Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Club: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Christmas is over, but I'm still enjoying my time at home (unfortunately Scott is holding down the fort in Chicago and working this week).  It's been a whirlwind of food, sleep, wine, gifts, movies, and snuggling (or as some may say, "lovefesting").  We just like hanging out together around here.

I've also been reading, which usually involves a short nap too (maybe the sleepiness is because of all the homemade goodies I've eaten?).  Currently in rotation: Ready, Aim, Specializea book on freelance writing; a book for my Jane Austen literature class that starts next week (eek!); and the Jan/Feb issue of Women's Health (I'm telling everyone that I plan to look like cover girl Marisa Miller in 2012).  I do need to track down a copy of next month's book club selection as well...

Which brings me to the subject of this post... book club.  About a week ago, three of us met up at a cute little coffeehouse near DePaul's Lincoln Park campus called the Bourgeois Pig Cafe.  We usually meet at someone's home, but this month was E's turn to host, and since she just arrived back in the US after her time in Africa and will soon head to Mexico for a few months, we met at the cafe.  Good news... it was cozy and the food was delicious.  There was a major car accident right outside (complete with a car driven into a building, yellow police tape, lots of car pieces on the road, and people filling out police reports), but we scooted inside and ordered a bite to eat.

Sitting upstairs around a wooden table, surrounded by vintage couches and bookshelves, it kind of felt like someone's house.  We caught up on E's time in Africa, classes and finals, holiday plans, and of course, The History of Love.  The novel moves between various characters and centers around the origin of a (fictional) book called The History of Love (hence, the novel's title).  E had just read it for a second time, so we talked through a few points of confusion and the ending (I'm not going into detail and ruining it!).

I loved the parts that were written as "excerpts" from the book, all philosophical and poetic, as well as the unique characters and interwoven storylines.  At times, I was a little confused, but a quick peek back to a previous chapter or two would usually straighten things out.  The three of us talked until the cafe was closing down and we all headed home in the dark, messy mist.

Next month, we are lightening the mood with Mindy Kaling's new book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns).  You may recognize Mindy from the TV show "The Office," so it should be fun (and funny!) to get to know her a little better.  Yes, there are lots of comparisons to Tina Fey's Bossypants, but during this time of year with all the pressure of New Year's resolutions and the harsh re-entry into "real life" after sleeping and eating constantly for a couple weeks straight, I plan to sit back and enjoy this book.

via EW
Amazon.com Book Description (review by Jennifer Weiner also available):
Mindy Kaling has lived many lives: the obedient child of immigrant professionals, a timid chubster afraid of her own bike, a Ben Affleck–impersonating Off-Broadway performer and playwright, and, finally, a comedy writer and actress prone to starting fights with her friends and coworkers with the sentence “Can I just say one last thing about this, and then I swear I’ll shut up about it?” 
 
Perhaps you want to know what Mindy thinks makes a great best friend (someone who will fill your prescription in the middle of the night), or what makes a great guy (one who is aware of all elderly people in any room at any time and acts accordingly), or what is the perfect amount of fame (so famous you can never get convicted of murder in a court of law), or how to maintain a trim figure (you will not find that information in these pages). If so, you’ve come to the right book, mostly!
 
In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

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