Book Club – January ’14

Blistery January in Chicago found the ladies of book club, all in sweaters, gathered around a high table for brunch in Wicker Park. It felt like a long time since we’d all been together, but this January meeting was productive and hilarious.

The book of the month was Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Other than write books, Maria hasn’t done much except really win at life as a screenwriter for such shows as THE ELLEN SHOW and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT.  I read this in her bio and immediately thought “This will be good.” And it was. Her humor really came through as subtle, smart, and perfectly placed. One of my favorite scenes was when the narrator talks about her dogs unwillingness to sit anywhere but the front seat of the car. It paints a real picture of suffering:

It took me a while to get in the car because Mom always brings Ice Cream and lets her sit in the front. Once that dog gets the front seat, she does not like to give it up. So Ice Cream was doing that thing she does when she wants to get her way, which is to go completely rigid and stare straight ahead.

Mom pulled Ice Cream’s collar and I shoved her butt and after a lot of grunting, Ice Cream finally got in the back. But she didn’t sit on the seat like a normal dog. She stood on the floor squished behind the front seat, with this miserable look on her face, like, See what you guys made me do?

I really laughed at this part. I think for the most part everyone was entertained by this novel. Which, I believe, is exactly what the authors intent was. She entertained by way of rich private school parents, bleak descriptions of life in Seattle, and a mess of neurotic personalities.

I would recommend this read! Quick and easy, and very entertaining. Next month, we’re tackling Lord of the Flies to add a little classic action to our repertoire. This will be interesting.

(Photo source: Seattle Times)

Listened To:
Avery Hill by The Shouting Matches
Drifters by Bright Moments

I’m Still in a Book Club

It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that my life got really exciting and socially stimulating over the past couple of months! I realize that makes it sound like I was a recluse before, and frankly I won’t deny that. But if you’ve read my post on exciting things that happened in 2013 you know that I moved to the great city of Chicago in October.

The minute I moved, I got a planner and actually put stuff in it. Fun stuff. That I was planning to do! Then I did them! And that’s life.

What I’m saying is, life got in the way of my posts about book club. So I’m here now with a crazy quick recap, and the intention to write more frequently because I enjoy it.

August-September we read Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. It was fabulous and time travel-y and historical. There were a lot of mixed reviews but it was poignant and pretty gripping! A bit long… but the ending was one of those “ahh. that felt right” endings, in my very humble opinion.

October-November we read The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith who of course is actually the legendary J.K Rowling – molder of my childhood. This was a really fun mystery where J.K was able to really let her inner potty-mouthed-overweight-British-man flag fly. Loved the twist at the end.

December was the month for Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This was a  memoir about Cheryl’s hike up the PCT. Google PCT. It was interesting because Cheryl is a very complex person, and the lives of complex people are fun to read about and compare to your own. I honestly don’t think I could be paid to hike the PCT alone or with a group. I’d like to hang out on the trail for a day, take some pictures, make some hot dogs over a fire and use leaves as TP but then I’d like to go home. She was out there for a very long time. Good read, though!

I think this’ll serve as a nice catch up on Ladiez is Readers 2! We’re all still ladies, still readers, and still a bunch of nerds. I love it. Thanks for reading.

Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop – Galway, Ireland
Photo taken by Miranda Coello

Book Club – July ’13

You guys.. the Ladiez is Readerz 2 book club is the talk of the town. I mean we are a social group with a reading problem! Next month we might re-brand as a drinking group with a reading problem… The possibilities are endless. July’s meeting brought us together on a picnic bench in a park in our hometown while a wedding was being held in the park pavilion. It was intense and there was a lot of singing and kissing happening and strangers watching.

Talking about the wedding, of course.

Fueled by some Trail Mix Cookies (joy the baker recipe. duh! find it here), we talked about some funny parts in Charlie McDowell’s Dear Girls Above Me and lamented the fact that he was actually born famous, and isn’t just some rando who became famous for his sense of humor. Sidenote – I just used the word “lamented” and feel really into it.

Dear Girls Above Me is a quick read that actually did have me laughing out loud, laughing silently, and occasionally even cry-laughing which is that thing when you’re on a plane trying so hard not to laugh out loud that tears form in your eyes. I revel in those moments. I found it charming and a little over the top, which I can get down with. I might read it again in the future if I ever need a pick me up.

Recommended if: You’re looking for a funny read that you’ll tear through in a day, and you don’t shy away from occasionally poking fun at others. Especially if said “others” are those who believe the Pope of England is a thing.

Up next month: Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

Book Club – June ’13

Ladiez who like to read are the best kind of Ladiez.

Just ask anyone in our book club, they would concur.

Last month, the lovely gals all got together in Chicago to discuss our June book Devil in the White City. It was an interesting talk, full of suspense. I use the word suspense here to describe the fact that only about 1/3 of us actually finished the story. Erik Larson is a fantastic historian and story teller but I’ve got to tell you a secret… I fell asleep 100% of the times I tried to make a dent in this book.

Here is a conversation I picture taking place at this moment:

Random Book Authority: Alexandra, Do you solemnly swear to finish this book sometime in the future because you understand that it is a good read and that it contains important and super cool facts about your native city?

Me: *Raising my right hand and placing my left hand on the cover of Devil in the White City*  I do. 

So there you have it. I will finish this book. Eventually!

As for July, the book choice was Dear Girls Above Me By Charlie McDowell. Let’s just flash back to the time I started cry-laughing on a plane reading this, causing the woman next to me to nervously glance over at me more than a couple times. Stay tuned for a full review after Ladiez is Readerz 2 gets a chance to dissect this hysterical story.

Check out these options for Summer Reads! (And, if you’re wondering if it was me who suggested Dear Girls Above Me to Joy the Baker, then you would be correct. And you know me too well. And let’s be friends.)

Joy The Baker – What You’re Reading

Cat Lover? – I Could Pee on This

NPR – Good for Summer Adventure

Marie Claire – Summer Beach Reads

Book Club – May ’13

The book club has officially been named!

Ladiez is Readerz 2.

Yep, that’s got a great ring to it. Not to mention it truly captures the essence of our book club. Hard-hitting chicks from the street who only ever take breaks from krumping practice to peruse the pages of the latest NY Times Bestseller. If you want to know where to sign up, please contact your local Gangsta.

We had our first meeting and had a serious chat about a mediocre memoir. Tough love from the critics in Ladiez is Readerz 2! Rachel Dratch’s Girl Walks into a Bar had it’s moments (the chapter entitled Horsemeat), but mostly fell short for us in actual laugh-out-loud moments. I found myself comparing it to Bossypants which was well written and made me fall in love with Tina Fey. I only felt an odd combination of confusion, dissatisfaction, and slight hunger (unrelated) when I finished Dratch’s memoir. I wanted to love it, I really did! And it hasn’t changed my feelings about the Debbie Downer Disney sketch, which still makes my eyes water from laughter.

Next up for the Ladiez: Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City.

I’m only 40 pages in. At first I was excited! Then I had a nightmare. I’m going to have to limit my reading hours to daylight.