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Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell - I waited for a road trip to tackle this audiobook. The format is more podcast style which made it more immersive, fast paced, and perfect for the long drive across Texas. I do like Gladwell's books and his podcast, Revisionist History. However, I wasn't prepared for how relevant this book is to the precise point in time in which we find ourselves in America. Transparency, truth default (or the loss of it), police training, fundamental inability to read "strangers"... The topics tackled in each chapter are often difficult to hear about (Sandra Bland, Sandusky, Nasser) so buckle up and be prepared to think. Looking forward to revisiting some chapters in the book as this settles with me over the next few days.

Beach Read: I might have been a little generous with my star rating this go around but this one did surprise me. It is somewhat misleading but although it has some deeper parts that can cause you pause, the book keeps moving fast. In that way it reminded me of The Mother-in-Law. January writes romance novels with happy endings. Gus writes gritty literary fiction. When January's father unexpectedly dies and reveals he had an affair, how can January continue to write her happy endings? With a book deadline looming, writer's block on the mind and her dad's beach house to clean out and sell so she can get her checking account balance back in the black, January moves to the beach house for the summer. Low and behold her next door neighbor is her college writing arch nemesis. Gus is having some writer's block of his own and a chance meeting brings them together and they strike up a bet. Does this book turn out like Gus' or January's writing style? You will have to find out.

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

Shoe Dog: This memoir of Phil Knight and Nike did not disappoint. I switched between reading the physical book and listening to the audio version from my library. I think that helped keep the middle section moving along. It is a great example as truth (or memories) are stranger than fiction. The number of times where Phil Knight and Blue Ribbon then NIKE could have gone down in a blaze of bankruptcy are stunning. Entrepreneurs and inventors truly are cut from a different risk cloth than the rest of us. I could re-read the last chapter of this book over and over again to remind myself of how lucky this band of misfits was to pull of what we know now as NIKE. They earned it, the hard way.

Educated by Tara Westover. Compelling, fast-paced. What is primarily a compilation of unbelievable stories and experiences in the upbringing of the author transitions imperceptibly to deep self reflection and understanding of family (at least of this “extreme” family). Difficult to read but a beautiful book. Not as dark as I imagined.

Red, White & Royal Blue: It was a cute novel, made you think about the pressures that those who are born into the limelight face. I love that characters typically under-represented in books are the focus here in major and minor ways. Alex Claremont-Diaz, first son of the US, despises England's Prince Henry. They are both young, good looking and whip smart and both have preconceived notions about each other. At an international event, the media captures an altercation that their PR teams need to spin. To do so, Alex and Henry must spend more time together. By spending time together for "smile for the camera" events, the two realize they have more in common. They genuinely form a friendship and then a romantic relationship. That is where things get tricky. This was a little too "open door" for my preference, but cute summer read.

Caterpillar Summer (Gillian McDunn) is a heartwarming coming-of-age novel about an 11 year old girl, "Cat," her younger brother "Chicken" who has special needs, and the summer vacation they spend with their grandparents on an island off the coast of North Carolina. I really enjoyed the story, learning, along with Cat, about the secrets that her family has kept through the years, and coming along on the kids' adventures on the island. Both my 13 year old daughter and 10 year old son enjoyed this one as well!

Against Medical Advice by James Patterson. It is a fascinating book that describes the struggle of a child growing with what seems to be a severe Tourette. Sd and OCD behavior, anxiety . It gives an insight of the struggles that people with certain medical conditions have .

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. I loved this novel. I oscillated between flying through this book devouring the story line and wonderful descriptions of interesting characters in late 1930s NYC and coming upon a quote or an idea that spun me into deep thought for a long while. Loved it. Will pass on to my daughter and then read it again!

Little Fires Everywhere

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