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…yet again.  I thank all my visitors who still come back every day (I don’t know who you are, but I appreciate it) and make me consistently add “blog” to my to-do list (which I conveniently misplace when it gets too long).

I’ve still been reading and imbibing, but also have branched out and taken a pilates class (my abs were sore for days), saw my first off-broadway play (fabulous), gone to brunch and NOT had a mimosa (painful) and had a huge spring cleaning session with the roomie (worthwhile – we celebrated with our first patio party!).

Instead of me attempting to write reviews of the books I’ve read lately, I’ve decided to highlight a few special reviews that really jumped out at me from fellow book bloggers, often who express my thoughts more eloquently:

THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW by Peter Bognanni

This book was a hugely pleasant surprise for me.  Now that I am far too old for 16 year old boys (that would be illegal), I hadn’t anticipated to feel the connection with the teenagers in this debut novel.  I was wrong. Their voices came through clear, though their feelings and emotions were muddled.  Jen at Devourer of Books says it so well in her review:

This book is made of awesome…Bognanni used punk rock skillfully to explore the alienation of teen years, without creating obnoxiously alienated teens.

PRETTY IN PLAID by Jen Lancaster

Ever since I discovered Jen in BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ASS I’ve had a girl crush (similar to the one I have on Chelsea Handler – these ladies are funny!).  Jen’s one of those authors for whom I have a hard time reviewing, because there are so many facets: her Chicago details which cause me fits of nostalgia, her pet antics, her husband and her modesty all make the pages fly by.  Another blogger whom I really enjoy reviewed this book last year and I was so happy to discover Nat’s wonderful thoughts – take a look at this excerpt from her review on the wonderful blog, Book, Line & Sinker.

Lancaster takes the mundane and spins it into a giant, literary confection of equal parts humor, hubris, and habiliment.  This book should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning printed on it–Reading this book should be done only in private and may induce:

  • laughing until your mascara runs down your face in twin, black rivers
  • laughing until you snort (Swine flu be damned!)
  • laughing yourself into a wheezy, cartoonish fit
  • laughing yourself into hyperventilation (as your husband frantically dials 9-1-1 for help)

THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake

Another book, which I’ve mentioned in the past but never really reviewed, is THE POSTMISTRESS by Sarah Blake.  My new friend Rebecca over at Book Lady’s Blog did a wonderful job of, eh, attempting to review this title:

Don’t let the pretty cover and the nice purple rose fool you, people. Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress is no fluffy romance novel… Because I’ve been trying to write this review for more than two weeks but have continued to find myself reduced to gushing (a good problem to have, but not exactly one that contributes to an articulate review)

–I know this isn’t the best excerpt from her review, but you really should go visit her site to get the full impact of her thoughts.  Also nice to note, she and I have similar tastes in liking books on weird religions!

ANGELOLOGY by Danielle Trussoni

Now this is partially cheating, since I’m not totally done with this book yet (half way at best)… But what I’ve read I love, and the reason I even made a point to get this bestselling new release is due to Swapna’s review.  So I wanted to make sure you all read it her thoughts as well, in hopes that you’re driven to immediately acquire it yourself:

Angelology was one of the best books I’ve read in recent memory…Trussoni has crafted an intricate and impeccably researched history for the reader in this book.  She creates an entire world simply through her words.  The details are vivid and her prose is descriptive, such that the reader can picture events in the novel clearly in their head.  She is thorough, yet strikes a balance between not enough information and overwhelming the reader with details.  It’s a beautiful construction, and one that I can’t praise highly enough.

I hope you all enjoyed these snippets from well written reviews as much as I did! Please visit the blogs listed above, as they’re wonderful and I am consistently impressed with how much these ladies read, then review, and have lives – my juggling skills are not yet at their level!

FTC disclosure: Many of the books listed above (the Penguin ones) I read due to having the best job in the world so received them from my desk. Others were bought or borrowed. Thanks for caring.

For being the biggest city in the U. S., NYC is quite a lonely place.

I tell my friends back in Chicago that it’s really fun because you can truly wear whatever you want without people caring or noticing (if you’d like me to illustrate with pictures of other East Village locals wearing neon colors, animal prints, or an occasional live cat on the head let me know) – but you’re often invisible as well.

Maybe it’s because I’ve led a spoiled life – always had close family and friends, but NYC is a test.  Not just because it’s ridiculously expensive w/less than optimal living space (I don’t allow pictures to be taken of my apartment; I insist upon visiting for the experience over a still image) but because you’re by yourself.  A lot.  And the crazy thing is, I think I’m starting to like it.

With the exception of my mom reprimanding me for drinking wine alone tonight (before you judge, I was trying to write and I now understand why real writers are notoriously heavy drinkers), I’ve learned I may not be quite as social or as talkative as I would have previously believed.  I actually enjoy eating dinner out by myself (usually with a good book) and the solitude when my roommate leaves and is no longer  constantly trying to speak to me.

I recently read Jen Lancaster’s memoir, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ASS.  It resonated with me not only because she hails from my beloved Chicago and the bus lines she spoke of were so familiar, but when she talks about the fast and easy friendships of the past giving way to new living, and relationship, situations:

“Suddenly I found myself living around people very different from me.  We were diverse not due to ethnicity, race, or age, but because we didn’t come from a shared past; our jobs, hometowns, educations, and experiences were all vastly different and we had no instant commonalities…” (pg. 178)

This I can commiserate with.  Yes, I’ve made acquaintances here in this huge, vast city that sparkles in the night and grimy by day… Even some people I call friends.  But it’s hard work when you don’t have the baseline from which to start.

Luckily, I have books to escape the real world and I find myself disappearing into them quite often.  For the second “luckily”, this trait is advantageous to being in a job I love.  So while I desperately miss my friends in Chicago (there’s nothing comparable to living with your two best friends in a downtown highrise boasting a pool on your rooftop with a view of Lake Michigan) I like to believe I made the best decision in transferring my life to the East Coast.  While I admit I’m not exactly living an Into the Wild survival expedition, I think I have given up some basic luxuries.

This may be a pointless post, but thanks for indulging in my slightly-wine induced thoughts and joining me all the way out here in NYC.  In fact, I think I officially belong in that annoying group of people that think “everyone should live, and thrive, in NYC at least once in their life.”

 

Update: Oprah (along with some kind words and admittances of solo and proud drinking from OUB & OAD) has made me realize that moving to NYC is a worthwhile adventure for a job I love.  Recently, Oprah shared a list of “The Top 20 Things I Know for Sure” and I’m happy that I am totally in line with several, including #13:  Let passion drive your profession.

 

I miss you!

I’ve been reading all sorts of good books lately and haven’t even had the chance to update my spreadsheet (nerd alert) and have been trying to keep track via my cell phone.  I owe you reviews for the following, which are the books I felt most strongly about one way or another:

KNIT THE SEASON (Kate Jacobs)

(though check out some great KNIT THE SEASON reviews and interviews with Kate Jacobs at Nat’s Book, Like, and Sinker and Susan’s Suko’s Notebook)

CERTAIN PREY, WICKED PREY, ROUGH COUNTRY (John Sandford)

LITTLE WOMEN (Louisa May Alcott)

HIGH FIDELITY, JULIET, NAKED (Nick Hornby)

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG ASS (Jen Lancaster)

DRESS YOUR FAMILY IN CORDUROY AND DENIM (David Sedaris)

And I stayed up way too late last night reading THE SCARPETTA FACTOR (Patricia Cornwell)

Me and my friend Maggi enjoying a glorious autumn in Central Park!So you see, it’s not actually that I’m not reading, I just haven’t been reviewing.  I’ll do my best to rectify this situation shortly… but most likely after the weekend, as it should be a busy one!

In the meantime, I hope you’re enjoying the season as much as I am.  It’s my first time witnessing the leaves turning in NYC and it’s a glorious sight!

 

Love,

Lydia

 

 

 

 

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