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With Thanksgiving is behind us, I hope yours was lovely and that the rush of holiday madness in front of us will be filled with laughter. It’s difficult to believe that there is only one more month left in this year. Time truly flies, even as the world sometimes feels a little upside down. But, let’s not worry about any of that, instead let’s talk books. 2022 has been an amazing year for books and I’ve got three November favorites to share today.
You may be seeing one or two of these in the coming week when I share 2022 Underrated Gems, My Favorite Debuts of 2022, Best Books of 2022 and maybe more! As always, for all my reviews delivered close to publication, you can follow me on Instagram.…
My Thoughts: I’m giving nothing away when I tell you that 𝗦𝗢𝗠𝗘𝗗𝗔𝗬, 𝗠𝗔𝗬𝗕𝗘 is a sad, sad book. It opens with Eve telling us that her husband, the great love of her life, committed suicide. He also left no note. What follows is her ragged, raw journey through the first year of grief. She’s surrounded by her very loving, very supportive Nigerian family, a best friend who truly earns that title, and a mother-in-law who has never been welcoming to Eve and now is positively haunting her life.
I feel like debut author Onyi Nwabineli did an amazing job of taking us through this incredibly horrible grieving process with Eve. It’s hard enough to lose someone you love, especially at a young age, but for it to happen suddenly, with no explanation is almost unimaginable, yet she achieved just that. This was Eve’s story, told in first-person, but Nwabineli wisely surrounded her with a cast of characters who played well off her grief and enriched the story.
If suicide has touched your life, this surely will be a tough read. I have a friend who lost her son to suicide, also leaving no note. I thought of her often as I read 𝘚𝘰𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘢𝘺, 𝘔𝘢𝘺𝘣𝘦 and I think that actually made me appreciate the book more. I want to leave you with the assurance that this book isn’t all sadness. The relationships between its characters are stellar and bring a lot of warmth to a dark story. I liked it…a lot. Grade: A-
Thanks to Graydon House for an electronic ARC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
My Thoughts: What can I say about Kevin Wilson that hasn’t already been said? He’s insanely creative, a genius at character development, and a master storyteller. Now don’t take that as hyperbole. I mean every word and if you don’t believe me then grab a copy of his new book, 𝗡𝗢𝗪 𝗜𝗦 𝗡𝗢𝗧 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗧𝗜𝗠𝗘 𝗧𝗢 𝗣𝗔𝗡𝗜𝗖, and you’ll see exactly what I mean. On the surface, each of his books are wildly different, and yet, they’re all a little “out there” with characters you can’t help but love.
I won’t tell you much about 𝘕𝘰𝘸 𝘐𝘴 𝘕𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘛𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘗𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘤 because I don’t want to give anything away. In broad strokes, it’s a coming-of-age story told from the adult perspective of one of the two main characters. When she was 16, Frankie faced another boring summer in small town, Tennessee until Zeke (temporarily living with his grandmother) wandered into her life. The two artistically leaning teens had so much in common they immediately clicked. Before long, they’d secretly created a piece of art that slowly set their world on fire.
That’s all you get, but obviously I loved it and I think just about everyone else will, too. If you were one of the legions of fans of 𝘕𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘚𝘦𝘦 𝘏𝘦𝘳𝘦, you’re definitely in for a treat. And, if you’ve never tried Kevin Wilson this is the perfect book to start with. It’s immediately engaging, not too crazy, and at a slim 256 pages, a very fast read. Get those library holds in or head to your nearest bookstore because you’re going to enjoy this ride! Grade: A-
Thanks to Ecco Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
My Thoughts: It feels strange to say I loved a book about dying, but I did. 𝗪𝗘 𝗔𝗟𝗟 𝗪𝗔𝗡𝗧 𝗜𝗠𝗣𝗢𝗦𝗦𝗜𝗕𝗟𝗘 𝗧𝗛𝗜𝗡𝗚𝗦 by adult debut author Catherine Newman is so much more than just a book about dying. As the story opens Edi (at 45) is in the last stages of ovarian cancer. Her husband, Jude and best friend, Ash make the difficult decision to move her into hospice. For a complicated set of reasons, the place they choose is nearer to Ash, so she becomes Edi’s primary care taker. What follows is a journey filled with an abundance of love, a wealth of wisdom, and a whole lot of humor.
“Hospice is just so existentially weird. It’s like you walk in under a giant banner that says, EVERYONE HERE IS DYING! But then most of the time you’re just making small talk and quesadillas, trying to find something to watch on Netflix, or wondering if there’s any pie left.”
𝘞𝘦 𝘈𝘭𝘭 𝘞𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘐𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘴, narrated by Ash, is populated with so many amazing characters. I loved each one more than the next. Her ex-husband and younger daughter are absolutely delightful and exactly the sort of people you’d want around as you’re in the process of saying a long goodbye. As we all know, it’s just so hard.
“Everyone dies, and yet it’s unendurable. There is so much love inside of us. How do we become worthy of it? And, then, where does it go? A worldwide crescendo of grief, sustained day after day, and only one tiny note of it is mine.”
This book is personal to Catherine Newman who lost her best friend to ovarian cancer. In Publisher’s Weekly she’s quoted as saying, “It was incredibly sad to work on, but when someone dies over a long illness, you remember the end, and writing the novel I was able to immerse myself in our relationship, the times we had together. Being in that space was wonderful. I was so lucky to have this friendship; it was one of the greatest things that ever happened to me.” And, THAT is exactly what came across, and why I loved this very sad book so very much. Grade: A
Thanks to Harper Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest thoughts.
Which have been your favorite books of November?
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