My end of year book haul! I was gifted a few books over the holiday and with my uncontrollable impulse to buy books for myself, my TBR pile grew quite a bit this past month. I’m also a sucker for the book section at Goodwill, its my favorite place to treasure hunt. So here are the books I picked up at the end of 2021 and have been added to my never-ending TBR list.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
Our narrator should be happy, shouldn’t she? She’s young, thin, pretty, a recent Columbia graduate, works an easy job at a hip art gallery, lives in an apartment on the Upper East Side of Manhattan paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there is a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?
My Year of Rest and Relaxation is a powerful answer to that question. Through the story of a year spent under the influence of a truly mad combination of drugs designed to heal our heroine from her alienation from this world, Moshfegh shows us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Both tender and blackly funny, merciless and compassionate, it is a showcase for the gifts of one of our major writers working at the height of her powers.Buy the book
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Rein
Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?
Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.
Summoned to Evelyn’s luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the ‘80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn’s story near its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.buy the book
The Boys in Boats by Daniel James Brown
The number one New York Times best-selling story about American Olympic triumph in Nazi Germany, the inspiration for the PBS documentary The Boys of ’36, broadcast to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics and the 80th anniversary of the boys’ gold medal race.
For readers/listeners of Unbroken, out of the depths of the Depression comes an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times – the improbable, intimate account of how nine working-class boys from the American West showed the world at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin what true grit really meant. It was an unlikely quest from the start. With a team composed of the sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the University of Washington’s eight-oar crew team was never expected to defeat the elite teams of the East Coast and Great Britain, yet they did, going on to shock the world by defeating the German team rowing for Adolf Hitler. The emotional heart of the tale lies with Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not only to regain his shattered self-regard but also to find a real place for himself in the world. Drawing on the boys’ own journals and vivid memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, Brown has created an unforgettable portrait of an era, a celebration of a remarkable achievement, and a chronicle of one extraordinary young man’s personal quest.buy the book
Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand
It’s summer on Nantucket, and as the season begins, three women arrive at the local airport, observed by Josh, a local boy, home from college. Burdened with small children, unwieldy straw hats, and some obvious emotional issues, the women – two sisters and one friend – make their way to the sisters’ tiny cottage, inherited from an aunt.
They’re all trying to escape from something: Melanie, after seven failed in-vitro attempts, discovered her husband’s infidelity and then her own pregnancy; Brenda embarked on a passionate affair with an older student that got her fired from her prestigious job as a professor in New York; and her sister Vickie, mother to two small boys, has been diagnosed with cancer. Soon Josh is part of the chaotic household, acting as babysitter, confidant, and, eventually, something more, while the women confront their pasts and map out their futures.buy the book
The Chicken Sisters by JJ Dell’Antonia
In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state – and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than 35-year-old widow Amanda Moore, who grew up working for her mom at Mimi’s before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie’s. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda sends an SOS to Food Wars, the reality TV restaurant competition that promises $100,000 to the winner. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire….
The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda’s sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi’s look good on Food Wars becomes Mae’s best chance to reclaim the limelight – even if doing so pits her against Amanda and Frannie’s. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?BUy The BOOK
1st to Die by James Patterson
Four women – four friends – share a determination to stop a killer who has been stalking newlyweds in San Francisco. Each one holds a piece of the puzzle: Lindsay Boxer is a homicide inspector in the San Francisco Police Department, Claire Washburn is a medical examiner, Jill Bernhardt is an assistant D.A., and Cindy Thomas just started working the crime desk of the San Francisco Chronicle.
But the usual procedures aren’t bringing them any closer to stopping the killings. So these women form a Women’s Murder Club to collaborate outside the box and pursue the case by sidestepping their bosses and giving one another a hand.
1st to Die is the start of a blazingly fast-paced and sensationally entertaining new series of crime thrillers.buy the book
2nd Chance by James Patterson
Master of suspense James Patterson continues the Women’s Murder Club series with this sequel to 1st to Die.
The sensational killings that have rocked San Francisco appear to be unrelated except in their brutality. But detective Lindsay Boxer senses there’s some thread connecting them all. She calls her friends in the Women’s Murder Club together to see if they can discover what it is.
Working with Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas, Assistant District Attorney Jill Bernhardt, and medical examiner Claire Washburn, Lindsay discovers that there is indeed a link. Each of the victims had a close relative in a particular profession, a profession that sends a chill through Lindsay’s heart.
The partners in the Women’s Murder Club deduce where the killer is likely to strike next and bait a trap that can’t be resisted. But if their calculation is wrong, the consequences will be lethal. And there will be no second chance.buy the book
Let’s talk about those two James Patterson novels for a moment… 1st to Die and 2nd Chance are the first two books in his 21 book womens murder club mystery series. I was insipired by my friend Danielle to read all 21 books. Will that happen this year? Who knows… but I do know that each time im at Goodwill or my local thrift store I browse for them hoping to complete the collection. So far I have 7 books in the series sitting on my shelf. I am not a murder mystery gal, unless its a cozy murder located in a new england town, with teh plot revloving around a secret family cookie recipie. However, looking to step a little out of my comfort zone this year I deicede to start this series on the premiss that although there is murder… it is not that gory.
What books did you pick up the end of last year?