to To Kill a Mockinbird. There are so many great themes and things that you can learn about people and emotions and writing and life that I can’t imagine not re-reading it.

What’s next? Lots more books!

And preferably some female writers. The males have been dominating the scene lately. I’m thinking Amanda Davis’ Wonder When You’ll Miss Me, though I am worried that I will definitely cry when I read that one: