Lisa writes: I love getting book recommendations from friends and we thought you might enjoy a few of ours. Now that fall has arrived, what can be better than curling up with a great new read, forgetting about the chilly weather to come?
Books for Fall
By Jen Mann. I need to start by saying that this is not my kind of book. But sometimes when an author is this good and the subject is this near and dear to my heart, well, life is about leaving your comfort zone. This book is for every suburban mom who has ever thought WTF. You know that day you received the third email on the color of the cupcake frosting for next week’s class party. Or the time that the team manager gave every parent a condescending lecture on healthy snacks. Or, perhaps, you had your moment when you looked at Pinterest and looked at your life and realized this Venn Diagram never had and never would have any overlap. If you want to laugh at parenting gone amuck there is no better satirist than Jen Mann to take you there. Be forewarned, you need to love sarcasm, biting humor and a touch of profanity to enjoy this riotous book. Here is the clip:
By Jean Hanff Korelitz. I thought, by now, I would be getting sick of books where there is shock from a spouse who, by all accounts, lives an unremarkable life. After Gone Girl and The Silent Wife, I might have had enough, but l clearly not. When psychologist Grace Reinhart Sachs writes a book entitled “You Should Have Known: Why Women Fail to Hear What the Men in Their Lives Are Telling Them,” suggesting to others that the unendurable flaws of their spouses were all there from the beginning if they had only chosen to look, it is not hard to guess where this is going. Despite the fact that her husband is a pediatric oncologist, embodying all that is good about humanity, the book is a smorgasbord of surprises. Yet I did not find anything about this book predictable and, although there were times when the main character is a bit cold for my taste, the books stayed compelling until the last page. If Gone Girl is successful in the theatres, expect You Should Have Known to follow close behind.
Edited by Stephanie Springer with Author, Jessica Smock. My Other Ex is an anthology of essays about a painful topic so few of us want to talk about, the end of our relationship with a close female friend. Each essay touches on a painful break up, a moment when two women who shared so much, were no longer in each others’ lives. The reasons are myriad, and many of the stories harken back to childhood or tell of losses from adolescence that still haunt adult women. In each story, no matter how many years have passed, the pain is still startlingly real. If you have ever loved and lost a friendship that still tugs at your soul, you may well find your story here.
By Matthew Thomas. Usually when a review tells me that a book is a saga or will take me through the American Century or American experience…I am pretty much done reading. I don’t read fiction to be educated about history and more important books that make this claim, seems to me, to reduce their characters into clichés that represent the clichés we believe about our own past. Matthew Thomas does not fall prey to that trap. Ellen and Ed Leary live through the 20th century but they are never reduced to caricatures as the story of their very real marriage and lives unfolds. While this book did not have the page-turning pleasure of some of the others, this couple will stay with me for far longer than most things I have read. Anna Quindlen described it as, “A deeply felt and uncommonly insightful novel about the span of a woman’s life, from her early years in a hardscrabble household, to her ever changing marriage, to the maturity of her own only child. One of the best books of this year.” And I am pretty sure I cannot improve upon that.
By Lacy Crawford. Early Decision: A Novel provided me with a personal challenge last year. I bought a copy just at the moment one of my sons was pushing the button on his early admission application. Terrified to open the book and, frankly, afraid to find a frightening portrait of some horrible mom who looked and sounded a whole lot like me, I waited until decision day had passed. I had an overnight flight and proceeded to read every word in this cannot-put-it-down book finding only traces of my very worst pushy mom self among the pages. If you ever applied to college, ever think you will have a kid applying to college or just want to know what all of the madness is about, then this is the book. Lacy has an insiders knowledge of the fight to the death college admissions process that make parents and their kids lose their minds yet her book is funny, enthralling and kept me turning the pages all the way to London. Now in paperback!
By Jojo Moyes. If you fell in love with Jojo Moyes’ bestseller, Me Before You, her great follow-up, One Plus One, is for you. Jess Thomas is a struggling mom of two caring for her daughter, math prodigy Tanzie and her husband’s teenage son, the sullen Nick. Holding her blended family together without benefit of the children’s father (or his financial support) tests Jess’ optimism and resiliency daily. While cleaning houses during one of her two jobs, she meets Ed Nicholls, a sullen single man whose wealth and isolation are visible yet indecipherable. How Jess, Tanzie, Nicky and Norman, their big smelly black dog, find themselves on an extended road trip is a story that the always-great storyteller Moyes spins with great originality and heart.
By Marilynne Robinson. She is the author of Home: A Novel, Gilead: A Novel and Housekeeping: A Novel. Lila looks at the some of the same characters as Home and Gilead (winner of the Pulitzer Prize) two of the greatest treats ever put between two covers.
Other books worth considering:
I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You: A Novel by Courtney Maum