Happy belated Thanksgiving to all of you! I am so incredibly grateful to you, dear reader, for continuing to read my blog. I haven’t been the best at keeping up with my writing schedule lately, but I am planning on more posts in the future – so, stay tuned!
In the meantime, my reading life has never been better. I’m branching back out into listening to books on Audible. I did this all the time when I had a long commute into work and gave it up once I started working from home. But now I realize that listening to books while exercising, doing the dishes, or folding laundry, helps me continue to enjoy great stories while being extremely productive around the house.
I’ve always been pretty good at multi-tasking.
So, what have I been reading? I finished five books in November, which I think is a new record for me. Besides listening to books on Audible, my new favorite activity is to listen to a few reading-related podcasts like – Currently Reading, Sarah’s Bookshelves Live, The Readerly Report, and my favorite – What Should I Read Next. Each of these podcasts offers insights into cultivating a better reading life and continues to put new and back-list books on my radar. If you are an avid reader like me, I highly recommend checking out one of these podcasts.
Okay. On to the book reviews! Enjoy! 🙂
Rose Napolitano and her husband Luke made the decision not to have children before they got married. They loved their careers. Rose knows in her heart that she does not want to be a mother, and she makes this crystal clear to her family. Luke is on board because he wants to spend time on his photography business. But, a few years later, Luke changes his mind and now desperately wants to be a father. He puts an enormous amount of pressure on Rose, whose feelings on the subject have never wavered.
I’m just going to say right now that I LOVED THIS BOOK! The Nine Lives of Rose Napolitano takes the reader on quite a journey. The chapters depict a different version of Rose’s life and sees that storyline through. And each path begins in the same way with a fight about taking prenatal vitamins. I don’t want to say too much more, except that this novel takes a deep dive into the pressures women face from their partners, their parents, and society as a whole when it comes to the subject of motherhood.
One thing I will say is don’t look at the table of contents in this book. They are all named for whatever number life Rose is in (i.e., Rose, Lives 2, 5, and 7). I never felt lost when the different lives overlapped, but the table of contents made me think that it would be hard to keep track. It wasn’t.
If you are looking for a novel that will elicit good book club conversation, this is the one to buy. However, I’ll put the trigger warning on here for infertility and loss.
What happens when you find out that a) your husband cheated on you and b) your best friend knew all about it and kept it a secret? Good Company tells the story of Julian and Flora and Margot – a different sort of love triangle that stretches the bonds of marriage and friendship to its limit. This story was a little slow initially, but it picked up a little after the first few chapters. There are plenty of flashbacks to when the main characters first met and how their relationships evolved. Good Company refers to the theater company where this all takes place, so there is quite a bit of detail into putting on a show and working in the entertainment industry. But, I kept wanting to return to the main story because I found that much more interesting than the setting or the strolls down memory lane.
I wanted to enjoy this book because I loved the author’s debut novel, The Nest. This one was just so-so for me, but I finished. I listened to it on Audible while doing my Hanukkah shopping and thought that narrator did a great job. If I had the book, I might have DNF’d it much earlier.
Some of my favorite memoirs are written by journalists. Not only are they wonderful writers who know how to tell a story, but they have also witnessed history while it is happening and reported on it. In her memoir, Katie Couric doesn’t disappoint. She definitely “goes there’ when talking about her family, kids, career, love and loss, love after the loss of her husband to cancer, sexism in the workplace, and yes, Matt Lauer.
The behind-the-scenes aspect of her efforts to get in the door, be seen as a serious journalist, get the story, and get it right appeals to me on many levels. Early on in my career, I was a newspaper reporter and lived and breathed the newsroom rollercoaster culture. It’s quite a ride.
I was afraid that I might not love her memoir as much because many stories were already out there. Her book tour included many interviews on the talk shows, and I was worried I already knew too much going in. In this hefty book (nearly 500 pages), there is still plenty to chew on.
I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this memoir by a comedic actor that hasn’t always been my cup of tea. Typically I’m not too fond of the whole pot culture scene. It’s not my scene, and I’m too straight-laced to understand the attraction of recreational drug use.
But, I’m happy to report that this book is much more than that. Maybe it’s because Seth Rogen is a member of the tribe (meaning Jewish) or that he is not one of the more handsome, cookie-cutter types of actors that tend to annoy me more than impress me, but I genuinely liked the way Seth shares his stories. He has just the right amount of humility as he enjoys his celebrity status.
And I am so glad that I listened to this book on Audible. Not only does he have an excellent delivery, but he has many cameo appearances/voiceovers that I was not expecting. While I could have done without the drug-related adventures, this was a fun read.
Full disclosure: I picked up this book after being furloughed from my job last year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. I took the setback as an opportunity to explore whether I wanted to turn my passion for writing into a full-time gig.
As for the book, I started reading it last summer and then put it away once I secured my new role. However, I decided to finish it because l enjoy listening to the author’s podcast of the same name. She understands the creative mind and how difficult it might be to translate that into good business sense. Basically – she speaks to me on a level I can relate to and understand. Her voice and writing style is both encouraging and informative. And her practical advice is what I would consider spot on – from building an audience to creating your own brand. So, whether you are a painter, a writer, a baker, or a candlestick maker, I highly recommend this book to build the entrepreneurial life you desire.
At the beginning of 2021, I set my Goodreads Challenge reading goal to 21 books. I am pleasantly surprised that I have surpassed that goal and am on my way to finishing 30 books by the end of the year. There are plenty of books on my shelves to choose from, and I am purposely picking easy reads and shorter books to reach my new goal.
This Holiday Season
If you are a regular reader of my book review blogs, you know what is coming. It’s the plea to shop at independent bookstores for your literary gifts. If you aren’t sure where to find your local bookshop, check out Bookshop.org. However, I have one major favor to ask of you – find the bookstore on the website – but buy the books directly from the store. You can still online shop on most indie bookstore websites, and the owners will benefit from your entire purchase. Unfortunately, the website credits a bookstore a tiny percentage of your purchase to the store – and not the website.
Thanks for reading! Please let me know what books you have recommended lately, so I can add them to my list!