Saturday, May 14, 2011

two books, wacko and a great album...

I am no stranger to tears. In fact, some might say I am a "crier." I cry at weddings, movies and even occasionally while listening to NPR's This American Life. (oh, Ira Glass...) HOWEVER, it is rare for me to cry while I am reading. It has only happened a handful of times-- Bridge to Terabithia (ten year old Kat is still crying), Written on the Body (why IS the measure of love loss??!), Tuesdays with Morrie (I was 18...don't judge me) and most recently (on the EL) while reading The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood.

GUYS- to say this book is beautiful is an understatement! Atwood's tale of a once wealthy Canadian family is poignant, sad and incredibly creative. The story is revealed to the reader in three ways- through the eyes an elderly protagonist, newspaper articles and a novel (The Blind Assasin) written by one of the family members. A NOVEL WITH IN A NOVEL, Y'ALL!!! I give it ten stars out of five. Seriously. That good.

I finished The Blind Assassin on Tuesday night- and picked up Room by Emma Donoghue on Wednesday morning. I finished it this morning...

I've been very busy as of late with rehearsals, kickball, performances, meet ups with old friends.. but every second of free time I could manage the last couple of days was spent reading this book. The story is told from the perspective of a five year Jack, who has been in Room (an eleven by eleven foot soundproof shed in some man's backyard) his whole life. He was born in Room, he plays in room, he has P.E. in Room. He shares room with Ma- who protects him from the scary Old Nick who comes to visit Ma almost every night. As the story unfolds- Ma decides it is time to get out of Room.

This book is super terrifying/ incredibly interesting. A great summer read!!!

AND SPEAKING OF SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Magic Hat's summer brew "Wacko" is back! This beer has beets in it, y'all. It's not too hoppy and not too sweet... but delightfully refreshing. Check it out! T's has it on tap-- $7.50 double pints. le sigh.

IN OTHER BIG NEWS-- I got an advanced copy of Jill Andrews' new album The Mirror. AND IT IS WONDERFUL! The album goes on sale June 7th and can be purchased here.

here she is performing the title track:

I'm off to go for a run... HAPPY WEEKEND!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

boogers, jorts and Maira Kalman

Today was a teacher in-service day at the pre-school where I work. This means that I spent most of the day disinfecting/ scrubbing dried boogers off of things. (I know... dream job. DREAM JOB!!) To distract me from the grossness I listened Mandolin Orange, a band that my brother introduced me to this weekend:

WHOA! RIGHT?!??! I do love a good boy/girl bluegrass band! PLUS the weather was pretty great today... so that means... I AM WEARING JORTS (for those of you who don't know, jorts are jean shorts.) I have this very WONDERFUL (awful) pair of gray jorts that I made last summer out of a very expensive pair of JCrew jeans (good choices.) These particular jorts are the most comfortable/ unflattering piece of clothing I own and I am VERY excited to start wearing them EVERYDAY now that I don't have to worry about frostbite.

I have to cut this blog kind of short because I'm now heading to rehearsal for a new performance I am creating with my theatre company, Genesis Ensemble. This particular piece is inspired by Maira Kalman's book The Principles of Uncertainty. Here are my recommendations to you: 1. go get yourself a six pack of Bell's Oberon (yay! it's back in season) 2. while you're out stop by your local bookstore and pick up a copy of Kalman's book (you'll want to own me) 3. watch Kalman talk about her book here:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

colette and a story about an incredible father...

On friday night I had dinner with two of my best friends, my father and two of his best friends at the wonderful Hopleaf. This is a bar that is well known for it's very long beer list (and as the title of my blog suggests... I have an incredible affinity for this barley flavored beverage.) The dinner was delicious, the company was wonderful BUT the BEER. Oh...the BEER!

I fell in love with a particular brew called Colette from The Great Divide Brewing Company in CO. I recommend going out and grabbing yourself a six pack of this wonderful farmhouse ale while listening to this song by Langhorne Slim called, of course, Colette.

I got to spend the rest of the weekend hanging out with my Dad who was visiting me from Ohio. We had a great time watching movies, playing guitar, walking around different neighborhoods in chicago, trying new food and talking about family, love and happiness. I couldn't as for a better father- a sentiment that was echoed by his friends on friday who told me that they have taken to calling him, "the rock."

...not to be confused with THIS "the rock." My dad "the rock" is WAY COOLER... and better looking...

Right now I am working through a book about someone else's father, Mr. March: father to Meg, Amy, Beth and Jo from the novel (and one of my ALL TIME FAVES) Little Women. Geraldine Brook's beautiful book March follows the life of the father from the famous classic who, for the majority of Little Women, is away fighting in the Civil War. I have to admit, March is beautifully written... but hugely heartbreaking. It has taken me at least two months to get through even though it is quite short (only 280 pages long.) I've needed to take long breaks from the racism, torture and the horrors of war that this book describes.. breaks that sometimes lasted for weeks at a time; but I keep coming back for the incredible story, beautiful writing and small glimpses into the family I first fell in love with at age ten.

I recommend this book for lovers of classic literature and history buffs but with a warning: you will be shocked and saddened by this glimpse into our country's past and left wondering... why do we treat people as "others?"