Tag Archives: Evanston

Book It


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!


The Golden Child


Growing up, we were extremely fortunate to host foreign exchange students. Mainly, mom was super nice and let me sign up so the Spanish teacher would think I was an all-star (which I clearly was). Our first go around was with Kovanc. We didn’t really get along, but he taught me that people in Turkey really do ride horses for fun.

Next up was Francesco from Italy (whom Mike penned the Italian Stallion), who stayed way too long with us. How long did he stay? Long enough to send roses to my best friend asking her to Homecoming, stab my friend in the leg with a pen while sitting on the bench for soccer and get himself kicked out of the program.

After those two, I can’t believe Mom signed on to have another one come. I remember being super nervous especially when I found out he was from Germany, those accents just scare me. Matthias (Matt/Matthes/German Destroyer) turned out to be one of the coolest kids around. He fit right in with my group of friends and was even a part of the infamous Treehouse Dash that we still talk about to this day, seven years later. And he’s the only foreign exchange student to truly keep in touch with us. He came back right before I left for college to hang with us one last time. He showed up wearing a mullet. We forced him to get a haircut.

He doubles as Zoolander

Matthias sent HANDWRITTEN notes from Germany all throughout my freshmen year, all of which I still have. I still remember the call when he found out he was going to play football for Central Michigan and then his stop in St. Louis right before I embarked on my own study abroad excursion in Ireland.

While we saw each other sporadically during the past few years, I will never forget when he came back into St. Louis when mom was going through a hard time after losing a friend. That’s when I knew he was a permanent fixture in our home and lives.

Matthias is someone you can always count on, no matter how busy he is with school, sports and girls (yes plural). He’s always willing to hear my latest drama and tell me how it will all work out okay. He’s the older brother I never knew I needed and can’t imagine living without.

He’s going to play Northwestern next week and a few of us are venturing up to Evanston for the game. He actually played Kansas my senior year in Lawrence, so it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the German Destroyer suit up.

Big exciting news: Matthias was named the Scholar Athlete of the Week this week!!┬áThat’s right, Matthias Berning is not a BDA (Big Dumb Animal); he’s a BIG (Big Intelligent German). Congrats to the new Golden Child of Mom’s house!