A blank calendar and California by Edan Lepucki


I started a new gift giving tradition this year, calendars. My husband and I exchanged calendars (I picked them both, because his was easy, and mine is very personal year to year).  I’ve been thinking about adding our older daughter to this one; I think she needs and would like a real, paper calendar. It’s nice to look back at the end of the year and see all that you’ve done in ink.

This gift is probably my favorite small gift. I LOVE blank paper. The possibilities are endless on blank paper. A notebook can be so many different things. To me, it is place for imagination and stories, journaling my ideas and dreams. For my husband, measurements and designs. For Libby, my older daughter, it means school work and math problems, but also dreams and hopes in all shapes and sizes (she’s 11). For my younger, developmentally disabled daughter, who is learning to write, it gives her a place to see her name, to slowly see herself come to life in words and simple drawings.

A blank calendar is all that but with certain constraints. In my mind, a calendar is a year of potential broken down into 12 blocks and 365 dollops of imaginable. It is a year of blank spaces waiting to be filled with accomplishments and achievements, with heartbreaks and disappointments.10888935_10205624495431307_3203413921015171064_n

My calendar will be filled in with to-dos and appointments. But the blankness of the calendar, before it’s filled in, means so much more. It’s days and days of the unknown waiting to be known, to be experienced and felt and LIVED. So many days to be filled with adventure or boredom, imagination or tedium. It’s all up to me, to us, to fill those days on our calendar.

And it’s up to you to fill in your own calendar. So go do it! Make the most of all those blank days of 2015.

And now,  California by Edan Lepucki.

Edan Lepucki’s novel, California, is a story of a futuristic world, and survival in that world. But more than that, it is the story of marriage and family in a new world.

The world as we know it has collapsed. The rich and the large corporations have built ‘communities,’ walled-offed cities in which all is available, but only to those who live inside the walls. Those outside the walls must fend for themselves, learning to live off the land and fend for themselves.

The main characters of the novel are Cal and Frida, a young married couple forced to leave crumbling LA behind to live in the wilderness. When Frida learns she is pregnant, she let’s her life story spill out to a trader who wanders in the wilderness. She tells him about her brother, the terrorist (think the Occupy movement combined with the tactics of Al Qaeda) who pretty much collapsed LA and sent them all scuttling to the hinterlands. Of course, he killed himself in the process.

Eventually, Frida’s pregnancy forces them to seek others, and they end up in a community of survivors in an old ghost-town tourist trap. Here, every part of their marriage comes into question, and their ideas of family, and partnership. In the end, how do you survive? Do you compromise yourselves to fit in, or do you go it alone? As a couple, do you share everything or protect each other with lies?

I enjoyed this book because of its ability to make me think. If there is an apocalypse, it probably will not be zombies, and we would probably find ourselves as part of a community. Us against the world? That’s easy–we’re a team. Us trying to meld into a new community, a new hierarchy–that might be tougher. (No, we’re not survivalists. I just always play these games in my mind AND I love The Walking Dead 😉 ).

Lepucki’s California is on many best of lists for 2014, and I agree. I would recommend it highly. I like books that make me think.


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