New in Paperbacks

New in Paperbacks

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Nicole and Gayle do a recap of what they are currently reading or have finished reading. Then, they jump to present the new Paperbacks that just came out or are about to be!

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

Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez | Amazon | Bookshop

Vladimir by Julia May Jonas | Amazon | Bookshop

The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen | Amazon | Bookshop

Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam | Amazon | Bookshop

The Push by Ashley Audrain | Amazon | Bookshop

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett | Amazon | Bookshop

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

Educated by Tara Westover | Amazon | Bookshop

Geography of an Adultery by Agnes Riva | Amazon | Bookshop

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro | Amazon | Bookshop

Find Me by Alafair Burke | Amazon | Bookshop

True Crime Story by Joseph Knox | Amazon | Bookshop

Like A Sister by Kellye Garrett | Amazon | Bookshop

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict | Amazon | Bookshop

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel | Amazon | Bookshop

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri | Amazon | Bookshop

The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton | 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 back to report about paperbacks. It’s been a long time since we talked about paperbacks. I actually thought that we had talked about them a little bit. Maybe like a couple of months ago. I think maybe I have been thinking about that and that plan got pushed because we ended up doing some end of the year shows earlier.

So I think maybe that’s what happened. So we’re back to talk about all the paperbacks, all the things that we’ve read that are now out in paperback or are coming in paperback soon. But before we do that, we will get caught up as per usual. Gayle, what have you been reading?

[00:00:38] Gayle: So I finished two books that I think I’ve talked about briefly on the show, but now they’re finished.

And then I actually read a third one, but I’m going to hold off on that one. Because it’s actually one of the papers. So I’m not going to I’ll I’ll wait till later in the show. I think I mentioned, I was reading a book called Olga Dies Dreaming, and you had given me a potential pronunciation of the author’s names, Xóchitl González. This is the book about the woman  living in New York, who is a Puerto Rican descent. She is a kind of high-end wedding planner. Her brother is a Congressman. And I think when I talked about it on the show I had was only maybe 50 or a hundred pages in, and I was liking it a lot. I ended up sort of having mixed feelings about it.

I think I created it like three and a half stars. It was one of those books where the author tried to do too many things. Like she covers lots and lots of different topics and it, you know, sometimes it feels sort of lighthearted romcom, and sometimes it had more of a like political bent to it and they even had some thriller elements to it.

It seemed like it was a bit of a mish-mash and I think it would have been better. Yeah. Been a little more focused or she chosen one path and paired it down a little bit and liked that it was a very kind of fresh voice and fresh perspective. It’s probably the first fiction I’ve read or at least recently about, you know, kind of the issues about Puerto Rico and Puerto Rican independence.

It talks a little bit about the hurricane and the treatment of Puerto Rican people after the hurricane, by our. Previous precedent. And I enjoyed that perspective and just, it felt very something fresh and new and different from what I often read. So that part I really liked. I just wish I had been a little bit more pared down, but a lot of people really liked it.

And I thought the audio book, which I did it on audio was great. So that one is done. And then I read Vladimir, which I think I might’ve mentioned on the last show or I was going to start, it had me interested.

[00:02:36] Nicole: Oh, Right, right. And you were saying that maybe we would do a book club on it.

[00:02:37] Gayle: If you’d prefer, I can wait and we can talk about it later, but I did read it and I liked it a lot and you’re like,

[00:02:48] Nicole: okay. All right. So maybe we will book club it again. So that I can get to read it.

[00:02:52] Gayle: Okay. There are some polarizing views. I was in a Facebook chat thread or, you know, commenting Susie from novel visits had a very negative reaction to. Oh, and posted that on her and Facebook. And then a bunch of people were commenting underneath it saying either I didn’t like it either, or I started it or thank you for telling me, and now it’s off my list.

And then I posted that I really liked it. And, you know, I offered a different perspective and a couple of people posted under me and said, oh, I agree with you. So it seems like there are definitely different views on it. And I think I mentioned that my in real life book club is reading it. So I’m assuming we’ll have a good discussion.

[00:03:33] Nicole: So, did you read any of it at all at print? Because I know you said you did this on audio and sometimes

[00:03:39] Gayle: no, no, I did Vladimir entirely.

Nicole: Oh, you did it in print.

Gayle: Yeah, that was entirely print. I didn’t do the audio. I did Olga Dies Dreaming on audio. When you thought Vladimir was print and I liked it a lot in,

[00:03:52] Nicole: could you get a sense of what if I would like it an audio or print?

One of the things that I think I have to clarify, because I didn’t discuss with my challenge is I don’t listen to that many audio. So I did not include. Like my fiction promised to read only authors I’ve read before it only extends to print fiction.

[00:04:15] Gayle: That’s a nice little loophole.

[00:04:16] Nicole: Let me see. So a little non-fiction and I don’t listen to that much audio that I feel like I don’t want to be constrained there.

[00:04:25] Gayle: That’s fair. I’m looking up who the narrator is. See if maybe there’s any, oh, Rebecca Lowman. I like Rebecca lumen. I think you’d probably like it and audio

[00:04:36] Nicole: there’s sometimes it’s something about the content of the story. I feel like I like books that I read that are on the lighter side. I find that I usually think that I might not have liked to in print as much as I have liked them in audio.

So that’s why I asked you know, something so interesting.

[00:04:51] Gayle: It’s not that interesting. The cover of the book, have you seen that? Yes. Okay. So cover has this man. He is wearing. Like of what I thought was of velvet or corduroy type jacket, like almost like a smoking jacket,

[00:05:11] Nicole: right. With shorts match that match.

[00:05:15] Gayle: Okay. But that’s the thing, the cover, maybe it’s just, I have an arc in the cover and the print arc, you can’t see the shorts. So it looked like pants. So I thought it was like a, I’m imagining this. Like a seventies era, like velvet suit, you wear to like a disco. I don’t know, but I just looked up the audio to see who the narrator was.

And of course the audio covers are more square when you look at like the thumbnail of it. And I’m seeing now he’s wearing shorts and that to me kind of changes everything. Cause then it looks like more of a like booed war.

[00:05:49] Nicole: Actually, no. Yeah, that’s true. It’s like the picture is cropped differently. Cause I just looked it up on Amazon and it totally looks like you can’t see as his knees or his, his thoughts, his thoughts.

So it doesn’t look like he’s just kind of lounging in this, like, like he has pants

[00:06:06] Gayle: on or whatever. That there’s a difference to me, the context of that outfit. So the audience that’s totally, it’s like, wow, there’s this leg. It’s a V you know, this tight, this cover has gotten a lot of press as well.

Like people are like either super turned off by it or they think it’s really funny. Yeah, I think I would recommend that you do it on audio. I would love to talk to you about this book. Would

[00:06:27] Nicole: you say that it is literary fiction? Yeah, yeah. Kind of Fabio cover.

[00:06:36] Gayle: I mean, he has a chain on his neck and the cover I feel like is misleading in that way.

Right. I would call this literary fiction.

[00:06:43] Nicole: Well, to be continued.

[00:06:44] Gayle: And then the other thing I’ve started, which I’m wondering if you’re going to read it, which you can read because it’s a repeat author for you is the golden couple.

[00:06:55] Nicole: Oh, I read it. I listened to it.

[00:06:56] Gayle: Oh, you did. I’m listening to it, right? Yeah.

Should I, is that good? Should I be reading? I said, did you like it? I liked it. Good. Okay.

[00:07:04] Nicole: We’ve had this conversation before that, you know, both of us have read Sarah and books and we find them to be just kind of like milk toast, very mild storylines or whatever. Completely. As soon as you close the book, you know, it’s like it’s gone.

And that she is a little edgier when she is writing with. Greer Hendrick who used to be her editor. So they they’ve got this really interesting relationship, but they’re just on a roll with their books. I think I like the first one. Did I read the second one that they wrote together?

[00:07:34] Gayle: I’m in the same boat as you.

I read that first one. I can’t remember what it was and I did not read the second one. I really,

[00:07:40] Nicole: I really liked this one. Oh, good.

[00:07:42] Gayle: I’m so glad I just started it on that.

[00:07:45] Nicole: I mean, it’s just kind of really interesting just because it’s about this woman. It’s, like I said about this radical therapist who has lost her license, but she has a rule that she only takes on couples that she thinks that she can help.

So she’s a couples therapist and she has to be able to just, you know, resolve their issues in 10 sessions. Like she doesn’t go over 10 sessions with them and she meets this new couple where. We quickly find out that, you know, like the wife has lured her husband to these counseling, these therapy sessions under false pretenses.

Have you gotten that? Yeah. Okay. They’re not there for the reason that she has told them that they’re there. And you know, of course the therapist doesn’t like that. She doesn’t like being lied to, but it becomes apparent that they are kind of more intertwined than any of them would have thought. And it’s like going down a very dangerous road

[00:08:44] Gayle: this year, thus further than I have gotten.

So that’s exciting. Okay. So they’ve actually written, this is our fourth book together. They wrote you are not alone.

[00:08:53] Nicole: Which I didn’t read and I didn’t mention

[00:08:55] Gayle: anonymous, anonymous girl. I didn’t read. And then the wife between us, which I think you and I both read. Yes.

[00:09:01] Nicole: And I liked the wife between us. I mean, obviously.

I don’t know. I wasn’t like, oh my God, I’ve got to read the next thing that they’ve written because they’ve written two more and I’ve missed them. But I did like this one. Okay, good. That might put me on momentum to if, when they do their next book, because it seems like they’re on a book a year path that I would read their next one.

Yeah. I don’t know. The anonymous girl had kind of a, I think they, well, you, you are not alone. I just haven’t heard of, I think that

[00:09:32] Gayle: came out during the. Yeah,

[00:09:35] Nicole: maybe that’s why and anonymous girl, I don’t know. There was something weird about it that I was just like, eh, I don’t know if I want to read this.

It’s about a study on ethics and morality.

[00:09:43] Gayle: Oh, that’s right. That’s right. She like agrees to be part of this some study and it’s super intrusive. That’s right. So then the book that I also finished, I’m going to say for later, Okay. How about you?

[00:09:55] Nicole: So I have made a little progress and I’ve read a couple of books.

I’m still five books behind. I think it was five or six bucks books behind last week, but I have read, I finished that story that I was listening to True Crime Story by Joseph Knox. And I really liked that. I read, Find Me by Alafair Burke. Is one of her standalones cause Alafair Burke writes all of these mysteries and she has one series where she follows this detective.

Actually, this may not have been a standalone because there was a detective from her other novels, but there was kind of like this other element where this woman is trying to investigate the disappearance of her friend who has gone missing. And she’s friends with this woman who I think happened 12 years before she was in a car accident.

She didn’t remember who she was. Never regained her memory. And it happened when they were pretty young, I think maybe early twenties. So she just kind of takes her in and she’s always just kind of been everything for her. Some people think that their relationship is kind of weird, you discover later on, but anyway, This friend is trying to get some of her independence back and she wants to move out on her own.

And she finds his place out in East Hampton that she’s going to move to. And she’s found a job where she’s going to be helping like this kind of shady real estate broker, but he’s the only one she can find a job with who will pay her under the. Under under the table off the books, but then she disappears and her friend is desperate to find her.

And this woman’s name is Lindsay and her friend who disappears is hope. And Ellie Hatcher who Alafair Burke has written many books about is kind of involved with this because as it turns out, they find out a little bit about Hope’s past. And it seems like there’s a connection to Ellie’s father who died on the.

So it was, it was good. I really liked it. I listened to the dicey. I listened to the audio. So if you said, but I’ve read Alafair Burke before is a man or a woman. It’s a woman. Her father is, I think his name is James Burke and he’s also an author and I’ve read a book of his before that I, I really liked, so they are a writing thing.

Yeah. So that was really good.

[00:12:15] Gayle: It’s such an unusual name. Is it a British name? I don’t know.

[00:12:19] Nicole: It sounds very British. Doesn’t it? It sounds like a British man.

[00:12:23] Gayle: That’s what I always assumed

[00:12:24] Nicole: it was. But now Alafair Burke, meaning it says it’s a girl’s name, meaning L for your or all true. So I don’t know. Hmm. Okay.

Since we’ve gone down that. Rabbit hole. Yeah. Okay. And then we talked about the goals and couples. So what

[00:12:48] Gayle: am I re did you I finally finished the push

to 80% finished with the push and not finished.

[00:12:58] Nicole: I got to the part where it was just really wild, like, well, we were talking about the call. I have a lot going on. So I think what’s happening is the push is something I have in print and like everything that I just talked to, I think I have listened to because I have time on my commute, but not really much time.

[00:13:16] Gayle: Anywhere else? Yeah, I’ve gone through those phases where I’m like, only about you.

[00:13:22] Nicole: And I was like, how am I going to tell Gayle that I haven’t finished

[00:13:26] Gayle: like the last time? And it’s fine. I, again, don’t remember the, what happens at the end of that book very well. So before you do, I’m going to try to refresh and then we can help.

[00:13:36] Nicole: I’ll let you know when I do. And like I said, my show, I’m going to try to finish it today.

[00:13:42] Gayle: As soon as I finish it,

[00:13:45] Nicole: when we get a call and it just read the end.

[00:13:50] Gayle: That’s hilarious.

[00:13:51] Nicole: So there are, I feel like there is book to movie stuff that’s coming out. Oh. Before we get to that, I’m listening to this book called what I’m listening to now is this book called Like A Sister by Kellye Garrett.

And it is about. These two sisters, they’re actually half sisters. This is fiction. And it is about these two sisters, Lena and Deseret and Deseret. After her 25th birthday is found either she’s dead in a car in the Bronx and it looks like it might have been an overdose. And. Like their father is this hip hop mogul, you know, like he’s just like produce everyone, I guess he should be sort of like the Sean puffy Combs tight or whatever.

So it is about Lena Scott, who is the older sister. She hadn’t talked to her sister for a couple of years, just because they both had very different lifestyles. And I think she was just kind of taking a break because her sister Deseret ran with a fast crowd. But she is very interested in figuring out what happened to her sister because she lives in the Bronx and her sister had been celebrating her party at this very Swank hotel downtown in Manhattan.

And so for her to be found in the Bronx, she feels like the only reason that she would be there is because she was coming to speak to her. And of course, you know, because they had not spoken in so long. Of course she feels. She loves her sister and she feels responsibility. So she starts investigating, you know, like who her sister was last seen with, you know, boyfriend.

She has friends and also talking to her father because their relationship is not really that great, but she wants to get to the bottom of this. And it seems like she is going to find out some things that may be her family wants to not come out. This book is actually. Not the details of it, but just like the headline, I think is based on something that happened a couple of years ago this woman named lyric McHenry, I think she had gone to Stanford and she had gotten into reality TV shows and her father wasn’t a hip hop mogul, but he PR he was a director or a movie producer.

And she was, I think it was her 26th birthday. When she was partying at the dream hotel or whatever. And then she was found in the Bronx and like die the next day of a drug overdose and she was 20 weeks pregnant. And the family said they didn’t realize that she was so I don’t think that the author took any of those details, but she did kind of like take the.

Overview of that story and just spun her own about like what could have happened and what would have been behind this. Hmm. Okay. So, oh yes. So I was, before I had to backtrack, I was gonna say, I feel like there’s a lot of stuff. That’s booked to movie stuff that’s going on right now. Have you watched, you know, inventing Anna’s out, have you watched any of it?

[00:17:01] Nicole: No I didn’t. Okay. I started I’m not sure what I think about it yet. It’s one of those that I can’t. Say I would have to watch all of it to have an opinion because I can’t tell and I’ll have to look this up. Whether the journalist in the inventing Ana is one that they made up. I mean, this is it’s loosely based on life, but I think they’d taken some liberties about it.

The magazine that broke the original story. And was New York magazine. And of course in the show it’s called Manhattan magazine. So I’m not sure how much about the journalist who is trying to get an, a story is correct. It’s an interesting perspective, but it’s one that I can’t say, oh, I love it mid watching it.

I think it’s one of those things that he just formed an opinion after you’ve seen it all and I’ve seen it, the reviews have not been great. How do you like the. The casting is fine. Yeah. Okay.

[00:17:59] Gayle: I don’t know. I kind of feel like I read the book. I’m like, do I need to see the movie? Do I need to watch the series?

[00:18:04] Nicole: I don’t think that also far, it has not like the first two or three episodes that I’ve seen it. Hasn’t concentrated on the book. And I think what the story makes me think about is the fact that when we read. The article is more comprehensive than the book. That was her name. Rachel guilloche Williams wrote just because she focused primarily on her own experience.

And I think that this is getting more into how vast Amis con was and people who wanted to keep their names out of the newspaper. You know, like these are wealthy people that she had been dealing. Swindling and they didn’t want to be embarrassed, you know, just kind of like Bernie Madoff, you know, you never know the impact of everyone just because so many people just did not.

[00:18:55] Gayle: Two people to know that they have been duped. I’ve binged. This has nothing to do with books, but I have binged a really cute show, which one it’s called Starstruck on HBO. Okay. And I’m on look out for cute show. Oh my God. This is, and it’s super short. I think there’s six episodes and they’re each about a half an hour.

So you can knock this thing off in a night. It is about, it’s like basically Notting Hill. Way better. So it’s about, yeah, it’s about this, this woman living in London and she’s very funny and, you know sort sorta like little down on her luck, like she has a couple of part-time jobs. She hasn’t like sort of made it the way she wanted to.

I think she’s from New Zealand, but she meets this guy at a bar in new year’s Eve and they ended up hooking up and she goes to his apartment and they have a one night stand in, in the morning. She wakes up and she’s kind of like looking around his apartment and she sees that he’s his famous movie star.

I didn’t know how she didn’t recognize him because everyone else she knows, seems to know who he is, but whatever premise is not necessarily the most realistic,

[00:20:02] Nicole: I feel like I would be that person.

[00:20:04] Gayle: Yeah. You know, she’s just whatever for whatever reason is like busy or unaware. Yeah. And so they. But they, but he really likes her, but of course, like, you know, this can’t go smoothly.

So the six episodes then chart what happens over the course of the next year, you know, that they kind of keep like crossing paths and it’s clear that they like each other, but timing is off or, you know, whatever’s going on and she’s insecure because he’s this hot movie star. And anyway, it’s very, very cute and it is directed by.

I think it’s directed by the person who stars in it. See Seattle, see what her name is. Starstruck comedy series. Okay. Her name is Rose, not a fail. I think she’s a comedian. She’s a comedian comedian writer and actor Rose Matafeo follows the life of Jessie and millennial who lives in east London. She juggles between her two jobs in order to afford the overpriced apartment.

She shares with her best friend. And he. His name is Tom. The actor is Nikesh Patel. So I like the fact he’s Indian. She, I don’t know what her background is. I, she’s sort of one of those people you could tell me she’s any race and I would kind of believe it. So they’re not like your typical sort of like, you know, white blonde movie stars or whatever protagonists.

And it’s just because it’s written by the, by her, I feel like from a woman’s perspective, it’s just funny and realistic. It’s really. You can knock this one out in a night or two nights.

[00:21:38] Nicole: This reminds me of which we just, what did we read? That was like the Harry styles guy.

[00:21:44] Gayle: Oh, The Idea Of You.

Yeah. I mean, and this one, and he’s not quite the actors, not at that level of superstardom. Right. But yeah, similar theme, he knows like that the protagonist is not skinny. Like she’s got like a very normal. Typical, you know, average body, but like, she’s very, she’s just very like confident about herself. I don’t know.

It’s just, it was very cute. I liked it a lot.

[00:22:13] Nicole: Did we talk about the fact that Anne Hathaway is going to be in The Idea Of You. No, I didn’t. Yeah, I think didn’t we, because you were just like, you didn’t know if you could watch it.

[00:22:25] Gayle: And did we talk about this, this then I’m losing my mind. Cause I don’t remember that.

That is so disappointing. So not who I would have picked Anne Hathaway. She’s so annoying.

[00:22:36] Nicole: Yeah. Cause I was trying to get to the bottom of why you think she’s so annoying? Oh, right. Yeah. It’s going to be an Amazon series.

[00:22:46] Gayle: Oh yeah, that does not.

[00:22:48] Nicole: None of that sounds appealing. I did a film. Well, anyway, Amazon studios is doing it

[00:22:54] Gayle: Anne Hathaway did do one of the modern love column adaptations. Amazon Prime series, Modern Love, which I adored. Yeah. And the one that she was in, I think I mentioned she plays somebody who has bipolar disorder. She has, you know, her, she is bipolar. And I actually thought she did a pretty good job with that. She was not annoying and that she, you know, she had very high highs and low lows, and I thought she did a really nice job with that range, but I would not have picked her for the idea of.

I’m trying to think who I would have put in that I would have put Rose Byrne in that one.

[00:23:32] Nicole: I could see Rose Byrne. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:23:36] Gayle: Oh, well, it’s not just Byrne. Okay. So any other TV news? Yeah. Let’s move on to

[00:23:41] Nicole: TV news. One more thing. Oh, I started watching. What was the plague movie?

[00:23:49] Gayle: Not the Station 11. Oh, the adaptation of Station 11.

[00:23:55] Nicole: How is. Have you read Station 11? I’ve read Station 11. I thought it was good. I don’t know if I’m going to make it through this series. It’s just so like of our time. God, I mean, it seems like it’s, it’s worse. I mean, we’re not like the world has not ended to the point that we’re like traveling the streets, performing Shakespeare, being dirty, but I just can’t right now, I think.

Fair enough. I’m kind of interested in it. I’ve watched two or three episodes, but it’s just one of those where the people are just so strange and which, yeah, I mean, if civilization ended, I’m sure I’d be pretty strange three years on 20 years on, you know, the different time periods that they’re looking at.

But I don’t think I can watch it. I just want to mention that I has started.

[00:24:41] Gayle: I’m glad because now I’m really not interested in watching it. Where you going. I don’t know. I mean, I love the book, but I

[00:24:48] Nicole: really did like the book. The book is good.

[00:24:51] Gayle: Yeah.

[00:24:51] Nicole: I think that the, the way that they set it up I think it just might be too faithful to just the world going to hell.

And these people are making do, yeah. I don’t know, maybe in another year, but just not now. Right.

[00:25:08] Gayle: That’s fair.

[00:25:10] Nicole: So I think now we’re really finished.

[00:25:15] Gayle: All right. So paperbacks. So we looked at paperbacks over the last, you know, four to five months just cause it’s been a while, as Nicole said, shockingly, I’ve actually read all of the ones that are on my list.

I have a feeling you and I will have a couple of overlaps here. That’s fine. Okay. All right. Well, I’ll start with. One that came out in November and paperback. And the reason we do paperbacks is because we know that there are people who often wait till books are out on paperback because they’re cheaper and easier to carry.

[00:25:45] Nicole: And I just love that there, the font smaller font is smaller, more compact.

[00:25:48] Gayle: My first one is Leave The World Behind by Rumaan Alam, but she came out in November in paperback. And this is a book that we have talked about at length on the show. And I believe this is also being made into a movie. Right. Denzel and Julia, I believe, I don’t know when that’s coming out.


[00:26:07] Nicole: attach to that because they’ve made casting changes. We talked to.

[00:26:10] Gayle: Yeah, that’s true. I’m looking up right now to see what the deal is with the movie. If the world behind Netflix. Oh, Netflix cast will be led. Well, this is still September. Oh my God. It is no longer Denzel. It is no longer Denzel. It is my Mahershala Ali.

Oh, well, all right. Right. Interesting. I wonder what happened

[00:26:30] Nicole: to Denzel. I mean, I really like my Mahershala, but Denzel on Julia, it was supposed to be there for you.

[00:26:36] Gayle: Right. The reunion from that, what was Pelican brief or something? I think so. Yup. And it is a Netflix movie with

[00:26:41] Nicole: I feel like she has worked with my Mahershala on something.

I mean, he’s really good. He is. We’re not in bad hands, but right.

[00:26:48] Gayle: Or just different hands. Anyway, this is a movie, a book, and now eventually a movie about a family who is renting a house in, I think it’s unspecified, but we think it’s like long island or the Hamptons or something renting a summer house for a week.

And a day or two into their stay, a couple shows. Saying this is their house and they are fleeing Manhattan for kind of an unspecified reason. We don’t really know what’s going on in Manhattan, the cause into fleet, but they did. And it’s just about the interplay between the couple and the family.

The family is white, the couple is black. And so there’s. You know, suspicion, there’s a fear, there’s panic because they are slowly being cut off from the rest of the world because they, the internet is out and they don’t have enough food. I mean, it’s this very tense, uneasy book. Definitely a pandemic read.

[00:27:45] Nicole: Definitely. Yeah, comedic. I mean, it just, yeah, not intentional laugh out loud, funny, but there was just like this undercurrent of dark humor, just because these people are so themselves, even in the middle of like this very strange.

[00:28:01] Gayle: Well, that’s, what’s so good about it. I think in retrospect too, is that it is very honest that like, you know, we it’s ordinary feelings in extraordinary times showing that you’re right.

People don’t change. They are very much themselves and they bring their, you know, prejudices and thoughts and, you know, selfish motivations, even in the midst of, you know, what could be like a global. Crisis. So I would recommend reading this before the movie comes out before the, let’s see, trying to see when it’s looks like it’s coming out.


[00:28:36] Nicole: And I tell you that someone joined the cast that you really like, oh, no joint, the cast of this, but maybe you don’t really like them. I think I was confusing that with Andrew McCarthy, but Ethan Hawke, I do like,

[00:28:49] Gayle: oh, that’s even better. See the husband,

[00:28:52] Nicole: I don’t know.

[00:28:54] Gayle: I love Ethan Hawke.

[00:28:56] Nicole: I thought it was just like, I think this will make y’all happy.

[00:29:01] Gayle: That’s great.

[00:29:03] Nicole: Yes. And this is, this is current. This is this article that I’m looking at is January 18th, 2022.

[00:29:10] Gayle: I’m looking to see who he’s playing. He’s gotta be playing.

[00:29:15] Nicole: The husband, played a character for five characters at most.

[00:29:17] Gayle: Okay. How long it would start. Ethan Hawke and industry breakout from the highlight.

Harold have joined the cast of the Netflix thriller. Oh, that’s funny. They call it a thriller. Leave the world behind he will play Robert’s husband. Harold will play Ali’s daughter and Armstrong and Evans will play Robert and Hawk’s children. That is very exciting news to have Ethan Hawke in there. It’s funny.

I thought of them, the parents, and this is a little younger than Ethan and Julia, but that’s okay. I can adapt.

[00:29:46] Nicole: They can’t be that much younger than Ethan and Julia, because the black couple, I think their child is grown or college age, so, and they’re a little older, so I don’t know.

[00:29:59] Gayle: Does their daughter end up showing up?

[00:30:00] Nicole: No, that is already a significant change from the book, I would think.

[00:30:06] Gayle: Okay. Unless, unless it’s more like a flashback or something, All right. That’s interesting. Wow. Okay. So read the paper back and then watch this, especially now that I know that Ethan Hawke is in it. Yeah. I love you then Hawk. He’s in one of my favorite movies called Juliet naked, which I’ve probably talked about on the show before, but he’s just, I love him.

What’s your first?

[00:30:28] Nicole: Okay. The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict is my first paperback. It came out in October of 2021. So this is about the famous. You know, there’s the infamous 10 days at Agatha Christie goes missing in 19 in December of 1926, actually it’s 11 days. And when she comes back, she says that she has had amnesia and the book is a bit of it looks at two time periods.

The first is when she is meeting. Well, you know, who will eventually become her husband, Archie. And it just, you can see that they are from different backgrounds and different worlds. And in the second time period, it is, you can see that their marriage is trouble and there are cracks there and she disappears and people think that she’s dead.

And, you know, they’re closing in, on Archie as a suspect. This is so interesting that Agatha Christie. I was able to pull this off, you know, and she’s everyone reads her books. She’s like the most, no one has sold more books and Agatha Christie. I mean, maybe the Bible, but I’m not even sure if that’s accurate.

If the Bible has sold more than Agatha Christie, and this is a period she went missing. She said she had amnesia. She never answered any questions about it. She wrote an autobiography. There was no mention of this time period in her life. So. Yeah. I don’t know. I had issues with the novel just because

I dunno, you get to the, I didn’t feel like the end was satisfying. I’ll say that, but it’s definitely an interesting look if you like at the Christie and this time period, it’s an interesting book too.

[00:32:10] Gayle: Hm. Okay. There’s there’s so many Agatha Christie books out right now. Keep them all straight.

[00:32:16] Nicole: It’s like a hot topic right now.

I think last time we spoke, I said that Nina Digra to grandma had she’s also writing a book that is about the same period where she Agatha goes missing. And I’m so curious to read that because I loved those. She write the gossip of the Starling. Like I really liked her. And what was the other one that we love?

The last September last September. So I had never read Marie Benedict before, but I think I’ve read, you know, she’s always writing these books about the famous women or not the not famous women, the women who were the wives, the partners, the maids and secretaries to famous men and explores how they had impact in these men’s lives.

Of course, that we did not know about.

[00:33:07] Gayle: Okay. So my next one is actually The Push, which is now out in paperback. It came out in January. So this is the book that Nicole has like 50 pages left and hasn’t finished. I read it last year. Really enjoyed it. It is about a woman whose daughter is very difficult. We just leave it at that. And it’s kind of similar to some other books that we’ve read where.

One parent believes one thing about a child and the other parent believes something different and it drives a massive wedge between the parents because they, they can’t sort of come do an honest and equal assessment of what their child is like.

[00:33:49] Nicole: That would be one of the things that I would want to ask you about is what your assessment was of what was going on.

Because I think it’s, I don’t think that it’s ever clearly spelled out. It is always kind of ambiguous.

I mean, we won’t go into it now. You’re going to have to refresh yourself

[00:34:11] Gayle: I do need to refresh myself. I think that I’m looking really quickly at my my review. I tend to usually side with the mother on this, or see side with the parent who sees the bad. ’cause, I just don’t think it’s something that you would make up or misinterpret.

I mean, I think there’s obviously shades of gray. Like, I mean, there’s certain attributes of children that you can sort of take different ways and you can see the good or, or you, you can, you can imagine the worst, or you could imagine the mildest or the best, I think in this situation, from what I remember of the book that.

I think that I tend to side with her on this one. I don’t know, but I, I, I would need to refresh to understand the nuances that could suggest another direction if that makes. I’m excited to talk about this with you when you’re done.

[00:35:11] Nicole: I want us to find the other books that are in this vein. I can think of a few and I won’t mention it them.

Now we’ll talk separately just in case they are spoilers for

[00:35:22] Gayle: this book,

[00:35:24] Nicole: but I, I just, I think it’s very interesting the way some depictions of motherhood are written and just wonder what’s driving the chain. Or even if we can find things a historically like maybe the, maybe other authors have been hinting at it now there’s just more freedom to have more honest depictions of motherhood’s motherhood, ones that are not necessarily flowery and positive.

And you know, like a lot goes on, you give up a lot when you become a mother, you know, especially, I feel like this culture makes mother so responsible for everything. That’s just a lot goes on. So

[00:36:09] Gayle: it’s interesting. They made that the cover of the push, at least the hard cover is a woman’s face, but it is also suggestive of a Rorschach tests, blood tests. And so, right.

[00:36:25] Nicole: So is what is being seen?

[00:36:28] Gayle: Right. And like we were shocked test is, you know, that there’s many possibilities of what the image conveys and it’s kind of up to the eyes of the person, the viewer. To figure out what they think. And so that’s kind of the question you asked at the very beginning of this is, you know, what do you, how do you interpret it?

Yeah. I wonder if they’ll make this one to do a, maybe I bet you, they will.

[00:36:53] Nicole: I would think it’s so compelling.

[00:36:55] Gayle: Yeah. All right. When you’re done, like we said, you’re going to tell me I’m going to quickly, re-scan it. And then we’ll have another conference, a conversation about it. And if we get into spoilers, we’ll let people know beforehand.

[00:37:08] Nicole: I will say, though, if they did do this as a movie, I want, it’s almost like, I’d just be very curious how to do it. And it seems like it would be hard to film without taking a side.

[00:37:20] Gayle: Yeah. That’s probably.

[00:37:20] Nicole: Okay. So the next book up for me is one that I discussed recently, Klara And The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro and it is about this dystopian world.

Like some things have gone on and there are different types of children. I think that’s something that you will learn as you get a little bit into the book, but it has become appropriate for children to have robot companions, like. Teenagers or a 12 to 13 year olds or whatever they have these robot models who are modeled to look like children.

You know, they talk they’re responsive and Klara explores her relationship to the sun because she is solar powered. So it’s like really important for her to have the sun to get it’s her life force. So anyway, it is about her and her relationship. Too with the little girl whose companion she becomes and she discovers these secrets that are going on in the family.

And it’s also just about her, I guess, about a coming of age story, in a sense. I mean, she’s. She she’s a robot, but she’s somewhat sentience. Like this is a time where they have personalities and are capable of learning and Klara is particularly observant. So it is a little bit about, you know, the heartbreak of her situation in life.

The fact that she’s trying to please. Not only her companion, but she’s being observant about what’s going on in the family. And there’s some disturbing family dynamics that are explored. So Casa, it should grow. I feel like he just makes really precious statements about where we are as a society and, and the dynamics that we have never let me go.

A while ago, that was also by him. And we talked about how we want to read remains of the day. So I feel like he’s just like a chronicler of human experience and has these deep observations that I don’t always appreciate. And I feel like probably I just have more experience now. In, just in life and everything, some books, I just, some books and authors, I don’t feel like necessarily recommend that you read them when you don’t have much, you don’t have much going on or you haven’t experienced a lot.

And I think I would say he’s one of them. So that will be out in paperback on March 1st.

[00:39:51] Gayle: Okay. I have The Vanishing Half, February 1st came out in paperback, The Vanishing Half was a juggernaut book about two years ago, definitely pre pandemic. I know I looked at this

[00:40:04] Nicole: and I was like, oh wow, this is just coming out on paper. But

[00:40:07] Gayle: yeah, it’s amazing. I think it’s been out in hardcover for a couple of years now.

This is a story about two sisters who grew up in. Small town, Louisiana, maybe. And they are light-skinned black. One of them moves away and marries a man and passes for white. And one of them stays, I believe in town. And PA you know, doesn’t change what her. You know, she lives as a black woman. And so these two sisters lead very different lives.

They have children, and then after many years they are kind of brought back together again. And it’s about them. And then also about the next generation. So about their daughters, this book was very popular. I did not love it. I think I had some issues with the writing. I didn’t like if I remember correctly, there was a fair amount that hinged on coincidence, which always irritates me.

Cause I feel like if. Relies on too many unlikely things to happen, then it feels fanciful and unrealistic. I don’t know. I didn’t love it, but I was definitely a minority on this. And a lot of people really liked it. So I wanted to mention it here because it was such a popular book.

[00:41:25] Nicole: It came out in June of 2020.

[00:41:29] Gayle: So, oh, it was a pandemic as a pandemic book. Right. That’s interesting. Beginning of 2019 or earlier,

[00:41:36] Nicole: everything just seems like it’s been so long during the planting, like that came out at the beginning of the pandemic. It seems like it was five years ago by now. I really do. I like this book, I think, I mean, yes, there was some coincidence in it, but I think it just prompted such good conversation.

It was such an ideas book. Like. You know, just about our idea of race, which is a construct. It was just such an interesting exploration about how concrete races and how much of a construct it is that two women who presented, you know, who were white passing, who could be white and just the idea of how.

The idea of race affected the happiness and the life choices of each one and where they ended up and just how they both internalize what it meant to be white, or it meant to be black differently. And like what the sacrifices they felt like that they had to make in order to choose the path that they did.

So, yeah, there was some stuff that was coincidence, but I just feel like all the conversations that came up about. With it where much more valuable and overweight, anything like.

[00:42:55] Gayle: Yeah. So I think I liked it more than I’m saying I did, but like, I just re-read my review and it was more positive than I remembered, but I just remember it was so hyped up that it, just, to me, it wasn’t quite, didn’t quite match that.

[00:43:12] Nicole: So my next book is one is coming out at the end of March, but I doubt if we’ll get back to paperbacks before then it’s whereabouts by June.

Bulla Harry. And it was one of my favorite books of last year, and it is simply written. It is this book about this middle age woman who’s living in Italy. And it’s just about her life. Like there’s a chapter about when she goes to the market or if she attends a party or the lover that she’s currently involved with.

And it is just so good, even though there is no, there’s not like an overlying plot or anything that moves. It is just about the moments in her life. Like as she lives in her reflections. How she feels like she’s been influenced by relationships that she has with her mother, with her father. It was just so good.

You know, I can’t say you can’t say this about anything. It’s just about this woman and her everyday life. And Jhumpa Lahiri is such a beautiful writer that she just makes, I don’t know, running to the market for fruit, something that you might do every day, such an interesting experience to read it. I loved

[00:44:23] Gayle: you to pull the hairy, but for whatever reason, that book has not grabbed me yet.

[00:44:30] Have you tried reading it?


[00:44:31] Gayle: No. Oh, no.

Nicole: That makes sense.

Gayle: Yeah, no, of course not. They haven’t actually have just making snap judgments about books that haven’t picked up yet. That’s what I do all day long. Okay. My next one is one that you and I both read Too Good To Be True by Carola Loverin. And that came out February 1st.

And this is a compulsively readable. Psychological thriller. Maybe, actually, I don’t know if I would call it that about a couple who seemed too good to be true. It’s a man and a woman who had recently gotten married and your story unfolds from three different perspectives. The husband, the wife, and then another woman who’s also involved.

I don’t want to, I don’t know how much to say without. Giving away. I don’t want to give away anything. And you just learn that there are lots of people who are hiding lots of things, lots of secrets. And there’s some twists and turns and it’s just sort of a psychological, what I call the thriller psychological mystery.

[00:45:35] Nicole: I don’t know.  Suspend very heavy suspense. Yes.

[00:45:39] Gayle: Yeah, it’s about a literary thriller. That’s what I called it. Okay.

[00:45:43] Nicole: I think you’d eat. I mean, it’s about this couple who meet and the man has ulterior motives and it’s told from a couple of different perspectives. So while you are aware that he has a con going on on this woman, that he meets, like he has purposely run into them.

It is not by accident that he has met her, even though she thinks that it is. And he’s definitely. Taking advantage of some of her issues that she has. Is she claustrophobic?

[00:46:13] Gayle: No OCD.

[00:46:14] Nicole: OCD. Okay. So he has a lot of knowledge about her when he goes into this relationship and he has an ulterior motive. I don’t think it’s necessarily clear what it is in the beginning, or it becomes muddied as it goes on.

Initially, it seems like he may be after her from, for her money. Right. But it’s her perspective, his perspective. And then there’s this other perspective in the novel, there’s this woman and you just have no idea how she ties into the story.

[00:46:45] Gayle: Right? I liked this one quite a bit. It’s out on paperback. It’s also great on audio.

If you want to do an audio print, a tandem hit, listen to that. That’s good. Well, good to know.

[00:46:57] Nicole: What’s your next one? Okay. So my next one is the final revival of Opal and net nev. It is out on March 22nd. And this one is by Dawnie Walton. It’s The Final Revival of Opal and Nev and they are artists who had made. Big impact in the 1960s, even though they are only together briefly, and he goes on to have a stellar career, like he tours, he writes all his music.

I want to say he’s like an Ed Sheeran or something. But there is this pivotal part in their past that they explore when they get together to they’re supposed to be doing a revival tour. And both of them have to come to terms with what has happened on one of the, one of the final nights. I think that they ever performed.

And during the sixties, when their drummer is killed, when a riot breaks out, like kind of a race riot breaks out at one of their shows. So it is told through. The setup is that it’s a Rocky mentoree of some sort is kind of like this woman, this black woman who is connected to Opal because her father is the drummer who was killed back in the 1960s, has decided to confront this part of her past to have these conversations with Opal.

And she’s like looking back through all of Their time together and interviewing the people who surrounded them for this book. And so they, everyone in this book has to come to terms with things like we find out unsavory things about both Opal and nev and the part that they played in what happened in the final show that they were in and how.

How their past became so divergent. And of course, there’s a daughter who is searching for, you know, who her father was, who he was to this band and how it is. He came to die that night. So I liked it.

[00:48:53] Gayle: I keep like, not picking this book up. I have it, but, and I heard it’s great. And for whatever reason, that’s like not appealing to me.

I don’t know why, but I’ve worried it’s going to be boring. Is it not, is it boring at all?

[00:49:06] Nicole: I mean, yeah, I don’t think it’s boring. I just like race riots and lots of things going on in this book complex complicated relationships, Turing artistry. I don’t think it’s boring. Okay. I do think that there were parts of it that are more, more engaging, but that’s just based on anything when you’re reading about different time periods.

Like sometimes. Characters and times in their lives, that might be more appealing, but definitely not. Okay.

[00:49:34] Gayle: That’s good to know. My next one, I cannot believe that this book just came out in paperback and perhaps I’ve screwed this up, but is it possible that Educated just came out?

[00:49:44] Nicole: I was asking myself the same question.

[00:49:45] Gayle: I think it came out like two weeks ago, February 8th, which is insane because this book has been out for years. And I would say with the exception of maybe Michelle Obama’s book, I can’t remember a book that stayed in hardcover that long, I guess publisher crawdad. Crawdad. Yes. Crawdad. That’s the great analogy.

So Educated for anyone who has a know about it is Tara Westover, his memoir about growing up in this super religious family in Utah. I think she was living this very difficult life with paranoid parents who didn’t believe in, you know, going to the doctor, treating really bad injuries. How has she kind of overcame this life and ended up going to Harvard and has become, you know, very living a life, very different from the one she grew up in.

It is a memoir. It is, you know, a very powerful read. Everyone in the world has read this. So I don’t know who’s is going to actually buy the paperback, but I just thought I should mention it because if for some reason you were holding out and you were like, I really want to read that, but I don’t feel like shelling out 29 bucks or whatever it is now you can do it for 18 bucks.

[00:50:53] Nicole: No, I think are deeper motives for people not reading things. I think before I got into just blogging and knowing so much more about books, I just never looked at hardcovers and it wasn’t, it was like, like I said, I love the smaller print. Like I feel like hard covers have such huge lettering sometimes.

Yeah. I just never, or I would wander like mate, maybe there would be someone whose book I’d be looking for, but I feel like every, I just never even looked at paper. I mean hardcovers. Okay. That’s like a recent thing. Well, not recent anymore, but I mean,

[00:51:29] Gayle: if you’re on the go a lot, it’s way easier to have a paperback, right?

[00:51:37] Nicole: I think so to traveling it’s much easier to stick in your bag.

[00:51:39] Gayle: Do you have any more?

Nicole: No, I’m good. Okay.

Gayle: Well, I have one more, which I’m going to mention because it’s also, I just finished it and it is called Geography Of An Adultery by Agnes Riva. And it is translated from French. This is from other. And I happened to just read it and it happened to just come out.

I think I must’ve gotten a review copy of that or advanced copy of it. Cause I got the paper back. I’m not sure it’s coming out in hardcover at all. And it is about a couple Emma and Paul who are having an affair. They’re both married. They live outside Paris. And the chapters are all the various places where they meet up.

So his car, you know, down the street from his house, her street, a hotel, and the place is obviously become secondary to what’s actually going on between the two. And you know, the fact that they’re in this extra marital affair. And it’s really told much more from her perspective than his and just her dissatisfaction with the relationship him and the relationship.

And, you know, is she going to end things because she’s feeling dissatisfied or somehow he to kind of come around and satisfy her. So it’s definitely literary fiction. It’s not, this is not a big plot book at all. It’s really just about. You know, place and how these various locations kind of take on different significance and different challenges and different possibilities for them as they’re trying to find places where they can be together in secret.

So it comes out actually tomorrow, February 22nd, we’re recording this on February 21st from other press. And it feels very French. I mean, you know, sometimes translation. Are just, I find them a little more difficult to read because they don’t flow necessarily the way books that were written initially in English do.

But I thought it was pretty good. I wanted to mention that here.

[00:53:41] Nicole: I was going to ask you, cause it was very level.

[00:53:44] Gayle: Did you like, oh yeah, I did like it. I liked it. I liked it because you really get into her head and figure out kind of what she’s thinking and you can kind of see objectively what’s happening, but you can see that she can’t see anything objectively and she gives sort of hoping for this man to be someone he is into.

I don’t know. I guess I got him an email about this book from the somebody at other points. You know, sent to have like a promotional email about it. And she called it like a comedy. And I was like, are we talking about the same book here? I’m just seeing where it was. I’ll have to find it later. It was very strange because I thought it was being marketed.

If we called this type of email marketing. I felt like it was being marketed very differently than the book. Then the book peer to me, you know, instead they thought it was very funny and I don’t, I definitely don’t think it was funny at all, but I liked it. I dunno. I like other, I love other press. I feel like their stuff is really edgy and I liked that.

[00:54:56] Nicole: Okay. Sounds good.

[00:54:59] Gayle: All right. Well, there are your paperbacks. Oh, here we go. This is how it opens geography of an adultery by Agnes. Riva is simply hilarious. A note from our publisher. Well, you

[00:55:14] Nicole: know, I would have deleted that app. It’s hilarious.

[00:55:18] Gayle: Well, thankfully I was already almost done with the book when this email came in.

Cause I was like, what? This is not at all. Hilarious. Yeah. It’s definite hilarious. All right, well that is our show. We will be back. Do we have another show before our book club recording or is our next recording?

Nicole: Our next one will be the book club.

Okay. So that is Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu.

Nicole: I have to start reading it.

Gayle: Yeah, me too. I need to start that as well. And we will discuss that in the back half of the show and until then, happy reading.


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