Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give (Book Review)

Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give book cover
As someone who is happily single, I'm sure I'm not the target audience for the book Wedding Toasts I'll Never Give by Ada Calhoun. I bought it because I like reading memoirs by authors whose worlds are different from my own. (It's good for my fiction writing, and I just enjoy learning about other people's lives.) I liked the author's willingness to share anecdotes that didn't put her in the best light, her humor, and her openness about the challenges of staying married. Many of the storie...
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Happiness, Anxiety, and Writing: Using Your Creativity To Live A Calmer, Happier Life

Happiness, Anxiety, and Writing
I struggled with anxiety for a long time before I saw the connection to creativity. The relationship between the two finally hit me while plotting the first book in my Awakening series. To figure out challenges for my protagonist, I kept asking What If?  What If she's determined to go to medical school and discovers she's pregnant despite never having had sex? What If her parents, usually supportive, think she's in denial about her situation? What If when she persists in her "story" they t...
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Please Join Me At Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago June 9

If you'll be in the Chicago area on Saturday June 9, please stop and say hello at the Printers Row Lit Fest. I'll be under the Chicago Writers Association Tent Saturday, June 9 from 10 AM to 12:30 PM. The CWA tent will be between Harrison and Polk on Dearborn Street (so around 700 S. Dearborn). The Lit Fest (formerly called the Printers Row Book Fair) is open June 9 and 10. It spans Dearborn Street from Congress Parkway to Polk, and there are usually tents along Polk and events in the Haro...
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Rediscovering Bliss–At The Library

The other day I rode an escalator to the seventh floor, literature and fiction, at the Harold Washington Public Library in Chicago and felt bliss. It was the second time in as many weeks I'd visited there. This made me happier than I can say because that's more visits to a public library in two weeks than I've made in the entire last decade.For as long as I can remember, I've loved libraries. At five years old, I got my pinkish orange children's card at the Brookfield Public Library. I was so ex...
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The Second Mr. de Winter: What If Genders Were Reversed In Rebecca?

My lawyer book group (read more about the lawyer book group here) recently read Daphne Du Maurier’s classic, Rebecca. The book is a suspense/thriller about a young woman who marries a widower whose first wife was lost at sea. After the narrator marries Max de Winter, she becomes mistress of Manderley, a mansion in an isolated area. Roughly twenty years younger than her husband and of a different social class, she feels constantly overshadowed by her predecessor, Rebecca, and nervous around his f...
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Are Books Written by Women More Likely to be Labeled “Trash”?

Have you ever heard someone say with an air of apology, “I read trash”? Or has anyone dismissed what you read that way? Once a friend referred to an early Mary Higgins Clark book as trash. If Clark has heard her work called that, I imagine she doesn’t lose sleep over it given that she’s known as the Queen of Suspense, has sold over 100 million books in her lifetime, and receives advances of over $10 million per novel. But the comment made me wonder, what is it that makes one book or author more ...
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What Books Are You Thankful You Read? (Favorite Books Post No. 4)

This year has been a good year, and I have more to be thankful for than I could put into a hundred posts. So, being a writer, I figured I'd narrow it down to books. Which still could take more than a hundred posts, so I decided to write about three books: one from childhood, one from college, one from the last few years.The Lion, The Witch, and The WardrobeIn first grade, my teacher left school for several months to have a baby, and we had a wonderful substitute teacher. Every day she read to us...
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From My Mother’s Bookshelves (Favorite Books Post No. 3)

My mom and dad had in their bedroom three large bookcases, which I thought of as my mom’s because nearly all the books were hardbacks she’d bought from book-of-the-month clubs she’d belonged to in the 1950s and 60s. The books had a slightly musty yet dry old paper and cloth smell I love to this day. Most of them had plain cloth bindings with titles that were barely visible on the sides, as the paper jackets had fallen apart and been discarded.My favorite book on those shelves was The Elegant Wit...
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