I love the warmer weather because it means I can sit outside and do a little reading. Though the problem I’ve found: when you venture outside of the park, there isn’t much in the way of bench seating. Yes, you can sit on the concrete steps of Diversey Harbor (like Harry Potter and I did this weekend), but I can never get comfortable. There’s something about sitting on a bench and reading and having the backdrop of a Lake behind you.
It seems London and the National Literacy Trust have cured my current dilemma by teaming up with with a cartoonist and How to Train a Dragon creator. The Books about Town campaign brings to life classic book illustration interpretations on 50 park benches. Yes, there are book benches strewn about London begging for you to sit and read and they depict some of your favorite books. As we know, I love a seek and find when it comes to the arts.
When I read The Book Thief a few years ago, there was a quote that really stood out and well, I still carry to this day.
I find this to be all too true. A great book, I just want to keep holding as the book and story have a hold on me. It’s hard for me to really let go of a story and its characters since it all feels so incredibly real. And according to science now, it appears I’m not going crazy as a story implants itself in your brain and sticks around for a bit, changing the way your mind works.
Dr. Gregory S. Burns and his research team conducted a study with undergraduates and recorded their brain activity while reading Pompeii (Robert Harris) over nine days and then continued monitoring brain activity for an additional five days after finishing the book.
“At a minimum, we can say that reading stories –- especially those with strong narrative arcs -– reconfigures brain networks for at least a few days. It shows how stories can stay with us. This may have profound implications for children and the role of reading in shaping their brains.”
— Dr. Gregory S. Burns
And now, I think I’m going to have to pick up Pompeii.
I was a huge fan of food trucks when they first hit the streets a few years ago. Cupcakes on the go?! Lunch that meets you on the corner?! And all you had to do was tweet and follow businesses. And then I got food truck fatigue and do not remember the last time I ventured to one (plus most have retail spaces now).
I bought The Fault in Our Starslast week to read on my Colorado trip. Except I didn’t make it that far. Instead, I laid in bed reading for five hours until I finished the book. That’s one of my favorite feelings in the world; getting so consumed by a book the only way to stop is for the book to run out of pages and words.
I can say of all the years of book reading, I’ve never cried in a book. Sure, I might have cried during a movie adaptation, but I’ve never cried while reading. I’ve actually found myself a tad jealous of those who can get so lost in their imaginations and the written word to produce such powerful emotion.
And then it happened. The eyes welled up. A few tears trickled down. I regained composure. A full-on sob. Followed by I-can’t-quite-breathe sobs. And then again, pulling it together to finish the ending and more sobs. Then for some reason, I felt compelled to reread the ending. Puffy eyes greeted me in the morning.
The tale is about two teens who meet during a cancer support group. You know something bad/sad is going to happen, it’s inevitable right? But man oh man, the way John Green makes you fall in love with these characters so that you’re not worrying about their stories but more so their thoughts and feelings is truly genius. You get so wrapped up in Hazel’s and Augustus’s day-to-day that you don’t even have time to contemplate, read into foreshadowing or figure out where the story’s landing.
Just like Augustus and Hazel, I finally got my wish.
Two years ago during the Film Festival, we screened The Descendants and had a Q&A with the lead opposite George Clooney, Shailene Woodley. I remember sitting there thinking how well-spoken, down to earth and real she was while holding a mic and speaking to a room full of strangers. She had a command and presence that just pulled you in.
When I’m staying at hotels, I’m always itching to get out of the room, no matter how immaculate it is. And then I saw this and figured my hotel ways would for sure change.
The Algonquin Hotel just announced a partnership with Simon & Schuster that will feature a Simon & Schuster Suite and Package. The Suite, stocked with bookcases of classics, book memorabilia and advanced copies of new releases, features a living room and king-sized bed and a turn-down service where you walk away with a soon-to-be-released book.
Yesterday was World Book Night. A day/night where thousands of volunteers pass out 20 copies of a book across 6,000 cities and towns resulting in 500,000 books out to light and non readers. My co-worker Amanda and I signed up to volunteer as Book Givers. The process was pretty simple. You filled out an application and if selected, decided where you wanted to pick up your books (We went to After-Words which just might be my new favorite place in all the land). Then, you hand out your copies.
Amanda handed out Bossypants and I dished out Moneyball. We did a few handouts on our way into work and decided that during lunch we’d stop by the Chicago Fire House nearby and then continue to hand out books around the Loop.
Walking up to the Fire House, we didn’t know what to expect. It was raining, so the doors were all closed. Unsure of our next move, we walked in to Mister Firefighter Chris greeting us. The interaction went a little something like this:
FF Chris: Good afternoon, how can I help you?
Hanna/Amanda: We have books. Here are some books. Thanks!
FF Chris: Oh awesome, come on in. Do you guys want some coffee? How about some pictures?
FF Chris: Here, let me grab some guys we’ll get you helmets.
Hanna/Amanda: start sweating and turning red
Firefighters Reuben and Brian join us and Amanda and I suit up in fireman garb. Amanda’s wearing a jacket, a helmet (Captain’s nonetheless) and carrying hoses on her shoulders. I’m given boots, pants, a helmet and yes, even an ax. We stand around chatting in our attire, take a photoshoot and leave the firehouse huge fans of the Chicago Fire Department.
A little book drop turned into an afternoon pick-me-up neither of us saw coming. Needless to say, the rest of the day’s giving was fun, but didn’t include dress up time.
If you’re like me, you devoured The Hunger Games trilogy. And now, have to get your fill of that world in the movies (which are just as fantastic). But fret no more. I’ve been tipped of a series that’s similar in nature minus the arena. It’s called Divergent, by Veronica Roth (who’s 24, cue my jealousy). I was hesitant when Maggie first told me about this, because let’s be honest, nothing could ever compare to The Hunger Games.
Borrowed the first book from a co-werker (Divergent) and read it in three days. Got the second one (Insurgent) and missed my bus stop this morning from reading for too long.
I’m hooked. And if you have a gaping hole the size of Panem, this just might be something to tide you over until Catching Fire comes out. I should note, the third and final book of the Divergent series is not out. Which means you’ll have to sit around twiddling your thumbs, just like you did when you finished a Harry Potter book. The Divergent trilogy is slated for Hollywood, though I refuse to see a casting list until I finish the second book.
Also to note, this book takes place in Chicago in the very distant future. But Roth still makes current landmark Chicago references (every time I look at Millennium Park, I think of a scene from the book). And I love every minute of it.
Thanks to USATODAY, I finally learned there is a night out there just for me, and fellow readers. World Book Night (April 23, 2013) hands out books, spanning 30 titles, worldwide. You can apply to be a book giver, where you’ll receive 20 books to hand out around town.