“Read a (expletive) book for once!” -Superbad

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image via HonestlyWTF, from a collection of photographs by urban landscape photographer, Franck Bohbot, entitled “House of Books”

 

My cousin once (now famously) said to me, “Stop reading, you always read! “, when we were around 10 years old and she most likely wanted to choreograph a dance routine to the new S Club 7 song. But its true, I really do love to read. I’m not sure where it came from, but when I was younger, I asked my mom to ground me to my room so I could have an excuse to stay up there and delve into whatever “chapter book” I was reading at the time. Sometimes, I would read (no joke) 13 of these chapter books at a time –rotating one after the other, reading one chapter out of each at a time.

Now, don’t get it twisted –when forced to read The Scarlet Letter and The Great Gatsby in high school, I most certainly resisted. That’s what SparkNotes was for. Though I did go back and read both of these later in my adult life.

I think my love of reading comes from the memories I have of going to the library and picking out new books. I absolutely loved going to the library when I was little. My mom would enroll me and my brother in summer reading contests, where we very often came out victorious. She made it a fun event for us –we would all go together, and have a blast picking out new books to read and often spending hours at the library, reading a few before we left. It was an escape, it allowed our minds to wander, and I think this feeling continues today and its why I enjoy reading so much. So, thanks Mom.

I wanted to share my current reading list with you, dear readers, and see if you have any additions for me. It has been one of my New Years Resolutions for the last two years to finish said book list, and I have failed. But I’m wondering if that’s really a bad thing? I’m not in any hurry, because once I’m done with this list, where else will I escape? Its really a fun social experiment. I add things to the list when friends and family recommend them, when I read about them in magazines. And sometimes I forget where I heard of a book in the first place. Its kind of fun to see what struck my interest as far back as three years ago when I began this list.

Happy reading!

JLa-Di-Da’s ever-expanding book list 2015:

1. Wake Me When It’s Funny, Garry Marshall. Love his work, think I love this book.

2. A Piece of Cake: A Memoir, Cupcake Brown. Heard this was a bit of a life-ruiner, just started it.

3. Happy Money, Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton. I need to learn how to spend smarter.

4. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith. One of my favorite books of all time. Its magical. I just want to read it again.

5. Lord of the Flies, William Golding. The only book I read in high school. I remember liking it. Want to see if I still do.

6. Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt. Another one of my favorites. Just want to read it again. Its heartwarming and heart wrenching at the same time.

7. The Dinner, Herman Koch. Reading this now, almost finished. Not really that excited about it.

8. See Now Then, Jamaica Kinkaid. I think I heard about this from an NPR book list

9. A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, Dina Nayeri. Read about it in Vogue.

10. Leadership, Rudy Giuliani. Saw an interview with him a while back, he has a pretty interesting story.

11. Drift, Rachel Maddow. She seems like a real bad ass.

12. United States of Paranoia, Jesse Walker. Explores historical American conspiracy theories. I love stuff like this.

13. One Summer, Bill Bryson. My grandpa bought me a Bill Bryson book years ago and I loved it. He’s a very smart writer.

14. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuk. About advertising in the modern world.

15. This is Where I Leave You, Jonathan Tropper. Recently a movie was based on it, which I liked. About family relations.

16. Do More, Spend Less, Brad Wilson. Because couldn’t we all benefit from doing this?

17. The Defining Decade, Meg Jay. I feel like I need to read this at this point in my life. Life. Lessons.

18. Stringer, Anjan Sundaram. Jon Stewart interviewed this guy and told his viewers to read the book. So obvi I’m going to listen to whatever Jon Stewart tells me to do.

19. A Nice Little Place on the North Side, George Will. Wrigley Field, duh.

20. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck. Because its a classic and I’ve never read it.

21. Fashion is Spinach, Elizabeth Hawes. One of the first, true American Fashion Designers. I first heard about this book in Vogue, I think.

22. When Corruption was King, Robert Cooley. About the mob era in Chicago. LOVE IT.

23. Any book on Alexander the Great. I was in a museum in Rome this summer and realized I don’t know much about him, so I want to learn more.

24. Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton. I’m not sure why this is on here. But I’m leaving it.

25. Jazz, Tony Morrison. See #24

26. So, Anyway, John Cleese. Because its John Cleese.

27. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls, David Sedaris. Because its David Sedaris.

28. The Secret History of Wonder Woman, Jill Lepore. Heard about it on NPR.

29. The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, Genevieve Valentine. See #28.

30. Yes Please, Amy Poehler. Heard this was amazing. And she’s freaking hilarious.

31. A Paris Apartment, Michelle Gable. Because I want a Paris apartment.

 

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New Years Resolutions #2 and #3

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A brief post for my two additional New Years resolutions….

Resolution #2- Finally finish my gosh darn book list. 

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It was one of my goals to do this for 2013, however I just kept hearing about books that sounded interesting and adding them to the list. I did read a lot last year, but unfortunately books like Little Women are making things go a little slower than I planned. Some highlights on the list are: The Man Repeller: Seeking Love, Finding Overalls; The Power of Habit; Consider the Lobster and a book by Lawrence Wright on Hollywood and Scientology, which should be a very interesting read.

I loved to read when I was younger, it was my form of escape, and this re-up in my reading habits is definitely helping me do the same. Its nice to check out from an electronic device every once in a while and read a book.

Resolution #3- Run three 5ks and a half marathon.

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Hey thanks, Ryan Gosling. I think I will.

For those of you reading this that know me, you know that I have not always been what you call a “runner”. Meaning, I really, really hated it. But recently, something snapped and now I really love it. Though I don’t receive the same therapeutic benefits as some of my running cohorts, it really does make me feel nice. I mean, it is exercise. Endorphins. You know.

So, my goal is to run the above races, with the half marathon being the piece de resistance. If I can actually run a half marathon this fall, I will really feel like I achieved something big. Here’s hoping!

Overall, the whole resolutions thing is going  pretty well, I’ve already finished Brighton Beach Memoirs, a play by Neil Simon. It’s about a young Jewish boy name Eugene, growing up in the 1940s. I thought of it almost like a more crass, boy version of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (one of my favorites, also on my book list).

Unfortunately, I can’t really run with 9 inches of snow on the ground and a -50 degree wind chill (though certain over-achieving residents of Chicago will disagree with me). But, I am confident that once this city if out of its arctic tundra phase, I will be able to get out there and start a-runnin’.

Here’s to a pleasant and frostbite-free Sunday!