2021 Fall Nonfiction Preview
Welcome to the latest show!
In this episode, Nicole and Gayle talk about the newly published Nonfiction books that have caught their eye this fall. They also talk about some of the books they are currently reading.
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[00:00:00] Nicole: Welcome to the readerly report. Your hosts are Gayle Weiswasser and Nicole Bonia. We hope you’ll enjoy our candidate, book conversations, recommendations, and observations on their reading life. And thanks so much for joining us.
Okay, so welcome to another edition of either lead reports. Disgusting, our non-fiction preview books preview books for the fall. I have to look at my dates because I’m not even sure if I have any, a lot of my books when I was looking at them already come out and I don’t have a ton for non-fiction because I’m barely reading fiction unless it’s like domestic thrillers.
So that is, that is my story.
[00:00:51] Gayle: Some of mine have already come out.
[00:00:54] Nicole: So why don’t we get started on what we’ve been reading?
[00:01:01] Gayle: September was a pretty disappointing month. I have to say. I had a great August and then kind of came to a screeching halt in September. the last books I read, , I read a book called the people we keep, which I think I may have mentioned on the last show. , which was a book of the month pick that people seem to love.
And it just really missed the mark. For me, it felt like why a, it felt, I dunno, just didn’t make, it just seemed implausible to me. And there was some things involving sort of underage girls in relationships that I have a lot of problems with. So that one was a big miss for me. And. I read another book called want by Lynn steak or strong.
I don’t know if you’ve heard of this book. It’s got a beautiful cover, but it’s kind of a depressing book about a woman living in Brooklyn with her husband and two children. And they’re basically bankrupt and she’s working all the time to try to make ends meet and. It’s just about like desires and like what she wants out of life and how she’s not really getting a lot of it.
And it’s just, I wouldn’t say it’s a stream of consciousness, but it’s more in that style. Kind of like the Jenny awful style of writing. And it just, I don’t know. I wasn’t unhappy that I read it, but it was definitely not a pleasant read
[00:02:22] Nicole: we’re in the middle of that and struggling with it the last time.
[00:02:26] Gayle: Yeah, that is possible. So I don’t know. I’m also trying to get my way through the other black girl right now. And I’m having, I’m having trouble with that one too. It’s uh, finding it very confusing. Oh,
[00:02:41] Nicole: that’s interesting. How far are you?
[00:02:44] Gayle: Almost done. So, I mean, I, there was some definitely some, you know, uh, some teasers that needed to be kind of fleshed out.
And I think I’ve gotten to the point where like, I should be kind of understanding the story. I think doing that one on audio. I do not record. Because the audio is super confusing.
[00:03:02] Nicole: You can see that you need the detail of reading the book because there are some scenes that things happen. What just happened.
[00:03:09] Gayle: Yeah. I’ve been kind of going back over the print to just sort of like, what did I just listen to? There are some things about it. I really like it, and I find it very interesting and I think it is a very fresh book. Like it’s not something I’ve read before at all. I just think the execution wasn’t. Yeah, I think that
[00:03:27] Nicole: I was confused a little.
I think that they left the reveal a little late. She left the reveal a little late in that book. I think I would have enjoyed knowing what I knew by the end a little more throughout it. I think it would have heightened some of the tension for me. Some of the tension for four fifth went out, I think because there were the two storylines.
We really don’t know what’s going on. With the characters, like who’s really friends, who’s not friends, uh, by the end. I mean, I did think it was, it was very clever and interesting. The take that she’s hooked on it because it was not something that I was expecting at all. And as much as people have been trying to like compare this to get out, or, or, gosh, I can’t think of the word.
There is another comp that is. I think better aligned with that book, but I don’t want to say it cause it splits it. Okay. So I won’t say what that is, but I was glad I read it. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:04:34] Gayle: I’m not unhappy. I read it.
[00:04:38] Nicole: Some of the things that, that you mentioned, I agree. I think it would have been more enjoyable for me to, like I said, if she had just let us in a little bit more, a little earlier, because there were multiple timelines.
You know, there are these strange meetings and I can see. Sometimes you just don’t know what’s going on, especially if you were reading it, if you were listening to it, I would have been really lost.
[00:05:05] Gayle: Yeah. How about you?
[00:05:07] Nicole: I may be starting to come out a thriller Phil, because now I’m just, I feel like I’ve read a couple, that hasn’t been that great and I’m kind of bored with them.
So I’m thinking that that might be my cue that I need to foray. You know, start my foray back into things that have a little bit more heavy. I just finished the other knee, uh, by Sarah Sacra, Jane. And this is about a woman who is living her life. I guess she’s just had her 29th birthday. She’s hanging out with her best friend at this art opening because someone is interested in the best friend’s work and she’s kind of state taking stock of her life.
How her art has gone. She hasn’t done a really big show yet, and she decides to go to the bathroom. And when she goes to the bathroom, she walks into a completely different life in this life. She did not go to art school. Didn’t meet her best friend. She’s married to a guy that she only vaguely remembers working on a high school science project.
And her life is completely different. There are some similarities, like in both lives. Um, her mom has had breast cancer. Diet diagnosis. I think in her Chicago life it’s much further along, but it seems like they’ve caught it earlier, the Michigan life. So she is just trying to figure out what is going on.
Like did someone do this to her? Is it a weird dream? Does she make up the Chicago life? And really she’s kind of this board housewife living in Michigan who hasn’t fulfilled any of her passion. But it seems to be linked to some, some something that her husband, some work that he’s done with this mysterious tech company.
And there’s all these rumors about this tech company. And I don’t know, I thought I would be really interested in this book. It does have like an element. It’s not like it’s, I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t say that it’s time travel, but it does have an element of what is going on with time. You know? Like which life is she in?
What, why, why is it. But I think where this book went to wrong for me is that it focused a lot on the mechanism. I have problems, I think with time travel books, uh, books, where people might be dreaming. Anything like that. If there’s an element of it, I feel like you really shouldn’t focus on. I feel like it should be vague because when you start getting into the nitty gritty of what change and what’s the mechanism and how this is happening.
It becomes so much more technical as opposed to her experiences and how she’s feeling. And of course, she’s desperate to try to fix her life. She really identify strongly with her life as an artist for life in Chicago, her friends, you know, it’s disorienting to figure out what’s going on. She kind of doesn’t trust her husband, but it got a little caught up in the tech of the dream world or the alternate time.
Whatever it is, is going on. And then the other one is the dilemma by BA Paris. And this one is about a husband and wife who the wife has been looking forward to celebrating her 40th birthday. And she’s placed a lot of stock in this just because. She hasn’t been close to her parents. Her parents were religious and just never forgave her.
When she had her first child, like when she became pregnant, she wasn’t married. She did go on to marry the man, but they just never accepted her because she got pregnant before they were married. So she’s invested all of her energy, like her emotional energy into having like this life where she can have this big party, like it’s fulfilling a need for.
But they’re both keeping secrets. Like her daughter, Marnie is a way in Thailand. She’s supposed to be coming home for this party, but she doesn’t know that her husband knows that it’s supposed to be a secret. And so he’s keeping a secret from her about the surprise that’s going to happen. She’s keeping a secret from him about something that she used, found out and their secrets are kind of in opposition to each other.
Like. She knows that she has to tell her secret and he’s trying to hold onto his, uh, I don’t know. I think it was because their relationship is really complicated. Like it was one of these where there, there is some tension between them just because. Even though they got married really young when she was pregnant with her son.
He like was kind of a deadbeat for awhile, even though they lived together, he was always sneaking off and hanging out with his college friends. He doesn’t really get along with his son. So there’s just lots of. And I don’t know that I liked anyone and the keep secrets that they’re keeping and this takes place over a day.
So this might be one of these books that, to your point is things are a little bit annoying when they’re going hour by hour, because literally set up from eight to nine. He thinks this she’s thinking this, and it just alternates like that throughout this 24 hour span, when you know, it’s the day of her party and he knows.
Their daughter’s supposed to surprise them. So nothing’s grabbing me, I think it’s time to go back. So where do you, are you reading anything now?
[00:10:42] Gayle: I just started the new Joyce Maynard book called count the ways. And I’m still at the very beginning of that. And then the other black girl I’m trying to finish.
So that’s where I am right
[00:10:53] Nicole: now. And I’m reading. And I think it’s intimacies
[00:10:57] Gayle: by Katie kids tomorrow. I mean, so far, I like it.
[00:11:02] Nicole: It’s a setup of the story. It’s this, uh, translator who leaves New York and is setting up to be, do translation for the court at the hate. So it’s all of these. Very deep cases where you might be dealing with someone, you know, more crimes and things like that.
And she is dating someone who is still really involved in his wife’s life. They have kids together, so they’re not unfriendly. Um, and their relationship to each other has yet to be defined at this point. And then she has a friend who experiences like something happens in her apartment, building some kind of violent.
That she is becoming involved in. So I’m still, this is a really short book. That means it’s 225 pages. But I’m still just in the beginning as I’m getting to know each of the characters. So I really don’t know yet how I feel about it, but I’m enjoying it so far. Okay. So let’s hop right in. I know Gail and I both have some time constraints today, so, and.
I don’t have a lot of books. As I mentioned before, I was telling Gail, I think before the show that the book that one of my few books that I was interested in for nonfiction, it actually turns out that it’s fiction. Eric Larson normally writes nonfiction, and this is his first fiction book. And as I was reading a little bit more, it was like, oh, his first fiction book ever, that doesn’t help my cause.
But so let’s get into that. All right. What’s.
[00:12:38] Gayle: Well, yeah, so there’s, non-fiction that I have is a little bit all over the map. The first one I have this actually came out in August, so it’s a little bit late already, but since we’re still talking about new non-fiction, this is a book called everything I have is yours.
And it is a memoir about a woman who has been married to her husband for 20 years. And during that time, He has been chronically ill. It’s unclear whether he, his illness is mental illness, physical illness, or a combination of both, but he has a disease. That’s making him very uncomfortable. And it’s all about how do you live with a partner?
Who is that sick and how do you define the sort of partnership and marriage when you’ve got it. One person who’s suffering so much it’s by Eleanor Henderson. And, um, it just sounded really interesting to me because I think that is such an interesting thing about how, how you define partnership on one person is really taking care of the other or is at least sort of carrying the other somehow, you know, shouldering a lot more of the burden due to.
So, I don’t know. This one just spoke to me.
[00:13:47] Nicole: Okay. I’m just going to go on and get my fiction book out of the way it’s called. No one goes alone. It’s by Eric Larson and Eric Larson usually writes the. I feel like he’s one of the first narrative non-fiction authors, or that was just like how I came to even know that term.
I think about that when you write these really realistic, you know, based on fact stories, but are so rooted in the narrative and the emotion that it feels like you’re reading a novel. And he started, I think the first book I read was, was the devil in the white city. And that was about. The world Chicago world’s fair.
And like the serial killer who was stopping the GRA the fairgrounds and just kind of like his story and how those two things intersected. So this one is another kind of sweeping and I, and this is probably why. I thought it was another non-fiction book because it’s about the psychologist who goes on an expert expedition to like over remote island in search of a family that has gone, you know, they disappeared there.
So he is trying to figure out what has happened. Like, is it, I dunno, is it foul play? Is it paranormal? Is this something that can be explained? So it says it he’s written a terrifying tale of suspense underpinned with actual people and events. So, and if they say they’ll keep, I guess this is for the audio, which I probably won’t listen to it on.
Not yet. It says it keeps listeners captivated till the blood chill and, Hmm. Okay.
[00:15:32] Gayle: All right. My next one is called beautiful country by. Okay, good. And I’m not sure how to pronounce her name, Kwon Julie Wang. And this is a book about a, an immigrant from China to New York in 1994. And it’s about her childhood growing up as a, you know, as a, a new Chinese immigrant in the city.
And I think that this really only takes you through to high school. It’s not like her whole life. But it’s all about, you know, um, how she learns English through library books, and you know, how she feels like such an outsider and sort of the, the rights of learning about America through food and Rockefeller center at Christmas time.
And then about, I think that her mother becomes ill and, you know, the challenge that brings in the insecurity that brings. This was actually, I believe it, book of the month, last month. I think it was. And I got it then. Oh, you did. Okay. We’ll have you started it? I have not.
[00:16:43] Nicole: Okay. I have, I had said no more book of the month picks, but we’re recording this on Friday, October 1st and booked for the month picks her up.
And I see this book called the punishing. That looks really good.
[00:16:57] Gayle: I skipped. Yeah. I don’t know. Just nothing was calling to
[00:17:02] Nicole: me. I should have, but
[00:17:06] Gayle: you might end up really liking it. Okay. So
[00:17:10] Nicole: you got it from.
[00:17:12] Gayle: No, I didn’t, I didn’t get it. I didn’t get back giving it the, I know actually, I’ve skipped two months in a row.
Yeah. But I’m, I’m intrigued by it. And it reminds me a little bit of, um, uh, lost in translate or girl in translation. Sorry, girl and translation by Jean clock, which is fiction, but has some deep roots in her own personal experience. And it’s, it sounds good. Yeah. I’ve heard
[00:17:36] Nicole: a lot of good things about that book.
Uh, I got it on impulse. All right. My next one is a memoir by Christopher Sorrentino. It’s called now. Begin now see a son’s memoir. They came out on September 7th from caterpillar books. And so this is a memoir about he’s writing. When his mom dies, she died in 2017. And he goes on this Odyssey of discoveries about her life and you know, why she was so dysfunctional and so unhappy for most of it, you know, had lots of dysfunction in her marriage.
She married a writer called bill Gilbert Sorrentino. And I guess it’s also kind of the sun story of how he was able to escape or how. Lived in the shadow as father’s writer and how you step out in the comment writer itself. And he’s written a bunch of books. I haven’t heard of any of them. Maybe the book called there’s a book called trans the cover looks a little familiar, but he’s also written the fugitives and a book called condition.
So he’s written. But as he delves into his mom’s life, you know, she discovered she grew up in the south Bronx. She went to Stanford after that, and then she ends up living in Brooklyn. And it just seems like she was so disappointed, so unhappy through most of it. And he discovers, or, you know, that her birth certificate actually identified her as black and she’s Puerto Rican.
And then her always like chasing this identity. And I guess the Benjamin. Living as a light, it’s a national book award finalist. And it says that it’s a defiant it’s defining of what it means to live. And it was a difficult parent and the transformative power of conflict is grief. This just reminded me so much of, you know, when you hear about these awards or whatever, they are never driven by actual leaders.
They’re always driven by the industry before. This book just came out. It’s already a national book award finalist. So when you think about how that happens is because it’s just, I guess kind of like the Grammy’s, you know, only industry people are voting and people who would have already, okay. My
[00:19:42] Gayle: next one is called, but you seem so happy by Kimberley Harrington.
It comes out on October 5th and this is a book about. Divorce and the author, she announces that she and her husband are getting divorced and she started writing this book and. What it did, what the book ended up being in the end was kind of her ideas about marriage and relationships and divorce, and kind of like mining back the history of her marriage and trying to figure out, you know, what, how the relationship changed.
What the impact of having children had and just about kind of getting older, you know, it’s not about like, that didn’t know anything when they got married, but just that marriage is a process and that people change and that, you know, this is how things end sometimes. So it’s a collection of essays about.
This topic. I just, I don’t know. This sounded interesting as
[00:20:43] Nicole: well. So my next book is also a collection of essays. It’s Phoebe Robinson’s new collection, please. Don’t sit on my bed and your outside clothes. She wrote the book everything’s trash, but it’s okay. You can’t touch my hair and I read you can’t touch my hair.
So her essay is always funny, kind of takes on life and topics that are on her mind. She’s a comedian she’s written so many different outlets and been in so many different. This is a collection of essays. Some of the topics are black lives matter four C hair, parents advice, which is mostly about germs from the outside.
Now the title of this is funny. I mean, I don’t know that you can just attribute this to black families, but I know growing up, I did hear, you know, don’t sit on the bed in your street clothes, or, you know, you’ve been sitting everywhere, so that’s something I never did. Did I do then don’t do have never done in my adult life.
Just like something I tell my cousins. Cause I heard it. You know, when you think about it, it’s like, I don’t want to be sitting on the subway and then come and just sit down in my bed. Um, So, yeah, so it’s a collection of essays. Someone dating someone black. Excellent. So a number of things I’m looking forward to her humorous take on it, but she usually has a very insightful point of view.
Did you have anything else? Because you took a beautiful country from me.
[00:22:12] Gayle: I have a few more. This one is called the redemption of Bobby Love. Also on October 5th, and this is about an escaped convict and his wife of 35 years, who had no idea that he was an escaped convict. They’re living in Brooklyn, happily married, and the FBI appears at their door one day and asks in front of his wife and kids.
What is your real name? And he has to reveal his secret that he’d grown up in Jim Crow south and had, you know, found himself in trouble before he was even 14, ended up in jail, but basically escaped. And he changed his identity and started a new life, but lived with this secret all this time that he was on the Lam. And so the story is about his jailbreak and the tension of his life lived in secret.
[00:23:07] Nicole: What’s the name of that again?
[00:23:09] Gayle: It’s called the redemption of Bobby Love. That sounds good. Yeah, it doesn’t, it sort of reminded me a little bit of the nickel boys
[00:23:18] Nicole: wrongly accused. Is he?
[00:23:22] Gayle: I dunno if he’s wrongly accused, but kind of that juvenile.
[00:23:26] Nicole: And then when the hammer comes down, it’s too hard.
[00:23:29] Gayle: Yeah. And then the sort of identity issues, right? Yeah. Did you have any more?
[00:23:37] Nicole: Nope, that was it for me.
[00:23:38] Gayle: Oh, okay. Well I can add another one. Um, this one is called smile by Sarah. And it is about a woman who have gets Bell’s palsy, which you may know is the kind of virus where it paralyzes one half of your face.
Most people recover from that and eventually regain the use of the side of their face, but sh but in 10% of patients, they don’t recover. And she’s unfortunately in that 10%, and this is a woman who works in theater. In Broadway and I don’t think she acts, but I think that you know, she’s very sort of public-facing and it’s all about how she has to live with this new face.
That is very, um, she has a lot of hard time communicating, um, communicating emotions, communicating feelings, because she can’t move one, you know, the entire half of her face. So it’s all about her journey trying to, you know, sort of adjusting her new circumstances and how she gets by. Yeah. I mean, I’ve definitely tended towards the memoir here, which is well, yeah, I mean, that’s how I usually get my non-fiction anyway.
[00:24:56] Nicole: Right. Okay. So a little short one for you guys. I know our fiction one ran a lot longer than this. We have a lot to say about fiction. We may pick up some more nonfiction here and there. Exactly. As I shift to, like I said, heavier. Fair. Yeah.
[00:25:17] Gayle: Well, I’m kind of glad you’re coming
[00:25:18] Nicole: out of your thriller phase.
I welcome that. I was, I was definitely like that to the point where I sounded like you and just like, and then I wondered why I read it. I knew it was a thriller. I knew what was probably gonna happen, but I feel like I’ve read some good ones, and then I’ve read someones that were just okay. But I think for, for whatever reason, like the ones, the last couple of ones that I’ve been leaving, I, I knew that it was time.
I’m enjoying intimacy so far by Katie to Tamara. And I want to finish, I started reading for a book club. Crying in each Mart that
[00:26:04] Gayle: I have that I’m excited to try.
[00:26:07] Nicole: Yeah, it’s, it’s really good. It’s one of those that I would have finished it, but got distracted. And the book club came up in there. Once that happens.
I was juggling other things I was reading, but I’m going to finish that up.
[00:26:22] Gayle: Well, on that note, happy reading and we’ll be back soon with. We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the report. You can find all of our shows on iTunes or at the breeder. libris.com. Please join our Facebook group readerly report readers, where you can talk to other listeners about their reading life.
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