UPDATE: The winner of Krysten’s free book is Pat Freely!
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I want to thank Delilah for having me on her site today!
I became a writer because I was such a huge reader as a kid. Some people turn to comfort food and I, as a preteen, turned to what I called, “comfort books.” My first “soul food book” was when I started the sixth grade and found the Judy Blume book, Just as Long as We are Together. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the first day of school and I showed up with a perm…okay, fine, a “body wave,” (I wasn’t that brave and I had curl commitment issues). Now I don’t have any truly traumatic hair story to share—my hair turned out okay (well, okay for the times, now you’d probably ask why I left the house), but it still was an anxious day for me. After all I was coming back to school with a new look and feeling insecure not just because of my hair, but wondering where my place was after that whole summer away from friends. I remember my mom picked me up after school and we stopped and bought the book. I even remember what I had on that day and, oddly enough, the lip gloss I was wearing. I can never tell you what I had for breakfast on any given day, but I can always remember the exact shade of lip product I had on in almost all memories. It is a talent yet to be appreciated by the rest of the world. Anyway, I took that book home and escaped from my anxious middle school life into a safer world.
Recently, I found myself looking for comfort in book form again when my dad was hospitalized. It’s been a tough time and the first night, I found myself turning to reading at night to relax. The next day, after I left the hospital, I went to the bookstore and picked out a new book as my “escape.” As (bad) luck would have it, I began reading and not even halfway through the book, there was a scene with the father being rushed to the hospital and passing away. Yeah, I didn’t expect that from a book with a pink cupcake on the cover. So I went to my own shelves and picked out one of my favorites that I had already read before making it safe with no scary dad-related storylines in it. I choose Bridget Jones’s Diary as my escape. It wasn’t that the book was a cure-all, but it took me out of my life and my problems for just a little while and that was exactly what I needed. Recently I saw one of my Facebook friends, author Sandra Sookoo, posted this as her status: Ever since my husband’s heart attack in early February I’ve been re-reading the Anne of Green Gables series…I’m now nearly halfway through the last one. Sometimes the good old classics are soul comfort food.”
Books can almost have a therapeutic effect to help you get out of your own head for a bit and relax. Revisiting old favorites is a nice way to do that and hey, it’s cheaper than therapy and you don’t have to put real pants on and leave the house either.
And now I’d like to know what are your favorite therapeutic soul food books?
GIVEAWAY—I’m giving away an Amazon ebook of my YA/MG book, True Colors. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment with one of your favorite soul food books.
In TRUE COLORS, Landry Albright just wants to be one of the interesting girls at school who always have exciting things going on in their lives. She wants to stand out, but also wants to fit in, so she gives in when her two best friends, Ericka and Tori, push her into trying out for a teen reality show modeling competition with them. Landry goes in nervous, but impresses the judges enough to make it to the next round. However, Ericka and Tori get cut and basically “unfriend” her on Monday at school. Landry tries to make new friends, but gets caught up between wanting to be herself and conforming to who her new friends want her to be. Along the way she learns that modeling is nowhere as glamorous as it seems, how to deal with frenemies, a new crush, and that true friends see you for who you really are and like you because of it.
Excerpt: The competition was for girls between the ages of thirteen and seventeen, but it felt like Ericka, Tori, and I were the youngest ones there. I only saw a couple of girls from school, and the lineup looked more like something you’d see on a music video set. All the girls were gorgeous, and they had these curvy womanly bodies. I looked like a skinny little kid next to them. The first girl walked out, and I heard the judges say she “owned the runway,” and, “walked like a gazelle.” I was starting to feel ill. I wasn’t sure which way it was going to come, but I knew I had to find a bathroom — fast. I started to get out of line when Ericka grabbed my wrist.
“It’s almost time,” she said. A tiny bit of spit flew out of her mouth and hit my cheek.
I wasn’t sure why she was so intent on me going through with it, but she had a death grip on my arm, so I didn’t have much of a choice. Her number was called and she walked out to the stage. One of the other girls said she walked like a kid with sand bucket stilts on her feet, but she came back with a smirk on her face like she knew she’d get chosen.
“They said they had never seen such long legs,” she said.
Tori was next.
“She walks like a gorilla at feeding time,” said the girl behind me. I went next, and I tried to focus on not tripping over my feet. My mom’s pumps had a rubber sole on the bottom, which probably wasn’t the brightest idea seeing as my shoes were making squeaking noises as I walked. I was so nervous I couldn’t stop smiling as I walked. I looked like the plastic clown who blows up balloons with its mouth at the Pizza Palace. When I got to the end of the runway, I tried to cross my feet to turn like the other girls had, but I over rotated and ended up doing a full spin which made my kilt fan out and gave the mall walkers a view of my blue underpants. I tried to act like it was intentional and did an extra turn. One of the judges put her hand up to stop me, and I held my breath as she started to speak.
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Krysten Lindsay Hager is an author and book addict who has never met a bookstore she didn’t like. She’s worked as a journalist and also writes middle grade, YA, humor essays, and adult fiction. TRUE COLORS is her bestselling debut novel from Astraea Press. She is originally from Michigan and has lived in South Dakota, Portugal, and currently resides in Southern Ohio where you can find her reading and writing. She received her master’s in American Culture from the University of Michigan-Flint.
Find Krysten at: http://www.krystenlindsay.com/
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