November 2021–Part Two

Thank you for joining me here!   I hope you enjoy this series and I’d love to hear from you about what you are reading these days.

Book #1:

All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle (Length: 385 pages).   Kaytee Cobb of the Currently Reading podcast raved about this book, saying it was very similar to A Man Called Ove, which is one of my all-time favorite novels, so of course I had to pick this one up as I love a grouchy elderly protagonist. In this book the main character Hubert Bird is a Jamaican immigrant who is navigating racism and everyday life in London in the late 1950s and 1960s. This novel is extremely well-written, and Hubert has incredible depth as a protagonist. The novel flip-flops between the past and present in mostly alternating chapters (but very smoothly), and Hubert’s interactions with various neighbors and friends are so heartwarming and real. This book is definitely in the top 3 of this year for me, and I hope everyone is able to read and enjoy this gem of a novel.

Book #2:

Don’t Make Me Turn This Life Around by Camille Pagan (Length: 251 pages).  This light novel is about a woman in mid-life crisis (due to her job at a non-profit being not as fulfilling as it has been previously, a husband who is emotionally distant for unknown reasons, one twin daughter who is navigating a recent diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, her father who recently died and her own twin brother divorcing his husband). With all of that happening, one would think this would be a novel with some depth, but it really isn’t. The writing quality is decent here, but the protagonist is entirely too whiny for me. Also, again, if the characters would just TALK to one another when they are bothered by something, the conflict would be resolved much more quickly. There has to be a better way to create drama in novels methinks. I finished this one because it’s a fast read, but I’d pass on it if I were you.

Book #3:

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni (Length: 449 pages).  I LOVED this book and literally read it in one day. This is a very moving novel about a boy with ocular albinism (red eyes) growing up in northern California in the 1970s. The story covers his birth to about 40 years old, and is about him growing up in a very Catholic household (thanks to his very devoted mother), and attending a Catholic school with an abusive nun and schoolyard bullies. His friendships with the school’s sole Black student and a girl named Mickie form the heart of the novel, as well as his relationship with his mother. I will say I found the tone to be a touch manipulative and the religious imagery can be a bit much but I really liked this overall and the story will be one I remember for a long time.


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