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Happy almost weekend, everyone! I don’t know about you, but this week has flown by for me, and I see a necessary slumber into late morning tomorrow… followed by mimosas.

In case you all need an excuse/reason/want to smile, I highly recommend indulging in the following book trailer for our recent release, THE BOOK OF AWESOME.

And the crazy/cool thing is, a fan created that video!  Someday, I hope to have evangelical fans like that… but since I don’t do anything as cool as 1000 Awesome Things, it may be rather creepy.

I was inspired to think of some simply awesome things that I don’t appreciate enough, and came up with the following:

  • When my roommate changes the hair catcher in our shower – sorry, maybe TMI, but with one shower and two girls with lots of hair, it’s a necessary plastic piece that keeps our landlord from kicking us out due to constant shower blockage.  Not to say she’s usually lazy, but this task typically falls to me.  Luckily we both have light colored hair, so it’s not the really gross long, dark strands (I love dark hair, but on one’s head…).
  • Recognizing the bug I discovered in my bedroom was of the simple flying insect type that came in through my patio door, and not a bedbug.  This is a really AWESOME thing.  Though I had nightmares for two days after my extensive google image searching to make sure…
  • Realizing yesterday when texting with my friend out in LA that really, there is no better place to be living and working at this point in my life than NYC!

A snippet of my little pieces of happy have been shared – I’d love for you to share your awesome things!

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I know this is rather a cop-out, but since I like to think so many of you are worried about me in my blogging absence I didn’t want to be a total failure!

Week in recap

Reading:

  • SAVING CEECEE HONEYCUTT by Beth Hoffman – very sweet novel of a young girl growing up surrounded by strong women.  Reminiscent of THE HELP, though not as epic.  Worth picking up – Beth Hoffman is an author to watch!
  • IMPERFECT BIRDS by Anne Lamott – My first experience with Anne Lamott, but I now understand why she has such a huge, devoted fan base.   A tough story to read about family struggles, mainly with a mom and her daughter doing drugs.  Will be sending to my own mom so she can better appreciate just how well-behaved I really was in high school! Will be available April 6, from Riverhead
  • THE BOOK THIEF by Marcus Zusak – I’ve read several WWII novels lately, and this title (told from the perspective of Death), may be my favorite.  I also highly suggest another recent read, CITY OF THIEVES (which my friend Max guest-blogged about last month).
  • Also worth noting, this coming Tuesday, 2/9, marks the release of the highly anticipated THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake – a novel based on three women with intersecting lives in the time of WWII.  This deserves a far better written review, but since I am incapable of doing such high-level things at the moment, I invite you to wander on over to Serendipitous Reading and KellyVision for their takes (if you’ve also written a review, I’d love for you to leave your link!)

Imbibed (to be filed, eventually, in my “city-imbibing” page):

  • My roommate Liz and I have a couch-sleeper for a bit, and we went out to celebrate her return to NYC with our favorite sushi restaurant, Typhoon, which happens to conveniently be located two store fronts from our apartment.  During the week all sushi is 50% off and it is delicious.  I can’t recommend highly enough the green tea fried ice cream to top off the meal!
  • Drank: a delicious Red Rhone Wine, courtesy of my classy and cultured OUB & OAD.  I’ve been informed the grapes are from Italy – the wine was so tasty I would really like to go pick some of my own grapes from the countryside.
  • Nothing like some Spanish dancing to kick off Friday early (and by early, I mean late on  Thursday night).  I have no rhythm, but after several mojitos at the Meat Packing’s Son Cubana, even I could merengue!  The food was fabulous (the goat cheese croquettes were to die for) and the live band made it feel quite exotic.

Also, in my total nerdy, authors-as-celebrities mind, I got to meet Chang-rae Lee!!!!!!!!!!  If you’ve never experienced his writing, I highly suggest you pre-order his upcoming novel THE SURRENDERED and prepare yourself to become totally immersed.

I took this picture myself - one lucky photographer!

Since I know you’re all dying to know, I’ve successfully brought a healthy lunch in to work three days this week! And since I stayed home sick on Tuesday, that’s actually a 100% success rate. And todayI just zapped leftover Chinese from last night… since I did technically bring it from home, I think I’m going to count that as a “packed lunch” as well – what a way to start the year right!

While I abhor being sick (I really don’t like weakness all that much), it did give me some time to catch up on my reading.  So Tuesday I coughed and hacked my way through Jennifer Weiner’s latest bestseller, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER, along with the newly released #1 bestseller from Sue Grafton, U IS FOR UNDERTOW.  Oddly enough, this chick-lit novel and the crime fiction tale shared similarities…

I’ve read every one of Weiner’s novels and I can’t tell you why.  Pressure from society, I believe, because it definitely isn’t due to any overwhelming desire for the characters or relating to the writing.   I enjoyed GOOD IN BED and IN HER SHOES enough to give GOODNIGHT NOBODY a try… But GOODNIGHT NOBODY (and now BEST FRIENDS FOREVER) attempt to tie in a crime with the relationships/bonding/family/other “women issues”, which I find unnecessary.

In BFF, the Chief of Police enters a the house of a suspect and smells her pajamas – yes folks, I am not kidding.  I don’t find that sweet and sexy – I find it creepy. I want the police I read about to be enforcing the law, not skulking around remniscient of the Ohio Police Officer convicted in the eerily similar case of Sarah Jessica Parker’s surrogate!

U IS FOR UNDERTOW was my first Sue Grafton experience (though I launched into the book trustingly, since Pop Culture Nerd had positively reviewed it), though her 21st book.  As I assume you know, Grafton has been working through the alphabet, consistently with Kinsey Millhone as the Private Investigator protagonist.  I enjoyed this trip back to the 1980’s – a time before cell phones and the internet, and relished joining Kinsey in the library as she looked through – gasp – telephone books!

I also find Sue Grafton to be an interesting character herself, as she admits she started writing after dreaming of ways to murder her first husband.  Also, she and fellow bestselling author Robert B. Parker did a little Q&A on each others Amazon pages, which is rather endearing (not to mention I admit I grabbed this book from a box under my desk – always a bonus)!

So next time you find yourself needing a sick day (though I wish you a plethora of help and happiness in the new year), I encourage you to reach for the nearest Grafton, A-U, and give her a try.  I don’t actively dislike Jennifer Weiner – I especially enjoy her on Twitter, but think I need to give up on the reading of her novels as they’re not a match for me.  But I welcome any thoughts you may have.

It’s Friday, why don’t we all put down our latest novel, link arms and take a little jaunt in this gorgeous Chicago weather and our favorite little BYOB spot and celebrate the weekend and the win by the Cubs.

Our latest BYO Crew!

Our latest BYO Crew!

Oh, wait, you’re sick of your go-to BYOB restaurant and want something new, that’s also affordable?  I mean who can afford to pay for drinks in this economy! Oh I’m hearing an interest in outdoor seating?  Can do!

Take a gander at the amazing new website http://www.GoByo.com!  Able to sort by such important characteristics as location, meals served and features (40 available! Such as outdoor seating, dancing, or if you’re drinking so many calories you need to compensate with light food, they even have a healthy meal option!).  Much more reliable than Yelp!, this nifty little site was publicized in Thrillist’s Daily Chicago email (sign up here: http://www.thrillist.com/signup) and will definitely be a site I frequent.

Happy Friday & GO CUBS GO!

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