New in Paperbacks Fall Season + Book Club Discussion

New in Paperbacks Fall Season + Book Club Discussion

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

In this episode, Nicole and Gayle return to bring us an update on what they’ve been reading. Then, they share a few titles they want to read this season and will make it to the shelves. Lastly, they discuss the book club book Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering.

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

Any Other Family by Eleanor BrownAmazonBookshop

All of This by Rebecca Woolf | Amazon | Bookshop

The Matchmaker’s Gift by Lynda Cohen Loigman | Amazon | Bookshop

Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke | Amazon | Bookshop

Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering | Amazon | Bookshop

Too Good To Be True by Carola Lovering | Amazon | Bookshop

Tell Me Lies by Carola Lovering | Amazon | Bookshop

Honor by Thrity Umrigar | Amazon | Bookshop

You Got Anything Stronger? by Gabrielle Union | Amazon | Bookshop

Beautiful Country by Quian Julie Wang | Amazon | Bookshop

Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti | Amazon | Bookshop

Whatever Happened to Interracial Love: Stories by Kathleen Collins | 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 Gayle and I are going to be discussing a couple of paperbacks that are out, that we’re looking forward for everyone to read if you haven’t read them yet. And we’re gonna be doing our regular old general catch-up where we talk about what we’re reading and a little bit of book news and all that good stuff, so we’re excited to be with you. For us, it’s a Sunday morning. I’m feeling much better than the last Sunday morning we recovered when I’d had like a late night.

So Gayle, what’s been up? What’s what Have you been reading? What’s been going on?

[00:00:35] Gayle: Yeah, my pace is still kind of slow, but I do have a couple of books that I can talk about today and one of the reasons that my pace has been slow is I was reading a book that took me like, like three weeks to.

Nicole: Ooh, What book was that?

I know. I know. It’s called Any Other Family by Eleanor Brown. Oh, okay. Yeah, and she’s written other stuff, The Weird Sisters. I haven’t read anything by her. Which you read and liked. Yes. Okay. Good to know. So this one is about a family where there are four kids that all have the same mother, but they’ve all been adopted and they’ve been adopted by three different families.

So there’s an older kid than a set of twins and then a baby. And the family, the couple that adopted the twins are very wealthy and they have the mother is very, Intent on keeping these kids together as a family. And so she’s constantly planning things for them all to be together at with their adoptive parents.

So whether it’s a sun regular Sunday night dinner, or in the case of this book, a two week vacation in Aspen, they all come together and spend time together. And you learn pretty early on. So I’m not spoiling anything that the mother of these children is pregnant again and wants to give up. Baby to adoption again.

So then there’s the question of like, well, who’s gonna adopt this fifth child and how will that impact their being together as a family? I don’t know what it was about this book that made it so slow and tedious to read, but, Oh my God. Like it, I was already, like my pace was already lower than I wanted it to be for this year and this one.

Made it like three times slower. I just couldn’t get into it. I mean, I knew what was going on. I was paying attention to the characters. It’s not like I was lost. I just, it was so introspective and it was so character driven. Literally nothing happens. They’re, they’re at a house in Aspen for two weeks, occasionally going on excursions, so there’s no action, which usually doesn’t bother me.

But at this one, oh my God, it just was like minutia. Of getting into each woman’s head and understanding like what their different sort of insecurities were as a woman, as a mother, whatever. It just, I don’t know. I can’t recommend it. I think I gave it three stars, which for me is pretty low . It’s not poorly written, and the topic was interesting.

I feel like she could have done. It could have been a lot more interesting, and she could have had a lot more actual conflict and, you know, different parenting styles or like get into the birth mother. I mean, the birth mother was like barely addressed. I don’t know, it just, it, I respect what she was trying to do with this book, but it, it did not work for me.

So I slogged through it. I finished it. It’s back at the library now. I’m very happy. It’s no longer in the house. It just didn’t do it for me. Sorry, I don’t mean to be negative, but that’s what was going on. I finished that, and then I read the book we’re gonna talk about today. Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering.

So that is done and I’ll, I’ll save my thoughts until we have our conversation. And I wanted to mention a book that I had talked about earlier on the show, but I didn’t, I don’t think I’ve mentioned it since I finished. And that one was, All of This by Rebecca Woolf. It is a memoir about a woman whose husband is diagnosed with and dies of pancreatic cancer within the space of about four months.

So it’s the memoir about kind of like getting him through that, nursing him through that, you know, being his caregiver while at the same time knowing that they were basically about to get divorced before this. So there’s a lot of really conflicting feelings that she has about this man, about her marriage, about, you know, her family.

She talks a lot about that. So that’s like the first, maybe one-half to two-thirds of the book is just dealing with his illness and death. And again, no spoiler, like, you know, from the beginning that that’s what’s gonna happen. And then the last bit is really about her life post-death. So like what it’s like for her being a widow and how she kind of has this freedom that she didn’t have while she was.

and how she’s also dealing with the effects of like a traumatic relationship cuz there was trauma and there was some emotional abuse in the relationship and how she gets past that and how she sort of moves on. And that part I, I liked a little less because she kind of goes a little crazy. Like she, not, not mentally, but she.

Really explores her freedom and it, I don’t know, sometimes it almost just felt like tmi. Like I was kinda like, I don’t need to hear about like this, you know, Fifth Man that you slept with within like two months. So that part I was like, eh, you know, not as crazy about. But it’s still like a very raw memoir and talks a lot about just sort of the messiness of her life.

Du while this was going on because she had really messy feelings about him. Like it, it was a lot of conflict in her own mind. So that part I thought was pretty interesting. And I was impressed by how honest she was throughout the whole book. So that one is all of this by Rebecca Wolf. We love some

[00:05:48] Nicole: honesty in memoirs.


[00:05:50] Gayle: I mean, that’s the point, right?

[00:05:52] Nicole: Yeah. But sometimes they just don’t have, you know, sometimes I feel like I read them and we feel like they could have dug a little deeper or. Everything is about how other people impacted them, and some people are not as introspective on how their own shortcomings foibles.

Whatever might have impacted the story. So when you see someone who does that, I always just

[00:06:13] Gayle: like really like that. Yeah. So I think that catches up. I’m reading right now, I’m listening on audio to the new Linda Cohen Loman book. She has written two other historical fiction novels that I’ve read, The Two Family House and blanking on the second one.

And then this new one is called The Matchmakers Gift. And I’m listening on audio and I like it a lot. I’m trying to look up what the second one was called. The Wartime Sisters. So she sets her books usually in like the twenties, thirties, New York, in the Jewish community. And The Matchmaker’s Gift is very sweet.

It’s a light read. It’s not, it’s definitely not like heavy literary fiction. But it’s keeping my attention and I. And I’m almost done. Probably have about another two hours left to go. Okay.

[00:07:02] Nicole: Well, how are you feeling about your reading challenge?

[00:07:04] Gayle:  Good reads one. I’m like way behind. It’s just not gonna happen.

I’m trying to just, yeah, I’m trying to downshift. I don’t know. Should I do like what you did? And just literally change the goal on the thing so it doesn’t mock me every time I post a book in and it tells me how many books behind I am.

[00:07:21] Nicole: Yes. I think that as long as you’re honest. When I set my goal for 36, it was about being honest about what I could do.

Yeah. Because I was not reading the way I had been. I’m averaging about three books a month. Yeah. So I set my goal for 36. I said, Okay. I did. I didn’t even go for a push factor just because it’s like, I’m not gonna make it. Like I’m doing a lot of reading that’s studying, you know? And. I have a lot of things going on, so still love to read still.

I’m trying to read a few pages every day, but it’s nowhere near When I think about the fact that I could read 20 books in a month, it’s just like, Oh my God, who am I? But, but yeah, so I set that and I’m two books behind schedule. I think it should only be one cause there’s something that I finish that’s not up here.

So I think that as long as you’re saying you’re honest about what you can finish, I, I think it’s a good thing to. Okay. Cause even with that, you still may not make it.

[00:08:19] Gayle: I know. I still may blow past it, so. Right. You’re right. Okay. That’s good. Good advice. So any new notable books you wanna share from your reading?

[00:08:31] Nicole: I finish our book, club book of course. Have thoughts about that? Mm-hmm. , I finished Dear Miss Metropolitan.

[00:08:38] Gayle: Oh, and how, how did, how did you like it in the end? I don’t know.

[00:08:42] Nicole: I have mixed feelings about it. This is not my type of book, you know, So it’s one of those things where it’s like, this is not a book that you should have read because, you know, I don’t like captivity books, and this is a captivity book.

It’s about, you know, these three girls in Queens who are being held captive in this man’s basement. And you know, that’s not fun. He holds them for 10 years. Like there’s some mystery about what happened to the other girl. And a lot of it is about like the community. And just how the community kind of contributed to the fact that these, these girls were able to go missing until they were young women.

It goes into each of their stories, like the whatever dynamics they had at home and their relationships with their parents, with their mothers, you know, with boyfriends and. They’re in, in situations that are not ideal in the beginning. And then of course they go missing. And it’s just, the story is a chorus of voices.

Like it’s the cop that rescued them. One of the nurses who nurses them back to health and becomes like their advocate. It’s about I guess there’s like this talk show host that’s interested in their story. So there’s just like lots of interesting elements in terms of. That you don’t think about.

You know, when we hear, we hear the news, but we’re not thinking about like, what, what was happening to the people in these news stories in order for them to get the stories and are, is it, you know, are we being, are we retraumatizing people? Or how does this inhibit their growth? How does this affect.

There’s a very young survivor in there cuz there’s like a baby involved and there’s some mm-hmm. sections. That she talks about her story and how she’s just like never able to escape this thing that happened. So there’s interesting things like that. But there was also like a slowness to it that I.

that I had to consider a lot because it says a lot about, you know, when you’re in captivity for 10 years, it is not all like, Oh, I hope I’m gonna be rescued. You kind of resolve yourself to the situation and I think like there’s like a slowness and I almost wanna say like a boredom to their days, you know, because like this is their life.

Mm-hmm. kind of being tortured and stuff like that. So I think it’s just, it’s a complicated book and I think that, you know, whoever reads it, you’re gonna bring a lot of, you know, yourself and, and how you deal with trauma or how you wanna see trauma related. I think it was, it was very beautifully written.

She makes like lots of interesting points that you think about. It’s not a book that you’re ever gonna be like, Oh yes, you should read this because it’s enjoyable, or whatever. Right. It was. It’s an experience that if you feel like this is important, an important topic, then you take the plunge and you have the experience that you have is

[00:11:35] Gayle: what I’ll.

Right. I think that’s why I keep putting it off. 

[00:11:39] Nicole: One of the things too that was really interesting to me because like there is this section where you know, people are showing up under the guise of help. Like there’s this talk show host and he’s like, basically, yes, we wanna get you help and we want you to be able to have all of these experiences that are healing or whatever.

But you know, who is that really for? He is after ratings. This is something that’s of interest to his audience. You know, is this really helpful to these women? It’s questionable. It reminds me a little bit now, I mean it’s not the same thing, but that Jeffrey Dahmer series is now out on Netflix and like relatives came forward and said that they were not asked to be involved with this story and how difficult it was to see them being portrayed by actors in their trauma.

Like this one woman talks about, I think it was when she was giving her testimony in court and she, you. She had a reaction. I don’t know if she may have screamed or something went on and she said just how chilling in a way it was to just see that portrayed on screen. So there’s just all of these issues.

Of course. I mean they always have been like, how we get news, you know, how we stay informed and what is our right to be informed and when is that Right? Just like encroaching on other people’s trauma and causing harm, which is like always the fine line that you walk. Mm-hmm. So even though this was a fictional story Dear Miss Metropolitan, it was interesting to see kind of like that echo going on around a real world, you know, story where people are just really curious about Jeffrey Dahmer and, you know, how was he able to do this?

How was he able to do it for so long? And he prayed on a particular population and you. Who is making the money, I guess, or who is really being advantaged by telling these people’s stories when, when maybe they were not contacted or did not participate, or maybe did not sell the rights to their story. So it’s just all these complicated ethical questions.

Mm-hmm. . So that was my experience. So I cannot, cannot say. I mean, it’s definitely, it’s, it’s, it’s a worthwhile book to read. I think she, the way she handled the trauma was really interesting. The girls’ relationships with each other. All I can say is it’s worthwhile. I can’t be like, Oh yes, this is a great book because who knows where this is gonna take you.

All right. So Dale might not read it ever. ? No. I don’t

[00:14:07] Gayle: know. Yeah, it’s tough. It’s a tough read. . Yeah. Okay. I have something to tell you. So my blog is down. Really? Yes. Oh my gosh. So when I had my blog redesigned a couple years ago and the guy who did it, who I hired through like, you know, one of those websites, I forgot the, which one, what it’s called, The one, you know, it’s like oh five.

And he used like some. Plug in or something to design it. And it’s called Elementor. I know. Nothing. No go. Don’t

[00:14:41] Nicole: tell me that. Cause the read report is on that too.

[00:14:44] Gayle: Oh boy. Well, okay. That makes me feel better, that it’s not like some crazy thing that he used. But there’s some line of code in the Elementor.

You know, code in my site that has, is now yielding an error, and as a result, the entire site is down. And so it happened to me. So last week this happened and I reached out to GoDaddy, who by the way, is great. Like they’re very responsive and helpful. Whenever I have issues, there’s no, you know, WordPress is never gonna help.

So I always go to Goddaddy and what they did is they just kind of like restored a backup version from like, you know, several days earlier. And of course cuz I hadn’t read a book I hadn’t posted in a little while. So I thought we were fine and then the same thing happened again. So I called GoDaddy back and they’re like, Well you can, you know, I.

Buy a month’s worth of developer time for a hundred dollars and we’ll go fix the problem. So like what? What? I was kind of at their mercy, like, what else was I gonna do? Well, that’s what I ended up doing.

[00:15:41] Nicole: I don’t know if you remember last year or in January or earlier this year, we were having similar problems and I think I ended up spending $150 for them to work.

[00:15:52] Gayle: Yeah. Well, so I, They haven’t yet worked it out, I don’t think. Cuz a friend of mine texted me yesterday and said, Your site is down. So I guess it’s still down. I have that

[00:16:01] Nicole: it’s, but you just can’t see any of the posts.

[00:16:05] Gayle: Oh, are you on it right now? Mm-hmm.

[00:16:07] Nicole: Well that’s, so you just see the outline where you can go and, you know, all your book links on the side, but there’s like none of your contents.

So, Okay.

[00:16:15] Gayle: Well at least they’re working on it. It, yeah. Yeah. So, and I can get in the back end now through something called recovery mode. So like you, I can actually. Get to the thing, but I, you know, so I keep getting these alerts that somebody from Singapore or someone from Thailand or something is, you know, has admin access and it’s work in, is in my site.

So I’m not, I, it’s fine. I know that somebody’s working on it, but it’s not done yet. So it’s already, This happened on Friday? It’s already Sunday. They said it would usually take one to two days. So I’m just waiting for them to fix it, but it’s very unnerving, you know, this. How many years? Years Six. No, I started in 2006.

So was that 14 years? That’s like 14 years of like, my life is in this thing. Well,

[00:17:03] Nicole: that’s what took out my original blog when I was blogging at Linus Blanket. And like, so when you go to the site, nicole, like that is a bunch of, I have them put together what they could recover out of the wreckage of that blog.

But, so I hope you get it back cuz it really is. I just ended up never going back to blogging in the same way

[00:17:27] Gayle: before. Yeah.

[00:17:29] Nicole: And even though I, I mean, I really do like blogging and I hope to have the time, the wherewithal to start, you know, I don’t care if anyone reads it. I start it back because I like it.

Just having that long time where no one could figure it out, and it seemed kind of hopeless. And then getting some of it back, it just, it just cha it changed the trajectory of me in blogging.

[00:17:50] Gayle: So, Yeah. No, I get it. Like you feel very, like, dependent on this stuff. I have a, another blog, which is just a personal thing about my kids that I’ve.

Since 2004. No, maybe this one is since 2004 and that one since 2006 or something. I can’t remember now. I started the book one. First. I thought yours

[00:18:09] Nicole: was 2006, but now that you say that, I have no

[00:18:12] Gayle: idea. Oh, maybe I started the other one 2008. But like I, every year I publish a book out of it, like, so that if, God forbid, the blog crashes, I’ve got like a hard copy of it.

Right? And you know, I give it to my kids. For Hanukkah every year because it’s their life. Their life over the last year has been documented every. . And so it’s really a gift for them to, for, you know, I love looking at it, but they really love looking at it cuz it’s a lot of stuff they don’t remember and they love looking back up when they were little.

And sometimes it solves questions we have, we’ll be like, well what year did that happen? Or who is that person? Or who came to that birthday party? You know, well there it is on the blog, just look it up. But I feel like very, it feels very vulnerable to know that, you know, one little line of code. And that blog has been sitting there since 2006, so not much has been done to it.

So who knows what could happen, right? So I don’t know, maybe with my book blog, I should also try to export all this content someplace so that if I, either I decide to stop or something like this happens again, I don’t feel so like, you know, Well, do

[00:19:16] Nicole: you have the backup? You must have, I mean, they’re backing it up and

[00:19:19] Gayle: yes, they’re backing it up.


[00:19:21] Nicole: can back it up and I think it goes. Excel where somehow it will magically reappear.

[00:19:27] Gayle: Okay. I do have it backed up. So that’s, you know, I think that’s part of what I pay for with this managed word WordPress. But anyway, so hopefully these guys will resolve this situation soon and the blog will be back up.

But I do have people who don’t follow me on social media they only read the blog and. This is the only way they connect with me. Cuz I mean, I do post all the reviews on Instagram and on Facebook. And good reads. And good reads. That’s true. That’s just my personal Facebook and a lot of people I know don’t really use Instagram, so I don’t know.

So we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted. Right. Should we move on ?

[00:20:00] Nicole: Yeah. That’s very sad. . Yes. This sad topic. Yeah. I hope they will figure. I’m sure, Yeah. They will just like reliving my own blog trauma .

[00:20:09] Gayle: Yeah. And you feel like that you’ll pay anything they ask because what choice do you have? Right? Like, I don’t, I’m not a developer.

Like I, you know, the WordPress sends me the line of code that’s causing the problem, but I don’t, this, it’s a Greek to me. I don’t, I don’t do html. Like I don’t know what that is. See,

[00:20:24] Nicole: that’s really interesting to me because that’s something I’ve been thinking about and I’m sorry you guys that we’re getting into like blog life or the behind the scenes when I had the Readerly report re.

and had my website redesigned. I did work with a designer and she used Elementor, and at the time that she was doing that, I was just like, This isn’t hand coded. This is something, Elementor is basically how you can design a website without knowing code, because basically it’s like providing a framework and you’re just like customizing the colors, customizing things, and putting things here and there.

So I did go on and I went with her, but I was really concerned about that. I’m like, because this is. It’s not real. This is not like a real coded site. Like you’re basically using shortcuts to design a website. Mm. Interesting. And now this is coming up for you. I feel like I’m about to now spend a whole bunch of more money to like to, to do something with someone where it’s actually HTML or Right.

It’s like hand-coded or just like per, you know, like really personalized as opposed to using like a shorthand software. Right. It’s like using a WordPress blog as opposed to having your own website. Yep. You know, in a sense.

[00:21:36] Gayle: So, Right. It’s

[00:21:37] Nicole: easy. But if anyone knows about any of this stuff or has any recommendations, for us now that we’ve like, talked about it for 20 minutes, to let us know.

[00:21:45] Gayle: Yeah. God, if anyone can go in and fix my Elementor code, I would be eternally grateful. . All right. Moving on. Well, since

[00:21:53] Nicole: we spent so much time on that, let’s talk about our paperbacks, .

[00:21:56] Gayle: Okay. I, So what do you. Yeah, I, it’s funny of this stuff that’s kind of new in paperback that I found. I, you know, scanned a couple of different lists.

There was nothing that I had actually read, but it was stuff that I had wanted to read. So I figured I would just, I have just 3, 1 3 that are books that I thought, you know, had, had kind of caught my eye the first time around. And now they’re in paperback. So,

[00:22:15] Nicole: Okay, so I’m kind of in the same boat as you when you like.

I’ve read 26 books this year, so at the minuscule rate that I have been reading, of course, all of the books that I saw in paperback. Are like, Oh, that was on my list, .

[00:22:30] Gayle: Right, right. And now it’s, yeah, it just reminds you how long it’s been on your list. Okay. I’ll start. I did I set aside and I actually have this book in the house.

It’s Honor by three Thrity Umrigar. Oh, that was on my list. Okay, great. Oh, okay. All right. So sorry about that. I saw that and I, I know that that’s an author that we’ve both read and that I know that you like. So I think this is a story about a woman who. To India to investigate the what was like the killing like a honor killing of a woman who had, had an affair or, you know, been with a man who wasn’t her husband and had been killed.

And so it’s a, apparently a very difficult, like just subject matter wise read about, you know, the society that is. killing women who like don’t live this, you know, by these strict rules. And I like for the Ungar, I’ve read other books that she read. I think, Did you and I do a book club on one once? Was that the,

[00:23:31] Nicole: did we do it on the one where this white couple had adopted a, a son and the mother wanted him back, but the father was a judge and I don’t.

[00:23:40] Gayle: Is, but I feel like everybody’s son. I think so. I, I don’t think I read that one. I think I read the Story Hour, which was one that I had read. But I don’t know. I’ve heard people who’ve read this one and really liked it. Honor. Yeah. Okay. That’s good too. Yeah. I bet a journalist returns to India to cover a story, but reluctantly cuz she had left.

India a long time earlier, and it’s about a woman who was attacked by members of her own village. Oh, for marrying a Muslim man. That’s what the woman did. So it wasn’t even adultery, it was just, she married someone that wasn’t Hindu. So I, I’ve heard that this is kind of heartbreaking, but really good. I like her writing a lot.

[00:24:25] Nicole: I do too. I was just trying to remember any, anything else I had had read by her, but Alright, so next up, Gabrielle Union has a book that came out. This is her second set of stories she wrote memoir, and I feel like the title was something about wine, but Oh yeah,

[00:24:42] Gayle: I remember. Yeah. , I’m gonna need more wine or something,

[00:24:45] Nicole: right?

Yeah, exactly. Because the name of this one is You Got Anything Strong?

[00:24:51] Gayle: She seems like a very cool person. From what I’ve, I’ve never read any of these memoirs, but I’ve read about them and she’s been through a lot of

[00:24:58] Nicole: stuff. Yes. I mean, having a career in Hollywood and I think that she admitted in her first book that that, you know, she had been sexually assaulted and you know, she’s married to a basketball player.

I think they may have had fertility issues, so. Mm-hmm. , I think so.

[00:25:15] Gayle: She may have a transgender child too.

[00:25:17] Nicole: Yes. Or. Yeah. I’m trying to think if that’s right. It’s something

[00:25:23] Gayle: like that. Yeah. Did you

[00:25:24] Nicole: read her first one? I didn’t. I feel like I, I don’t know why I know so much about it. I think every now and then I see posts from her on Instagram and I’ve just like read her story through like newspaper articles and stuff.

But I do wanna read both books cuz they sound really good. Mm-hmm. . But yeah, her first one was, We’re going to need more wine stories that are funny, complicated, and true. , and so that one was released in 2017 already. That feels like, I don’t know, I felt like that book came out much more recently than that, but my sense of time is ridiculously skewed.

So this book is kind of like picking up where she left off. You know, she’s, I guess since she published her first book, you know, Dwayne Wade no longer plays basketball, so he’s retired. You know, she. two kids now, or, and maybe she has, he has one from a previous relationship and she talks about surrogacy.

So she, she always has like a lot of these relevant issues going along. And I guess, you know, most women we do, but it’s, she puts them together so nicely and, and they really resonate with people. So that’s coming out December

[00:26:28] Gayle: 6th. Oh, okay. The next paper back that caught my eyes called Beautiful Country by Quian Julie Wang.

I’m not sure how to pronounce her first name, q i a N. and it’s about a woman, well, it’s written by a woman about when she was seven, she came as an illegal immigrant to the United States from China. And it’s just all about their immigrant life living here in the mid-nineties. And her parents are working in sweatshops and fighting, and she’s trying to like, learn English and go to school.

And so, just all about that life of growing up as an immigrant in New York City and being, you know, very. So this is like the nonfiction version of Girl in Translation by Julie. .

[00:27:16] Nicole: Okay. All right. So my next one sounds really good. I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet. I did wanna read it. It’s called Dava Shari’s last day by KI Ram cei.

So it’s already out. It came out in September, September 27th. This has such an interesting premise cuz it’s like, it’s about this, one of the world’s wealthiest women. She has some kind of terminal cancer, I think she has brain cancer and so she knows that she’s gonna die and she knows that it is not going.

Like she doesn’t have a long life ahead of her, and she picks up her life with her kids. They go to this private island. She’s decided that she wants news of her death to leak early. So she’s like in hiding on this island because she wants to read the obituary. She wants to read what everyone’s gonna be saying about her.

And so she wants that sneak preview even before she’s died. So she gathers her kids with her. , they’re there on a private island. The newsweeks of her death, except for these secrets that she has not told, people that she didn’t know, people knew come out as well. And so now everyone knows and her family knows, and so she has to like come to terms with all of that now, I guess in the little time that she has before

[00:28:23] Gayle: her death.

That book was on my radar when it came out. It looked really good.

[00:28:28] Nicole: Yeah, and I, I feel like that there’s such a distinct premise. I mean, that’s not one I’ve heard before. . Yeah, definitely.

[00:28:38] Gayle: I mean, we’ve read books about people like sort of watching from above after their. Yeah, but this is different. Yeah. .

[00:28:47] Nicole: Yeah.

Because when you’re dead you’re kind of, you know, game over. But yeah, since she’s still alive and now all of her most precious secrets and Yeah. Things that she didn’t necessarily want anyone to know are out there, and it’s just like, Ooh, now I gotta fix that.

[00:29:02] Gayle: Right. So my last one is, it sounds really weird, but I kind of still wanna read it.

It’s called Several people are Typing by Calvin Kasulke. Not even sure I’m pronouncing that right. But this is a workplace book, which I always really like and it is about this guy whose life sort of. Like port it over to Slack. Do you use Slack at work? No. Okay. So we use Slack at work and it’s, you know, it’s like a messaging platform, but it’s great for workplaces because you can send individual messages and then there’s, you know, there’s lots of groups you can set up.

So you can set up teams or just a couple of people. So it’s great for connecting on projects. It’s very user friendly. I mean, my whole company is super like addicted to Slack. We’ve used it all the time. And this is, so this person. His consciousness gets uploaded into Slack. So like everything he’s thinking appears in via Slack messages, , and he works for a PR firm.

I don’t know, this just sounds, It sounds weird but good and it’s, I don’t know, it might be a little bit too out there for me, but I do really like workplace stuff and especially workplace, that stuff that incorporates real life, you know, realities of a modern workplace. And this one definitely. I don’t know.


[00:30:22] Nicole: don’t think it sounds too out there.

[00:30:25] Gayle: Well, I think you should give it a try. He has a disembodied life online and then like he basically like gets like sucked into slack. He like becomes if you can just accept this fact . Yeah. Yeah. He is some suspension of reality for sure. So anyway, that one caught my eye when it came out initially and now it’s coming out on paperback.


[00:30:47] Nicole: so my last one is Whatever Happened to Interracial Love by Kathleen Collins. It is a book of short stories, but they just seem like they will be really good. I’m assuming that whatever happened to Interracial Love might be the name of one of the stories as opposed to the theme of the book. 16 stories relating to race, gender, family, and sexuality.

And they, how they shape the ordinary moments in our lives. So like I said, I don’t think that the entire book is whatever happened to Racial interracial love. Just maybe one of the stories, and this is a book that was published posthumously, like kind of one of these stories that was published by a woman who did not get her due when she was living and it was published later.

And I feel like it’s been kicking around for a few years in hard cover. And so now it’s out in paperback. It came out on September 6th. So something I’m hoping to get to, what I like about this, and I, I’m gonna say this because you know, like neither one of us are huge on short stories, but I do like the themes that they seem to be exploring with these, you know, they’re kind of grounded in.

I don’t know, things that you encounter on a day-to-day basis as opposed to some short shirt. It’s kind of being like really esoteric and just kind of like, I had no idea what I just read. So I like, you know, these are appealing to me because they seem to just be about life and themes I’m interested in.

So that came out September

[00:32:11] Gayle: 6th. Okay. So shall we? Yeah, I think we’re good. We’ve gotten to the part of the show where we’re going to have a spoiler discussion about the book. Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering. So if you’ve not read this and want to read it, I would recommend turning off the show right now,

Cause we’re gonna get into some spoilers. If you have read it please. You know, pull up a chair and. Enjoy this discussion and if you have not read it and have no interest in reading it, well they, Now you have some Cliff notes on what this book is about, so you wanna give us a summary?

[00:32:47] Nicole: Okay. So this book is about a woman, a young woman in her mid-twenties, I think she’s like 25.

She is in an MFA program. She’s living in Brooklyn, you know, with her friends. They. doing that post-college life thing. She is hoping to be a writer, but it’s not something that she’s sharing widely. And she’s out one night with her friends and she meets or I guess she crosses eyes with this rocker named Jake Danner, who fronts a band called Dan Lane, which is with his.

Childhood best friends and they, you know, get along like a house on fire. He asks her out and they’re just like together, and he writes a song about her called Molly’s Song, which is a huge hit. and then we fast forward like 10 years and they’re not together anymore. Molly has married someone else. His name is Hunter.

She has a very different life, like she has not become a writer in her former life. She was like working on, She eventually becomes to the point where she’s working on publishing a book, but in this one she has a five year old daughter. She has a husband who is not like this wild rocker, but just like a very stand.

Straight laced guy who she loves, you know, they’re trying to have a baby. And then this woman, Sabrina, comes into her life in this small town that she lives in, and they become really good friends, except for Sabrina has an ulterior motive. .

[00:34:17] Gayle: Yeah. Sabrina has befriended Molly under false pretenses. So what did you think?

I think I’ve read this book before .

[00:34:29] Nicole: You know, when I was thinking about this book and I thought about doing this show, I was like, I can’t remember if I maybe said at the beginning of one of our episodes a couple of weeks ago when we were saying, we’re gonna discuss the book, and I was just like, Let’s save this for later.

Or if I told it to another friend who has read Carola Lovering’s books, it looks like she might be an author who. One book in her. I mean, okay, so Tell Me Lies I think was different because she had admit it that toxic relationship was based on a relationship that she had. And she did one of these things where at first when that book came out, she’s just like, Yeah, no, it’s like really imagined it’s, I did a lot of research, blah, blah, blah.

And then finally she admitted that yes, she had been in this really toxic relationship. I think that that’s why that book seems like it’s a little bit different because it’s just so focused on this relationship and its toxicity and how much this young girl involved in this relationship loses and giving and gives up in a, in a relationship that’s just not worthy of her or whatever.

And I don’t know, as I, as I talk about this, maybe this is the same book too. Just the, you know, the people are older. Tell Me Lies it takes place. It’s college, post-college. This one, you know, Molly’s in her early thirties. I think she’s like 32. Right. So I feel like that one book was really different and now I feel like the last two books yeah, this one.

And was it one truth

[00:36:04] Gayle: thing or No? No. No. Too Good To Be True

Too Good To Be True,  Yeah.

She has these titles that are so generic. They’re like, Yeah. They’re hard to remember. Yeah. Well, that’s how I started my blog post, which if my blog were up, I could tell you it’s good . Did you post it on Good Reads?

Yeah, I did. I did. It’s on Instagram at Good Reads, but yeah, I said I feel like, you know, some people, some authors write a different book all the time and you know, we talk about that, like,

[00:36:26] Nicole: and Patch writes a different book all the time and

[00:36:28] Gayle: patch the time. Yeah. I. And then some people write the same book all the time, and this is the same book.

Too good to be true. She, she sets up the, this kind of angel devil dichotomy between women. So there’s one woman who’s written so sympathetically that even when she does something wrong, you like, forgive her because she’s such a good person and was so understandable what she did. And then there’s one woman who’s like just a completely conniving.

Who’s like, just out to get the first one because she’s so jealous or insecure or whatever.

[00:37:04] Nicole: But there is no, I mean, there’s like a sketch of why Sabrina cece is like, is the way she is, you know, there’s, there’s like these vague references to she does not get a well long, did not have a good relationship with her parents, or is not, she’s not in touch with her parents as an adult, Right.

Like she and Jake have had like these terrible. Childhood, which is what she feels like bonds

[00:37:27] Gayle: them. Right. And she has the trauma of a miscarriage early on in her relationship with Jake. Before he, No, after he broke up with her, but she lost a baby,

[00:37:37] Nicole: which is traumatic in her twenties was terrible. But it just completely takes her off the deep end.

[00:37:42] Gayle: Right. And then she becomes so jealous of Jake that she manipulates their lives to the point that. She moves to like, but that’s another thing. Why would she move to that town? Like if she’s that insecure about Molly, why would she like deliberately? I mean, obviously they needed that to happen for the book to the premise of the book to happen, but like it just didn’t seem it was outta character that she would deliberately manipulate things so that he’s around his ex-girlfriend with whom he’s still obsessed, you know, 10 years later or eight years later.

[00:38:16] Nicole: One thing about this author is that she loves first person. So everyone’s narrative and it’s like, it’s not first person, it’s first person present, which always just messes with me.

[00:38:28] Gayle: Was it her, was Sabrina? Definitely was.

[00:38:32] Nicole: Yeah. And, and, yeah. Sorry, that’s cuz that’s who I’m thinking about now. So I think.

Because she told it in that way because she chose to write it in that way. It takes the nuance away from her. It’s hard to see Sabrina as anyone, but like this mustache twirling villain. Yeah. Molly, I’m gonna, you know, she talks to Molly throughout the entire Yes. So she through the entire book and it’s like,

So while it was about her obsession with Jake, it was also about her obsession with Molly. I mean, which is clear at the end of the book when she’s still kind of like, she runs into her. She doesn’t run into her, but she sees her. Yeah. And you know, and it’s just like, I wonder what you’re doing, or whatever.

So that’s like most, most throughout the book. Yeah. I guess because she’s always so in her crazy head, you just don’t get a break from her. And she is just, she just seems like you don’t get any kind of nuance. Even her miscarriage, you know, she has this miscarriage and she talks about this spot of blood that she sees on the toilet seat or whatever, and we go from that to, Okay, so you have managed to get the guy that you wanted, but you have to lure Molly.

Into friendship because you’ve moved to this town that she’s in and be her friend to make her. She wants Jake to get over her, but that’s not gonna happen , right? So I’m just like, what are we doing here? Like, I don’t, I don’t understand.

[00:40:02] Gayle: There were a few times in the book where I kind of gasped. Like I was like, you know, there were some nice little surprises.

I’ll tell you what they were because we’re having a spoiler discussion here When mean, I, I kind of thought maybe Jake was her husband, but then when I learned that he was, that was, you know, a moment of tension and drama and. I had sort of suspected, I almost texted you at one point and just said, Do you think Jake is the little girl’s father?

[00:40:31] Nicole: Oh, yeah, I knew that. Yeah, I knew both things. I was like, All right, well this woman’s gonna be married to Jake, and also Stella is Jake’s daughter. And I think that that’s when I had said to you that something happened. That was the point where I was just like, Oh, is it gonna be this story? ? Yeah. And it was like less excited to read it.

[00:40:50] Gayle: Well I, you know, I also think that she does create some tension till the end. Cuz you don’t know whether Molly’s gonna just give in to this romantic notion that Jake is her man and leave Hunter and go with him. Or is she gonna, you know, get over. It happens pretty abruptly. Like she basically has one conversation with Hunter who’s just gotta be the most patient man in the world, where she admits that she fooled around with Jake and then says, But it didn’t mean

[00:41:24] Nicole: anything.

I just have to Yeah.

[00:41:25] Gayle: Out of my system. Right. You’re the one, you’re the guy. And so like she’s kind of set up the author has set up this. You know, for 300 pages, this thing that Molly and Jake have this unbreakable bond and they’re just love it for sight and blah, blah blah. And then at the end she’s like, Oh no, it’s fine.

She’s gonna stay with under. And that was a little bit like, okay, well that’s, she’s satisfying the people who are reading this book that are gonna be horrified if she leaves her husband to go with Jake. But it wasn’t terribly convincing.

[00:41:52] Nicole: I don’t know if I agree. I think there’s a strong case for Hunter because I think that she was, she was able to get with Hunter so easily because.

There’s a point in the novel that you just realize, Okay, Jake, and. . I mean, it’s just like clear that Jake is not the right choice. Like whenever he goes away on tour, he forgets about her. He cheats on her, you know, with, I don’t know, his manager’s assistant or somebody. They don’t, you know, it’s just, it’s almost like when it’s good, it’s very, very good.

And when it’s bad, it’s horrible because like, he goes away. He doesn’t call her, she doesn’t trust him, you know? , even though he has explanations or whatever, it’s hard to trust someone when you’re supposed to meet them in Europe and they’re gonna buy you a ticket and two days before you haven’t heard of it.

So he’s doing like these really egregious things. He drinks all the time. . Yeah, All the time. And he basically just says, I don’t know if I can be a good father. I don’t know that I’m a good person. I don’t, You know, he has like all of these issues that I think if you were talking to your daughter or a good friend or anyone, like if you’re not in love with that person, You see very clearly that like this relationship is not a good relationship for you to be in.

And she had her own issues. She had her own daddy issues that exacerbated their problem. You know, he comes at some point in the book. At the point in the book where Molly has been pushed down the stairs by Sabrina and she’s lost her baby. And Jake shows up in the hospital and then he says something like, Oh yeah, I would’ve been there for you.

And it’s like, Really?

[00:43:32] Gayle: Yeah,

[00:43:33] Nicole: I, Yeah, you were a mess. And then, And then then says something like, Oh, but I was 26 years old. And it’s like, well, That’s true, and that can be difficult at 26, but that’s also why she made the de the decision that she made.

[00:43:51] Gayle: Yeah, no, I, I agree. I also thought that Jake’s transformation to you know, suburban insurance guy was just unrealistic. and he didn’t, He seemed so resigned to it and so fine with it, and almost just like, Oh yeah, that was a previous life. Like, it just, it was a little convenient to have him just be like such a different person, but yet he wasn’t a different person.

He was really the same. Jake, I don’t know. I , I had, I had problems with that. I, the whole thing was, you know, it. There were things about the book that were very realistic and things about the book that were terribly unrealistic. She, what, what I like about her is she is good at details. Like when she’s talking about, you know, I, I, I hate when authors like, ignore the use of a, of the iPhone where they’re like you know, they don’t incorporate kind of regular.

Every day realistic ways that we have relationships now. And this, I mean, I thought she was super realistic and I think her dialogue is generally pretty good. Like I feel like she. You know, depicts how people actually have relationships and how they communicate. And you know, when the time when she’s sort of like waiting for him to text or call and he’s in Europe and she’s home and the phone and she’s checking and I was like, Oh, this, this feels like I can see this.

Like I could, I could see this happening to me like this seems realistic. But then she has these super unrealistic plot twists, like him moving to Connecticut and having this job and. Oh, I just was kind of like, well that was very convenient how that all worked out.

[00:45:37] Nicole: So I kind of come in on the opposite with that. I have had friends who’ve been in bands where it is just kind of like that. It is. I think that you’re always weighing in a band, like when can you make it, You know, you have pressure on people. Settling down, having a real life, like whether it’s coming from your girlfriend, whether it’s coming from your family.

So I have known people who’ve just like hit a mark or they hit 29 and they hit 30, and it’s just like, all right, well I don’t think that this is gonna go. The way, So now I am going to, to go sell insurance or start a family or figure out a real job kind of thing. And I think it does happen rather abruptly so that I kind of bought, you know, just to be demoralized by having your girlfriend leave you.

Your band mates have decided to go on without you and you feel like you’ve lost your way. So I agree with you in the sense that I do think that there’s things that she addresses realistically and very well. That was realistic for me, but I also think just Molly’s fertility, fertility appointments and, and the way that Sabrina is able to kind of pull her in with that, that as a bond or whatever, you know, the anxiety of waiting to see if you’re gonna be pregnant and knowing that this is an expense and, and knowing that too, she really wanted it for a hunter so that they could have a baby that was both.

[00:47:06] Gayle: Did you think she was gonna stay with Hunter in the end?

[00:47:09] Nicole: Yeah, I do agree with you that that was one of those really abrupt things. I thought she should have , right? I thought she should have. I mean, I think the thing is she basically, the Carol Lovering wrote this book and I think that, What’s the name of that generic book again?

[00:47:25] Gayle: Too Good To Be True. Too. Good to

[00:47:26] Nicole: Be True. I think that that was the better. in terms of it just being really compelling. This one, there was like a lot of places where I was just kind of like ho. Okay. Yeah,

[00:47:35] Gayle: I agree with you. Although it was kind of the same character, Molly, and then that woman from Too Good to be True.

The one who had the ocd Sky. Sky. I mean even her names . She picks these names. Sky and Molly both sound like he’s right. Jake, oh my god. Jake and Sabrina, like, Sabrina has like kind of witch like. You know, I don’t remember the name of the woman from Too Good to be True. Who was the scheming wife? Heather. Oh, Heather, Okay.

So maybe like, maybe the names aren’t, so maybe it’s just because I get to know these characters in these particular books, but just, I don’t know, like Molly, like. Even the na, You know, I did this on audio and the narrators were really different. The narrator, the voice of the narrator for Sabrina had this very weird voice, sounded almost like this.

It was sort of robotic like this, and Molly, and the one who did Molly was like, , you know, like it was very sweet. Like, and then she was, you know, she did her yoga class and you know, it, it, she had this soft kind of like,

[00:48:42] Nicole: supportive also why I don’t listen to a lot of books in audio. Cause I feel like they’re painting a picture for you that you might not necessarily get if you were reading it.

[00:48:50] Gayle: Yeah, no, that’s true. Like Sabrina from the start of this audio book was, she’d like , she was set up from the beginning, and Jake as this, like Jake voice like this.

[00:49:01] Nicole: Was it a woman who narrated

[00:49:02] Gayle: Jake? Actually, no. Jake Jake had a male narrator, but there were times when the, in the, like, the chapters of like Molly’s chapter where Jake was concerned, the narrator would do his voice.

You know, the, the Molly narrator would do Jake’s voice, but Jake’s chapters had its own narrator. Yeah, I don’t know. I just, I think

[00:49:21] Nicole: I like this book more as it went along. . I definitely wasn’t liking it in the beginning. Thought it was really de derivative. I do think that she, like, I was just kind of bored.

You know, they’re out there and they’re in Connecticut, you know, I know Sabrina has ulterior motives and is gonna spring the fact that she’s married to Jake on her, it seems to be for an as nine reason. So it was just kind of like, Okay. I. , as we approached the conflict, it got a little bit more interesting as we flesh out how Jake and Molly’s relationship ended, or finally we get to, you know, cuz we really don’t see, we just know that she’s left, right?

And once they get to that final, you know, leg of their relationship when he’s on this European tour and it just falls apart. And, you know, of course she’s with his , with his blessing, has spent all this time with Hunter, basically falling in love with another man.

[00:50:13] Gayle: I forgot what? What was the final straw?

Just that like he had ignored her while she was away or was it that she was pregnant? It was pregnant. That she was

[00:50:21] Nicole: pregnant. Right. She was pregnant and her dad had left, or her mom had kicked her dad out and she felt like her dad was resentful. Yeah, of his family because he was a writer, you know, like he really wanted time to devote to his art and he had stopped and gotten a job.

And you know, Jake said he wouldn’t have been like that, but it’s like, Jake, you couldn’t even like pick up the phone and call and say hello when you were on tour. You know, it, He was kind of very, all or nothing with that band. And so that was the final straw. Like, I cannot raise a child.

[00:50:52] Gayle: I mean, he was just like, unrealistically,

[00:50:55] Nicole: like I do feel like Hunter was kind of lame, who’s like, she’s like, he’s like, I think you should tell him

And Molly’s like, Yeah, yeah, but I won’t. He’s like, Oh,

[00:51:04] Gayle: okay, , and I’ll marry you and raise the kid as my own. Right? And

[00:51:07] Nicole: you’re like, He’s like you. He has a right to know. I would wanna know. And then he’s like, All right, well fine. Let’s not

[00:51:12] Gayle: tell him. . Yeah. Oh, can we talk about the cliche of someone being pushed and then losing the baby?

Oh, like. I mean, come on. It’s just not how it works. It’s right. It’s just that’s

[00:51:24] Nicole: not how it works.

[00:51:25] Gayle: People lose babies for all different reasons, but like, that’s such a cliche. And then she wakes up in the hospital like, you’re okay. But what about the baby? I’m sorry to tell you, it’s gone. Like, it just, it like felt like it was out of a soap opera.

You know that part?

[00:51:40] Nicole: Yeah. I mean, you can fall down the stairs and lose a baby, but I think a lot of times you’re probably, The baby’s probably

[00:51:46] Gayle: okay. I would not have read this book if you hadn’t suggested it, so I’m glad that you did. Did you, You read Too Good To Be True, though. I did read

[00:51:55] Nicole: too. Good to be true.

But you were not gonna

[00:51:57] Gayle: read this one? I don’t know. I mean, it was not on my radar at all. Like, I’d probably seen that it was out and I saw I enjoyed Too Good To Be True.

[00:52:04] Nicole: So I thought that she was, I don’t know. I mean, look, I, we read the same book all the time. Reading the same reading or writing the same book all the time is not the problem.

But I feel like you have to do it with like some kind of nuance, some kind of different thing. I just feel like this was so similar, like you said, so similar and it was like, you know, told in flat the same setup. You know, we’ve got, we’ve got the two timelines. We’ve got, you know, one person who’s just like completely crazy and unreliable and so, I would, if she’s gonna be writing the same story, like I would just like to see you play a little bit with structure and form, so it’s like, Oh, this is the last book you just

[00:52:45] Gayle: wrote.

[00:52:46] Nicole: Yeah. But with a child this time and a husband . Yeah. On the other end as opposed to in the past or wherever. Yeah,

[00:52:55] Gayle: I agree.

[00:52:57] Nicole: All right, so next step. Gayle, what are we reading

[00:52:59] Gayle: for our next two books? We’re gonna discuss the Paper Palace in November, which is a book that Nicole and I both read, so we’ll refresh ourselves and be ready.

Yeah, yeah. Miranda Heller. And then in December, we’re going to read Tomorrow and Tomorrow. And Tomorrow by Gabriela, Evan. So that our, those are our next two book club picks. So if you would like to join our spoiler discussions of those, please. Paper Palace should have some good conversation and let us

[00:53:26] Nicole: know what you thought about this one right to us.

We had a reader write in. I didn’t get a chance to respond, I’m such a Sunday morning emailer because I really don’t, That’s about the only time that I can sit and look through my personal email. So she had some thoughts on I think compelling books that will get you out of a slump. So next time we’ll talk about those, the three that she sent, and if you guys have other opinions about t Too Good To Be True if you think we’re totally wrong or whatever.

I’m curious to think to see how people fall on whether they like this book better than they look like the other book, whose name I will never be able to remember one. Too Good To Be True. Yeah. Curious to see where you, you fall. Do you think she improved? I don’t know. I felt like this one maybe needed a little bit more time to cook.

[00:54:17] Gayle: Yeah. Or just she needed to be encouraged in a different direction or

[00:54:20] Nicole: just Yeah. Go further a field.

[00:54:22] Gayle: Yeah. All right. Well, that’s our show. Yeah. Until next time, happy reading.

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