spring reading list.

The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins

Two months late (at least I’m consistent), here’s what I read March – May.

The Girl on the Train: I picked this up because I ran out of Gillian Flynn books to read. People say this is similar to Gone Girl, and they’re very right. As an added perk, since I usually read on the Metra, for a while I was the girl on the train reading The Girl on the Train.

Favorite quote: “…the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them…”

Eleanor & Park: Rainbow Rowell really captures what it feels like to be in high school. The characters aren’t typical YA novel protagonists, which was probably the best part of the story.

Favorite quote: “Nothing before you counts.”

Americanah: This is a really beautifully woven novel. It’s an immigration story told non-linearly over time and across Nigerian and American settings as the protagonist moves several times, attends various school, works different jobs, and falls in and out of relationships. I love that she’s basically a different person in each chapter of her life, because aren’t we all?

Favorite quote:  “The man standing closest to her was eating an ice cream cone; she had always found it a little irresponsible, the eating of ice cream cones by grown-up American men, especially the eating of ice cream cones by grown-up American men in public.”

Quiet: Susan Cain’s is one of my all-time favorite TED talks. In school, we’re taught to be outgoing and outspoken as if there’s a single, correct personality type. The corporate world puts so much emphasis on extroversion, but half of us are introverts. And I love how this book describes it: introversion isn’t synonymous with shyness; it’s about how you recharge. If your idea of a relaxing evening is socializing with friends, you’re an extrovert, but if you refresh with alone time, you’re an introvert. Even if you fall into the louder camp, Quiet is still an incredibly interesting read.

Favorite quote: “The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk.”

Past reading lists: winter, fall, and summer

indy.

Some pictures from a quick trip to visit my best friend and her kitty in Indianapolis. It was a weekend full of (the best) donuts, an embarrassing cat stroller, ice cream, a sculpture garden, lemonades, shopping, burritos, sunshine and looove.

general american donut cat stroller scratchtruck indy funky bones indy 100 acres indy canal walk indy indianapolis leo

feelin 22.

I’m really behind on posting, so here are some pictures from my birthday food tour, which included sushi, ice cream, crepes, coffee, and cake. Thanks for a memorable night and a totally worth-it stomachache, Max!

winter reading list.

Yes Please Amy Poehler

Three months late, here’s what I read December – February.

Yes Please: I’m a fan of anything that my favorite SNL females come out with, and this book is no exception. It’s a fun, easy read about how Amy Poehler got to where she is (a lot of hard work) and the lessons she’s learned along the way. Honestly more of a picture book/scrapbook than a memoir, so it’s not really fair to compare to Bossypants…..but if we’re comparing, Bossypants is better.

Favorite quote: “I believe great people do things before they are ready.”

The Circle: This is the 1984 of our generation, in which Big Brother is not the government, but rather a tech company with a monopoly over pretty much everything. When you’ve had a social media profile since sixth grade, it’s hard to not be used to sharing everything on the internet, but reading this forces you to think about privacy and the wider (scarier) implications of granting a corporation access to your whole life. I think everyone should read it!

Favorite quote: “Better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than in the middle of some ladder you don’t, right?”

Dataclysm: I heard Christian Rudder speak at a Chicago Ideas Week event and had to read his book. He uses massive anonymized data sets from OkCupid, Twitter, Google, etc. to create interesting graphs and commentary on social issues and trends, from age perception in dating to racism surrounding elections.

Favorite quote: “…secrecy allows old attitudes to go unchallenged – and prejudice unchallenged is prejudice perpetuated.”

A Walk in the Woods: I love day hikes, but I don’t think I could handle camping, let alone hiking and camping for months. Thankfully, Bill Bryson has already done it and written about it, so I feel like I’ve completed the Appalachian Trail vicariously through this book. He weaves in a lot of heavy info about the history of the AT and the National Parks in general, so it’s not all silly anecdotes.

Favorite quote: “Distance changes utterly when you take the world on foot…the world, you realize, is enormous in a way that only you and a small community of fellow hikers know. Planetary scale is your little secret.”

A Walk in the Woods Bill Bryson

Past reading lists: summer and fall

sunrise, sunrise.

jefferson park train jefferson-park-winter-metra jefferson park chicago

“Run baby run baby run!” a homeless woman cheers as I sprint to catch a train. Yet. Again. On the 5:12 Metra, the conductor, a monopoly-man-lookalike named Bill, bops through the aisles, chanting “evenin-erbody-whadda-we-got-fer-tickets-tuhnight” in a thick Chicago accent. Every day is the same – 6:30 alarm, train, bus, work, bus, train, home, sleep.

Routine is supposed to be a comforting thing. A cast of characters and litany of tasks that will consistently fill your day, every day, in the same way. I never think of my life like that, though. In my woe-is-me mind, I’m a drudge whose day is consumed by banality and despondent faces.

Standing on the train platform, in front of the billboard for Ben & Jerry’s newest creation, I realize I’ve watched the sun rise over the I-90 from this exact spot for a whole year now. Every weekday, I observe the same scene. Through winter, spring, summer, fall, and now winter again, I’ve found beauty in this moment – so much so that I’ve taken more iPhone pictures of smoggy sunrises than I can count. Over the past year, this one part of my routine has given me comfort and peace. But that’s just not really enough.

metra jefferson park sunset