About the Book:
If you find yourself talking to Jayne Dandy, keep the conversation on Star Wars and rubber ducks—best not to mention men, dating, or S-E-X. Because Jayne is fine with the way things are: writer of obituaries and garage sale ads by day, secret scribe of adventures in distant galaxies by night. But her crippling fear of intimacy has made her the butt of jokes since forever, and hiding behind her laptop isn’t going to get her lightsaber lit.
After her therapist recommends that she write erotica as a form of exposure therapy, Jayne joins forces with pen and paper to combat the demons that won’t let her kiss and tell. Unexpectedly downsized at work, she adopts a pseudonym and secretly self-publishes one of her naughty books to make ends meet. When her adorable, long-time friend Luke, co-owner of the popular Portland food truck Luke Piewalker’s, hears she’s been demoted, he insists on hiring her to sling éclairs and turnovers at his side. Her secret must be kept, but sparks ignite between them, sending Jayne and her X-Wing into a tailspin that will either make her face down her neuroses or trigger a meltdown of Death Star proportions.
About the Author:
A purveyor of fictions, Eliza Gordon has excellent taste in books, shoes, movies, and friends, and questionable sanity in the realm of love. Best leave that one alone. www.elizagordon.com
Top Ten Favorite Books of All Time!
1. OUTLANDER: #1 favorite book. Because Diana Gabaldon is incredible and I can’t think of all the words to describe her because there aren’t enough (likely because, at over 300K words per book, she *used* all the words) and I love the way she writes and how her characters fall in love and how they are so strong and powerful and brave and real and JAMIE FRASER and Scotland and Claire is awesome. What other book have you read where the male lead is the virgin and the female lead is in charge of All the Things? (Did I mention Jamie Fraser?) I was late to the Outlander party as the first book (there are now eight!) came out in 1991, but this past summer? Yeah. That’s what I did. I read. I’m on book five now, The Fiery Cross, and only slowing down because work. Always work. Shouldn’t we just be allowed to READ? All in favor, say, “Aye, lass!”
2. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley: This book changed the way I look at the world and reassured me that not everything is black and white, that it’s okay to question authority (which says a lot for me: uptight, morally suffocated Virgo).
3. Grasshopper Jungle, Andrew Smith: A breath of the freshest, craziest air I’ve ever inhaled. Didn’t know quite what to expect from this crazy green book and it did not disappoint. The slap in the face and the punch to the stomach muscles sore from laughing that I needed at this stage in my writing/reading journey. And when Andrew Smith accepted my friend request on Facebook last week? Yeah, I totally fan-girled. Check out his latest, 100 Sideways Miles, recently longlisted for the National Book Award. I received the book for my birthday and can’t wait to get going. (Curse you, responsibility!)
4. Hamlet, William Shakespeare: Don’t roll your eyes. “But Shakespeare isn’t a book!” That’s okay—the Bard wrote incredible, multilayered stories that really, if you just get past the thee and thou and doth stuff, you’ll find treasures waiting inside. Like a Cadbury Crème Egg without the gross creamy stuff. Hamlet is a fantastically dark, and sad, story about pride and ambition and vengeance. Certainly Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer Night’s Dream were part of our standard high school curriculum, but spending an entire university semester on just Hamlet (and another on Othello) made me realize how absolutely nuanced and layered a story could be. Thanks, Shakes.
5. The Gargoyle, Andrew Davidson: Brilliant, beautiful, painstaking writing that hurts like pulling glass shards out of your foot with tweezers and yet uses the blood you’ve just lost to paint a glorious picture of loss, love, and redemption. This book blew my socks off. Which was good because my feet were pierced with glass. And heartbreak.
6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Laini Taylor: Lush, rich, filling. But you know this, right? You’ve probably read the whole series (three books total). If not, get thee to the bookstore! Smoke and Bone was another novel that made me rethink the process of building sentences. Taylor’s writing is subtle yet powerful (and she lives in Portland, Oregon—bonus points!!!). It’s obvious she takes great care in choosing her words while telling a kick-ass, high-octane story. And Karou? HAS BLUE HAIR. So badass.
7. The Devil All the Time, Donald Ray Pollock: The grittiest, meatiest book I’d read to that point in my life. Pollock is fearless, his prose so biting and characters so well drawn that you’ll feel the need to shower after reading it. Honestly. Shower.
8. Fault in Our Stars, John Green: Tear-jerker, yes, but a gorgeous approach to the process of dying, as seen through the eyes of two people who have spent the better part of their young lives doing exactly that. Thus, the focus is on living, and it’s a heartrending but edifying walk through what this life offers every one of us if we are only to stop for a moment and take it. The film version of the book, released in June 2014, has grossed over $300 million worldwide, and the book itself has spent over 94 weeks (!) on the New York Times bestseller list. Whoa. That Green lad knows his stuff.
9. The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins: Suzanne Collins’ strength is in her sparse but power-packed writing style. I most enjoyed the first book in this series as it was unlike anything I’d read prior in children’s fiction, and I very much enjoyed seeing Katniss embrace—and defeat—the madness thrust upon her. Also, Peeta. Sweet little Peeta. I have to admit: I was Team Gale for the longest time. And then I switched because I fell in love with Peeta, although he can be a *little* soft, and Katniss can be a *little* too cold. Still … This series has spent 207 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, and the next cinematic installment, Mockingjay: Part 1, opens in theaters November 21. (Yes. I will be there. No, I do not think it’s cool that they split the final book into two films. But that’s Hollywood, yo.)
10. Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk: If you haven’t read Palahniuk, you are missing out. This was the first of his work I tried, and I quickly devoured book after book (Lullaby is awesome, as is Diary). A fearless storyteller, Palahniuk shies away from nothing, and every scene gives the reader something to chew on. Genius writing.
WHAT? A BONUS? INDEED:
11. The Complete Stories, Flannery O’Connor: Flannery O’Connor is my idol. Her writing embodies the oppositeness of who she was—a pious Catholic woman unafraid to write crazy stories with characters you won’t soon forget. Introduced to her work early in college, I was inspired by her bravery—she wrote freely and wildly even in the face of being a Southern woman in the ’40s and ’50s Bible Belt where women were expected to behave in a proper, domestic manner—all while battling lupus, the disease that took her father and eventually her as well. She was super badass. She gets a hero’s cape posthumously, even if Edna Mode says, “No capes!” (If you’re nerd enough to get that reference, *fist bump*.)
I hope you find a title or two within that you’ve not heard of before—this list definitely has something for everyone. (Okay, maybe not your third grader.) Stretch your wings and see what literary greatness awaits! Happy reading!