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Our Monthly Reads - August 2013

Have you been able to keep up with our monthly reading? How about your own? Take some suggestions from us if you're stuck in a rut! Here's what the staff has been up to this month!


Kate McIlvain, Director of Program Operations

Become What You Are  by Alan Watts

"Diving deeper into the work of Alan Watts, this month I am reading his collection of essays entitled "Become What You Are."  Many of these essays were previously published serially before being compiled into one book, and they each demonstrate Watts' deftness and expertise with comparative religions.  Some of the essays serve as quick meditations, others take a deep dive into east/west philosophies, and others are parables for everyday use and reflection.  Every time I pick up "Become What You Are," I find something new to chew on.  I give this book 4 paws

paw prints
 

Liz Burgess, Executive Director

Inferno by Dan Brown

"I have just started reading "Inferno" by Dan Brown.  I'm excited to get into Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon's new quest in search of clues to a world-historical mystery.  I've enjoyed Dan Brown's previous novels, particularly "Angels and Demons," and have no doubt this will not disappoint as a page turner since his books are always filled with history, intrigue, secret codes, and symbols embedded in paintings, books, churches, monuments, and buildings.  How fun is reading a book whose main character travels the globe in search of clues to a mystery of world-altering proportions, deciphering symbols taken from objects of art, and this time from the literature of Dante's famous poem?  Dan Brown's books also have beautiful back drops such as Florence, exciting plots that keep you up to all hours, and provide a wonderful escape from the day to day.  As of Chapter 7, I give it 4 paws."

 

 

 Alicia Boemi,Director of External Relations

The Art of Racing in the Rain  by Garth Stein

"I am actually re-reading this book because I love it so much. As a dog owner and lover it is definitely a must read. The story does have tear jerker moments, but in the end it's a really touching and beautiful tale of two good friends. "

 

rating - 4 paws
 

Melissa McBride,Volunteer Coordinator

Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me by Patricia Volk

 "This month I'm reading "Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me" by Patricia Volk. It is a memoir in which Volk explores her interpretations of womanhood by juxtaposing the lives of her own mother, an upper-middle-class New Yorker, and Elsa Schiaparelli, a European couture designer whose autobiography transformed Volk at a young age. I just started reading Shocked for an all-female book club, and think it was a great pick for our group. Volk's style of prose is engaging, and I feel like I can relate to her, particularly as she explores the mother-daughter bond between herself and her mother, Audrey, and the indirect maternal influences of Schiaparelli as well. I would give this book 3 paws!"

rating - 3 paws
 

  Victoria Luisi,External Relations Intern

 The Happiness Project  by Gretchen Rubin

  "My current book genre obsession is memoirs lately, so I picked up this book after a friend suggested it. Since being in your early twenties always brings up the questionable future and the position of happiness in it, I bought this book per her suggestion and I liked it. I found Rubin to be moderately funny, and her goals for her project of happiness attainable. I think I might start applying some of them in my own life! It's not so much a self-help book as it is just a memoir about Rubin's quest for happiness, and I found it a good read for a minute or two. I give it three paws!

rating - 3 paws
 

Our Monthly Reads - June

Hello everyone! To kick off our summer, we decided to share with you some of our current June reads from all of us at the office! If you need suggestions for some future beach reads on those sunny days off, here's what we're diving into!

Has anyone read any of these? Have any suggestions for us? Let us know with a comment!


Bone in the Throat

Bone in the Throat

Kate Mcilvain, Director of Program Relations

Bone in the Throat by Anthony Bourdain

  "[Bourdain] is a fantastic travel/food writer - and who doesn't love his show No Reservations?  When it came time to find something new to read, I thought that a foray into fiction writing by Anthony Bourdain would prove a good choice, and it has!  All the fun, honesty, and sarcasm you love from Bourdain on No Reservations abounds in this gangster-kitchen-murder-mystery-romp-campy-drama."


Princess Elizabeth's Spy

Princess Elizabeth's Spy

  Liz Burgess, Executive Director

  Princess Elizabeth'sSpy  by Susan Elia Macneal

  "This book is the second in a new series featuring Maggie Hope, who is a terrific character in this World War II historical fiction mystery.  I really liked the main character Maggie; her brains, determination and good intentions coexist with human emotions and flaws in judgment.  So she's no superhero, allowing for great twists and turns in the story.  I highly recommend this series and they make for great summer reading!"


Oscar Wao

Oscar Wao

  Alicia Boemi,Director of External Relations

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao  by Junot Diaz

  "I am about halfway through the book and so far it has been an intriguing story that keeps you turning the page. The main characters are very heartfelt and your ability to feel for them is why I think I like this book so much. I would recommend it to others so far and am looking forward to finishing it!"


The Torch of Decency

The Torch of Decency

Melissa McBride,Volunteer Coordinator

The Torch of Decency   by Jahmal Cole

  "It is a non-fiction work about the history and modern-day state of Chatam, IL. As a Chicago native I'm always interested in local issues. Specifically, I like that Cole makes some connections and suggestions about the way we think about our involvement with local government. He had the table next to us at the Printer's Row Lit Fest, too!"


When You Are Engulfed In Flames

When You Are Engulfed In Flames

Victoria Luisi,External Relations Intern

When You Are Engulfed in Flames   by David Sedaris

  "David Sedaris never disappoints with his witty and sarcastic storytelling, and this book is no exception! Great short stories about snippets of his life, told through a very sarcastically funny lens. If you want a good laugh and need a quick read for the plane or for the beach, I highly suggest picking this one up from the library!"