Staying in with Leslie Handler

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With rotten weather forecast and the need for something to lighten the mood, it gives me enormous pleasure to welcome Leslie Handler to Linda’s Book Bag to stay in with me today.

If you’re an author who’d also like to stay in with me to tell me about one of your books, please click here for more details.

Staying in with Leslie Handler

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag, Leslie. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

I have with me Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank: A Collection of Essays from Humorous to Simply Human. I’ve been sharing my stories for a number of years now as a freelance columnist for many publications.  The book started out as a collection of some of those previously published essays, but then it morphed into many more stories that just didn’t fit into on-line and print publications.  People seemed to be touched by my stories and I needed a warm fuzzy place for them to land.  Rat’s become that warm and fuzzy place.

(I love the idea of associating rats with something warm and fuzzy!)

Although my degree is in journalism, my career took me in other directions.  It wasn’t until I was forced our of work due to a disability that I started to write.  I can no longer work, but I still have a brain, and I still need an outlet for the times that I’m able to function.  So writing and I became best friends.  I can get so immersed in my writing that I find it’s the only time that I can actually forget to eat!  Often, it’s either my bladder or my grumbling tummy that tell me to step away from the computer.

(Isn’t it wonderful how writing and reading can transport us and give us a new outlook and purpose in life?)

What can we expect from an evening in with Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank: A Collection of Essays from Humorous to Simply Human?

I’m honored to now be able to call myself an award winning syndicated columnist.  The book includes some of those award winning pieces.  It’s a collection of essays-sometimes nourishing, sometimes passionate, sometimes humorous, and always relatable.

(Congratulations – how exciting.)

This is the book to read if you are feeling sad.  This is the book to read if you need a good chuckle.  This is the book to read so that you never ever feel like you’re alone.

In one of the essays I summarize my embarrassment for not being supportive of my husband.  I write that “When you’re sad, you get the kind [of tears] that roll down your cheek flowing freely.  They drip down your collar and snot up your nose.  No.  These were different.  These were tears of shame and embarrassment…These were tears that didn’t want to puddle or roll. These were tears that didn’t want to come out at all but couldn’t help themselves as they reluctantly dripped sideways into the hairline instead of following gravity down the face. These were my tears.”

In my essays, I try to shine light into my very own soul and leave it wide open for all to see.  In my storytelling, I try to be a keen observer of my own human nature and I’m not shy about sharing it.

(I think the best writers are those prepared to lay themselves bare to the reader.)

Part memoir, part essay collection, I hope that you find both wit and charm in Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank.  It will take you on a ride from finding a mouse in the house to the mortgage crisis.  My hope is that you become so engaged while reading it, that you may just find yourself wondering how your own personal stories ended up in it!

(It sounds perfect for me actually as we are battling mice in our loft at the moment, Leslie.)

What else have you brought along and why?

I’ve brought two photos for you all. The first is a photo of a thirty-eight year old hockey puck.

hockey puck

You probably want to know why I’ve brought this item.  It’s very special to me.  I keep it on my night table and take a quick glance at it every night before I turn the lights out and go to bed.  Sorry, but I guess you’ll just have to read chapter two to find out why this odd item is so important to me.

(Argh – that’s so naughty of you. I will HAVE to find out now!)

Here’s the other photo that I’ve brought along:


I can assure you that this is not a personal epicurian delight.  This one has to do with the love between a father and a daughter, but you’ll have to check out chapter five to discover its importance.

(I really will as I’m thoroughly intrigued.)

The bottom line, is that I hold sentiment much more dear than monetary value.  I’ve lived through a whole lot of crap and still firmly believe that I’m one of the healthiest, happiest, sick people I know.  I hope that you’ll find yourself in the pages of my book and share your stories with me as well.

What an inspirational comment Leslie. I think Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank sounds like a smashing read. Thanks so much for staying in with me to tell me all about it.

Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank

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Part memoir, part essay collection, Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank is written with both wit and charm. It will take you on a ride from finding a mouse in the house to the mortgage crisis, from a smile to a chuckle and from a few tears to the feeling of being wrapped in a blanket sipping a warm cup of cocoa on a cold winter’s day. Handler offers a rich, touching, heartfelt and reflective read that will leave the reader with an indelible uplifting spirit.

Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank is available for purchase here.

About Leslie Handler


Leslie is a 2015 Society of Newspaper Columnists award winner. She’s an international syndicated columnist with Senior Wire News Service and a frequent contributor to WHYY and CityWide Stories.

She freelances for The Philadelphia Inquirer, ZestNow, and Boomercafe, as well as blogs for HuffPost.

Leslie currently lives smack dab between Philadelphia and New York City with husband Marty, dogs Maggie, Hazel, and Ginger, a collection of fish, said husband’s cockatoo who she’s been trying to roast for dinner for the last 33 years, and a few occasional uninvited guests.

You can follow Leslie on Twitter @Leslie_Handler, find her on Facebook and visit her blog.

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