Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life First Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 249 ratings
ISBN-13: 978-1400080458
ISBN-10: 1400080452
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"I have not survived against all odds. I have not lived to tell. I have not witnessed the extraordinary. This is my story."

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, one-time Might magazine columnist and self-confessed hater of the segue has written a snappy, random, remarkable memoir--the first of its kind to give readers an honest flaws-n-all perspective of what it's like to be...ordinary. Initially inspired by the "bizarre, haphazard arrangement" of The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon, Rosenthal has collected a lifetime of thoughts, observations, and decisions, and created an alphabetized personal encyclopedia, complete with cross-referenced entries and illustrations. Rosenthal reveals the minutiae of her life, from pumping gas ("Every. Single. Solitary. Time I go to get gas I have to lean out the window to see which side the tank is on"), to witnessing her son's accident ("I saw with front-row-seat clarity, just how quickly, randomly, and mercilessly your child can be taken away"), and in turns both playful and poignant, engages the reader in effortless and stimulating conversation.

Whether you are laughing aloud or nodding along, reading Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life is like being introduced to a new friend--one that you automatically connect with and feel compelled to share. Fans of Dave Eggers, David Sedaris, and shows like Arrested Development and Scrubs will appreciate Rosenthal's quirky, conversational humor and dead-on observations. Writers will see the book as a contemporary portrait of the fledgling artist, and should enjoy her aptly named, "Evolution of this Moment"--a timeline tracking her growth as a writer from her first word ("more") to publication of her fourth book.

Modesty prevents Rosenthal from acknowledging herself as anything other than ordinary--that, and the fact that she has not "survived against all odds"--but that certainly does not mean she has nothing to say, or to share. Her delightful memoir is a reminder that life is not always an adventure, but it can be full of sad, silly, and important moments that make it worth living. Witness the generosity of an author who is willing to reveal so much of herself, not just as a writer, but also as a person--share this delightfully quirky, utterly enjoyable book with family and friends with a note, "Here is someone I think you should meet." --Daphne Durham

Amazon.com Exclusive Content

The Lost and Found Project
Between January 25th and February 1st, hundreds of copies of Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life were intentionally left in random places (taxis, public bathrooms, laundromats) in Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Each book was inscribed with a note from the author, and the finder was encouraged to report back to Rosenthal's website (www.encyclopediaofanordinarylife.com) when and where the book was discovered.

Watch the "Lost and Found" video directed by filmmaker Steve Delahoyde, documenting Rosenthal's test run and featuring her theme song, "This is My Story."
Listen to the theme song written by Tony Rogers.


Ordinary Life from A to Z
How do you interview a smart, creative, clever author like Amy Krouse Rosenthal? You agree to let her start with the questions, and hang on for the ride. Find out more about Amy and sneak a peek behind-the-scenes at Amazon.com with this decidedly ordinary email correspondence between Ms. Rosenthal and senior editor Daphne Durham.

Read our unusual interview with author Amy Krouse Rosenthal.



Extra Ordinary Excerpts
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From Publishers Weekly

Rosenthal likes lists: of low points in her life, codes that people memorize, sounds that seem loud though they're actually quiet. She loves inadvertently mysterious signs, like this public restroom gem: " PLEASE DO NOT FLUSH EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF TOILET PAPER OR SHOES DOWN THE TOILET. THANK YOU." She's collected some wonderful words like "flahoolick"(meaning generous and expansive) and "wabi-sabi" (which seamlessly fuses two moods), as well as some pairs of oddly similar words like applause and applesauce. But what to do with all this trivia? Why, frame it all around some lists of childhood memories and career milestones, alphabetize it and—voilà—she's assembled something like a memoir. Rosenthal warns readers that her life has not been extraordinary in the least—she hasn't "survived against all odds," recovered from any addictions or been a genius, misunderstood or otherwise. Not only does she consider her life "ordinary" (actually, she's worked for ad agencies, written a few books and worked for several public radio stations), but her preoccupations are with the entirely mundane: breaking appliances, leaving messages on answering machines, loading dishwashers, loving Q-tips. Browse this "encyclopedia" in any bookstore, and it looks too cute to resist, especially with its coy, reference book–type illustrations. Whether it remains endearing once it's home depends on how fascinating people find someone else's somewhat ordinary life.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crown; First Edition (January 25, 2005)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1400080452
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1400080458
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 14.3 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.74 x 1.04 x 8.54 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 249 ratings

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About the author

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Amy Krouse Rosenthal liked to make things.

Some things she made:

Children's books.

Grown-up books.

Short videos.

Speeches.

Salads.

Connections with the universe.

Something out of nothing.

Wishes.

According to The New York Times, Amy's award-winning children's books &quot;radiate fun the way tulips radiate spring: they are elegant and spirit-lifting.&quot;

Her 30+ books for children include UNI THE UNICORN, I WISH YOU MORE, EXCLAMATION MARK, LITTLE PEA, SPOON, CHOPSTICKS, DUCK!RABBIT!, PLANT A KISS, and DEAR GIRL, with more books still to come.

Amy’s alphabetized memoir ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AN ORDINARY LIFE was named one of Amazon’s top 10 memoirs of the decade.

Amy was a contributor to public radio, YouTube (THE BECKONING OF LOVELY, THE MONEY TREE) and TED (7 NOTES ON LIFE).

Her final essay, YOU MAY WANT TO MARRY MY HUSBAND, was published in the New York Times Modern Love column ten days before she died in March 2017. It immediately went viral, becoming one of the most-read essays to date.

Amy raised her three children with her husband, Jason, on a treelined street in Chicago. For more information about Amy’s life, work, and the Foundation formed in her memory, please see www.amykrouserosenthalfoundation.org.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
249 global ratings

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Hayley
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D. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars A quirky, enjoyable read
Reviewed in Canada on March 18, 2017
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