Greetings and welcome to the Independence Day Edition of You Are What You Read.
This week’s housekeeping is big thank you to all of You. Your kind words (and the healing gift of taffy, Diane H) about my Dad have meant the world. It wasn’t an easy piece to write and a harder truth to live but your kindnesses have made a hard time just that much easier. So many thanks.
No You Are What You Read next week. It’s a short week but we’ll see you in the in-box on the 14th at 5:00 like always.
This week we have some Georgia, jail, scandal, hockey, hygge, and some PR.
In very happy news, I am delighted to announce the return of DJ Jazzy Patty McC. Playlist? You betcha!
Let us begin!
Kaitlin from the Rock is here which is always the best news. “Helloooo! I just finished reading The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead. It's the story of Cora, a slave who runs away from a cotton plantation in Georgia along with another slave, Caesar. But in this book, The Underground Railroad is literally exactly that; an actual underground train that helps brings slaves further north to other subterranean train stops. Cora has a slave hunter tracking her down, eager to bring her home for his reward, and she moves from stop to stop in a reimagined, pre-Civil War South. This was a thought-provoking, fascinating read for me, and I highly recommend it!”
Pat T is in a summer state of mind. “Summertime means beach reads and for me that is any good thriller. I am happy to say, Never Let You Go, by Chevy Stevens fits the bill. Lindsay and her daughter, Sophie, live a simple rural life after escaping from an abusive relationship with her husband Andrew. Andrew was sentenced to a 10 year prison sentence for an impaired driving accident that caused the death of a young woman. The story alternates between her present independent life as a single working Mom, to her past life with her obsessive, controlling husband. When he is released from jail, Lindsay's life is upended because she believes Andrew make her pay for every year he spent behind bars. The characters are well-developed and the plot has a lot of psychological twists that will make you want to continue reading even when you should be calling it a night. Happy Summer!”
Miss Elisabeth from the CL is having some Anglophile Phun. “ For two weeks (TWO WEEKS) I have been reading (and very much enjoying) Victoria The Queen. It is a fascinating look at the woman behind the staid images and cliches, but it is extremely dense. I am always shocked when an hour passes and I have only read thirty pages! The sheer amount of tantalizing information packed into each page is astonishing. This is a book to pour over and savor. I particularly enjoyed the parts of the book after Albert died (sorry, Albert!) as Victoria once again began asserting her intelligence and willpower and ALSO started her scandalous love affair with John Brown, which is thoroughly covered. Scandals! Intrigue! Patches of hair from unusual places preserved in the British archives! This biography has it all.”
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan has just finished Beartown by Fredric Backman. “Bang. Bang. Bang. These are the words that I keep hearing in my mind after listening to Fredrik Backman’s novel, Beartown. Bang, is the sound of an endless round of hockey pucks hitting the fence. Bang, is the sound of a door slamming on a girl’s innocence. Bang, is the sharp sound of a shotgun in a dark forest. These are the sounds of Beartown, an isolated Swedish city suffering a slow economic death where the only hope for financial survival is for the high school hockey team winning the national championship. The boys on the team have been nurtured, indulged and made to feel invincible so when the star is accused of rape the town is explosively divided. Friends, neighbors, teammates, colleagues and families will turn against each other as they take sides. Beartown is by far Backman’s most complex and dramatic work; tackling assault, morality, small town mentality and athlete privilege. This is one of those rare books that stays with you long after you finish the final page.”
Spunky Jill Mc G took on The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking. Here’s what she thought. “According to the people who track these things, the Danes are the happiest people in the world. What’s their secret? According to the author, Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen, the primary component to happiness is Hygge (pronounced Hoo-ga) and this, my friends, is the foundation of the Danish secret to happy living. In his book, The Little Book of Hygge, Wiking explains that hygge can’t be directly translated from Danish to other languages; however, it can be found in the simplest of things. A cozy home filled with friends, family, a warm mug of cocoa, candles, warm socks, and of course, books. The crux of his secrets to happy living reminded me of the word appreciate. This book offers a wonderful insight and tools for all of us to incorporate a greater sense of contentment in our lives – simply."
Steph, although she is a city dweller, is also thinking beach this week. “Beach book alert!!! This week I inhaled Public Relations by Katie Heaney & Arianna Rebolini. It’s a modern-day fairy tale with a wicked sense of humor, and I will be pressing it on people all summer. Rose Reed is an up-and-comer in PR who has worked her way into becoming the publicist of Archie Fox, one of her firm’s biggest clients, a YouTube phenomenon who’s as cute as he is British. This may be her only chance to prove herself to her boss, but as she soon discovers, it may be her only chance to find true love, too. It is as funny as Bridget Jones (the first one!) with an ending that will satisfy any romance novel fan, and more faux gossip than you can shake a stick at. Pure delight.”
The much missed DJ Jazzy Patty McC of Meat Chicken is back with some final musings and The Playlist. What’s good Pats? “Jen and I have often discussed how simpatico we are as writing partners. There are times when our simpatico tendencies spill over into real life. My father passed away a few weeks ago, hence my extended break from You Are What You Read. My father was conscious and though at times difficult to understand verbally, made sure that he was understood until the very end. I was there with him by his side when he passed. I was glad that I made the journey. Glad that I could make his final days comfortable in small ways. Sure, he complained about the coffee I dispensed through a straw into his mouth not being hot enough and demanded that I get hotter coffee. That was my father. I didn’t expect him to change or be anyone other than who he was until the very end. So, I brought him hotter coffee and didn’t worry anymore about burning his tongue. He told me that I spoiled him and in that small moment, I knew that he both appreciated and loved me.
I hope you take some time this week and tell the folks in your life how much you appreciate them. Small moments of kindness can be a great thing. Enjoy this week’s playlist. I’m back, People.”