Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday - Talent Roundup Day...

These blog topics are waaaayyyy harder than I ever thought possible.  Talent roundup day. thought given to blogging has been a challenging week. 

I will focus on one of my very favorite authors.  Jennifer Weiner.  I don't dare classify her as "chick-lit"...I think her writing is smarter than that...but a lot of people probably think of it as fluff.  Hey, if I am reading then it is all good.

The first book I read by Jennifer Weiner was "In Her Shoes".  I had hear a lot of good things about the book, in fact I believe that a dear friend read it in her book I read it on her recommendation.  The first thing that turned me off was the picture of Cameron Diaz on the cover.  There are not many actresses in the world that I can't stand.  She is one of them.  The other is Drew Barrymore.  They both make my skin crawl.  PLUS, Cameron Diaz was dating my beloved adult-crush Justin Timberlake at the time...

I digress...

I picked up a copy of the paperback at Costco.  I love buying books.  I love having them at my disposal.  I usually pull an all-nighter if I am particularly interested in it.  Drives Mike batty, but I love reading all curled up cozy in my bed.  I finished "In Her Shoes" in one night...despite the cover that I did not like. :)  I have been a fan ever since.  You might want to check out her site,  You can read the first chapter of her books see if they are for you or not.  She is so funny.  I copied this right from her is her "timeline"...cracked me up!!!  Most of it is true, but you can see where her humor comes out...enjoy...

Jennifer Weiner was born in 1970 on an army base in Louisiana. She grew up in Connecticut and graduated with a degree in English literature from Princeton University. She is the author of the novels GOOD IN BED (2001), IN HER SHOES (2002), which was turned into a major motion picture starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine; LITTLE EARTHQUAKES, (2004), GOODNIGHT NOBODY (2005), the short story collection THE GUY NOT TAKEN (2006), CERTAIN GIRLS (2008), the sequel to GOOD IN BED, and her most recent, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER (2009). There are more than 11 million copies of her books in print in 36 countries.

Jen is a frequent public speaker who has appeared on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, The Martha Stewart Show and a number of defunct national talk shows that she suspects she killed just by showing up. She has been published in Seventeen, Salon, Redbook, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, and Elle. She writes occasionally for the Huffington Post and on her own blog right here. She likes sunsets, sushi, reality TV and long walks on the beach and dislikes fake people, humidity, and entrenched sexism in the literary world. Her last name is not pronounced exactly the way it’s spelled. She can be found on Facebook, on Twitter, and, in real life, in Philadelphia, where she lives with her husband Adam, their daughters Lucy and Phoebe, and her rat terrier Wendell.

Want more? Read on...

March 28, 1970: Jennifer Agnes Weiner is born on an army base in DeRidder, Louisiana. Why Louisiana? Why Agnes? Her parents have no answers.

1972: Displaying excellent judgment at an early age, Jen ditches DeRidder and relocates to Simsbury, Connecticut, with her parents and sister Molly. They are eventually joined by brothers Jake and Joe.

1975-1987: Public schools and many unfortunate hair and fashion choices.

1987: Jen graduates Simsbury High School as graduation speaker and heads off to New Jersey for college. Most common yearbook inscription? “Good luck at Princeton. Don’t take any math!”

1987-1991: Jen attends Princeton University where she majors in English, minors in rabble-rousing, and doesn’t take any math. As co-founder of the Committee to Coeducate Eating Clubs, she leads a campus-wide campaign to get the school's two remaining all-male eating clubs to accept female members. She also takes creative writing courses with J.D. McClatchy, Ann Lauterbach, John McPhee, Toni Morrison, and Joyce Carol Oates. In 1990, she wins Princeton's Academy of American Poets prize. She writes her senior thesis on representations of maternity in women's novels and film. Her mother promises that she's read it. Jen's not sure.

1991: After graduating summa cum laude and realizing that she is qualified to do nothing but write self-conscious short stories about her parents' divorce, Jen takes John McPhee's advice and goes into journalism. After a six-week stint at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida, Jen is hired as the education reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania.

1992: In addition to her reporting duties, Jen begins writing op-ed pieces about Generation X. The columns are eventually distributed on the Knight-Ridder news wire and appear in papers nationwide. Also, Jen's self-conscious short story about divorce, "Tour of Duty," is published in Seventeen Magazine.

1993: Jen continues writing columns, news and feature pieces. Her short story, "Someone to Trust" is published in Redbook. Jen acquires Wendell, a small, spotted, anxious, ten-pound rat terrier who will appear, in various incarnations, in many of her later works, and whose handsome visage graces the back cover of GOOD IN BED.

1994: Jen goes to work in the features department of the Lexington Herald-Leader, in Lexington, KY. She also writes columns about Generation X for the Philadelphia Inquirer, which continues to distribute them nationally. However, editors refuse to give her column the title she's long yearned for: The Joy of X.

1995: The Inquirer hires Jen as a general-assignment features reporter, with the stipulation that she quit writing opinion pieces. Realizing that she's pretty much ridden the Gen-X trend into the ground, and after editors and peers gently point out that she will not be twentysomething forever, she and Wendell move to Center City, Philadelphia.

1996-1999: Jen profiles Wendy the Snapple Lady, departing Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown, Victoria Gotti and Adam Sandler, and writes long stories about teenage drug abuse, sex and college students, and her grandmother's gefilte fish. She covers a Democratic National Convention, a Presidential inauguration, the Pillsbury Bake-Off, the Miss America Pageant, and Wrestlemania, eventually realizing that these events have more in common than you’d think.

1998: Jen picks up a freelance gig as a contributing editor at Mademoiselle magazine, where she writes a monthly column about surviving the workplace. Other work is published in, Time Out New York, the Columbia Journalism Review and Seventeen. She also appears regularly on "Philly After Midnight," Philadelphia's local late night television show, as a cultural commentator and generally sarcastic person. Within the next few years, Mademoiselle folds, and "Philly After Midnight" goes off the air. Jen tries not to take it personally. In the wake of a disastrous break-up, Jen starts writing GOOD IN BED, about a girl who’s a lot like her; a guy who’s a lot like Satan, and the girl’s eventual happy ending.

MAY, 2000: Jen sells GOOD IN BED, and the rights to her second novel to Pocket Books (now Atria Books). Wendell insists on a pseudonym, and is not very happy when he learns that, as far as the reading world is concerned, his name is Nifkin.

MAY, 2001: GOOD IN BED is published, earning starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus, and an "A" from Entertainment Weekly. Jen embarks on an 18-city tour that takes her from New York City and Philadelphia to San Francisco and Los Angeles, and eventually to London. By the end of May, GOOD IN BED makes the New York Times' best-seller list. Best of all, Jen knows for certain that her mother has read every word.

OCTOBER, 2001: Deciding that there’s just not enough going on in her life, Jen parts ways with the paper and gets hitched in a Halloween-themed bash at the College of Physicians to a curly-haired lawyer named Adam. Cocktail hour is in the Mutter Museum, where many photographs of bride and groom are taken in front of the collection of syphilitic skulls. Local band The Beach Balls perform operatic covers of 1980’s pop standards, delighting the young and confusing the old.

APRIL, 2002: GOOD IN BED comes out in paperback and hits bestseller lists nationwide. Jen embarks on a nine-city tour that takes her to Boston, Cleveland, Houston, Dallas, and two hotels with bidets in the bathrooms.

SEPTEMBER, 2002: IN HER SHOES, the story of two sisters with nothing in common but the same size feet and the grandmother they never knew, is published. People calls it "an entertaining romp through family battles and toxic relationships." USA Today says the book "will make you laugh and possibly cry." The Philadelphia Inquirer hails the maturity of the writing. Jen celebrates by getting knocked up prior to departing on a fourteen-city book tour, a mistake she will never, ever, ever make again. Film rights are optioned by Fox 2000, with Susannah Grant (ERIN BROCKOVICH, EVER AFTER) hired to adapt.

2002: Jen returns to Philadelphia to concentrate on her third book, LITTLE EARTHQUAKES, and on Lucy Jane, who made her debut on May 10, 2003 

JANUARY, 2004: Production on “In Her Shoes,” the movie begins, with Oscar-winning director Curtis Hanson (8 Mile, L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys) at the helm, and with Toni Collette as Rose Feller, Cameron Diaz as Maggie Feller and Shirley MacLaine as Ella. Jen’s sister Molly nabs a coveted role as a featured extra and places the following phone call: “Toni Collette looks terrible! They’ve got her in these frumpy clothes, and she has a hideous hairdo…she looks JUST LIKE YOU!” Jen assumes that Molly is kidding.

APRIL, 2004: Production moves to Philadelphia, then on to Florida. Jen, her agent and, most importantly of all, her Nanna, all get to be extras in the film.

SEPTEMBER, 2004: LITTLE EARTHQUAKES is published. The Washington Post writes “Weiner’s gift lies in her ability to create characters who both amuse us and make us care,” and the Tampa Tribune says the book “will charm and delight readers with its mix of heartbreak and humor.”

MARCH, 2005: Jen attends a screening of “In Her Shoes” in Los Angeles. Determined not to make a complete fool of herself, she holds it together for the first ten seconds, then bursts into tears the instant the Fox logo flashes on-screen, clutching Armani-clad arm of executive sitting beside her and and blurting, “That part came out great!” Jen and her agent, little sister Molly, and, most importantly, Nanna, can all be glimpsed in the final cut. Jen exhales, confident of enjoying a tension-free Passover.

SEPTEMBER, 2005: Jen’s fourth novel, GOODNIGHT NOBODY is published, and reaches number two on the New York Times best seller list. The Washington Post writes “Weiner’s got a brilliant eye for social stratum, character sketches, and rendering of suburban atmospherics.” Janet Maslin of The New York Times says, “"Jennifer Weiner's moment has arrived. Her fourth and latest book, Goodnight Nobody, confirms that she's giving 'chick lit' a good name. She writes characters who could be anyone's best friends, and in this book, she has a funny, malicious, Desperate Housewives eye for suburban life."

Unfortunately, she says this on the CBS Sunday Morning Show. And pronounces Jen’s last name “Weener.


OCTOBER, 2005: “In Her Shoes,” the movie, is released to glowing reviews, which convince members of Jen’s immediate and extended family to pony up eight bucks for a ticket. Jen’s Mom accompanies her to Los Angeles for the premiere, along with her sister, brothers, Nanna, Aunt Ruth and Uncle Freddy, who proclaims that “this is the first movie in a long time where I didn’t fall asleep.” I ask you: do endorsements get any better than that?

SEPTEMBER, 2006: Jen’s first short story collection, THE GUY NOT TAKEN, is published. USA TODAY writes that the book “showcases a maturing Weiner,” which Jen finds endlessly hilarious…because aren’t there pills you can take for your maturing weiner? “With her latest collection, Weiner is proving that the masters of the oft-maligned chick-lit genre are voices to be reckoned with,” writes the Boston Herald. People Magazine says even the notes on the stories are a hoot, while Entertainment Weekly puts the collection on its Must List, saying “it is the reader who will be taken with these eleven short stories.”

NOVEMBER 30, 2007: The tiny and beauteous Phoebe Pearl makes her debut, joining big sister Lucy, Jen, Adam, and an increasingly disgruntled Wendell.

APRIL, 2008: CERTAIN GIRLS, the sequel to GOOD IN BED, hits bookstores and bestseller lists nationwide. Publishers Weekly calls it “hilarious.” Kirkus says it’s “heartfelt and funny.” Library Journal kvells “clear your calendar and prepare to read: Cannie Shapiro is back!”

JULY, 2009: BEST FRIENDS FOREVER is published. The novel tells the story of Addie and Val, who were best friends as girls in a Midwestern suburb, parted ways after a stunning betrayal in high school, and reunite on the eve of their fifteenth high-school reunion, when Val shows up at Addie’s door with blood on her coat and fear in her eyes, saying, “Something horrible happened, and you’re the only one who can help.”

I will have you know that...  a) I totally copied the above directly from her wonderful website...kudos to her, not me...and b) I bought Best Friends Forever in HARDCOVER...not paperback...rare for me...very rare, but I love her work.

Hope you give her a chance!!!

Love to all.

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