April Book Club Review

April 26, 2013 at 11:57 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

And then there were three.

We initially had six book club members RSVP as a ‘Yes’ for this month’s meeting but when the day arrived, half of them

Her arms are much hairier in real life.

had to bow out at the last minute.  Which kind of sucked, of course, but sometimes the smaller meetings are a little less chaotic.  We met at Quartino, which is an Italian restaurant that’s downtown.  The place was really big and they had an even more spacious upstairs, which was kind of surprising.  Also surprising was the fact that the whole place was packed.  I guess Thursday nights are the new Fridays but they entire restaurant was buzzing and bustling.  It made it a little hard to hear each other but it was a fun environment so it ended up working out.  The three of us also met at basically the same time, which was nice because we could be seated right away.  I was starving so I appreciated that!

The bread they served was really good and I had to pace myself so as to not gobble it all up right away.  While most items looked great, all three of us opted for different pizzas.  They all wound up being vegetarian so we swapped some pieces and each one was good-looking and tasty.  I had some leftovers and the girls laughed at me when I busted out the tupperware I had carried my lunch to work in to box up my remaining slices.  Secretly, I think they were jealous and I couldn’t help but find amusement with just how much I’m becoming like my mother.

The book we read for the month was Bossypants by Tina Fey.  It was an entertaining, lighthearted, quick and easy read that literally everyone enjoyed (for real – all those who wound up canceling made sure to mention that!).  It sounds like of cheesy but I came away from the book feeling like Tina Fey was my new BFF.  It helped that a lot of it took place in Chicago so I felt familiar to begin with.  Also, her stories are self-deprecating and autobiographical, just the way I like them.  I feel like I could write something similar but no one would buy a book about my life because…well, I’m not Tina Fey.  Or famous in general.  Yet!


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Aging Like a Fine Wine

February 5, 2013 at 2:02 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

What’s another year?  Nothing to someone who has as great a family and set of friends as I do!

My birthday weekend was better than I could’ve hoped for.  I had a nice trip home to see my family, got to watch IU win over Michigan while enjoying delicious soup and playing with babies, enjoyed some quality time and brews with my mom, met a new friend of my sister’s and received some awesome presents.  And that was just the weekend leading up to my birthday!  I took the day itself off of work and was able to sleep it, then I met a friend for brunch and relaxed some more.  Scott treated me to a very nice birthday dinner at an Italian restaurant we’d never been and gave me a couple of nice gifts as well (including a clean apartment!).  If I can continue to have years as good as the ones I’ve had, I won’t have a damn thing to complain about.

Holy Birthday Cannoli!

Holy Birthday Cannoli!

Except the Megabus.  Remember when it was an hour late picking me up after Christmas?  It hit a new record on Sunday night and departed 2 full hours after it was scheduled to.  Then we took an unscheduled pit stop along the way and our driver (who mentioned that she’d “never done this before”) encountered problems at every toll we passed.  The bus was some knock-off version of the Megabus and didn’t have the power outlets the regular buses do, so my cell phone pretty much died.  The rather large man behind me snored the whole way and the bathroom had a window at crotch level that showed off your goods to anyone who happened to be passing by.  In short, it was NOT a good trip. I was glad I took Monday off work because it was 10pm when we rolled into Chicago (was supposed to be 7:45) and finding a cab was impossible, so I took an hour train ride back to the apartment.  It was about 11 when I got home, so at least I made it before my actual birthday?  Whatever, Megabus will be hearing from me.

I guess everything can’t always be perfect so out of all the things from my weekend, I’m glad that was the one that went awry.  Other than that it was all great and I feel totally ready to kick 29’s ass!

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February/March Book Club Review

March 13, 2012 at 2:50 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Yours truly was in charge of the E-vites for our February Book Club, which means that it was my decision whether or not to call on account of bad weather a few weeks ago.  I fell victim to the hype that the news was spewing and cancelled on a night that was supposed to produce half a foot of snow and horrible, awful driving conditions.  In actuality, we received a bit of rain/slush and that was about it so I looked like a fool for pushing our date back, but oh well.  The cancellation caused our next meeting to take place in the first week of March, hence the combo this time around.

More like The Neverending Story

I also happened to be the one to suggest our book of the month, The Adventures of Augie March.  I can tell you right now, I batted a big whopping zero in this department as well.

I chose the book because I had read that the story of a young man growing up on the streets of Chicago during the Depression was both interesting and entertaining and it wound up being neither.  What it was was long, boring, dense and difficult to even force yourself to try to read.  This was a book that the City of Chicago used in a city-wide book club (another reason I chose it was because there were like a bajillion copies in the libraries) but I would be shocked if more than 2 people read the thing in its entirety.  As for the ladies in our book club, a few of them didn’t get past the first 20 pages and those that did didn’t make it much further than that.  I read the most of anyone in the meeting (I felt like I had to punish myself some way for the choice) and I didn’t even make it half way.  And I really did try.

Until I lost the book, that is.

Let me preface this by saying I’ve never lost a library book, ever.  Until this behemoth, at least.  When I took the Megabus home a few weeks ago to visit my mom, I had the book in tow.  I read some of it Friday evening before falling asleep on the bus and then didn’t really think about it again until I was packing up to come back to Chicago on Sunday, when I realized I couldn’t find the damn thing (it was a busy weekend and I didn’t have much time for leisure reading).  While it’s possible that someone sneaked into my mom’s house with the sole purpose of stealing this book, chances are I just left it on the bus and didn’t realize it for days because I wasn’t that invested in it to begin with.  And as anyone who’s ever ridden the Megabus can tell you, if you lose something you’re pretty much screwed.  So the book is gone and I had to pay the library to replace it, which was frustrating because it’s not like anyone is going to read it anyway.

But I digress.

We ate at Anna Maria Pasteria and I had as much fun at dinner as I do while saying the name of this Italian eatery.  Of course, I always have fun with the book club girls so I guess that’s not a shocker, especially considering the half priced bottles of wine we indulged in.  To be completely honest though, I felt the place was a tad overpriced for what it was.  My spinach stuffed cheese tortellini was delicious and all but I think I’ve had better pasta for cheaper in the city.  The ambiance was cozy and had an authentic feel though so I’m glad I gave it a whirl.  Also being seated by Maria of Anna Maria Pasteria gave me a bit of a kick.

Even though it was delayed and provided dismal reading material, I think the evening was a success.  At least everyone had a good sense of humor about the book, although I banned myself from choosing our next one.  I’m a little disappointed that I don’t know what happened to Augie March but since I’m not invested enough to go check it out again, that will remain one of my life’s little mysteries.  Like what happens to my socks in the dryer.

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October Book Club

November 2, 2011 at 10:33 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , )

The ladies and I managed to gather again last week for an evening of wine, books and chatter.  We had two new girls join the group so it was nice to see our numbers swell a little and I’m pretty sure they’ll both be back!  Five of us met at Calo Ristorante, an Italian place not too far from my apartment.  I’d never been and the decor was a little fancier than what I was used to for our book club shenanigans but the prices were reasonable and the wine was cheap so my worries were for nothing.  I ordered the vegetable pasta in marinara sauce and it was quite good.

Not exactly what I was expecting but interesting nonetheless

There was asparagus, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and a bunch of other delicious veggies that I can’t seem to recall right now and they were perfect in the sauce.  There were two kinds of house bread served, one with garlic and one with cheese, and while I probably had too much of each of them it was totally worth it.  Pairing it all with a nice red wine made for quite a hearty meal.

The book we read was Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  I’d been wanting to read some of his stuff for a while and actually suggested the book myself.

Which was why I was a little confused when I picked it up from the library and saw it was a graphic novel.  I’m flexible so I rolled with it and then lent it to a friend who was one of the new club additions.  After we both finished it, we realized that it is actually a novel novel and the graphic novel was just an adaptation.  Which made a lot of sense because while what we read was entertaining, it felt like it was lacking significant depth.  Well, duh.  So we missed out on the novel but were able to have a new perspective on the book from the drawings in the graphic novel.  I’d actually like to go back and read the entire book now to make some sense of everything but I’ve got such a to-do reading list that I’m not sure I’ll get around to it anytime soon.

As always, the conversation was lively and just what I needed to round out a Thursday night.  We typically chat about what’s been going on in our own lives for a while and then (of course) talk about the book.  It’s a good time every month and something I always look forward to.  Our next meeting is also at a place near my apartment (read: within stumbling distance) and the book isn’t available in graphic novel form so I should be on the same page (oh how I hate this saying) as everyone else.

We make reading look cool!

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