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When I lived in New York, I organized a book club and am attempting to do the same here in Chicago. It’s off to a bit of a slow start, but it’s a start none the less. We’ve just read the book A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff and I really enjoyed it. I expected it to be entirely about vintage clothes and the main character, Phoebe’s, vintage clothing store, but it was much more than that.

A Vintage Affair

Through her store, Phoebe encounters a plethora of interesting people. One of the most interesting to me is Mrs. Bell, an elderly French woman who has a past that haunts her, very similar to Phoebe, actually. This story line was very captivating and kept me from putting the book down at night, even when I was crying like a little girl. I blame me being overly emotional on my family cat dying, but it may have just been that moving of a story too. Phoebe works to relive Mrs. Bell’s guilt and in doing so works on relieving her own guilt.

While most of the secondary characters in this book are relatively flat, I enjoyed all of the relationships she has with them.  There are a couple of love interests and story lines (I think I found myself rooting for the wrong one) and the story of Phoebe’s mom’s unhappiness is completely comical to me.  The way she deals with her unhappiness is not the right way and I enjoy her antics.

I definitely recommend this book and give it a 9.5 of 10.  It’s a light book and it’s a really quick read.

One thing we like to do at book club (this was started by my SIL at book club in New York and I think it’s my favorite part) is cast who we think would play the characters if the book was made into a movie. This is my cast and, for the most part, book club agreed with me!

Phoebe (main character): Ginnifer Goodwin not with short hair
Emma (Phoebe’s best friend): Rebel Wilson not as a comedic actor
Anna: I can’t remember who we cast here and it’s killing me!
Mrs. Bell: A white version of Ruby Dee
Phoebe’s Mom: Blythe Danner
Phoebe’s Dad: Steve Martin
Miles: Richard Gere circa Pretty Woman
Roxanne: Blake Lively circa Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Dan: Luke Wilson when he was thinner
Guy: Mark Ruffalo or Rob Lowe

I realize this book takes place in England and none of these people are British, but they fit the images I have of the characters in my mind!

Have you read the book?  If you have, what do you think?  Do you agree with my cast?  If you decide to read the book, let me know if you like it!  And, of course, I’m always open to good book suggestions!

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The two books I read in late spring/early summer were both great books, but both were very sad/deep books, so I was looking for something a little lighter.  A friend recommended Bossypants by Tina Fey to me and I figured, why not?  I’ll give it a go.

This book was a very fast read that I pretty much only read on the commute to and from work.  The chapters, generally, are short, which makes for a great commute book and her writing is very conversational.  There were several bits or stories that made me laugh out loud…and laugh hard.  To be completely honest, this NEVER happens.  I just don’t normally think things are all that funny.  Tina Fey, however? Funny.

Probably my favorite quote from the entire book (she asked women when they first realized they were becoming a woman):

“Almost everyone first realized they were becoming a grown woman when some dude did something nasty to them…There were pretty much zero examples like ‘I first knew I was a woman when my mother and father took me out to dinner to celebrate my success on the debate team.’ It was mostly men yelling shit from cars. Are they a patrol sent out to let girls know they’ve crossed into puberty? If so, it’s working…I was walking home alone from school and I was wearing a dress. A dude drove by and yelled ‘Nice tits.’ Embarrassed and enraged, I screamed after him ‘Suck my dick!’ Sure, it didn’t make any sense, but at least I didn’t hold in my anger.”

She is definitely self deprecating through out this book, though I don’t think it’s in a serious way.  (Is she ever serious?)  Through the entire book , there is an underlying feminist theme.  She’s definitely a believer that women are just as smart and talented, if not more so, as any man and can do all the same things.  She makes a really interesting comparison between Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton.  While they were campaigning against each other, they were essentially being discounted because of their sex.  Sarah was a helpless idiot and Hillary was a bitch.  Both things were derived from the things they did and said on the campaign that were very similar to things the men of the campaign said and did, but no one ever turned it against them as being emotional or cold.  Her entire perception of Sarah Palin and the sketches they did on SNL was really interesting.

I definitely recommend this book.  Her sarcastic humor is very much like mine and, in my mind, we could be best friends.  If you’re looking for something light, you should definitely read this book.