For women going places

For the Road: Summer Reading Recommendations, Part 2


We hope you enjoyed our fiction book suggestions. Now, we're ready to offer some recommendations for non-fiction fans. And we want to hear yours too so please leave recommendations and reviews in the comments!

Non-Fiction and Travel:

BossyPants by Tina Fey - The writer, actress and comedian shares her thoughts on (and jokes about) balancing career, kids and comedy. It's laugh-out loud funny. The audiobook is particularly recommended. Fey reads it herself - definitely not to be missed!

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - The story of how one woman's cancer cells turned medical research on its ear. A fascinating read that doesn't bore you at all with medical jargon - you want to keep turning the pages to find out more about Henrietta, her descendants and her cells. 

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - The author describes her bizarre childhood where she and her family were constantly on the move and dealing with mental illness. It's hard not to be touched by Walls' amazing resilience in the face of constant hardship. There's a reason it's been on the NY Times bestseller list for 224 weeks.

Likeable Social Media by David Kerpen - If you're looking to brush up on your social media skills, this may be the book for you. Kerpen, who is the CEO of Likeable Media,  talks about how to build a community and provides specific strategies for improving your brand.

Just Kids by Patti Smith - This memoir won the National Book Award. In it, rocker Smith delves into her life in New York in the 60's with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.  

A Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Friedman - Wanderlust for Europe this summer? Maybe this will help ease it - it's an easy read about a young woman's romp through Europe.

Summer at Tiffany by Marjorie Hart - One of the first two girls to work on Tiffany's sales floor (as a page, mind you), Hart recalls the summer of 1945 with elegant fondness.

The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz - A contemporary cousin to Julia Child's My Life in France, Lebovitz shares his trials and tribulations of living in a new land. He learns the etiquette of the French language (Cafe creme, not cafe au lait, which has strange implications), and starts to bribe the natives with food. It also calls to mind the equally amusing expat in Paris memoir, French Lessons by Peter Mayle.

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman - A memoir that tells the adventures of women in love with literature.

My Double Life: Memoirs of a Naturalist by Frances Hamerstrom - the biography of wildlife biologist Frances Hamerstrom, who with her husband Frederick spent years in Wisconsin working to save the prairie chicken. The Buffalo News says "Like James Herriot's stories, these are filled with humor and wonderful characters, the best of whom is the author herself." Also recommended by Flashlight Worthy.

Pink Boots and a Machete: My Journey from NFL Cheerleader to National Geographic Explorer by Mireya Mayor - For something completely different, check out this autobiography that some critics say is for the reality TV generation. Mayor left the football field sidelines to explore some of the most remote places on earth. Most reviewers on Amazon said it was a definite page turner - filled with the tales of a strong female role model.

And wait there's more ... look for another post, this time talking mysteries and cookbooks!?

Remember to leave us your recommendations and reviews in the comments.

See you on the road ... reading a good book we hope!

Road Reporters Vicki Zwart and Maia Gillet

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For the Road: Summer Reading Recommendations



It’s Summer Reading list time so we thought we'd throw in our two cents. We had such a great response last year, we're hoping for lots of suggestions again this year. Please leave them and your reviews in the comments.

A summer’s literary needs can range from an engrossing beach book to the too-busy-to-read read so here are some suggestions to help round out your selections.


Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - This classic is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year (and yes, there's
a special edition to prove it).

The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe - The New York Times Book Review preview editor, David Kelly, called this existential novel "the best beach book ever written."

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - A repeat from last summer but not only is it still topping the bestseller's list, it's now a Major Motion Picture (starring Emma Stone, Sissy Spacek, Allison Janney and Viola Davis), coming out in August.

When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman - a 2011 debut about eccentric characters, love and childhood. It's been compared to Kate Atkinson's 1995 debut, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, also an enthusiastic romp from birth to adulthood and the people who get us there. Plus, there's a rabbit named God!

Come Thou, Tortoise by Jessica Grant - Its heroine Audrey, applies the rules of the board game Clue, to her everyday life. Audrey's tortoise muses on Shakespeare and the nature of exponents. A quirky and deep yet easy read.

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan - Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, this sort-of-novel follows a dozen characters working in the music industry through a series of separate unusually-crafted stories - one is a PowerPoint presentation - another a celebrity profile. Critics have hailed Egan for writing "a novel for the Internet age."

Room by Emma Donoghue - Hailed as one of the best books of 2010 by Bestsellers and NYT alike, Room is the creepy, yet incredibly hopeful and imaginative story of a young boy and woman trapped in a room.


Ice Cold by Tess Gerritson - The most recent of the Rizzoli and Isles crime series, which is now a television series on TNT. The newest installment, The Silent Girl, is released on July 5.  

Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner - a definite favorite for poolside. The best-selling author looks at how four women's lives are bound by infertility and hope for the future. Out in July.

BONUS: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins - The current star of Young Adult Fiction, The Hunger Games trilogy is well-written and surprisingly well-received by adult audiences. It features a strong female lead in the middle of a dystopian reality show. If it's not your cup of tea, you might suggest it to your teen.

Next up: Non-fiction. 

Give us your recommendations and reviews in the comments. 

 See you on the road ... with a good book! 

Road Reporters Vicki Zwart & Maia Gillet



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Road Ready Tips: Getting to the Airport:


So you've printed out your boarding pass, packed your bag and double-checked your hotel reservation. Now comes the big question - how are you getting to the airport? You have several choices: Driving yourself, taking public transportation, taking an airport shuttle bus or using a limousine or taxi service.

Driving yourself is probably the easiest and most convenient choice. But you do have to worry about paying to park and dragging your bag from the parking lot to the terminal. Depending on the the airport, you'll probably have a few parking choices, varying in cost and convenience: Onsite, onsite remote and offsite. Of course, the longer your trip, the more parking will cost if you park your car at the airport. So you may want to consider another means of transportation.

Onsite remote and offsite parking are less expensive but can risk your safety. Because they are generally a greater distance from the terminal, you may find yourself alone and unprotected in a far-away parking lot at night. Check to see if the operators offer a shuttle bus to and from the terminal to alleviate security concerns. Consider the time of your scheduled return when deciding where to park as well.

I like to get into the airport as quickly and as painlessly as possible so I always park on the airport grounds, close to the terminal, even if it costs more. I'm willing to pay for piece of mind. Wherever you decide to park, make sure your car is in a well-lit area and if you're in a garage, as close to the elevator bank as possible.

Once your car is parked and you're about to leave the vehicle, check and make sure of the following:

  • All valuables left in the car while you're away are stored in the trunk. Always put your valuables in the trunk before arriving at the airport lot. You never know who is watching. If you can leave your stuff at home, do so.
  • Note where you parked your car and write the car's location on your ticket and be sure to bring it with you. If you forget where you parked, check with garage security. They may have it recorded.

When you're returning to your car after your trip, follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Have your keys out and ready before you get to the car. You do not want to have to put your bags down while trying to find your keys. Doing so not only takes your eyes off the car and surroundings, but it allows someone to sneak up behind you undetected. Don't give anyone that chance! 
  • When walking up to the car, look around to see if anything seems out of place. Before getting into the car, look into the front and back seats to make sure there's no one in them. If anything looks wrong, turn around and get to a secure, well-lit place as quickly as possible. Call security immediately and have them handle the situation. 
  • Ask for an escort to your car if you're the least bit uncomfortable. Some larger airports provide this service so don't feel silly or embarrassed about asking for help. Trust your judgement and intuition. I may feel like I can conquer anything on the road but I've also learned when to ask for help. 

And one more thing, if you're running late and don't think you're going to catch your flight if you have to park your car - see if the airport offers valet parking. It may cost you extra but it will probably be worth it to avoid missing your flight.

See you on the road!

Kathy Ameche

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