The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson: I picked this one up online after watching the Hill House mini series on Netflix. I’d seen the movie The Haunting in the 90’s and was a fan of it for sure, and the mini series was great (and very, very well cast), but had never read the classic book. After hearing so much about it’s scare factor, I gave it a go. The movie follows the book really well, but the overall scariness just… wasn’t there. At all. Worth reading because it’s a classic, but didn’t live up to the hype I’d seen.
A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and a Vision for the Future by David Attenborough: A breezy read for nerds like myself who imagine everything should be narrated by Attenborough. In his own voice, and at an advanced age, Attenborough discusses the many once in a lifetime opportunities he’s had throughout his work in nature and on documentaries, and discusses the decline of our environment he’s witnessed over his 70-ish year career.
Chicago by Brian Doyle: Another re-read for me. Set in late 70’s Chicago, we follow our protagonist through his coming of age in a city that I happen to love. Some whimsy- like a talking resident dog who’s obsessed with Abe Lincoln’s speeches- meets some very city-familiar repeats, like “Watch your step. God bless. Go Bears.” A cute read, especially if the second city is your second home (or first).
It by Stephen King: An annual October read, and usually one I zip through in a weekend. This year, it took a week or so. I discovered that reading a novel this size while wrangling puppies is quite the task! From 2019: I can’t say enough about Stephen King’s massive book… I really think this is the ultimate horror story, and has yet to have justice done to it on the big screen. While there is one scene that critics have spoken is just too much for movies or tv (and I agree), the story as a whole is wonderful, terrifying, and beautiful. Ultimately, the bonds of friendship and love, and faith in yourself and your gut are woven into 1200-some pages of a group of friends battling their own fears.
Taste: My Life through Food by Stanley Tucci: First, let me say that I simply adore Stanley Tucci and everything about him. Witty, sarcastic, disturbingly sexy, and somehow a down-to-earth homebody, Tucci recounts his memories of life and it’s ties to meals made in his homes. We get a deeper look, too, at the passing of his first wife, his own health battles, and the sweet, supportive friendship he has with Ryan Reynolds. Even if you just think of him as the fashionable Nigel from the Devil Wears Prada, read it.
Raving Fans by Kenneth H. Blanchard: A work assignment, this fable-like little book is a quick read that reiterates the big secrets to creating Raving Fans for your business when customer service isn’t enough. During discussion afterwards in our office, my CEO mentioned a certain reputed “chicken place” and the Arby’s next door, as well as the drive through lines for both of them at lunch time. I thought the same thing when I read it. I realized why I love shopping in Burberry in Chicago so much (because Svetlana calls me by name and offers a glass of bubbly while I shop), and the warm feeling I get when my salon offers free hand massage.
Matrix by Lauren Groff: I love Lauren Groff’s writing, and truly think her debut novel, Fates and Furies, is fabulous, but this one, just didn’t do it for me. A maybe true, maybe not true sort of biography written about Marie de France when she was sent to a convent in the 12th century. She’s a strong woman, sure, both physically, and in her spirit, so her time at the abbey was full of a rebirth she led. However, the way it’s written- no dialogue, slowly moving, just wasn’t for me.
And the Good New Is… by Dana Perino: Offered to me by one of my book nerd colleagues, because, and I quote her, “You’re an optimist,” I zipped through Perino’s autobiography pretty quickly. Despite any political standing, Perino’s work ethic and humor is undeniable, as is her love for the family she served at the White House. I always joke that I appreciate that I feel like I could sit down and have a beer and a laugh with George W. Bush, and I think that sentiment holds true.
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout: I’ll be 100% honest- I picked this one up because of the stunningly beautiful cover art. I had no idea that there were two precursors to this book from Stout: My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible. Our protagonist is going through a loss alongside her ex-husband, who is experiencing a loss of his own. While events take place- a holiday party, a trip to Maine- the overall story arc is just the inner thoughts of someone who found someone to latch on to in the most lovely way. Regardless of their current relationship status, you see the love and familiarity between these two.