Thursday, September 8, 2011

BlogHer Book Club: Slow Love

Slow Love by Dominique Browning is my third BlogHer Book Club read and my least favorite so far.  It is the first book club selection that I chose to read that I thought was just okay. There were some good insights and tidbits to chew on, but as another reviewer @yesnofilms commented on Twitter and I agree, at times Slow Love felt like I was "reading a friend's ramblings." The author would jump from one topic to another and by the time she got back to where she started, I was not clear where she was trying to go with her story. Then she would go on yet another long and often seemingly random and disjointed tangent.

Slow Love started strong for me with the back story of how the author, once the managing editor at House & Garden magazine lost her job when the periodical folded in 2008. I really bought into the premise of Slow Love, that it "is about knowing what you've got before it's gone." When I first started reading it I couldn’t stop highlighting inspiring and thought-provoking quotes in my Kindle. However, unfortunately that did not last very long.

Slow Love deals with some universal themes about when our lives feel out of balance. Often a significant event will cause us to review, reflect and reevaluate our priorities and especially how (and with whom) we chose to spend our time. I appreciated Dominique’s perspective and insights as the mother of two grown
sons, as my oldest child is almost eight years old and I often wonder how my son's personality will evolve in the years to come.
 I also liked what she shared about the nature of adult friendships, especially those we form and/or strengthen when our "worlds collapse."

Another connection I felt to Dominique’s story was the experience of selling and moving from the place that was her home for many years, where she raised her sons and which she thought would be her “forever house.” She talked about how it was full of memories and happy moments, the bittersweet experience of packing it all up and the transition of settling into a new space. Since my family and I moved to a new house this summer, I could relate to some of what she shared.

However, the further along I got into Slow Love, unfortunately the less engaged I felt. Dominique focused a lot on a relationship with an old lover, whom she calls “Stroller” in her memoir and though I appreciate that it took her a long time to realize that he was not a good match for her long term, it was tedious to have to read through the experiences she shared before finally coming to that conclusion.

I do believe that the heart of life is found in the journey, however Slow Love's path didn't work for me. I loved the concept, enjoyed the beginning and found redemption in the end, but the middle left me lost and uninspired.


As I mentioned in my review above, though I didn't love this book, I was able to relate to many of the topics that Dominique covered in Slow Love. Please join our discussion about Slow Love over on the BlogHer Book Club page, regardless of if you read the book I think it is worth checking it out, as the facilitator has tried make the questions engaging to both those who have read Slow Love and those who have not. To share your thoughts and find out what others are saying about Slow Love click here.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-copy of this book to read for this review and to participate in the related BlogHer Book Club discussion. However, I was in no way encouraged to write a positive or negative review about Slow Love.

Note: This is a cross post with my main blog Four of a Kind, as I know that some of you who follow this review blog, may not also follow me over there and I thought you might be interested in reading what I thought about this book.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

There's an App for That (and I'm in It)!

Last month I got an email from Julie Godar, the Managing Editor at BlogHer (yes, I felt very special). She said that one of her colleagues suggested she contact me (I felt even more special). Julie explained in her email that "BlogHer has a fun new partnership with a company called Gourmet Live – featuring local expertise a la Yelp, but with the focus on local eats. We’re supporting this effort with cool, clickable maps and other fun features. Gourmet Live is a part of Gourmet Magazine – yes, THAT Gourmet!"

Julie also shared in her email that they were targeting Chicago (where my family and I live) for their fifth local stop and invited me to "contribute a tip or two to help out." She said that for the local bloggers, like myself, who chose to participate, that our tips would be "featured on and/or the app developed by Gourmet Live – and you’ll receive credit with your name and your blog URL everywhere this tip appears."

I was both honored and excited to be asked and jumped at the chance to participate!

A "Google Doc" was created for the local Chicago area bloggers who had been tapped with questions that we could choose to answer. They encouraged us to pick one or two questions and share our answers in the document. There was really only one question that I saw which I felt confident about answering. I don't consider myself a "foodie," by any means and didn't want to do this unless I believed that I had a recommendation truly worth sharing.

So the question that I answered was:

"What's the best brunch spot with a view?"

Yesterday the Chicago Food Guide: Tips from Local Bloggers was released both on BlogHer and as a part of the Gourmet Live app. Whether you live in the Chicago area or plan to visit here, you will find some great tips in this guide. If you want to find out where I think the best brunch spot with a view in Chicago is, you can go to iTunes and download the free Gourmet Live app!

You can also find some fabulous recommendations for other big cities across the U.S.A. featured as a part of the Gourmet Live and BlogHer Road Trip, including Austin, Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington DC, San Diego and New York City.
Bon appétit! 
Note: This is a cross post with my main blog Four of a Kind, as I know that some of you who follow this review blog, may not also follow me over there and I thought you might be interested.