2018 Book ReviewBook ClubBookslive better

Recent Book Reads {+ good shows, movies & podcasts!}

By April 8, 2018 June 20th, 2019 8 Comments

Books! Podcasts! Shows and Songs! Here’s what I’ve been loving the last three months.

First: BOOKS. Got book goals? I keep track using a notebook (and pink ball point pen) and the Goodreads Reading Challenge. Haven’t signed up? It’s free, easy, and a great way to track books.

Here’s what I’ve read (and liked!) since January:

1. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes: An inspirational kick-in-the-pants guide to what happens when you say YES to more opportunities. A bold account from a minority woman in show business, self-described introvert, writer (creator of hit shows Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal), and single mother. I went back and forth between, “I need to say yes to more,” and “This is exhausting. Can I have a nap?” But no doubt about it: Shonda Rhimes is a FORCE.

2. QB: My Life Behind the Spiral by Steve Young: A fascinating look at sports, anxiety, faith, and how to throw the perfect spiral when you’ve got a photographic memory.

3. IQ by Joe Ide: The lovely literary agent, Zoe Sandler, sent me IQ and the follow-up, RIGHTEOUS, as she also represents Joe Ide. What I liked: A Sherlock Holmes in the hood mystery, and a needed diverse teen figure in literature. What was hard: the language. Like, it ain’t for the faint in heart. I’m kinda faint.

4. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng: This one is getting all the feels, and for good reason. I’m a sucker for a great family drama, and Celeste Ng can articulate the great nuances in family life SO WELL.

5. Everything I Never Told  You by Celeste Ng: Ng’s first book. More great family drama writing. But this one is sadder, left me in a funk.

6. The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn: As a huge “Rear Window” Hitchcock fan, I dove right into this psychological thriller. Does she see what she thinks she sees – or is Anna crazy? A satisfying page-turner.

7. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion: A stunning, unflinching account of Joan Didion’s husband’s death, daughter’s illness, and navigating the world without them. Sad, but heartbreakingly readable. I loved this.

8. The Witches by Roald Dahl: Paige and I read this together. Paige loved it. I liked it 🙂

9. A Deadly Wandering by Matt Richtel: Have a phone? Do your children have phones? Do they drive? Read this RIGHT NOW. So sad, so scary. DON’T TOUCH YOUR PHONE WHILE DRIVING. Your brain cannot pay attention to more than one thing at a time. Think you’re the exception? You’re not.

10. How We Die by Sherwin B. Nuland: Nuland writes that most people don’t die with “dignity.” Calm and descriptive, Dr. Nuland breaks death down from the point of view of the body. Fascinating – and also disconcerting. I kinda thought it wouldn’t happen to me. It will. I’ve been thinking about my coronary arteries a lot more.

11. Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? by Roz Chast: I DO NOT enjoy graphic novels. I LOVED this one. NYTimes Bestselling cartoonist, Roz Chast, wrote a memoir about her parents aging and dying (what’s up with my reading choices?). Honest, funny, poignant. It’s so so good. Highly recommended!

12. The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant: I’ve finally read Anita Diamant! All the girls and the cousins and the moms in my family raved about this book until I finally read. A good coming-of-age novel about a Jewish immigrant becoming a woman in 1900 America.

Podcasts I’m digging:

1. Everything Happens by Kate Bowler: Think a podcast hosted by a young mother and divinity instructor diagnosed with an incurable cancer would be a downer? It’s not! Kate Bowler, a self-described optimist, is walking us through the hardest part of life. Skeptical? Start with the Alan Alda and Wes Moore interviews – awesome.

2. That’s the Way I Heard it by Mike Rowe: Short historical sketches (10-14 minutes) told in mystery format, I sit in parking lots, unable to get out, absolutely riveted. And Rowe’s voice? Perfect.

Shows I Watched and NEED MORE OF:

1. Victoria by Masterpiece Theater: I could be happy just staring at Jenna Coleman on-screen. Her beauty is unreal. Oh yeah, the story is pretty good, too 🙂

2. Home Fires by Masterpiece Theater: No Season 3? I OBJECT!

Movies I LOVED:

1. The Greatest Showman: Hugh Jackman, Zendaya, Zac Efron…I loved it.

2. Coco: You’ve got to watch this with your family!!!! Tears, laughter, so good.

3. The Post: Inspired me to write THIS.

Songs I Can’t Stop Singing:

Midnight Train by Sam Smith

Greatest Showman Soundtrack

And now it’s your turn – what are you reading and watching and listening to???



  • Carrie Rubin says:

    You’ve been busy! I listened to Little Fires Everywhere on a long drive last week. The writing was beautiful, but it was a little slow for me. Clearly I’m in the minority, because the reviews are wonderful.

    I can’t wait to read The Woman in the Window. That’s been on my list for a long time. Just so many other books to get through on my Kindle!

  • Erikka says:

    Ha! Now I remember we DID talk about The Year of Yes but more in context of the motherhood angle 🙂

    Great wide variety…do you own these all or were they library loans? If you own many, I’d LOVE to borrow the death one (literal body anatomy one).

  • Julia Tomiak says:

    I’m behind on my podcasts! I just listened to “the cheese” Happier podcast this morning. I’m behind on craft reading too. 🙁 Will you post what your schedule is for getting all of this done?

    Loved the “Year of Yes” and “The Greatest Showman” (also singing the soundtrack, esp. “This is Me”.) Currently listening to “Born a Crime” by Trevor Noah. Funny. Enlightening. Currently reading, GUINEVERE by this fabulous new author… 😉

    • Maisymak says:

      I listen to podcasts while I’m in the shower after a morning run (I stick it in the shampoo caddy and hope it doesn’t get wet!)…not kidding…and then when I’m getting dressed and ready for the day or walking around the house or preparing lunch. I never sit down and just “listen.” I don’t know if that’s helpful or just annoying 🙂


  • Kim says:

    I LOVE when you write about your recommendations! How do you have the time to read so much? Thanks for the new list! I’m excited to check these out!

  • Dana says:

    Loved Year of Yes and Celeste Ng. Boston Girls was good, but The Red Tent was better! Love Mike Rowe’s podcast too. Thanks for the graphic memoir recommendation – I’m doing a 2018 book challenge, and one of the categories is graphic memoir. I’m not a graphic novel fan either, so I will read the one you liked.

    Currently listening to You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie, and reading All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai. Watching “Rise” – it fills the hole “This is Us” left!

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