Month: October 2022

Book 54 of 52: I’m Not Really a Waitress by Suzi Weiss-Fischmann

I started doing my nails in 2018, at 38 years old, in a grasp at control. On the night before I was to run a 50K ultramarathon in 83 degree heat — in Pennsylvania, in October — I went to a CVS up the street from my hotel. I bought a bottle of base coat, top coat and Black Onyx by OPI. I was sick from dehydration for two days after the race, but my nails still looked pretty good. I did my nails sporadically after, and I collected a handful of colors — enough to take up the front of a bathroom drawer. Then the pandemic hit, and I wrote story after story about the exact ways in which COVID killed people, and the systematic failures leading us down the path to mass tragedy. I couldn’t control that, but I could control my fingertips. Since then, I have done…

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Book 53 of 52: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Hello from the shiny new version of Book a Week with Jen! Do you like it? I do. Since I’m going to keep the site going into the new year, it was time to make it look decent (and functional on mobile). I’ve also added a subscription option, so you can get an email the second a new post drops. I hope you sign up! To celebrate this new look, I come with an old book, but a classic: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. It’s about Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, siblings who run away from their home in Greenwich, Conn. to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. By using their savings (including winnings from card games Jamie cheated on), and doing things like sleeping in one of the museum beds, and bathing in a now gone fountain from…

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When We Were Orphans book cover

Book 52 of 52: When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

Hey hey! Book 52 of 52! Woooooo! Party! I’m done reading for the year, right? Well of course not. I’m not going to just pack away the dozens of books in my “to read” pile because I hit 52 books for the year. The redesign of this website is still in progress, so it would be a waste to give it a jazzy new look and stop updating. I also hope to start writing different kinds of pieces for the website, including author Q&As. Good things ahead (including an email subscription option!) But anyway onto book Book 52 of 52: When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s a bit of an odd duck: the diary of Christopher Banks, an Englishman who grew up in Shanghai in the early 1900s until his parents “disappeared.” After moving back to England and becoming a famous detective there, he returns to Shanghai at…

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The Queer Principles of Kitt Webb bookcover

Book 51 of 52: The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian

I can’t say much about The Queer Principles of Kit Webb by Cat Sebastian at the moment — but for a good reason! I spoke about the book for an upcoming episode of the Book Fight! podcast. We recorded last night, and I think you’ll like the conversation, including why I chose this romance novel and about romance in general. The two hosts, who I’ve known for years, are great and didn’t make fun of romance at all. This is far from the first one they’ve read for the podcast, and know more about the genre than most book people I know. In fact, I was going to select a NASCAR romance, but they’d already done one! I’ll put up a new post when it’s live, and then add a link back here. [JEN NOTE, November 6, 2022: here it is] Until then, this isn’t my first time appearing the podcast. In 2016, I made them…

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Priceless by Robert K Wittman book cover

Book 50 of 52: Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman and John Shiffman

Who doesn’t love a good heist story? And who doesn’t want to listen to a book about heists and exactly how FBI got back said heisted items while driving across the midwest? I like both of these things, which is how I ended up listening to Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures by Robert K. Wittman and John Shiffman on my recent road trip to the National Parks of Minnesota and Michigan. What a ride — both the book and that vacation. Turnpikes are convenient but wow sometimes very boring. It helps to have something interesting to listen to along the way.Wittman is a former FBI agent who created a niche for himself while still at the Bureau: art, antiques, jewelry and gem identification. While working at the Philadelphia bureau office, he retrieved a startling number of key works — more than $300 million worth, according…

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