March Madness Round 2 & Book Club Discussion

March Madness Round 2 & Book Club Discussion

In this new episode, Nicole and Gayle continue with the second round of the now traditional March Madness with the five books that won thanks to your voting. Stay to hear what are going to be the winners for the next round.

They also discuss Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu, the book of the month for the Book Club.

This episode also needs your judgment! Please vote here for your book choice.

Vote here your choice for the next Book Club.


The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee | Amazon | Bookshop

A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch | Amazon | Bookshop

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley | Amazon | Bookshop


For the Human Design Readings:

With the code – Readerly you can get a free reading!


As always you can find below the whole booklist they run through during the episode:


The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller | Amazon | Bookshop

Count the Ways by Joyce Maynard | Amazon | Bookshop


We Are Not Like Them by Jo Piazza and Christine Pride | Amazon | Bookshop

At The Wolf’s Table by Rosella Postorino | Amazon | Bookshop


This is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel | Amazon | Bookshop

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deeshaw Philyaw | Amazon | Bookshop


What Comes After by Joanne Tompkins | Amazon | Bookshop

The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano by Donna Freitas | Amazon | Bookshop


The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz | Amazon | Bookshop

The Idea of You by Robinne Lee | Amazon | Bookshop

This episode also needs your judgment! Please vote here for your book choice.

*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 readerly report. So today we’ve got quite a few things that we want to get through. We’re going to do our regular, what we’ve been reading to our catch-up. We owe you a little bit more discussion on our book club. So we’re going to leave some time for that. We still don’t want to put it in the front of the show just because we want people to be able to listen and not be spoiled if they don’t want to be.

Everyone voted. So we have our results, which are quite funny. The interesting thing about the results of our March madness contest that we did is this year we’re doing it completely different. And I think I really like it this way because each Gail and I had to put forth 10 books that we wanted to go head to head.

And we’re letting you guys. As soon as we recorded last time and we got off the call, Gail, I was just thinking, I was like, I am not going to do well because all I bred were like trashy, thrillers, or just really obscure books.

[00:00:56] Gayle: Right. You gotta read that we, that the people are reading.

[00:00:59] Nicole: I know. I know. So that was reflected in the results.

There were a few close calls. I have to tell you that. I think it was count. The ways went up against Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore and. You know, when I was starting to prep for the show, like I’m writing this out. And I was like, okay, so I’ve got three books in there, not too bad, you know, Valentine. And then someone came in and voted, like, I don’t know, Friday night, you know, cause we’re recording this on Saturday the 19th.

So someone came in and voted Friday night and. I voted for count the way. So it, so it was victory snatched from the jaws of victory in that case. So you voted Friday night I’m upset with you. You spoiled it. Okay. So, but this is, this is really fun. Maybe this will encourage me to like read more meaningful books this year.

[00:01:53] Gayle: I don’t know if meaningful is the word, but maybe more mainstream.

[00:01:57] Nicole: Yeah. I’d probably look, see, read were plenty meaningful. Yeah, whatever. We’ll see. I still have a couple of chances in there. Okay. What have you been reading

[00:02:09] Gayle: lately? I’ve only read one book. I think since we last talked I’ve just been.

Very preoccupied with a lot of other things and wasn’t able to get too much, but I read a book called a novel obsession by Katelyn brash, and it’s kind of a psychological thriller. It’s about a woman living in New York who starts dating a guy and she’s an aspiring writer. She works in a bookstore and she becomes obsessed with his ex-girlfriend and She sort of like justifies it by saying that her obsession with the ex-girlfriend is going to be fodder for the book that she’s having trouble writing.

That’s finally something for her to write about, but it’s really, she’s obsessed. She’s very insecure. And she’s, you know, rather than focusing on her relationships, she’s completely obsessed with like the ex-girlfriend and she sort of starts talking her and be friends. And the story takes off from there.

So the question is like, does the X girl what’s the deal with the ex-girlfriend and what does she think about what’s going on? And, you know, is it, there’s some sort of, there’s some surprises along the way and some things that you don’t expect. So it was a, it was a good bucket. It like at a time when I was super distracted, I really enjoyed, you know, I did it on audio mostly, and I really enjoyed getting back to the audio.

You know, sort of, we looked for excuses to walk the dog and stuff so that I could, you know, put it back in my ears. That is what I’ve been reading. And I’m at, we’re actually going on vacation tomorrow and I’m going to take a few books with me too. So hopefully I’ll catch up a little bit over break.

[00:03:36] Nicole: Okay.

That reminds me of a Britney Spears song called perfume. Hmm, I dunno. And it’s all about, I was just listening to it the other day. So it’s all about this girl. Who’s in a relationship and she is still like, concerned about the ex-girlfriend. So part of the chorus is how she puts this perfume on and, you know, she’s, she’s not going to tell she’s kind of ashamed to admit that she puts perfume on and like gets it all over him to kind of mark her terrible.

Hmm. Interesting. I have been reading very slowly, the sum of us, what racism costs everyone by Heather Mickey. It is such a good book. It’s so fascinating. It’s just like talking about throughout history, how the law has changed. You know, laws have changed in order to restrict certain people from having rights, you know, mostly black people, Asian people, and how this has really affected the policy has affected Americans.

And in totality, like white people as well, and goes through all of the different ways, the things that would have been good for the community that were kind of the order when it seemed like too many people were getting to take advantage of it. So it’s kind of heavy and I’m reading it slowly because it’s like super depressing to think of the lengths that people will go to, to just like not have everyone enjoy equal privileges and rights.

But I highly recommend it. And the other is the apartment by Lucy Foley. I have read, I guess this is my third Lucy Foley books and she tends to put out one a year. That’s kind of a thriller and she prefers, I believe these lock kind of locked room mysteries. I’ll just say. Even though they take place in different localities.

Like one was set on a mountain when a group of people went skiing. One was set at this isolated island where someone went for a wedding and this one is set in this apartment, building in Paris where this young woman goes to visit her brother, except for when she gets there. Her brother is missing.

And like the people in the apartment are super creepy, you know, kind of hostile. Don’t want to tell her anything. And she has to figure out what has happened to her brother. They all technically fit the locker room discussion. In terms of only a few people are responsible for that, the murder or the missing person, or whatever’s going on.

Like it’s very contained. It’s not like it could be anyone from anyone’s life. It’s her novels are just very location. Like these are the people who are around you, and these are the people that, you know, likely were involved. So, so far so good with this one. I think that she’s getting stronger with this one, because I think her first one was the hunting party, which I just thought was super cliche.

Like the people who were there, the personalities involved. And I just feel like with each. She gets better in terms of fully fleshing out the characters. And even though some of them are still very like stereotypical people, you know, that we are used to dealing with in life that they’re more fleshed out and seem like there’s more things that distinguish them and make them feel whole as opposed to like caricature.

So I’m reading that. And then the last book that I’m reading is something that’s just completely, it’s very specific to this new hobby that I have or not hobby, like just this study that I’ve been doing. I think I mentioned, and I had mentioned, I was reading this book briefly last week or a couple of weeks ago when we were on the show, just that.

It talks about human design. This is specifically on the centers and like human design is this modality, not unlike the Enneagram or Myers-Briggs, but it’s just more mystically focused being that it’s like based in the Kabbalah and it’s based in what else? The eating and, you know, there’s like some metaphysical stuff thrown in there, but I’ve just gotten so interested in it.

It was one of those things that popped up for me on Instagram. So if we had done our, like what, we went down, the rabbit hole, During the pandemic show, this would have made the bill was something like I saw an advertising for something that someone was interested in, you know, she was talking about what kind of type she was.

And I was like, oh, I wonder what kind of type I was. And I went down this entire rabbit hole, learned so much about it. Got certified to be able to read people’s charts. Oh, wow. Yeah. So this is a part of, this is part of my study, Gail, I’m going to have to do you, cause I feel like I have these thoughts on the nature of our relationship and how we exchange energy.

That’s just totally based on how we connect and I’m just, or how you read books, like how we’re so different, the way we read, you know, just like even March madness, bearing that out. Like I have some ideas about like how your energy presents itself. Oh, okay. So I’d be curious, but also, you know, for our listeners, I will link information about this.

Cause I’m going to do, I want to offer people, if you feel like you’re interested, do you can book a complimentary reading with me through may? Oh, that’s so cool. And the code will be readerly and that, and I think that will be really interesting because I think just in terms of the way we talk about books and the way you have very specific books that you read, I think that you have an open.

No, I have an open crown center. I know that. And I think that yours might be closed, but we’ll have to see, we’ll take a look and we will, of course, report

[00:08:48] Gayle: back. Maybe we could do that in a bonus. Yeah, that would be fearless. It’s like intensely

[00:08:53] Nicole: personal. No, it’s kind of like just how you see the world, whether you see the world in a fixed way or not.

Like I know with books and with reading with me. Like, it will be really hard for me to say, I really didn’t like something because I have what’s called an open identity center, which means that I’m not here to show up in like a very specific way. So every book I read, I just like really identify with the characters and, you know, I’ll get to the end of the book and be like, that person was horrible, but I kind of understood them or I wanted to understood stand them more.

I think that’s why I also can read just like. Anything just like curious about people’s identities and you know, much more of an eclectic reader. And, and because of the open crown center, like anything catches my attention, you say something and I’m like often running down the rabbit hole. So. Okay. So we’re going to do our book club last.

Now we will get to March madness, totally excited about this, even though we don’t have a lot of books to talk about, but Gail has graciously allowed me to talk about one of her books that we both read. That one, we’ll start out with the fifth pairing, which is the plot against the idea of you, which I think is really interesting because these are two books.

Actually, maybe that’s not correct. I’m just going to say, what does the idea of you was again, so it was against assembly by Natasha brown, which did much better than I thought it would. But anyway, I thought that these two books had some commonalities, but I don’t think so because the plot is kind of like stealing someone’s life.

And the idea of you is a romance. Let’s see, this is me losing my train of thought, but I think what I was going to say is the idea of you by Robin Lee, when against assembly, by Natasha brown. And I was just thinking about that in terms of like what’s timely and what’s not. And I mean, the idea of you is definitely much more accessible than assembly by Natasha brown.

But I just think in terms of, I could see the idea of you advancing because forbidden bromance, or like. May December romances or inappropriate relationships that is just like always going to be here and be of interest, I think. Yeah, I think

[00:11:09] Gayle: that’s right.

[00:11:12] Nicole: Like I said, Gail was going to, let me talk about the two of these, because other than that, I would have very little to say during my show.

So the first one is the plot and you have to re it’s Jean Hoff correlates who wrote this. Like we had this discussion last week that. I feel like. She has written a book where the, the the author who has written this book is so dominant that I forget that it’s written by a woman, like just his personality and how he interacts with the world throughout the novel is, is dominant.

So this is a story about theft. You know, this author, he is, he’s written a book, you know, that did okay. And he’s expected to write this other book he’s like, has writer’s block. He’s like. You know, went from being an, a claim author to like slowly slipping down the ranks, where he ends up teaching at maybe a community college or something over the summer where he runs into a student who has the idea for this novel.

That is just fabulous. Like, no one’s ever heard of anything like this before it’s completely different and unique. And, you know, he can tell like, no matter who writes this book, this book is gonna be. Skyrocket to success. Like it doesn’t matter because this plot is so good. And so he eventually, he’s not even teaching at the community college.

I think he like is supposed to be the residence director at one of these writing programs. So he just feels like he’s just. Being diminished in the world and like doing cliche things that authors do when they can’t. Right. But he doesn’t hear anything about this book. You know, he doesn’t hear anything about his student’s book.

He’s wondering what happened. He thinks there’s just like no way that this book was not going to be a thing. So he does a little digging and he discovers that this guy has died. So he, he. Then decides that he is going to publish this book. And once he publishes this book, of course, like everything goes to hell because someone is just like, I know that you didn’t write this.

And it is all about how, you know, like how this, how he deals with this, how he changes it, the book as he predicted, it’s like a runaway success. He’s on Oprah, he’s everywhere, but he’s got someone who is like threatening to bring him down. So I think that this book is really timely just because I feel like we’re always encountering fraud, theft, some kind of like.

You know, what kind of crisis of identity would make you do something like this integrity, those things are just timeless and they come up time and time again, you know, like, especially, even just in the publishing industry with plagiarism scandals, or, you know, beef between authors. And so this is always going to be.

Gail. Do you think I did that justice?

[00:14:03] Gayle: Absolutely. Okay. Yeah, that was good.

[00:14:06] Nicole: So the idea of you by Robin Lee is about this middle aged woman, or I don’t, I don’t know. She’s like late thirties is that middle age now.

[00:14:16] Gayle: Maybe during the course of the book.

[00:14:18] Nicole: Right. Okay. So she has a teenage daughter. She’s dealing with her.

Ex-husband like the ex-husband is married to a woman. Who’s 10 years, his junior, and he’s kind of a flaky ex-husband, you know, like he’s supposed to be taking his daughter to this performance by like this boy band. Passes to get backstage or whatever. So he drops off his daughter. He’s like, look, I can’t make this.

I can’t do it. You do it, you deal with it. And he runs off and she’s got other stuff to do. You know, she did not expect to have her daughter at this time. It’s not expecting to like fly somewhere, I think. Are they in California? And the show is in Vegas. I’m not sure. I don’t remember, but you know, she doesn’t want to disappoint her daughter.

So she takes her daughter and his, her friends to this concert where, you know, it’s like one direction, boy band one direction like boy band is playing and they go backstage, they meet and, you know, sparks fly between her and her name is Lynn. So Lynn, so Lynn and she meets this guy Hayes. Who’s a member of the band and I believe he’s like 19 and they start this very elicit.

Affair sexy times all over the place. Like I think each chapter of this book is a location where, you know, they will eventually do it. So this causes a lot of friction when this relationship eventually comes out. And of course her husband is looking down on her, even though he is like, you know, completely irresponsible and married to someone who is much younger as well.

Her daughter of course, is having a very difficult time dealing with this because you know, this was one of her idols. This was a guy whose picture she had on her wall and her. You know, in a relationship with him. So there are a lot of questions. I feel like that come up in this novel about like, you know, our responsibilities to our family, what you’re allowed to do, you know, how women might have quite a very different shake on things in terms of being able to follow their hearts or date someone who’s quote, unquote inappropriate or too young.

And But it was interesting to see them connect. And I feel like it’s a very strong love story. I mean, to the fact that two people I know have cried at the end with the decisions that are made and it’s being made into a movie, like like I said before, lots of themes of just love and figuring it out and being able to have it all, like, you know what this woman is allowed to have.

[00:16:51] Gayle: This is a tough one. That’s a very tough call between those two books. I don’t know how I predict them coming out because those are both very good.

[00:16:59] Nicole: And now we don’t have to worry about it. Right,

[00:17:02] Gayle: right. We don’t have to make the decision you guys get to do. My next pairing is what comes after by Joanne Tompkins versus the nine lives of Rosa Pala Tano by Donna Freitas.

At first, I was like, what did these two books have in common? There’s trying to figure out, you know, how, how can I talk about them? But they really are both about parenting or not parenting as the case may be that what comes after is a family drama about a teenage killing one boy kills another boy.

This is revealed very early on. So it’s not as bad. And then kills himself. So you have a murder suicide of these two boys who have grown up together, and they’re now six seniors in high school. The story is really about how the parents of those two boys cope with the tragedy, you know, how do they move on and how they relate to each other?

So it is kind of a quiet book, but it’s not, there’s not a whole lot of suspense. I mean, the mystery of course is why did that happen? But it’s not, that’s not what drives it. It’s not like. Adrenaline type book where you’re dying to get to the end, to figure out what happened. It’s really more of a family drama, but it’s a very traditional linear story.

Whereas the nine lives of Rosa Positano is a book that’s told in nine splintered versions of the same plot, where you have a couple fighting over whether or not to have kids. When they got married, they had agreed. They weren’t going to have kids. Then the husband changes his mind and he’s pressuring his wife now.

To have a kid and she doesn’t want to. So the nine lives are nine different ways that that plays out. Do they stay together? Do they get divorced? Do they stay together and have a kid? Do they stay together and not have a kid and all sorts of permutations? And it’s a book about agency control, motherhood, parenthood, or lack thereof.

And it is told in a much more kind of creative way. Probably then what comes after, because it is told, like in this kind of sliding doors, alternate view structure, they’re very different. They’re both very engrossing. They raise questions about, you know, what does it mean to be a parent? And it’s also a book about lack of control and what happens when you have to contend.

Other people’s actions and how they impact you again, tough pairing here both really good. These are both books that I had put forward for the tournament. And I think this is also a close call. I will argue for nine lives, that it is very cleverly constructed and, and that alone is a very impressive feat, just the way she was able to do it.

And what comes after I will advocate that she, the author is a. Women experienced in the kind of family justice system. You know, she’s spent a lot of time working with families and kids and crime, and she really knows what she’s talking. I think that’s everything I have to say about both of them, again, very curious to see how this one comes out.

[00:19:51] Nicole: Okay. So before we go any further, let’s just reiterate the rules or what you should be judging by just cause I know last show we mentioned it, I think more at the end of the show, right. And like just only vaguely alluded to at the beginning. So for these books, as you’re considering them as much as possible, you know, put aside.

Like your personal knee-jerk oh my God. I love this book so much or I hated it or whatever. So what we’re more looking for is how the author approach the work, what we think that they were trying to do. And trying to say, if they were successful, is this a timely subject matter? You know, like, is this kind of a book that you read now and two seconds later, you forget about it or is this a book in five years that, you know, this would still be worthy of.

Recommendation and that the issues and the themes that the author is exploring are still things that are present and current in society. Gail, is there anything you would add to that? Nope, I think that’s right.

[00:20:50] Gayle: What were they trying to do? And did they succeed and will this stay with you? I think those are the three we usually talk

[00:20:56] Nicole: about.

Yeah. Like, will this be important in 15 years? Right. So next up our third pairing is this is how it always is against the secret lives of church. So I’ll start since Gail just finished talking. This is how it always is by Lori Frankel is about a family of are they five, I think. And they decide to have another child who is born clawed, but eventually becomes poppy.

Poppy likes to wear dresses and she is just very colorful and that’s how she wants to be portrayed. You know, like she’s just like this, this bright and happy younger. And in the beginning, it’s not so problematic for the community, but as poppy gets older, they, the family experiences like some things that just don’t work well in terms of when Poppy’s going to school and how she’s going to be addressed and how the community sees her.

So her family is very loving and supportive and protective, but instead of. Kind of working through these issues in the community community that they live in, they decide to uproot the family and move to the Pacific Northwest. And in terms of trying to be able to accommodate this child and her change and to let her be herself, like they make this decision and it doesn’t go as they hoped, you know And it causes lots of repercussions around the family.

Like, did they make the right decision? Did they take away their other kids’ agency in making this decision? I think when they move, one of their sons is in high school, but this is just like such a beautiful story about love and just like things not being perfect. You know, they have a transgender child and they want to be.

Supportive of her, but they don’t necessarily know how to do it. And they do it from this kind of naive place that, you know, love is just going to be enough for them. So this book is about discovering whether that is the case, how it affects the family, even some exploration of what they would have done differently, but how there is so much love and how they are committed to just doing the best they can for all the members of their family.

This is something that’s in the news a lot, you know, we hear. Transgender people, whether they’re being mis-gendered or at the hands of extreme violence and brutality, you know, their rights being trampled upon. But I think that this is something that families and communities are going to have to deal with.

You know, like this is not something that’s going away and we need to, you know, it’s like, it’s a natural thing that we have not accepted as such. And I think that, that these will be issues that the community will have to deal with for years to come. So I think this is a very. Timely, you know, subject.


[00:23:32] Gayle: up against that is the secret lives of church ladies by Desha Filyaw. This is a collection of stories, short stories about black women who are sort of facing some sort of a identity crisis in that they want to live an honest. Life about who they are that is often in conflict with what is expected of them either by their family, by society, by the church.

In that ways. I think actually there are some parallels to, this is how it always is because it’s about living honestly, and how to do that in a, in a brave and open way. It’s short stories versus what I remembered. This is how it always is to be a pretty lengthy novel. So. You know, pretty different format.

These are short stories that really pack a punch. They, you know, it was just sort of scanning through. I must’ve read this, I don’t know, five, three or four months ago. And I just was scanning through looking at the stories and they still come to mind really quickly. To me, they’re just beautifully written and I did this one on audio and the narrator is amazing.

I can still kind of hear her voice in my ears as I’m recalling these stories. Each one. Really sort of lives up to the promise of a short story in that you only get to see a small glimpse into someone’s life, but you, the kind of it, they hit at the crux of, you know, a at an inflection point or a time that is very integral for that.

Person’s kind of like personal identity or growth or development. It’s hard to. Talk too much about it without giving away a lot. Like, I don’t want to delve into any particular story too much because it would then reveal the little short story twist. And I don’t want to do that, but it’s just a beautifully written book.

I really liked it a lot. I think as far as our criteria, what was she trying to do? And did she succeed? The answer is definitely because she really captures these women at such a kind of raw and honest time for them. And it really did. You know, I’m not black, so I can’t speak to how accurately it kind of captures that experience.

But my guess is it is very accurate. And certainly as a white woman reading it, I feel like I learned a lot. You have to read this one.

[00:25:45] Nicole: It sounds amazing. It sounds like they have to do it on audio.

[00:25:48] Gayle: The audio is grade. That is the secret lives of church ladies by DCF.

[00:25:54] Nicole: Okay, so next up we are not like them against at the Wolf’s table.

So Gail, why didn’t you kick us off with this one?

[00:26:01] Gayle: Okay. We are not like them. I’ve talked about this a lot on the show. It is written by two women, one black and one white. And it is about. Two friends, one black and one white who, who have been friends since they were best friends, really, since they were little girls or, you know, elementary school kids.

And one of them is married to a white police officer in Philadelphia. And one of them is a newscaster and their friendship is tested. Severely when the police officer husband shoots an unarmed black teenager and they have to deal with how the fallout from that impacts them as friends. I mean, obviously it impacts them both professionally and personally and through their job because the newscaster is assigned to cover it.

And for the white woman, who’s pregnant, it’s really her relationship with her husband and, you know, his job. So his family and all of that, everything is impacted, but what’s, you know, most focused on is the relationship between the two women. You know, it covers a lot of impact of racism about how we talk to people about racism, how we talk to people across race about racism, assumptions that people bring to other people.

And you know, how this friendship gets tested over time. And, you know, will they sort of be able to see each other’s point of view? To the extent that they can save their friendship or are they going to be irrevocably separated because of the chasm that’s now between them. And joy to this book. I D I, I, as I was reading it, there were times I was frustrated with it because I felt like the treatment of the friendship at times felt too, I don’t know, stereotypical, like they were, each of them was kind of saying and doing things that I felt was very expected of them and sort of disappointing, like it was kind of knee jerk.

But I think as time went on and as I approached the end of the book, I started to appreciate it more and I felt that it. A little bit more complex. It wasn’t my favorite book of last year, but I’m definitely glad I read it. And I know that a lot of people really enjoyed it.

[00:28:15] Nicole: I think that these books are very similar in terms of the fact that they are issues that are tend to be interject or intergenerational in terms of dealing with like these big issues of racism and with, at the Wolf’s table, like the themes of the Holocaust, which is like persecution of people, how people’s interpersonal relationships are affected when one party in society is like undesirable in terms.

Even relating to them at the Wolf table is about follows a course. It’s like 10 women who are chosen from this small German town to go and be taste testers for Hitler’s food. So it’s very heavy in the fact that each time these women go to eat, you just don’t know what the expectation, you know, like they don’t know what, how this could affect their lives.

Will they be sick? Will they die? Because they have to eat this food to know that, you know, it’s safe for Hitler to eat this. And initially they come for breakfast and then I think they come back and they taste lunch and dinner. So they are getting a chance to go home and live their lives. But eventually they are sequestered together in dormitories.

And, you know, there are lots of secrets going back and forth between these women who are, who they’re involved with, like what their lives were like before they started on as these tasters, like, you know, are any of them in danger because there are secrets that they. There’s just a lot, you know, I can’t give away any, any more without like, just revealing the plot, like you said, for something else scale, just because the things that pop up and just, you know, you just never know who you’re dealing with.

Everyone’s coming from a different place. Like the main protagonist in this is someone who. Is married. Her husband is all fighting and she had been living in a big, big city in Germany. I believe it was like Berlin. And the only reason that she ends up here is because at, you know, with the war and her husband being away, she goes to live in this small village that her husband was from, and she’s living with his in-laws.

So, you know, she is doing her duties and going there, but she’s also under their watchful eye. So. A lot happens in this. I do think this is very timely in terms of women making difficult choices, you know, persecution, prejudice, how we deal as we have people who come from very different cultures and communities and are often thrown together.

I think that that’s always going to be like the through line of history. Like how can, how can we get along and how can. Survive when we’re often pitted against each other, or we feel like there’s a scarcity of resources or like there’s some kind of danger in our lives. That’s like keeping us from being able to live fully and to thrive.

I really like this book. I don’t read it a lot of war, world war two stories any more, just because I feel like I’m always looking for something that’s particular and special about the time point. Like we get a lot of, you know, like, Someone nursing someone back to health and they fall in love or whatever, but I love the different stories and I felt like this was like a really different perspective.

Yeah, it’s it’s and it’s kind of heavy too. Like some stuff happens, but for our next pairing this is the paper palace versus count the waste. So Gail is going to tell us, she’s going to give you some guidance on these books so that you can vote. Yeah.

[00:31:45] Gayle: So, okay. Paper palace versus count the ways. I don’t know if I’ve ever.

I have two books were more bad. Things happen than these two books. They’re full of. Whoa. I will start with the paper palace. It’s about a woman who lives or whose family has a summer house on the Cape. It’s kind of a ramshackle house. It’s not like a super fancy house, but it’s been their house for a long time.

And for this woman who has she’s in her forties and married with kids, this house represents, you know, her whole childhood and all kinds of things happened there, including the growth of her friendship with this boy who she is still close with. And there now. Adults. And they’ve had this relationship, this very, very intense, close relationship, and he’s kind of witnessed all the bad things that have happened to her family and happened with her mother.

And, you know, there’s just lots and lots of bad things that happen. And she’s now married. They are at the, the beach house. Everyone is there and it’s a summer. And the question is, is she going to sort of throw her marriage away and. Try to pursue something with this boy who now, man, that they’ve kind of always had this like simmering attraction intention or is she going to stay with her husband?

It all comes down to that decision. But to get to that decision, we have to learn all of the things that happened in their past to get them to this point. And you know, why are they so close, but why everything’s feels so tortured? And it’s really because like all kinds of bad things have happened. It’s a good, you know, immersive.

Sort of domestic drama with lots of. You know, tension and stuff happening. Count the ways by Joyce Maynard is also about a family, a family of five living in, I think, Massachusetts. And it’s about this marriage and the, you know, the marriage eventually. And, and so the mother moves out and it’s really just all about this family and it traces them over the years.

And also for them all kinds of bad things happen to everybody, but it is an extremely engaging and very difficult to put down. But both of those books are really hard to put down because you get just deep into these families and you feel a lot of empathy for everybody, especially the two women at the core of both books.

In some ways they’re kind of similar or very similar, I guess. You know, family dramas where bad stuff happens. I’m a huge Joyce Maynard fan. And this one did not disappoint me at all. I liked both of these books quite a bit. I put them both forward for this. And I think, I think that they reach a similar audience.

I think that the paper palace was possibly more widely read than count the ways. But I do think that people who have read count the ways to feel very passionately about.

[00:34:34] Nicole: I think our numbers reflect that because the paper palace got significantly more votes than what I put for the anatomy of desire and count.

The ways was split with Valentine. Yeah, I can see that. So just if you’re curious, the rundown, what we did for this round for the first round Gail and I seeded our own books. So we had to go from least favorite to most favorite in order to get our rankings. And then those books went against each other.

This time, the top seat at book went against the lowest seat at book. So the order of the books was number 10 was the paper palace. Number nine was we are not like them. Number eight. This is how it always is by Lori Frankel. Seven. What comes after. Six, the idea of you five was the plot. And then the nine lives of Rosina Positano came in at number four.

Number three was the secret lives of church. Ladies. Number two was at the Wolf’s table and number one was count the ways. So thank you so much for voting last time. You know, we’re calling on you again to vote and get us to what we’ll have. How will this work? Gail we’ll have five winners.

[00:35:40] Gayle: We will have five winners.

[00:35:43] Nicole: So I guess, whatever is the highest, see that book. Well, you know, maybe it will get

[00:35:47] Gayle: a bite or two or it’ll get a bite to the next round. Yeah. Right.

[00:35:51] Nicole: Okay. So exciting. Yeah. So the last thing that we wanted to get to this week, actually, I ha I had wanted to talk about inventing Ana, but I will save that because that’s a long Felix.

I could get long. Okay. Cause I wanted to compare the book to the show. They did a lot of different, there were a lot of differences with it and I raised my eyebrow at quite a few of them, but I wasn’t even gonna finish watching the series. I had kind of forgotten it, but my. You know, seeing her we’re going to the museum tomorrow and she’s like, you have to finish.

So that’s why I’m finishing. So I have thoughts about, you’ll have to remind me to like tell you about it next time. Okay. So we wanted to round up with our book club discussion when me something, and we only got to like, just describe our basic feelings about it last time. So I wanted to take the opportunity for this last, you know, few minutes we have of the show to get a little bit deeper into that, because we don’t want to like.

Give short shrift on our book club. So it was when me something by Kyle Lucia. Woo. And it is about this young woman, Willa who is basically just searching she’s a little bit aimless. She has she, I think she initially had a job. Was she waiting tables or was that a deli? It was some kind of like restaurant service job and she puts her hat in the ring for this job as a nanny.

You know, she’s told that they are going to be. Interviewing several candidates, like trying people out over the course of a number of weeks and that it might eventually become a live in position, you know, as for this very wealthy family. And eventually she does win, you know, get the job. So it is about her experiences working for this family and their daughter.

And also there’s lots of flashbacks just to Willa’s upbringing, because she is a mix of white and Asian and her parents have divorced and she like, feels like an outsider in both, both of her families. She’s white and think Chinese. Correct. I think we both enjoyed the book. I think the pace was just a little slow for me, but I do think that she did a really good job in terms of.

Like Willa, just the restlessness of the character. Like this is something that I’ve said many times before that I have a hard time, like reading about people who are indifferent. Hmm.

[00:38:10] Gayle: And passive.

[00:38:12] Nicole: Yeah. You know, she’s yeah, passive, I would think is the right word. She’s very reflective of her life. And she does not, a lot of times kind of say anything to anyone.

That is reflective of how she really feels like, you know, she has these opportunities where I really wish that she would have had a conversation with her father and just said to him like, Hey, you pay this other family attention. Like, I need some tension, I need something to write, but she kind of just lets those moments slip away.

But I also get that she’s really young and just like. How a lot of times you do let things slide, or you hope that people are going to Intuit your feelings. And I think as you get older, sometimes you realize that that’s not necessarily going to happen. Cause I feel like there’s also a lot of things with the family that she let slip by, which I thought was really one of the great things about this book, because there’s a lot of subtle racism that’s going on here.

Not always so subtle and not always so subtle, but there’s just like things that are going on that she. Has to deal with that she doesn’t necessarily voice to because you know, when you’re living with someone, it’s, it’s not an easy thing to just like, it’s not like you’re going into work and you just storm out one day and say, I’m not coming back.

Right. You literally have no place to live. If you do that.

[00:39:33] Gayle: Yeah, I think I found the passivity and the, sort of the inability for her to assert herself. I mean, obviously that’s a big part of what this book is about and how she ends up in this predicament where she feels so removed and separate and left out.

I mean, that’s a huge part of her identity and explains why she’s aimless and why she falls into opportunities rather than pursuing them both professional, romantic, whatever it is. But you know, it was definitely frustrate. As a character, I think just seeing how she just let things happen and she wouldn’t ever voice what she wanted.

And it was kind of understandable when she was just a girl, but as she got older, it was frustrating to see that she couldn’t overcome that even about the end of the book. She really couldn’t,

[00:40:15] Nicole: but it was one of those books. Like isn’t the frustration part of what makes it so good. Cause it’s accurate, you know, it’s like a lot of times you want people to be able to do those things, but it does take like whatever inner work or whatever review you have to do and just.

Asking for what you need, feeling like you deserve what you need. You know, I don’t think that it necessarily happens that quickly. I mean, part of reading a novel is like you do want life and those feelings to be reflected because it’s just like, you know, part of me who has been. Very young in a city, like trying to figure out what to do with herself really identifies with just her aimlessness and not being able to speak up or whatever.

Yeah. But then you get to a certain point and it’s just like, okay. So she’s like you said, everything that happens to her is kind of accidental or just because someone has offered it or if you know, like

[00:41:07] Gayle: circumstance or

[00:41:08] Nicole: right. Yeah. Like, oh, so, you know, why don’t you apply for this? Even if it’s not anything that she necessarily would have.

[00:41:16] Gayle: Right. There are a few scenes that really stuck out to me though, that I thought she did such a great job with. And one of them is towards the end of the book. She has lunch with her, the girl that she’s taken care of, she’s a nanny. And then her half sister who’s come into town. Who’s now, you know, a student and more of an adult and they sit down and have lunch.

And she, first of all, she sees her sister, as you know, rather than. Kind of somebody to resent the sister sort of become somebody that she could maybe become friends with and she could you know, actually have a relationship with and feel connected to and feel a part of. She also sees that her sister, you know, shares the same.

Frustrations with her father that maybe some of the stuff that her father does is not personal to her, but that’s just how the father is. And there are times when, you know, she she’s frustrated because she texts her father and he never writes back. And then her sister says, oh yeah, he does that to me all the time.

And she’s so surprised. Well, let’s have surprise. Cause she’s like, oh, You know, that’s, that’s him. That’s not just him and me. I thought that was really well done. The scene scenes in the apartment where she’s kind of trying on her employer’s clothes or perfume or makeup or cosmetics, you could kind of picture this apartment and her being there alone and, and, you know, sort of secretly trying on this other life to see how it fits in how she looks.

I just thought that that some of that stuff was handled really nicely. Even

[00:42:44] Nicole: too. I think I was always touched by, you know, she’s just like, not honest in terms of. She’s always trying to figure out who to be in order to be whatever it is that someone else needs. So, you know, when she said that, yeah. You know, I cook or whatever, and then you see her trying to chop things the right way and prepare these meals for the daughter who of course is so particular and is at what does she ate?

She’s like this budding culinary mentor. So yeah, the lanes that she would go to. So I guess in that way, if, you know, if we think about it in terms of what our criteria are for our March madness picks, like, what does the author set out to do? Does she succeed? So there’s a lot of things that she’s just.

When she tries to get the job, she’s not honest. And then like, she’s constantly just trying to keep up in terms of chopping in terms of cooking the right way. And then, you know, she’ll break, she’ll break something or whatever. So she’s just doing her best. So on the one hand, she’s trying on like secretly she’s trying on the mother’s identity and her makeup and her clothing, but then just more out in the open, we see her trying and failing to do all of these things that come so easily in this family.

Yeah. It kind of broke my heart when they wanted to make her take Mandarin lessons and then she had to pay for her. Well, that wasn’t really what she wanted to do.

[00:44:13] Gayle: That’s funny. I see that a different way. I see that they wanted her to take Mandarin with the, with the girl, but in order for her to catch up, she had to pay for some of her own lessons.

And I actually thought that she seemed like, well, I’m not spending my money on anything else. I don’t paying for rent. So I actually thought she seemed excited about it. But then I was frustrated because she didn’t follow through that when, when those free lessons ended. I mean, the, the P the, the personal one-on-one lessons ended, and she was then going with the girl bees, you, but then when the girl decided to go to group lessons or something, and it things changed, she just, she never pursued it.

She never continued, even though she knew that it would be some way to have a connection to her.

[00:44:53] Nicole: Yeah, I don’t see it that way at all. I mean, I just can’t imagine saying, oh, Hey, you should take lessons too, to practice with our daughter to make her better, but you should pay for this, you know, it’s just like, clearly they wanted someone who could interact with their daughter or have more than a tutor.

I just thought like, More like a taking advantage thing and she didn’t seem like she particularly wanted to do it, but it was kind of like a shrug or I think it’s different when your employer asks you to do something like that. And as dictating, cause I don’t know that she felt like she could say no.

[00:45:28] Gayle: Yeah. Well that’s, that’s probably true,

[00:45:30] Nicole: but yeah. So those are my thoughts on when may something.

[00:45:35] Gayle: Yeah, it’s been a few weeks since I read it and I have to say. Been slipping. Yeah. It’s a bit ephemeral not to say I didn’t like it or not glad I read it, but I just, it’s not, it hasn’t left a huge mark on me.

[00:45:50] Nicole: I think I think of it a little bit, but I do think that in the coming months, like if you asked me six months from now, I would probably struggle.

You know, like you said, it’s not something that’s going to be indelible. Yeah. Thank you for listening. That has been our show. We’re going to have a couple of things for you on the website. So please go by and remember to vote for the March madness picks to see what’s going to advance to the next level.

Gail is going to be posting two choices for the book clubs, so that we can vote for our next book club book. And we can announce that at the next show. And then lastly, I am offering free human design. If this feels, if you feel like this is something that you might be interested in and you want to talk to me about and explore, and I can read your chart.

So I’m doing that April and may. The code will be readerly. And, you know, you can sign up as long as their slots left. So all of that information will be on our blog, in the blog posts for this episode. That’s going to go up that it goes up Thursday. So when you get to hear it, you’ll be able to go there immediately and vote for all those things.

And until next time happy reading.

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