Wed, March 12, 2014

Help Me Design My Reading Room

As most of you guys know because I won’t shut up about it and I’ve been MIA lately, I am moving at the end of the week into my first house!

And what have I always said I HAD to have in a house?


Okay, and well, it’s not quite grand enough to call a “library,” I am going to have what I decided to call my “reading room.”

And I need your design help.

Here’s the before:



We don’t have any kiddos yet, so the playroom = ALL MINE.

First up was paint, and we went with “Light French Gray”:


The lighting’s a little off, but here’s basically how it looks in action:


For that corner, I’m thinking a Billy Bookcase from IKEA in white. Something like this:


And on the other side…


…I have a Crate & Barrel dark gray sofa (sort of like this) that we’ve been storing away that could go under the window.


From there, I was thinking a brightly colored desk, maybe like this one from Target, or even a garage sale/Goodwill one I’ve painted a cool color.


And then a bunch of bright accent colors, curtains, etc., I’m thinking to match this print from The Wheatfield that was a gift from Ginger and that I totally adore…


Okay, so what do you think? Suggestions? Links? Do you have a reading area — what do you love there? Lighting ideas? I am all ears, guys! Thanks in advance for your help!


PS: Earlier this week I asked which book I should read first, and most of you said the new Huntley Fitzpatrick. Oh. My. Word. I am almost done and it is FANTASTIC.

Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me

Sun, March 9, 2014

Help Me Pick My Next Read

Hey guys! I’m mid-move right now and feel like I am so far from catching up on life, the blog, EVERYTHING. Just in case I go MIA for a few days, you know what’s happening.

I obviously don’t have a ton of reading time right now, but I did leave a nice stack of books unpacked from my boxes. Pretty please help me decide which to read first — I am so scattered right now, I can’t decide for myself:


What do you think? They all sound FANTASTIC!


Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me

Wed, March 5, 2014

My Night at the Divergent Premiere

For those of you who don’t know, last night I was lucky enough to attend the Chicago premiere of the new movie Divergent, based on the books we all know and love!


How did I get tickets? Sheer luck. Seriously. My friend Heidi found the notice as soon as it went up, and she, Tara, Ashlee all jumped on it before the event “sold out” within minutes.

The evening started out with a lot of waiting in line. Thankfully we came prepared:


We got moved into the theater and lucked out again by getting spots right along the red carpet.


Mayor Rahm Emanuel came down the carpet first, shaking our hands and high-fiving us and generally chiding us for not doing the Polar Plunge this week with Jimmy Fallon. Then the actress who plays Molly came too.

First up was Veronica Roth herself. Here she is recognizing Heidi and getting psyched she came out:




HAHA a little blurry.

Anyhoo, for those of you who don’t know, Ansel (Caleb in this movie) is also playing Gus in the upcoming The Fault in Our Stars movie. And, to be honest, I wasn’t too pumped about that. Past tense.

I used to work for a major TV talk show here in Chicago, and we saw a lot of celebs come and go. People used to ask me what they were like, and I used to say “they look expensive.” There’s just something about certain people the oozes star quality. That’s what it felt like to meet Ansel.

He was so handsome in person (and I never thought that previously!), his suit was impeccable, his cheekbones stunning, and he looked me right in the eye when he talked to me. I sound swoony, but I was impressed. Oh, and when someone in the crowd yelled “Okay,” he yelled it right back. He’s got the TFiOS thing down pat already!


Here he is getting interviewed.

Speaking of eye contact: Shailene Woodley, aka Tris.


She also looked me directly in the eye and talked to me for a bit, asked me questions. That so impressed me — she was genuinely friendly. I was a bit tongue-tied honestly, but she was a natural at handling the crowd!

Oh, and she was surprisingly tall. I’m 5’7″ 1/2 and we were all struck by how tall she was. Oh, and gorgeous of course.


Here she is with her leading man, Mr. Theo James.

And here I am with him.


AHHH FOUR! This part was all a bit of a blur. I will leave it at that lovely image.

Veronica, Shailene and Ansel all signed my book, which was double cool.


Pure insanity. After that nonsense was over (turns out I have a low tolerance for screaming tweens), it was movie time!

WOW. You guys, I can’t think of a YA movie adaptation I so thoroughly enjoyed, other than the Hunger Games movies. After all the bombs lately, we really needed that.

The chemistry was amazing, the acting impressive, the action explosive…I really have nothing but good things to say about it. Phew, right?

A nice bonus for me as a Chicagoan was that the city was a gorgeous backdrop. A lot of movies pretend to be set in Chicago but totally fail in terms of botching the geography and culture. Sure, it was bombed-out Chicago, but it totally nailed it.

Okay, this is probably full of typos and some of the pictures are cray, but I am throwing this together before work so please forgive me and just rewatch the trailer to pump yourself up. The movie comes out March 21!



Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me, movies, veronica roth

Tue, January 7, 2014

On Bad Reviews (And Why You Rarely See Them Here)

I realized recently that some of you might be wondering: Why do you rarely see “bad” reviews here on Anna Reads?

It’s a pretty simple answer: I don’t read a lot of “bad” books.

Though I love to try new things and expand my horizons, for the most part I know what books are up my alley and which authors and topics tend to turn me off.

As a result, I rarely pick up a book I don’t end up enjoying at least somewhat. And in those cases where I’m iffy, I’ll post a review and try to point out what I liked, what I didn’t and which readers I think may have a more positive reaction.

If I do pick up a book I don’t like, I don’t finish it. And if I don’t finish a book, I don’t think it’s fair of me to review it.

(Click here to read about why I’m an excellent book quitter.)

Now, there are a few books I’ve finished, but chose not to review. Why? Honestly, sometimes it’s for professional reasons or because I have a personal relationship with the author. More often, it’s because I personally choose to follow the “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” philosophy.

Early on in this blog, I posted a really harsh, negative review of a book I absolutely hated. But it weighed on me, and I ended up deleting it. It just didn’t feel like a reflection of me and the tone I wanted for this site.

But please don’t get me wrong: I really enjoy reading negative reviews on other blogs, if they’re done professionally. I 100% support every blogger’s right to post their own thoughts online, whether they’re positive, negative, mixed, you name it, and any form they choose to use to do so.

I love this “THINK” philosophy I’ve seen around about questions to ask yourself before posting something online:

- Is it true?
- Is it helpful?
- Is it inspiring?
- Is it necessary?
- Is it kind?

And negative reviews 100% fit in here — they’re extremely helpful to readers.

Anyway. I don’t really know what my point is, other than to explain why you don’t see negative reviews from me very often. It’s not really a political stance of any sort — it’s mostly just that I have pretty strong reactions to books and if I don’t like one, I’ll put it down. Simple as that.

I’ve seen other bloggers who do a “DNF” feature (Did Not Finish) explaining which books they tried to read and why they put them down. I love that idea, and it’s definitely something I’ve considered doing. Thoughts? Interest in seeing that here in the blog? Honestly, like I said before, they would be few and far between because I mostly pick books I’ll enjoy, but it might be a helpful feature!

What are your thoughts on negative reviews? Share them in the comments below — I’d love to chat about this more!


Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me

Wed, January 1, 2014

Hi, 2014


















Some mini mantras I hope to keep in mind personally in the year to come.

In terms of blogging, I resolve to be more creative in 2014. To be more positive. To be more timely. To be more responsive and grow the level of discussion here. To be more daring. To let go of jealousy, something I struggle with far too often. To mix things up. To shed any feelings of inadequacy or unpopularity. To work hard. To have crazy amounts of fun!

Happy 2014, friends. Let’s show this year what’s up.


Posted by: Anna   •   In: me yes me