July Book Club Review

July 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

The night before my last day of work before our vacation, the girls and I met up for our monthly book club happenings.  We went to a place we’ve been before but it’s one of my favorites so I didn’t mind and it was close enough to home that I didn’t feel guilty knowing how much packing and preparing I still had left to do.  We met at Bad Apple which I know I’ve reviewed before, and it was just as good this time around.  I had a few summer cocktails in honor of the nice weather and the fact that I was already in vacation mode, and all my drinks were all delicious.  And strong.  Bad Apple also had a substantial beer menu which a few other girls enjoyed.  I ordered a veggie burger with goat cheese, spinach and a sage marmalade sauce and it was amazing.  Their fries are also really tasty and they make their own awesome ketchup in house.  I was able to save half my meal for lunch the next day and it made for a great second meal.

Stories are like spiderwebs.

As for books, we read Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.  His books are usually have a touch of sci-fi and there are often ghosts, goblins, ghouls and spirits that appear as everyday creatures in the worlds he creates.  This book told the story of an unremarkable man who, after his father passes away, realizes he’s got quite the remarkable family.  It took me a little bit to really get into it as the beginning started off slowly but once I got about a third in, I was all in.  It was definitely entertaining and unlike anything I’ve read before though the ending tied together almost a little too predictably.  The story itself had so many original elements that it was easy to lose myself in and most of the other girls in our group had to agree.  This is the third book of his I’ve read in a relatively small amount of time (The Graveyard Book and American Gods were the others) and I can’t say I’m complaining.  So if you’re up for something a little different and out there, pick this novel up.  And if you’re hungry, head to Bad Apple!

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June Book Club

July 2, 2012 at 11:51 am (Uncategorized) (, , , )

A few newer faces and a few older faces that haven’t made an appearance in a while all managed to make it out roughly two weeks ago for our monthly book club meeting.  We read The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, which is a 2003 non-fiction work that talks all about the 1893 World’s Fair that was held in Chicago.  The book weaves two totally different perspectives of the event – part of the story revolves around Daniel H. Burnham, the architect and developer who brought the city to life for the fair and the other part centers on Dr. H.H. Holmes, who was a pharmacist by day and serial killer by night.  Holmes built a large hotel to lure in young women who came to the city to find work during the fair but his creepy hotel also doubled as a killer’s dream castle, as he had torture rooms and a crematorium set up  without anyone being the wiser.  As freaky as it is, everything is based on historical fact.

Look for the movie involving Leonardo DiCaprio soon. No, really, he bought the rights.

I first read this book a few years ago, right after I moved to the city.  I thought it was really interesting and it gave me a totally different perspective on the city I now called home.  I also learned interesting little facts, such as how Morton Salt and Cracker Jack were first introduced in Chicago during that World’s Fair.  Did you know that?

I didn’t have a chance to re-read the whole book before our meeting but I refreshed myself on its Wikipedia page so I at least remembered the names of important characters.  Every other book club member seemed to enjoy the book too though we all agreed that the parts focusing on the murderer were a little more gripping than those focusing on the brick and mortar buildings.  Regardless, we enjoyed learning a little of the history of our city, however lurid it may be.

We met at Bad Apple, which is where we met back in January.  It was still as good as ever and my sandwich tasted like angel wings from heaven on two pieces of focaccia bread.  It’s always fun to have a night out with my literate lady friends – I knew being a bookworm for all those years would come in handy at some point!

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January Book Club

January 22, 2012 at 4:07 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Last Thursday, two rock star book club ladies and myself met for brews, books and a bite to eat.  Bad weather prevented us from meeting the week before at our originally scheduled time and the weather wasn’t much better this time around, which caused the paltry turnout we had.  I’m not entirely sure February will be better than that but a girl can always hope, right?  One of our members was actually in Mexico so we can’t blame her for not showing…and it’s not like I’ve been jealous of her this week as we’ve had 6 degree temperatures and 8 inches of snow.  No, not at all.

It's a sin to kill a mockingbird. Want to know why? The answer is in a book!

Anyway, the three of us who did manage to make it out were all glad we did.  We met at The Bad Apple  bar and restaurant, a place that I’ve been too once but didn’t really remember.  It’s not too far from home and wasn’t super crowded so we were able to make ourselves comfortable and get down to business.  Food and drink.  I had a light beer whose name I can’t recall but the taste was good enough that I had a second.  For dinner, I had the veggie burger featuring seitan and goat cheese – I’m fairly certain that you can’t mess up a dish so long as there’s some goat cheese in there somewhere and this didn’t prove me wrong.  Cajun style fries accompanied my delicious meat free burger and, while I had originally planned to save half for lunch on Friday, I devoured the whole thing before I knew it and felt absolutely zero regrets.

The book that we read is an old favorite of mine, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I read this first in high school (where I was also Jem in a class production), again in college and once more after that so this time makes it my fourth go round.  I believe that good books should be returned to throughout life because you’re never the same person that you were when you initially read it and that causes you to take different things from it each time.  If you’ve never read it yourself – you should.  One of the reasons we chose it is because one of our members hadn’t read it and we all agreed that she ought to.  I’m not going to really even review it because it’s a classic and while I didn’t always agree with the voice of the main character, Scout, I do believe that the book is one that everyone should be exposed to.  As I was re-reading it, I remembered the movie starring Gregory Peck.  I’ve never seen this black and white film but immersing myself in the story again made me wish I had, so it’s currently at the top of my Netflix queue.  And once Scott gets through this three-hour Western he recently rented, that movie shall be all mine!

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