Monday, March 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday!

Courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme about making lists. And I love making lists, so it is a match made in Heaven. This week's topic is:

March 28: Top Ten Authors I'm Dying to Meet/Ten Authors I Can't Believe I Met (some other 'meeting authors' type spin you want to do).

Now, I know what you might be thinking. If you are someone who reads my blog regularly, you know that I am slightly into history. It makes sense then that I would want to meet historians. And I so frequently talk about my obsession with Dan Jones and his books, (it probably makes him slightly uncomfortable), so you are assuming this whole post will be about him.

Well guess what?!

You're not totally wrong, I wrote the most about him. And Bernie. But more on that later.

My list this week is going to seem slightly wonky (some of the authors are no longer living, that creates a problem), and I am naturally not totally following the rules, but here are a few authors I would truly love to meet and ask them endless questions about their work and lives and if we can BFFs. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Mindy Kaling
(Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? and Why Not Me?)

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Okay, so technically she is not ONLY an author, and she was known for her acting and such first. But she has two books published now so she counts. I dare you to read either of her books and not tell me she is the coolest. I just know we would be BFFs if we knew each other in real life. It is hard for some comedians to be funny in multiple formats, but here she is just as funny as on her television shows. I so desperately hope she is as down-to-earth as she comes across in her books.

2. William Shakespeare
(I seriously doubt anyone needs me to list any of his work)

See what I mean, this one being tricky and all, because he's been dead 400+ years. My reasons are two-fold - I absolutely adore Much Ado About Nothing and would love to meet the person who created Beatrice and Benedick to congratulate him, while at the same time asking wtf is up with Claudio and Hero. I mean, really. Arguably two of his wittiest characters and two of his dumbest. Though, full disclosure, I could really have it in for Hero because Kate Beckinsale absolutely annoyed me in the movie.

3. L.M. Montgomery
(The Anne of Green Gables series)


Again, we have the issue of life and death getting in the way of this meeting.

Oh how I loved Anne Shirley and wanted to BE her, Anne with an 'e'. Every day at recess my best friend Amy and I would play Anne of Green Gables. I would be Anne, she would be Diana, and we would pretend to have all the adventures that those two had in the books we loved so dearly. Unfortunately we could never convince any of the boys to be Gilbert Blythe to re-enact the pond scene. Oh, well. The first book has always been my most favorite, though I loved them all. I loved seeing Anne grow, and then her children as well. I can't wait for my daughter to read this series and I hope she loves it as much as I do.

4. Louisa May Alcott
(Little Women, Little Men, Jo's Boys)

(I could not find the covers of my own copies on Goodreads because, as you an imagine, there are hundreds of different covers to scroll through and ain't nobody got time for that.)

Yes, another deceased author. I know. But it's my list so...whatever.

Little Women is one of my all-time favorite books. I had read the book several times in elementary school, but THEN it was made into a movie and Christian Bale was Laurie and it was all over for me. I was completely obsessed and had to own as many of the different covers as I could find. Every time I went to the bookstore, I had to find a copy of Little Women. I was so heartbroken that even in Hollywood, Jo and Laurie wouldn't be together (though as an adult I realize even Hollywood recognized they couldn't change that; it would change the entire book and that would have infuriated even more people). I treasure my hardcover copies of all three and can't wait to share these with my daughter.

5. Rita Williams-Garcia
(One Crazy Summer, P.S. Be Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama)


I had the pleasure of meeting Rita Williams-Garcia earlier this month at a family night event at the school where I teach. During the afternoon she gave a presentation to the intermediate students, as school-wide we are reading her first book in this trilogy, One Crazy Summer. I am loving it so far and definitely recommend it, though my class and I are not done with yet. After the presentation students could have their books autographed, so I also got an autograph, asked her a bit about her career and said I was a writer too. She took such a genuine interest in my project, I could have talked for another hour to her, picking her brain about her own journey into authorship and everything that goes along with it. She then returned during family night and gave a presentation to parents about her books. I had brought my daughter to family night and she ended up winning  copy of the third book Gone Crazy in Alabama in the raffle. Afterwards Mrs. Williams-Garcia signed my daughter's book as well, and had been so patient with her when Eleanor insisted on showing off her art project she had made at one of the stations. She was amused and even in her autograph of Eleanor's book, mentioned the art project; it was a very personalized autograph, which she was in no way obligated to do. I thought that was very cool of her.

6. Dan Jones
(The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England
The Wars of the Roses: The Fall of the Plantagenets and the Rise of the Tudors
Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty
Summer of Blood: England's First Revolution)


Imma try real hard to not be crazy here. Bear with me. Basically, Dan Jones is my favorite historian. I've read all his books and am so excited for his Knights Templar book that I can't even stand it. But it is not being released until September and the wait is killing me. I also am quite fond of his series 'Secrets of Great British Castles'. One of my favorite parts of the show is obviously seeing these magnificent structures that still stand today, some I've even been to - Stirling Castle is quite possibly my favorite castle ever. My OTHER favorite part of the show is how adorable it is when he asks the castle historians questions that he already knows the answers to but pretends he doesn't.

Something else that makes Dan Jones pretty cool is that he actually responds to his fans on Facebook and Twitter. I have been lucky to interact with quite a few of my favorite historians, mainly via Twitter. It enhances the reader's experience to know that their opinions are valued by someone they admire. (Also super awesome about this: Tracy Borman and Amy Licence. AND they're great writers too. What a deal.) And here's a little brag: Dan - I can call him by his first name now, right? Like, we're cool like that? - even linked to my review of Summer of Blood. On his Facebook page. And called it 'a kind review'. His statement is pretty kind, because even I did not think it was my best review. Even when his crazy fans write okay reviews, he makes them feel like a million bucks.

All jokes aside, I do have an actual reason for my affinity for him (besides the tattoos, British accent, history knowledge, and the fact that he's a very good-looking man). When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2013, I had just moved to a new city for a new job. I did not know anyone and had no friends. Basically, I lived at the library because all I did was read. I was also in a bind because I had no idea what I was going to name my baby girl. Had she been a boy, no problem, Cameron David (Cameron being 'Cameron Indoor Stadium', where Duke plays and 'David' being my grandpa), boom, named. But I had no name for a girl. Or, I had names, but none sounded right. Then, about a month before my girl was born, I read The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England and I met Eleanor of Aquitaine. I'd found The Name.

So Dan Jones, thank you for helping me find the absolute perfect name for my sweet girl. That is one of the many reasons, but the most important one to me, that I adore you and your work so much.

7. Bernie Sanders

What?! He's not an author, you say?? Then what is this:


I'll tell you what it is. It is a book that made me so happy and was so comforting in those dark days between the election and that event on January 20th. While there was a lot of information I already knew it was still great to read, and as I was doing so, it was like Bernie was reading it to me because it was his voice I was hearing in my head instead of my own. I've never felt the way about a presidential candidate before the way I felt about Bernie and his campaign. This election cycle was the first time I have ever caucused (with my daughter in tow), the first time I donated (multiple times), the first time I bought t-shirts and signs. I truly believe in Bernie (still do) and his message and without getting too political, it is disgusting what is happening to our country right now. That being said, I am not looking for political debate here and will not entertain it. If you want to argue politics, go find someone on Twitter or Facebook to bother.

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It's not often you get to see your hero in person, let alone shake his hand, take a selfie, tell him you love him, and ugly cry (see what you have to look forward to Dan Jones?!) while photographers ask for your name and email address. It's also pretty neat when those same photographers email you photos of it all. I am holding my daughter in the picture below and she knew very well who Bernie was. We caucused for him in March of 2016 and she loves watching Bernie videos. Her favorite by far was the one when the bird landed on the podium. We still watch it. It was kind of overwhelming when she saw him in person and she suddenly got shy. But he patted her on the back and told me I had a tired baby, then graciously took a photo with us. It was an unforgettable night and I am so glad Eleanor and I had this opportunity.

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So there you have it. Two author I've met, two I hope to meet, and three I can't meet because they are unfortunately no longer living. Which authors are you dying to meet, or which authors have you already been lucky enough to meet? Let me know!

Happy Reading,


  1. What a fun combination of dead and alive, met and want to meet. Shakespeare and Sanders on the same list. Wow. My TTT

    1. Thank you Anne! I kind of felt like it was cheating a little to include dead authors, but if I had a time machine I would go back and meet them, and it's pretty much the same thing, right?? Happy Reading, thanks for coming by!

  2. I was so tempted to put some authors on my list who are no longer living. I would've loved to meet Roald Dahl! :-)

    1. I just knew I had to. I could not leave off Shakespeare - when the First Folio was traveling last year to various museums, I CRIED when I saw it. He would be a must. And then we could settle that darn debate over WHO he really is (I will always believe he is who we have thought all along, and not a member of the nobility in disguise.) What do you think?

    2. Also, good call on Roald Dahl. I LOVE Matilda! (What book nerd doesn't though, right?!)

  3. Love it! I would enjoy being bff with Mindy Kaling too. ;) Great list!

    1. I LOVE HER! Even though Kelly was so ridic on The Office, I loved the characters. And we ALL know people like her. So funny. We could be the three best friends and be so cool and also get to meet BJ Novak. Those eyes of his though. Wow.

  4. How exciting for you to meet Bernie like that! Great photos you got with him. I wonder how different things would have been if he had won the nomination. I like your list and don't see anything wrong with wishing you could meet authors who are no longer with us. Oh and if I'm near you when you meet Dan, I'll make sure I get out of your way! *giggles*

    1. It was seriously the second greatest day of my life (the first being of course when my daughter was born). We lucked out because we arrived kind of late to get in line and I was worried we would not get in, as it was all general admission and standing-only. But luckily we did and we got the last spot by the railing, right where he walked in. I about died. It was so amazing to hear him in person, and to hear that passion in his voice for yourself. I truly believe that he would have won had he been the nominee. The DNC has no one to blame but themselves. Time and again they were shown how unpopular Clinton was among Independents. Those people were crucial and she did nothing to earn their trust or their votes and it is so beyond frustrating because this "administration" is truly dangerous.

      I am glad you approve of the mixing possible and not-possible authors. I just loved Montgomery and Alcott so much as a child, those books are among the most dear to me now.

      I really hope I do get to meet Dan Jones some day! I am keeping a watch for his Templars book tour and if he is anywhere within a 500 miles radius, I'M THERE! :)

  5. Shaespeare- how wild would THAT be? And Bernie too- nice picks. :)

    1. RIGHT??!! Can you even imagine?? Once he got over the culture shock of the mockery that is being made of the English language today, he would be bombarded with so many questions, the poor guy wouldn't know what to think.

      And Bernie is the best :)

  6. I adore your list! I actually just finished reading Anne of Green Gables for the very first time. I loved it so much. I'm a bit envious that you had so many adventures pretending to be Anne as a child. I would've loved that! That's so great that you met Bernie! I love him. He's so inspiring.

    1. Thank you Lori! I think it would be perfectly acceptable for you to have your own Anne adventures now, or perhaps when your kiddo(s?) are a little older and then they can play too and it will look like you are just acting out the book for them but really, it is for you, haha :)

      I about died. Never did I imagine I would get to meet Bernie Sanders. And then I called him Bernie instead of Senator Sanders and told him we loved him and how much we wished he was the nominee. Such a great moment in my life, even while I was ugly-crying :)

  7. In my mind, I imagine Mindy Kaling is exactly like her characters on TV so I think it would be awesome to meet her. I would probably embarrass myself reacting to her like her Mindy character on the Mindy Project show. Haha.

    1. Yes! I think she plays fun characters and I feel like she is a fun, easy-going person and I hope I am not wrong because that would be such a bummer!

  8. This is an excellent mix of authors! And I'm in awe that you've met Bernie!

    Here is my TTT.

    1. IT WAS AMAZING!! Meeting Bernie, I mean. Thank you for the list compliment too :)

      We lucked out and the stars aligned perfectly for this one magic time. I did not think we would even get into the venue, but not only did we make it in, we literally got the last open place next to the railing and the door he walked through to get to the stage. So we were the first people he saw when he came in, and the last he talked to walking out. I still can't believe it happened. Even now my daughter talks about it and says, "I was a little shy, but we got to meet Bernie!" And I love that she KNOWS who he is. Seeing her eyes as he walked toward us, she was in awe too!

  9. Love your list! I didn't even think of doing a list of authors who are no longer with us that I would have loved to meet (that would actually make a great TTT), and Shakespeare, Montgomery and Alcott would all make my list too.
    Love the pics of you with Bernie! And obviously I need to give this Dan Jones guy a read, huh? :)

    My Top Ten Tuesday

    1. They were among the first authors I thought of! Okay, honestly Dan Jones was but I knew I could not write a post JUST about him or he really is going to get an Internet restraining order, because I am sure that's a thing.

      But seriously, even Shakespeare, I was reading all of them by 6th grade (not that I totally understood Shakespeare in 6th grade, but I fell in love with his plays and I read and read and asked questions until I understood).

      Bernie is awesome. Just as awesome in person as he is in every video or interview you have ever seen. The venue was so packed that tons of people had to be turned away at the door, so being Bernie, he went outside FIRST and talked to all of those who could not get in. Such a genuine, caring guy. We are lucky to have him, and I am at least comforted that he has not given up on us!

      Also, yes, Dan Jones is fantastic. Not sure of your location, but his show about castles that I mentioned is on Netflix - both seasons. And as I am sure he is not reading the comments on my post here, he is super hot. It is very easy to get lost in his books and read them within a short period of time. The Plantagenets is my favorite, but all are so well-done and well-researched and I just can go on and on so I better stop now :)

  10. I'd love to meet Bernie!!!!

    1. It was exactly as awesome as you would expect it to be. Because, Bernie is awesome. I am so glad he has not given up on us and continues to do what he can for the people, not the politicians. If only the primary would have worked out differently...

  11. Mmm....Dan Jones....excuse my while I drift off for a moment here....

    Funnily enough, I've never actually read any of his books, though I've watched most of his programs - how shameful! I shall remedy that forthwith.

    1. Right??!! Dreamy comes to mind...

      I highly recommend them all, though The Plantagenets is my favorite. I wish I had access to more of the shows he is involved in; so far on Netflix I have only seen his castles series.


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