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The Audacious Magpie Paperback – November 1, 2014
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About the Author
Gus is a hopeful adventurer who revels in the bliss of the everyday. She is a storyteller and the creator of the novel in real time.
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I had my book group read it and most likedit. A couple of women thought the ending was too contrived. I thought Serendipity was a good way to describe it.
This book inspires by example. It was originally published online chapter-by-chapter as it was being written (although I read the completed version now), and reading it is heightened by the knowledge that The Big Ample project that the characters carry out is real and was happening concurrently as the book was taking form, as seen in the photographs included in the book. Thus, this novel is the very act of an author who composed a beautiful and inspiring way to foster the connection and joy for herself and for strangers that she writes for her characters. In the process she illuminates not only *that* connectedness and creative life can be attainable, but her own unique path for *how*. This novel, and the real-world Big Ample project, leaves me with an energy to live more broadly. Reading it, you realize that, if you look around, you are already part of a community and there are myriad ways to make your place in it.
Clearly, I highly recommend this novel. This is a great book to read without knowing the story beforehand, but here's my lightly spoilery sketch of the plot if you want more detail:
The central character, Lenny, in a desire to counter her growing cynicism while living in New York City, finds a creative way to fight back. Rather than growing more internal and protective to fight the unrelenting encroachment of the crowded city, Lenny decides to become a "giving magpie" and begins The Big Ample project. With help from new friend Gus, she gives strangers anonymous joy by leaving whimsical art, notes, quotes, and treats around the city to inspire New Yorkers in need of a boost. In a year of giving audaciously, Lenny and Gus form a tighter bond with each other and with the nameless characters who populate the lives of every New Yorker.