20 years ago today….

Twenty years ago the world was introduced to a little boy with round glasses and a scar. I remember seeing him on the shelf for the first time, I thought it was such a cute and wonderful cover…fast forward a couple of years and the third book of the series was just out and with a little nudge from our corporate offices (Borders) to have someone read the books, saying the books were going to be HUGE, I volunteered.

I had a 6 hour flight to Alaska on a family trip. So I purchased my very first Harry Potter book. HP_20 years later_2The truth is I don’t like to read on planes, I’d much rather listen to my music or look out the window. But I thought a children’s book would be a quick read and something I wouldn’t have to pay much attention. I have never been so wrong. By the time we got off the plane in Anchorage I was looking up every Borders location in the area…calling each to find out if they had Harry Potter books 2 & 3….we drove 50 miles to a Waldenbooks in Wasilla, AK. I finished all three books by the time my vacation was over and went back to work. I had to wait 10 months for the fourth book.

There is something special I noticed, I like to call it BEFORE Harry Potter and AFTER Harry Potter, simple but significant. What many may not have first hand knowledge of is the way these books changed readers, to say that it created a new generation of readers is not giving the books enough credit. In my nearly 20 years with Borders nothing can compare to it. Readers didn’t just change, the world of reading changed. Not only were there readers of EVERY age, gender, and background there were fans who came back for more of OTHER books and other authors…they couldn’t get enough of READING. We couldn’t keep up with recommendations for other “like” Harry Potter books. We created bookmarks, endcap displays, and front of store displays.

So when I think about Harry and his impact…he fundamentally changed the world of readers, regardless if you’ve read the books. There will always be a time before the boy who lived and an after.

I am immensely grateful for the after….Happy 20th Harry! And thank you, JK Rowling.

❤ ❤ ❤

xo,

Christina2

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A Love Letter to the book Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher: The Book That Changed How I View Myself and Ultimately Changed How I Read.

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Mud Vein: The icky vein on the back of a shrimp which is not recommended to eat and is usually cleaned out before consuming. Or better yet, for the context of this article, a mud vein is where we store all of our icky stuff that we don’t want to acknowledge we have within us…the human mud vein where all of our shit collects, our flaws, and our disgusting imperfections. We all have a mud vein, we all have parts of ourselves we turn away from and wish we didn’t have.

The book Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher is far from anything icky or shitty nor is it your average fictional tale. It’s a love story. A love story of epic proportions. A story mud_vein_ebook-1-200x300about learning to love yourself completely, wrapped in the guise of a psychological thriller. At least that’s what it was for me. When you begin reading this fast paced mind-bender your only questions are “What IS happening?” and “Who did this to her?” but by the time the last page is consumed, you realize those weren’t the questions you should have been asking. Instead you walk away asking yourself; what darkness is inside of myself that I need to understand? What haven’t I accepted about myself? What are those flaws that I need to embrace as a part of myself in order to be completely me?

One of the best feelings is when a book stays with you and doesn’t let you go. It’s an authors’ true legacy, writing words that fundamentally change you from the inside out.  And not because you don’t have the answers but because you walk away with more questions about who you are and who you want to be.

Reading Mud Vein was the first time I ever realized just how much I was learning about life, learning about myself through works of fiction, of romance, mysteries, fantasy, and young adult; none of which would be shelved within the self-improvement section and much of which would be considered subpar as far as books and writing goes. ILikeMyScars_MudVeinFor self-improvement type of reading I tend to look to experts like Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, or even Steven Pressfield. And for pleasure reading I lean toward a romance or even a young adult fantasy adventure. But here I was reading this creepy psychological thriller weaving its message of self-acceptance through the pages filled with pink Zippos, and carousel horses. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the section headings like Shock and Denial, Pain and Guilt, and Anger and Bargaining; those would have been my first clues that this thriller was going to be anything but average. In reality though, I have come to believe we are drawn to the types of books, fiction or otherwise, that are going to teach us and change us. Sometimes it’s a simple lesson, recognizing an attribute that a character has is also something we have within ourselves, and sometimes the lessons are much deeper like self-love. I realized I was learning as much about myself, if not more, from fiction books than I was learning from self-improvement books.

There’s a line in the book about how there are strings connecting people who are meant for us.

“There is a string that connects us that is not visible to the eye. Maybe every person has more than one soul they are connected to, and all over the world there are those invisible strings… Maybe the chances that you’ll find each and every one of your soul mates is slim. But sometimes you’re lucky enough to stumble across one. And you feel a tug. And it’s not so much a choice to love them through their flaws and through your differences, but rather you love them without even trying. You love their flaws.”
~Tarryn Fisher, Mud Vein 

Maybe books have that same type of string the one that pulls us toward them for the lesson they have to teach us. Mud Vein not only changed how I view myself, but in the end, changed the way I read. I no longer think of a book as purely entertainment. I look for the subtleties of what is being shown to me through the characters. I feel the words after I finish the last page. I am a little bit more me.

If you think fiction is only escapism, look again; look at those stories that changed you on a deeper level. Fiction can sometimes lead us to the truth of ourselves.

There is a teaser quote on the cover of the first edition of Mud Vein that reads “Only the truth can set her free.”

Yes, it did, Ms Fisher. I am truly free.

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Note: The book teasers were made by me with mad love for Mud Vein because I simply could not let go of the story, the characters, or the words and had to create something for myself after I finished.

Big LOVE for your Mud Vein….

xo

Christina2

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It Ends With Us

Naked truth? I don’t write reviews. Not because I don’t want to shout from the rooftops how good a book was, but because I know that everyone reads a book differently, feels a book differently and is changed by a book differently.
 
Some books though, keep holding onto you after you close the last page, some books won’t let you go when go to sleep and continue with work and life the next day. Some books require you to write something about them because you are suddenly page by page changing as a result of how the book creeps into your heart and enters your soul and stays there. Forever. You are no longer the same person who read those first words.
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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover is one of those books for me. It’s a book that defies category, so don’t look at the labels. I would even encourage you to go into it completely blind, without reading the blurb or back cover copy. Don’t read any reviews. Just open the book and read.
 
Read and be changed. Read and understand people a little bit more. Read and be a little less judgemental. Read and become more compassionate. Read and love people just a little bit more. Read and be forever changed.
 
I have been a life long reader and I have loved and enjoyed a multitude of books, talked about them, even encouraged so many others to read them. I’ve made a career out of my love of books. But there are very few books that have changed me from the inside out that rocked me to my core so completely. In fact, I can count those books on one hand and still have room to add It Ends With Us. It belongs there next to those books, a very special place on my “keeper shelf”. Someday I’ll meet Colleen again, purchase another copy just so she can sign it.
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Naked truth? I don’t write reviews, but I will for this book.
 
Allow Colleen take you on a journey, let her words sink in, let her change you. It’s worth every second you’ll spend drawn into the characters’ world of heartaches, dreams, tears, struggle, strength, faith, forgiveness, courage, hope, and love. ❤
 
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
 
 
❤ ❤ ❤
 
xo
Christina2
 
PS After I finished It Ends With Us I couldn’t sleep even though it was 3:34 in the morning…so I put on my iPod and found a song that for me fit perfectly…all of the emotions and where I felt most changed.
 
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