So, this actually happened the evening before my last post -- we're time-travelling backwards, Friends! If you already read that post, then this will fill in some of the details that might have had you scratching your head and wondering how it could possibly make sense. Maybe you weren't wondering about it at all. I don't know what goes on in your head when you read my babbling here. If you haven't read it yet (and you really should, but I'm incredibly biased on this) you can do that after you have read this, and then you'll be reading it in chronological order and everyone else will just be screwed. Deal? Fabulous.
The other night I ran a book group at work, and we were discussing Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. I hadn't gotten many suggestions from my group when making the choices for this quarter, so this choice was all me. I loved her first book, was pretty sure I was going to love this one as well, and there were enough copies in the library system that no one would have to go out and buy it. I mean, not that they couldn't or shouldn't buy it, but we're a library so it's good to use library resources. This is the cover of the book, which will hopefully make things just a little clearer for those of you who haven't read it and/or have never heard of The Bloggess before. (You should really remedy that because she is wonderful!)
How could you not want to read a book with that cover?
As you may recall, Friends, I like to go a tad overboard for my book group. I try to have thematically relevant decor and refreshments. I want it to be an experience, damn it! There was the time I tried (and failed rather spectacularly -- thanks Pinterest!) to make Unicorn Poop cookies when we discussed Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman. I also made little sinking Twinkie Titanics when we discussed A Night to Remember by Walter Lord. There have also been some interesting holiday choices, which included zombies and Gingerdead Men.
It was not going to be possible to try and discuss Furiously Happy without getting my hands on some sort of taxidermy animals. I don't happen to own any -- they kind of creep me out a little bit. I was really hoping I knew someone who did, or maybe they knew someone they could borrow it from. Hopefully something small, not like a giant full-on bear poised to devour us all. Although a bear would be kind of cool, if a bitch to lug around. To that end, I emailed the entire staff, and one person came through for me. Victory!
I'm not going to tell you all about the book, I'm just going to tell you to read it. It is by turns hilarious -- like literally laugh out loud while reading -- and a bit heartbreaking to realize what she struggles with on a daily basis. It also made me, at least, feel very proud of her for just continuing to live her life and embrace it all. And I think her husband might be due for sainthood.
This post is about my attempt to capture the spirit of the book for my book group. If you've read it, feel free to tell me whether I succeeded or failed miserably. I did my best.
Since I had managed to score a bit of taxidermy, it obviously had to be the star attraction of the table, yet not be near anything that could potentially spill on it or damage it. What marvel of the natural world had I managed to borrow? The leg and talon of a Great Horned Owl! It came from Oregon. Apparently my coworker's friend -- who lives in Oregon -- had found the already deceased owl, and had taken it home and taxidermied it themselves. (Spell check says "taxidermied" isn't a word, but I have no clue what else to use. "Preserved" seems like it should be more for antiques and historical documents, or for making jam. But I digress.) Anyway, they taxidermied the owl, and then sent my coworker the leg and talon. She even had a holder for it. This was fantastic! I had the whole backstory on the item.
You can't just put a piece of owl on the table and not expect to get a few questions.
Friends, let's take a look at the whole table before I break it down for you any further. We got the star of the hour out of the way already.
It looks nice, right? I even gave them the coloring page that didn't make her next book, but which she kindly posted on her website.
Right behind the owl piece, I had the zombies and a picture of Rory.
It would be wrong to discuss the book without Rory the Ecstatic Raccoon being present.
So, there were several mentions of zombies in the book. That's my little Dismember Me zombie doll. This was actually his 4th (I think -- might be more) appearance at a book group. That might actually be more zombie-action than most book groups would have, but I like to think it makes us a bunch of special little snowflakes. Conveniently, the Halloween candy is already in stores so I was able to get a bunch of Sour Patch Kid zombie candy as well. I really wanted gummy body parts-- particularly the feet -- but I couldn't find them anywhere yet this year. Yeah. Gummy body parts totally exist, and I have bought them before. The chocolate animal crackers are there because I felt bad about not being to get my hands on any more taxidermy, so I wanted to up the animal presence.
Moving right along...
As seen in the previous post, I got 2 fortunes in one magical cookie.
I know, Friends. You must wondering what the heck this book is about. Taxidermy, zombies, and now fortune cookies? It might seem like I was having a moment and thought, "What would be the most random assemblage of shit I could just throw on the table?" but it really does make sense in the context of the book! You see, at one point in the book she finds a Zoltar Fortune Teller like in the movie Big, and decides that it should be their guide for future financial planning. Those fortunes are much better than fortune cookies. I'm good, but I wasn't going to be able to get my hands on a Zoltar machine, so fortune cookies would have to do.
It's a boring picture. Work with me.
Frankenstein had been mentioned at some point, and once again the lovely Halloween candy selection came through and I found tic-tacs in a Frankenstein head. In the book there was also a bit about what would happen if the gold standard our monetary system was based on suddenly went to shit. Like, what if countries without a lot of gold decided, "Screw you guys, were basing our monetary system on spiders." Now, I'm relatively sure she was talking about real spiders. I don't know that she even took the abundance of fake spiders into account, which could make it even more interesting. If you've been here for a while, Friends, you know that I have issues with spiders. I fucking hate them with a passion. I'm pretty sure they are equally as passionate about trying to destroy me. (You should really click those links, kids. Spiders are kind of my archenemy.) The fact that I was even willing to buy those bad boys and sit them on the table, to have them there being creepy for an entire book group, speaks volumes about how hard I tried to make this awesome.
Oh, and there was pie. Cherry flavored, and not the math kind. The author doesn't like the math kind of pi.
A selection of related reading materials, in case anyone wanted to check them out.
That last bit should be expected. It's a library. David Sedaris was mentioned in the book. I, of course, had to include Jenny Lawson's first book (which you should also read), and then some others I thought people would like.
I tried, Friends. I tried my best to capture the spirit of the book. I might not have been able to make everyone Furiously Happy, but at least I could give them one hell of a sugar high.