It’s been a really great month for reading, and somehow managed to finish eight books. The standouts from September were A Little Life and Ask Again, Yes (this month’s Coco’s Tea Party Book Club pick).
I’ve reviewed everything below, and to kick off the monthly recap I wanted to share my favourite quote from Laura & Emma, which was a surprise find in my local library. This is what Laura’s eccentric mother Bibs says about marriage, and it made me laugh out loud:
“It doesn’t matter who you marry, one day you’ll be sitting across the table from him, thinking, Anything would be better than this.”
(NO PLOT SPOILERS BELOW, FYI)
Over the weekend I started reading Whisper Network, which was one of the recent Reese Witherspoon Book Club picks. I still have a few chapters left to go, but will have finished it by this evening.
The novel is set in a Dallas law firm, where four women discover their boss is about to become the company’s next CEO. There have long been rumours about Ames Garrett’s treatment of women, but the whispers become more urgent as he’s due to be promoted.
I’ve really enjoyed Chandler Baker’s writing – some passages in this book literally gave me chills, they were that good! But the actual pace of the story has felt surprisingly slow. That said, it’s been an enjoyable read, and I think fans of Big Little Lies will really like it. Fingers crossed it has a punchy ending!
3 stars (at 85% of the way through)
Mating in Captivity: How to keep desire and passion alive in long-term relationships by Esther Perel
You might be wondering why I decided to read Mating in Captivity, because I’m soooo far from being in a long-term relationship (I’m not even dating at the moment). But I love books about psychology and relationships, and always enjoy listening to Esther Perel speak on podcasts. So, I figured, why not give it a go?
Mating in Captivity explores how our need for both intimacy and desire can often create conflict in long-term, romantic relationships. “Ironically, what makes for good intimacy does not always make for good sex,” Esther Perel writes. And within these pages she explores how it is possible to find a balance between the two. It’s a fascinating read, and shouldn’t just be reserved for those in couples.
I accidentally stumbled upon Laura & Emma when I was searching for another book in my local library’s catalogue. And it immediately caught my attention. Set in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the novel tells the story of a single mother (Laura) raising her spunky, theatrical daughter (Emma), leisurely moving throughout the ’80s and ’90s.
Laura & Emma has a warm, cosy, Nora Ephron-y vibe, and I feel like this was the perfect time of year to discover it. It was a real sweet and surprising find!
Kate and Peter are born a few months apart, and grow up living next door to one another. As they reach their early-teens, their close friendship blossoms into something more. But, on the night they finally kiss, a tragic event tears apart both of their families.
Years later, as young adults, it’s up to Kate and Peter to make sense of the damage caused on that traumatic night, and heal the fault lines between their families.
This was the September #CocosTeaPartyBookClub selection, and I really enjoyed it! If you’re a fan of Celeste Ng and Anne Tyler I suspect you’ll really enjoy this novel.
Lauren Graham’s memoir had been on my “want to read” list for a long, long time. And I finally got around to it this month. It was a fun, easy read. Definitely not my favourite celebrity memoir, but there were some nice passages about the struggle to accept life moving on its own (sometimes slow) timeline, and the impatience and fear that comes with that. There were also some cute, behind-the-scenes stories from Gilmore Girls.
American Royals is getting a lot of buzz online, at the moment. I read it whilst I was on holiday in Menorca, and honestly that was the perfect setting for it. It’s a fluffy read, following the love lives of The Washingtons (America’s fictional Royal Family). The novel is predictable, laced with cliches, and nothing much happens in it (I didn’t realise it was the first instalment of a trilogy until I got to the final chapter and none of the plot lines had been resolved).
It’s not the sort of book I’d usually pick up, but it was an enjoyable holiday read. Save it for when you want something super-light and frivolous!
What can I say about A Little Life that hasn’t been said already? I’d been putting off reading it for a number of years; partly because I was intimidated by its size, but also because the beloved novel always comes with the warning “you’re going to need tissues”.
However, I was determined to finish A Little Life this year, and I finally dove into it at the start of September. I read it in the space of a week, and it was a traumatic experience (seriously, this story is heavy and so dark), but I’m glad I made time for it. The characters have really stuck with me, and it truly is a work of art! I’ve since been listening to tons of podcast interviews with Hanya Yanagihara, which has just made me appreciate the novel even more.
I don’t usually like it when stories are told via a series of letters and emails. So when I started When You Read This and discovered that was the format of the novel, I was a little reluctant to continue. But I stuck with it, and actually thought it was a sweet and touching story.
The story begins after the sudden death of Simon’s co-worker and close friend, Iris. Whilst cleaning out her desk in the office, the manuscript for a book is discovered, along with the note that she wants Simon to find a publisher for her work. This leads him to connect with Iris’ sister, and the two strike up a friendship over email as the grieve together.
What have you read this month? Share your suggestions in the comments section below. And don’t forget you can subscribe to the #CocosTeaPartyBookClub monthly newsletter here…
Photo by Kylie Eyra