By Anna Andersen

Anna Andersen has realized 100% of her teensy income results from writing, so she can safely refer to herself as a freelance writer. Wed to a rural mail carrier who regularly helps turtles across the street, she reads books, cuddles cats, and pens Destiel fanfiction in her Kansas hometown.

  1. I've gathered responses from a few readers on what The Toast meant to them. Think of it as signing The Toast's senior yearbook.

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  2. “Beach read” is right up there with "guilty pleasure" on the list of book-related phrases I wrinkle my nose at. Partly because I live in Kansas, where beaches are absent; partly because, in my experience, the concept is gendered: men don't have to wait for warm weather to mainline mass-market thrillers, but women are often assumed to spend the rest of the year on sad historicals and "I did a thing for a year" memoirs. You…

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  3. In the opening chapters of Susan Townsend Warner’s The Wide, Wide World—a runaway bestseller upon its 1850 publication—the following exchange takes place between our lachrymose young protagonist, Ellen Montgomery, and her dying mother.

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  4. Here’s the situation: I want kids. I could have them. But I’ve decided that I shouldn’t. I’ve fought mental illness since I was a child—I remember being suicidal in fifth grade—and I’ve been medicated since I was 15. First for depression; after I got dumped at a birthday party and took forty-seven aspirin in the bathroom, then walked calmly into the next room and told someone I’d just taken forty-seven aspirin, I was diagnosed with…

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