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Leap Days by Katherine Lanpher

February 16, 2010

I just finished reading “Leap Days: Chronicles of a Midlife Move” by Katherine Lanpher. A memoir about her move from St. Paul, MN to Manhattan at the age of 44 to cohost Al Franken’s radio show on Air America, Katherine describes both the culture shock she experienced in NYC and her story of what led her here.

As a fellow Minnesotan who relocated to Brooklyn and worked in Manhattan, I found this book to be chock full of extremely relatable stories. She speaks of learning how to hail a cab, navigate the city, being surrounded by extremely thin, stylish and attractive young women and the resulting self-esteem downward spiral. She also tells of falling in love with the city for the amazing diversity of people you see on the subway, buddying up with the local proprietors like the butcher, and finding friends along the way to help ward off the loneliness and homesickness and help discover all the wonders of the city.

It’s also inspiring and fascinating to read her stories of growing up in Moline, Illinois, then moving to St. Paul to become a reporter and then columnist at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, and becoming the host of the Midmorning Show on Minnesota Public Radio. She had successes in the Twin Cities, and a husband who was married to the theater and who she divorced prior to moving to New York, as well as many wonderful friends and a home that she left behind.

She ultimately falls in love with New York and finds her place in it as she closes the book two years after moving here. I’m not giving away the ending here – let’s face it, loving NYC is inevitable! The book is upbeat and a touching memoir of an interesting journey that’s still in the making.

Katherine still lives here, and in fact, I was honored to meet her when she attended our happy hour in January. She hosts the event series “Upstairs at the Square” at the Union Square Barnes & Noble, where recent guests included Patti Smith and Vampire Weekend. Her writing has appeared in More magazine and the New York Times.

I definitely recommend the book, especially for fellow midwesterners who’ve made the leap, too.

Moving the the Big Apple? Consider these NYC Movers to help ease the transition!*

*(paid content)

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