Friday Favorites #50
October 18th, 2019


“Perhaps no place in any community is so democratic as the library. The only entrance requirement is interest.”

– Lady Bird Johnson

This week I was so delighted to have been invited to participate in the Carl Sandburg Literary Awards at the Chicago Public Library gala. I love books. Reading is my escape. The funny thing is, I didn’t always feel that way, and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I experienced what a respite reading provides for me. My mother often told a story about how once as a kid, I didn’t show up after school.  She looked everywhere, and called everyone, and finally concluded that I had permanently vanished, because no one had seen me. Around dinnertime I sauntered in, and my mother said in exasperation, “Teri, where have you been?!” My answer was simple: “I went to the library.” She replied incredulously, “But you never go to the library!” My mom would have been both thrilled (It was a definite “Look, Mom” moment for me.) and amused to know how much I enjoyed the library gala—so much that I wanted to devote this issue to books. 

I do love reading, but much more than that I love being told a story--which is why I love audiobooks. Reading offers me a vacation from my life and takes me out of my worries and struggles. I appreciate how reading takes me into another world, and it’s the way I go to sleep each night and the way I wake up each morning. Some of my recent favorites have been A Gentleman in Moscow, Where the Crawdads Sing, The Language of Flowers, I Liked My Life, The Sound of Glass, The Map of Love, and The Good Dream. I believe everyone is looking for something different from a book. I am not wanting to get lost in a very sad book. After about 50 pages, if I realize it’s going to be a sad experience, I look for something else that’s going to feed my soul.

You know how I love farmers markets? Well, I feel that same way in independent bookstores. The owners are always scrappy, hardworking, creative entrepreneurs offering an amazing gift to the community, including all kinds of fantastic programming. Bookstores make me feel alive. In this issue I’ve included an author, a librarian, an independent bookstore owner, and some of my Crumbles. Many of you have sent me your favorite recommendations, so at the bottom you can click to a long list of Crumbles’ book recommendations. Although for ease we include a link to Amazon, whenever you have a chance to support an independent bookstore, even if it’s a bit more expensive, it’s ultimately so much better for the world and for our neighborhoods. So, shop local if at all possible, and stop in to visit your independent bookseller, who will have some great recommendations as well. 

We are living in a world where people can increasingly isolate themselves from one other, but libraries show us that there are still gathering places in our communities where anyone can go and be on a level playing field to learn, to achieve, to succeed, to connect, and to dream. I’m proud to have worked at the Chicago Public Library for 29 years at every level of the organization. That is what CPL stands for and what we can continue to do with your support.

Andrea Telli
Chicago Public Library Commissioner

Chicago Public

Books should be best friends that you visit over and over. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is the classic novel I return to. I love the bond between the Bennett sisters, and how they stick together through good and bad.  I love a book with a theme of girl power, and this is it. The most important task I have as a high school librarian is to introduce readers to books that are also lifelong friends. 

Nicole Nicosia
Library Media Specialist


I’ve loved books, and bookstores, for as long as I can owning and running a bookstore right here in my own beloved neighborhood is a dream come true. From the beginning, the mission of Roscoe Books has been not only to sell books, but to create a real community around the shared love of books. Few things are more rewarding than finding the perfect book for a customer or hearing wonderful feedback on a book I recommended. I love what I do, and I know my fellow indie booksellers do too; if you’re lucky enough to live someplace with a terrific indie bookstore, I hope you understand how much your support means to them.

Erika VanDam

Six years ago, when I cracked open the spine of WILD by Cheryl Strayed, I had no idea how it would change my life. It was a little over a year after the death of my husband, and I was adrift. I certainly never expected to find my own experience inside that of a woman hiking solo along the Pacific Coast Trail. Yet, her memoir not only inspired me with its gut-wrenching honesty, it inspired me to think differently about my own story. And it inspired me to write. It became a guide as I wrote “From Scratch”.

Tembi Locke, Actor/Author/Advocate

We asked followers for a book that changed their life...and this is what they said...

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. I grew up Southern Baptist with very conservative values. I read this book for the first time the summer before my freshman year in college. It was the beginning of my being able to embrace feminism. I’ve read it many times since, and it also has helped reshape what “spirituality” is for me. I’ve read many other Allende books, but this is my favorite.


The book Rare Bird--probably not for everyone, but it’s made me feel “normal” in my grief. After the death of our son, I read a few books about grief and I couldn’t connect to any of them until I read this one.


The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein is a wonderful story of compassion, hope, loyalty, and love, featuring Enzo, a dog who has so much to teach us about life.

As a young, single person the combo of Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man and He's Just Not That into You were total game changers. They completely freed me from old ways of thinking and opened the door to new possibilities. I was able to meet and fall in love with my husband because of these two books.


Written on The Body by Jeanette Winterson changed my perspective on being in love, being in a relationship, and losing both. It helped me cope with the loss of the love of my life! The gender of the narrator is never revealed, which, aside from adding to the draw of the story, reinforces that love can be androgynous and doesn't fit into society's traditional gender stereotypes.



“The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*CK” is seriously the BEST book I have ever read. It teaches how to let go of past hurts and to take control of your life. It makes clear that blaming the wrongdoers in your life (whether for good cause or not) is only hurting you and your mental wellness. It brought me out of a dark spot in life from many childhood and young adult hurts and helped me to see the brightness that IS my life now!

The Last Lecture by Jeffrey Zaslow and Randy Pausch is a must read. The premise is a series of professors’ lectures at Carnegie Mellon University to summarize how they have lived their lives. It made me wonder what my Last Lecture would be. Thought provoking. Randy tells his story so vulnerably and purely, and it makes me remember my dreams and gives me the confidence to revisit those dreams. I’ve read this book multiple times and also love to gift it.


The Bridge Actoss Forever by Richard Bach is a beautiful book that taught me about soulmates. 


Being Mortal by Atul Gawande was a total game changer for me. While not my usual read, this book came to me at a pivotal moment when my parents were growing older. My dad has since passed away, just eight months ago. While missed beyond comprehension, he lived to be 94, and since his death, the way I have been taking care of my mom and speaking to my kids about growing old has just been life changing.

Total Focus by Brandon Webb. People are always shocked by this--that I would even read a book by an ex-Navy Seal, but honestly it influenced almost every aspect of my life. Focus is key to everything.


Genius Food by Max Lugavere taught me a ton about what foods to eat for my brain health and why. The author is a journalist trying to help his mom who developed dementia in her 50’s. Unfortunately, she passed away. It is really strong in research yet is an easy read and a good companion to Whole30 regarding what inflammation does to your body and brain. 


Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk to Freedom” gave me better context for race relations in the US, even though the book is from a black South African’s perspective. I saw the plight of African Americans in such a profound way after reading it. I was horrified by Mandela’s story about how the white missionaries couldn’t pronounce his given name, so they gave him the name Nelson. How many times have minorities allowed me to call them by their nicknames, so I didn’t have to be burdened with learning their real names? Too many, and I need to stop this in my circles. This book revolutionized my thinking and revealed how much more work I have to do to be a better ally.

CLICK HERE to find a list of over 100 more follower recommendations for great reads! 

Paying it Forward

Something kind of wonderful that’s transpired on the page is that we have a Pay it Forward model. We like to call it “No Crumbles Left Behind.” For some members of the community it would be a financial hardship to purchase my book, so we do everything we can to make sure they receive one. Conversely, so many other community members have stood up to say “I want to pay a book forward,” and we match them up! Being a part of this movement continues to be a truly gratifying and humbling experience.


If you would like to find out more about how to be a part of the "No Crumbles Left Behind" program, just click here to DM me.

This Week's nocrumbsleft Table Talks Podcast:
Episode 38: Turning The Tables on Teri Turner

In this podcast my dear friend Laurice (Laurie) Bell (@LAbell) turns the tables, so to speak, and prompts me to reveal, among other things, how I’m actually a warrior woman with a marshmallow center, how I grew my Instagram following, and how this podcast came to be.


This week we want to share a book! One lucky winner will get to choose to receive a copy of their favorite book OR a copy of something new that might become a new favorite! Click below to enter.
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