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One of my many resolutions for 2010 is to be more consistent about updating my blog!! It falls higher on the list than running the elusive 5k I’ve successfully avoided the last five years, but lower on the list than trying to maintain a budget, part of which is packing my lunch vs. eating out (benefits the waistline and the wallet!).
In mid December, it occurred to me that a mere year had passed since my world was first turned upside down when I was laid off from my advertising gig in Chicago (pink slip rather a symbol of solidarity in the Recession of 2008/2009, yes?). Was I passionate about the job – No. But it could have been worse and the people there were fabulous and are still my friends today. After some indecision and stress over uncertainty, the event ultimately propelled me into my dream publishing job, for which I am undoubtedly grateful.
I look back on 2009 with fond memories, including the arrival of my nephew Alton, who has made me realize I may have more maternal feelings than I thought (which still isn’t saying much) and my move to NYC (a city that I’m really starting to appreciate the intoxication when here).
Looking back upon my, eh, totally nerdy book spreadsheet, I realize 2009 has also been a fabulous year for the written word. I know there are innumerable year-end lists floating around by those far more qualified than me, but just in case anyone is interested in the books that stood out in my eclectic reading list (disclaimer- all were read in 2009, though may have been published in different years):
- THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett: This book has appeared on many “best of” lists, including the Book of the Year (USA TODAY), #1 chosen by book bloggers (BBAW) and more. I can’t recommend it highly enough and find it offers a unique ability to immerse the reader in the time and deilect of the courageous women in the story.
- MY HORIZONTAL LIFE: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler: No literary award winner here, but as I mentioned in my original review, this book had me laughing uncontrollably over Handler’s antics and story telling. Not G-rated, but not completely smutty either.
- THE MAN WHO LOVED BOOKS TOO MUCH: The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Deception by Allison Hoover Bartlett: I love books about books. While I tend to shy away from nonfiction, this “cat and mouse tale” set in the world of rare book collecting had me captivated (and seeking the elusive first edition of GONE WITH THE WIND).
- ACCORDING TO JANE by Marilyn Brant: This novel really struck a chord within me and I found the characters compelling and utterly relatable (full review). I’ve recently rediscovered my own Sam Blaine (read the book and you’ll understand!) and have found myself frequently thinking fondly of the story.
- THE BEST OF EVERYTHING by Rona Jaffe: I have attempted to write a full review of this book so many times, but find it impossible to convey my thoughts and feelings. I think a list of the irresistible attributes are appropriate: Publishing, NYC, girlfriends, relationships, trysts, ambition, books and intertwining lives.
Ok those are my top five in no particular order. Surprisingly, all women authors (I swear I read men too – JULIET, NAKED, ROUGH COUNTRY and 13 REASONS WHY would all be in my top ten). Does anyone else have any overlap on their top titles?
Now, back to drinking hot toddies with my roommate as I try to make my sore throat disappear, prepare myself to drift into a peaceful slumber and avoid the potentially bad news I learned today. I wish you all the best in 2010 and hope to see more of you as I keep up with my resolution to be a better blogger!
Cheers & hugs-
Today in class we spent two hours listening to the cutest pregnant woman give a two-hour talk about the launch of a new magazine. Not just any magazine launch, but a new title that became successful in the midst of this recession, and the incredibly talented pregnant woman was responsible for this miraculous achievement.
Food Network Magazine is the title, and Maile Carpenter is the EIC who has managed to surpass the original estimate of 400,000 views to an astonishing 900,000 with only three issues having been published!
Coming from the successful launch of the Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine, Carpenter managed to find a hole in the already crowded cooking magazine market. She was able to do this quickly with, what she notes, is Food Network Magazine’s major point of difference: It comes with a built in network of celebrities, from Rachael Ray herself, the Iron Chef, Guy Fieri, Paula Deen and more, along with their popular personalities, brand recognition and established trust and loyalty.
While this magazine is in partnership with The Food Network, it is not biased toward the show and its merchandise. Carpenter and her small staff go behind the scenes and to write as if the TV station weren’t included in the name, such as the well-received article “Secrets of the Iron Chef” (appreciated by fans as well as the crew). More than 100 recipes at all levels are in every edition, and while there is content available on foodnetwork.com, the companion magazine site is still under construction.
This “pop culture approach to food” has already been much more popular than original estimates, and after hearing Carpenter speak realize I am going to subscribe to this magazine as well (add it to my list, along with Esquire… Don’t think I can afford all these!), for the recipes as well as support of an admired talent. To subscribe yourself to what I promise will deliver delicious recipes and mouth-watering food shots (Carpenter promises none of the spray glue tricks I was used to in advertising!), click here.
Additional thanks to the panelists in “Building a Brand: a Wheel with Multiple Spokes”:
- Bill Stump, VP, Digital, Rodale: Made me excited about his/Rodale’s tactics of allowing inexperienced employees to generate videos for websites such as Men’s Health. Emphasized to those of us entering the job market to attempt any task you’re given.
- Gail Horwood, SVP Digital Programming & Strategy, Martha Stewart Omnimedia: I wonder how much personal impact Stewart has on her brand, but they are all quite successful. Shared the secret that the craft section is most popular. I believe it, there are directions to make a really cute message board in the June edition of Martha Stewart Living.
- Frank Lalli, EIC, International and Magazine Development, Reader’s Digest Association; ED, Purpose Driven Communication: Reminds that you are your own brand. Spoke about launching the magazine/360 approach to Pastor Rick Warren’s A Purpose Driven Life. For Bible Studiers, obviously I’m not in the target. Did get the chance to ask him why Reader’s Digest changed their cover design years ago from the Table of Contents and made it look just like every other magazine- he said the team thought it needed updating, while I thought it lost its identity and individuality.
- James Jacovides, VP, Licensing & Syndication, Time Inc.: If you have any questions, ask him I think he thinks he knows everything. In reality, he is very smart and he works for a very successful company and he knows it and isn’t afraid to share. He discussed how magazines go international and the different methods Time Inc. uses to ensure an immediate profit.
- Jaimee Zanzinger, Deputy Editor, Real Simple: I personally like Real Simple, though it hasn’t helped me de-clutter my life. Zanzinger spoke about their commitment to helping make an easy reading experience, from short articles to the included book mark and pictures that help tell the story. Interesting to note, the photos in Real Simple are styled after every article is written, not scrap art. Must be incredibly expensive for the shoots and talent, but the effort comes through in print.
Off to my first NYC party!!! Some launch for some music reality show from what my friend with the tix told me. Concept sounds like it may be lacking, but I could use a few free drinks after these long days. Woohoo.
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.
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!
As I finally got around to uploading photos from January to current on Facebook, I realized that 2009 has already been a year to remember (although I don’t look photogenic in any of the moments!).
Yes, it’s true I have joined the ranks of the unemployed, but I’ve also been motivated and inspired to follow my dreams of launching a career in book publishing, started this blog which has become quite an enjoyable hobby, begun to really appreciate Chicago and all it offers, been to my first Bulls game, Cocokey Resort with three of my best friends, had the #1 bracket in my pool as of NOW (sorry, MSU, I bet correctly that UNC would pull off the win), started a volunteer relationship with a worthwhile organization (<3 to you, Open Books), been blessed with a baby nephew, and been lucky enough to have the love, support and enjoyment of a wonderful family and system of friends.
Alright, fine, I may be a little tipsy from watching the pathetic game that MSU just played, but I am thankful for all this year has already brought (I cannot believe Easter is this Sunday – time has flown by) and all it promises in the future. I hope you all enjoyed my Miller Lite induced ramblings (potentially found some inspiration yourself?), but hopefully this little nugget will serve as a reminder for the important things next time I get frustrated when job searching or waiting for spring to come to Chicago.
Heading home on the train tomorrow, looking forward to some quality MI time with the family and good books, while curled up in my favorite chair! Hopefully book reviews to come shortly… Hitting the “publish” button before I can overthink and delete this…
We’ve all felt the pinch, it’s hard to justify the $9 price for a fancy bar drink when you could/should be making the drink with your own bottom-shelf liquor in your condo that you already are struggling to afford as opposed to helping contribute to the overhead cost of some random bar. Whew. Well, the The New Yorker is helping us embrace the recession with a little alcholic help:
Gone are the Cosmopolitans and pomegranate martinis—bartenders are designing a whole new breed of cocktails for 2009….
Long Island Iced 401(k)
Put hopes in shaker. Add dreams. Shake until dashed, then drink all the vodka, gin, tequila, and rum left in liquor cabinet.
Bear Market Shot
Pick up lots of checks because you think the glass is half full; when you find it’s actually half empty, take a single shot to the head.
Broke & Tan
Fall asleep in yard on weekday, wake up sunburned and so dehydrated that anything tastes good.
Pour two ounces of vodka into a cocktail shaker. Lament fact that you moved into a smaller house to pay for your son’s college education and, since he couldn’t get a job and he’s now twenty-six, he’s living on your couch. Eying your son as he works his Wii, pour two more ounces of vodka into shaker. Serve with a grimace.
Add a dozen I.P.O.’s to portfolio, wait until bubble bursts, drink all day every day.
Discover that your BlackBerry doesn’t work because you haven’t paid the bill. Sling it against the wall, then buy a prepaid phone and make some rum in your toilet.
Bloody Maria Bartiromo
Squeeze four packets of McDonald’s ketchup and one packet of pepper into a glass. Mix with eight ounces homemade hooch. Drink while you watch the Money Honey on a TV in the window of a Circuit City that’s going out of business at the end of the month.
To avoid foreclosure, rent the other bedrooms in your condo to migrant farmworkers; steal their booze when they go out to work.
Let last drops of liquor trickle from spent bottles at recycling center into plastic cup. Serve with shame.
According to the New York Times, 651,000 new job losses were reported in February (need I remind everyone that Feb. is the shortest month of the year, so that means 23,250 jobs were lost PER DAY). Unemployment surged to 8.1%, the highest yet.
It really is a dismal economy. I have yet to adopt what I call the “unemploymentality” (thanks,Liz!) of feeling depressed, worthless and hopeless, but ask me that again in a couple more months of not receiving a steady paycheck and I may be ready to join the beggars on Rush St.
As the NYT article states, “Everybody in every industry has lost jobs or is feeling insecure about whether they’re going to keep their jobs or how their company’s going to do.”
I think Prada may be out of luck with people affording their “Sunbathing Dress” I posted yesterday… Back to my happy world of fiction.
I’ve always been a huge proponent of library-going (books are like a drug to me, and I can’t afford to keep myself in the “habit”, thus my worn library card) and have noticed my queue of books on hold have been taking longer to get to me than in the past. This interesting article “Hard economic times a boon for libraries” I came across on CNN this morning may explain why.
Yet another sign of our tough economic times is coming through in the resurgence of library popularity. I bet you may be just as tired of hearing about our dismal economy as I am, but I actually found this article to be focusing on a more positive note – that people are being resourceful and utilizing the tools and services available. I advise each of you to take a look at your local library and see what services they offer that can save you money – from internet to DVD rentals and even reading groups for children, all at no cost to you.
The full article can be found at this link: http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/28/recession.libraries/index.html
Chicago Public Library information available here: http://www.chipublib.org/
It’s official, the recession has hit the publishing industry. Announced yesterday in a multitude of news sources, HarperCollins has undergone “ferocious” lay-offs and closed the Collins division (home to books such as “The Dangerous Book for Boys” and the “Deceptively Delicious” cookbook). Owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, HC is one of the last major publishing houses to announce lay-offs. The full NYT article can be found here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/11/books/11harp.html?hp
I guess my dream of breaking in to the publishing industry may have to be put on hold for a little while… 😦