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Five on Friday: Books by Bloggers (or what’s on my bedside table)

The internet is a wondrous thing. It’s hard to imagine life without the ability to connect with people through Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and other online avenues. Blogging, especially, gives readers an opportunity to bear witness to stories they would not have known about otherwise. Over the last few years, I have followed several blogs written by women with compelling stories – a baby is born with Down Syndrome; a plane crash nearly orphans four children; a little girl with an unusual syndrome inspires a family to start a foundation to fight blindness. I have also had the pleasure of reading the works of fantastic writers – poignant, humorous, inspiring stories that would have been lost to me if not for the world-wide web. This spring, some of my favorite bloggers published books, and I wanted to share them with you today. {Click each book for a link to Amazon.}

One.

Stephanie Nielson had a picture book life: a handsome husband, four beautiful children, and a loving extended family. She chronicled her life as a mom on Nie Nie Dialogues, sharing the little things she did each day to fill her children’s lives with love and laughter. Then, in August of 2008, the plane in which she and her husband were flying crashed in Arizona, and Stephanie’s storybook life almost ended. Her book Heaven is Here, is a testament to the power of unwavering faith and abundant love. (Stephanie and her family were featured in People Magazine a few weeks ago.)

Two.

Photographer Kelle Hampton also had a storybook life with her handsome husband (hmmm, should probably get one of those), his two sons, and their daughter, Lainey. They lived in sunny Florida, and Kelle gave readers a glimpse into life-beside-the-sea through her blog, Enjoying the Small Things. When she gave birth to her second daughter, Nella Cordelia (love her name!), Kelle could tell there was something different about her. It wasn’t long before her doctor confirmed it: Nella had Down Syndrome. Filled with photographs, Kelle’s book will resonate with anyone who knows that life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned. Sometimes it’s even better than you could’ve imagined.

Three.

Rachel Bertsche was a newlywed when she moved to Chicago with her husband, leaving her BFFs behind in New York City. Although happily settled into her new life, Rachel missed the companionship of friends she could call for brunch on Sunday morning or a last-minute pedicure, and she knew she would need a shoulder to cry on if/when she and Matt had their first fight as a married couple. (Before moving to Chicago, Rachel was a writer and editor at O, The Oprah Magazine and had written articles for The Huffington Post, New York Magazine, and Teen Vogue, among others, giving her bona-fide writing creds)} She pitched an idea to a publisher: she would embark on a search for her new best friend, documenting 52 girl dates on a blog. Her book, MWF Seeking BFF, was published in December of 2011, and I absolutely loved reading it. Her writing is sublime, and her insights into what makes friendships tick are spot-on.

Four.

Jenny Lawson writes The Bloggess, the blog I wish I had written, and her book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened should arrive at my house on Monday. I can’t wait! You kind of have to read Jenny’s blog to get the full effect, but this is how she describes herself and her writing on the About Me page on her blog:

I write for Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle, but I needed an uncensored space to say the f-word and talk about ninjas so I started this blog.  If you know me in real life you might not want to be here.  I also write a satirical sex column, a parenting column that will make you wish you’d decided to just stick with dogs and I twitter a lot.  Also, I can balance live cats on my head but no one will pay me for it.  Yet. I have a book coming out in 2012. I assure you, no one is more surprised about this than me.

Until my book arrives, I’m going to reread this post about Beyoncé, the giant metal chicken.

Five.

Anne Lamott was writing long before the internet was invented. Her book, Operating Instructions, is one of the most honest books about first-time parenting you’ll ever read. Anne also writes about writing and faith and finding your way in the complex world in which we live, and she does it with humor and grace. In the long-awaited follow-up to the journal of her son’s first year (in which she declared, “I’m probably just as good a mother as the next repressed, obsessive-compulsive paranoiac,”)  she and her son, Sam, co-wrote Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son. I just started it, and I’ve re-fallen in love with Anne’s way with words and her courage to tell it like it really, truly is. (Anne doesn’t have a blog, so if you want to read some of her writing, just Google her name.)

What are you reading? Let me know in the comments. I’m going to need a new stack of books soon!

P. S. Did you know that books have trailers now? Here is Rachel’s trailer for MWF.

Edited to add: My copy of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened arrived early!!! 🙂

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