February 2020–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   (Reminder: the page numbers I list here reflect the number of Kindle pages, not paper pages.)  I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

Stones from the riverStones From the River by Ursula Hegi (Length: 531 pages).  This was the February pick for my personal book club.  I read this book when it was originally published in 1997 as part of the Oprah Book Club, and I remembered adoring it.  I still do.  It’s a sprawling, character-driven novel set primarily in a small town in Germany in WWI.  Trudi, a dwarf, tells stories (often embellished) to her neighbors, and the novel is one big story.  This is beautifully written, with heartbreaking scenes of love, loss, violence and war.  Much of the public sentiment surrounding the Holocaust is being repeated today in this country, making this a very relevant read.  

From the publisher:

From the acclaimed author of Floating in My Mother’s Palm and Children and Fire, a stunning story about ordinary people living in extraordinary times—“epic, daring, magnificent, the product of a defining and mesmerizing vision” (Los Angeles Times).

Trudi Montag is a Zwerg—a dwarf—short, undesirable, different, the voice of anyone who has ever tried to fit in. Eventually she learns that being different is a secret that all humans share—from her mother who flees into madness, to her friend Georg whose parents pretend he’s a girl, to the Jews Trudi harbors in her cellar.

Ursula Hegi brings us a timeless and unforgettable story in Trudi and a small town, weaving together a profound tapestry of emotional power, humanity, and truth.

Book #2:

Year of YesYear of Yes by Shonda Rhimes (Length: 337 pages).  As a HUGE fan of the TV show “Scandal” (rest in peace!), I have been excited to read this memoir written by the creator of that show (as well as “Gray’s Anatomy”, et al).  There are lots of revelations the author has in her year of saying yes to “everything” . . . she experiences less social anxiety, stronger and more meaningful personal relationships, better health (losing 127 pounds!) and a better work-life balance.  There’s nothing earth-shattering in this book but if you enjoy(ed) the lightning-quick verbal banter of Shonda’s TV show characters, you’ll enjoy the writing style in this very fun, easy read.  

From the publisher:

She’s the creator and producer of some of the most groundbreaking and audacious shows on television today. Her iconic characters live boldly and speak their minds. So who would suspect that Shonda Rhimes is an introvert? That she hired a publicist so she could avoid public appearances? That she suffered panic attacks before media interviews?

With three children at home and three hit television shows, it was easy for Shonda to say she was simply too busy. But in truth, she was also afraid. And then, over Thanksgiving dinner, her sister muttered something that was both a wake up and a call to arms: You never say yes to anything. Shonda knew she had to embrace the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her. The book chronicles her life after her Year of Yes had begun—when Shonda forced herself out of the house and onto the stage; when she learned to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self. Yes.

Book #3:

The Other MrsThe Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica (Length: 368 pages).  I didn’t expect to enjoy this psychological thriller as I did.  The writing quality is pretty good, and the pacing is fantastic!  I read the entire novel in under 4 hours because I literally didn’t want to put it down.  Set on a very small island in Maine, the setting is appropriately dark and spooky, and the central mystery keeps the plot moving in a forward direction.  I did figure out 1/3 of the mystery (the “third” being the key) immediately but the rest of the mystery was a bit of a surprise, thank goodness.  There will be a Netflix movie/series based on the book which will be fun to watch if this is any indication.  I wouldn’t recommend this as a book club book because it’s not “deep” enough for any meaningful discussion, but this would be a fantastic airplane/travel read.  

From the publisher:

Propulsive and addictive, and perfect for fans of “You,” The Other Mrs. is the twisty new psychological thriller from Mary Kubica, the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

Sadie and Will Foust have only just moved their family from bustling Chicago to small-town Maine when their neighbor Morgan Baines is found dead in her home. The murder rocks their tiny coastal island, but no one is more shaken than Sadie.

But it’s not just Morgan’s death that has Sadie on edge. And as the eyes of suspicion turn toward the new family in town, Sadie is drawn deeper into the mystery of what really happened that dark and deadly night. But Sadie must be careful, for the more she discovers about Mrs. Baines, the more she begins to realize just how much she has to lose if the truth ever comes to light.

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