A Yard Sale, A Small World, & An Open Marriage

Isn’t it a small world? Especially with the World Wide Interweb at the center of it all. So we thought you guys might enjoy this funny story about where this crazy blogging train takes us sometimes.

The Backstory: Last spring I went to a local writing seminar because our friend Noah (who’s also a published author, award-winning blogger, and all-around-good-guy) was speaking and we wanted to show our support. Sadly Sherry missed out because she had a conflicting “make-up party” to go to with my sister. No lie. Anyways, on the panel was another Richmond-born author named Jenny Block. She was very funny and the story about getting her book published was very interesting indeed. Naturally it made me curious to read her book, so I made a mental note and headed back to pick up a sure-to-be-heavily made up Sherry from her party (she did not disappoint).

The Yard Sale: Fast-forward to June and I spot Jenny’s book, Open, at a local yard sale. Sherry seemed a bit worried when she saw me grabbing for a book subtitled “Love, Sex and Life in an Open Marriage” but I reassured her that my sole interest was in seeing how this witty speaker’s voice translated on to the page, NOT in opening our marriage to others (and I realize this sounds like a typical guy duping his wife, but trust me here – I’ve seen enough episodes of Big Love to nix that idea).

The Blog Post: After the yard sale we blogged about our finds in this post. Along with the post, we shared the picture above, where you can clearly see the titles that we purchased. The small worry that someone would recognize the title and start wondering if Sherry and I were becoming, um, “adventurous” did actually cross our minds…

The Email: Well, someone did recognize the book. A friend of the author’s emailed her the link which prompted an email back to us from Jenny herself: “It looks as if you bought my book at a yard sale! I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad since that means the original owner no longer wanted it. LOL. But I’m glad someone scooped it up! If you want to drop it in the mail to me, I’d be happy to sign it to you and send it back.

So we did. And she did. And now we’ve got this:

Oh, and I’m about halfway through the book and it has been a very interesting read. And I can say with the utmost confidence that I’m more than happy to keep my marriage closed! So that’s our latest small world story. Do you guys have one to share? Or any other good reads that we should put on our list?


  1. joy hester says

    I set a goal for myself to read all the books that have won a Pulitzer Prize. So, I started this year on the list. So far the best that I have read is The Road. This book stayed with me for weeks after I read it. I saw where they have made a movie but I think they will have a hard time recreating the book. Great read!

  2. Cathryn says

    I have also been working my way up and down the Pulitzer list. Every now and then, I find one before it wins and think “THIS one MUST win a Pulitzer.” And it often does. Are there bookies for books? I also browse the Agatha & Edgar award winners every year. These are mystery book awards. The Agatha award (guess who it is named after!) is great for those of us who don’t want too much gore when we are up late at night reading.

    Books I highly recommend:

    “American Cookery” by Laura Kalpakian – fiction
    “The Titled Americans” by Elizabeth Kehoe – non-fiction
    “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett – fiction
    “People of the Book” by Geraldine Brooks – fiction
    “Still Life” (and all its mystery sequels to date) by Louise Penny – fiction
    “44 Scotland Street” (and all its hilarious sequels to date) by Alexander McCall Smith – fiction
    “Maisie Dobbs” (and all its mystery sequels to date) by Jacqueline Winspear – fiction
    “The House at Riverton” by Kate Morton

    Looking forward to seeing other people’s suggestions, too!
    Great post Young House Love. Love to ‘Burger!

  3. says

    Funny story! I can totally picture Sherry being all “Um, John?” Haha.

    I’ve been heavily into travel literature lately since reading “Under The Tuscan Sun” (somewhat different from the movie based on it). I recently read “From Here You Can’t See Paris” which was an interesting look at a tourist-driven village in Southern France and gorgeous passages about French food and cooking. I’ll also read anything by Michael Pollan (have you read his house-building book? That’s next on my list)

  4. Amanda L says

    Since you have already had the open marriage discussion LOL, I was totally sucked in by a book called Something Borrowed. I, like you, don’t agree with the open marriage topic, but was totally sucked in by this plot line. Its a pink book and more on the chick lit side. So, it might be one for Sherry more than John. There is a sequel book as well, though I have yet to pick that one up.

  5. SarahV says

    Anything by Mary Roach. She writes books about real-life odd topics, and they have great titles like Bonk and Stiff.

  6. julia says

    Just curious about this book? Did the author actually experience an open marriage or did she just research it by interviewing people and such? Also, what conclusions does she draw about open marriages?

  7. says

    For a fun quick read with several TASTY recipes built into the story read Brooke Parkhurst’s “Belle in the Big Apple”. (More on the girlish side but a very fun read.) For more of a fun guy’s read you can should check out Ted Bell’s “Tsar”.. its basically a book version of James Bond. And I know its become so incredibly over talked about, but “The Shack” is an uber quick read that gives encourages a new view of religion through an enticing fictional story. And if its non-ficiton inspiration you are looking for, read Lance Armstrong’s “Its not about the bike.” very impressive.

    • says

      We love all this talk about books! What a fun little Friday afternoon departure.

      As for Carmen’s question about Babyville, I’ll read anything by Jane Green so it’s more of a reflection of how much I love fluffy chic lit than my maternal clock. And Sarah V, John and I LOOOVE Mary Roach and have read Stiff, Spook and Bonk with glee. Julie, you asked about the book Open an we recommend tracking it down and reading it for yourself (you can even get it free at the library) but the author does in fact live in an open marriage (although she adds some research and interesting facts in along with her experiences). And Amanda, I loved Something Borrowed and Something Blue. Quality chic lit at it’s finest. As for all the other recommendations, thanks so much guys! Lots to add to our list!


  8. A says

    Heh, I know (or have met) Jenny Block too! She lives (or lived) in Dallas and was freelance writing about one of my clients. Haven’t read the book but I follow her blog. Interesting stuff though I’m solidly (happily) on the closed marriage train, too.

  9. Mariel says

    Like the idea of sharing names of good books. It will be great to share music for ipod at some point too!

    My two cents:

    The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende.

  10. says

    Funny story! I continue to be amazed by what a small world it is! My favorite small world story ever is one that brought my best friend and I together. I met her at the local community college where we worked together and we ended up being roommates when we went to college out of state. She told her then boyfriend that she had met a girl named “Marie Elena … something, I can’t remember her last name” (it’s a unique one) and her boyfriend said it. Turns out he was my first love (in first grade). My husband and I are great friends with both of them, and I was even in their wedding.

  11. Stephanie says

    Well upon reading about each person, I dutifully click on the links in their names and check out their websites…..that’s when my husband walks up and says “why are you on open marriage”? Heh Heh…ummmmmm

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