I always bring a couple of books whenever I travel. After reading a lot of great books this year, I have compiled the list of my favorites.
After much anticipation, fresh off the presses is Dina Kwit’s Through My Lens — A Photo Collection of Women’s Pro Softball. I have enjoyed Kwit’s work as Chicago Bandits team photographer over the years, but I was blown away at how awesome this book is. Through My Lens completely captures the intangible feeling on and off the field that made me love this team and sport at first sight six seasons ago. The first half of the book allows me to experience the moments I missed, while the second half lets me relive the great moments I witnessed. I literally got chills several times as I made my way through the 345 pages of brilliant pictures and interesting interviews.
Growing up a big fan of the Ramones, I was thrilled to interview Richie Ramone about his time with the band and his book I Know Better Now: My Life Before, During and After the Ramones. Although not an original band member, Richie is a vital part of the Ramones’ history. Front man Joey went so far as to say Richie saved the Ramones. Richie tells his story, answering all the questions and adding plenty of details and insight into one of the most influential and controversial bands ever.
The 1969 Chicago Cubs had a legendary season, although I was a bit young to fully experience it. The 1969 Cubs: Long Remembered — Not Forgotten by Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins and writer-historian George Castle is the definitive look at the team. Jenkins gives an insightful self-examination, while Castle provides archival interviews with the major players. Jenkins and Castle are a winning combination, as they deliver the facts with plenty of personal reflections.
Spiritual adventurist Jenniffer Weigel made appearances on several of my previous book lists. Although This Isn’t the Life I Ordered was published in 2015, I finally read it this year. Weigel gives a personal account of surviving a divorce and staying on a spiritual course. The insights given can be applied to any of life’s challenges. It’s equal parts inspiring, educational and entertaining. Like Weigel’s other books, this is one I will reread as a refresher.
Another repeat author to my list is Lisa Lutz. In The Swallows, Lutz brings the charm and wit from her Spellman series and spins it into a gender war set in a New England prep school. It’s a thought-provoking thriller filled with fully developed, flawed characters. While I keep hoping for Lutz to revisit the Spellman Detective Agency, I am thoroughly enjoying her other novels. Lutz has cemented her place among my favorite authors.
Originally printed in 1921, The Royal Book of Oz is the fifteenth book in the Oz series and the first written by Ruth Plumly Thompson. The newest edition features updated, all-new illustrations by Eisner Award-nominated artist Sara Richard. The Royal Book of Oz is 272 pages of entertainment following the Scarecrow’s search for his family tree, highlighted by beautiful and whimsical illustrations by Richard.
On the much lighter side, I picked up a few comic books for quick and enjoyable reading. All have a special meaning to me, too.
AJ Mendez and Aimee Garcia co-wrote GLOW vs. The Babyface, a four part miniseries based on the popular Netflix series GLOW. The two ladies, who have Chicago connections, have created diverse, complex and unbreakable female characters.
The previously mentioned Sara Richard had a very busy year. She also illustrated several other comic book covers including Star Pig #3 and GI Joe 7, which made Sara “so excited to have drawn my girl, Baroness.”
Lastly, the legendary horror host Svengoolie joins the DC Universe, meeting the Joker, Superman and more in a series of custom inserts. Svengoolie’s alter ego, Rich Koz, is a Chicago icon and a great guy.
While these books went on my bookshelves in 2019, I already have a few books in the queue for my travels in 2020. I look forward to traveling to real destinations as well as new literary locales.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
FOUNDED IN 1534, QUITO sits at almost 10,000 feet, making it the second-highest capital city in the world. Located just 14 miles south of the equator, the city enjoys a spring-like climate year-round, from the cool 50s at night to the low 80s during the day. With a consistent 12 hours of daylight, Quito is, literally, one of the greenest cities in the world.
The city took its name from Athena, goddess of wisdom, strategy and war, and protector of the city. The financial, political and administrative center of the country and an all-powerful city-state in antiquity, Athens is a major center of culture. A visit to the first-ever museum dedicated to Byzantium, a stroll around the National Garden and a trip to the Olympeion archaeological site will take you back through time.
While we wait patiently for the go-ahead to travel, Crystal Cruises offers some home-bound programming with [email protected]. The virtual cruise experience was created to appease the wandering traveler’s eye and inspire future vacation plans, all from the comfort of home — a growing theme in the industry, but a novel idea in the cruising world.
A new report shows the country’s most miserable airports: Newark (EWR), Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and LaGuardia (LGA) rank near the top of the list.
oneworld is an alliance of 13 world-leading airlines committed to providing the highest level of service and connecting you to more than 1,100 destinations around the world.
THE LABELS ON SOME OF TODAY’S wine bottles sport a relatively new vocabulary, one that explains how the grapes were grown and made into wine. They include such terms as sustainable, organic and biodynamic, among others, and they warrant some explanation. Were the grapes grown by sustainable farming? Were they sprayed with organic fertilizers? Is the wine biodynamic? A number of the terms are new to many consumers. Some are controlled by the U.S. government; others are not. For simple definitions of this relatively new vocabulary, consider the following.
Kempinski Hotels are recognizing KEMPINSKI DISCOVERY members during this time of crisis: In case of interrupted stays, members of the loyalty program will not only be recognized for nights effectively stayed, but also for the nights they had to cut short.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
Two Florida Resorts, Naples Grande Beach Resort and Cheeca Lodge & Spa, See Trend of Rescheduling as Opposed to Canceling in Light of COVID-19 Outbreak
Good news is welcome in these times of uncertainty, and at least two Florida resorts, Naples Grande Beach Resort and Cheeca Lodge & Spa, are finding most travelers are opting to reschedule upcoming events and stays rather than cancel — a bright outlook for the travel industry to bounce back quickly once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.