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A QUIET LIFE by Ethan Joella

A Quiet Life is Ethan Joella’s second novel, and it follows the same playbook as his first, A Little Hope: the story of a disconnected group of people in deep pain due to some sort of loss, trying to navigate their way toward acceptance, if not happiness. The book follows their journey through grief as their lives cross in unexpected ways. Why I picked it up: I liked A Little Hope, Joella’s first novel, quite a bit, and was excited to see that he had a new one out. Joella’s writing is quiet, not flashy, and full of empathy, with

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Gabrielle Zevin’s juggernaut novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow – probably the most acclaimed book I’ve read this year – is about the relationship between two video game designers named Sam and Sadie. Friends since childhood and bonded by their mutual love of video games, they meet up again in college, where they form a partnership that leads to a series of successful – and some unsuccessful – games. Along the way, their friendship is

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Matthew Perry has a new memoir out, and it’s not what you’d expect. It’s not a dishy tell-all about his years on Friends, nor is it a Chandler Bing-esque, self-deprecating romp through his years of superwealth, A-list celebrity. No, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is a harrowing chronicle of Perry’s addiction to alcohol and opioids and the terrible toll this disease has taken on his life. Countless spells in rehab, followed by shaky

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I am a big fan of advice columns. I love getting that little glimpse into other people’s lives and problems and then enjoying the relief that follows when I remember that I’m not the one who has to figure out how to solve them. I read a lot of advice columns on a regular basis – Ask Amy, Carolyn Hax, Dear Prudence, to name a few – and when I saw that Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny

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I never do this, but I am reading two books back-to-back by the same author. My IRL and podcast book club book for November is 2022’s acclaimed Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, and coincidentally I was invited to join a blog tour for Zevin’s 2014 novel The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, which was recently adapted into a movie. Algonquin is currently marketing the new version of the novel as a tie-in

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THE MAKING OF HER by Bernadette Jiwa

The Making Of Her is an interesting and engrossing, though ultimately inconsistent, novel about a middle-aged Irish woman finally coming to terms with giving up her baby daughter for adoption in her late teens. Jiwa explores a theme I tend to like: the corrosive power of secrets and how they can poison family dynamics for decades. While I enjoyed the setting and the dual timeline of The Making Of Her, however, I found that over

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SIGNAL FIRES by Dani Shapiro

I am a longtime fan of Dani Shapiro. She is perhaps best known for her memoirs, including the recent Inheritance (which I loved), but she has also written novels, most of which are about families in crisis – my favorite kind of book. Shapiro has a brand new novel out called Signal Fires about two families living on the same street in a town in Westchester, NY, and how their trajectories intersect. I greatly anticipated

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THE MATCHMAKER’S GIFT by Lynda Cohen Loigman

If you’re looking for relatively easy, feel-good historical fiction, try Lynda Cohen Loigman. Her latest novel, The Matchmaker’s Gift, is a dual-timeline story about two women – Sara, a matchmaker in New York City in the 1910s, and her granddaughter Abby, a divorce lawyer – and the gift for matchmaking that both women share. Sara faced the challenge of being a single, female matchmaker in a profession traditionally reserved for men, while Abby, skeptical about

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ANY OTHER FAMILY by Eleanor Brown

[Quick note: if you tried to access EDIWTB over the last week, you were met with an error message. There was a fatal line of code in one of my plug-ins that caused the blog to fail. Thankfully, the nice people at GoDaddy were able to fix it and I am back in business. Sorry for the inconvenience!] Sometimes a book slump can be blamed on external factors, like stress or health or distractions. But

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Can’t Look Away by Carola Lovering 2

CAN’T LOOK AWAY by Carola Lovering

Some authors write a different book every time, and some author write the same book every time. I’ve only read two books by Carola Lovering – Too Good To Be True and Can’t Look Away – and based on that admittedly small sample, I am putting her in the second camp. Both books follow a similar pattern, one that I recognized from Too Good To Be True as soon as I got into Can’t Look

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All of This A Memoir of Death and Desire by Rebecca Woolf 2

ALL OF THIS by Rebecca Woolf

In the mid aughts, I used to read a parenting blog called Girl’s Gone Child by a blogger named Rebecca Woolf. Like most of the blogs I followed back then, Woolf’s blog fell off my radar in the 2010s and I didn’t hear her name until recently, when I read about her new memoir, All Of This: A Memoir Of Death And Desire. It’s about the her husband Hal’s death from pancreatic cancer four months

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Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen 2

COUNTERFEIT by Kirstin Chen

My reading slump has sadly persisted, but did manage to find a few books that have held my attention this month. One was Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen. It’s about an unfulfilled stay-at-home mom named Ava with a challenging toddler and a distracted husband. She graduated from Stanford and used to be a corporate lawyer until she couldn’t juggle work and parenting anymore. When Counterfeit opens, Ava has been contacted by Winnie, her freshman roommate at

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I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy 2

I’M GLAD MY MOM DIED by Jennette McCurdy

I succumbed to the hype and read Jennette’s McCurdy’s new memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, which has been on a juggernaut tear this past month. (It was even sold out on Amazon for a while.) It’s about the child actress’ life growing up with a controlling mother who pushed her into acting, introduced her to the world of eating disorders and generally messed her up through guilt trips and manipulation. I’m Glad My Mom

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This Is Not a Pity Memoir by Abi Morgan 2


Memoirs have been working for me lately, especially on audio. I recently read This Is Not A Pity Memoir by British screenwriter Abi Morgan. It’s about the period when her partner Jacob experienced encephalitis and a seven-month coma, then woke up and didn’t believe that she was who she said she was. He recognized and remembered his kids, his parents, his friends… just not her. This Is Not A Pity Memoir is a bracing, honest

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When We Were Bright and Beautiful by Jillian Medoff 2


I finished When We Were Bright And Beautiful by Jillian Medoff several days ago, but I was unmotivated to review it then, and am almost equally unmotivated to do so now. This is going to be a short review, for a few reasons – 1) I don’t want to include any spoilers; 2) I didn’t really enjoy the book; and 3) I am still not 100% sure how I feel about it. But here goes.

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The Measure by Nikki Erlick 2

THE MEASURE by Nicki Erlick

Vacation read #4 was The Measure by Nikki Erlick, one of the hot books of summer and recent Read With Jenna pick. I’d heard many great things about this book and the premise intrigued me. One day, small wooden boxes appear on everyone’s doorstep in the entire world. The boxes each contain a piece of string, the length of which signifies the length of the recipient’s life. There is no explanation for where the boxes

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