Monday, July 14, 2014


So, last week I was asked if I'd like to read a book about love and foodie adventures in Chicago. Um, yes, please! I started reading Emily Belden's Eightysixed. Emily has a blog called Total E-Bag that she started in 2011 so she could chronicle her bad dates and everyday life in Chicago. Her book is basically the same idea. She writes about her many bad dates that eventually led to something amazing. I know that seems pretty vague but I don't want to give anything away! There were some laugh out loud moments and some sad ones too. Emily's narrative is hilarious. Much like the emails we exchanged, you can feel her spirit and spunk throughout her story. Overall, it's a very fun and easy read. It only took me 3 days to read it and once I got close to the end I couldn't put it down. I just had to finish it to see what happened!

Once I was finished I had a few questions for Emily so we did a little mini Q&A.
1. What made you decide to write this memoir?

It started as just a Dear Diary on steroids, not really meant for the world to see, but to just help myself get over a bad breakup (details in Part One of the book...). But as all the crazy experiences of Part 2 started happening, I just couldn't stop repeating: "This could totally be a book." So I made it one. By the time the serendipitous, soulful ending happened in Part 3, I knew putting all the wild and crazy out there was worth it - if only for that ending.

2. How was writing a book different than writing for your personal blog? Do you prefer blogging or book writing?

I definitely prefer writing because I love storytelling. Sometimes in a 400 word post, you make a point - but you don't story-tell. That part is important for me. And the main difference is instant gratification vs. long-term achievement. Start to finish, Eightysixed was a 3.5 year process. Blog posts can take me 10 minutes and then they are live for the world to see.

3. Out of all the bad dates you wrote about in the book were there any that you didn't add that were equally as bad or worse?

Definitely the worst of the worst made it in there, and I actually had the opposite problem. I had to decide: "Was that bad date bad enough to make the cut?" Talk about a first-world problem!

4. Do you plan on writing another book?

Yes! I am currently half way done with the manuscript. It's an adult fiction book called FAKER. The ending on this one may even be more unforeseen than mine with Floris in Eightysixed, so stay tuned. Due out in 2015.

5. After you met Floris did you learn to cook? Do you have any favorite recipes?

I didn't learn to cook, but I vowed to stay active in the Chicago food scene. So I made sure that saving up to splurge on a coursed-out meal was a priority. It's really incredible to go from just "eating" to having an full-blown artistic experience with food.  

6. What kinds of books do you like to read? Do you have any recommendations?

I like to read the opposite of how I can write. I just finished Gone Girl, which is a stellar book. I could never think of twists and turns like that and carry out a winding story for over 400 pages, but the author did just that. I am so proud to be among a coalition of Chicago Authors with her and cannot wait to see it on the big screen.

This book is a great summer read and I highly recommend it. Emily has included a discount code for you to get 20% off! Just go here and use the code 2NPRU7QM at checkout!

Let me know in the comments if you read it or have read it and what you think!

photos courtesy of Emily Belden

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