If I have not already sung the praises of Amy Krouse Rosenthal to you, then listen to me now and believe me later. She is an amazing writer, one of my new favorites and currently my #1 superhero. Reading her stuff makes me laugh, think, and want to be a writer just like her.
The best way to get a good idea of what AKR is like is to peek at the web site for her most recent book, Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. I love this book, and I love the style in which it was written--very clever and creative, and easy to read because it's all "tidbits." Other books she's written in a similar style, and I also highly recommend, are The Book of Eleven: An Itemized Collection of Brain Lint and The Same Phrase Describes My Marriage and My Breasts : Before the Kids, They Used to Be Such a Cute Couple. If the titles of those books aren't enough to make you want to read them, I give up on you.
One of the things I appreciate about AKR is that she doesn't claim to be anything more or better than anyone else, and yet somehow that comes across as an inspiration to strive for more. She also loves hearing that something she has done/written makes a difference. On her web site there's a big section about what happened when she intentionally left 150 copies of her book around three cities. She's tickled to hear people's reactions to finding the book, the circumstances in which they found it, etc. There's another area on her site where she'll thank anyone who asks to be thanked. And this is where my brush with greatness comes in...
I wrote a quick note in her "thank you" section a couple months ago: "I love, love, LOVE your books!" (is that the dorkiest fan letter ever, or what?). Of course, I never expected a personal reply from her or I would put forth a bit more eloquent effort. So, yeah, I'm a big dork, but the other day I got a response from her! It said, "Dear Jennifer, Thank you for the sweet note. I hope all finds you well in Portland (my favorite American city at the moment). And officially...thank you for reading E.O.A.O.L. All my best, amy kr"
And so now I'm even more impressed by her, even though she put two spaces between her sentences (as you know, I'm a bit of a spacing cop). If you go to this page on her site you can even see my name in her list of thanked people. Look now, because soon it'll be on one of the previous pages of the list. So far I've checked about eleventy times every day to make sure I'm still on that first page.
Read Amy Krouse Rosenthal. If nothing else, ooh and aah over the fact that she thanked me on her web site.