The Superlative Books of 2022

The Superlative Books of 2022

Photo by Andreea Radu on Unsplash

In this episode, Gayle and Nicole discuss superlative books in several categories. They pick at least one book from each of the 9 categories. Great way to get inspired in them and grab ideas on what to read next or gift to your loved ones.

We wish you a happy holiday season!

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

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin | Amazon | Bookshop

Less by Andrew Sean Greer | Amazon | Bookshop

The Superlatives:

Best family dramas:

A Little Hope by Ehtan Joella | Amazon | Bookshop

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro | Amazon | Bookshop

A Town Called Solace by Mary Lawson | Amazon | Bookshop

French Braid by Anne Tyler | Amazon | Bookshop

Chorus by Rebecca Kauffman | Amazon | Bookshop

The Power Couple by Alex Berenson | Amazon | Bookshop

Most under the radar:

Chorus by Rebecca Kauffman | Amazon | Bookshop

Home Stretch by Graham Norton | Amazon | Bookshop

Most horror-like:

Just Like Mother by Anne Heltzel | Amazon | Bookshop

Hardest to put down:

Cover Story by Susan Rigetti | Amazon | Bookshop

Blacktop Wasteland by S.A. Cosby | Amazon | Bookshop

Best memoirs:

Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry | Amazon | Bookshop

Out of the Corner by Jennifer Grey | Amazon | Bookshop

Token Black Girl by Danielle Prescod | Amazon | Bookshop

Most disappointing:

Flying Solo by Linda Holmes | Amazon | Bookshop

The It Girl by Ruth Ware | Amazon | Bookshop

Books where I did not agree with everyone else:

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus | Amazon | Bookshop

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin | Amazon | Bookshop

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams | Amazon | Bookshop

The Measure by Nikki Erlich | Amazon | Bookshop

Best books about super depressing topics:

Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason | Amazon | Bookshop

Dear Ms. Metropolitan by Carolyn Ferrell | Amazon | Bookshop

Just Last Night by Mairi McFarlane | Amazon | Bookshop

Most Bizarre:

One’s Company by Ashley Hutson | Amazon | Bookshop

Supper Club by Lara Williams | Amazon | Bookshop


*Books linked above are our affiliate links through Amazon. There’s no additional expense to you, but if you make a purchase through us a small portion of that contributes to the costs associated with making our podcast. Thanks so much for listening and for your support.


[00:00:00] Nicole: Welcome to another edition of the Readerly Report. Today, Gayle and I are going to be talking about Books Superlatives, the funniest book we read all year, and the most under-the-radar book we read all year. Just all the different categories that are not necessarily the best books, but might be the best book in this specific niche that we’ve come up with.

I always love these and I guess let’s start, Gayle, what have you been reading? This has become the ‘What Has Gayle Been Reading’ show.

[00:00:33] Gayle: I finished our book, club book, which is tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, and we’re gonna hold off on our discussion about that book until January. So give Nicole a couple weeks to read it and it’ll show up briefly in the superlatives.

But other than that, we, we can talk about it later. So that I finished and I just finished. One of the hardest categories for me on the, my Book Challenge is a book that won an award because I tend to not love award books. I picked up the book Less by Andrew Sean Greer, which won the Pulitzer in, I think it was 18, 20 18, and it’s comedy.

So I thought, well, this may be an easy book to read. Yeah, I finished that one. I did not love it. I read

[00:01:17] Nicole: less until I did not love. Yeah. Okay. Probably when it first came, wait, did you say it came out in 2014?

[00:01:23] Gayle: No, no, sorry. 2018. It came out in 2017 and it won the award in 2018.

[00:01:27] Nicole: Oh, okay. Okay. So I read it when it first came out and did not, I didn’t really like it.

[00:01:33] Gayle: It’s this story of a, of an author who he’s about to turn 50 and his hot younger. Ex-boyfriend is about to get married to another guy. Les decides that rather than go to the wedding, he’s gonna accept all these kind of obscure invitations around the world to things literary related things, and get himself out of the country for the wedding and for his birthday.

And so he travels to France and Spain and uh, Japan and India, Morocco, and it is a comic novel. And there. You know, some flashes of brilliance here and there. I think he’s a good writer, but it was really tedious to get through. I don’t really know why it was so naval gazing and introspective and this guy who just needs this constant affirmation and it was also just kind of boring.

I don’t know. I got stalled on that, like having that end tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow in the same month. Really brought my reading down. So anyway, that’s what I’ve been reading. This is the last month of the year. I have two categories left in my challenge and they’re the two like most fun categories.

It’s pick a book, any book. So I sent Nate, my son into my bedroom where I have piles and piles of books and made him pick one out for me. And he did. He picked one that I just got as a present and I’m excited to read and it’s. I think it’s called They’re Going To Love You by Meg. How? Which I’m really excited to read and I’m glad he picked that one.

And then the other category is a book that’s been on my shelves for two years or more. So that could be like one of 2000 books in my house, . So those are my final two that I’m gonna read before the end of the year. And

[00:03:12] Nicole: will you have some vacation time coming up to read them?

[00:03:15] Gayle: Yes. We’re going to Asia.

We’re going to Taiwan to visit my daughter who’s spending a gap year there. , I’ll have some very, very long flights. Oh yes, you will. . Yeah, so I’m gonna not do any reading stats, best ofs anything until like literally January one, because that last week for me could be very productive. It sure

[00:03:36] Nicole: could. You’ve got like at least two 16 hour flights and even if you spent half the time on each flight reading, you could probably knock out a book.

Yeah, for sure. Or make substantial

[00:03:45] Gayle: progress. Substantial progress. And then you know, we’re gonna be in hotels and like I’m gonna have some time. . I’m excited for, uh, for that. So how about you? Any updates for us? No. ?

[00:03:59] Nicole: Not really. I just, when we were preparing for this show, I had to take a look. I remember I reset my goals for 36 books and I’m not gonna make it.

I’m at 26 right now, and one book is a book that should not even be on there because I started reading it and it’s not a finished book. So, So, yeah, . If I finish, if I finally finish, if I finally finish the book that I’m reading now, then I will have read 26 books. But I’ve also got some good vacation time coming up.

I’m not, I don’t know where I’m gonna go yet. Like I do wanna go some that. My only thing is I wanna go someplace hot and I am just, at this point, I feel like I’m just gonna make a game-day decision. , or it’s the beginning of my vacation or a couple of days before, just look and see where I wanna go because I have been so indecisive and all over the place about it.

But I will have some good reading time. So I don’t know, maybe I will make it to 28. .

[00:04:59] Gayle: Listen, it doesn’t matter what, you know, this is supposed to be fun and not pressure, and it’s supposed to be a, uh, for both of us, this is a hobby that we fit into our lives. I think we’ve gotta give ourselves grace that like, it’s gotta fit in the right way, at the right time, with the right conditions, and it’ll expand and contract according to what’s going on in our lives, and that’s fine.

Yeah. Most

[00:05:24] Nicole: of my reading has been study reading this year, so it’s like reading the same books or reading things that I would not necessarily count as this. So it’s not like I’ve completely given up breathing. I just haven’t had much time to read for quote-unquote pleasure. Mm. I’m actually impressed with 26 books for this, year that this has been.

[00:05:43] Gayle: That’s great. That’s great. All right. All right. Let’s hop in. Yeah. You

[00:05:48] Nicole: had some great topics, which I think I’m gonna, I can mostly fold into your topics. We may have a few outliers, so why don’t you start us off.

[00:05:57] Gayle: Okay. And I have at least one and sometimes even up to five books for each of these categories.

Oh wow. Try to, I’ll try to go quickly. Okay. My first one, and this was the hardest one for me cuz this is my, my sweet spot for reading. was Best family dramas cuz I read a lot of good family dramas this year. Oh, that’s good. And I think I could maybe even call this Best Sad Family dramas because all of these family dramas that I read were sad cuz sad things happened and I have five there.

I couldn’t narrow it down from these five. They were all really good. So I’ll just list them cuz I’ve talked about them all in the show before. The first one is A Little Hope by Ethan Joel. Who has a new book out right now, that can’t wait to read. The next one is Signal Fires by Danny Shapiro, which I’ve talked about a ton and won’t shut up about

The next one is a town called Solace, which and I’m just, for some reason just blanking on the name of the woman who read it, who wrote it, cuz I was like, just made, oh yeah. Mary Lawson. That is a book that really did not get a lot of attention and it was so good. Then comes French Braid by Ann Tyler, and finally chorus by Rebecca H.

Kaufman. So all of these are books that they either follow one family or they follow a couple of families that are linked in some way. A little hope is almost. Maybe five or six sort of sub-story lines, but they all kind of end up blending together, you know, having some sort of a braid thread that braids them together.

Signal Fires is a couple, fa is sort of tracks two different families. A Town Called Solace. Again, two or three families. French braid is and Chorus are really all about one family and tracking them over the years. But I recommend all five of these and they are like highlights of the year.

[00:07:47] Nicole: Okay, so I guess in that vein for family drama, I have something that’s more thrillery, a little bit more high impact.

It’s the Power Couple by Alex Berenson. It is about this couple that goes on vacation with their children. 19, I think they have a 19 year old daughter and their son might be a couple of years older. And this is uh uh, I mean a couple of years younger. This is a family of spies. The mom works in the CIA and she, her husband also has a job in intelligence, and while they are on vacation, their daughter is kidnapped and they have to find her and they have to kind of figure out whose crazy lifestyle.

or is it her own crazy lifestyle that have managed to put her in this situation? So it’s told from alternating perspectives. You get the mother’s perspective, her husband’s perspective, and the daughter’s perspective in captivity as she’s trying to escape. And of course there are lots of flashbacks. You know, kind of like unfolding what their lives were like, the ups and downs of their marriages.

You know, why they’ve all decided to go on.  vacation to celebrate the parents’ anniversary. So it, it, it’s a really, it was a good read.

[00:08:58] Gayle: What’s the name of it again? The Power Couple. Ooh, that sounds really good. Should we move on to the next category? Yeah, we’ll what you got? Okay. Well, mine is most under the radar, so a book that I really didn’t see getting a lot of attention, and I think it deserved a lot of attention.

just people don’t seem to know about it. So one of them is a chorus, which I just mentioned and I’ll give it a little more detail this time. Chorus by Rebecca Hoff. Kaufman is about a family with seven kids. And a very depressed mother who kills herself very early on in the B in the book. So not a spoiler.

The book is really just about these seven kids and how they’re affected by their mother’s death. You know, some of them were very young and didn’t really even know her very well and some of them were older who ends up sort of taking care of the younger ones. And it’s just the type of book I like. It tracks them over the decades.

It kind of jumps from character to character with little vignettes about their lives and you know, you get a sense. Who they are and how they’re living. It’s just a beautiful book. She also wrote The Gunners, which I read a couple years ago, and I think I like this one like a a lot better, although I like the gunners too.

Both of them are good. Big plug for Rebecca Kaufman. . And then the other book that I didn’t don’t think got a lot of attention is called Homestretch by Graham Norton. Graham Norton, it turns out is like the Jimmy Fallon of Ireland. He’s like this very popular talk show host. He’s very entertaining. I’d never heard of him before.

And I picked up this book in a Graham Norton. Yeah. Have you. I’ve

[00:10:30] Nicole: heard of him, but I don’t, I’ve never seen anything.

[00:10:33] Gayle: Right. You probably had no idea who he was. I was in a bookstore and one of the categories in the reading challenge is like book you discovered in a bookstore, and I found this family drama about it opens with a car crash and it’s about sort of the ramifications of that car crashed on the people who were in it, the people who survived and follows them over decades as well.

Kind of like a similar fact pattern to signal fires. Also, you know, different but also very good. So I read this book and I happened to mention it it to a friend of mine who I work out with who’s from Ireland, and he’s like, oh yeah, he’s really famous. He’s a good talk show host. And then I looked him up on YouTube.

He asked like, amazingly star studded. Shows like one time I was watching and like, I think it was like Taylor Swift and Bato were on at the same time. I was like, wow, he’s, he seems like he’s a pretty big deal, , but it, I really like the book and he’s written other books, which I haven’t read yet, but he, it was very good.

He’s an excellent writer. So those are my two under the re, under the radar picks.

[00:11:39] Nicole: I don’t know if I have anything that is under the radar, so I will go with the most horror like book I read this year. And that’s just like mother, a woman who’s actually in my book club wrote this book and it is about this cult.

It is about, this, these two women, they are cousins. They grew up together in this cult, and they also escape from this cult when they’re young. Mave is kind of the one who is responsible. We learn for the cult being discovered, and for them being her, she and her cousin Andrea, being separated from each other and she hasn’t seen her in a long time.

She’s, you know, got this career where she’s trying to make it as an editor and then she happens to, she had. Registered herself with a D N A company and gets back in touch with her cousin Andrea, except for she is now involved in some like very strange group of women that she makes these dolls for, and they’re like these lifelike dolls that are just supposed to.

I guess help with grief if you’ve lost a child or even to help practice with making the transition to motherhood. So it’s like this very motherhood focused cult. And Mave has decided that she does not wanna have children. So it causes some conflict between the cousins and some friction in their re relationship.

This was an interesting book when we talked to Anne at our book club, or you know, she was sharing a little bit of her process in terms. Her book came out, I think just around the time that the Roe v Wade situ was overturned, and that was in the news a lot. So just the fact that her book was about motherhood and who gets to control women’s bodies and who gets the choice of whether they’re going to have a child or not.

And it, her book is looking particularly to, at the pressure that we put on women who. May not necessarily wanna be mothers, you know, like there is this push that you wanna do motherhood. It’s the best thing ever. Why wouldn’t you wanna do it? So it’s kind of taking just a look at all of those different aspects and it just came out at such an interesting point, in this year that it, it, it’s a really good read.

Very creepy. Wow.

[00:13:59] Gayle: That does sound creepy. I don’t think I have any books for a horror category Unsurprising. Yeah, I

[00:14:05] Nicole: mean this, of course, it is a horror novel, so there are some twists that maybe you don’t see coming, or a little bit out of the realm of, of a regular, dramatic novel, I would say. But the things that are so frightening about it are just like, how real these issues are.

Mm-hmm. , like, it’s not the, it’s not like someone hopping out from the dark. , you know, like, I don’t know, any kind of supernatural horror or anything like that, that what we normally think about as horror, this is kind of like the horror of laws and politics and mm-hmm. , you know, the influence of your friends and the influence of your culture, and how some people do take it to the next level where it’s a little bit more extreme.

[00:14:52] Gayle: Got it. Yep. I, I don’t have anything I can even add to this. ,

[00:14:59] Nicole: this is my category cuz I couldn’t add to your category. So yeah, that’s okay. It works out. , what’s

[00:15:06] Gayle: next? Okay. Hardest to put down. I didn’t read a lot of like thrillery type stuff this year, but I’m gonna say mine is Cover Story by Susan rti and this is the book about.

The woman who’s interning at a magazine in New York and she gets to know this woman and, uh, who’s sort of older and, you know, seems very wealthy and living in a hotel kind of turns into like a impersonation type book. I don’t wanna give anything away with it cuz there’s lots of spoilers and I don’t wanna say anything, but it’s a very suspenseful book.

Kind of identity and who’s conning who, it’s a bit of a con game. It reminds me a little bit of, is it my friend Anna? Is that the name of the, the book of that? Mm-hmm. TV show. Yeah. It’s kind of like that. So there’s some twists and turns in there, and I don’t wanna give it away, but it, it’s definitely a, a book that once you pick it up, it’s really hard to put down.

Kind of reminds me a little bit of what the plot was to me the year before.

[00:16:18] Nicole: Hmm. That sounds good. You really

[00:16:21] Gayle: loved the plot. I did love the plot. I did too. So there’s not, I don’t have a lot of like super suspenseful books. I mean, if there were books I couldn’t put down, it was just because I was really enjoying them and I, you know, wanted to get back to them.

This one is a true like suspenseful book.

[00:16:37] Nicole: Okay. Yeah.

I had a few like that that were, that I couldn’t put down, and not because they were necessarily suspenseful, but just. The story warranted it, you know, that I was so interested in reading it. What is gonna be my pick for this one? I’m trying to narrow it down quickly in my head. I think Blacktop Wasteland by Sa Cosby might be the book that I tore through might have been the book I’ve read most quickly this year.

It’s the one that’s about a mechanic who, his name is Bo Montage what everyone calls him bug, because that’s his getaway name. Like he’s a getaway driver who has settled down into family life. Like now he’s a mechanic. He has married, you know, the woman of his dreams. They have two kids together. He also has a daughter from a previous relationship.

So he is just like, really? He lives in, I think the family is settled down in Virginia. He’s like just really trying to make things in his life happen and keep on the straight and narrow and support his family and make sure that they have all that they need. But he is, he’s had a few hits, so he’s fallen a little bit on hard times and they’re.

Of course some things in his life that escalate and make him want to get back into getaway driving, and he’s good at it and he kind of misses it too. So this is all about his grappling with who, what is his true identity like, is he this? Is he more criminally minded and is that his path in life? And can he really separate himself from that?

Now that he has agreed to take on this one last job that’s gonna give him enough money to put his family? Back on track and make it so that he never has to do that again. Of course, that is the hope. But as you get to know him, you get to know how much he idolizes his father, who is also a getaway driver, and look at the, um, the effect that his disappearance had on Bug’s Life.

You know, his wife, of course, does not want him to get involved at all. . And of course the job that he is supposed to, to do and is supposed to put him over and make him not have to go back to criminality at all. Go spectacularly wrong. And it’s just such a good, it’s so good, so well written, very fast paced.

Don’t wanna put it down super suspenseful. Like what is gonna happen to this man and his family? What choice is he gonna make? Who’s gonna make it out alive? , it was so. Hmm. Okay.

[00:19:21] Gayle: All right. Next category was best memoirs. I read a lot of memoirs this year, like six maybe. And the two that I found the most compelling were Matthew Perry’s new memoir, um, friends lovers in the Big Terrible Thing, and Jennifer Gray’s novel out of the corner.

So I do like celebrity memoirs. I would say at least half the ones I read were not celebrity memoirs. They were just everyday people memoirs. And this one, Matthew Perry’s, is about, basically about his struggle with addiction over the last 20 years is not a buzzy dishy celebrity, you know, tell all about friends.

It is very raw and serious and it’s really just all about the addiction and how much trouble he’s. Kicking it over the years. I thought it was well written. I listened to it on audio, which she narrated, which I recommend. And the other one is out of the Corner by Jennifer Gray. So she’s the actress who played baby in the movie Dirty Dancing.

And this is just all about her life growing up, how she got into acting about the, you know, taking on that famous role about her controversial nose job, a multiple nose jobs, and why she did them. how she’s dealt with that, and I really like that one too. I read did did that one on audio as well. Why did she do them?

Well, the first one she did was she in a car accident? She was in a car accident, but that had nothing to do with it. That was unrelated. Okay. She was sort of, she was pushed to do the first. because she was just told like a small tweak, which is make her a lot more marketable, like basically make her look less Jewish.

And it was a very, they did a very minor, Adjustment, but there was like one little thing that was off after the first one. So she went to a different doctor who told her he could fix it. What the first doctor had not, you know, hadn’t done perfectly. And it was the second one that really, really transformed her face and transformed her look.

And so she really blames that second doctor for what happened to her face and then, you know, which completely changed the trajectory of her career cuz she was like unrecognizable. And people really criticized her cuz they thought that she

[00:21:48] Nicole: was something she

[00:21:49] Gayle: was trying to do. Yeah. Or maybe, I can’t remember if the first one, she did it more for medical reasons.

Like the, she really never intended, she never wanted to change anything. Right. And so she was, it was, it was never the goal to change anything, but it, it ended up really changing her life.

[00:22:03] Nicole: That’s my entire thing with like any type of plastic surgery, breast augmentation, anything like that. Is that, , is your doctor really gonna do what it is that you want?

Or ? Are they gonna make this like rogue decision and decide, well, I know that this is what she said, but I’m pretty sure that this is what she wants. It’s like when you go to a salon, you get your hair done and you wanna cut a short a certain amount. They cut it shorter . It’s just, and there’s always a reason why they did it that they thought it was maybe what you wanted.

All right. I did. Okay. So I think that this is the only one that I’ve read this year, but this was also a book that was super compelling to me, couldn’t put it down. So interesting. And it’s Danielle Prescott’s, token Black Girl, and she talks about growing up and like these elite communities that are all white.

And what that did to. growing up, like how she internalized viewpoints and attitudes that just made her feel like, you know, she had to change herself in order to be good enough. Like so she has issues with eating disorders and just perfectionism that are driving how it is because she feels like she has to overcome being black, which.

in her society, the way she internalizes race is not a good thing, and so she worked for a lot of the magazines, like I think she worked at Teen Vogue and just talked about how the viewpoints there of course also fueled her disassociation from her own identity and what she had to do to get that back.

It’s just like really fascinating because at times she says that she was just not a nice person. in, in her pursuit of being accepted and being the best. So I always love it when memoirs, you know, like some people, they can give a version of events where almost like there’s less friction from them or less, almost like they don’t see themselves clearly or ever present themselves as maybe being wrong.

I really do think that she looks at her own flawed perspective and just owns up into behavior. , you know, based on how she was coping, but still, when she was just, she was not on the right side of things. So that was really good and it’s, it’s 250 pages you’ll blow through. It’s so interesting. Nice.

[00:24:35] Gayle: Next category is most disappointing. So have to go negative here. . For me, the most disappointing, and this was an easy pick, was flying Solo, which is the second novel from Linda Holmes who wrote My Beloved. Every Drake Starts Over. And so I was really looking forward to this one and it was really disappointing.

It was kind of boring and not the, the quote unquote conflict in the book. Really minor. There’s like a caper element to it that was just stupid . I don’t mean to sit and rag on it, but it was, uh, it was really bad. So I was super sad when I read that one and it took me, I like kind of wanted to dn f it, but I felt like I needed to finish it cuz I really like Linda Holmes.

So hopefully whatever she does next will be better. But it was a very pale comparison to Evie Drake. What is the most

[00:25:41] Nicole: disappointing book that I have read? Gosh, I probably feel like if it was super disappointing, I likely dn fd it cuz I’ve been just reading so slowly this year. Actually, I do, I know what it is.

Ruth Ware, she had her book of the year come out, you know, she basically seems like she puts one out every year. This year it was the it girl and it was just, it was just, So I found that a little disappointing. I usually find her books like so engrossing and always happy to read them and look forward to settling in with them.

This one, I, I think the characters could have been better developed. She sets it in Oxford. I don’t know. I felt like it could have just been anywhere. It was just underwhelming. I didn’t love this one. Okay. That was disappointing cuz you know, like she has won a year and I look forward to reading it, so I think that made it worse.

[00:26:42] Gayle: Yep. Okay, so my next category is, and I have a, I have four of them in this one books where I did not agree with everyone else.

It seems like everyone else loved them and I didn’t. So I have four and, and just because they’re on the list, it doesn’t mean I didn’t like them. It just means I didn’t quite get the hype. Okay, so these are really super controversial and I know one of these on the, this list you really like. The first one is Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garma.

I liked it. I did not think it was amazing. A book of the year. Incredible. I thought, I mean, I thought she created a memorable character and I liked some of the lessons in. In general. I, I just, I don’t know. It seemed, some of it seemed implausible to me and I just didn’t love it. The second one is actually our book club book, and I don’t wanna deter you or make you feel like Uhoh

It’s tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow. I liked it quite a bit. I, I really did, and I think she’s a great writer and this is an unbelievably creative book. But it, what I wrote in my review was, I think I admired it more than I liked it, if that may or more than I enjoyed it, if that makes sense. Like, I think it was a, I think it was a really well-written book and ver and, you know, extremely well done, but it just, I, I wasn’t like in love with it while I was reading it and a lot of people, this was like their number one pick of the year, so I definitely was a little off on that one.

Okay. The next one is seven days in. , another book that people loved and I know you really enjoyed, but for me it didn’t work. Like I just, I found the relationship implausible between the two characters. This is by Tia Williams, based on this like kind of drug fueled week that they had spent together as teenagers.

And it seemed to me, I found it hard to believe that like that had propelled them for so many years. And I don’t know, there was something about it. I just did not click with that. And then the last one is the Measure by Nikki Erlic. This is the book where people woke up one day and found string in a box outside their house, which ultimately predicted how long their life was gonna be.

And this book did not work for me on a lot of levels. Like I just, I don’t know. I found, while it was a very deep topic and it occasionally touched on like just how profound that type. Knowledge is it in the end I found that, that she treated it very superficially. That one didn’t work for me either. Now those books are beloved by many, many, many people.

So I went against the grain on these and that’s, that’s my list. Okay. You have anything that you wanna add to that category?

[00:29:24] Nicole: Not really. Cause I don’t think I’ve read anything that’s been this year that was super hyped or that I was. ,

[00:29:32] Gayle: what’s the next category? All right, next category. I’ve got two left best books about super depressing topics.

that could be pretty much my entire like, list of books for 2022. But

[00:29:46] Nicole: that’s your whole reading game, Gayle, right?

[00:29:47] Gayle: So I picked two here that I haven’t yet mentioned on the show. The first one is Sor Sorrow and Bliss, which is a book about a woman who has, uh, mental illness. It’s never actually. Seems like it’s sort of like schizophrenia, but it’s not, it’s not named.

Or maybe it sounds good. Maybe it’s bipolar. I can’t remember which dis which mental illness she sort of modeled it on. But the author very specifically never mentions what it is, and it’s about a woman who you know is dealing with this mental illness and her life. It’s about the dis, you know, the.

Effect it has on her marriage, how she doesn’t get the right treatment or the right medicine, and just how she tries to get through it. It sounds strange to say that it can be very funny. She’s a very, you know, observant and funny character and the writing really reflects that. So I know it sounds very depressing to read a book about someone who’s, you know, mentally ill, but it was extremely well done and I really.

So that’s by Meg Mason, I think is the name. And then just last night by Mary McFarlane is about a group of four friends, one of whom is hit by a car. And it’s all about the way that these four friends come together and, you know, try to accept what has happened. It the, the one who dies, leaves some secrets behind that get uncovered that impact.

Way that the remaining three relate to each other. So there’s this kind of this, uh, developing story about the, the, the ways things change after the death. There’s lots of flashbacks. I thought this book was gonna be kind of light, like just looking at the cover, it looks like chicklet. I thought it was gonna be a kind of a late pick.

We read it for by book club and it really turned out to be surprisingly poignant and substantive. So that is my second book about something depress. . Yeah, that sounds really

[00:31:51] Nicole: good. Okay, so my super depressing book is Dear Miss Metropolitan by Carolyn Ferrell. So this book is about three teens who go missing in the Queen’s neighborhood.

They end up being held captive for several years. I believe that they are somewhere each, somewhere between the ages three and 16 when they’re first taken. and then they emerge maybe 10, 10 or so years later when they’re young adults, or young women. They’re like in their early to mid twenties when they are rescued.

So this is all about the perspective of how could this happen in my backyard. Miss Metropolitan is an older woman who lives in the community who does writing for a community. Paper, she becomes really invested in this story. I thought it was gonna be mostly told from her perspective, but in a surprise it was mostly told from the perspective of the young women at different points in captivity and in their lives as they try to acclimate back into living in the world and kind of like what has gone on around them, how their parents have fared or their siblings have fared this.

the way it was told, like it jumps around in time. There are some fantastical elements to it. You know, there is some conjecture, like some things are just not clear. So there it, it played around with a lot of different viewpoints, which I think can make it difficult material cuz it’s not straightforward and it kind of,

I feel like it was miscategorized by the description of the book, but it’s, it’s like one of those books that was difficult for me to read. It took me a long time to get through it, but I really appreciated what she was trying to do with it.

[00:33:49] Gayle: That has been on my night table for like nine months. .

[00:33:54] Nicole: Yeah. I don’t, I don’t, I wouldn’t rush to pick it up.

Okay. There’s something about the style that it’s written that I just, I don’t know if you would like it.

[00:34:03] Gayle: Okay. I may take your word on that one and just let it go,

All right. I’m up to my last category here. Do you have any more after this one? Nope. Okay. So mine is most bizarre, and this was a clear winner for me. I’m the most bizarre. I’m giving it to, uh, a book called One’s Company, which I read over the summer by Ashley Hudson. and this is a book about a woman who is, has had a lot of trauma in her life and at 1.1 of the ways that she dealt with this trauma was to escape into the world of television and specifically the show’s.

Three’s Comp the show, three’s company, she manages to win the lottery and it is a massive payout, like you know, a billion dollar payoff, making her extraordinarily rich. and what she decides to do with her money is build a compound in the middle of nowhere where nobody can find her or reach her and recreate the sets of ones of the show threes company.

But even beyond that, she wants to basically turn her reality into 1970s threes company. So she gets all of the clothes. One would’ve worn, you know, outfits from the show. She makes it so that the technology in this compound is exactly what was available in the 1970s, and she just basically recreates all her entire life within the set of three’s company in this.

Crazy place. So like kudos to this author for coming up with this incredibly bizarre premise. It’s very well done. It is an odd book, not a perfect book, but it was really just like, it’s sort of like Gabriel’s Evan, like just to have the creativity to come up with these worlds and come up with these premises and all of the details that went into it, like, Sh It’s just, it was very interesting.

So I didn’t see that this book got a ton of attention, but if, if, if that sounds remotely appealing in any way, I would pick this one up. It’s not really that long, but it’s like a, it’s like a, a wild ride. It was good. That sounds interesting. Yeah, I liked it. What’s it called again? One’s company. One’s company.

Okay. Right, because she just wants to be on her own. Yeah.

[00:36:24] Nicole: So she doesn’t interact with anyone. Is she playing all the characters? Is she ? Yes.

[00:36:29] Gayle: She plays all the characters, and what her, what her plan is, is to rotate. So every year she assumes a different category. Like she starts out as Chrissy. No. Starts out as Janet, I think.

Then she’s gonna be like Chrissy. Then she’s gonna be Miss Mr. Roper. , she’s really got it down. And of course it doesn’t go as planned that like, I mean, she doesn’t end up totally isolated, alone all that time. Because I was gonna say, that would be

[00:36:56] Nicole: incredibly difficult. She has to eat. She can’t be the only one.


[00:36:59] Gayle: Well th that stuff, she gets delivered. Like she’s really thought this all out. She has like food delivered. But she ends up, yeah, she does. Somebody does end up sort of infiltrating the world and that like, of course sets her completely off kilter. Hmm. It’s a, it’s a strange book , but it’s really, it’s really good , like very inventive.

Okay. So do you have anything for Bazaar? Yes,

[00:37:26] Nicole: actually I do Supper club by Lara Williams and it is about this young woman who goes off to college. Or actually it’s flashbacks to a lot of her college experiences. She is a young adult. She has a job. She has, this very involved friendship with the woman who works at her job and together they start a supper club.

Like they decide that they are tired as young women of, of. being told how to live and in kind of like a very suppressive culture that’s suppressive to their power and who they are. So they decide that they are going to host these supper clubs, which involves them breaking into a place, cooking, bringing a meal, and sharing it together.

And they often just like devolve into like these crazy food fights and overindulgence in eating. The woman. young woman at the center, all of all of this, like she has a troubled history with the men and the relationships in her life. I think her grandmother is dying. She has a fraught relationship with her mother, so just there’s lots of going on that kind of make her a passive person.

But they, she is able to start with through her friendships, like channel this different person and this different existence through these supper clubs. It was a really. odd book . I’ll just say that I think that there were a lot of things that they were trying to say in terms of having these women take their power back by, I guess, participating in these transgressive acts together in a way to reclaim their power.

I wasn’t sure that I quite thought that it work. I don’t know that the, you know, the women’s relationships kind of. ebb and flow and eventually the club stops meeting. But I was just mainly confused, like I think it was a lot, a lot of different directions that it was going in and just examining the trauma in her relationships.

Like her boyfriend does not approve of these supper clubs. I really. . I think part of the book is that, you know, in your twenties when you’re trying to figure things out, the things that you decide to act on and that you do with such clarity may not even necessarily be coherent or make a lot of sense. So I struggled to make sense of what was going on.

So the experience of reading the book was very much kind of like, okay, so that just happened.

[00:39:56] Gayle: I find being confused as a reader to be one of my least favorite , you know, uh, mental states while reading a book. Like, I, I don’t mind being challenged. I find being confused, really frustrating. Right? Because you just feel like this is a waste of time and I don’t know where this is going and is it gonna resolve, right?

I don’t mind like those three and suspense. I don’t mind being kept in the dark. I don’t like being. Yes.

[00:40:21] Nicole: Uh, I do think that when it is confusing, well, I always describe it too as if for any reason I step outside of the book and I’m wondering what you’re trying to accomplish. Consciously, as I’m reading the book, like anything that takes me out of a book like that, that I can’t just experience it and things are happening, I just feel.

it wasn’t, whatever you were trying to accomplish as an author was not successful for me. If I’m outside trying to, like, why would you know? Like what am I supposed to be getting from this? Yeah. So yeah, confusion is not my, my greatest thing because I think at the end you get to it is kind of like, okay, so I read that and I’m not sure what I was supposed to get.

I’m not sure if I understood. , definitely not sure if I liked it. . Right. Just too, too much. Right. Too much uncertainty. Totally agree.

[00:41:19] Gayle: All right, well that was my list. Next week, Nicole and I are gonna do a more traditional year end, you know, best of list. So we’ll talk about our favorite books in probably some more just standard categories

[00:41:33] Nicole: or just the The best of our best books. The best of

[00:41:35] Gayle: the year, yeah, of the year. We’ll each do like, I don’t know, eight or something like that.

That sounds good.

[00:41:41] Nicole: I can manage eight. So the third of what I read, The very best third, the top third.

[00:41:49] Gayle: so we’ll be back then, and then we’re gonna take a couple weeks off. Uh, we’re both gonna be traveling as we mentioned. So take, and then we’ll be back in January with our winter preview books and the ones we’re most looking forward to next year.

And our book club. Yeah. All right. Well, unless you have anything to add, Nicole, I think we can sign off.

[00:42:09] Nicole: I think.

[00:42:10] Gayle: Yeah, we are. All right. Until next time, happy reading.

Please help support the podcast and take a few minutes to leave a review and/or rating for the podcast on iTunes, a comment on Soundcloud or interact wherever you listen to podcasts and talk about books.

Connect With Us
We’d love to hear from you at any and all places that you love to talk about books. You can find us at the spaces below.

Nicole Bonia: Nicole’s Website | Instagram|Goodreads
Gayle Weiswasser: Everyday I Write The Book Blog | Twitter | FacebookInstagram | Goodreads
The Readerly Report: Facebook |Instagram | Join Our Facebook Group

Feedback. We love it!
If you have any questions or ideas for a podcast,  email us! You can reach Nicole at, and you can reach Gayle at As always, thanks for listening and happy reading

Other episodes you might like.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.