Performancing Metrics

There's A Book

There’s a phrase in the bookish community that I love. It’s one that we use when you’ve finished that perfect book, the one that had everything and once the pages were closed left you in another world. The phrase I’m referring to is “all the feels” and simple as it may be it perfectly describes that singular experience. It’s rare and when it happens you can’t help but share the book with everyone you come in contact with, book lover or not.

It’s these rare books, those few experiences that have had me thinking a lot recently. It’s been some time since I read a book that so completely engulfed me, but those books have never left me. A few of those books had authors that I’ve since connected with and as you might expect, the authors have left a lasting impression as well.

As I struggle through my recent revision of my own novel it’s these experiences that have me rethinking and evaluating what I do, not only as a writer, but as a mother and someone who strives to be her very best for others. Over the course of the last few weeks I’ve been lifted up and encouraged by a number of people and friends, but most of all by three very specific authors whom I adore. I’d like to share these in hopes that maybe they’ll inspire you and perhaps, encourage you to read a little more from these incredible people.

Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness

Earlier this year I had the opportunity of meeting Patrick in person. His Chaos Walking series as well as his novel A Monster Calls have left a profound impact on me. So it was no surprise that I went a little “fangirl” when I met him at the LA Times Festival of Books. Just recently I listened to a Booklist Webinar in which Patrick reiterated one of the things that has stuck with me as a reader and as a writer since I first heard him say it at the Festival of Books. He said that he never starts a book without knowing the final sentence of the book. I’ve now gone back to re-read those final sentences and you can imagine how much more meaningful they are with the knowledge Patrick shared.

Patrick is one of those authors who chooses carefully what he shares and what he doesn’t, especially online. I’m sure he’s slipped here and there, he’s only human, but on a whole what he says and subsequently what he writes has a great deal of meaning. Which brings me back to how important that last line of the story truly is, very. Can you see me waving my arms emphatically, shoving his books into your welcoming arms and saying, “Please. You must read these.”

So much of what Patrick writes and shares has changed the way I look at the world and not only the way I approach writing, but everything. Which makes me all the more thrilled that he has two new books coming out next year, The Crane Wife (an adult novel) and More Than This (YA). He doesn’t speak publicly very often, especially in the US, and so I’d highly recommend listening to the Booklist Webinar which is about an hour long.
And then, go read his books…last sentence first.

The Knife of Never Letting Go The Ask and The Answer Monsters of Men The New World A Monster Calls

Beth Kephart

Beth Kephart

I’m certain that if you don’t know of my love for Beth Kephart then you must be hiding under a rock somewhere. She’s not only an author whose writing I cherish, but also a friend I can’t live without. Beth is another author that I was ecstatic to finally able to meet this year.

When I read my first Beth Kephart novel, The Heart is Not a Size, I knew I’d found something spectacular. Somehow in just over a two hundred pages Beth conveys feelings and emotions that strike at the very center of who you are. Having never met her, never read her blog or not even having any idea about how unruly she thinks her hair might be (it never seems that way in real life), Beth Kephart was instantaneously my bookish heart’s best friend. I’ve since read a number of Beth’s books, including Small Damages which came out this year and has received so much well-deserved praise.

Recently Beth spoke as the keynote at the Publishing Perspectives “YA: What’s Next?” publishing conference in New York City. Fortunately for those of us unable to travel across the country to hear Beth speak Publishing Perspectives has generously provided her keynote address for all to read. Her words, as they often do, give me courage about the future of books, my own writing and the power we have when we truly share ourselves with others. I’ve always felt inspired by Beth’s ability to craft and mold words to express the feelings of her heart and this speech was exactly that. It will give you courage and hope. Go read it now.

The Heart is Not a Size Dangerous Neighbors You Are My Only by Beth Kephart Small Damages by Beth Kephart

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Lastly is an author I’ve read very little from…yet! I am excited to read more from in the future. Jarrett J. Krosoczka is most well known for quirky characters like Lunch Lady and Monkey Boy, but it wasn’t these that caught my attention (though they are both certainly worth checking out). What caught my eye was a recent TED Talk he gave with a surprising four/five hours of preparation.

As a writer this was very inspiring, but as a parent it meant the world to me. Jarrett’s story encourages me to try harder each day with my own kiddos, to be someone who champions their every success and lifts them up as they struggle through the tough spots. I’m sharing Jarrett’s video here because I’d hope that everyone would watch it, learn from it and then share it. It’s proof that we can accomplish so much, anything we put our heart and mind to. His experience is phenomenal and one I wouldn’t have you miss for the world:

Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute Good Night, Monkey Boy Baghead Punk Farm Platypus Police Squad The Frog Who Croaked

All three of these authors have inspired me to try harder, be better and love the written word even more than I already do. I’d implore you to pick up their books. They each share something, whether outwardly personal or not, that will certainly leave you with “all the feels” and wishing their pages would never end.

Which author and/or book does this for you? I’d love to know.

9 Responses to Pressing the Pause Button…”All the Feels”

  1. Wow. What a beautiful post. Talking to the Dead by Bonnie Grove inspired me.

  2. Beth Kephart says:

    okay, this is the thing. I saw the title of your blog post about pressing the pause button, and I saw Patrick’s photo and I just wanted to read what you had to say about pausing.

    not at all expecting to find me here.

    now I found me here.

    good glory, how did I get so lucky in this life?

    thank you.



  3. And now we also have this super awesome post for inspiration 🙂 I seriously love Ness’ books. A Monster Calls blew me my mind, and I’m working through The Chaos Walking series, having read only the first book so far. I didn’t know he had 2 more coming out next year – so I’ll be on the lookout. And I’ll have to check out links to the keynote & talk by the other 2 authors you mentioned.

  4. Vanessa says:

    Awesome post. Every so often I come across an author whose work perfectly expresses something I’ve felt, but have never been able to bring into focus. Does that make sense? You find a piece of truth and understanding and it sticks with you. I love that moment. Some faves of mine:

    Dear George Clooney by Susin Nielsen
    Where She Went by Gayle Forman
    The Sisterhood books by Ann Brashares
    Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

  5. Love this post! First of all, Patrick Ness…oh my goodness. No words. Then, I scroll down to see Beth Kephart, and I sighed out loud, “Oh, definitely…” and then, you added Jarrett J. Krosoczka, who inspires my boys to read and love books more and more. I am just in love with you right now. Thank you for a great post today!

  6. PragmaticMom says:

    YES! I saw that TED talk a few weeks ago. It made me cry and want to hug him. I met him via Live Chat at Random House Read and Play Community and he’s is also hysterically funny!

    I posted on him here: Hilarious Children’s Authors with Impossible to Pronounce Names (and also impossible to spell!!!)

    Jarrett Kroscozka, Jon Schieszka and Jef Cezjka. All funny and charming. All impossible for me to spell and pronounce but I added a handy audio link to their names. LOVE your post!

  7. Gina says:

    An inspiring and uplifting post….well done my friend. I know of your “love affair” with these authors but I’m so glad you’ve been able to gleen more from “knowing” them than simply a fangirl dream realized. Can’t wait to see how all your experiences transcribe into your soon-to-be masterpiece. ^_^

  8. […] 1st Daughter (There’s a Book) talked about her ALL THE FEELS books. […]

  9. […] no surprise I’m a huge Patrick Ness fan. In the past I’ve written about how inspiring his work is as well as the time when I was actually able to meet him in person. I’ve also reviewed quite […]

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