#526 When dreams come true

I was a bad baby.

From the time I was zero minutes old I was wide-eyed, wide-awake, crying and cranky. Bedtime meant nothing and my parents say I’d often stand in my crib staring around the room rattling the bars all night.

Sleeplessness stuck as the years rolled on and I’d lie in the dark quiet house staring at the ceiling with my eyes bugged open for hours. Eventually I discovered books and started squinting through thick Coke-bottle glasses — lips softly moving, fingers slowly dragging — getting pulled into new worlds and new lives. Dim lights cast dark shadows by my dresser as I followed Frank and Joe to Pirate’s Cove or cracked cases with Encyclopedia Brown.

When I went to high school I tried to sleep in, I practiced even, but it just wouldn’t take. And since nobody was crazy enough to date me, I spent most of my evenings nose deep in musty yellow paperbacks tattered from the library, creasy finger-dents in the backs, big cracks in the spine.

These days my fingers can still feel the crinkly color-faded pages of garage sale Archie comics. I can still smell the musty kid’s section of the dim library basement. My brain still reels with flashbulb-popping memories of flipping pages with mom before bed.

I think I’ve loved books since I was a crib-rattling baby. I love squeezing them in suitcase pockets, leaving them teetering on toilets, and curling up with them under blankets on wet rainy days.

Today The Book of Awesome hits shelves around the United States. Next week it’s coming to Canada. And soon it’s coming to more countries around the world.

I feel tremendously lucky and honored that a chance to chat with y’all about awesome things rose out of such difficult times in my personal life. Your comments, suggestions, and support means so much to me and I sincerely hope you like the book.

And maybe this one’s for yourself, maybe it’s a gift for Grandma, or maybe it’s for a little kid with thick glasses to read under the covers tonight.


The Book of Awesome hits stands today!

Photos from: here, here, and here

114 thoughts on “#526 When dreams come true

  1. 1. I was a bad baby too. Baaaad bad. Sorry mom and dad.

    2. As an [almost] early childhood/reading teacher, your affinity for reading is something I SO adore! I love hearing stories like that. I, too, have some really great and similar-sounding memories of the children’s section in my hometown library basement.

    3. CONGRATULATIONS on the book! It’s a totally amazing accomplishment, one that makes all us readers so proud of you. I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy!

    CELEBRATE … this is your day!

    1. Opening a pull-tab can of something and nothing flies out when the last section of the lid cracks off.

      1. Yeah … I was fortunate enough to win an autographed copy (WAHOOOO!), and while I thought briefly about .. ya know, like, framing that one, I think I’ll read it and give the one I pre-ordered to my friend whose mother just passed away. I’d say that’s someone in need of a heaping helping of Awesome.

        Didn’t mean to get heavy with that one, more like agreeing: Best Gift Ever.

        1. Totally agree on the “Best. Gift. Ever.” idea. I’ve got to admit that I pre-ordered a (slightly embarassing) number of copies of the book. Some of them I’ve got ear-marked to give to specific people, but for the others, I plan on literally keeping a stack in my room, and whenever an event comes up when I need to bring a nice small gift, I can grab a copy of “The Book of Awesome” and I’ll be instantly prepared. It’s like the new fruit cake! (Only people will actually like this gift..)

          CONGRATS, NEIL!

          1. Hahahaha “the new fruit cake” … hilarious!

            You’re right though … at least people will love the book, unlike its sad predecessor (fruit cake).

            1. Wait I’ve got a better idea! I’ll buy a copy for myself and give the autographed copy as a present :)

              1. Well I haven’t gotten mine yet, but given that it doesn’t have my name in it or anything, I could do that, t-

                Nope. I couldn’t.

                Sister, you’ve got an unmatched level of selflessness. I am keeping that thing for me :D

                1. (I’m a guy :p) I figure if I have a girlfriend sometime in the future, a book would be a good birthday present!

  2. Books are totally awesome. And so are libraries too. Having the Book of Awesome come out on tax day is going to make the day a little better.

    I can’t wait to pick up a copy of your book after I get off work. I hope it becomes a runaway bestseller.

  3. I came home from school today after one of THOSE days and was completely drained.

    As I dragged myself through the front door, I saw, sitting on the front table in my entry way, YOUR BOOK!

    It was one of those moments. One of those moments that you write about every single day where I realized that life’s not so bad, I’m sure I’ll do fine on my AP World History test tomorrow, and that everything is still kind of awesome.

    So thank you! I can’t wait to start reading and congratulations!!!!!!

  4. You know…your silly, funny, light-hearted posts are great. They never fail to bring a smile to my face.

    But those “difficult times” you mention…those trying times and painful memories…those posts really touch my heart.

    Thank you for that.

  5. Many congratulations Neil! I hope you enjoy this AWESOME day and have a smile on your face the whole time. Especially knowing, that you’re making a lot of other people’s days more awesome as they are reminded of all the awesome-ness in the small things.


  6. Congratulations on the book! I have ordered 2 copies. I am going to keep one copy for myself and I will be giving the second book to my sister. I know that it she will enjoy it, and I know it will brighten up her day if she is having a bad day.

    The blog has brought me laughter, tears, and pure joy. I found the website by accident and I was really behind over 300 posts. I sat in my chair reading them all week long not wanting to go sleep because they where so great. The one that affect me the most was the new year eve post to this day when I think about it bring tears to me. Just thinking all the good and bad that has happen in the previous year. #601 Getting through it.

    Thank you so much for all your hard work.

  7. I wouldn’t say I was a bad baby…but I sure was a crier.

    That Archie comic comment really hit home for me. All of the sudden, memories of rock hard bazooka joe and a milk crate full of old, broken action figures on the floor of the family barber shop come flooding back into my mind. Talk about nostalgia.

    I had a few books about a chocolate lab named Carl that went on a few crazy adventures. The smell of that book was so distinct, so odd, I remember it so clearly though…

    Many congratulations on this book. You have brought some pure, unadulterated, fan-flipping-tastic joy to some fan-slipping-tastic people. I can’t wait to spark up some random conversations with strangers on the bus whose nose is buried in a copy of your remarkable writing. Neil,

    you’re awesome.

  8. Congratulations! I hope sales are so awesome, you can spend you life just doing awesome things. And if you get loads of money you could just do them in a thong, as that would be mega awesome!

  9. Yayness – just found the site and SOO happy to get a book verion – have already started to bug bookstores in SOUTH AFRICA. Huge market here.. bring em on.. lotsa fans here too…

  10. My thoughts while readings this post: Here is someone who loves language, words and books. You can feel it right from the first syllable. It’s your thing.

    Which proves a point about which I’m totally positive: If you do something you love, it will become a success.

    The book will be overwelmingly successful.


  11. Many congratulations for the book. I look forward to getting one. I haven’t been here for long, but already i love what i see.

    Your blog reminds me of the fact that there is so much inspiration in simplicity.

    Keep up the AWESOME work you are doing. Thanks.

  12. Yesterday I had to give a very big speech for work. Today, I’m dreaming about my new house-that house-the house I’ve always wanted. We close in two weeks. Thanks for your Awesome posts. So glad I stumbled on your website last week and so glad that when I get home today, your book should be on my doorstep. (because Amazon is also awesome) Have an awesome day!

  13. I, too, love books. They take me places in the world I have never been, they make me cry, they make me laugh, they keep me suspensed. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a book with a bookmark in it, waiting for me to get home to read. I am so excited about the arrival of your book, my signed copy, that I too have also thought about framing somehow. I can’t remember a time when I was so excited to get a book. I’m going over to the mall today to get one for my bff….she is going through hard times and I think she will love this book and it will put a smile on her face.

    You have helped so many people smile and laugh. You have brought back so many wonderful childhood memories and have given a new light to so many different things for me. We are all very proud of you for this accomplishment and wish you all the best.

  14. Wow, you’ve been everywhere this week. Half the blogs I visit have posted about the Book of Awesome. I finally had to click through and visit the site. It’s definitely Awesome! And on today’s post, dreams coming true is one of the Awesomest.

  15. as much as i love technology, there is no substitute for holding a book in your hands, feeling the pages, smelling the paper, and hearing the sound of those pages turning. good stuff!!

    congrats on the book release!!! it will bring joy to all who read it. AWESOME!!


  16. Congrats Neil!! I was so happy to read your article in The Star this morning and seeing how far you’ve come from our Q days. Wishing you tons of success!! Your writing shines just like you!

  17. Hey Neil; For me totally awesome is watching someone live their dreams and live large because of it. Congratulations!!! Tim cup up in the air and CHEERS to you! I await the Canadian launch to snatch a copy and I have marked you as a ‘favourite’ so I can drop by and catch up on your life.

    BRAVO! from someone in a small town with big ideas on a low budget…Lori

  18. Your site was recently listed in Oprah’s magazine as a site worthy of setting as your homepage, so of course, I did it, and I’m so glad I did. What a great way to begin my day, a nice change of pace from the depressing world news.

    Congrats on the book!

  19. Neil, this day is for you, congratulations!!! Sharon and I bought 6 copies (3 each) and my mom bought 3 more…. why is amazon limiting sales to 3 copies per person???

  20. Hi fellow blogger!
    Read about you in the ‘Star’ today. Wow, and congrats. on this site’s success and your new book. Your dreams are coming true thanks to your cheerful positive outlook. All the best to you. I’m also from TO.

  21. congratulations, neil!!!!!! i love your site and am so excited to get the book.

    also, i loved what you wrote today about books and reading. as a future librarian and fellow book lover i identified with today’s post completely. :) congrats again!

  22. Somehow, I never get tired of saying this: Congratulations, Neil! You are Awesome, and I feel so honoured to have been a part of The 1000AwesomeThings Experience. I sincerely believe that it has made me a better person. More thankful, more open to the little things, more appreciative of the people in my life. So thanks! Here’s to today, and many more AWESOME days ahead!

  23. Neil,

    I really enjoyed watching “The Book of Awesome” trailer. Very cool!

    This is the first time I’ve visited your website, but I have kept hearing about your book over and over again over the past few weeks. Congratulations on releasing it today!

    I love the message of gratitude and living in the present that you are spreading.

    Keep it up!

  24. Gotta agree with all of the above sentiments. I’m getting some warm fuzzies reading over all the above comments, and seeing all these regular commenters who we’ve all grown to know and love over the past few years of 1000awesomethings, and seeing how excited everyone is about this.

    There is a bit of a “homegrown” vibe to the whole thing, where a lot of us feel like we were a part of this from early on (sort of like discovering a band, before they got big!), and we feel like today’s book release is a bit of a win for all of us too. A nice little triumph of optimism over all the negativity and cynacism.

    Thanks for providing all of us a nice little haven on the internet where we can get together, read about the Awesome, joke around with each other, exchange terrible puns, and have a great time in the process.

    But most of all: Congratulations on all of your success! You deserve every bit of it. It’s been an awesome ride so far, and I know we all can’t wait to see where it continues to take you!

    1. Very, very well-said, Freddo.

      I’m seeing a convention … you know, like Sci-Fi style. Instead of coming as our fave characters, we’ll all come with nametags and a t-shirt of our colored square.


  25. Yayayayay! Mine came in the mail a couple days ago and the first thing I did was go through and pick out my favourite Awesome Things. And then I wrote a note on the inside cover and gave it to my boyfriend. But now I’m wishing I’d bought 2 so I could have one! Also, I think you should do a sequel, and call it The Book of Awesomer, because you left out a lot of good ones.

  26. Congratulations. Today was set up to be a long day, but it’s cool now because I’ll have lots of time to notice all the awesome bits in between. Thanks!

  27. I can’t WAIT to get my copy on my doorstep in the next day or so. I ordered it a while back and have been waiting for this day on pins and needles.

    Congrats on the book coming out! It’s a great accomplishment – one to be proud of.

    Oh, and the song and video at the end is great. Love it, love it, love it!

  28. Hey, congrats for the book! have you already published the awesomeness of when you wake up at the sound of your alarm clock just to remember you don’t actually have to work/study today and just go back to fetal position with a big smile in your face? or the warm feeling when you help a stranger on the street (however big or small the favor) and they give you a deeply honest thank you look =)
    Personally I deeply thank you today because your blog has me smiling while remembering a bunch of happy little things I hadn’t appreciated in it’s whole glory, maybe there’s a lot of people out there feeling their life is sad and worthless and your project can show them there’s still a lot of wonderfull moments to live for.

  29. Thank you for reminding me about Encyclopedia Brown.

    I absolutely loved those stories when I was a boy.

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