Befriended: Talking Friendship with Author Emery Lord

We’re best friends, Estelle and I. We live miles and miles apart, but there’s seldom been a day in our three year friendship that we haven’t talked about something. Our friendship is the platform from which Rather Be Reading was created. Because of that, we’ve been really wanting to focus on friendship more. Something positive and uplifting. We both find friendship to be such an incredibly important aspect of the books we read. They can often make or break a book. There’s the good, the bad, the ups, the downs… and through all of that, you need a best friend. Someone to hold your hand as you wade through the craziness of life.

Hence the new feature we’re rolling out right now: Befriended.

We’re beginning with one of our very favorite new authors, Emery Lord. We’ve both read Emery’s debut novel, Open Road Summer and fallen madly in love with her incredible writing. (Admittedly, we’ve also watched her awesome author intro video and want to be her BFF, too). Reagan and Dee have this outstanding friendship with years and years of history and love between them. We asked Emery to talk to us a little bit about her personal best friend and in the vein of our themed gift-packs, to create gifts to and from Dee and Reagan. It’s an understatement to say I love how this came out and how much I adore what Emery wrote about her best friend. (Fact: I teared up reading it.)

A big, huge THANK YOU to Emery for helping us introduce our new friendship feature, Befriended. Without further ado, please welcome Emery to Rather Be Reading…


My BFF and I met at church when we were in fourth grade. We were in all the same activities our entire lives and have so many similarities, but we’re different in a lot of ways too. Even little things. I’m a basic-nail polish kind of gal, and she’s great at, like, nail art and Jamberry nails. She went to a small private college for Music Ed; I went to a larger public school for Communications and English. She lives in the suburbs near our hometown; I live in a more urban setting a couple of hours away. She got married in the winter surrounded by cranberry reds and creams, in a strapless dress with her hair up. I got married in the spring, surrounded by peony pinks and tuxedo blacks, in a dress with sheer sleeves and my hair down. I wore her veil.

I wrote about to very different BFFs in Open Road Summer because I wanted to show that you don’t have to have everything in common to be best friends. You just have to show up, emotionally. Everyone understands a relationship like marriage…that I chose my husband to be my family. But my best friend is someone I chose to be my family too. It’s a sisterhood of choice, and it doesn’t matter how far apart we are or how many differing choices we make. What we have in common is 20 years together and so much love and loyalty that we can fill the miles between us. That’s truly all we’ve ever needed.

– – –
From Dee to Reagan
dee to reagan gifts for open road summer by emery lord
  • Arrow Necklace: This is a necklace Dee lets Reagan borrow in Open Road Summer. I think she’d get her one of her very own, since Reagan loves it–and probably write her a cheesy card tying in lyrics to Kacey Musgraves’ song Follow Your Arrow  😉  (which I love).
  • Photo Cube Printer: Reagan’s a photographer, so she’d love this for iPhone photos taken on the go.
  • Vintage 1971 Canon 35mm Camera: Dee’s an antiquer, so she’d absolutely snag this vintage camera for Reagan.
  • Ferris Wheel Photo Frames: Dee would get this both as a way for Reagan to display photos and to tease her a little about Matt Finch and a Ferris Wheel  😉
  • Boots: Reagan loooves shoes and these boots are totally her style.
  • New York Book: Dee is super supportive of Reagan’s ultimate goal of attending NYU. She’d absolutely gift Reagan with NYC-related things to share in her excitement about that.
– – –
From Reagan to Dee

reagan to dee open road summer gift pack by emery lord

  • Bestie iPhone Cases: Reagan would totally get these infinity BFF phone cases for herself and Dee, since they’re in a long-distance friendship/on the phone so much of the time. But, since Reagan would be using the phone case too, she’d pick something a little less frilly  😉
  • Decorative Pillow: Something for Dee’s tour bus or new apartment–Reagan’s sense of humor and something to make Dee laugh.
  • Tennessee Necklace: To remind Dee of home.
  • Floral Weekender: So not Reagan’s personal style, but definitely Dee’s. I think Reagan would get this for Dee to remind her she’s only one packed bag away from a weekend trip home.
  • Every Day Journal: One of the things Dee struggles with is how quickly life seems to be moving–by the time one thing happens, she can barely process it before the next big thing happens. Reagan would buy this one-line-a-day journal to help her remember each day without spending too much time memorializing instead of living–something she’s big on  🙂
  • Dolly Parton Quote: Dolly is one of Dee’s heroes, and Reagan would want to remind Dee that even Dolly has seen herself through the rain!


Thank you so incredibly much to Emery Lord for stopping by RBR 
to help us kick of BEFRIENDED. Friends, please, please read Open Road Summer
as soon as you possibly can. And stay tuned for more friendship-related posts!

Add OPEN ROAD SUMMER to Goodreads | Buy on Amazon | Buy from Barnes & Noble | My Review of ORS

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children Themed Gift Pack

I can’t stop reminiscing about my favorite books when working on this themed gift pack series we have going this month.

Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills is so sweet, so endearing, so inventive yet tackles a pretty unconventional subject in the young adult genre. I’m skimming through to refresh my memory of the little details, and I keep getting distracted because I love the main character, Gabe, so much. He was born Liz but has just told everyone he is Gabe. His parents don’t take it too well, his best friend Paige is accepting, and the only place he can be himself is when he broadcasts the program “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children”. This character is like a walking music encyclopedia. I love it.

The book is a lot about acceptance and moving forward, and creating a new life for yourself — but it never feels weighed down by drama and sadness.

There’s a lot of hope buried in there, and I hope you’ll take the time to check it out if you haven’t already.

I’m pretty sure Gabe would get a real kick out of this series. He is definitely someone who appreciates themes! Happy shopping!

1. Handcarved Cassette Stamp: I actually have one of these, and love it. It’s a nice way to personalize notes or give them a fun look. In MNFUC, Gabe loves his music, truly identifies with it + is always taking about his A and B side (since people have yet to discover these two parts of him).

2. All Shook Up Original Broadway Cast Recording: I’m not sure if Gabe would approve of my love of musical theater but he does love Elvis and this is one album I listen to all the time. Cheyenne Jackson (you may know him from 30 Rock) plays the Elvis-like phenom of this jukebox show, and sings most of the tracks. Great for those who love Elvis, and like fun, well-imagined covers.

3. Cookie Radio: Okay this is supposed to be a cookie holder (?) but it pretty much can be used for anything (paperclips, nail polish, etc.). Every night, Gabe is mentored by his neighbor as he talks to people over the airwaves in the dead of night. It’s a place where he can really be himself, and one that keeps him safe. (Until, well… it doesn’t.)

4. Wrecords by Monkey Clock: Gabe would be all over this Brooklyn-based company if he could. Everything they make is from used or broken vinyls. (They currently have a shop in Bryant Park if you are in the area.) Bracelets, iPod covers, necklaces, and more. But I just really like this clock.

5. Kate Spade Live Colorfully Pillow: The “live colorfully” motto totally embodies who Gabe is from his personal life to his love of music. He is such a vibrant person, and I think Kate says it best. Love the pillow but there are also notecards, an iPhone case, and some jewelry pieces that also don the saying.

6. Stay on Track print: Take this as a life lesson or just one that Gabe has to conquer in his professional life, but this print basically says it all. The Joy Goldstein Studio on etsy has a ton of cool prints to check out.

7. Pepsi: Gabe’s drink of choice!

8. I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg: This book is so cute, and captures the romance and pure adorableness that comes out of Gabe’s mouth while he pines away for the unattainable girl. (I have this in my book collection and it always makes me smile.)