I am making excellent progress through my TBR pile! No really, it may not look like I've read tons and tons, but do you know what this challenge has made me do, besides read stuff I've had forever? It has made me be honest with myself about whether or not I'm actually going to read some of the books I have. And you know what? Some of those books I bought years and years ago at library book sales? I'm never going to read them. They may have been must-have books at $2 each, but there is a reason that every time I've picked them off my shelf and thought about reading them that I have then put them back because they just didn't appeal to me. There are far too many really good books out there to finish bad books. I used to power through even when I didn't like a book because I didn't want to miss something that might get better. And I didn't want to be a quitter, but I'm a grown up now (can it be true??) and I don't finish books I don't like. And you know what else? There are far too many really good books out there to even start bad books. If I have picked up a book numerous times and I still don't want to read it I know that I'll probably never want to read it and that has freed me to finally clear out my shelves a bit. It's quite liberating. I highly recommend it.
Ah, but on to my latest book from Mount TBR: Jen Lancaster's Such a Pretty Fat. It has been years since I read Lancaster's first book, Bitter is the New Black, but I really liked it. I can't tell you how long I've had this one, but it was about time I got to it. Oh, Jen Lancaster is hilarious and it's a bit frightening how similar our inner monologues can be. In her first book, she and her husband were fighting through a difficult financial time. In Such a Pretty Fat, Jen is fighting to lose the weight that has somehow appeared on her plaid-and-pearl-wearing frame. She admits that she may be a bit in denial about her appearance:
I'm a hundred pounds heavier than I was in high school, my veins are full of creme fraiche, and yet I look in the mirror, take in the hair and makeup, and think, Damn baby, you fiiine.
When her doctor finally tells her that she absolutely has to do something about her weight, she is yanked into reality:
In painstaking detail, Dr. Awesome describes the number of agonizing, wasting ways I will die if I don't change my eating and fitness habits, like, immediately.
After several unsuccessful attempts at the Atkins diet, Jen realizes that the only way she will actually take her weight loss seriously is if she has a deadline and some accountability. Remembering a friend's suggestion that she write a weight loss book, Jen makes a book pitch to her agent in which she will detail her journey. Once her book is approved, her determination really does improve. She can't stand the idea of letting anyone down. If you think this will be another book where someone determines to loose weight and it is suddenly gone and you-just-need-to-try-try-try-really-hard-and-it-will-happen-for-you,-too, kind of books? Don't worry because it isn't. Jen experiences the same frustrations and hunger pangs we've all felt while trying to resist our favorite foods. And she also calls out the crazy that so often surrounds the weight loss industry.
This book was funny and entertaining and also motivating. I may not be quite a hundred pounds heavier than I was in high school, but I am interested in being healthier and I love the path that Jen chose. It's reasonable and achievable and still somehow funny. I will definitely be reading more Lancaster in the near future.