Category Archives: Books to Read

Great Scott

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Every year, I try and reread classics. I’ve just started reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, but after seeing this trailer, I’m coming for you F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Side note: This soundtrack sounds like it’s going to be killer.

You May Say I’m a Dreamer

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Last month, my boss sent me home with Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. It’s a book I’ve had on my reading list, but wasn’t in all that of a hurry to begin. While my reading habits lately include more nonfiction, they’re usually in the way of memoirs or biographies. For some reason, I’ve never been all that jazzed about industry books and tend to really labor through them.

Not the case with this one.

Lehrer breaks creativity, the creative mind and the enabling environments in a wondrous, storytelling way. From Bob Dylan’s songwriting ways (or lack there of) to the way Pixar studios places their bathrooms, Lehrer somehow manages to engage senses and parts of the brain that are dormant while reading.

The chapter about urban living really struck a chord. I never paid much attention to why I feel like I’m more “creative” in Chicago, I just chalked it up to the fact there’s a lot going on…there are a lot of resources to explore…and the people watching is stellar. I never even gave much thought to what all of those components contribute to the way the mind works.

When contemplating a fascinating and engaging read this summer, imagine Lehrer.

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” –Picasso

Book it!

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Stumbled upon this video via The Book Bench of a domino effect with books in London. Is it me, or does Europe put together some of the coolest videos for inspiration. I must say, I’m quite surprised the books just don’t sprawl everywhere after falling.

Real Books

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I know I wrote on how fantastic books are yesterday, but I just couldn’t resist. A Toronto-based bookstore, Type, put this little gem together. Makes me want to hop a plane to Canada just to high five ’em. via Brain Pickings

Paging Through Life

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Books are more than just weight to my work bag. They’re an adventure. An escape. A lesson. A few more lessons. An inspiration. And my life line. At a young age, books took hold of me. Whether it was our elementary school’s 600 Minute challenges or SSR (Silent Sustained Reading), I could not walk away, and I don’t think my Mom would have let me. Books have always found their way into my hands. Into my brain. And into my soul.

Today on The Book Bench (from The New Yorker), I came across an article from a man, Jonathan Gourlay and his quest to put down the book and walk away. He brings to light the one thing everyone says to me when they see me reading: I don’t have time to read. Gourlay says maybe we make excuses to not read simply because it’s supposed to be good for us, and we tend to make excuses to not do good things (like exercise, eat right, quit smoking, etc.).

He paints the picture of what life in the non-reader swamp looks like–which seems all too real. Without books, we lose our wonder, our beliefs, our decisions, our composure and ourselves. This fear is the reason I make the time to read a book on the train, before bed and anytime I’m waiting for something (including while at the bar waiting for the basketball game to start). My body goes into freakout mode if I’ve gone days without heading to the library. And I’m no doctor, but I had a massive migraine before lunch today, so I sat there reading instead of chatting with co-workers. And lo and behold, it’s gone.

“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.” –Anthony Trollope

Book It

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This year, I’ve vowed to read 65 books, as my Goodreads account states. And I must say, while at times it’s been challenging to ensure I’m on track (currently 4 ahead after my vacay to Colorado), I will revel in the achievement this December. As it stands, I’m 39 books in on this year. Many ask how I have the time to read that much, it’s all due to public transit. I seriously wonder how I would spend my time while on the bus if I wasn’t reading…

Seeing as it’s summer and beach reading time, I’ve put together a list of the top 5 books I’ve read thus far. Now to be fair, my reading tastes have shifted this year as I’ve opt for more nonfiction work (which I always thought I didn’t like. I blame this on book reports in elementary school that FORCED you to do one on at least one nonfiction book), but as you’ll see from my list below, I just love me some fiction.

1) Commencement— J. Courtney Sullivan
A tale about four girls who meet in college and the life journey that awaits them as they prepare to marry, have children, fall in and out of love and blaze their career paths. Very realistic for those, who like me, still feel like they’re navigating their place in the adult world while your closest friends seem to already have found their way. Plus with Lisa’s wedding next year and me and Katie in the bridal party line-up, the whole wedding bit seemed to be predicting my future.

 

2) Night Road–Kristin Hannah
Living with Maggie has its perks and among them, our library grows when her mom’s in town as she does a book drop. Lately, her books have been stellar and this one was no exception. Hannah has written many books (think Jodi Picoult without all of those tears) and does so in a concise way. I find no matter which of her books I’m reading, I can’t stop. Mainly because each chapter is told from another character’s perspective. The minute I get hooked on one, I find myself continuing to read until their next chapter comes up.
Night Road dives into young teenage love, parental love, wrongful death and consequences themes against the canvas of a privileged lifestyle and a not so privileged lifestyle. The minute you think someone’s to blame for the book’s events, you find yourself warming up to that character.

3) The Violets of March–Sarah Jio
I fell in love with this book within the first few pages due to Jio’s magnificent writing on a setting. The book takes place in The Sound of Washington and Jio’s writing not only makes you picture it, but you can smell and hear it too. The book follows a character trying to rebuild her life after a divorce while working on her second book. She seeks refuge in The Sound with a family member and uncovers all sorts of family secrets, those kind some wish to take to the grave. A deeply engrossing story leaving you reading faster and faster on the last 30 pages.

 

4) Bossypants–Tina Fey
No surprise that Fey’s book made my list. I love everything about the woman and am pretty sure I’m Liz Lemon. Fey takes you on a rollercoaster of short essay stories from her childhood to today, making sure there’s something for every reader. I must say, I read her Chicago chapters with added excitement, especially when she talks about this man in Evanston who always hassles you about wearing a helmet when riding your bike. To think she experienced that in her twenties and so did I! I felt at times I was reading my future on some of her chapters.

5) The Hunger Games Trilogy–Suzanne Collins
Alright, you didn’t really think that after reading 30+ books this year, I’d only be able to pick 5 did you? The Hunger Games Trilogy includes three books; The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. I’ll admit, I’ve had a withdrawl from serial books after Harry Potter and never really got in to Twilight despite my best efforts. If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, don’t read the back cover. It’s weird and makes the books sound way too sci-fi like. Sci-fi isn’t really my cup of tea, though these books sort of reminded me of The Giver. Collins writes about this other world and their grisly games in a way making it impossible to ever stop reading. Equally excited for the movie next year!

 

Book It

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Came across this today in my daily blog reading. It’s basically the only type of bar I would ever feel comfortable in (aside from Irish pubs).

Los Angeles has quite a number of these popping up, so I’m hoping the trend sweeps its way East. Paging Chicago, it’s time to begin your chapter. I propose bookending this by Fadó. Okay, closing the book on lame book jokes.

As usual, Liz Lemon captures my emotions and feelings and thoughts on the Bar and Books bar.

Things You Think

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During my usual mid-afternoon perusing (it’s for inspiration mind you), I came across this collaboration with Ben Folds and Nick Hornby. Ben Folds is one of my favorite performers and songwriters. And I especially loved his experiments with Chat Roulette at shows earlier this year. Hornby is one of my favorite novelists as his stories are rich in character and thick with plot lines. And it seems like every movie director, producer, studio sees potential with his books as most have become feature films.

This song collaboration has some pretty amazing “if you knew” facts. Book lovers rejoice, you’re going to love this…