The Compliment

It’s 5 o’clock on a cool Wednesday evening. I’m standing in the lobby of my office waiting for the elevator. I, of course, have a book in the crook of my arm.  It’s ready for me to read at a moment’s notice.

The elevator dings announcing its arrival. The doors open. It’s empty. As I step inside I hear an office door open.  A co-worker rushes toward the elevator to make it before the door closes.  He hops on, and sees me standing there waiting with my oh-so-precious book. The elevator begins its swift decent. He smiles and gestures to the book.

“You’re always reading.” I smile and nod, silently anticipating the biting jab of being bookish.

“I’ve started reading more because I see you do it all the time.” I freeze, a bit startled. “It’s so cool.”

My smile widens, “Thanks.”

He returns my smile and the doors open on the main lobby floor. He bounds out.

“Have a good night!”

“You, too…” I murmur. I slowly exit the elevator and walk towards the ever-twirling revolving doors lost in thought.  It’s strange. I had no idea my reading was affecting others. Likewise, my co-worker does not know how his compliment moved me.

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A Telling Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

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Title: The Cuckoo’s CallingAuthor: Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling; Genre: Fiction

The Gist– A struggling private detective is hired by a former schoolmate’s brother to investigate the supposed suicide of his ultra-famous super model sister.

What Stuck- Rowling once again creates realistic, complex characters. I am personally very impressed by authors who seem to be writing about real people as opposed to people they invented. Rowling accomplishes this with ease.

Should you give a flip- Yes.  It’s a good tale with multiple sub-plots that add to the story’s complexity. I admit that it was in many ways a standard crime novel.  The ending wasn’t a jaw-dropper, but it was a solid story and strong debut into the genre.

Happy Reading!

P.S. This Friday is the book date, so don’t forget to tag along! For those who may have missed last Friday’s post about the impending day of epicness check it out here.

It’s a Date- A Book Date!

It was just a couple of weeks ago that I realized my “to-be-read” pile sitting on my bookshelf at home is dangerously low…as in only five books left low! This is terrifying and unacceptable, so next Friday, September 29th my good friend (and superb editor of this blog) Kelsey and I are going on a book date…all day!

We are starting off the day properly with a boozy brunch and will then proceed to several locally owned bookshops here in Chicago. We will be sharing our adventure and finds along the way (here comes the shameless social media plug).

So please follow along as we attempt our very first instagram story! We will also be sharing our adventure via Twitter and Facebook. We -by which I mean mainly me- are new to this social media game, so Friday will be a real learning experience.

Come along for the ride; it’s going to be absolutely wonderful and probably hysterical. Kelsey and I are both stoked about this, and will be breathing a huge sigh of relief once we have secured more reading material.

Speaking of reading material, if you have any book recommendations let us know so we can check them out!

 

 

Paper vs. E-books

There are two camps when it comes to reading platforms.  There are those who have and use e-readers, and there are those of us that staunchly refuse to give up our paper tomes.  We grip them like a mother protecting her child from a grizzly.

We, tome hoarders, attempt to be open and cool with e-readers.  We are grateful that they are getting more people to read. Nevertheless, secretly we are scared of them.  We fear that e-readers will one-day push paper books to be as ancient and reminiscent as VHS tapes.  And for those of us hard copy readers, this is a terrifying prospect.  Why are we so incredibly attached to the bulky paper volumes?  Well the answer is quite complex.

Personally, a book is so much more than the simple content written between two covers. For me, it’s a multi-faceted experience that is incredibly tactile.  A book’s experience is enhanced by the binding that has been chosen.  The type of paper.  Are the edges smooth or rough? The font.  The line spacing. (These last two items can typically be manipulated on an e-reader.)

I love the smell of pages and feeling the weight of accomplishment as the pages begin to stack up in my left hand.  I can use fun books marks.  I can give it to a friend.  I don’t have to carry a charger or remember to plug it in when I get home.

They look very comforting all neatly lined up on my book shelf at home.  I like the mixed heights and varied thicknesses.  I like to see the stack of them piled in the corner patiently waiting to be read.

I understand the practicality and utility of an e-reader.  I understand you can carry around a whole library with you at all times.  That you never lose your page (but seriously where is the fun in that.) And that you don’t need to worry about lighting.

But I’m not making an argument based on practicality.  Heaving Anna Karenina around for a month was a pain in the ass, but it’s about a certain experience that e-readers cannot accomplish. I understand that hard copies are not for everyone; however, there is a real fear of it being taken away.

We hard copy readers may come off as snotty about e-readers simply because we wish to fiercely protect the experience of reading we so cherish.  And that this attitude is one that is purely defensive. Granted, there are many people who have e-readers and still read hard copy books and see their value.  And I hope one day I can confidently make this transition, but for now I will lug around a thousand plus page volume without complaint or regret.

So, where do you fall in the paper book vs. e-book world?  Do you use only one?  Both? Do you think the fear of e-readers becoming the sole method of reading is unfounded? I would love to hear your thoughts!

A Periodic Periodical Reader

I’ve never been much of a periodical reader.  The most I’ve ever thoroughly poured over in the newspaper has been the crossword, and when I was younger, my love horoscope.  I did have a subscription to Seventeen magazine when I was a teenager, and I do remember perusing its pages with fair regularity. And at one time I did have a subscription to National Geographic, but I mainly just looked at the fabulous photography.

I have attempted to get into Time and Newsweek, but with no lasting success.  I did read The New York Times every day for an entire semester because of a journalism class I was taking, and I did enjoy it.  But summer came and that habit fell away.  I also didn’t have access to a free copy anymore.

However, science magazines have always held my fancy.  It was an article about microbes in a science periodical-I can’t remember which one-that really got me interested in science.  To be fair, the only reason I picked up the magazine was due to needing an idea for a science fair project.

It was a requirement that all students participate in the school science fair for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade.  I was dreading it. I guess it struck me as laborious. Step one of the project was to pick a project. You needed to get an idea, run an experiment, do research, and present your findings. You know that whole scientific method thing.

I had gotten the idea to do something with carpal tunnel, but I wasn’t feeling stoked about it. I figured if I had to put all this effort into a project I should at least try to do something that got me a little excited. Thus, I picked up a science-y looking magazine to get the ideas flowing. The cover story was on microbes.  It was a magazine that was actually meant for kids a few years younger than I was, but it got me thinking.  I mean germs were kind of cool. I could get behind that.

With a significant amount of help from a science teacher, I got a plan for a project about testing the potency of mouthwash and that perhaps mouthwash didn’t have to be as strong as manufactures made it in order to kill bacteria. It was at this point my love affair with chemistry and microbiology began. It’s been going on ever since.  In high school the same science teacher, an honest-to-God Ms. Frizzle, introduced me to Science News. I fell in love with this magazine.  It had so much to offer in one compact issue. However, I could only get it at the school library.

And like many things in life, I went to college, got busy, and forgot about Science News. I was without its wonders until about a year ago when I was feeling in need of some science reading. There are a great number of science books about a variety of science topics, but I didn’t know where best to direct my efforts. I thought a magazine that dabbled in a little bit of everything was the ticket.

I am always amazed at how much information is packed in its pages. It offers a nice little interlude between activities or other reading material. I even keep a couple of issues at work just in case I finish my book and need reading material for my train ride home. I will admit it’s not my main reading squeeze, but it is a delightful treat now and then that gives me much to ponder and explore.

What’s your favorite periodical?

Firing Off Another Review- Inferno

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Title: Inferno Author: Dan Brown Genre: Fiction

The Gist- Robert Langdon once again finds himself on the path of adventure where history and modern day weave together to profoundly change the future.  This time it’s Dante’s Inferno and the threat of overpopulation.

What Stuck- Dan Brown has a great ability to educate with art, history, and symbols in a way that doesn’t over complicate the story. I love learning, so I kind of feel like I get a two for one special with these books.

Should you give a flip- Yeah.  It’s an intriguing read and if you’ve enjoyed Mr. Brown’s other works, this should not disappoint.

The Book Flood

Iceland- the not so icy island with delicious hot springs and stunning views also is the land of high literacy culture.  I learned last Christmas right before the holiday that Iceland has a tradition dubbed “the book flood.”  It’s basically where everyone exchanges books on Christmas eve and spends the rest of the evening reading.

I first saw this posted on Facebook, but since Facebook’s accuracy may be up for debate I decided to do a little research and found an NPR article about Iceland’s tradition.

I was thrilled to confirm that this is a real occurrence.  I also learned that Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other nation in the world.  So naturally, Iceland is my new favorite county.  I mean its and entire nation doing what this girl loves.

I kind of hope to start this in my own family.  I want everybody reading or listening to books. I know that my aunt and mom would be on board.

I guess I like it so much because it’s not just about reading it’s about sharing the reading experience, sharing knowledge.  It’s a solo thing as well as a group thing.  It’s like the whole country is doing a big read-in. I find that notion just fascinating.

Okay, who’s ready to move to Iceland?!?