In Praise Of… by today’s guest, Jim Cangany

“Who do you want to be like when you grow up?”

I don’t remember how many times I was asked that question as a kid. I do remember some of my answers, though. For me, it was never a matter of what. I never wanted to be a doctor or a firefighter or anything like that. For me, it was always a specific person.

In my younger days, I wanted to be like Bono or Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H–people I admired. People who were great at what they did and used those talents to make the world a better place. I know, not the most original thought in the world, but it’s true, nonetheless.

And so it is that today, I’d like to take a few moments to sing the praises of a certain author whom I admire.

John Green.

I think John Green’s the greatest. And it’s not just because he wrote the incomparable The Fault in Our Stars. Even though the fact that both of my sons loved the story as much as me is reason is reason enough to raise a glass to him.

No, the reason I’m such a fan of Mr. Green is because of the myriad other things he does. For example, he and his brother Hank operate the Vlogbrothers and the Crash Course blogs on YouTube. My sister-in-law Mindy is one of countless teachers who use Crash Course, which covers subjects from history to science, in their classes.

And if that’s not enough, John and Hank run the Project for Awesome, which raises money for worthy causes. Every December, YouTubers upload videos to the Project for Awesome website promoting their favorite charities. In 2012 alone, the Project for Awesome raised over $450,000 in donations.

So John Green’s an educator, fundraiser, and bestselling author. But that’s not all. He’s also ringleader of the Nerdfighters, a worldwide community dedicated to, and I quote, “increasing awesome and decreasing world suck.” Rather to the point, don’t you think? Among the Nerdfighters are a couple of people you may have heard of–actors Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman.

What I love about these efforts is that while they are as entertaining and fun as can be, there’s also an educational and/or philanthropic component to each of them. So here we have a guy who is a hugely successful author and yet continues to invest massive amounts of time and energy into projects to make our world a better place. Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

My admiration for John goes to a personal level, too. My younger son Aidan loves the Vlogbrothers. The corny one-liners he’s learned from John and Hank always leave me laughing. Some of the scientific lessons Aidan’s learned, like Zeno’s Paradox, are incredibly impressive as well. So if he’s going to spend time on YouTube, I don’t mind him watching The Vlogbrothers and Crash Course.

For my older son Seamus, it’s a different story. Seamus has Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic disease of the digestive system. The nature of his condition is such that he never knows how he’s going to feel from one day to the next. Trying to lead a normal life as a teenager is next to impossible for him. But one day this past spring, he picked up TFiOS. He finished it within twenty-four hours. When I asked him what had captivated him, he said the book helped him find a way to express his feelings about his condition.

Living with UC for the past four years has been terribly difficult for Seamus. Admittedly, it’s not cancer, but it has certainly taken its toll on him. In reading that book, he found something that let him know he’s not alone in his daily battle.

For that, I not only admire John Green, I am eternally grateful to him.

Oh, one last thing. He also hails from Indianapolis. That’s where I live, too, so yeah, I’m a total homer.

How about you? Who do you want to be like when you grow up? I’d love to hear from you. And thanks to the wonderful authors of the Contemporary Romance Café for letting me visit today. Until next time, may the wind be at your back and the sun shine warm upon your face!

The youngest of eight children, Jim grew up in a household full of books and people. Thanks to the influence of his older siblings, he gravitated toward fantasy and sci-fi when looking for something to read.

 He wrote his first story at age fourteen. A school project, The Magic Coin was a fantasy that involved a king, some bad guys, and, not surprisingly, a magical token.

These days, Jim writes romance on the sweet end. If you ask him what is a guy like him is doing writing romance, he’ll reply, “Those are the stories in my head.” A believer that the world has enough doom and gloom, he likes stories with a happy ending, regardless of genre.

He lives in Indianapolis with his wonderful wife Nancy and his two sons, Ryan and Aidan. 

Find Jim here:

Website – www.JimCangany.com

Twitter – @jimcangany

Facebook – Jim Cangany Author


Comments

In Praise Of… by today’s guest, Jim Cangany — 12 Comments

  1. Welcome, Jim! Thank you for being the first gentleman brave enough to join us here at the Café. 😉 BTW I love that you wanted to be like Bono and Hawkeye Pierce because they’re both awesome. When Bono is 90-years-old he will still be one of the coolest guys to ever walk the planet.

    What an awesome post! The Fault in Our Stars hovers at the top of my TBR list. But I didn’t know any of the things you revealed about the author here. I have an instant author crush on this man, and I haven’t even read the book yet.

    • Thanks so much, Reese. I’m one of only two guys in my local RWA chapter, and have always found the ladies who write romance to be the kindest around. I hope someday to be able to do a fraction of the good things Bono and John are doing. The bar they set is pretty high!

  2. Great post! I really need to read TFIiOS. Green seems like an interesting guy. It’s been on my TBR list for a long time. Hmm, wondering if my little guy is old enough for Vlogbrothers and Crash Course? It’ll give him something to do besides Minecraft and origami, his latest obsessions. :o)

  3. Thanks, Linda! I consulted 12 year old Aidan (who’s currently obsessed with Minecraft as well) and 17 year old Seamus. They both think Crash Course would be fine for your guy, but suggest you check out Vlogbrothers first, on account of the colorful language that sometimes pops up.

  4. Jim, thanks so much for introducing me to someone I didn’t know about–John Green sounds awesome and I’m putting his book on TBR list immediately. A fellow Hoosier–how can we lose? And btw, Hawkeye Pierce is one my favorite characters in all of television–that little grin when he really got someone without being one bit nasty made his a funny and terrific guy. Good to see you here!

  5. Jim, how great to see you here! Jim and I are fellow writers at Uncial Press. I’m not sure why I’ve never heard of John Green – I’ve led a sheltered life, I think – but he sounds awesome and totally worthy of your praise. Thanks for telling me about him!

    p.s. Thanks for the retweet today!

    • I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have without all the help and support from you, Sandy, and so many others. Joining RWA was without a doubt the best move I’ve made as an author.

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