Tag Archives: books

Blizzards & Books

The front door to my condo building. Don't think the warning (step down) applied today.

You might have heard about the little storm that we had in Chicago this week. Over 20 inches of snow making it the third worst snow storm in Chicago history. Hundreds of cars were abandoned on Lake Shore Drive.

I like snow. In December. After Christmas, I think enough is enough and I’m ready for Spring.

This storm also made it into the record books for my office. It was the first time in history that we in the Chicago office have ever had a snow day. Sure we’ve had bad weather where most didn’t make it into the office, but never an official snow day. Our office closed early on Tuesday and remained closed Wednesday and Thursday. I am thankful to our snoverlords (as a colleague refereed to them on twitter). Commuting into work today wouldn’t have been pretty. One of the major streets by me is down to one lane. Side streets haven’t been plowed. Snow is piled up everywhere. Oh and it was -4 this morning.

Yesterday I took advantage of the day off to catch up on the piles of laundry, chat with friends & family,  and obsessively watch storm coverage online. Today I will be using my second snow day to snuggle up with a book. But I’m having trouble deciding what to read. Do I pick something escapist? Something set in a warm climate or during summer? Should I continue reading the book on prohibition? In any case, I’m going to enjoy the fact that I don’t have to go outside today.

So what do you do on snow days? Do you grab a book or do you reach for a favorite movie? What’s your go-to read/watch?


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Happy Haul-idays from Chronicle Books

Chronicle Books is hosting a Happy Haul-idays contest for bloggers and readers of blogs. To check it out head over to Chronicle’s Happy Haul-idays website for all the details but basically you make up your dream wish list from Chronicle’s listing up to $500 and you and a lucky reader can win those books. Thanks to bookalicio.us for bringing this to my attention.

So on to my choices:

By Cokie Roberts, Susan Stamberg, Noah Adams, John Ydstie, Renee Montagne, Ari Shapiro, and David Folkenflik
“Always put the listener first” has been NPR’s mantra since its inception in 1970. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, NPR’s programming attracts over 27 million listeners every week. This beautifully designed volume chronicles NPR’s storied history, featuring dozens of behind-the-scenes photos, essays and original reporting by a who’s who of NPR staff and correspondents, transcripts of memorable interviews, and an audio CD of the most memorable programming throughout the decades. Beyond an entertaining and inspiring tribute to NPR’s remarkable history, this book is an intimate look at the news and stories that have shaped our world, from the people who were on the ground and on the air.
I love NPR. It keeps me company on the commute to and from work (baring pledge week when I skip because I’m a high fidelity member). I think this book would be very interesting to review.
By Lisa Nola Illustrations by Nathaniel Russell

List-makers rejoice! This quirky and imaginative guided journal is the ultimate tool for creating a unique autobiography entirely in list form. Some lists are obvious (greatest accomplishments, best friends, favorite food), others obscure (guiltiest pleasures, greatest acts of kindness, personal fashion trends), and each list is accompanied by hilarious illustrations. Listography is perfect for getting down all the details of a life less ordinary.

I love these books! I bought them for friends and they loved them. This seemed liked a perfect fit.

Friends Listography

By Lisa Nola Illustrations by Maria Forde

Fans of our Listography journals (over 120,000 copies sold) have told us how much they enjoy sharing and creating lists with their friends. So, here it is: Friends Listography—the perfect journal for parties, school or the office! With list topics that range from the ever-popular (favorite movies) to the unexpected (predict your friend’s fortune cookie), each page is organized for maximum friend-making, team-building, and list-making fun.

I love the idea of a Friends Listography. This could be a lot of fun. Like playing that “name 6 people you would invite to a dinner party” game.

Fortune-Telling Book of Dreams

Inspired by a vintage book, this delightful guide deciphers dreams to predict the future. It compiles over 1,000 dream symbols and reveals what they portend for the dreamer. This gilded, faux-leather book is irresistible to pick up; its content is so compelling, it’s impossible to put down.

It’s been a while since I’ve actually remembered a dream but I always loved reading into the symbolism behind people’s dreams. It’s usually surprising.

Continue reading


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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? This is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being reading, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books so stop by and join in!

I have neglected this poor blog for the past couple of weeks due to work. Our big meeting was last week and long hours meant less time for me to write reviews. I’m hoping to catch up this week.

This week:

I arrived home yesterday to an envelope from Amazon with Nora Robert’s latest, Happy Ever After. I’ve been eagerly anticipating this one since I finished the last book in the series. At the same time it will be said since it is the final installment in the Bride Quartet.

I’m also working my way through Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast (or as my coworker called it, Moveable Feat). I am NOT a fan of Hemingway’s work. I barely made it through the books I had to read for school but I am really enjoying this book. My friend recommended it based on my love of Fitzgerald and the time period and mentioned that it wasn’t like his other work. I’m so happy I listened to him this time.

Last week:

I was away working most of last week so I didn’t have much time to read. But I managed to get in Jill Shalvis’s latest, Simply Irresistible. I still need to write my review but suffice it to say, I really enjoyed the book. Ms. Shalvis was almost responsible for me being late to a business meeting because I just had to find out how the story ended. My only other comment for now is that I want a Jax. (If only you can order those on Amazon.)

So that’s it for me. What are you reading this week?


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Literary Sweet Spots and My Growing Wishlist

Someone needs to remind me not to read emails from Flavorwire.  Today’s newsletter had a spot on “Booze-addled books” “Page-turning portraits of Prohibition-era decadence”. Of course, I was hooked.

There’s something about that time period that just reels me in. It’s the images. Flappers  – beautiful women with bobbed hair wearing short skirts dancing to the Charleston ignoring the Victorian values.

So on the wishlist goes:

I’m going to hold off on Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City until I watch the show which is sitting on my DVR. I’m going to guess that it will be in the wishlist by the end of the week.

The real question is how long until I crack and buy some of them?

(And we are going to ignore for now that I have yet to finish reading this or this and they are sitting on my shelf mocking me.)

What are your literary sweet spots? Is there a time period or topic that automatically peaks your interest? Do you have a wishlist problem too?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly recap is hosted by Shelia of One Persons Journey Through a World of Books. Each week we recap what we’ve read and look at what’s coming up this week. If you’re interested head over to Shelia’s site and get involved!

So what was I up to last week?

I’m gearing up to my busy season at work so I was only able to finish Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKeneny

Because of work, I unfortunately ran out of time and had to return Adam Langer’s The Thieves of Manhattan to the library.  At some point I’ll be grabbing that one again.

(Oh, I may have read some escapist medical romances too.)

What’s planned for this week?

Digging into Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.  I’m not a Hemingway fan, but friends have told me that this is a good book. Plus, I seem to be on a roll with books featuring writers in the 20s and 30s.

Mad Men and Philosophy: Nothing Is as It Seems It is one of -if not the -best shows on television. I love that this book dissects the episodes. My philosophy classes were my least favorite in college, but I have a feeling I’m going to like reading this book.

So what about you? Did you read anything that you would recommend? Starting anything interesting?


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Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney

A biography on Nathanael West and his wife Eileen McKenney may on the surface seem to be an odd decision. After all, West and McKenney met in 1939 and were married a few months later and died in a car accident in December 1940. But Marion Meade does a good job of combining both biographies into one compelling read in Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKeneny.

I didn’t know much about West before I began reading this book and I knew nothing about Eileen. I was drawn to the book because of the time period and the cast of supporting characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald. I also finished reading Meade’s Bobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin: Writers Running Wild in the Twenties earlier this summer so I thought I would give this book a try.

West, born Nathan Weinstein, grew up in an upper-middle class family in Manhattan. A spoiled child, he frequently had his family bail him out of situations. He flunked out of Tufts University and  managed to lie and cheat his way into Brown University. They sponsored his lifestyle. When he wanted to go to France to rub shoulders with the American ex-pats like Fitzgerald and Hemingway, family members paid for him to take an extended vacation. Ultimately the trip turned out to be a disappointment when it turned out that the many of writers were leaving and others seemed to have little interest in an “awestruck boy who had published a few things in his college magazine’. Also complicating things, many of the writers were probably Anti-Semites.

West was also frankly a mess. A a child he would spend time in the park watching people having sex and then startling them before running off. He didn’t have the best relationship with the female sex. While he did have a few girlfriends it seemed that he preferred to visit prostitutes which caused multiple instances of gonorrhea. Continue reading

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

This weekly recap is hosted by Shelia of One Persons Journey Through a World of Books. Each week we recap what we’ve read and look at what’s coming up this week. If you’re interested head over to Shelia’s site and get involved!

So what was I up to last week?
It was a bad week, I only managed to finish Elin Hilderbrand’s The Island. Liked it. I would give it a 4/5.

What’s planned for this week?
Honestly, the more I read about authors from the 1920s through the 1940s I’m amazed. These literary geniuses were a mess.

I’m also reading Adam Langer’s The Thieves of Manhattan based on a recommendation from a coworker.A satire of the publishing world involving a fake memoir. How could I pass that one up?

At some point I hope to go back to reading Douglas Perry’s  The Girls of Murder City: Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers who Inspired Chicago. I read about 40 pages between shiny book syndrome kicked in and books on request from the library coming in didn’t help

What about you? Anything interesting that you would recommend?

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