You used to be a voracious reader. But since becoming a parent, you barely have time to get through a Life & Style blurb about Justin Bieber’s blow-dryer.
This summer, commit to recharging your brain with one of these thought-provoking books recommended by Suzy Takacs, owner of Lincoln Square’s Book Cellar.
A Long, Long Time Ago & Essentially True, by Brigid Pasulka
The action alternates between contemporary Poland and a Polish village on the eve of World War II, spinning both an old-fashioned love story and tumultuous tale of an angst-ridden teenager.
The Color of Water, by James McBride
A biracial son writes a emotional tribute to his mother, who raised twelve children while facing racial and religious prejudices. It’s a life-changing read.
My Fair Lazy, by Jen Lancaster
In a quest for cultural growth, the author cuts out reality TV and lives to write about it. She’s smart, snarky, and can laugh at herself.
Alice I Have Been, by Melanie Benjamin
The fictional retelling of the life of Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the girl for whom Lewis Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) bubbles over with history, magic, romance, scandal, jealousy, and longing.
Baking Cakes in Kigali, by Gaile Parkin
Most things you read about Africa are from a visitor’s perspective, but this unfolds from the view of those living in Rwanda and shows how women help each other with life problems and love connections. Their generosity is inspiring.
Books available at The Book Cellar, 4736-38 North Lincoln Avenue, at West Lawrence Avenue (773-293-2665 or bookcellarinc.com).
Make a Child Smile Fundraiser
What: Navigate an inflatable obstacle course, get your face painted, do arts and crafts, and watch the Jesse White Tumblers.
Why: Proceeds benefit Metropolitan Family Services, helping at-risk kids grow and succeed.
When: Today, 5:30-9 p.m.
Where: Outside John’s Place, 1200 W. Webster Ave., at Racine Ave. (773-525-6670). Info at 312-986-4018. Tickets online at metrofamily.org. Adults, $75 requested donation; children, $25 requested donation.
Great Backyard Campout
What: Spread out on the ravine of The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum to glean tips on roughing it outdoors, play games, and jam to bluegrass.
Why: Fun-filled tents. Scout’s honor.
When: Sat., 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Where: 2430 N. Cannon Dr., at Fullerton Pkwy. (773-755-5100). Free with museum admission, $6-$9; under 3, free.
Parent & Baby Yoga
What: Stretch, breathe, and bond with your newborn amid the animals at Lincoln Park Zoo’s new class series.
Why: The om-inspiring natural environment.
When: Thru Aug. 25. Wed., 9 a.m.
Where: 2200 N. Cannon Dr., at Fullerton Pkwy. For info and reservations (required), call 312-742-2056 or go to lpzoo.org. Four-class session, $64.
Photos: Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Courtesy of Delacorte Press