Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Holidays and Baby Brains

Chicago has turned white with snow, Christmas lights adorn the streets and little holiday fests are popping up in the different neighborhoods. This weekend Cait and I walked down to the square for a little shopping and a peak at the local christkindl mart. When we came home I made some chili and mulled cider to take the chill off our bones. Cait settled in with the first season of Dexter and I polished off The Shipping News by Annie Proulx.

Annie Proulx's novel is wonderful from start to finish. A beautifully crafted story with engaging and unique characters, The Shipping News is so full that the reader almost becomes a part of the story. I can't recommend this book enough...

Now I'm working on Alison Gopnick's non-fiction book, The Philosophical Baby. For so long people thought that our children were simply not capable of advanced thinking. In the last ten years the research has shown us that the first five years are the most developmentally productive of a human life.

As it says on the cover copy, "In a lively and accessible tour of the groundbreaking new psychological, neuroscientific, and philosophical developments, Gopnik offers new insight into how babies see the world, and in turn promotes a deeper appreciation for the role of parents in shaping the lives of their children."

Ok Ok Ok. I am not a parent- nor am I CLOSE to being a parent, BUT I AM someone working in Early Childhood, looking toward advancing my education AND well... I think baby brains are awesome and totally interesting. Can't wait to share all that I learn from Gopnik's book.

I've also decided to re-read all of the Harry Potter books-- and OH, IS IT A JOY!!! When working through all the HP fun, I recommend taking a trip down to the North Center/ Lincoln Square Bar, THE BAD APPLE , and grabbing a Butter Beer (with a side of the cheese curds, because they are simply delicious.) :-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

welp... things got cray cray

Ok. So. Last summer I started this blog to chroncile my quest to read 25 books in three months.

Alas. Life got in the way. I directed a beautiful show about love with my wonderful theatre company called Genesis Ensemble (check us out), and that took up pretty much ALL of my time and energy. I MEAN ALL MY TIME AND ENERGY!!!!!!!!

Now, as we make our way into December of 2010, a time when people start crafting the age old "new years resolution", I intend to reinstate this crazy blog. Maybe I wont be reading 25 books in three months (I am back to workin' my day job with the little ones a the pre-school,) but I WILL be reading a lot, drinking delicious brews and riding my bike all over this beautiful city.

For instance, I am currently in the thick of it with Annie Proulx's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Shipping News. A hilarious and moving account of an American family transplanted to Newfoundland, The Shipping News is quickly becoming one of my favorite reads of 2010. I am savoring every chapter of this book and although I am excited to see where this story takes me, I DO NOT WANT IT TO END.

Many thanks to my Aunt Mary who gave this book to my mom and to my mom for not noticing when I stole it from her book shelf last Thanksgiving!!!

And now enjoy this music video (served best with a Magic Hat Winter Howl):

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I cried at the pre-school today...twice

Two things came to an end today, a beautiful school year filled with many wonderful memories (like when a very special child asked me if my hair was a wig) and the incredible Jeanette Winterson novel Written on the Body.

Read. This. Book. Just do it. It's beautiful, heartfelt, human and I honestly couldn't put it down... except for a few moments when Cait was watching the movie Rent and I had to see my homegirl Idina Menzel KILL IT in the song, "take me or leave me."


Alas, it's time to start another book... and a new school year is just around the corner.

Still, I'll be sad to leave both of these wonderful experiences behind.

Monday, June 7, 2010

...shit just got real

I finished the book Little Bee.

It was medium.

Turns out the secret plot twists were akin to, "Ryan Chazenski farted in your notebook and he told me not to tell anyone."

While the writing style was super interesting and the subject matter upsetting and informative, the hype on the back cover of Chris Cleve's novel DID NOT do his work justice...


I've since moved on to MUCH GREENER pastures: Jeanette Winterson's sexy and philosophical novel Written on the Body.

Here is the cover copy (with a few comments from me):

"With the same stylistic daring an emotional energy that have made her one of England's most celebrated young writers, Jeanette Winterson has written her most beguiling seductive novel to date.
The narrator of Written on the Body has neither name nor gender (HELLZZZ YES!! AMBIGUOUS GENDER!! I love queer lit!); the beloved is a married woman. (OH NOOOOOO!!!!) And Winterson chronicles their consuming affair, she compels us to see love stripped of cliches and categories, as a phenomenon as visceral as blood and organs, bone and tissue- and as strange as an undiscovered continent."

Winterson's writing is poetic yet effortless for the reader, with quotes like,
"'You can't see what I can see.' She stroked my face. 'You are a pool of clear water where the light plays.'"

I am right there with our Genderless Narrator. I am in love. I am heartbroken. Shit just got real.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Snickers, The Situation and Little Bee by Chris Cleave

Caitlin and I were lucky enough to spend the first weekend of summer at her family's beach house on the Jersey Shore. We went tubing, kayaking, biking, sailing and consumed many a Corona. While we had no sightings of anyone from MTV's reality show The Jersey Shore, we had a great time and I did try to fit in some fist pumping action.

Yesterday, on the plane ride home I started my summer book reading challenge with the novel Little Bee by Chris Cleave.

I've been dying to read this book for a while even though I had no idea what it was about. Let me explain....

Here is what it says on the back cover:

"We don't want to tell you WHAT HAPPENS in this book. It is truly a SPECIAL STORY and we don't want to spoil it. NEVERTHELESS, you need to know enough to buy it, so we will just say this:

This is the story of two women. Their lives collide one fateful day, and one of them has to make a terrible choice, the kind of choice we hope you never have to face. Two years later, they meet again- the story starts there...

Once you read it, you'll want to tell your friends about it. When you do, please don't tell them what happens. The magic is in how the story unfolds."


The back of this book makes me feel like I did when I was in the sixth grade and my best friend said to me,"I have a secret about you...and I'M NOT GOING TO TELL YOU WHAT IT IS!!!"

I'm interested, intrigued and a little bit angry! WHAT GREAT MARKETING!!

...I'm enjoying it very much so far.

That is all I will say about it.

You'll just have to read Little Bee for yourself.

Nanny Nanny BOO BOO.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The List

I work at a pre-school.
While working with three year-olds does have its downsides (the poopy pants, constant inquiries as to whether or not my big belly means I'm knocked up or the threat of diseases...ugh a plethora of diseases), the job is pretty stellar for a young artist like myself ie: I GET FREE STRING CHEESE AND SUMMERS OFF!!!

Aside from directing a show with the lovely Genesis Ensemble, I have decided to spend these work less months reading (well... and maybe bike riding and consuming a few barley flavored beverages)!!!

I will attempt to read 25 books between the dates of June 1, 2010 and August 30, 2010. It is with this AWESOME BLOG that I will document my process!!!!

I've started compiling a list of the possible 25 (suggestions welcome):
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Little Bee
My Antonia
Three Cups of Tea
Bad Dirt
No One Belongs Here More Than You
Eleanor Rigby
The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
One Hundred Years of Solitude
The Little Stranger
Written on the Body
The Shipping News....
(to be continued)