New in Paperback
In this episode, Nicole and Gayle share a short list of books recently released (or soon to be) on paperback.
As always you can find below the whole booklist they run through during the episode:
Spare by Prince Harry | Amazon | Bookshop
Zorrie by Laird Hunt | Amazon | Bookshop
Halsey Street by Naima Coster | Amazon | Bookshop
What Happened to Ruthy Ramirez by Claire Jimenez | Amazon | Bookshop
Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson | Amazon | Bookshop
Honor by Thrity Umrigar | Amazon | Bookshop
Vladimir by Julia May Jonas | Amazon | Bookshop
Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh | Amazon | Bookshop
The Swimmers by Julie Otzuka | Amazon | Bookshop
Like a Sister by Kellye Garrett | Amazon | Bookshop
The Golden Couple by Sarah Pekkanen | Amazon | Bookshop
Groundskeeping by Lee Cole | Amazon | Bookshop
Fake by Erica Katz | Amazon | Bookshop
Joan Is Okay by Weike Wang | 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 Readerly Report. Today Gale and I are here with some exciting paperbacks that we are looking forward to sharing. We usually pick books that we have read before and are excited to see them in another format and sometimes. Well, I know sometimes for me I pick books that I didn’t quite get to in hardcover.
So I’m excited to get that prompt that I should read them again. So that’s gonna be our show. Plus of course, talking a little bit about what we’ve been reading. So Gail, why don’t you kick us off?
[00:00:36] Gayle: Sure. Okay. So since we last talked, I’m still giving spare the Prince Harry memoir. I would say I’m. Two-thirds of the way there. I think he’s gonna meet Megan soon. So I’m definitely getting toward the more recent part of his life. I’m still really enjoying it and I’ll give a full report on it when I finish.
The other book that I read and finished is called Zuri by Laird Hunt. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that. I think it came out maybe two years ago. And it’s kind of this old-fashioned book about a woman. Growing up, like in the Depression I think is when she’s born somewhere in the Midwest, Illinois.
And she’s kind of orphaned cuz her parents die and then she moves in with an aunt who doesn’t treat her well. And it’s just about how she kind of makes her way through life and through the decades. It’s just sort of one of those quiet novels has what I think is a really old-fashioned feel to it. It’s written in sort of, Old-fashioned, very literary style.
It’s, you know, one of those like quiet stories about a simple life, but, but very compelling and engrossing. It, it’s not very long for some reason it took me a long time to get through it. Maybe it was, the language just felt so formal and it one of, one of those books also where you have to read really carefully cuz big things happen.
And maybe dispensed within a sentence or two. So if you’re not paying really good attention, you might miss something very, you know, major plot points, something big that happens. But I enjoyed it. It was, you know, just a little bit of a A sort of dive diversion or divergence from a lot of the contemporary fiction that I read, even though it’s written, it’s current and written, you know, it’s not like an old book or anything, but it’s just an old fashioned book.
So I like that one a lot. And now I’m sort of flailing around trying to pick my next read, which is always a fun, a fun thing to be. I love being in that state where you’re like, what’s next? What? . So I have a couple of candidates and then we’ll see. Next time I’ll report back on what I picked.
[00:02:44] Nicole: This is so interesting because I feel like I’ve heard a lot about his books and I just looked up the profile in good reads and realized that this is a male author and have danced around it and not have read anything. I feel like I have in. the house in the dark of the woods on my shelf, and it seems like he has, you know, or flirts with horror, I guess in like, but like regular horror, , you know, or more like real life horror, psychological, or you know, people who go missing or, yeah.
[00:03:19] Gayle: That’s interesting. I didn’t really do much research on him. For some reason, I’ve read about Zuri. Somewhere, I don’t even remember where, and I put it on hold and it came in and I read it. So it, I didn’t, I didn’t delve into like his backlist or anything like this. Yeah. I do think he’s a professor at Brown.
I think he teaches in writing. But I didn’t know anything. That’s so interesting. There’s literally nothing who focused at all in Zuri. It’s very internal, quiet. I mean, it’s about like life on a farm, so there’s nothing that would even, you know, verge on that. It’s funny, I’m looking at
[00:04:01] Nicole: His background, His bio?
[00:04:03] Gayle: well, I’m looking at how people have shelved his books on
[00:04:06] Nicole: Mm-hmm.
[00:04:07] Gayle: reads and there’s horror paranormal, thriller.
[00:04:12] Nicole: Yeah.
[00:04:13] Gayle: civil war.
[00:04:14] Nicole: When you said that you were reading him, it was like, oh, okay. Gail
[00:04:19] Gayle: that’s so interesting. Yeah. Z is definitely not
[00:04:21] Nicole: you found the one book
[00:04:23] Gayle: Yes, exactly. Exactly. I would look at this. He edited a collection called American Midnight Tales of the Dark.
[00:04:34] Nicole: Hmm.
[00:04:34] Gayle: by these stories by Edgar Allen Poe and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Yeah. See that he’s got this old-fashioned feel like those writers.
But the one I read is definitely not horror at all.
[00:04:46] Nicole: So interesting. Well, I’ll leave it to you to find the one. So you said you’re considering a few more, like just what?
[00:04:54] Gayle: Yeah. Well, we have a book club book that I need to read called The Net Beneath Us by, I think [00:05:00] it’s Carol Dunbar. I think that’s the name of it. that’s our next book, club book. Then I had a library book that I started called The Old Place. I think it’s by Bobby Finger. And I just, you know, like within the first 20 pages, you can tell if a writing style is gonna work for you.
I just like, I had a hard time getting through the first 20 pages. Not that it was bad, I just, I kept getting confused as to who was talking and there was something about the writing and I said to myself, you know, why? don’t force this. Like it’s just a library book. Like just return it. So I, I don’t, you know, I don’t know why I feel like sometimes if I’ve committed beyond page one, then I like, I owe it to that book or author to finish it.
And I need to shake that. Because
[00:05:44] Nicole: to say, you gotta shake that off.
[00:05:46] Gayle: yeah, because what happens is then I, I force myself through it and I, and then I don’t pick up the book and then I get in reading Rut and then I get behind and then I’m annoyed and then I. , you know, frustrated. So I just said, so what if other people have liked this book?
If it’s not working for me, like just pater it. So that’s what I did.
[00:06:06] Nicole: ah, that.
[00:06:06] Gayle: But that was just last night. So, yeah. What are you reading?
[00:06:12] Nicole: I feel like the question is, what am I not reading because I’m reading a little bit of everything. I picked up this book by Naima Costa called Halsey Street Street and is about this young woman who is. she’s, when we meet her, she’s living in Pittsburgh, you know, after she’s dropped out of art school and she’s working at a bar, her father is kind of having some health issues.
She’s estranged for her mother who’s gone back to live in the Dominican Republic. And it, you know, gets to the point where she needs to go home to take care of her father, or at least be. in the neighborhood. You know, they live in Brooklyn and you know, on his birthday he takes a fall outside a bar and she needs to, she says she needs to be in the area.
So she goes back there, but she moves into the attic apartment of an affluent white couple who is living in the neighborhood in an increasingly gentrified Brooklyn. So I think it’s about her life and how she becomes enmeshed in the Harper’s lives and how she fits into their family and making a life there, but also her mother decides that she wants to get back in contact and pursue a relationship.
So it’s really good so far. Like I’m, I’m enjoying it and it was just one of these books that caught my eye started, you know how you read a couple of pages and, and I was. Really drawn to the story. So, and I like that she has other books that are available cause I’m really enjoying this one.
[00:07:49] Gayle: Oh, good.
[00:07:49] Nicole: And then the other book that I’m reading, I had mentioned last week is What happened to Ruthie Ramirez by Claire Himenez.
And it’s one that’s gonna be coming out in March. So it’s a little bit of a pre-read, but it’s also really good. It is about these two sisters. a mother who are living in Staten Island, you know, so it’s the story of Jessica and Nina and Dolores, their mother and their reaction to their sister went missing when she was 13 years old.
Ruthie, you know, Ruthie Ramirez of the title, and they’re just not sure what happened to her. Like if she met foul play, if she actually ran away from home. And then this woman appears on a reality show and she looks a lot like their sister. So then it is all about, you know, what their lives have been like in the years that she’s been missing.
And also, you know, trying to figure. , whether this is their sister, you know, each of them takes a different approach and, you know, has, has progressed in their lives in different ways. You know, they’re now in their early to mid twenties and starting families of their own. You know, the, the mom has lost her husband, you know, they’ve lost their father.
So a lot has gone on since Ruthie has disappeared. And of course there are a lot of feelings if it turns out that she in fact did run away and is now on this reality. and so they decide to go and confront her . you know, even though it kind, it has like a sad premise and I’m not through it. Like I don’t know whether it’s going to air in tragedy, if this is really ruthy, why she decided to run. there’s like, even though it has this, these darker undertones, there’s like a lot of humor in the story that is just built in who these women are. You know, it’s not, not like it’s trying to be funny, which I really appreciate.
[00:09:53] Gayle: There’s a book out that I keep thinking you would like. Have you heard of this book called Everyone in My Family has [00:10:00] Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson.
[00:10:02] Nicole: No.
[00:10:04] Gayle: It’s a mystery and I think it’s one of these mysteries where he, the author, like, is trying to do like a send up of mystery tropes. You know, I don’t read a lot of mysteries, but I’ve heard this described, I think I heard it on, maybe on Sarah’s podcast, but it just sounds like it would be up your.
[00:10:26] Nicole: Oh, I’m gonna, I’m gonna look that up. I mean, even the title has me intrigued.
[00:10:31] Gayle: Mm-hmm.
[00:10:32] Nicole: did you,
[00:10:33] Gayle: came out.
[00:10:34] Nicole: did you watch that Netflix show with Kristen Bell? You know, it was like the woman across the street, down the road. I can’t, I can never remember the title. You didn’t
[00:10:44] Gayle: No.
[00:10:45] Nicole: It was so over the top, but such a send up of everything like
[00:10:49] Gayle: Right, right. Yeah. So this one, this one, I don’t know if it’s like supposed to be a se. Let’s see. It’s
[00:10:55] Nicole: Like it might be more mystery, but not quite so light.
[00:11:01] Gayle: yeah, it’s like, I guess it’s called like a meta mystery, like it’s a clever winking story that not This is from somebody’s Good Reads review, a clever winking story that nods to all the tropes of the genre. So, I don’t know, like I think everyone has killed someone, but probably they’ve all, you know, done it in a different way for different motives or something.
[00:11:23] Nicole: Right.
[00:11:23] Gayle: This just seems like it would, that, would, that you would like it.
[00:11:26] Nicole: Yeah. I just, I wrote that down. I’m gonna check that
[00:11:29] Gayle: Good. Okay. We have not talked about the Oscars. The nominations came out last week and there’s a book. the basis for one of the adapted screenplays called Women Talking by Miriam Twos
[00:11:44] Nicole: Yep. Which we talked about a lot on this show in terms of something, I know it was something I wanted to read just because the premise is just so, I mean it’s, it’s based on a true story,
[00:11:54] Gayle: Right.
[00:11:55] Nicole: but it’s such a like wild story.
[00:11:59] Gayle: Yeah. I’m gonna try to read that before I see the movie and then both of those before the Oscars,
[00:12:06] Nicole: Why didn’t you tell us what it was?
[00:12:08] Gayle: Yeah, so it’s about this group of, it’s a very religious group of people living in isolation in, somewhere in South America, I wanna say. It’s like Brazil or Argentina or something.
And they live in a, you know, it’s a highly religious community, and. The women of the community figure out that at night when they’re asleep, they’re being drugged by the men and raped. And so they start to figure out what’s going on and they have to decide what are they gonna do about it. Are they going to confront the men?
Are they gonna leave? Like are they gonna punish them? Are they gonna attack them? What are they gonna do? And so the women talking of the title is literally the women of this community. Talking through what their plan is gonna be, and it was nominated for Best picture and also nominated for best adapted screenplay.
It was adapted and or directed by Sarah Polly. I’m not sure if she did the a who did the actual adaptation, but I just, I don’t know. I’ve been really wanting to read that for a long time, and so now I’ve got like a little bit of a deadline, so I’m gonna, I’m gonna try to slot that in.
[00:13:15] Nicole: It’s not that long. I feel like
[00:13:18] Gayle: Yeah,
[00:13:18] Nicole: I don’t think it’s that long.
[00:13:20] Gayle: Yeah.
[00:13:20] Nicole: Were, was there anything else that was interesting in the Oscar?
[00:13:24] Gayle: That’s a great question. Let me pull up the ballot. I’ve got the ballot right here cuz I do an Oscar poll. I mean an Oscar pool. Adapted screenplay was all quiet on the Western front, which I believe is a classic glass, onion and knives app mystery, which I was surprised to learn, was adapted from something. Living Top Gun Maverick and women talking, what a strange group that is.
[00:13:48] Nicole: Huh.
[00:13:48] Gayle: So yeah, so not, not much, you know, really standing out on the
[00:13:57] Nicole: Literary book front.
[00:13:59] Gayle: Yeah. Not so much. Best picture nominees are not really terribly literary in any way other than women talking,
[00:14:08] Nicole: but did you
like any of them? Ha. I mean, is there anything that is standing out to you?
[00:14:14] Gayle: Mm, I saw the band. She’s of Inna Sharon, which was very good. Super, super dark. Super. It’s built as a comedy. It’s really not a comedy. There are comedic moments in it, and it’s beautifully written. I loved the screenplay, but it was definitely not a it was not a comedy. It was had a lot of real darkness to it.
I saw the Fable Men’s, which is the semi autobiographical movie by Steven Spielberg, and I thought it was really bad,
[00:14:41] Nicole: Oh,
[00:14:42] Gayle: I don’t recommend that movie. Yeah, I just did not like that. Have not seen Top Gun, which I need to see. I have not seen tar, which is the best picture nominee about a woman conductor by Kate, with Kate Blanchett. Did you hear about this [00:15:00] movie called To Leslie and the controversy around the best actress nomination it received?
Anything about this? So there’s. British actress named Andrea Riseborough, and she was in a small indie movie called Toles. And the way the Oscars work is that for the categories other than best picture, the members of the academy who are.
Part of that particular category are the ones who vote for it. So actors vote for actors, directors, vote for directors, screenwriters, vote for screenwriters, et cetera. So she was in this, this movie that not a lot of people saw, but a bunch of a-list actresses like Jennifer Aniston and a couple of other ones, I can’t remember who.
They saw this movie and I don’t know if they were sort of like urged to do this. Persuaded or what, but a bunch of a-list actresses started tweeting and posting about this performance by this woman to les this wo this movie to Leslie by a woman named Andrea Riseborough. And it was kind of a last minute, like viral like, or I guess organic campaign right before the nominations were announced, or I guess before the voting closed. And she got nominated and she like edged out people who were in, sorry.
[00:16:22] Nicole: Tom
[00:16:22] Gayle: knew that was gonna happen, Dan. Okay. As soon as he realizes it’s Dan, I’ll stop barking. Okay. She edged out people who were in much more mainstream movies, who were, you know, had huge marketing campaigns behind them from big studios, and she got the nomination.
And so there was kind of a discussion about like, was this fair? Like, You know, is it fair that all it takes is a couple of well-placed posts and tweets by. , you know, influential people. Then there was a discussion that, like, it sort of became like an in-group thing to have actually seen the movie like if, if you were sort of in the know, if you’d seen the movie.
And so the posting about it, there was like a, a theory that they weren’t necessarily posting to support the actress, or not entirely to support the actress, but there was also this sort of like social currency that came with being. you know,
having gotten the screener and being Able to write, having seen the movie.
So I watched it cuz I was really curious about it. And she, it was great. Like, she’s really, really good and she deserves, definitely deserves a nomination. And, you know, I’m, I’m glad I saw it and, but it’s just been an interesting little wrinkle and, you know, there’s always gotta be some like Oscar controversy.
So that was, that was, this year’s is about this nomination for Andrea Rise. So I recommended, I think I watched it on Amazon Prime.
[00:17:42] Nicole: Oh, okay.
[00:17:44] Gayle: Yeah.
[00:17:44] Nicole: I never think of, I forget about the streamers for Oscar,
[00:17:49] Gayle: Oh
[00:17:49] Nicole: so much has changed in that way.
[00:17:52] Gayle: yeah, like you can probably watch almost everything. I, women talking apparently is not out on streaming yet, but I think it will be. I’m hoping it will be before the Oscars. So yeah, you can do all of this from your couch,
[00:18:06] Nicole: All right, so paperbacks.
[00:18:10] Gayle: Paperbacks. Yeah, so we’re looking at paperbacks that came out. I did sort of the, most of the ones I have are from January and February. I did not find a lot this time. Like I found it was hard for me to come up with ones that I thought were. Ones I wanted to recommend, and of the, I only have five, and of those I’ve read three and two are on my tbr.
Like you said, they missed them the first time around.
[00:18:37] Nicole: Right. Okay. Yeah. This is, I have about four or five, and similarly there are ones I will talk about. I don’t know. I didn’t feel like I had a lot of strong paperbacks though to talk about.
[00:18:56] Gayle: Yeah. Maybe because this is a slow time of year, although the, there’s a lot of great winter books out right now. I don’t know, maybe paperbacks are more of a summer thing, spring summer, because they know people are traveling and
[00:19:11] Nicole: Maybe. Maybe a lot more come out then. Yeah. Cuz I feel like in the summer months or even later in the spring, there’s a ton of stuff and this wasn’t a lot. So the first one I will start off with is honor by three tk. It actually came out. Probably mid-October, November, so even last week or, or when I talked about this book, you would’ve been able to get it on paper back, and that is one of the stronger ones that I recommend.
I really liked this book. Like I said, there was a little bit of a romance element that. I don’t know. I mean, I guess it could happen. It was just like one of those things that I, that wasn’t what sold me on the book. It was just much more about the meat of the story, which is about a Hindu woman who marries a Muslim man, and then [00:20:00] he is basically sacrificed, they set the place on fire.
She’s badly burned. He’s killed, and she decides to bring a case against, you know, this community. The men in, in her. Her brothers, her two brothers were responsible and also one of the community leaders in their village. You know, it’s like a country village, miles outside of Mumbai. So, . And of course there is a reporter who has come to do some investigating of the story.
She gets really close to the case and she has something in her past that she’s running from because she used to live in Mumbai and there’s something that made her family leave when she was 13. And it’s kind of like excavating the history there and her complicated feelings about her home country of India.
So if I, I really like 3D Ogar. I think she does a good job of telling these complicated stories. She, you know, tells a variety of them. I feel like she kind of just tackles different permutations of, you know, family troubles. Like whether it’s with adoption or, you know, in this case an honor killing.
She always does. She’s really readable and she does a good job with her subject.
[00:21:22] Gayle: I’m trying to remember which 3D Ogar book I read. There was one like several years ago, and I know she’s been a big, you know, you’ve been a big fan of hers for a long time, and I always have her books like on in Sight, but I just, they’re heavy, you know, and I don’t always, like, I, I find, I feel like I’m always like, oh, I’ll read that later. Like it’s, you know, it’s, it’s daunting a little bit.
[00:21:49] Nicole: I think the first one that she read. Did you read The Space Between Us or The Story Hour
[00:21:54] Gayle: Story hour. That’s the one I read.
[00:21:57] Nicole: okay? Yeah, I think I, how’d you like the story Hour? You liked it?
[00:22:02] Gayle: Looking at my review, this was from 2014, so it’s been a while. I said I was disappointed by it cuz I found it to be a little shallow. Like it was a little simplified. I know it was about these two women who. Get involved in each other’s lives. And one is like in this marriage, an unhappy marriage and one is a therapist.
And I think the, the, I think therapist ends up treating her. So I don’t know. I, I didn’t love it, but there, there’s space between us. I think I’ve wanted to read, but I don’t, I don’t think I ever got to it.
[00:22:37] Nicole: There’s another book, and it’s not by her that I wonder, someone who writes sim similarly. I read, I wrote, I I read everybody’s son by her, which I, which I liked as well. I gave it four outta five stars. , and that’s the one about the white couple who adopts the black child and, and the father, the adoptive father is a judge.
And, you know, kind of like what has he done in able to, in order to keep this, you know, boy from his family and, and whether it’s right or not. So I think that she does try to take on complex issues. I can see how sometimes you might think. . I could see how some of them could be sh shallow because I guess you can’t go deep with everything.
But I feel like the ones I’ve read, she’s done a good job with.
[00:23:22] Gayle: Mm-hmm.
[00:23:26] Nicole: Okay.
[00:23:26] Gayle: Okay, so my first paperback is when I have read, and this is Vladimir by Julia May Jonas. And this was a controversial book that came out two years ago, I believe. And it also had a controversial cover, and I’m curious to know whether they’re gonna keep the cover for the paperback or what the paperbacks gonna look like.
Actually, it’s already out. It came out on the 31st, or that’s today. So I guess I could look it up and see if they kept the if they kept the cover. But this is a book about a small college in New England, and there’s a couple that’s married that are both professors in the English department and the husband has been it, it is the husband.
I would say he’s been accused, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t deny it. The husband has been revealed as having had a relationship, an inappropriate relationship with one of his students, a consensual relationship. And so he’s on administrative leave from this English department and his wife, who also teaches in the department, is dealing with like her husband, and she basically knew about it.
And it seems like they had that kind of marriage, like a don’t ask, don’t tell type of marriage. but she’s very just kind of disgusted and frustrated with him and this young author young, yeah, young author comes to the school and for like a guest professor slot. And the woman, that professor becomes obsessed with him.
So he’s younger than she is, attractive and has like a young hot wife. [00:25:00] Who’s also a profe. She’s also working, and I forgot, she’s not in Acade academia, but she’s kind of like hovering around. And so it’s all about this obsession that the author has with this guy and the kind of lengths that this obsession goes it’s not the most portrayal of older women.
And I think that was one of the major controversies about this book is that she’s, you know, she becomes obsessed with him and. There’s also, like the author is much younger and how could she have gotten in the head of you know, 60 or 50 something year old woman? And so there was like controversy over that.
The cover is this very, like, this man wearing kind of like a, like a velvet jacket and shorts, like the, this sort of looks like sleepwear, but he has, he’s completely bare chested, so,
[00:25:53] Nicole: And what are we trying to figure out? Didn’t you figure out that the covers were different depending on the audiobook or the,
[00:25:59] Gayle: Well, the audio book is square and the book is rectangular, so there’s
[00:26:05] Nicole: Cut
[00:26:06] Gayle: it just gets cut. off.
Yeah. I don’t know if it was intentional, but you can see a different view of him in the in the, in the cover of the paper, of the book. It, you don’t see that they’re short. I mean, it doesn’t really matter.
And the audiobook is just edited differently. Okay. So I’m looking at the paperback cover right now. Oh, so interesting. The , the paperback cover is the same green as his clothes. It’s just corduroy. So all you see is, it’d be like as if you took his shirt or his jacket or something and you did an extreme closeup, and all you see is the material.
You can’t tell there’s a person, but they kept the same emerald green. That’s really interesting. So they must have really gotten pushback, but yet they wanted like some sort of a nod to the original cover. So, kind of interesting. Anyway, I actually really liked this book. I thought it was darkly funny.
I, you know, I, it. You know, whatever’s gonna happen, it’s not gonna end well. And it’s you kind of getting engrossed in this story. And I, I actually liked it quite a bit, so I understand the controversy, I understand the complaints people had about it, but I thought it was good. So if you were intrigued by this one and turned off by the cover, get the paper back because you can avoid the like, semi-naked man on the cover.
[00:27:36] Nicole: Okay, so my next book is Mercy Street by Jennifer Haig. . Gail and I discussed this one on the show. We had a book club about it. This is the one that is about a women’s clinic in Mercy Street in Boston. And so it’s about this woman Claudia, who counsels patients there, and we delve a lot into her life and her upbringing and what brought her to.
working at Mercy Street, and then it follows a couple of different characters. There is Timmy, who is her drug dealer. You know, she smokes a lot of pot just because of what she sees at work each day. That is her release. And then it also follows an anonymous man who. Stands outside of the clinic. And then there’s like this mysterious man who is kind of like pulling the strings of people who are camping outside of the clinic and.
of course, all of these characters over the course of the novel Converge and you know, you, you recognize their relationships to each other. Things that may not have been apparent as you are first, beginning to read it, but it all comes to ahead. And this one, I feel like. it is such a nuanced portrayal of of a women’s clinic and, you know, that does abortions and like all of the different rules around like when you can have an abortion and when you get sent somewhere else, and plus these other shadow companies that, you know, mimic abortion.
Center so that they can delay women, women’s termination of their pregnancies until it’s like impossible. And it came out at such a time, you know I think the original came out probably in January or February of last year, right before the, you know, Roe versus Wade was reconsidered and overturned with the Dobbs decision.
So it came out at such an interesting time. I think my only complaint about this is it gets a little bogged down in some minutiae, and some of the characters, the male characters seem to be interchangeable or you know, like have similar upbringing. So sometimes I didn’t feel like they were as [00:30:00] distinct, but, but there was also a lot about it that I really enjoyed and.
Did you have anything to add on this one?
[00:30:10] Gayle: No, I think that’s a totally fair assessment of it. It was, it was hard sometimes to figure out which chapter we were in, like who, who was the chapter about, because the characters were a little interchangeable. But I think in the end though, the sort of a cumulative effect of the book was very powerful and like, Like you said, extremely timely.
[00:30:35] Nicole: So what do you have up next?
[00:30:37] Gayle: Okay, so my next one I have not yet read but I would really like to read and it is the Swimmers by Julie Otsuka. She wrote some other books that I’ve read in the past, like when the Emperor was Divine and some other, there was another one whose name is escaping me, but I’m really, really good writing, very spare short. really pack a punch. And the swimmers is about a group of people who swim at a public pool regularly in this community that they’ve built around the swimming and how important the exercise, the role of this exercise is playing in their lives. And then the pool, I believe they’ve discover a crack in the pool and it has to be repaired.
So they’re without this community and this outlet that they are so dependent on. And one of the characters. I believe is starting to experience dimension. So I think it’s about aging and connection and it’s supposed to be really sad, but really good. And I’ve seen this book mentioned in lots of year best of lists and things, and I just I don’t know.
I really wanted to get to it last year. So that came out in paperback on the 24th of.
[00:31:53] Nicole: So the rest of the paperbacks that I have, I feel like they’re not strong. I’d be telling you about them because I read them and I didn’t have like much of an, you know, they were not very memorable for me.
[00:32:05] Gayle: Mm-hmm.
[00:32:06] Nicole: So I feel like I just wanna skip them.
[00:32:08] Gayle: Well, why don’t you mention them? I have a couple like that. I have. Two like that, and then one I didn’t read, so
[00:32:16] Nicole: Okay, well, sim similar, so I have like a sister by Kelly Garrett. It is about this young woman who loses her sister. Her sister is celebrating her birthday party. Her sister is an influencer just waiting to let this pass.
[00:32:37] Gayle: Okay.
[00:32:43] Nicole: Okay, so her sister is an influencer who is out at her birthday party and then she is found dead in the Bronx. It takes place in New York. And you know, the surviving sister is wondering why in the world she was up in the Bronx. And even though they are estranged, she decides that she wants to get to the bottom of her sister’s death.
She feels. Something does not add up. She knows that her sister would never be in that area and their father is a record label mogul. So it’s a lot about, you know, whether his ties to the community, like whether his ties had anything to do with his daughter being killed because he’s had like a rivalry going on with some other record label.
Someone who he used to work with and you. , the dead sister might have been on drugs, but just she’s examining a lot of different avenues that might have led to her sister being in this unlikely place and ending up dead. This is based, I feel like it’s loosely based on a case that I vaguely remember.
It was like, so a record producer’s daughter, a young black woman, was found dead and it turned out that she was pregnant and she was found dead under a bridge in the Bronx. And it may have been like a drug situation gone wrong. If so, it feels like this story is kind of loosely based on that. It was okay, but I can’t say that I, like when I think back on it, I read it, but it was not, I don’t think I read it very quickly and.
I don’t, I just wasn’t left with a lot after reading it. It was okay.
[00:34:22] Gayle: Okay.
[00:34:25] Nicole: And then I’ll just say my other one like that was fine. Me by a faberg. This one is about a woman who was in an accident. She was found in an overturned vehicle, like, I don’t know, 10, 15 years before. She never finds out who she is, but this small town in New Jersey kind of. takes her in even though she doesn’t have any clue about who she is.
And she, she forms this friendship with a woman who lives there and she finally decides that she wants to spread her wings a little and branch out. And so then she takes [00:35:00] a job as an assistant to a realtor, but then she turns up missing. So it’s all about finding her and finding out what the story was and why she has gone missing.
You know, it was like one of those books that I read at the time. I’m sure it was fine, it was enjoyable, but I just really don’t remember that much about it. And of AFA Burke’s work, as I look at some of the reviews on this, it’s like, it’s middle of the road, it’s like three and a half stars.
So I will save my
I will save the one that I didn’t read for after you go through your Nexts two.
[00:35:38] Gayle: Okay, so the first one is the Golden Couple by Sarah Pingan and Greer Hendrix. So, and, and remind me, do you did read this or you did not
[00:35:49] Nicole: I did read that. I didn’t see that one, but I I sounds like I liked it more than you did
[00:35:54] Gayle: Yeah. Well, I don’t know. I , it was funny as I was preparing for the show, I was like, wait, what happened again? I, so the premise of this is that there’s a woman who’s a sort of a very non-traditional, like marriage therapist and or therapist in general, and she takes on clients and has kind of a, a unorthodox way. Dealing with her client’s problems and helping them get over, overcome them. So this couple comes to her. They’ve, the, the wife has had an affair and the hus, they’re trying to get past it, and they’re trying to, you know, resolve issues in their marriage. And as the book goes on, this therapist, as is her way, gets increasingly more involved in the couple’s lives and starts to, you know, Sort of not stalk them, but starts to delve into what’s happening with them.
And then she’s got her own issues and her own personal life, and then they, you know, That’s what I was trying to remember. I’m like, but wait, what happened? So like, that’s the setup. And I remember kind of the first, like two thirds of the book and then I know this like, you know, as always with most Greer Hendrix, Sarah Pke in books, a somewhat explosive ending where there’s some twists and turns and I couldn’t remember what they were.
But then I looked at my review and I really, I liked the book. I, you know, I thought it was exactly what I was, I was expecting. I said it kept my attention, had some unexpected twists and turns. It was set in DC it was. Like, some of it was set like right, basically outside my house so I could picture exactly what was happening the whole time.
And you know, I knew I really understood the references they were making. So at the time I liked this book. I just, for life of me, don’t really remember it. Like what? It’s a very vague sense of what happened in the end. So if you’re okay with like not the most memorable book, but a good experience while you’re reading it, then I think it’s a.
[00:37:50] Nicole: and maybe that’s fair for a thriller. I mean, how many thrillers do we read? And it’s like, well, what happened at the end?
[00:37:57] Gayle: Yeah, seems to happen to me a lot.
[00:38:00] Nicole: yeah. I think that unless you have like something, an explosive ending, sort of like the ending of Gone Girl or. , you know, something where it just bothers you so much, you know, it’s usually okay, you figure out who did it and that’s it.
But I did like the setup of, of I love the setup of this book and like the counseling sessions and stuff like that
[00:38:23] Gayle: Yeah.
[00:38:24] Nicole: and the back and forth, you know, just, just her approach to therapy and, you know, the therapist claim to fame is what she can fix. You, you only get 12 sessions or.
[00:38:34] Gayle: Yeah. But she guarantees she’ll fix things,
[00:38:37] Nicole: You only get 12 sessions and you absolutely can’t lie to her. And, and she does a bunch of research and to to keep up, keep tabs on people. So that was interesting.
[00:38:48] Gayle: Yeah. The other one on my list that I did read is coming out on the 14th of February, and that’s called Groundskeeping by Lee Cole. This book got a lot of attention when it came out. It’s literary fiction by a guy sort of like, I don’t know, it’s like white man. Literary fiction is kind of what I call it.
That gets a lot of critical acclaim. From lots of male reviewers. I don’t know, is that like a huge It’s probably unfair, but it’s a book about a guy in who’s also a writer and he is a graduate student. He’s kind of gone off course in his life. He sort of had this promising academic career and then, Like started smoking a lot of pot and, you know, took himself off the academic track.
And so he’s trying to kind of get back into, get back, get his life back on track, and he moves back to his small town that he lives in, I think in Missouri, somewhere in the Midwest. And he gets a job at a college doing groundskeeping, like literally, you know, joins a crew of people who go around the campus. Tend to the trees [00:40:00] and, you know, take down trees when they need to and do the, keep the grounds neat and, and you know, healthy. And so it’s just about his trying to get his life back together. And he has sort of a problematic relationship with his grandfather and his, like it’s his father or his brother.
Like there’s lots of family issues going on. He’s moves in with his grandfather, like living in the basement and you know, it’s just kind of. How he sort of learns to like redeem his life? I thought it was fine. The writing was good, but it was, it just took a long time to get through it. It, you know, lit kind of like layered hunt, like I was saying in the beginning, that kind of somewhat dense literary read type of style.
But it was just, I don’t know. . It was, I, I, I mean, I thought it was good. I just, I, I think it got a, a huge amount of hype when it came out, and I wasn’t quite sure that it was worth the hype.
[00:41:02] Nicole: All right. Well, the book that I, that came out in paperback that I was, I’m kind of on the fence about reading, actually, is Fake by Erica Katz.
[00:41:12] Gayle: Mm.
[00:41:12] Nicole: Looks like overall it’s like 3.63 on Good Reads, but you know, some people have given it four stars. It is about the art world and art forgeries. This woman can spot a difference between fake.
and what’s real. And she has a sick mother and I think she gets, like, she gets involved with some shady art situation where she oh God, let me just start that over again.
[00:41:45] Gayle: Hmm.
[00:41:48] Nicole: Okay. So Emma K is someone who. can spot fake art and can also create fake art. So she specializes in recreating 19th century paintings, but she does it, you know, she’s not doing it illegally. She’s doing it in a way that it’s, you know, like reproductions or whatever. So she, she’s at an art gallery and she runs into an art collector.
and he gives her an invitation and like invites her to just like be, have this new job and she sees a new way that she can support her mother who’s really sick and you know, like have a, kind of, have money and a stable lifestyle, but there’s something shady involved. And so it’s like all about her dilemma in. in keeping this job, keeping quiet and supporting her mother and supporting her dreams. But you know, she is also getting pulled further and further into like the illegal world of art. And she wrote also the Boys Club, which I think you read. And I started reading and I didn’t finish it. Like it was just like, it wasn’t particularly bad, but it just wasn’t, whatever was going on wasn’t that exciting.
I don’t think she was that into, into her boyfriend and. . Her life as a lawyer was really repetitive in terms of the drinking and her, I don’t know, I just, it was a, it was a soft DNF for me. It wasn’t like, oh my God, I don’t like this book, so I’m putting it down. It was more just wandering away from it and just never remembering to pick it back up, which is what puts me on the fence.
[00:43:28] Gayle: Mm-hmm.
[00:43:30] Nicole: Did you like the Boys club? And I know
[00:43:33] Gayle: Yeah. I did like the boys club. Cuz I have like, sort of, you know,
familiarity with the world of law. Right? I did like it. I thought it was like a quick and interesting read. I, I think I mentioned on a show earlier that I like these like deep dives into other, Workplaces and other, you know, just like work, almost like a workplace memoir, like that bully market one I just read about the, you know, world of investment banking and, you know, Goldman Sachs the Boys Club is fiction, but it is based on her experience working at the firm.
So it’s like, Thinly veiled fiction. So I liked it. And I do have a fake somewhere in the house and I had, you know, it’s like on the list somewhere, but it’s not very high. I don’t know. Something about the art forgery doesn’t like it doesn’t get me that excited
[00:44:19] Nicole: So maybe, we’ll, maybe I’ll really like the art forgery one. And you and you like the lawyer. The lawyer one.
[00:44:26] Gayle: Maybe we should force ourselves and read it together just to like
give it, its due.
[00:44:31] Nicole: a book club. Book,
[00:44:33] Gayle: Right.
[00:44:33] Nicole: Which we have to talk about, but maybe next show, like what we’re doing, what we’re reading.
[00:44:38] Gayle: Okay. I had one more book. which is one I have not read that just is coming out on the 7th of February and it’s called Joan Is Okay by Wiki Wang. And it is about a young-ish I c U doctor in New York City. She’s the daughter of Chinese immigrants and she [00:45:00] is living this very work focused life kind of as a way.
Escaping and not dealing with what’s going on around her. And her parents live in China. Her father dies suddenly of a heart attack and her mother decides to come to the US to visit her and her brother, who is like a successful, I don’t know what he does, but he’s successful and lives in Connecticut and so she is, you know, kind of living this.
Hermetic, well not hermetic, but this very super work focused life in New York. And her family is like, why are you, why do you work so hard? Why don’t you, you know, go like, get married and have a family? And so she’s kind of bucking the like expectations of her, of what her family thinks she should be doing.
And she just kind of has to come to terms with that. Like, why does she want this life that she has? And you know, how does she deal with her? Her mother who’s coming to visit. And then I think it sort of starts to take on the pandemic because she’s an I C U doctor. So it’s kind of all about like living you know, living as an I C U doctor through the pandemic days.
So I, she had a book out called Chemistry, which I never read. and I keep seeing this. Joan is okay. Book around everywhere, and it was on all these paper back lists for February. So I thought I’d included here, but I haven’t read it and I don’t really know much about it beyond what I’ve shared.
[00:46:24] Nicole: Hmm.
I think we need to
you still there?
[00:46:34] Gayle: Yeah, I’m here.
[00:46:35] Nicole: Oh, okay. It’s almost like that. It was like so silent.
[00:46:38] Gayle: Oh, yeah, now I’m here.
[00:46:39] Nicole: All right, well that’s our list of paperbacks. I think we each had three that were that we considered worthwhile
[00:46:49] Gayle: Right,
[00:46:50] Nicole: another couple that. Kind of crapshoots.
[00:46:54] Gayle: Yeah.
[00:46:55] Nicole: Interesting that it was like, it was the thrillery type books
[00:46:59] Gayle: Yeah. It is
[00:47:00] Nicole: that were kind of like, you know, who knows?
Probably closer to when I read them, I was more excited about them. But in passing it’s like, what was this book about? They kind of blend together a little bit.
[00:47:13] Gayle: Yeah, just a little bit. All right, well that’s our show. And until next show, happy reading.
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