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Like you, avid readers, I've a pal-network that talks books during our regular chats, and when one of them says "I really liked this one," I take especial note. But when Jenny/Betsy/Laurie/Wendy etc. text me "READ THIS BOOK" that's a whole n'other level and I darn sure do.  

My book-recwork inspires me to read something I may or may not have chosen, and bonus -- my pal and I can then talk the book over, extending our chat/chardonnay time even MORE! Isn't it sort of nerve-wracking when you follow up on a recommendation: "How'd you like it?" It's a vulnerable feeling to have told someone you think something is great; maybe you loved it because you were rebounding off a rotten read, or because you read the book during a rare cozy quiet evening and that affected your opinion? It is a personal step to rave about a book, and sometimes my friends have found it gush-worthy also (usually they rave right away), other times there is silence for a few too many days and you have to follow up once you know they've started. "I liked it but I didn't love it as much as you did." EEK.

My dear friend Betsy started texting me regularly as she read "A Little Life" by Hanya Yanagihara in the summer of 2015. Usually she waits 'til she's finished before she recommends a book but this time I kept getting nudges like, "you've started it, right?" I had a wait-and-read attitude because of the wrenching cover art, what I knew of the content and the 700+ pages. Usually January is my month for a more mammoth read; I remember I read David McCullough's "John Adams" the January after 9/11 and it was the perfect time for an uplifting look at one of the brilliant, founding minds of America. But when Betsy finished and texted: READ THIS BOOK about "A Little Life" I did, even though it was summer. Like her I went all in for a week and Yanagihara's exquisite prose drew me, at times wincing, into an unforgettable story of four college friends. Of them, I will never forget Willem and Jude. Never. I was so immersed in their story that it felt like it was happening to me. I remember Betsy saying, "I can't get out of bed" she found it so affecting. I know it doesn't sound like something you want to race off and experience, but without Betsy's urgent "RTB" (our code for READ THIS BOOK, and I mean hurry), I would have missed one of the top two or three books I've ever read.

Well, friends - we have two events upcoming that will inspire you also to RTBs and GTBs (read and/or give these books...). It's that twinkle time of year for our Champagne and Sleighbells Book Recommendation party. That's when me and the PPB Readers "stand and gush" about their favorite new fiction and nonfiction. But this year we're adding a NEW SECOND recommendation event -- Paula will lead an evening of setting goals to make time for reading -- across your favorite genres, and maybe some new ones.  Paula will host a fun party December 3d at 7pm to share ideas and specific book titles to have an inspired 2019 reading year - this is perfect for you, yourself and you, or for members of book clubs looking to schedule your selections (remember you get 15% of your book club reads at PPB). Please RSVP to these events as seating is limited (630-765-7455).

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Friends, my current RTB is "Women in Sunlight" by Frances Mayes ... a novel of four women of a certain age range that takes place in Tuscany (Mayes wrote the delightful "Under the Tuscan Sun.") It's full of food and friendship and re-imagining the second, more independent and wide-open half of life. Really well written and immersive - you will feel like you have four new friends -- and I imagine it will be a movie (maybe casting Meryl, Sally, Blythe, Julia?). It's not fluff because these are strong, complicated women, but it's an easy read if that makes sense. Click here to order it and support PPB - you won't regret it!

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