Shortly after moving to New York City, I had the honor of meeting Maya Angelou. Unlike the random glimpses of celeb elite on crowded streets or in dark corners of restaurants, a simple author event turned into a powerful life lesson. It happened on the cusp of a losing battle with the New York public... Continue Reading →


A Literary Journey with Jay Asher

In honor of #BannedBooksWeek, the Life of Riley interview with author Jay Asher


The Life of Riley

Suicide is a taboo subject in our society. So it’s refreshing and yet somewhat surprising when a novel—a young adult novel to be more specific—finds its way into the hearts of people all around the world, achieving a coveted spot on the New York Times Bestseller lists, numerous literary awards and an upcoming film adaption. Thirteen Reasons Why tackles a teen’s suicide by unveiling its complicated layers. The novel has sparked a much needed conversation and continues to attract new followers every day.  

While working as a newsletter editor for a suicide prevention organization in 2009, I reached out to and subsequently interviewed Thirteen Reasons Why author, Jay Asher. He was humble, kind, and elated with readers’ reactions and feedback.  He spoke of the fans who stood in the back of crowded rooms after readings, waiting to thank him personally for writing a book that encouraged them to reach out…

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A National Book Lovers Day Homage To Didion

We tell ourselves stories in order to live. ― Joan Didion What unpredictable things would you feel lost without . . . tangible items that most often have little value except to those who know the stories behind them? I recently asked friends this very question about “prized possessions.” Brief but beautiful, honest descriptions filled... Continue Reading →

Chinua Achebe: Let there be Light

When I was 35 I left a career and started college for the first time. Surrounded by 18 year olds, I worked hard to find my place in the most unordinary circumstances. It wasn’t always easy, and I wasn’t always happy. Yet the more I learned, the less all that mattered. I’d loved literature and... Continue Reading →

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