A Basic Gal's Guide to Jane Austen: Mansfield Park

Mon., Nov. 6
Mansfield Park. Where do I begin? I really liked this book, but I wish I could pinpoint the exact reason why, since really it has all the odds stacked against it - a weak-sauce romance for the leading lady, and frankly, a leading lady I don't like or relate to. Maybe I am fond of this novel because it was a far departure from Emma…

A Basic Gal's Guide to Jane Austen: Emma

Mon., Aug. 7
This is the first -- and only -- Austen novel where the main character is the title of the book. So straight out of the gate you know who will dominate this story. But in Emma, Austen creates a character who is totally unique from the other Austen leading ladies. In a time when women were encouraged to marry, Emma Woodhouse was having none of it.

A Basic Gal's Guide to Jane Austen: Northanger Abbey

Tue., Jun. 6
It has all the usual trappings of her stories (a leading lady, the love interest, talk about money and marriages, dancing, etc.), but throw in the story's heroine being kind of not-so-secretly interested in the macabre and mystery. Essentially, to the point where she even concocts in her head a story that her friends' dad could have had something to do with the death of his wife. Whaaaaaat?! Let's dive in.

A Basic Gal's Guide to Jane Austen: Persuasion

Mon., May. 1
I am doing my own version of The Jane Austen Book Club. Yes – I took my inspiration from a romantic comedy (it was a book first). Just chalk it up to another symptom of my basic status. One Austen book a month for six months so I can read all of her major novels. In random order, the first book is…Persuasion. So let’s dive in, basic girl style.

Toddler Tested, Mom Approved!

Wed., Apr. 12
Looking for book recommendations for your toddler? Look no further; these books are toddler tested, mom approved!
Running shoes and a book with shoelaces that spell out "RUN"

I Have My Reasons…For Running

Tue., Mar. 7
And then there comes the day when the self-professed non-runner, decides to run. Come May, I will be participating in the 2017 Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon 5K. The reason: to raise money and awareness for Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Black history month logo

The Best Short Stories by African American Authors

Mon., Feb. 6
I cannot even tell you how long it has been since I picked up a collection of short stories (seriously…it’s pretty embarrassing). But I have always loved diving into a good short story. Filled with symbolism and a conclusion that doesn’t take 300 pages to get to, they are a true literary snack. Or in some cases like, Children of the Night: The Best Short Stories by Black Writers 1967 to the Present, a great meal.

Warming Up Winter with a Beach Read

Tue., Jan. 3
Curling up under a blanket on my couch while 30 degree winds swirl outside my window is probably not the typical way to enjoy Elin Hilderbrand’s Here’s to Us. Her beautiful imagery of Nantucket in June makes me want to be outside, in the sun and on a lounge chair. Alas, that was not to be, and since I am so behind on my summer reading list (what month is it again?!), I took the opportunity to get caught up.