Book Review: “Between You and Me”

I’ve followed Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus for a decade now, ever since they burst onto the scene with the bestselling domestic tell-all The Nanny Diaries. Their follow-up, Citizen Girl, was also excellent, with a feminist protagonist struggling to stay employed while maintaining her values. I feel they’ve lost their edge in recent years, with books ranging from fair-to-middlin’ (The Real Real) to forgettable (Dedication) to freakng terrible (Nanny Returns. Shudder). However, when I saw their latest on NetGalley, I couldn’t resist giving the duo another shot. Here’s what I thought of Between You and Me. Read More Book Review: “Between You and Me”

Book Review: “Keep Holding On” by Susane Colasanti

When I was a kid, the word “bully” wasn’t given the weight it is today. “Boys will be boys” was more the phrase of the hour – I heard it more than once from well-meaning teachers and defensive parents, even after I was assaulted by a group of classmates in junior high. To borrow a phrase from Dan Savage, it got better for me. Still hurts to remember. Read More Book Review: “Keep Holding On” by Susane Colasanti

You Gotta Do It Big Time (Rush)

“They let a cow loose in the Palm Woods.”

So begins last night’s text conversation with my sister. I typed the only logical reply:

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Book Review: “Jeneration X”

I like Jen Lancaster. There, I said it. She’s not Dostoyevsky, we don’t see eye to eye politically and there’s no way I’d willingly move to the Chicago suburbs. But she’s neurotic and owns her quirks without being all “tee hee! I’m quirky, y’all!” Also, we shared a magical evening back when her second book was released. (And by “magical evening” I mean “I got drunk with her and her husband Fletch while they gave me life advice and bought me a prime rib sandwich.” Magical.)

This year, I wrote to Penguin and begged for Jeneration X. And on a stressful Friday, I came home and found my wish granted.

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Book Review: “Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie”

When I’m stressed out,  I bake. My repertoire consists of exactly two goods: banana muffins (slightly updated recipe from my mom’s circa-1970’s cookbook) and chocolate chip cookies (back of the Trader Joe’s chocolate chip bag, slightly updated from Nestle). I have my limits, sure. But it’s hard to dispute this form of coping. It’s cheaper than therapy. It endears me to my coworkers and makes my friends happy. And it keeps my apartment smelling really, really good. Read More Book Review: “Making Piece: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Pie”

Interview: Wendy McClure, Author, “The Wilder Life”

In 2009, I met Wendy McClure at a panel for Chicago authors. I loved her snarky but funny battle with Weight Watchers in I’m Not the New Me, and was intrigued when she mentioned writing a book about the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder. I never wore calico or lived underground, but the Little House book series had a profound effect on me and countless other young readers in the 1970s and 80s. As the paperback release of The Wilder Life approaches, I spoke with Wendy about pig bladder balloons, butter churning at book signings, and who in “Laura World” may have been a feminist.

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Unpro’s Guide to Comfort Reading

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about comfort. It’s been a rough month for ol’ Unpro: various physical and emotional ailments have had me at the doctor and the pharmacy more times than I can count, and without my voice for three agonizing days. When I haven’t been apologizing to my understanding boss or throwing a tantrum in the ER, I’ve been seeking comfort in food (roasted broccoli and scrambled eggs), TV (Archer, RuPaul’s Drag Race and my secret weapon: reruns of Full House‘s stellar second season) and the loves of my life: my books. Read More Unpro’s Guide to Comfort Reading

Tales From the Ledge: What I’m Reading

I read a lot. When my alarm beeps obnoxiously every morning, I immediately reach for my Nook or whatever library find I’m currently devouring. I also don’t have a nightstand, so I keep my latest book on the window ledge next to my bed (hence the title of this post). Read More Tales From the Ledge: What I’m Reading