Friday, June 22, 2012

Social Media Experiment

One of my favorite authors, Jen Lancaster (, is doing a social media experiment, asking folks to post, blog, tweet about her and/or her work.  Okay, Jen, here ya go and this is probably overdue, anyway:

A couple years ago I joined my friend Gloria, her husband and some friends for a few days in Hawaii.  I asked Gloria about the book she was reading with the intriguing title, "Such a Pretty Fat", and she told me about one of her favorite authors, Jen Lancaster, and that she reads one of her books for fun every year when she goes to Hawaii.

Having just finished a serious novel ("Cutting for Stone" by Abraham Verghese, which I loved), I was looking for a little lighter reading.  I Googled Jen Lancaster (doesn't everyone do a background check on an author before you read?), read up a little, got caught up in her blog and discovered she writes memoirs where the action mostly takes place in my old home of Chicago.  I downloaded "Bitter is the New Black" to my Kindle and was instantly smitten.

Although not quite a decade older, I could relate to some of the stories and certainly the terrain.  No, I'm not snarky or the mean girl to my colleagues, but I secretly enjoyed the thought of having the nerve to unleash one at one of my accounts, at just the perfect opportunity.  I did it vicariously through Jen.

I couldn't get enough of Jen's sarcasm, her wit and her humor.  My husband would get annoyed when I'd open the Kindle in bed, "Going to bed with Jen again?"  My guffaws would be louder than my husband's snoring; my snickers while reading in the doctor's office would turn heads, and I became a citizen of Jennsylvania.  I caught up on all of her books (because I always read my authors in the order their books are published) just as "If You Were Here" came out.  Then I had to wait a whole year before the latest one, "Jeneration X" came out.  Just like when I caught up with "Weeds", "24" and "Dexter as new seasons started and had to wait another week to watch Jack Bauer save the world.  Hate. to. wait.

However, I had a secret weapon - if I can't Read Ms. Lancaster, then I'll read what she recommends!  That's how I came to read a non-fiction book about cells:  "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" .  I loved it. 

So, then I had to "like" her page on Facebook, keep up with her blog and I have her autograph on a bookplate for "Jeneration X" stuck to my Kindle cover. I find myself talking about the Jen Lancaster books to my friends, especially my Chicago area friends.  Now I even prescribe her books to friends going through tumultuous times.  The ol' laughter is the best medicine thingy.

I shipped off "Bitter is the New Black and "Bright Lights Big Ass" to a friend (who had lived in Chicago) who was going through marital strife.  I just bought "Bitter is the New Black" for a friend in a mid-life crisis.  Really, if you can laugh - and I dare you not to as you make your way from Bitter to Bright Lights to Pretty (x2) to Lazy and to her first novel before landing at Jeneration - it will give you some respite from the crap we all go through. If we can laugh with Jen and Jen's faults, foibles and fun, then we know we will be fine, too.

Thanks, Jen, for being there when we need you.  Good luck with your social media experiment and please come to Long Beach/Orange County on your next book tour.

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