The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer. I listened to this as I drove from Baltimore to Morgantown to Richmond to Baltimore. That means the book is very, very long. But I enjoyed it! The story itself is a little slow but the writing is just REALLY good. It’s about a girl who goes to college in 2006 and becomes enamored with this feminist guest speaker on campus. But also about her boyfriend and her best friend and where their lives are going. I liked it but didn’t love it.
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. I’ve never had the experience of knowing from the first page of a book A) how it was going to end and B) that it would be terrible. It’s that awful cliche of “tall, dark & handsome guy who is a TOTAL jerk and my nemesis!!!” So naturally at some point during the book we’ll find out that he’s actually just misunderstood and a great person and they’ll fall in love and end up together. I’m mad at myself for finishing it.
The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. I got 20% of the way into this before I decided I had definitely already read it. Too many books with similar titles and plotlines. Clearly it wasn’t that memorable, though I did see there was some talk of Nicole Kidman starring in a movie version so we’ll see.
Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat. If you’re going to purchase a cookbook for yourself or anyone else, let it be this one. I absolutely loved her Netflix special but assumed that I had gotten the gist of this concept from that, so I wasn’t planning to read the book. But it was available from my library so I put it on my iPad and I could not put it down. It is SO interesting and such a departure from traditional cookbooks. Love love love.
The Trespasser by Tana French. Even though I thought The Witch Elm was way too long, I decided to give another one of her books a shot. She’s a really good writer but I seriously do not understand the verbosity. This is one of a loosely-linked series which takes place in Dublin and centers around a police force. It initially gave me Broadchurch/Happy Valley vibes (both British, but same idea. And both should be in your Netflix queue for Christmas break if you haven’t already watched) but ultimately it was a letdown. Bye, Tana.
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict. This is historical fiction based on the theory that Einstein’s wife was actually the brains behind a lot of his work. It’s a fact that she was also a physicist and that they met during their university training. I thought it was interesting! She also wrote Carnegie’s Maid which is similarly conjecture based on some confirmed facts.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. This is the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale! We are obsessed with the show and I really enjoyed the book. I do think she’s pandering to fans of the show in parts (it’s written from the perspectives of Agnes, Aunt Lydia, and Baby Nicole) but I’m not complaining. I’m also a little ashamed to say that I hope the book isn’t ruining the future of the show.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. This is about a woman who is found having shot her husband 5 times and she remains silent about it for like 5 years. She ends up going to a psychiatric institution rather than prison, and a new psychotherapist at the facility is fascinated by her case and tries to get her to talk. I thought the majority of this was good not great but then there is a MAJOR twist at the end that I did not see coming, and I think it made it worth it.
Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I almost quit this one because it started out slow and kind of repetitive. It’s about a 40-something doctor in NY who is newly divorced and getting into dating apps. I ended up really liking it in spite of this weird narration which is occasionally done by a random friend of his, but she’s apparently omniscient? It was an odd editing choice but I liked the book.
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid. Probably my favorite book I’ve read in a while! It’s getting a lot of hype right now and for good reason. It’s about a 26-year-old black woman who is a nanny for a white family and essentially gets accused in a grocery store of kidnapping the 2-year-old girl, and all of the fallout from that incident. It’s a really interesting and modern commentary on race and Sheila and I have already cast the movie/miniseries.
Wilder Girls by Rory Power. This is about an all-girls boarding school on an island in New England that gets hit with some weird disease (“The Tox”) and they are quarantined as many of them become deformed/die. It got good reviews but I thought it was awful. I checked twice to see if it was actually the sequel to another book because there was so much missing information. And it ends as if there WILL be a sequel, which I will not be reading.
Catch & Kill by Ronan Farrow. I loooooved this. I think it was too long but I still enjoyed it and thought it was much better than She Said. Both are primarily about breaking the Harvey Weinstein story, with some Trump stuff in there. This one also talks about Matt Lauer… yuck. It’s brutally honest and he really takes no prisoners. I also recommend listening to his episode of Armchair Expert.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. I gotta say I really do not understand the hype over this book. I listened to the entire thing only because Tom Hanks narrates the audiobook (how did they swing that?) and I find his voice incredibly soothing. But the book itself is boring. So maybe follow Sheila’s lead and just watch You’ve Got Mail instead.
Books I quit at 40ish percent this month: Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, Wild Game by Adrienne Brodeur, Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey, American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson, and Friends Like These by Sarah Alderson. Apparently sleep deprivation has made me a much harsher critic, but it really has to be good to keep me going.
Or, it has to be better than Brothers & Sisters, which I’ve been bingeing even though it’s horrible in the way of network dramas from 2006. I’m powerless before Sally Field.