2016 Books

My goal is typically to read 50 books in a year. I did not accomplish that. But, thanks to finally jumping on the audio book bandwagon, I read more than I actually thought. So here’s my list. And here’s to more great books in 2017!

Adult Fiction:
Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple
The Book of Speculation – Erika Swyler
Modern Lovers – Emma Straub
Before We Were Strangers – Renee Carlino
Eight Hundred Grapes – Laura Dave
The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion

Non-Fiction:
Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

Plays:
Harry Potter and the Curse Child – Parts One and Two

Graphic Novels:
Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Vol. 1
Haunted Mansion
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous
Roller Girl – Victoria Jamieson
Paper Girls, Vol. 1
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Vol. 1: Squirrel Power

Young Adult:
What Light – Jay Asher
P.S. I like You – Kasie West
How I Live Now – Meg Rosoff
How to Disappear – Sharon Huss Roat
Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories – Ed: Stephanie Perkins
When the Moon was Ours – Anna-Marie McLemore
All About the Hype – Paige Toon
Because of the Sun – Jenny Torres Sanchez
It Started with Goodbye – Christina June
The Inside of Out – Jenn Marie Thorne
How it Feels to Fly – Kathryn Holmes
Outrun the Moon – Stacey Lee
The Trouble with Destiny – Lauren Morrill

 

Middle Grade:
Zoe the Skating Fairy
Brittany the Basketball Fairy
Stacey the Soccer Fairy
Helena the Horse-Riding Fairy
(Above all by Daisy Meadows, and all read for work. Ha!)
Goodbye Stranger – Rebecca Stead

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A Month of Autofocus

November is my birth month, which makes it pretty awesome. To celebrate, I’m having a month of AUTOFOCUS! Each day throughout the month I’ll post on Twitter info on a chapter. (So, the 1st will be chapter 1, the 2nd will be chapter 2 and so on.) Either a deleted scene, a fun fact, or just a thought I had while typing. And at the end of the month, there will be prizes. Yes, prizes.

 

Want to play? Awesome, it’s easy:

  • Get the book (buy it, borrow it from a friend, get it from the library, check out an ebook, etc…) (Please do not illegally download it. Please.)
  • Follow me on Twitter (@laurengibaldi)
  • Check out #autofocusreadalong
  • Comment on my Tweets, or Tweet your own thoughts. Use #autofocusreadalong. Every Tweet with that hashtag will go into a drawing for PRIZES. (1 point for each Tweet. 5 points for a photo with the book!)

That’s it! If you can’t keep up with 1 chapter a day, that’s totally cool. There’s school and work and, you know, life. You can still participate. Send me comic recommendations for Bennett–he’ll love them.

Excited? I know I am.

As always, THANK YOU for reading. I appreciate you all. A whole bunch.

 

Five Little Things

I’ve seen this going around the blogosphere before, listing five things that make you happy each week. Since I rarely blog here, and would like to more often, I figured this was a great way to do it. So–here are my five things this week.

  1. My agent OKing my next project (one I’m particularly excited about).
  2. Meet the teacher for L’s new school. This is part sad, part exciting. I’ll attempt to not cry the first day.
  3. Meeting high school friends for dinner, and realizing we’ve been close for nearly half our lives.
  4. College friend visiting and slipping back into that crazy, roommate phase once again, where we didn’t need to say anything, but knew what the other was thinking.
  5. Stories that make me smile. (Reading: “Summer Days, Summer Nights.”)

AUTOFOCUS Release, Orlando Love

Today is Friday. This past Tuesday, AUTOFOCUS officially released into the wild. Then, on Thursday, I celebrated the one year anniversary of THE NIGHT WE SAID YES being published. It’s a crazy experience, knowing something I wrote – something I imagined – is out in the world. That people from all over are reading it. That they’re discussing it online, and having favorite characters and quotes. Writing is such a personal experience that when the book is finally published, it’s…crazy. And terribly exciting.

All that said, the week has been overshadowed by a lot of sadness. I’m devastated by what happened in Orlando, Florida. I’m devastated that I live in a time where people are still full of so much hatred. I’m proud to say the city is rebuilding, and that there’s so much love being passed around. People from all over are coming here to show their support. There are so many beautiful rainbow flags flying over the interstate. The city is united, and while I love it, I hate that a terrible situation caused it.

I love Orlando.

Here’s what I wrote on my Facebook page:

For those who don’t know, I live in Orlando; it’s been my home for so long. It’s why all my books take place, at lease in part, here. Last night I was discussing the scene in TNWSY where Ella says she feels safe in Orlando–that the only thing she fears is bad ex-boyfriends. That’s kind of how I felt when I was in high school. I was in this small bubble where nothing could go wrong. Though times have changed, and it’s completely idealistic, I want to raise my daughter like that. Not to fear, but to love. And love and love and love. So, I dedicated my second book to her–and I’m celebrating that love today. Thank you all for your love, and for reading. xo

Tropical Storms

It’s officially hurricane season in Florida. It starts at the beginning of June, and just five days later we had our first big tropical storm (Colin) make an appearance. We get ready for this time every year–buying water, making sure the house is in okay condition. Just in case. There are all the memes that show Floridians equating hurricanes to partying and, sure, some people may do that, but not all of us. Heck, not even in college.

I remember several years ago, about five, having a pretty bad tornado watch. We left work early, which we all cheered for but quickly regretted as we navigated the flooding streets back home. I think I drove 10 mph the entire time, and I lived a good 30 minutes away. The rain kept falling, hard, on my car and every now and then, on a quiet stretch of road, there’d be a clearing and I’d see the leaves start swirling together in a circular motion, and I’d get scared. Of course it wasn’t a tornado, but you never know when you’re in the midst of it.

S was already at home, with the news on. The weatherman had his sleeves rolled up, so you knew it was serious. We lost power not long after. I remember scraping together a dinner of peanut butter and bread because we didn’t want to open the refrigerator. I remember dining by the light of candles. One of my best friends lived across the street at the time, so we came over to share in our dinner. We joked about the end of the world, because it kind of felt like that. We played board games in the dying light of outside.

When the storm stopped, we walked outside to see the damage and our jokes felt real and strange all in one. We lived in apartments over popular shops and restaurants. There were always cars driving by, music play, people laughing. Tonight the streets were empty, with an eerie glow over everything. Rained on. Kind of green. Kind of off. Everything was fine, everything was the same, but it felt different. Everyone was fine, everything was okay.

We went back to my friend’s apartment where her neighbor was having a party now that the storm was over. Anyone could come! Anyone could drink! That’s how we celebrate here–when everyone is okay.

I learned a little later that a tornado did hit down, just not by us. In a neighboring city. And then, one hit down later that season in Tallahassee, near a restaurant we used to frequent.

It wasn’t a traumatic storm in the least. We didn’t have to run to shelter thank goodness. But for some reason every time hurricane season hits, I think of that one. And I can never figure out why. Why do we remember some moments over others? Why are some more present in our minds?

I don’t have the answers, but last night as I drove home from work in the calm before the storm, I thought back to it. As I took in all of L’s outdoor toys and hid them in our screened in porch, and secured down her sandbox, I remembered this feeling of calm after it all passed. As we walked the streets that were ours, but felt so distinctly different. I thought back to it.

And I probably will again, as storm after storm passes. So, no, we aren’t just partying every time a hurricane is predicted. We’re getting ready.