Imagine setting down the book you’re reading in order to text the author because you want to know more about their writing or possibly even to share one of your own insights about the topic. If you aren’t a personal friend of the author, that’s probably not a chance you often get. Unless the book happens to be Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a memoir with an element of texting built in.
Rosenthal’s writing style is refreshingly personable, as well as thoughtful and laugh-out-loud funny at times. In short bursts of memory, she recalls poignant moments of childhood, amusing instances of serendipity, and a little of everything else. The result is a lighthearted volume that leaves you feeling like the author just sat down at your kitchen table and started talking.
Throughout the book, there are occasional text prompts, encouraging you to text a specific keyword or phrase to a designated number. The reply might then prompt you to send in a picture of a rainbow or it might include a link to an audio clip of Rosenthal reading off a list of vocabulary words. Like the stories the author shares, the prompts are a delightful assortment of odds and ends.
In addition to the text prompts, there are some that lead the reader to visit a website in order to share a personal story or even to be electronically matched to two other readers in a kind of pen-pal blind date. You can also check out a live feed of the rainbow pictures that have been sent in.
These interactive elements change the reading experience. Most books, fiction and non-fiction alike, tend to draw us inward. While they might encourage us to think about the outside world or even inspire us to do something, the act of reading itself is primarily a solitary one. Action and connection to the larger world happens when we put the book down.
Rosenthal’s prompts, on the other hand, continuously bring us out of her literary world as part of the reading experience. What moment of serendipity can I share? Is there a rainbow in the sky today? Should I draw my self-portrait or take a selfie? Over and over again, we are brought back to our own lives and the actual, physical world around us.
While constant disruptions might detract from the enjoyment of some books, the very nature of Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal, episodic and thought-provoking, makes it the perfect vehicle for such motivating interruptions. Read, think, connect, repeat is the cycle that Rosenthal develops in her writing.
On her website, Rosenthal describes herself as “a person who likes to make things.” Some of the things she likes to make include books, short films, salads, and “connections with the universe.” It is that quality of seeking for connection that most stands out in reading Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal. As you read, you can feel her reaching out, hungry to connect not only by sharing her thoughts with you, but by encouraging you to share your thoughts with her.
If you could text any author, who would it be and what message would you send?
YouTube Channel: amy krouse rosenthal
Featured image via Amazon
h/t Fast Company