New Year’s Resolutions & Winter Preview

2021 Book Wrap Up

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Nicole and Gayle discuss whether they achieved 2021 reading goals and talk about 2022 objectives for their reading routine. After giving us an update on what books they’ve finished, both present 7 books they want to read this year. 

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

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton | Amazon | Bookshop

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

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

Fault Lines by Emily Itami | Amazon | Bookshop

Crying In H Mart by Michelle Zauner | Amazon | Bookshop

Klara in the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro | Amazon | Bookshop

Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu | Amazon | Bookshop

Last Resort by Andrew Lipstein | Amazon | Bookshop

Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh | Amazon | Bookshop

Honor by Thrity Umrigar | Amazon | Bookshop

Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins | Amazon | Bookshop

The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman | Amazon | Bookshop

Booth by Karen Joy Fowler | Amazon | Bookshop

Foreverland by Heather Havrilesky | Amazon | Bookshop

Read Dangerously by Azar Nafisi | Amazon | Bookshop

The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka | Amazon | Bookshop

The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh | Amazon | Bookshop

Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso | Amazon | Bookshop

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont | Amazon | Bookshop

Ocean State by Stewart O’Nan | Amazon | Bookshop

Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka | 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. We’re excited to be reporting back for a new year, 2022, uh, Gayle and I have lots to discuss this episode. It, I expect it to be packed, but we’re going to try to get it all in because of course we want to give you, uh, I guess some insight on how we finished up our reading years.

Uh, we have our book club pick and how the book club is going to run that we’re going to discuss. Gayle has her challenge that starting up again.   and plus we’re going to be talking about the books that we’re most looking forward to reading this winter. And I’ll also give you an update on what decisions I came to about my reading year.

So Gale everyone happy 2022. Welcome back.

[00:00:51] Gayle: Welcome back. It’s good to be back. It’s been a long time.

[00:00:54] Nicole: I feel like so much has gone on. Yeah, the world, the month since we started recording,   we saw this huge Alma concert that really hit New York and in New York, uh, at one point I feel like every other person was just telling me that they had COVID.

[00:01:16] Gayle: Yeah. And once it hit New York, it traveled south to DC. This was at one point we were the epicenter and we apparently had the highest percentage of,   COVID infections in the world. Right. He’s DEC. Yeah. Yeah. They asked our mayor they’re like, why is it DC? And she’s like, I don’t know. It’s a really weird where it’s very high rates of vaccinations here at this one.

[00:01:39] Nicole: Yeah. It doesn’t care if you’ve had doesn’t care. Right. And I, east DC is an international.

[00:01:49] Gayle: Yeah, lots of people coming in and out.

[00:01:50] Nicole: Yeah. And I think that’s why it always starts with New York and yeah. And then, you know, as people, it was during the holidays, so it wasn’t even like it’s always during the holidays when people just travel and bring it with them everywhere.

[00:02:04] Gayle: Yeah. All right. Well, we know a lot at the, the world knows about Omicron at this point. So let’s talk about,   quickly, let’s talk about 20, 21. I know we did a wrap-up show in the middle of December, but,   we each had a few books still on our to-do list to be red list. And I know we didn’t get to everything through the end of the year.

So how did your reading year finish? I don’t know.

[00:02:30] Nicole: No, if I’ve I read, I don’t think that I finished a book. I think I failed my reading challenge.

[00:02:38] Gayle: Well, you wanted to get to 90, right?

[00:02:41] Nicole: Uh, I think it was 96. Okay. And I feel like any other year I would have done it. I don’t know. This year was just, just weird. I just found, I put books down and didn’t come back to them and I probably could have finished.

Cause they were just a lot of books that were just so close, but, you know, I didn’t even try. So I went for 60 books this year. I’m gonna do what you do. Good. And it already tells me that I’m two books behind schedule.

[00:03:19] Gayle: Oh boy.   well I, my goal last year was 70 and I did not hit it. I got to 62. And so this year, yeah, ends it at 62 this year.

I’ve hit,   I’ve hit 70 as a goal again. I mean, I’ve put 70 as my goal. Again, that’s been my goal for many years.   And maybe I’ll make it. I don’t know. We’ll see. I had a lot of things going on in 2021 that took a lot of my kind of leisure time. And maybe next year it won’t be, or this year 20, 22, maybe I will find that I have more time to read.

That’s my hope.

[00:03:58] Nicole: I feel like I’m going to adjust mine. Mid-year

[00:04:01] Gayle: Sixty is too easy for your

[00:04:02] Nicole: I think so. Yeah. I’ll do 70.

[00:04:06] Gayle:   yeah, that would be good if we did 70 and then we could compare notes the whole year. Yeah. Okay. Okay.   yeah.

[00:04:19] Nicole: So it’ll be like your three books behind. I’ve been doing a lot of reading for work, I think, uh, last year and probably this year is taking up a lot of my time.

Like, just like you said, the leisure time is just not what it has been.

[00:04:38] Gayle: All right. I want to mention three books that I read at the end of the year that I don’t think we talked about on the show. Okay.   just cause I thought they were really good at just I’ll mention them very quickly.   did we talk about ghosts?

I can’t remember. Ghosts, by Donnelly

[00:04:53] Nicole: and that I was reading for my book club that halfway through. 

[00:05:00] Gayle: I have to finish that. Okay. So Ghosts by Dolly Alderton is just a book about a woman in her thirties. Who’s kind of at that stage of life where like a lot of her friends are settling down and getting married and she’s still single and she’s dealing with some stuff like her dad has, has dementia and, and she’s dealing with that.

And she has a job that she really likes, but she’s, you know, got that kind of unfulfilled feeling.   and wondering whether she, you know, is ever going to kind of achieve the rest of the. Sort of achieve those life goals that she seems like her friends are achieving and she starts to date this guy who disappears.

That’s where ghosts come from. And it’s not this isn’t like a Rosie Walsh’s Ghosted, which I know you and I both read, which was really about the mystery of like, why this man enter this woman’s life and then disappear. This is kind of just more about like things that are haunting her and preventing her from kind of feeling fulfilled.

So that goes to like the memories of her childhood, of her, the way her dad used to be other relationships she’s had and things like that. I thought it was really well-written. I thought she did a nice job kind of capturing that time of life. And,   it was good. I don’t know it was a good, a good read. I’m kind of curious to know what your book club did with it.

Cause I don’t know, I’m trying to think of what I would talk about in a book club about.   but I thought it was really good. Uh, I think that there was a lot of talk

[00:06:28] Nicole: about just that moment in your life and how friendships change when some of your friends who’ve had kids or not. Like we talked a lot about, even though I had not finished, it was just like, oh yeah, you’ve got you guys can tell me.

  but just a lot about her relationship with her friend and how, just how you know, their different views change. And I, I think that we’re still at this point where unfortunately there is some friction, there can be some friction between married and unmarried friends, just because, you know, your life completely changes when you have a child.

And I think it just, it has to inform all of your friendships, but at the same time, your friend doesn’t have those same responsibilities.

[00:07:17] Gayle: Right. Absolutely.   okay. Another book I read, I wanted to mention was We Are Not Like Them by Jo Piazza and Christine Pride, which is, it was good. Yeah. It was a novel,   told in alternating perspectives between two friends, one black and one white. The woman, the white woman’s husband is a cop and he is involved in the shooting of an unarmed black teenager. And they live in Philadelphia. And it’s about the way in which this incident, this, you know, horrible incident affects their friendship. And it goes back and forth between the black woman who is a reporter, and she’s been assigned to cover the story and the white woman who is pregnant and dealing with, you know, what happened with her husband.

So I, I mostly really liked it. I. There were times when I felt like it, maybe didn’t dig deep enough. Like, I kind of wanted a little bit more conversation between the two about what happened and the kind of confronting the different sort of, uh, viewpoints and the different experiences they each brought to it.

But I think that was actually kind of the point of the book that like a lot of times we don’t talk about this stuff and this was sort of a realistic, like depiction of how this would impact a friendship. And I think by the end, they, it does get a little more meaty, like a little more substantive. So I, I, it wasn’t a perfect book for me.

I definitely, there were times when I was frustrated in times when I was critical, but when I got to the end and looked back on it, I actually felt like they did a pretty. And it was written by two authors who are friends in real life. Actually one is an editor and at one and edited the other one’s book and same thing, one’s black, one’s white.

And so, you know, that at least it felt like there was some, it wasn’t like someone was trying to project feelings onto somebody else. Like they, they were true to their own feelings in the book. So yeah, I thought it was pretty good. Okay. I would recommend it. What was your next one? And then the third one is a book that was on my list the entire year.

And I was on the waiting list at the library. And it finally came in like at the end of December. And I was like, I got to finish this and put it in. It’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deeshaw Philyaw. And it is a collection of mostly short stories, kind of linked chapters, but I think they were mostly short stories about black women.

Sort of not, uh, bucking expectations and living lives that are different from what they had expected or what was expected of them. The church kind of plays a role in it because it’s mostly about women who like, feel like they’re, you know, maybe doing things that like the church wouldn’t approve of, or that, you know, older, older women in their family wouldn’t approve of because they’re kind of like having sex and, you know, doing kind of,   risky things, like just things that are not expected of them, but it was so beautifully written and I listened to it on audio and the audio was amazing.

Just amazing. Uh, the narrator, I, I don’t remember her name. I’ll I can look it up, but she just did such a fantastic job. And I was like, I was like savoring every minute of that book. So those are the three, I just wanted to make sure I, I mentioned before we moved on. 

[00:10:52] Nicole: Okay. Well, that sounds good. So,   have you started reading anything this year?

Like when did you pick your, let’s talk about that.

[00:11:01] Gayle:  Yeah. So I’ve read two books so far read Fault Lines by Emily Itami, which is about a Japanese woman living in Tokyo who is married and just unhappy, like just unfulfilled with her life. Like she’s got it all from the Japanese perspective, she has a husband, who’s making a lot of money.

They live in a beautiful high rise. She’s got two beautiful kids and she’s just like, is this all it is like, I guess this there’s a lot of like, sort of Japanese housewife pressure to be perfect and be the perfect mother and have the perfect home and not work and stay home and kind of serve your husband and she’s just like not into it. So she meets this guy one day. She’s kind of out at night with some friends and meets this guy and develops a relationship. Someone outside of her marriage. So then it’s just about like these two lives, she’s living the housewife during the day, and then the relationship with this other man on the side and you know, how she eventually kind of has to pick, like, who am I and who do I want to be?

And I really liked it beautifully written, gorgeous depictions of Tokyo and the food and the scene. I’m dying to go to Tokyo at some point. So that was good. And then I read Crying In H Mart by Michelle Zauner, which is a memoir about a Korean American woman living in the US whose mother dies of cancer.

And it’s just a memoir about her life with her mother, her relationship with her mother, the months after the diagnosis, and then leading to her mother’s death. And just how she kind of finds commonality with her mom. Someone she’d had a lot of tension within her life, but she felt. Like common ground through their Korean heritage.

So the food, the, and it’s really a very food-heavy book. So if you are a foodie and you like food writing, which I do not, then I would recommend it. And even I enjoyed the food in this one and I was like, looking up Korean recipes while I was reading it. Cause I was like, oh, this sounds really good. Yeah.

[00:13:11] Nicole: That memoir was great.

[00:13:13] Gayle: Oh yeah. So you read it so that, that’s what I’ve read this year. Okay.

[00:13:21] Nicole: So tell us about, cause I haven’t read anything this year. Like I said, I have mostly been reading,  or just not have had, have not had a lot of free time to read I’m reading. I haven’t finished anything, but I’m reading Clara in the sun by and I really like that.

I feel like it’s going to be, it’s getting. To the point where I feel like it’s going to be a heartbreaker, it’s all about these.   I want to say they’re, they’re more than dolls because they’re a they’re artificial intelligence, robots that just look like they are human and it set. They don’t really tell us what time it’s in or what has changed the earth.

Or at least I’m not at that part yet, but it said it in some kind of world where society has been affected and ch uh, people are buying these companions for their children. And so we follow Clara and, you know, she’s, she’s charged by the sun. So she has a very important relation to the sun and we follow her as she goes to live with a young girl, who is it?

She has an illness. Just how she got this illness and the ramifications for her family become apparent as the book goes on. So it’s all about her trying to understand humanity, her relationship with, uh, the young woman she’s been chosen, uh, for as a companion. And, you know, it’s getting to that part of the book where I feel like, oh gosh, this is going to be a heartbreaker, but it’s really good.

[00:15:05] Gayle: I’ve never read anything by him. Just not embarrassing.

[00:15:08] Nicole:   I haven’t read much by him. I’d like to read more by him though, because I think he has such a thoughtful and interesting way of looking at the world. I did read never let me go. And when I read it, I didn’t love it, but I feel like it’s something I would appreciate more now.

[00:15:25] Gayle: Okay. I never read the remains of the day. I

[00:15:29] Nicole: feel like that is a book. I’m just like, I haven’t read, remain to the day.

[00:15:33] Gayle: Yeah. Everyone’s like, that’s like the most perfect book and I just, I’ve never read it. 

[00:15:38] Nicole: It was terrible. I maybe we can do, maybe that’ll be our summer reading project. 

[00:15:42] Gayle: I would totally do that. And that fits your bill of only reading repeat authors.

[00:15:47] Nicole: Yes. Uh, so let’s get to that. Let’s talk about what we are planning. Like you had said that you had chosen what you knew. Oh, the

[00:15:56] Gayle: book categories. Yeah. Okay. I have launched the 2022 everyday. I write the book reading challenge. So this is the chat reading challenge that goes along with my blog.

So if you’re interested in joining it, it’s very easy to do. Just go to my blog, which is everydayIwritethebookblog.com and click on the reading challenge under the dropdown categories. Or you can look for the Facebook groups every day. I write the book reading challenge, so easy to find very low stress.

It’s 12 books over the course of the year. So you have lots and lots of time and you have lots of flexibility. The goal of this reading challenge is to encourage people to first of all, read books they already have, or have read books that they’ve already wanted, you know, chosen. They want it to read and to push the reading.

You’re reading,   envelope a little bit, not crazy, nothing like, you know, stuff that you really, really wouldn’t pick up, but just to, you know, maybe push you a little wider than you might do otherwise. And some of the categories are ones I’ve done in the past and some of them are new. So this year,   and I know I always make fun of books, uh, challenges these categories, but I did it anyway.

So the first category is a book with a flower on the cover.  I figured that it could encompass a wide range of books.   the second one is any book that’s been on your shelf for two, two or more years. And by shelf, it doesn’t have to be a physical shelf. It can just be, you know, TBR, someplace around somebody posted in the Facebook group.

And she’s like, I don’t really keep physical books. What do I do? And I said, just, you know, anything that’s been on your TVR.   and same with the next category, which is pick a book, any book. I love this category because what I do with this one is I make my son go into my bedroom. Pick a book off my shelf that I haven’t read.

Cause I’ve got them all in one place. And so, you know, otherwise I tell people like close your eyes, put your hand down and just touch a book.   

[00:17:52] Nicole: I have to ask a question about this. Does he ever give you your reasoning, his reasoning for it? Like did he like the cover or?   

[00:17:59] Gayle: not really. Cause he just, he just picks one that I dunno, like, I didn’t know how much thought he puts into it.

I think he just goes in because I just say, go get me a book. So that was my final read of last year. It was,   he was the pick a book, any book and it was the one he picked, it was the operator, which was historical fiction that I had wanted to read for a long time. And I was like, great, thank you. That’s supposedly what I needed.

[00:18:23] Nicole: So was that

[00:18:24] Gayle: good? It was okay. Yeah. I didn’t love it. It was kind of weird because. I thought, well, I wouldn’t say it’s weird. I thought it was going to be one thing and it ended up being a little bit more of a different type of book. It was fine. It wasn’t like a great read, but I, you know, it’s done. I’d want it to read it.

[00:18:41] Nicole: It’s done. It’s done. What is,   who, who was the author of the operator? Gretchen Berg

[00:18:46] Gayle: BOkay. It’s I, you know, it has this great. I thought it was going to be sort of like a cozy, homey fifties story, you know, and it wasn’t, it was a little darker than that.   and I had like, I don’t know why I feel like so many books feel like they need to turn into like, sort of a mystery had like a little mystery element to it.

It was fine. And I did it on audio and it wasn’t very long.   yeah, I mean, I think I gave it a, like a three and a half or four star. I probably gave it four stars, so yeah. Yeah. It wasn’t like a bad book. Amazing. But that was kind of the point of this category is like, you know, something that you’ve been passing over in your mind over the, you know, over the years, maybe you’ll hit on that for this one.

‘A book you discovered in a bookstore’, that’s a new one. So just like go into a bookstore, browse around, see what hits you and you know, and you’re going to have to buy it, but you can add it to your list at the bookstore.  ‘Short story collection’, ‘Memoir books set outside the US’, ‘Debut novel translation from another language’, ‘A book with a first name in the title’, ‘A book that has won an award’ and doesn’t have to be, you know, a terribly prestigious award, but any kind of an award could even be like a good reads choice award or something, or book of the month award, whatever. And then my favorite category ‘Book by an author you love’. So they’re like pretty easy categories to do.

And I just think it’s fun to funder do this challenge. So I encourage anyone listening, who is, well, the area of reading challenges or who maybe wants to add another one. That’s not too onerous, please join,  it’s really fun. The Facebook group, we, we talk about what we’re reading and people share ideas and, uh, pointers of what they’re, you know, someone’s looking for a book of short stories and they can’t find a good one.

They could post in Facebook group and people can post about what they’re doing.

[00:20:48] Nicole: So my own little reading challenge, which won’t have any, I guess, constrictions in terms of books, the main constriction, and this is only for fiction because I don’t read enough nonfiction to apply it for nonfiction, but this year I’m only gonna read authors.

That I have already read. Now, of course, there will be exceptions to that. I’m in a couple of book clubs. You know, one of which I read books with my friends. One is going to be this book club here, which we’re going to talk about in a minute. So for those books, like anything that I’m reading, that is not my choice, that’s fiction, you know, I’m not going to impose this on someone else and tell them they have to find a book that I have to read.

So those will obviously be the exceptions. And at first, I had been thinking about giving myself to like a couple of passes during the year to read something that I really want to read, but I feel like with other people choosing books,   That’s enough of reading outside. So what I may do is be lobbying Gayle really hard club picks because at the end of last year, we announced that we are going to run our book club the way Gayle operates her book club, which means that she is going to be responsible in some way for picking off the books.

Like she’s not just going to give us one book and say that we have to read it. She’s going to give us three choices and we’ll pick. So for this first time, because we were on holiday and I, we just didn’t end up,   being able to record the show or like the little mini-episode that we want it to. And the book club, I just went on and selected the books, but we are going to have, Gayle is going to tell us about the three that she sent me, kind of like what she was thinking when she put these books together and then we’ll let you know which one that I picked to read.

[00:22:43] Gayle: Oh, okay.   All right. I sent you three books that I want to read, and they’re very different from each other.   the first one is called Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu which is about a biracial,   Chinese American woman who in her mid twenties takes a job as a live in nanny, in for a rich family in New York city. So it’s kind of about her sense of identity,   which she’s in, which has been complicated throughout her life because she’s biracial.

And then what happens to her when she is exposed to this, if you know, very wealthy family and,  it’s kind of. Tries to fit in, in both places, this was a book of the month pick and I have wanted to read it for a while and it has a flower on the cover. Just definitely pretty covered, although Fault Lines that book that I read about the Japanese housewife also has a flowers in the cover.

So I’ve got, I think I have lots of candidates for that category.

[00:23:49] Nicole: I think you toss a rock and you hit a book with a flower on it.

[00:23:52] Gayle: Yeah. Yeah. I think it’s pretty easy.   I also suggested to you the Four Winds by Kristin Hannah. I’ve never read any Kristin Hannah. You’ve never read any Kristin Hannah.

[00:24:03] Nicole: We both have books by Kristin Hannah.

[00:24:04] Gayle: both have a million of them in the house and that one which is about,  I think it’s about a woman in the great depression. But yeah, during the depression, right. Hitorical fiction. I’ve never read anything by her. Everyone loves this book. So I put that out there for you as a potential choice. And then the last one is another book that I’ve been dying to read.

That was very claimed last year, Seven Days in June, it’s a romance, which is not usually my category, but I tend to like them when I do read them. And it’s about a woman who I think she’s an author and she reconnects with somebody that she had been involved with for seven days, many years before. I know he, I think he’s an author.

He’s an author. I forgot what she does, but they kind of reconnect and it’s about their romance. So I gave you those three books and you picked when me

[00:24:56] Nicole: Win Me Something by Kyle Lucia Wu

[00:24:57] Gayle: So that is going to be our first book club pick of the year.   it did come out last year, so I don’t think it’s out in actually, none of these books would have been out in paperback, so it is a hardcover.

  but it has been out for at least probably three or four months. So hopefully it’s not too hard to get either at the library or,   you know, borrowing it somehow or buying it. And,   I’m really excited about it. So that’s going to be on my list to read, hopefully by the end of the month.

[00:25:28] Nicole: Same

[00:25:30] Gayle: Good.  And the author of Win Me Something is Kyle Lucia Wu. It’s not that long either. That was another thing. The Four Winds is really long. I was kind of glad you didn’t pick it. To be honest.

[00:25:49] Nicole:  I didn’t even look at the length.  I wanted to read something, all of them have had a claim and have been, have had varying amounts of,  attention. But I chose Win Me Something, first of all, cause it was just, it, the premise is really interesting.

And I also wanted to read something that maybe was not as high profile. The seven, Seven Days in June has been all over the place. And so has the four winds. But since I can’t read anything on my own, I may be like, Gayle, can we put some of these books in now, I’m going to try it. I’m going to try to be hands-off.

But I trust that I’ll end up reading some things that I’ve wanted to read this year because you know, Gayle and I have similar tastes in the books that we do. Like,

[00:26:40] Gayle: so, and the reason that Nicole is doing this very generously is because she knows how I am about being told to read books that were not on my list.

I get resentful and then I get irritated and then I don’t do it. So we had a conversation last year about book clubs and how does, how they operate. And like she said, this is how my book club operates is I give them three books. They pick one and everyone seems to be really happy with me being picking, because they’re all readers, but they’re not like, you know, professional readers or at least like hobbyist readers, the way I am that, you know, they don’t go do, you know, book a Chino live previews, and they don’t listen to book podcasts and they don’t, you know, spend lots of their free time scrolling through Instagram books, to Graham looking at what everyone else is reading.

So they’re happy to let me do the research and then they pick, although I will say we just did a book gathering. We hadn’t met in quite a while. So we actually had four books we hadn’t discussed cause we had kind of doubled up for two months. And, there were a lot of misses, is there a lot of books that no one liked?

So I asked like, you guys, I hope that I still have credibility, but they were all very nice about it.

[00:27:52] Nicole: Yeah. I mean, that’s the thing with a book club. You kind of have to be down to read.

[00:27:57] Gayle: Yeah. I guess we’ll give about four weeks before we’re going to talk about this book because we’re not going to do it in two weeks, so we’ll do it in four weeks. And so please join us for the windy something conversation. What we’ll do that episode is we’ll have a regular episode and then the last 20 minutes or so will be a discussion about this book. So if you don’t feel like reading it, you don’t have time to it to read it. You’ve got too much else going on.

We’ll still have an episode for you, but then we can split it off for the booklet. 

[00:28:24] Nicole: Yeah, that has worked well, because that way, if you want to stick around and hear about the book a little bit more, you can, but we will also let you know when to jump off the call so that you are not spoiled. If you haven’t read the book and you want to read the book, right.

Sometimes I like listening to conversations of books that I figure I will not read.

[00:28:45] Gayle: Yeah, I do too. Cause it’s like, you sort of get the book by osmosis rather than actually doing yourself.

[00:28:52] Nicole: So this year I, like I just said, am going to be reading books by authors that I have read. And I came to that just because I’m always looking and I’ll see, oh, so-and-so has a book out.

And there’s so much competition and so much marketing and push, I guess, to establish new authors that it can be really hard to not get lost in the shuffle and to lose touch or lose sight of the authors, whose stories that you really enjoyed. And I have to say in preparing for our book preview, that I was really excited about what I was seeing because at first, I was thinking, oh my gosh, am I going to be tempted by all of these new books that are coming out?

But for the most part, I’m not reading anything about them. Like when I was going through and trying to figure out what I wanted to talk about for our winter book preview, I just basically looked at author names as I was going through. I think I pulled up a list on iDevice of everything that’s coming out in the next, you know, three months I think is what we’re going to discuss right now.

And so I didn’t look at any covers. I didn’t read any other descriptions so that I would not be tempted, but it was just so much fun to go oh! she has a book coming out! And sometimes it jogs the memory of other books, like not new books, but other books that I have not read by them and always meant to read.

So I’m really excited about this. I think it’s going to be really good. And it’s nice that I have some built-in outlets because like I said, I’m not going to tell my book club, oh, we can’t read that book because I’ve never read a book by that author. They are going to be able to be free in their choices, but it puts a nice limit on me.

And in a way it’s almost like all the stories most of them. Cause I enjoy most of what I read. Like there’s not many books that I say were just terrible or even some books that I have liked about authors by authors, but did it love their writing style or just certain things about, uh, themes that they explore, makes me want to check out their other work. So now I’ll have the opportunity to do that.

[00:31:15] Gayle:  My reading resolution is to read what I have in the house,  and stop feeling so much pressure to chase what’s out there. Like book FOMO is really real and it’s can be really exhausting. And I just want to, you know, I have so many books in the house that I have picked up because the reviews are really good and then I don’t get to them.

And instead I chase something new or constantly putting books in the library list. And then the library books come in and I feel like I got to read those first because they’ve like a ticking time bomb. And it’s just, I don’t know. I know I always say this every year. I’m going to just read what I want to read and not feel pressure, but I’m really going to try to just focus on what’s already in the house. That’s my goal.

[00:32:05] Nicole: All right. So I look forward to having this conversation at the end of the year to see how well we did right.

[00:32:13] Gayle: In the meantime, let’s talk about a bunch of new books by authors. We haven’t read yet.

[00:32:19] Nicole: That’ll be you.

[00:32:20] Gayle: Yeah. Are all of yours are repeat for the preview?

[00:32:25] Nicole: Uh, they are, but they’re all new books, but they are all authors that I have read. And I can tell you why I’m looking forward to them. 

[00:32:35] Gayle: Good. All right. Okay. All right. So my first book. I’ve skipped some of the books that I feel like are getting a lots of attention.

So I’m trying to pick ones that maybe aren’t quite as high on everybody’s TBR list for the year.   you know, that aren’t on all the previous. So my first one is called Last Resort by Andrew Lipstein. I do not know this author and this book sounds a lot like The Plot, which you and I both read last year.

And it is about an author who has a semi-random encounter with a college acquaintance who tells him a great story, which the author then uses as the backbone for a novel. Unfortunately for the author that acquaintance works in publishing, which means he’s caught while the book is still in submission, which it says results in a welcome and twisted deviation from the usual plagiarism plot.

And I know this player has a plot, is. Not original. I know a lot of people have written about it.   the question remains whose novel is it? And what does each of them, the one who lived it, the one who wrote it deserve. So it’s called slow motion, literary world car crash, but so horribly delicious that the reader can’t look away.

So I found this one on lit hub and,   it just sounds really good. Reminds me a little bit of the plot, but maybe without quite all the thrillery element of it. But I think I would pick this one up and that’s called the last resort by Andrew Lipstein and is coming out on the 18th of January.

[00:34:16] Nicole: Okay. So my first pick is already out, it came out on January 4th.

It’s Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins. So over, I want to say it was over the summer. She wrote a book that was a loose retelling of.   is it pride and prejudice? No, I think it was Jane Eyre. She did a loose retelling of Jane air call the wife upstairs. I listened to it on audio and I found it to be an enjoyable listen, but it was one of those books that I wondered.

Would I still like it? If I’ve read it in paper? I wasn’t sure it was enjoyable to listen to. And, you know, Jane Eyre is not like pride and prejudice for me. So I really don’t, you know, I wasn’t like, oh my God, she strayed from the original or Jane would never do that. I didn’t have any issues reading that book.

So this one reckless girls is about this woman called Les Luxe McAllister and her boyfriend, Nico,   Lux is, has been working a dead end job in Hawaii and she has the opportunity to sail, like do a sale. Tourists too. And they’re going to go and check out this island called Murrow island, where there were shipwrecks and there’s a history of candle bullism and I’m like, I don’t know, maybe there was a murder that happened on the island.

So she has this opportunity,  her passengers are college, best friends, Brittany and AMAA and you know, so they, they set off to sale and she really bonds with them, but they come across the stranger while they’re sailing. And it seems like he is maybe into the darker elements of life. So it becomes an issue when they are, you know, like separated from society and at the mercy of the stranger.

So I will probably listen to it on audio, because like I said,   I’m not sure I read the first one on the audio or listened to the first one on audio and really enjoyed it. So I think I’m going to stick with that for.

[00:36:32] Gayle: Okay. My next book is a book by a very, very beloved author of mine Jennifer Haigh, the book is Mercy Street.

It comes out on February 2nd Jennifer Haigh often looks at issues, sort of modern current issues. Her last book was about fracking. This one is about abortion. She has not had a book out a long time, so I’m extremely excited to read this one. And it is about a woman who has counseled patients at a, an abortion clinic in,   in, uh, in the city.

I’m not sure which city this is said. And I think actually it might be Boston, but I’m not sure. And it’s all about her, you know, her work with these women and then about threats that are the clinic gets. So,   about a small determined group of anti-abortion demonstrators that appears every morning at the door of the clinic and the protests starts to intensify with.

Adds a huge amount of anxiety in the life of the woman who works at clinic. And I think it’s just about the various perspectives of the people who are outside the clinic or inside the clinic and the polarization of American society on this issue. I have not seen a lot of buzz for this book, which makes me so sad because she is just one of my all time favorite authors.

And I just want to make sure people know about it. So I’m definitely going to read it and I’ll definitely report back on the show and let you know what I thought of it. I actually have got a review copy of this one and I lent it to a friend of mine who also loves Jennifer Hagen. She says, it’s great.

Cause she’s about halfway through it right now.

[00:38:09] Nicole: Good. I’m glad to hear about that one because I have read Jennifer Haigh and I really like her writing. So I’m excited to have that to look forward to. Yeah. I have already made a note on my little list that I’m keeping so.

[00:38:26] Gayle: Good. Good. I’m glad that we can talk about it. So again, that’s called Mercy Street. I think that’s the name of the clinic is Mercy Street.

[00:38:34] Nicole: Okay. So my next book is Honor by an author. I’ve read before her name is Thrity Umrigar.  The last book that I read by her was Everybody’s Son, which I really liked. It was about a biracial adoption that happens like, uh, there’s a 10 year old boy who escapes from his apartment because he’s been left there by his mother who is on drugs.

He’s adopted by a judge and his wife. And of course, at some point he’s going to discover that he’s, uh, the circumstances of his adoption and like how they tried to keep him. So I really liked that book. I feel like I’ve read more. Three T own regard books. But if I did, I didn’t record it. And in good reads, I felt like I’ve read one other.

So she has a book that came out on January 4th and it’s called Honor. And it is about this woman who is, she’s an Indian, American journalist. Like she and her family have left India and her life isn’t there anymore. But there is a story that comes up in the news. And it’s about this woman MENA, who was attacked by members of her own family, because she’s a Hindu woman and,   she’s involved.

She marries a Muslim man. And so there are huge issues with that. So Smita goes to India in order to cover this story. And she becomes involved with a man,   that she meets while she’s there. So it’s all about her, just reckoning with the story. Wow.

Coming to grips with her family who has left, you know, the country of their birth behind and some of the atrocities that are going on against women when she realizes that she has the freedom to enter into a relationship, as she pleases, like she has much more freedom than the country that her family has left.

And just coming to terms with all of that, you know, just everything that’s involved in when you have these kinds of situations where families are turning on other family members, because of who they choose to love. So I’m looking forward to that.

[00:40:44] Gayle: I wanna read that too. Yeah. I think I may have. Gotten, I think I may have a copy of that coming my way, although I’m not sure.

I can’t remember there. It was, somebody had reached out to me about it and I think I wrote her back and asked if I could get a copy of it. And I think she said yes, but it hasn’t shown up yet. So I’m not, maybe I’m making that up, but I’ve heard amazing things about that. I’ve, I’ve never, I’ve read one book by her,   called The Story Hour, which I didn’t love, but I’ve, that was a long time ago.

It was like 2014 that I read that book and people love her other books. And so I would like to read more by her and I, this one sounds really good.

[00:41:28] Nicole: Yeah. She really gets into her characters, but she also has just kind of a lovely relatable style of writing. You know what I mean? It’s just like easy to get sucked in into these stories.

I feel like I always finish them really quickly. She, I think this is out on Algonquin and she used to be, you know, for a long time her books were. At Harper, so, Hmm. Interesting. Yeah.

[00:41:53] Gayle: Okay. So my next one is nonfiction. It is coming out on February 8th and it’s called the The Nineties by Chuck Klosterman. And this is a book about the nineties.

So it talks about, you know, that from the beginning of the decade to the end of the decade was a huge amount of change, especially, tech on the tech side, on the political side. It’s interesting. It says, you know, at the big, at the, it sort of book-ended by the fall of the Berlin wall on one end and then the twin towers and the other, obviously that was 2001, but, there was a lot a sea change in the world during that decade.

And for me, that was, my twenties and, which are, you know, a time of great change of my life as well. And so, I don’t know, I just, I’m really excited to pick up. Talks about the film, the music, the sports, the TV, the politics, the changes regarding race, class, and sexuality. I think like, I think that we’re going to look back in the nineties and be shocked by how old-fashioned, it felt like just about sort of the discourse.

Like, I don’t know. One thing I’m sticking with a lot about is, you know, the era that we live in now that my kids are growing up in with all of the flexibility and openness on gender identity, sexuality, and gender identity. And we talk about this a lot about, you know, kids in their class and the different pronouns they’re using and what that means and how they’re identifying.

And that feels very foreign to me because like when I was their age, it was so different. And. You know, the nineties don’t sound like it’s that long ago, but it was a long time ago. And I think reading this it’s going to make it feel very different from today.

[00:43:51] Nicole: Right. I was listening to something, oh, I think I was listening to a podcast.

I think it was you’re wrong about, and they, they do these deep dives.

[00:43:59] Gayle:  I love that podcast.

[00:44:01] Nicole:  Yeah. They do these deep dives into things and you just learn so much about what was informing certain things and how we were wrong at the time. It’s kinda like it’s just hard to experience or hard to know from the inside.

Like, you know, you go back probably, if we looked at the decor from the nineties, we would be shocked fashion for sure. And like you said, it doesn’t seem like that long ago or whatever.   But it’s just interesting how we date ourselves. And I think I had just listened to a show that was about the early two thousands.

Like they did a show where they’re talking about the dark night and kind of like all the, kind of like the Iraq war and what was our justification of the Iraq war and like all of the different things that were in our psyches and what informed that movie. And it’s kind of so different, you know, it’s not even the 1990s, it was like the first decade of the two thousands.

And it seems like so far away and so foreign. It’s interesting how you can just look back at these moments in time,

[00:45:02] Gayle: right? This one sentence comes out of the Amazon description. It says it was the last era that held to the idea of a true hegemonic mainstream before it all began to fracture, which I think is that’s.

I find that interesting.

[00:45:17] Nicole: So my next book is called Booth it’s by Karen J. Fowler. She wrote the Jane Austin book club, which had. I think I read a million years ago and I enjoyed it.   I’m looking back on good reads now, and it seems like it has a 3.29 rating, but I just really love clubs. I love books about book clubs, where they are kind of discussing their lives and maybe having some discussions of the book.

I just find them so interesting. This one is about, you know, it, it talks about, you know, like family who like goes and lives in the wilderness. They’ve got 10 kids and they just want to be by themselves. And of course they are the Booth family. And one of the most infamous members of the family goes on to assassinate president Lincoln.

So I guess it’s all just informing his background and how he came to his beliefs and what the family believed in. And just that momentous impact that he had on, you know, life in the United States.

[00:46:22] Gayle: That book was on my, uh, my long list.

[00:46:26] Nicole: You had to cut some things. Yeah. Yeah. When we first got on the phone, Gayle tells me that she had this massive amount of books and I was like that just through March.

And she said, yes. So I made her cut them down.

[00:46:41] Gayle: So my next book. I’m noticing it just not have amazing reviews, but my next book is another non-fiction book. It’s called Foreverland: On the Divine Tedium of Marriage by Heather Havrilesky. So she is an advice columnist who has written a book about modern marriage.

She says, this is from good reads, illustrates the delights, aggravations and sublime calamities of her marriage. Over the span of 15 years, refreshingly honest portrait of a marriage reveals our relationships are not simply happy or unhappy, but something murkier. So I know you and I have have kind of one theme I think has threaded through this podcast is books about marriage and books about comparing marriages?

I mean, you remember you read that one book that was like looked at marriage across five different countries or five different cultures. I can’t remember what that one was called. Is that

[00:47:30] Nicole: the one that Joe Piazza wrote where she.

[00:47:35] Gayle: Yes. Oh, that’s funny. I didn’t realize that was Joe Piazza. Who was one of the authors, if you are not,

[00:47:39] Nicole: that’s why I can read you are not like them this year.

Yeah. Good.

[00:47:43] Gayle: Okay. I don’t know. This one caught my eye. I thought it sounded interesting. I’m kind of scanning early book reviews. This hasn’t come out yet. So it’s, the reviews are going to be all advanced reviews and they’re sort of fascinating between three and five. Some people are giving it a five. Some people are giving you.

[00:47:59] Nicole: It’s always really hard with books when they first come out. Just figure it out. Because like the people who have early copies of them, I feel like half the people are probably in the publishing industry, know the author or whatever. So half are just kind of like five it’s the best thing ever or whatever.

And then there’s the other books, other people who might’ve gotten copies. And I think maybe true a true analysis probably doesn’t happen till at least a month after the book has come out.

[00:48:32] Gayle: One person gave it a one-star. Why? Because they think that her advice, which is about how to,   turn down the volume on your spouse so that you can ignore them.

And this person’s like, it is not normal or healthy to ignore your partner is not normal to hate your partner. Yeah. I think it’s to get still want to read it. Okay.

[00:48:56] Nicole: I hate them to make them, you know, just like,

[00:48:59] Gayle: yeah. I mean, I think the fact is like, there are so many different views of bears that like, this is just one person’s view, you know, she’s not writing the Bible on it.

She’s just sharing her own views on it. So I think that’s fine. Okay. What’s your next one? 

[00:49:12] Nicole: Okay. So my next one is actually non-fiction by an author that I’ve read, who is her name is Azar Nafisi. She wrote this book called reading Lolita in Tehran, which I loved, like it just said, I love anything that is, exploring reading and how it can change people’s lives or how certain stories have an effect on people’s lives.

So her new book is called Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times. And her book was interesting when I read it and I would love to reread that book actually, because she is reading and she is talking about Iran and she can remember a time when women were not as oppressed there and it just kind of explores how slowly their freedoms were taken away.

And she is overseeing a group of women who are just like really interested in learning and reading. And, you know, they’re reading Western literature, which is forbid. So now she’s written a book, this one reading dangerously, the subversive power of literature in trouble times is looking at. The power of literature in turbulent times.

And she’s exploring a lot of authors who, I guess you would find on resistance reading lists like James Baldwin, Zora Neale, Hurston, Margaret Atwood. And she talks about like, what’s the role of literature? What’s the role of art and how does it connect to the strife political strife in our daily lives?

And what happens when you have a president or you have a government who is basically waging war on literature and trying to control what people reads. So it’s written as a series of letters to her father who taught her as a child to explore literature and, and its meaning and how it affects us. So it says in a Feesey explores the most probing questions of our time through the works of Toni Morrison, Salman, Rushdie, James Baldwin, Margaret Atwood, and more, and right up my alley.

Nice.

[00:51:15] Gayle: Okay. So my next book is a repeat author for me too. Comes out on February 22nd. And it’s called The Swimmers by Julie Otsuka. This is a book about a community of recreation swimmers, and they’re,   they don’t really know each other, but then their pool is closed because there’s a crack in the pool and they have to close the pool.

And it is about just the way this pool and their routine of swimming there, what it means to the people who were there and like their lives without it. And,   it’s hard to describe. I think she truly has Sukkot wrote to,   I’ve had two books by her, the boots. So the Buddha at the door, I forgot what the name of the other two books that she wrote are, oh, the Buddha in the attic.

And when the emperor was divine, both of which I read and loved and this one just greeting through the good reads reviews of it. And it’s just like, most of them are five stars about how it’s very poetic, kind of an unusual, poetic writing style that it’s very sad, but very touching and just about the nature of routines and what they mean to us at different stages of our life.

And look, one of the women has dementia and it’s kind of all about the effects of dementia on her family. So expecting this to be sad, her writing has kind of a loneliness to it, but she writes about really sad topics. So not surprising, but I’m really excited to read this one. Have you read anything by her before?

I hope so. I don’t think so. Oh, she’s so good.

[00:53:10] Nicole: Yeah. Maybe we’ll book up that money if you think she’s so good. And I should read her.

[00:53:14] Gayle: I have like an Asian theme going this year. It seems like a lot of the books I’m reading are either set in Asia are written by Asian American writers.

[00:53:23] Nicole: I love Asia. It’s I can see the appeal.

Yeah. You mentioned Rosie Walsh and she has a new book coming out on March 1st. It’s called The Love of My Life. I’m really excited to read this one. It sounds like it’ll be good. And you know, we both really liked Ghosted. This one is about a woman named Emma who didn’t think she was going to fall in love.

Again. She meets an obituary writer and then they are. You know, they have like this world when courtship, they get engaged really quickly. Uh, she seems to have a thing with things happening really quickly. So they have a daughter Ruby who comes along, they have their rescue dog and they’re living a happy life.

Like Leo was adopted as a baby is his first time feeling like he’s ever really belonged. And he’s really happy in his family, but Emma is prominent in her field and I’m not sure like what fields she works in, but whatever it is she is known. So of course, when that happens, people write your bituaries.

You know, we, when like anyone dies when a star dies, I guess a celebrity dies. They have like a reel of their highlights up in moments. And it’s the same with obituary. So he’s tasked with writing her obituary before she passes. And as he starts to do research for it, he discovers that he just has no idea who this woman is.

  so of course he is just doing research and trying to unravel her life. And it says that when the very darkest moments of Emma’s pass finally emerged, she must somehow prove to Leo that she is really the woman. He always thought she was, but first she must tell him about the love of her other life.   

[00:55:07] Gayle: that was on my list.

That was my next shock.

[00:55:13] Nicole: So we did, when Gayle, uh, mentioned that she she’s just like, oh, I should pick a few more because we’re probably going to overlap. I was like, nah, they won’t happen. Cause I’m only mentioning books that I’ve read before, but I’m this sounds so good, right?

[00:55:27] Gayle: Oh, it sounds really good.   yes.

And I’m now scrambling to find its place because it does sound really good.

[00:55:36] Nicole: You have 18 books, Gayle. 

[00:55:37] Gayle: I know. I think I’ve got one here. I was actually just deciding between two. I think I’m going to pick this one. Yeah. I had two that I was choosing between. So unfortunately, I’m going to go back in time a little bit.

I was trying to do these chronologically. This is going to jump back to February the eighth. It’s a book called Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso. This is a debut and it is about a town in Massachusetts and a girl grows up there. There are, I think this is one of like the sort of, one of the fading industrial towns of Massachusetts.

And it’s about, I’m just going to read from the description since I haven’t read the book yet. The girl named Ruthie, she slowly learns how the town’s prim facade conceals a deeper, darker history. How silence often mats a legacy of harm from the violence that runs down the family line to the horrors endured by her high school friends, each suffering a fate worse than the last.

So as a place to be survived and a girl like her would be lucky to get out alive. Okay. So clearly it’s dark, it’s a dark book, but I I’m always interested in books about kind of towns that are in decline and the effect of the decline on the people who live there. This theme that was very common in Jennifer Hague’s books.

 She said a lot of her books in baker, tin, Pennsylvania, which is like an old factory town and about how the demise of the industrial strength of the town, you know, has this horrible impact to the people who live there. So it sounds like this one will be as well. She is not a new author. She’s written a lot of nonfiction.

This is her first debut. And I don’t know, I want to read this one. So this goes back on the highlight. Uh, Rosie Walsh’s book away from me. Okay. Well, that’s good. 

[00:57:36] Nicole: We got to sneak another one in. Yeah. Uh, have you been keeping track of how many books we have discussed?

[00:57:42] Gayle: Yeah. So I’ve done 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. So I was going to do one more after this one.

Okay.

[00:57:50] Nicole: I don’t think I talked about the Kristy affair. What’s wrong with my memory? Did I?

[00:57:54] Gayle: No.

[00:57:54] Nicole: Okay, good. I’m really excited about this. I’m about to talk about this book by Nina de Gramont (The Christie Affair). Ooh, I like her. Yeah. Right. She wrote Gossip of the Starlings and The Last September, I really loved The Last September.

And I had liked a lot, Gossip of the Starlings. So I was excited to do this. She’s she’s doing a retelling of the disappearance (The Christie Affair), those mysterious 11 days everyone is obsessed with Agatha Christie. When she just up and leaves. Marie Benedict, take on this that I read last year. So  I do kind of like reading books by authors that are exploring the same thing, because to just see what different take they have on it.

So her, she is saying is basically a re-imagining of that time. And I think when Marie Benedict did it, I think there was an emphasis on like all this research that she had done. And I think it mostly here adhered closely to the events. And I had an issues with the end, because then it’s like wildly speculative, this one.

You just know upfront that it’s just more fiction. Uh, she has a fictional character. I think that it’s based on the it’s, she was a real character, like it’s based on the woman that, uh, Archie was having an affair with. And this event, the fact that he wanted a divorce is what precipitated, uh, Agatha Christie running away and being missing for 11 days.

And like, they kind of just never spoke of it again. So. She is positioning this woman as someone who kind of infiltrates the wealthy world of Agatha Christie and her husband befriends them both. And she becomes our she’s mistress, but she’s also rooting it in like maybe this woman is from Ireland because it talks about it has roots in Ireland.

And it says like, what would make a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman’s marriage? What makes someone vengeful enough to hatch a plot that takes years in the making? What drives someone to murder? So I think that she’s really taking the liberties with such a fascinating story, you know, and just because of who Agatha Christie was at the time she did experience some fash backlash from it, but she also just shut, she shut it down because she never talked about it again.

And then she just went on to just write as many books as she did. And basically, you know, has been responsible. I think every everyone reads Agatha, Christie, she sold more books than anyone. Besides possibly the Bible. I don’t even know if she may have sold more copies than the Bible, but so I’m looking forward to reading that it comes out on February 1st.

[01:00:43] Gayle: You love, anything related to Agatha Christie. That’s exciting. I

[01:00:46] Nicole: love retellings. I think

[01:00:50] Gayle: I loved The Last September. That

[01:00:52] Nicole: was a great book. It was so good.

[01:00:54] Gayle: I know I can reread that book. That was really good. Uh, okay. So my last book is, by a repeat author to me, it’s Stewart O’Nan. And the book is called Ocean State comes out on March 8th and this is a book about the murder of a high school student.

We know from the beginning who did it, and the story that unfolds from there is the buildup to the murder or the follow-up for the murder told through the alternating perspectives of. Women related to the story. So I like, you know, retellings from four different perspectives sadly high school student murders seem to be a common theme of books.

What was that book that I read at the end of last year? Uh, what comes after, right? That was about it, the murder high school murder but I’d really liked Stewart O’Nan, he’s written a number of books that I’ve read. The one that always comes to mind for me is last night at the lobster, which is the story of a red lobster in Connecticut or Massachusetts.

I think that’s shutting down and the impact of the shutting down at this restaurant on all of the people who are connected to it he’s kinda just kind of a quiet writer writes about kind of quiet lives, unremarkable lives, but gets really into the depths of them. And so I’m excited to read this one.

[01:02:24] Nicole: That sounds good. I can’t remember which Stuart on book I read. I really liked it. I’m

[01:02:30] Gayle: looking it up on my blog right now to see. Cause I think there’s another one. In addition to the outside of the lobster. I know I read the pronounced by him.

[01:02:36] Nicole: Yeah. Cause I didn’t read that one. I read one about, I don’t know there was gambling if someone had a gambling.

[01:02:42] Gayle: Yes. That sounds very familiar. Yes. I’ve read that one too. I’m trying to look up what it’s called. Oh. Songs for the Missing. No, I don’t think that was it The Odds. That’s the one that you’re talking about. I’m looking that up right now because I’ve read that too. Stuart or a master at taking everyday life, exploring the human drama and meaning behind them in The Odds is a look at an everyday marriage of two middle-aged people over the course of two days and that’s right. They’re going to go there like this, his marriage is on the rocks and they’re going to go bet the last of their savings at a casino, Niagara falls or something or they go someplace. Yeah. Niagara falls. Yeah, that’s good. I really like him. So I’m definitely going to read this one.

[01:03:26] Nicole: All right. So my last book is by an author. Whose name is Danya Kukafka (Notes on an Execution) and I’ve read her book Girl in Snow, which was a debut novel. I don’t know, maybe four or five years ago. I really liked it. And her new one is about a serial killer who is scheduled to die, and he’s going to be dying in 12 hours. He knows he waits the execution in response to what he did to girls several years ago in her other work.

She did that too. It was about a murder girl and she takes a look at how the neighborhood and how different members of the family or close friends reacted to the murder of this girl. In this one, she’s concentrating on all of the women who this guy has come in contact with his mother, his sister, a homicide detective, and kind of through them, we learn.

His life, but it’s also just anchored in these women’s ideas of them. She does an interview where she talked about, she was just like, really tired of just mediocre men who are so celebrated. And they’re only known in relation to, you know, the horrific things that they’ve done to women. So she just really wanted to explore just, you know, what is going on with these women?

What are their lives like?   you know, like the detective who’s hot on his trail, she loves to put away bad guys, but she doesn’t have clarity over his life.   it’s about his teenage mother, his twin sister. So she, I just really liked the way she handled her subject matter and her characters. And this one sounds really good.

To read you just briefly from the blurb, because I think it will sum it up better than I can. It says Notes on an Execution presents a chilling portrait of womanhood, as it simultaneously unravels a familiar narrative of the American serial killer interrogating our system of justice and our cultural obsession with crime stories, asking readers to consider the false promises of looking for meaning in the psyches of violent men.

[01:05:32] Gayle: Hmm. That sounds heavy.

[01:05:37] Nicole: So I look forward to reporting back that was our list. I think Galen did we, I think we each did seven and that was our target. I’m going to mention this, Gayle’s going to laugh because neither one of us going to share a book and it’s out already, January 11th, Hanya Yanagihara, has a new book out called To Paradise.

It actually sounds really interesting. It is another doorstopper it’s 720 chapters. It looks at life, I guess, during, uh, varying pandemics that the country has been through one in 1893, one in 1993, and then one years in the future in 2093. And,  so it’s just looking at the, the different families who’ve lived in the same place, of course they have a variety of backgrounds, but it all takes place in Greenwich village. I think it also, I also read some things that it’s going to be probably just as dark as a little life.

[01:06:38] Gayle: Do you consider a DNF or repeat author?

[01:06:42] Nicole: I’ve read so much of that book. Yes, because half of that book and it was 800 pages….

[01:06:48] Gayle: which is the equivalent of a full book.

[01:06:49] Nicole: equivalent of a full book. So I’m sending her if I want it to read it. I don’t know that I will. I think that’s a wait and see, I really loved her writing, but it was just so depressing. And I don’t think we’re out of the woods enough to just go back to that level of darkness for me in reading anyway.

Gayle: Yeah, I hear you.

Nicole: So that is our show. We’re glad to be back with everyone. Thank you for listening.

[01:07:14] Gayle: I hope that you found something on this list that resonated with you and that your TBR is longer as a result. We’ll be back in two weeks with another show. And then in four weeks, we’ll do our book club,   for when me something and until then, happy reading.

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