Let Me Tell You ‘Bout My Beeeeest Friend

Mere babes back in 2007.

Mere babes back in 2007.

Hopefully you read that title as being a drawn out, multi-syllabic rendering of “best” and not as pronounced like “beast.”

This week, one of my most favorite people on the face of the earth, Miss Katie Booker, has packed up all her things, left her wildly successful job and will move 3,000 miles across the country back home to California. I am equal parts happy for her and sad for me. This occasion seems like a monumental opportunity to wax poetic publicly about how much I love her and how better my life is by having her in it. I am lucky enough that there are several people I can say this about, but….none of them are moving this week.

I’ll always remember Bid Day 2005 when we all nervously milled around at Theta, trying to meet each other and not say anything stupid. Somehow it turned out that Katie and I were the only two living on South Campus and I became her official chauffeur of the new member ed process. Those 10-minute rides to and from the house forged our friendship for everything that followed: adventures, fun nights out, becoming real adults and dealing with sadness and disappointment. We went from being within spitting distance of each other in our tiny bedroom at the house, to a 30 minute train ride from NJ to NYC, to a 4 hour bus ride from Boston to NYC. We’ve always made it work and don’t let more than a couple months pass between seeing each other. Now it’s a cross-country flight, but I’m happy to have someone to visit in San Francisco.  Continue reading

Why Philip Roth Deserved the Pulitzer

roth

Read him, yo.

On my dad’s advice a few years ago, I picked up Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America and really enjoyed it. It represented the perfect storm of nerdiness that gets me psyched about a book – American history, New Jersey and some conspiracy. (Two thirds of this trifecta also explain my somewhat secret guilty pleasure Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.)

Needing something more substantial than Jen Lancaster‘s snarky bits of fluff to feed my brain, I grabbed Roth’s American Pastoral, which won him the 1997 Pulitzer. I’m only 20 pages in, but Mr. Roth doesn’t disappoint.

Again, since I’m borrowing library books and not purchasing my own to highlight, a few of old Phil’s lines could use a shout-out for being such fantastic uses of the English language:

“No one gets through unmarked by brooding, grief, confusion, and loss. Even those who had it all as kids sooner or later get the average share of misery, if not more.”

This verbal painting of an Italian restaurant may go down as the most spot-on, most evocative thing I’ve ever read:

Vincent’s is one of those oldish Italian restaurants tucked into the midtown West Side streets between Madison Square Garden and the Plaza, small restaurants three tables wide and four chandeliers deep, with decor and menus that have changed hardly at all since before arugula was discovered.”

Then again, it’s not that hard for me to picture an Italian restaurant.

An Attempt at Curating Enjoyable Phrases

booksI am staunchly anti-Kindle. I get why people like them. I even get why I would probably like one. But I refuse. I just like holding a physical book in my hands. Also, having iTunes-like ease of purchasing books would make me even poorer than I am.

When I worked as a newspaper reporter, boomers repeatedly waxed poetic to me about how much they just loved the feel of the newspaper between their fingers and couldn’t imagine a morning in which they didn’t sit at their kitchen table, drink their coffee, read their newspaper….to which I would think in my head, “Yeah? And when you’re done you hop in your Model T and drive to work, right?” Except I would smile and tell them that, even though I had a newspaper placed on my desk every morning (Thanks Nick), I much preferred reading all the same stories on my computer screen (in the days before pay walls, but that’s another story for another time), as do most people younger than 40. When I have time to spread a paper out and leisurely page through it, I do. But this isn’t often and certainly not feasible upon arrival at work.

I think I’ve turned into the millennial version of the paper-defending boomer with my weird Kindle-phobia. I wouldn’t mind an iPad for magazine subscriptions, because those things pile up forever and only get more raggedy. But books…those are non-negotiable. Continue reading