November 2022–Part One

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:

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Length: 354 pages.)  I ADORE this author, and when I read that this novel is often cited by TJR fans as their favorite novel of hers, I knew I had to check it out. I chose to listen to this one, and bonus: it’s narrated by Julia Whelan, one of the best audiobook narrators in the business. The book starts with Emma Blair eating dinner with her fiance Sam and her parents, when Emma gets a phone call from her husband Jesse who was presumed dead in a plane crash a few years earlier. The “tone” of this novel is perfect, the character development is fantastic and the plot is definitely propulsive . . . who will Emma end up picking? While I figured that part pretty early on, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire ride to get there. Now I’ve joined the legions of fans who have declared this book to be their favorite. (My second favorite is The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.)

Book #2:

I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy (Length: 319 pages). What a name for a memoir–but for this one, it’s absolutely apropos. Narrated by the author herself, who was a famous child actress (on the TV show iCarly), I recommend listening to this one for sure. There is a reason this is a runaway best seller. The author is very honest and vulnerable throughout, and I was fascinated by her account of being a child actor in Hollywood, especially with a very abusive stage mom (a modern Mommie Dearest if you will). Her love for her mom also shines through, which makes her account very poignant. This is a fantastic read and I definitely recommend!

Book #3:

Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro (Length: 241 pages).  This short novel is all the rage in the Bookstagram arena and I am glad I finally got a chance to see what the fuss is all about. I’ve never read this author’s non-fiction works, but I really enjoyed this one. If you like a family “saga” type novel, this is for you as the author follows a few families who live on one street over the time period of a few decades. The timeline does jump around quite a bit so this isn’t a novel you’re going to want to pick up here and there–just read it straight through in an afternoon if you are able to do so. The author’s writing style here reminds me of Fredrik Backman, so I really dug it! The writing is beautiful, it’s a very quick read with truly memorable characters and I give it a thumbs up.

Book #4:

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman (Length: 412 pages).  I’ve never gotten around to reading the Practical Magic series that is so beloved, so when this “prequel” was recently released I decided to start the (now four book) series by reading this one. This novel illustrates the start of the Owens’ women’s lineage, and how witches were treated in the early 1600s in Salem. This novel contains lots of references to the earlier novels which went over my head but that didn’t deter from my enjoyment of this book. The writing style is lyrical, the plot moves along and the character development is substantial, which is great as this series is so beloved by so many readers. I’ll absolutely continue reading along in the series based on what I’ve read here.

Book #5:

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing  by Matthew Perry (Length: 260 pages).  UGH. I listened to this audiobook and I’m just glad I got it free from my library instead of wasting money on it. I was a fan of Friends back in the day and was so excited to read this memoir. While I will say that overall it’s an interesting look at severe addiction and there’s some fun information about the TV show (and the Keanu Reeves comment is a nothingburger), I’m not a fan of this man after reading this book. Way too much navel-gazing, and while he sort of recognizes his privilege in being able to spend north of 7 million (!) dollars trying to fight his addiction, his defensiveness and his passive-aggressive comments toward so many people are pretty infuriating. Matthew tries to be funny but comes off as just plain mean. Don’t waste your time on this one. 😦

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