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.
Dear Bob and Sue by Matt and Karen Smith (Length: 389 pages). I LOVE this book!! It’s a self-published travel memoir of sorts, organized as an epistolary memoir of one couple’s journey to visit all 58 National Parks. The couple is middle-aged, have been married forever, and are not overly adventurous . . . they love to hike and then have a beer in the hotel bar afterwards. This book is geared toward checking off each park and telling their friends Bob and Sue about all of their adventures. What I enjoyed most about this book is their tone . . . they tease one another a bit (Bob about Sue’s use of adjectives for things that are cute and whimsical, and Sue about Bob’s anal-retentive packing lists and his puns) and they remind me of my parents and how they relate to one another. There are lots of specific details about each park (I added a few hikes to my personal travel bucket list) and some LOL moments. I’ve already purchased one of the next 3 they’ve written. I will say that these books are self-published so there are a few grammatical/spelling errors (at least 3 that I found) but honestly, I’m finding way too many errors in books published by the big houses so that isn’t a deterrent to me.
The Year of Less by Cait Flanders (Length: 200 pages). I listened to this book on my commute, partly for inspiration to shop less in solidarity with a good friend who has given up unnecessary shopping in 2022. The author is very inspiring in what she managed to do (pare down her possessions to 40% of what she owned as well as save a boatload of money by giving up her daily latte, not buy new clothes, etc), but the tone of this book is a bit too whiny for my personal taste. To be fair, she is an addict (a recovering alcoholic) and her addictive personality permeates into every aspect of her life, so her navel gazing here is for a reason–her “whys” are very important to her. Me, not so much–I just need to quit Amazon. This is worth a library check out . . . I’d skip the audiobook.
The Girl in His Shadow by Audrey Blake (Length: 386 pages). This historical fiction novel is set in London in 1845 and 1846 and is based on an amalgamation of various females in medicine during that time period. This particular novel focuses on a female surgeon, who is the ward of an esteemed surgeon and professor, but given that it’s illegal for women to practice medicine, she operates in secret. This is a fascinating story with incredibly specific details of surgeries and medical discoveries (such as operating with patients under the influence of ether). The writing is very strong, with excellent character development. There is a romance of sorts but it’s not cheesy in the slightest. I couldn’t put this one down!