In this Unabridged Podcast episode, Ashley, Jen, and Sara answer questions from listeners. The questions are both bookish and non-bookish, so we enjoyed mixing those up and doing a speed round as well with some of the questions. Many of the questions came from the Unabridged Ambassadors! Remember to check out that program if you're interested in getting more involved with Unabridged.
Ashley - Shonda Rhimes’s Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person
Sara - Taylor Jenkins Reid's One True Loves
Mentioned in Episode
Taylor Jenkins Reid's The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
Taylor Jenkins Reid's Daisy Jones and the Six
Ashley Schumacher's Amelia Unabridged
Emily Henry's A Million Junes
Emily Henry's Beach Read
Adib Khorram's Darius the Great Is Not Okay
Stephanie Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss
Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl
Elin Hildebrand’s books
Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible
Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed
John Boyne’s The Heart's Invisible Furies
Give Me One - Books You Loved When You Were a Kid
Listen in to hear some of our favorite reads from when we were little!
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Ashley shared, "One of the books I'm reading is Shonda Rhimes's Year of Yes, and I am absolutely loving this. Jen recommended this one, and it works perfectly for our Unabridged Podcast Challenge as one of our behavioral science picks, which I didn't think about originally, but I'm very happy that I am checking that off on my on my challenge list. I chose it because we had a conversation a while ago about how I was worried that that book might make me feel like I wasn't saying yes—I kind of shared about that on social media that I was worried that I would just bemoan all the times that I feel like I'm saying no, but Rhimes is just so affirming in the book, and honest about her own struggles. All of that has just been really uplifting. I think she's a phenomenal person, and I really admire her. So it's nice to hear someone who is so successful and seems to be living such a rich life, to just speak openly and honestly about all the ways that she's introverted and the ways that she constantly says no to things and how she resolved to change that.
"I really loved at the beginning: she has a dedication to her kids and says may every year be the Year of Yes. I just love that idea. I think that thinking about how we can embrace the things that come our way instead of turning away from them is really powerful. . . . But I do think, you know, Sara and I have shared about that before that sometimes books that are supposed to be really helpful can feel really overwhelming instead, and that's not what I need right now. But this one has been great. I haven't felt that way at all. I think that I'm getting some great practical lessons from it and also seeing the ways that I can apply some things and make some choices that help me to be happier, while also acknowledging the struggles that people have. . . . So I'm loving it again. It's Shonda Rhimes's Year of Yes, and I'm so glad I'm listening to it; she reads it herself, and it's been a great fit for me."
Sara said, "So I am reading Taylor Jenkins Reid's One True Loves, and oh, my goodness, I love it so much. I love her. I have not read a book of hers that I didn't love. I loved Evelyn Hugo, and I liked Daisy Jones and the Six—it wasn't for me as awesome as Evelyn Hugo and One True Loves. Oh my gosh, I love it so much. So this is about Emma, who she marries her high school sweetheart, and what is crazy is like all this stuff happens right in the beginning and hooks you, and then it goes back and tells the story. So anyway, she marries her high school sweetheart, and they have this wonderful life together. He goes to do some photography in Alaska, and the helicopter he's on goes down. He is presumed dead. So after several years, and Emma kind of starts building a new life, and she is engaged to a new guy who's amazing, and then her husband, Jesse, she gets a call, and he's been found alive. So she now has a husband, who she adored, and a fiancé, who she also adores, and so that's the exposition and how the story is set up and then Reid goes back. We learn both stories of both of these men that she loves, and I mean, I just finished it. I just thought it was masterfully told. She is an excellent storyteller, and it is a satisfying ending. But it is, I mean, it is a tricky thing that she does throughout this book. So I highly recommend it."
Jen shared, "So I am going to talk about a book I just started. This one comes out on March 2, and I have it thanks to NetGalley. I am reading it with the @lovearctually buddy read, which is all about helping us to meet our NetGalley deadlines and I very much appreciate that group because sometimes I need that push. This is Roni Loren's Yes & I Love You, and so far, I am three chapters in. There are two main characters, and it alternates between them. So the first character is Hollyn, who is a super-isolated person. She works at . . . I forget what it's actually called, but it's like a WeWork kind of place where she has an office that she rents so that she can go there to work. And she has a review column, Miss Poppy, but she has Tourette's, and so she deals with some severe social anxiety, and her decision to work out of this office is based on the advice of her therapist who thought this would be an important step to her getting over some of her social anxiety and forcing herself every day to go to a place where she would see people. She goes every day to see people, but as she's walking through the main floor of the office up to her office on the second floor, she is doing all that she can to actually avoid talking to anyone. So far that that's really all I know about her, but it is a really empathetic portrayal of what she's going through every day.
"The other character is Jasper, and he is working there at the coffee shop at the same office building. He is someone who wanted to get into improv, but he followed his girlfriend away from the town. She became super successful, and basically broke up with him, so he has returned to his home. He doesn't have a great job anymore, so he's working at this coffee shop because it comes with some good perks in the office. They meet when he is trying to be super friendly to her, and she thinks he's really cute, so she starts getting these facial tics. Because of that, she just tries to cut off communication, so he thinks he's done something to make her mad. She is mortified because when she is around someone that she finds attractive, her facial tics increase.
"So that's basically what I know. So far. I will say I find the writing to be really strong. I'm very compelled by both characters. I think Loren has done a great job establishing very early in the book who each of them is and what they're trying to overcome, so I'm looking forward to seeing where this one is going. So again, that's Roni Loren's Yes & I Love You, and it is coming out March 2."
Main Segment - Get to Know the Hosts
Here are our responses to one of our bookish questions!
Question: "I always like to know what book last made you cry and why."
Sara said, "Well, this is very recent, but I don't cry a ton in books. I tend to cry more in like movies and TV shows even though I will feel emotional during a book. I don't necessarily shed tears. But One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid, which, I mean, there it is also something to do with the timing of reading this book. I just put it down at some point and just sobbed because, I don't know, it just hit me right in the heart. It's one of those things, too, like, I would start sobbing about the book, and then I would find other things to continue sobbing about because there's there's a list at the moment."
Ashley shared, "This morning, I could not sleep. We have a lot of snow here, and we live close to the university, and they are very diligent about plowing. So they often plow at three in the morning, and I'm a light sleeper. So I was reading this morning, and maybe also close to tearing up because, you know, it was very early morning. Anyway, while I'm reading Emily Henry's A Million Junes, and I read a section that just hit me right in the heart, and I was very teary. So that was first thing this morning, and it's great, really beautiful. I'm really enjoying that book, and there's a lot in it that is about loss and grief, but there are a lot of parts that I felt this way about. There are a lot of parts that aren't super painful, but then there was a section that was just really, really poignant, and so I was very teary about that."
Jen said, "Well, I would say I cry more often than not. If I look at my Goodreads, it's a long list, but I went back to Ashley Schumacher's Amelia Unabridged. I will say I sobbed full out sobbing and ugly crying more than once. Because, again, like A Million Junes I think is going to be—I'm not done with it yet, but it is a lot about grief and recovery, and there are several characters' deaths that we are dealing with in that book. The first one took me really off guard. I talked about this book on the podcast a few episodes ago, and so I'll just say it's the main character's best friend who dies very early in the story, and the whole rest of the story unfolds from there, but I just wasn't expecting it. So I think because, I mean, it was just instantaneous tears. I just gasped and then started crying, and several other points in the book, I started crying because I think Schumacher is a great writer. She really made me feel what each of the losses meant for the characters."
Be sure to listen to the episode to hear the rest of our answers!
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