Tag Archives: Furiously Happy

WWW Wednesday, 23-January-2019

23 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m at about 1/3 of the way done with The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. I’m starting to enjoy it a bit more, but this one overall isn’t on a topic I’m enjoying much. That’s what I get for not reading blurbs and blindly buying books by authors I’ve heard positive reviews of or have read one book by. Oh well.
I’m surprised how much of Origin by Dan Brown I’ve been able to read through. My lunch breaks are becoming very productive! Maybe this won’t take me the five months I originally predicted. I’m still less than a third through it, but that’s much faster than I would have predicted.
I’m going to have to stick with YA books for my Spanish annual read because it’s going really well with Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I’m following the plot and I’m already over 100 pages in and I can’t wait to read some more tonight! I might actually finish this one in a reasonable amount of time. Shock!
I’m trying to power through Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple so I can start a book club pick. It’s easy with a book that’s so enjoyable. I like the diary/email/letter format this one follows and it keeps me pressing forward to learn what happens next.

Recently finished: Nothing new finished but I got some book reviews written so I can catch up! Last week I reviewed Before the Fall by Noah Hawley in anticipating of my book club meeting. I really enjoyed this book and my book club loved it, too. Four out of Five Stars.
I also got the review written for my first book of the year, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. This was a great laugh and I really comforting read. Lawson’s humor and resilience are amazing. Four out of Five Stars.

Reading Next: Both of my book clubs are reading Kiss Carlo by Adriana Trigiani in anticipation of her visiting the area. I found an eaudiobook copy so I’ll start this as soon as I finish Bernadette. It looks like it will help me knock out another time period to be sure.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson (4/5)

22 Jan

It seems right that my first book of the year was a comedic memoir. That’s a genre I really enjoy. It’s even better that it’s the work of Jenny Lawson whose first book I adored. It’s a joy to revisit an author I’ve enjoyed so much before and help light up a gloomy January.

Cover image via Goodreads

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Summary from Goodreads:

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

“I’ve often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people’ also might never understand. And that’s what Furiously Happy is all about.”

Jenny’s readings are standing room only, with fans lining up to have Jenny sign their bottles of Xanax or Prozac as often as they are to have her sign their books. Furiously Happy appeals to Jenny’s core fan base but also transcends it. There are so many people out there struggling with depression and mental illness, either themselves or someone in their family—and in Furiously Happy they will find a member of their tribe offering up an uplifting message (via a taxidermied roadkill raccoon). Let’s Pretend This Never Happened ostensibly was about embracing your own weirdness, but deep down it was about family. Furiously Happy is about depression and mental illness, but deep down it’s about joy—and who doesn’t want a bit more of that?

Lawson’s sense of humor is amazing. She has a way of poking fun at her illness while still recognizing how serious it is and how much care she needs to take to make sure she stays healthy. She has advice that you can follow with or without depression: live life to the fullest when you can. And when you can’t, enjoy cat rodeos or spending time with your family or whatever you do have the energy to enjoy. And if you can’t, it’s OK. You’re not alone.

My signed copy, a Christmas present from my brother in 2015. (Yes, it took me forever to get to this.)
“For Sam. Don’t sabotage yourself. Plenty of other ppl willing to do that for free. Don’t give up on your writing dreams. Merry Xmas, Jenny Lawson”

Sometimes I wonder how Victor lives with Jenny. The way she describes herself in her book can’t be her 24/7. I’m sure there are periods of downtime. He and Jenny are the only two described in detail and I think they’re both very real. Victor loves his wife but recognizes her bouts of unusual behavior or her comical way of dealing with her mental illness. Jenny has found ways to cope with difficult situations she’d rather not be in and make herself and others laugh. I think that if I met either in person, they would probably act a lot like their portrayals in the book.

I adore Victor. He’s so supportive and loves Jenny when she’s at her lows. He recognizes how she’s coping and when she’s doing it well and when he needs to help. I think my husband is very supportive when I have a rough spot and I saw a lot of him in Victor. So it was hard not to love him.

I’ve never been diagnosed with a mental illness but there are sometimes I wonder if we all suffer from one or more to some degree. I’ll have moments of anxiety that feel very similar to the way Lawson described her anxiety. The difference is that mine isn’t crippling and are fleeting, unlike Lawson’s. It was reassuring to hear that someone else gets the same feelings I do and that if it ever started affecting my life in any way, there are treatment options. Though it also sounds like my solution of ‘let yourself stay home and snuggle on the couch with your hubby and watch Nailed It’ would probably help Lawson, too.

I enjoyed hearing about Lawson’s trip to Australia. I thought that would be a trigger for some of her illnesses but she used it as a chance to be Furiously Happy and enjoyed herself to no end. It was a great example of what she meant by being furiously happy and it was great to see her live that. I flipped through my physical book so I could see the images and got to laugh at them a second time.

There wasn’t a particular part of this book I didn’t enjoy. I would have liked slightly more cohesiveness, but I don’t think you can really ask for that when someone’s book is made of their blog posts. Some of the previously unpublished material helped weave a single narrative, but this book still suffered from being a bit disjointed and with no discernible timeline. Oh well.

Jenny Lawson
Image via NPR

Lawson narrated the audiobook which I thoroughly enjoyed. Her sarcasm and wit were great. Sometimes, when the author narrates, there are a lot of times when the sound engineer just couldn’t do enough to make the whole story sound good. Often, there is uneven pacing or inconsistent sound levels. Lawson had no such problems and I would listen to her narrate other books in a heartbeat. She may have another job doing this going forward, it was quite remarkable.

Lawson is helping to shine a light on mental illness: to remove the taboo and get people talking. I think she does an amazing job at this. She mixes serious comments and reflections on mental illness with her sense of humor and makes people come back to hear more. She embraces those that may have been marginalized and helps them find a group of like-minded people. That community can help those who need it and encourage them to seek out the help they may need.

Writer’s Takeaway: Combining humor into writing is always wonderful. It may not always be appropriate, but it can help lighten a very dark topic at a time where it may be very necessary. I love how Lawson did this and how she broached a very serious topic with light-heartedness and grace. I’ll read her next book in a heartbeat.

I adored this book and Lawson’s wit. Four out of Five Stars.

This book fulfilled the 2000-Present Time Period for the When Are You Reading? 2019 Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
‘Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things’ by Jenny Lawson | Joanne’s Reading Blog
“Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things” by Jenny Lawson | Zezee with Books
Book Review – Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson | Engrossed in a Good Book
Furiously Happy | The Bloggess

WWW Wednesday, 9-January-2019

9 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m moving steadily through The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan and I’m on the third disc now. That doesn’t feel that great when I look at how long this book is, though! I hope I can renew this one a few times.
My husband and I have split our listening to Before the Fall by Noah Hawley. He’s on his own now and I’m heading through by myself as well. I’m still enjoying it and I’m curious what kind of conclusions will come from this book.
I started a new ebook, Origin by Dan Brown. I’ve read and moderately enjoyed the other Langdon books in this series so I’m excited to see what else he can discover and defeat. I expect I’m in this for the long haul.
I’ve only just started Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, my Spanish read for the year. No word yet on how I feel about it, I’m less than a chapter in!

Recently finished: I’m sad to have finished Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson because I enjoyed it so much. This book made household chores and working out so much better. Lawson talks about mental illness in a very real way but also with humor and love. I love her books and I hope there are more to come.
I finished Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott Sunday night. I would have finished it sooner if I hadn’t been sick and too tired to read. I wish I could have squeezed it into last year, but it’s still a solid book finished.

I wrote reviews, too! Well, one, which I’m considering a major win since I’m rather far behind. I posted a review of Sara Donati’s The Gilded Hour. I didn’t like it in the ending as much as I did at the beginning. I’m having mixed feelings about it now because I’ve heard this is the first in a series, not a stand-alone book. That changes how I felt about a lot of things being left unfinished. I’m going to stick with my original rating, though, of Three out of Five stars.

Reading Next: I know I’m a bit late on this one, but I’m going to listen to Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple next. This one had such hype a few years ago and I’d like to read it before it becomes the movie it’s likely to be. Unless that’s already announced. Then it’s very likely to happen.


Leave a comment with your link and comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 2-January-2019

2 Jan

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’ve been moving slowly through Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott because of the holidays. With no work, my days are much less structured and I’m not getting anything done. Oh well. This has wonderfully short chapters that make it far too easy to put down and take a nap.
Without work, I’m not driving much so The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan has been slow to start. I’m still on the first disk and I know I’ll get into it soon but I’m enjoying the exposition and not rushing it for now.
Bad weather means more indoor workouts and that’s helping me move through Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson quickly. I’m also getting an added ab workout by listening to this while doing other things. It’s kind of wonderful.
My husband and I started Before the Fall by Noah Hawley on the 26th and we made some pretty good progress driving to and from Christmas. I don’t know how much more of it we’ll listen to together before we go our separate ways, but we’re enjoying it for now.

Recently finished: I pushed through and finished Henry VIII by William Shakespeare so I could wrap up my 2018 When Are You Reading? Challenge. I’m so glad I’m done! I’m also glad I rearranged the time periods so I don’t have to squeeze in a late Shakespeare in December to finish it again. It was interesting to get yet another take on the Henry VIII/Katherine of Aragon/Anne Boleyn time. I read a lot about that period already.

No reviews this week though I owe you a few. I’ll work on them and get them out to you next week, promise!

Reading Next: I’ll start my annual Spanish read as soon as I finish Lamott. It’s going to be Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I bought a Spanish copy last summer when I visited Powell’s and I’m so excited to finally read it!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

WWW Wednesday, 26-December-2018

26 Dec

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at A Daily Rhythm and revived here on Taking on a World of Words. Just answer the three questions below and leave a link to your post in the comments for others to look at. No blog? No problem! Just leave a comment with your responses. Please, take some time to visit the other participants and see what others are reading. So, let’s get to it!IMG_1384-0

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Note: For users of Blogspot blogs, I’m unable to comment on your posts as a WordPress blogger unless you’ve enabled Name/URL comments. This is a known WordPress/Blogspot issue. Please consider enabling this to participate more fully in the community. 


Currently reading: I’m out of lunch breaks for the year and I really have to finish Henry VIII by William Shakespeare! This is my last book for the When Are You Reading? Challenge 2018. If this isn’t finished before the end of the year, I’m going to be very mad at myself.
I’m enjoying Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott but the holidays have kept me busy and away from it more than I’d like. I’m sure I’ll get it wrapped up, it may just be in January.
I started two new audiobooks! I finished my physical audiobook in my car and decided to start on another whopper, The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. It’s a whopping 21 disks long (though I swear the book doesn’t look that long!) so I’ll be on this one for quite a while.
I started a new eaudiobook as well, Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. I read Lawson’s first book for a book club a few years ago and loved it. My brother gave me a signed copy of this book for Christmas a few years ago and I’m finally listening to it because I’m paranoid about a signed book being damaged.

Recently finished: I was able to finish up The Gilded Hour by Sara Donati while baking Christmas cookies, which was a wonderful way to finish a book. I was really disappointed in the ending despite great writing and good characters. I debated my rating for a while but ultimately ended on Three out of Five Stars. I’ll be reviewing more books in the new year.
I wrapped up People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks over the weekend as well. I liked the ending of this one more, but there was one flaw in the main character that really peeved me right at the end. Another Three out of Five Stars rating.

Reading Next: I’ll start Before the Fall by Noah Hawley later today as my husband and I head to Ohio for family Christmas. I’m getting excited!


Leave a comment with your link and a comment (if you’re so inclined). Take a look at the other participant links in the comments and look at what others are reading.

Have any opinions on these choices?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!