2021 Gift Guide For Book Lovers
We’re so excited to publish this new episode where Nicole and Gayle make their own book recommendations. With this guide, you’ll have the perfect inspiration of what gifts to buy to surprise your loved ones with page-turner books or other non-book ideas that we know any avid reader would love.
As always, below you can find the book titles and links to get them and also links for the gifts mentioned during the episode.
|News Of The World||Paulette Giles||Amazon||Bookshop|
|A Very Punchable Face||Colin Jost||Amazon||Bookshop|
|Brat: An ’80s Story||Andrew McCarthy||Amazon||Bookshop|
|Good Morning Monster||Catherine Gildiner||Amazon||Bookshop|
|Who Gets In And Why||Jeffrey Selingo||Amazon||Bookshop|
|My Dark Vanessa||Kate Elizabeth Russell||Amazon||Bookshop|
|The Paper Palace||Miranda Cowley Heller||Amazon||Bookshop|
|What Comes After||Joanne Tompkins||Amazon||Bookshop|
|What Could Be Saved||LIese O’Halloran Schwarz||Amazon||Bookshop|
|How Lucky||Will Leitch||Amazon||Bookshop|
|The Plot||Jean Hanff Korelitz||Amazon||Bookshop|
|Count The Ways||Joyce Maynard||Amazon||Bookshop|
*Books linked above are our affiliate links through Amazon. There’s no additional expense to you, but if you make a purchase through us a small portion of that contributes to the costs associated with making our podcast. Thanks so much for listening and for your support.
[00:00:00] Nicole: Welcome to another edition of the reader leave report today, Gayle and I thought we would share our holiday gift guide. I’m excited and looking forward to seeing what picks Gayle has, because as usual, we did not consult each other before we came up with our lists and besides doing a gift guide, we didn’t discuss any parameters.
So I have no idea what’s going to be on her list or why. And I think that she feels the same way.
[00:00:30] Gayle: The glamorous side of podcasting. I went to go record with Nicole and our next door. Neighbors have decided that Sunday morning is a good time for them to paint their house and scrape off all the old paint from their house before they, the new paint on.
And they’re like literally working right outside. Like I have a window that faces their house and the painter is like, I can see him through the window. So I am now sitting on the floor of my bedroom with my mic next to me. Do I sound okay?
[00:01:02] Nicole: Yeah. I wouldn’t be able to tell that’s so funny.
[00:01:06] Gayle: Oh my God.
[00:01:07] Nicole: Gayle and I have had to sometimes delay or like reschedule sessions once I think someone was like, It was one weekend, there was a half marathon going on, or I don’t know, people were cheering outside of my window and giving speeches, just like, okay.
[00:01:25] Gayle: Now you have marathon day to day, right?
[00:01:27] Nicole: It is today, but I’m not sure. I don’t think they’re going to hit here till later in the afternoon. So I think I have some time.
[00:01:36] Gayle: Is that, do you go out and watch it?
[00:01:38] Nicole: Sometimes I know a couple people who are watching. Uh, from work and then just like, oh, let me know where you, where you might pass. But I haven’t really like, I, I’m not sure where the route is.
[00:01:52] Gayle: I always thought that would be so fun to like be in New York for marathon day.
[00:01:56] Nicole: Yeah. And I’ve definitely gone out and watched it botched a different places. You know, sometimes I’ll meet up with friends to watch if we have someone who’s going to be coming by. So I’ve seen it from different, just different locations.
And you would think that people would be so busy running or trying to do whatever that they really would not be looking out. But I guess it is, I don’t know, kind of gives you a little boost to know that there are people out there for you and to try to look for them. So,
oh yeah. I do racists fairly regularly and.
It is huge knowing that you’ve got someone waiting for you. You’ve got something to look forward to. It’s a great way to break up the race. Like I’ve done a number of 10 milers and like I have my family meet me at like mile six, which is great. I know that over half way, it means so much to the people running to have somebody waiting.
So I highly recommended if you have friends that were running the race to just make the effort to go out and watch them, it just really
helps. I have a couple of friends I’ve known who’ve run the marathon and I guess the next day can be a little rough, but even the day after that can be even tougher. I think just in terms of maybe all the indifference and adrenaline are completely gone and you’re, you’re left with the aftermath, right.
Yeah. They usually have energy right after, you know, to go out for a meal or go celebrate a little bit, which I find fascinating because I think that. I don’t know, I, I need my bed immediately. Right. I think it’s that runners high, especially after 24 miles, that’s got to feel like an accomplishment.
[00:03:44] Gayle: So what have you been
[00:03:45] Nicole: reading? I finished the idea of you. What
[00:03:50] Gayle: did you think of it?
[00:03:52] Nicole: You know, it was equal parts. I can see why people were excited about it and it was equal parts. Really good. I just think that it got too repetitive for me.
[00:04:02] Gayle: Yeah. This sort of the pattern of their relationship.
[00:04:04] Nicole: Yeah. I mean, the book is set up like that.
I mean, it’s set up to go by whatever city it is that he’s in or city that she’s in, where they meet up. So it’s like they meet up and there’s always some kind of sex involved. Yes. So after a while, it was just kinda like, okay, I mean, this is all they’re doing and it’s the issues of it. I think that I had such a hard time because of the toll that it took on her daughter, seeing how she got into this relationship in the first place.
You know what I mean? It’s not like she was single or completely free. This was like, she’s dating someone who’s on her. Daughter’s. Right. My friend also read it and she told me that she cried at the end. She said, I must be PMs sing. I was like, why did you cry?
[00:04:54] Gayle: Oh, I understand
[00:04:55] Nicole: crying. She talked about the choices you got, why she cried at the
[00:04:59] Gayle: end?
I do understand why she cried at the end. I thought that’s what I thought was so good about it is that the relationship between the two of them is very plausible. Can you sort of roll your eyes at it in the beginning, but then as it, as it develop. It definitely feels like it’s like a plausible thing.
[00:05:15] Nicole: Yeah, I think what bothered me about it. It was the relationship itself. Wasn’t implausible to me, you know, I could see how she might have that attraction. Her marriage had gotten pretty kind of stale and boring and her husband was a little bit of an asshole. Yeah. I could see why that might be exciting. I think just the way they went about the relationship.
Just completely naive and oblivious to anyone finding out. There’s just no way. There’s no way I would date someone that famous and be showing up at the same time as them or whatever. Like I would be someplace a half an hour before, so we wouldn’t be seen together. Things like that were just kind of like really?
Why, why would you do this? Of course, people are going to find out. I think that
[00:05:57] Gayle: they knew they were sort of playing with fire. I don’t think they were naive about it. I mean, I think they knew that there was a great potential for there to be lots and lots of screws.
[00:06:06] Nicole: But why not be more discreet? They met out in the open and restaurant.
There was a recklessness about it. That was just unrealistic to me. It’s just like fine. See him sex him up every chance you get, but maybe don’t go to a restaurant in the public. But I
[00:06:19] Gayle: think that was the whole point was like that they were. In love. Like she, it wasn’t just about sex, that there was a, you know, they wanted to have a real relationship.
Just the way you would with someone that you are partnered with and should have want the world to know like you like, oh, I love this person. This is
[00:06:35] Nicole: like my guy. But even when they were just hooking up, it was just, they met at the Crosby street hotel. Like these are not discrete places for them to just sit and have a conversation.
When I was reading it, like I said, initially, I definitely bought into the relationship, could see how they would fall in love with each other. And there is that whole maturity aspect. Like he’s more mature for his age or whatever, but just the fact that why can’t women have these dalliances and these relationships.
They juxtapose it with her husband being with someone much younger. He’s like scolding her, but the same things just don’t apply to him. There’s so much that I thought was really well done. I just guessed the way they interacted or where they chose to interact initially was just like, why would you even do that?
Of course, this is going to be splashed all over the place.
[00:07:26] Gayle: I think my only issue was he was 19.
[00:07:28] Nicole: Right. He turns 21. He was. That is just so, so they had him not be a teenager.
[00:07:35] Gayle: Yeah. I have like 17 year old daughters and I’m like, wow. That is really
[00:07:39] Nicole: well. Yeah. I mean, I guess that was my, my thing in terms of.
How it even got to the point where they were able to fall in love, because I just can’t envision a world where I would even say yes to someone who was on my daughter’s wall. I mean, it has nothing to do with the age, but just the fact that he was such an idol. And you know, when you’re that age 13, it’s like, oh, I love him.
I’m going to marry him or whatever. It’s totally irrational. Yeah, for whatever was going on with her daughter’s school. Like I said, I just felt like there was a way to portray that realistically, because she was just, I don’t know, but I can see the magic of the book. I see why so many people love it. I enjoyed it for quite a bit of time.
[00:08:22] Gayle: Yeah. I mean, it’s, you know, it’s a, it’s a very engrossing read. It
[00:08:26] Nicole: is, it’s definitely a page Turner you want to see what’s going to happen and it, it is emotional, you know? Yeah. I can,
[00:08:34] Gayle: I can see crying at the end of.
[00:08:38] Nicole: All right. So what have you been reading? Here’s the problem? I, I, you still in book hangover mode?
[00:08:44] Gayle: Well, in this hot book, hang up remote. I think it’s like a perfect storm of a few things. It was the fact that I got totally sucked into college applications, which were doing. A huge chunk of them were due November one.
And we’re recording now November
[00:08:58] Nicole: 6th, seven. So you’re just getting past that, just
[00:09:03] Gayle: getting past that. And we’re not, I’m not even really done because there’s multiple applications due this month and next month. So, I mean, it’s still kind of hanging over, but just that built the lead up to November one for both daughters was just, there was a lot going on and I have three books going and it’s probably the same three books is the last time you and I talked.
I hit like a bookstore and I hate that because. You know, I always have books going and like, I just not been reading. I’m really trying to like finish these three so that I can just move on. And at one point I swapped, like I was doing one on print on one, on audio and I swapped them, said the one I was doing in print.
I switched to the audio. And when I was doing an audio, I switched to the print thinking that might help. Cause I think that actually has helped. They’re just one of the books is overlong like it’s, it’s needlessly long. One of them just took me a while to get into it and now I’m into it. I like it, but it took a while.
And one of them is my blow dry book, which is slow anyway. So I’ve been really stalled and it’s bad because it means that my goal of 70 books this year is completely shot the stock and happen. I’m going to, I’m going to be lucky if I make it to 60. It’s just like I haven’t been posting. I haven’t been reading.
It’s really weird. It’s. That
[00:10:18] Nicole: sounds like a lot going on though. College applications
[00:10:21] Gayle: it’s a lot. And like work has been crazy. I’ve had, first of all, had worked travel and I have more work travel next week with a very, very big event that my company has been sponsoring and doing. So like, it’s just, it’s just a lot happening in my life right now.
So like, I guess it’s not that unusual, but it just makes me sick.
[00:10:40] Nicole: Yeah, I feel like I’ve been slower. I’ve definitely been reading snatches of things here and there and using my Kindle more just because it’s not a heavy book to carry and has its own light. So even if it’s dark and I’m going home, I can like be in the back of the car and read it.
So the other book that I finally finished was Valerie Martins trespass, which is, it’s not even that long of a book, actually. It’s pretty short. It would probably be one of those books that we recommend. If you need. Short books to finish to make your reading challenge. I think it’s like maybe 240 or 250 pages, but it did take me quite a bit of time.
And I feel like I haven’t been listening. Like I had gotten into a good groove of listening to audio books, but I haven’t, I don’t know. I guess it’s just like that busy time of the year is really busy. I feel like all jobs are busier in the fall quarter, leading up to whatever, because sales are cyclical.
So whatever it’s tied to, even if it’s not something that you think is driven by sales, for whatever reason, everyone is just super busy and trying to finish up things before the end of the year. So I feel you on the work. Yeah. Work being out of control work
[00:11:54] Gayle: is out of control. Yeah. I read trespass and I’m trying to remember what.
[00:11:59] Nicole: So trespass is, I think it said like upstate New York in New York and also in Trieste in Italy. Um, did I pronounce that correctly? Is it Trista? TriEst TriEst that might be it it’s like a mother son basically is the core relationship in this book. And her son Toby starts dating this woman who she doesn’t really like, like he is.
This might be his second year in college and she is from another country. Uh, and I think she might be Croatian. So the mother does not take a liking to him. His mother is an artist. Her name is Chloe. So. Her and her husband have this, you know, they have a comfortable living. Should they have a nice house?
Upstate and Toby has always been kind of really taken care of by his mom. And she’s interested in his life. I mean, she’s a good mom and he starts dating this woman and the mother does not really like her. Her name is Salamay and her husband is Brendan. So there’s a lot of, it’s like a lot about trespass and boundary.
Yeah. Her son, of course, is embarking on his own life and college. And he’s making choices that maybe she doesn’t necessarily agree with, but how much can she kind of intrude in his life? Like he is at a place where he is building boundaries and maybe not as interested as he might’ve once been in having his mother’s approval for his life.
Partially the book is about Salamay and her reaction to things. Cause she’s had this just very different up bringing where her family has had to flee from a war and her father sets up in Louisiana on a shrimp boat, you know, like, um, so they’re from different classes and Salah may just, you know, she kind of sees them as these Bush war parents who don’t really think about.
Real things, you know, like the dad is a historian, so he’s like buried in the past. The mother is an illustrator. So she’s like doing a lot of studying and sketching. So it’s all about boundaries. They’ve got this poacher that the mom is obsessed with, who. You know, it’s kind of like one of these things is, is he really, uh, hurting anyone with what he’s doing?
Cause they they’re on a lot of land, but it’s about the fact that they possess this land and he has no right to be here. So there’s just lots of issues around that. And then in the middle of, I think it goes back and forth between Chloe’s perspective, Toby’s perspective and Brendan’s perspective. We really don’t get to hear.
Too much from Salamay about how she views things like everything is through how Toby sees her and whether he she’s interacting well with his mother, you know, the way Chloe sees her and the way Brendan, you know, he’s kind of a little bit removed as the father, a little less invested. But it’s his perspective too.
And then there’s the story of this woman and a forbidden relationship that she has in the middle of war and the consequences that she has for her family. Um, I really liked it. It was really, it was really well done. I, I did think a lot about ownership, possession people, encroaching on boundaries, and just a lot of questions came up for me about things that we think of.
Onerous or intrusive or whatever, but like, what are the consequences when you react against that? So everyone’s playing with boundaries in their lives and things have the possibility of kind of like blowing up in your face.
[00:15:44] Gayle: I’m just reading, I read this in 2008, so it’s been quite a while. I remember I really liked it when I read it.
I’m just reading what I wrote about. It’s very similar to what you were consistent with, what you.
[00:15:56] Nicole: I want it to read this because I have been trying to go back here and there as much as I can to read older stuff by authors that I know whose works, that I really liked. And I really liked her book property.
I was one of those that I was able to work in. I’m really glad I’m I want to write. Some of the others that she’s written, like, you know, she wrote Mary Riley, which is basically Frankenstein told from the point of view of a maid who was working in the house or something like that. I think Julia Roberts was in the movie, which I’ve never seen.
So I don’t know. Maybe I can sneak that in before the end of the year as sort of a book movie pairing, but I really liked this. I thought it was well done.
[00:16:42] Gayle: The book be pairing is the one thing I have accomplished in the last two weeks, as I did watch the movie version of news of the world, which I had just read for the book part for my own reading challenge, at least I accomplished that.
[00:16:54] Nicole: Did you like it? It was. Okay. What did you think about, tell us a little bit about the difference. Were there major differences since you’ve read them fairly close together? I think that
[00:17:05] Gayle: the plot is pretty well. The movie, he was pretty closely to the plot. So there’s a few little tweaks here and there that, for some reason they made some of which I thought were sort of strange.
I didn’t really understand why they made them. Um, but for the most part, it was pretty faithful. My issue was that in the book, the captain, he sort of has a good sense of humor. There’s, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of danger in the book. The two of them are constantly coming up against people who want to do them harm.
They’re either. There’s like somebody who wants to kidnap the girl and turn her into like a child prostitute and there’s marauders on the open plain, or there’s just people who, you know, if it was kind of like a lawless time where people were a lot of like vigilante justice and stuff like that. And so they’re constantly coming up against issues.
And so the movie has lots of that in it. There’s constantly danger and you’re always worrying that something’s about to happen. It’s going to happen and they’re not going to get out. Okay. The cinematography reflects that. And that’s all really good. But in the book, there’s some kind of sly humor. Like the captain, the man, the older man, he kind of says funny things or little asides he’s can be sarcastic at times.
Those little moments were kind of peppered through the book. And like, that was one of the things I liked about the book and that was completely missing in the, in the movie.
[00:18:26] Nicole: That’s kind of interesting because that wasn’t it. That was like, um, the book was kind of like an odd. Buddy movie, you know, it’s an odd take on a buddy movie with, you know, like we’ve seen it with different things.
Like whether it’s two people who are come from completely different walks of life who have to ride around in a cop car together, or who are kidnapped together or. You know, it’s a man and his dog or whatever. So that was kind of like the take on that him journey across the country with this woman who has been raised by who’s been kidnapped from her family.
Doesn’t really speak English. How do they communicate?
[00:19:08] Gayle: Yeah, I mean, there are the two of these guys are definitely an odd pairing. So I, I felt like the movie was joyless the way that the book had some joy in it and the movie did not. That’s what. I was kind of, it was like a chore to get through it a little bit.
Like I can’t imagine ever watching that
[00:19:27] Nicole: movie again. So it sounds pretty grim.
[00:19:30] Gayle: I mean, it’s like, it’s grim. It’s just
[00:19:35] Nicole: choices. Isn’t Graham hardship.
[00:19:37] Gayle: Well, it’s hardship. It’s like, there’s, there’s, there’s very little, I mean, the end of both the book and the movie is uplifting. The book had a little epilogue, which I really enjoyed, and they left that out of the movie and I thought that would have been nice to include because it was a nice little suit of Coda of the story.
[00:19:59] Nicole: Did this movie just come
[00:20:00] Gayle: out? No, it came out at Christmas of last year.
[00:20:03] Nicole: Wow. And they released
[00:20:05] Gayle: that at Christmas. Interesting. Yeah. I mean, I have noticed when they were initially going to release it, I mean, I think it was probably a video, a streaming only release. Cause it came out during the pandemic.
This isn’t the movie that they were filming when Tom Hanks got Corona. Is it? I don’t think so. Cause he was in Australia. I don’t know why they would’ve filmed that movie in Australia. It takes place in Texas. So like why go across the world to film a movie that takes place in the United States?
[00:20:32] Nicole: Unless it’s just super cheap to film in Australia, which, I mean,
[00:20:36] Gayle: I dunno, maybe I, you know, they were filming something.
I think they both got Corona.
[00:20:40] Nicole: Right? They did
[00:20:42] Gayle: come read on what it is.
[00:20:46] Nicole: What were they making when they got the vid?
[00:20:49] Gayle: So it was fine. Like, oh no, they were,
[00:20:52] Nicole: well, she’s not in it though. So
[00:20:54] Gayle: it’s true. She’s not in it. They were in Australia for pre-production on an, as yet untitled film about
[00:21:00] Nicole: Elvis Presley interested in Australia.
So maybe they do go to maybe Australia. It makes sense to fill movie stair? I don’t know. Um, I could see news of the world there before I could see an Elvis movie.
[00:21:14] Gayle: Yeah, that’s true. The news of the world is all about the atmosphere, the physical, physical surroundings, so that I did accomplish, I’m hoping to finish at least one or two of these other books in the next couple of days so that I can just get over this hump.
[00:21:29] Nicole: All right. So I guess we will just turn to our gift that. Yes, let’s do that. I picked things that are kind of reading adjacent. I did have some mugs. I’m on a big calendar kick right now. So I felt like I picked things that you could either drink while reading that you could actually drink out of and things that help you organize your life so that you can make space for reading have really caught my eye.
How did you choose what you want?
[00:22:00] Gayle: Well, a lot of mine are books. Um, they’re books I’ve read over the last year that I’ve kind of grouped into categories, but I also found some gifts for book lovers that are not books that I
[00:22:10] Nicole: thought were fun. So I guess we will compliment each other. Well then
[00:22:15] Gayle: do you have any books?
Are yours? All non books?
[00:22:18] Nicole: Uh, I don’t have any books. Oh my
[00:22:20] Gayle: God. Wow. That’s.
[00:22:23] Nicole: Why don’t you start us off with some books. Okay. I’ll start
[00:22:26] Gayle: up some books. All right. My first group of books are memoirs. So if you. Have fans of memoirs, a couple of memoirs that I really enjoyed this year that I would recommend are, um, a very punchable face by Colin toast.
So if you have a pop culture lover who watches SNL, that book was great. I also really enjoyed the Andrew McCarthy memoir brat and 80 story about his life in the breath. And then the final one is good morning monster by Catherine dinner, which is about a psychologist’s five, most memorable patients.
Those three were my favorite memoirs of the year. And I think any of those would make a really good.
[00:23:08] Nicole: I would add Mariah Carey’s memoir to that list. It was really well done. I think it just came out in paperback. She has a lot of interesting stories, just about different things that were going on in the nineties and early two thousands, you know, when she was navigating her relationship and her divorce with her husband and just how she has come to terms with being from two very different cultures and always straddling the black and white line.
Wanting to embrace her black roots and her black family, but sometimes just not being encouraged to go that way because of who she was married to, and like image things. And also just like the troubled relationship she had with her mom. It was a really good memoir.
[00:23:48] Gayle: Hmm. Okay. She’s a complicated person. So I can see that.
That would be a good book to read. Yeah.
[00:23:53] Nicole: The meaning of Mariah Carey.
[00:23:55] Gayle: All right, the next one is, and talk about joyless. If you have people in your life who have high school kids, I have two books about the college admissions process. Now, one of which I haven’t read yet, and I probably won’t read now that because I feel like it’ll be too late for me.
And then I’m going to read it and be like kicking myself the whole time. The two books are one of the first one I did read is called, who gets in and why by Jeffrey Selingo. And it’s just all about how competitive. And he wrote this even before last year, which is when. All hell broke loose when it came to college applications, but, um, he writes just about the college admissions process and that it’s never as straightforward as you think.
And it’s not just all necessarily all about grades or numbers, but that there’s a lot of sort of unpredictability and preciousness to the system and just sort of how to navigate it. I really liked that when I found that interesting and helpful. And there was some things I learned in there that I have kind of used, or at least thought about, has my daughters have been going through the process?
And then there’s a second book that came out recently that I did not know about. It’s called soundbite by Sarah Harverson and it is about crafting a good narrative through the application so that as someone’s reading through it, they get a good soundbite of who. The applicant is what they’re about, what their interests are and who they are.
And so, um, I learned about that like a couple of days ago, and it’s just a little bit too late for me. Take up, gonna pick it up. But if I were like a year earlier in the process, I think I might. So that’s the pairing of those. So my next category is. For your literary fiction lovers, I’m sure you’re going to have multiple ones to add to this one.
Just kind of looking back on the year and the books that I thought were the most compelling in the literary fiction area. And there were many, but once I think I would give as a gift, um, my dark Vanessa Paket Elizabeth Russell, which is the story about. It’s kind of a me too situation in a high school, a boarding school, a girl has an inappropriate relationship with a teacher it’s told from the girl’s perspective.
You and I both read this and think you liked it as much
[00:26:14] Nicole: as I did. Yeah, I would. I would definitely have that in the literary fiction category. Yeah. In terms of living.
[00:26:25] Gayle: Yeah, I think so too. I think. People there’s probably a wide swath of people who would find that an interesting book. Um, I put the paper palace in there. Um, paper palace is, is not a perfect book, but it is. Very engrossing and it’s got a beautiful cover. I just think it would make a nice gift to present.
It’s it’s the story of a woman choosing between two men who lives in, uh, a summer house in Cape Cod? Well, they have a summer house at Cape Cod and it’s kind of just looks back over the years at how she got to this crossroads in her life, where she’s choosing between these two men and the different relationships she has with both of them and what she ultimately did.
And then I really liked the book. What comes after, which is a domestic drama, about two boys who were friends in high school. And then one of them kills the other one with a gun. And so it’s about the aftermath of this killing killing happens in the first few pages. So that’s not a spoiler and it’s about the aftermath and how.
The parents of these two kids, one, uh, the father of one and the mother of the other, how they go on with their lives and then how they relate to each other. So all three of those I think, would make excellent here. Do you have anything you would add? I would add to
[00:27:47] Nicole: that whereabouts by Jim Paula hearing. I mean, that is just like this excellent portrait of this woman who is living in Italy and her life.
Like she’s a teacher and it goes into detail just about her routine and her lovers and different things that she’s got going on in her life. And she’s considering, and it is just so good. Some of it is just like the elegance in her. Talking about the detail, like what you, you know, like how you go to the market or visiting a trip, but it really does just give you this ability into this woman’s life.
That was really beautiful. I would add what could be saved by. O’Halloran Schwartz to that list. It’s the story of a family who is torn apart for many years, because the son is kidnapped while they are ex-pats or, you know, like they’re the. Is working in Bangkok in the 1970s. And it takes place present day when the entire family is much older, the mom is suffering from Alzheimer’s and they get this call from Bangkok that their brother has been discovered.
And whether it’s there it’s really, their brother is a mystery, but it unfolds in two parts. One. Back in the 1970s, where you figure out what happens, you know, you see what their life is like. And eventually do figure out what happens to the sun. Fill up and the present day with the family, dealing with this man who has come back into their life proclaiming to be their brother.
So it was just really good writing. Just love the perspective about Bangkok back in the day and how things have changed. And. An intricate family drama. That was really wild. I would also add intimacies by Katy kit. Tamara. I think that, that this is it’s great literary fiction. I think for maybe someone who travels too, like if you have a friend who really likes to travel or really follows the news, because it’s this interesting story about this woman who decides to be an interpreter at the Hague, she takes a year long assignment and she’s assigned to the case of this notorious.
He was probably a dictator. And so he’s on trial for war crimes and kind of like navigating the space of what it does when you have to translate someone’s words and consider their actions. Plus she’s kind of like in the middle of this. Bizarre love triangle with a man and his estranged wife and family.
And, you know, and then her friend has something that she has like this man is mugged outside her house and all of these stories weave their way into her experience. There, it was really. All right. Well, my next one
[00:30:40] Gayle: is one that you just mentioned. So my category here is people who love to read suspenseful books and I put what could be saved on that category, but I think can just as easily be in the literary fiction, literary fiction category.
I love this book as well. And the suspense here is what actually happened to the boy all those years. And why did he never get in touch? I just adored this book. I adored everything about this book. The suspense element is very strong. So if you know somebody who really likes to read suspenseful books, I think that would be a great.
The other one I would add to that list is called how lucky by will leech. It is told from the perspective of a man in a wheelchair who can’t talk, but who has observed a potential kidnapping in his neighborhood. And he wants to try to help and get information that he has in his head to the police, but the guy or the.
The person who’s potentially the kidnapper becomes aware that there was a potential witness. And so the kidnapper starts to go after him. And he’s of course the most vulnerable of people stuck in his home, in a wheelchair with caregivers that come and go, but nobody in the house all the time. So there’s, you know, a lot of.
Fear that something bad is going to happen to him because he has no one to protect him, but he’s also very smart. So you know that if something does happen, he might be able to work his way out of it. So I thought this book was really creative and I loved the way that it was told from a very unlikely, unlikely, just the type of narrator that we don’t usually come across.
You know, somebody who. Is not able to talk and is in a wheelchair, but you kind of addresses a lot of the questions that you often have about people in that situation. And I just thought it was really good. So that’s how lucky by
[00:32:41] Nicole: leech. I would probably add the plot here. You may have it in a different category.
I don’t know. All right, we’ll wait, we’ll leave it to where your category. All right. Well, I can
[00:32:54] Gayle: hop into that right now, cause it’s my neck. It’s my next and last category of books. And that is books you can’t put down. So I guess books, suspenseful books and books you can put down are similar. It’s not always necessarily that they’re suspenseful.
Sometimes you do. You’re just so engrossed that you just want to keep reading to see what happens. So it may not be that there’s a mystery or something at the end, but I did put the plot in that category and you and I both agree on this one. So this is the plot by gene Hannah Corel it’s um, and it’s a book about a guy who steals the plot of a book from a former student of his who has died.
And he writes the book. He writes the story and then he starts getting these medicine letters. Like I know what you did. I know you didn’t write it. And it is literally impossible to put this book down, although it’s so weird right now. I can’t remember. I remember sort of how it got resolved, but I can’t remember all the details of it.
I may have to ask you when we hang up. Cause there’s some things about it. I don’t remember. But, uh, I just adored that book that was kind of a juggernaut book this year and I thought it deserved it, the hype. It was just like, if you’re ever in a book slump. Oh my God. That is the book that will pull you right out.
So I love that one. And then the final one, I have four books. You can put down as the one, I just read called count the ways by Joyce Maynard. And I loved this book. This one is another family drama that takes place over many years. It’s about a family in Massachusetts. I’m blanking on where it takes place.
And it’s just about. This marriage that kind of falls apart and there’s three kids involved. And the relationship that the, the mom has with the kids during and after the divorce from the father. I don’t know if you’ve read any Joyce Maynard, it’s just, it’s sad and touching. And I love the way she writes.
I mean, it’s not like super flowery language and this, this book was my only complaint about it. Was it got a little bit repetitive at times, but I read, this is the one that I had the book hang over from for awhile, which is probably. Slightly responsible for where I am right now. And this book, slump, this hangover has been longer than usual.
So, um, those two books, I would say for people who, if you want to give a gift, that is a book that they will be able to put down.
[00:35:30] Nicole: That reminds me of crying in H Mart by miss Michelle’s downer. You could put that in two categories. I found it hard to put down. I mean, it’s the story of this woman. Who, I guess she’s in, um, a band that has some acclaim.
I haven’t heard of them, but her mom is dying of cancer. She goes home to kind of take care of her and try to reconcile their relationship. You can also put this under a memoir it’s about her Korean mom and the kind of strain relationship. She has had with her, Michelle is half white. So it talks a lot about how she grew up in Eugene, Oregon, and was just kind of like really had to navigate those, those issues and how it affected her and her relationship with her mother.
Because for some time she was more falling on the side, I guess, of rejecting one identity in order to fit in. But just the bond that she develops with her mother in terms of. Learning the food and learning the culture and trying to just cement those things in her life before her mother passes on it was it’s really good.
It took me a while to read it just because I had all the things going on, but I think it’s very compelling and, and falls into a page Turner, even though it’s just kind of this memoir about relating to your mom through. All
[00:37:02] Gayle: right. Well, that’s all the books that I have. I have a few non-book items, but why don’t we jump into your list?
And I can intersperse mine if they fit.
[00:37:10] Nicole: Okay. So my non-book items, I love this. This is a beautiful Sequoyah mug that you could get at canyon, coffee.co. I feel like it’s something that people wouldn’t necessarily buy for them for themselves. I mean, maybe you do, if you love ceramic. I love a good distinctive mug that I just use every day.
This one’s really pretty. They have. They have others. They have like other selections of mugs that you can check out if you’re on the site. But this would be the one that I would want to show up. Like it’s, it’s in collaboration with a local artist, it’s hand throne. So, you know, of course each model will be slightly different.
And I think there’s just a great companion to reading. Get you a mug or something.
[00:37:59] Gayle: What does it say on.
[00:38:01] Nicole: It doesn’t say it’s a ceramic mug. So it’s like pottery hand thrown. I love the it’s kind of, I would say like a greenish in color a little bit.
[00:38:12] Gayle: Now we’re going to post links to all these non-book things so that if you are intrigued by what we’re saying, you can just click on the link and
[00:38:20] Nicole: see what it is.
So the next on my list is I got, it’s not by the same company I got because the company where I got my phone. Is, they put the, they have the label, they have the designer label kind of down on the bottom, but I’m like obsessed with monogrammed phone cases and you can get really nice ones from the daily edited.
I recommend the leather one and you know, you can get your initials really big or you can get someone’s name on it. And I just loved them in terms of a cover for a phone because we use them now for so many reasons, you know, Whatever my Kindle app is on my phone, so that’s how I’m tying it in.
Okay. So next on my list, and this is something that I have been searching for. Like I have lately been looking for pieces of jewelry that I want to add to my collection because it’s one of the accessories that I’ve just neglected. Like I never have on jewelry or rings, or even when I buy them, I do. Wear them as often as I would like, but in terms of having, you know, when you have a charm on them, I was really looking for something, you know, you can get a bunch of things, like whatever is trending at the moment, but I was looking for something that.
Specific to me that I would really enjoy specifics as someone who loves reading books. And I found this one, uh, this goal chain unfortunate frame that has a little book charm on it. It’s so pretty. And they come in different kinds of colors. So I would probably get the gold on gold, but. The chain will be gold, but the book you can customize, so it’s magenta or Emerald or burgundy, and also black.
So even though like, um, the spine of the book will be gold and it has a little clasp on it. That’s gold. The cover of the book. It has like a gold filigree with these colors in between. I just really love
[00:40:31] Gayle: it. Do you have to attach it to an existing chart?
[00:40:37] Nicole: Well, it comes with the chain, but the site also has other, you can also like, if you want it to get it on a bracelet, you could as well.
So they have different iterations, I guess, of it. So if you didn’t want to get someone, a necklace and you want to get them a charm bracelet, you could, I’m intrigued by the neck. I’ve been looking for necklaces lately though, so, okay. Really pretty for a book lover. Oh, they say it was featured on the old list.
So they have nice jewelry. They have also fortune cookies, letter necklaces and grave jewelry. But like I said, I was looking for something distinctive. And for me, that’s, that’s a book. So my other thing that I really think goes well with reading is a candle, like a pretty lovely candle. You set the tone, you’ve got your mug or something.
You’re sitting, reading your book. And I really liked the AIA candle co um, camp. These are perfect for a gift because candles can be pricey and sometimes people might want something that they are not willing. This falls into that category of people. If you want something, people might not necessarily spend the money on a candle.
So it makes it. And there’s three sense. One is very citrusy, which I think is the one that I would go for. Uh, it’s called the Newark candle. And it also, well, it doesn’t come with the affirmation cards, but you can buy these cute little affirmation, affirmation cards that are, they have their like edged in gold foil and they have, the background is water color, which is really beautiful.
So I’m doing a lot of describing, like Gail says, pull up the, when you get to this part of the show, pull up the gift guide and, and take a look. What are some of the things that you would add that are not books? I’m curious.
[00:42:36] Gayle: One of them has a bookmark I’m obsessed with anything that has old fashioned library cards on them.
I just think they’re so cute and out of print books, which is one of my favorite stores to buy book-related things. Um, they have a library card bookmark, which is just long and narrow, but it’s got that old fashioned library card look to it and it’s laminated. So, I mean, it would be kind of a cute little, like a stocking stuffer gifts for.
I don’t know. I feel like having a book bookmark always elevates the reading process. So that was one of mine. And while you’re there, you can look at out of print books for all the other great gifts. They have their tote bags. T-shirts scarves, scarves docks. Yeah. Yep. Tons of goods. Um, oh, the next thing I have, I love this.
So this is like a book laptop sleeve, and it looks like an old book when you wrap it around your laptop. So it’s like a laptop case, but it just looks like an old hard cover book with like, you know, Like a leather case, an old pages to it. Um, I found it on Amazon and it was pretty cool. So, you know, I don’t actually use a laptop sleeve, but if I did one that I would, that I would be drawn to because it just looks like makes it look like an old book.
It’s cool. And then my last one was a custom print that. Has like watercolor paintings of books and you customize it with your favorite book at first, I was like, well, do you pick the books? Like, do you have to select from a, you know, specific list? And it turns out, yes, you do have to just pick from a selected list, but there’s tons and tons of books on the list.
Fewer wanting to put together a print of like eight books. And, you know, it looks like a little bookshelf with the spines of the books facing out, and then they’re painted. I was impressed when I looked at the list of how many books were on it. So it’s not like you’d have to let you only have like 15 to choose from this hunt, literally hundreds of books on the list.
So will they be for sure your absolute eight top favorite books in the world? Possibly not, but I think you could find books that. And it would make like a great print for a library or, you know, whatever room you like to read. And that’s from a store called ideal bookshelf.com
[00:45:00] Nicole: and they have other, do they have other bookish?
[00:45:04] Gayle: Let’s see. Um, no, it’s just the prince. Yeah, well they have, yes, they have a lot of different, oh, they have postcards and they have greeting cards. So they. Did your stationary type
[00:45:20] Nicole: things? I always feel like stationary and paper and books just go together.
[00:45:27] Gayle: Yeah. Oh yeah, absolutely. Um, this one you can pick from ones that are pre done like this, a couple of Jane Austin ones or some food ones.
There’s a Harry Potter, one fashion one, and then there is the customer. Now the custom one is obviously a lot more money. It’s $105. Cause they have to you, oh, look at this. You can choose up to 20 bucks. That’s cool. They also have
[00:45:52] Nicole: little book pins.
[00:45:55] Gayle: Who are you on the site? Yeah. Oh yeah. Book pins. Oh yeah.
There’s actually a lot more stuff. Prints, mugs, totes t-shirts yeah, they have a lot of stuff, but what I was drawn to was this custom print and then like I’m looking at. Do you have a book that you would sort of consider like a litmus test for you? That would be like, okay, well, I need to, I’m curious, like if they have this book that I’d be interested.
Uh, I don’t know, because like I was the first book, of course I wanted to check with to see if they had kitchens to the great Midwest and they do. Oh, really? Yeah. Like they have, there’s like a, uh, a lot of books
[00:46:36] Nicole: on here. Okay. Yeah, I see that they have a lot of the classics. Uh, I guess that’s why I was kind of surprised with kitchens of the great Midwest, because it’s so modern.
I haven’t done anything modern on here. Like little house on the Prairie dune, the Handmaid’s tale Fahrenheit 4 51. It’s like heavy classics. Their eyes were watching God. So yeah, that’s impressive. Kitchens of the great Midwest. Well,
[00:47:06] Gayle: they have like Pachinko and a K like there’s a fair number of current reads on here.
Yeah. I mean, and I bet like the they’re probably always adding more to,
[00:47:21] Nicole: I also have a list on their site. If you go to stockist, it shows where they carry these at different independent bookstores across the U S.
[00:47:30] Gayle: nice.
[00:47:31] Nicole: So it looks like they, um, the Brooklyn public library actually sells their stuff too, has their stuff.
[00:47:41] Gayle: cool. Yeah, they have t-shirts and cute. T-shirts too.
[00:47:47] Nicole: The last thing on my list I have is this planner journal that I really love it is decorate it with lots of, I guess, constellations and similar. To show to discuss some of the iconography that is throughout this, it is you don’t have to worry about dates.
It’s undated, which I sometimes find helpful because I feel like sometimes I’m like super into my planner and an altogether and I may fall off for a month. So it is easy to just pick up where you left off. And it has like lots of different cool sections in terms of setting your intentions and. You know, just writing down your goals and things that you want to work on, which I always find useful just in terms of checking back and seeing things that I’ve written down and looking back at them later and saying, oh, I actually did that.
Or, but it’s, it’s a beautiful planner. It’s split into three different parts. You know, there’s one, that’s kind of. Just the regular calendar during the day, they can fill it out. And then there is a section for your goals and intentions. It also has like a little place for your capsule wardrobe. If you want to try working with that, which is something I’ve wanted to do and haven’t gotten to yet, and it has this beautiful linen cover and the pages are really nice to work on.
It comes in two colors. I got honey, but it also comes in like this natural color, which I guess is sort of like a.
[00:49:16] Gayle: I love the idea of helping you plan a capsule wardrobe. That’s yeah.
[00:49:21] Nicole: I keep saying I’m going to do that. I think the capsule wardrobe, they have space for it to be, you know, like quarterly, which makes sense.
I feel like I would want to do one monthly. I have so many
[00:49:32] Gayle: clothes.
[00:49:33] Nicole: Yeah. All right. So that wraps it up. We are going to link to all of these so that you can see it, what we think might make good gifts. If you are searching, a lot of our things are easy to find. You can order them online, so you don’t have to be out searching necessarily.
If you don’t want to brave the black Friday crowds.
[00:49:56] Gayle: Yes. Yep. And order early, because as everyone keeps hearing, there’s all sides to chain issues, supply chain issues.
[00:50:04] Nicole: I know I saw gift guides go up up in October for that, you know, like for that reason mentioning the supply chain and just like, yeah, really early, whatever
[00:50:17] Gayle: on that note, happy shopping and happy reading.
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