Friday Five

1. Let’s get this Friday Five off to a kickin’ start. This is  the peanut butter chocolate cupcake from Crumbs Bakery. It is heaven on earth. I cut it in half to show you the delectable peanut butter filling. And to pretend that I didn’t just eat an entire cupcake that is the size of a CD.  (Psst. I did.)

2. On to more exciting news. (Well, the cupcake was pretty exciting for me, but here’s news that you can participate in!)

My first collection of essays was published this week as an Amazon Kindle Single. The Subway Chronicles: More Scenes from Life in New York is chock full of 23 short essays by yours truly.

Here’s what they had to say (pretty neat, huh?):

Jacquelin Cangro is back with more essays from underground New York. In this follow up to The Subway Chronicles: Scenes from Life in New York, all of the tales are her own. From run-ins with subway preachers and the Chinese Curses Lady to Pickles the dachshund to the man whose girlfriend bit his ear off, she documents the hilarious, poignant, and thought-provoking adventure that is the New York City subway. Her original voice chronicles the highs and lows of discovering who you are while living in an indomitable city with a character all its own. Together these essays create a fresh and real portrait of one woman’s attempt to find her own New York.

Best of all, you can get my pearls of subway wisdom for only $.99. That’s cheaper than your morning coffee. For those of you who are Amazon Prime members, it’s FREE! What’s better than free? Not much, my friend. If you’re in the UK, France, Italy, Germany or Spain, it’s already available on your country’s Amazon. Don’t have a Kindle? You can download the Kindle app (also free!) on your PC, Mac or smartphone. (I did it and it just takes a few moments, promise.) It will be coming out on other platforms later this summer, not to worry Nook-lovers.

If you do get the Kindle Single, I would be so grateful if you left a review on the Amazon page. Then I can move up the Amazon list and take over the world (insert maniacal laugh here.) I hope you like it!

3. The Big Think. I’ve written about the folks at Soul Pancake before, but I just came across this terrific video they did a few months ago. Here, on the streets of LA, they set up a giant board of sticky notes and invited people to contribute to a billboard of meaningful words. Check out the short clip. I think my message would be a reminder from my old pal Henry David Thoreau, “Live Deliberately.”

What message would you write? It would be so inspiring if we got our own mini-billboard of meaningful words going right here.

4. When I was in grad school, I remember one of my professors said that the test of a good story is its ability to satisfy. The goal is to leave the reader feeling nicely full like after Thanksgiving dinner and patting his or her belly, thinking about that last piece of pumpkin pie.  But as I started to write more, I realized there were sometimes when “satisfying the reader” meant doing a disservice to my characters. My obligation is to be true to the characters and tell their story to the best of my ability, and sometimes that is at odds with what the reader may want.  Over the years, I’d never really found anyone who agreed – saleability being the primary concern of most agents and editors – until now. Finally, I’ve got author Barbara Brown Taylor (and by extension Annie Dillard) in my corner.

Until then, I thought the best books were those that completely satisfied. Like good hosts, they invited me in, supplied all my needs while I was with them, and when we were done they let me go without too much talking at the door.

After Pilgrim at Tinker Creek [Annie Dillard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel], I decided the best books are those that refuse to satisfy. They don’t want to meet my needs; they don’t even care if I am happy with them. What they want is to enlarge my world, even if that means sending me away hungry for my own encounter with what they have brought to life.

What do you hope for when you pick up a new book? What does it mean to you to feel satisfied by a good read?

5. Is it a frog or a Reggie? Reggie often lays like this with all of his limbs splayed out like a frog.

 Then when I talk to him, his tail swishes back and forth like a clock. like this. It’s good for sweeping the floor.

Hope your tail wags a bit this weekend! Have a great one! 

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33 comments

  1. I so heart Reggie. If I had a tail, it would be wagging. (Wait. Was that weird?)
    When I think about the characters of a book long after I read the story, then I consider myself satisfied. If I put down an unfinished book and the characters haunt me until I pick the book back up to read, then I consider myself satisfied. Satisfaction for me is when the story never leaves.
    Please let me know when your ‘More Scenes..’ is available via the Nook. I will snag it for certain.
    I am not a cupcake fan, but I admit – that sucker looks yummy!!
    Have a great weekend, Jackie!

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    1. Not weird at all, Lenore. At least Reggie doesn’t think so. 🙂

      I like your criteria for a satisfying read: if the story stays with you long after you put the book down. I’m going to add that to my growing definition, if you don’t mind.

      BTW – how cute is Charlie in his little cap and gown?

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  2. i broke my NOOK so I’m going to drop a few bucks and get an iPad and I so will download your “Chronicles” . Yeah, this is exciting. I know an author now!
    Love Reggie’s Froggy. It’s a spaniel thing, I think. My daughter is in New York City for the Weekend…she needs to read your Chronicles book today!
    Have a lovely weekend, Jackie
    joy

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    1. I hope that Emily is having a great time here! We have lovely weather so it’s the perfect weekend to enjoy the city.

      I think you’re right about the frog pose being a spaniel thing – though I have seen a few pities doing the frog too. I just gave him a bath and he’s not very happy about it. (But he smells nice.:) )

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    1. I enjoyed every single bite of that cupcake, Caroline. And I only felt mildly guilty about it afterward. 🙂
      I’m curious: do you typically order from the German version of Amazon or can you order from any Amazon? The international portion of the Amazon FAQs weren’t very clear.

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      1. Books can be ordered from any site I want but the kindle is restricted to amazon.de. It’s a bit more expensive but not too bad. I downloaded it. 🙂

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      2. Thanks for that information. Now I think I understand. The digital books can only be ordered for the location where your Kindle is authorized. Makes sense.
        Thanks so much for placing the order. I hope you like it. 🙂

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  3. How could you not eat the whole cupcake. Congrats on the collection. I just purchased a copy from Amazon UK. I wish you much success and I look forward to reading your stories. This is exciting! And Reggie…love him!

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      1. I’m excited to read it and to compare to both the subways in Boston and London. And I’ll be sure to review it. I wish you luck with your collection!

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  4. Reggie is ADORABLE. 🙂

    Congrats on the publication of your new book, Jackie! I actually need to buy something on Amazon (they’re making me, the tyrants, in order to be able to upload reviews…humph!) and was looking for a good book.

    I’m interested in your comments on book satisfaction, but I’m not honestly really sure what it means. If a book doesn’t satisfy me in SOME way, I usually can’t finish it. It doesn’t need to be predictable, but it needs to do something for me: entertain, enlighten, amuse, and all these would satisfy. Now you’ve got me wanting to read PTC just to see what Barbara Brown Taylor means by her comment – and by extension, you.

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    1. In my take away from Barbara Brown Taylor’s assessment on satisfaction, I feel she wants the author to be in service to the story first, not necessarily what the author thinks the reader would like to have happen. The ending of Casablanca comes to mind. Ooh, I just love this discussion. I realize too from some comments here that satisfy means different things to different people.

      Please do let me know if you enjoy my essays. (Also would you kindly let me know if you notice any formatting issues?) Now that it’s out in the world I’m a little nervous and hoping it’s an enjoyable read.

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  5. WOW, so exciting about your Chronicles!! Definitely downloading them today and will write a review when I’m done.

    Suddenly I’m kind of glad the Crumbs bakery is so far away. 😉 I could never resist eating a cupcake like that.

    I want a book that makes me think. I want characters so real that I miss them when the story’s over. I want a book that is unforgettable.
    But once in a while, I want to escape, so I’ll pick up a beach read.

    Hope you’re having some of this great D.C. weather!

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    1. The weather is absolutely gorgeous here today! A perfect spring day. Perfect cupcake weather. 🙂

      Thank you so much for picking up The Subway Chronicles! I hope you get a kick out of the essays and find them to be an enjoyable read.

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  6. That cupcake looks divine! Congrats on your new book, that is so exciting!

    I love a book that leaves me wanting more. Characters that stick in my mind long after I’ve finished the book. I don’t have a lot of time to read lately, so sometimes a good easy fluffy read is what I’ll grab. But I mainly love to read a more complicated novel. One of my favorite authors is John Irving. I’ve read several of his books dozens of times over, I was that invested in the characters.

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    1. Love John Irving’s books! How great was A Prayer for Owen Meany?
      Have you ready anything by Anne Tyler? I have a feeling you’d like her work also since it’s along the same lines as Irving. Right now I’m reading her book An Amateur Marriage. Talk about characters that stick in your mind.
      When I want something light, I pick up Sloane Crosley’s essays. She usually makes me laugh out loud.

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  7. 1) I am very concerned for your blood sugar levels right now 2) I can’t wait to read your book on amazon 3) all advertising should be stuff that really helps people and the planet not the other way round 4) I was thinking the same just yesterday about the movie The Hunter, set in Tassie, which doesn’t have a hollywood ending and is all the more truthful for it 5) dyson redefined vacuums, now Reggie is revolutionising the broom! Happy weekend to you also!

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    1. Thanks for your concern. It’s a tough job, eating these cupcakes. But somebody has to do it. I happily volunteer. 🙂

      Reggie is indeed on the cutting edge of broom technology. It’s very effective also.

      I like the idea of the ending of a story being “truthful” to the characters. That is a great way to look at it

      Hope you’re having a great week.

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  8. I’m a little late for the Friday reply…Sunday Funday yay! I look forward to your Friday 5. Here are my 5 responses 🙂
    1. I do love a good dessert my recent favorite being a creme brulee’ with fresh fruit atop it…yummmm
    2. I am excited to download your chronicles to my ipad. I am still figuring out what I like to do on that expensive little thing, turns out I always end up reading. HA!
    3. I have a book of inspiring quotes, I have carried it with me from coast to coast. It carries my favorites so to pick I will merely open and see what quote my book would like me to share….”Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency.” M. Angelou
    4.When I pickup a book I want to be full, but I want to be inspired. I love strong characters-Gone with the Wind, Austen….Can you recommend any? 🙂
    5. I love talking to my dog, the thumping of the tail, sweeping of the tail, the wiggle of the but 🙂 I am finally getting my wordpress page going, and of course the first thing done is my introduction of my pups. Ha! And one official post 🙂
    Have a good week!

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    1. Welcome Jenna! You’re never late to join the party. LOVE the photo of your pup. I can’t wait to meet them all!

      What a great sentiment from Maya Angelou. Thanks for sharing that.

      Now you’ve got me thinking…how about Story of Edgar Sawtelle? That’s a character and story that stayed with me – especially the dogs!

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  9. That cupcake looks so good I applaud you for eating only one! I’d be eating one from each hand for sure (at least)! The crumbs would be flying so fast and furious I’d have to ask if Reggie could come over and take care of the floor!
    Congratulations on your Kindle-ing, Ms. C! How cool is that?! Very, very cool! (I’m sorry I don’t own one or I’d write you a good review for sure – of course no one would be able to understand it, but the thought would be there, anyway)!
    🙂

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  10. Congratulations! Am so excited about your book being available on Kindle. Have already downloaded it. Sometimes books that you have recommended are difficult to get hold of here, so I’m really enjoying the Kindle Willie gave me recently.

    I have finally got hold of and started reading Bill Bryson’s “A Walk In The Woods”. You were right – I love it!

    Another thing Reggie and Rosie have in common: The Froggie Pose. Must be comfortable (at least for some dog breeds) to lie like that.

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    1. I’m so glad that you’re enjoying Bill Bryson’s book! He’s one of my favorite authors. I also really liked “In a Sunburned Country” which is about his tour around Australia.
      Thank you so much for downloading my essays! I so hope you like them. Let me know which one you enjoy best.
      Have a great weekend. 🙂

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  11. Seriously, I want that cupcake. I drooled a little when I saw it. I wish you great luck with getting the word out about “Chroinicles) and I love that video so much! I think I would simply write, “The greatest love affair you can ever have is with yourself.”

    Have a happy weekend!
    Currie

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