In this encore episode of the Unabridged Podcast, we each share some cozy read recommendations with you. After our Bookish Check-in, we talk about what makes a cozy read for us, and then we each share one that we've loved. The books we chose include Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series, Colleen Wright's The White Christmas Inn, and Alexis Hall's Boyfriend Material. We end the episode with our Give Me One . . . Cozy Comfort.
Ashley - Karina Yan Glaser’s The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
Jen - Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind
Sara - Jennifer Weiner’s Big Summer
Our Cozy Reads Recs
Ashley - Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material
Jen - Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series
Sara - Colleen Wright's The White Christmas Inn
Mentioned in Episode
Kate Stayman-London's One to Watch
The movie Us
Neal and Jarrod Shusterman’s Dry
Fredrik Backman’s My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
Give Me One - A Cozy Comfort
Ashley - Firepit
Jen - Soft, Fluffy Blankets
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Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.
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Sara said, "Well, this is a book that Jen talked about recently. When she was talking about it, I was like I'm definitely going read that one. This is Jennifer Weiner's Big Summer, and I am I'm not too far into it, but I'm loving it so far. I love the main character. She is a delight and actually reminded me of a bit of the main character in One to Watch, which is a book that I read a while back. The two main characters really remind me of one another. So I'm just at the beginning, but I do think that we are getting ready to start into a mystery, which I appreciate. And I'm just really enjoying it. It's kind of like I'm trying to get an a summer read here in October/November season. I am I'm really enjoying it. That is Jennifer Weiner's. Big Summer."
Jen said this about her pick, "So, I just started Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind. I mean, just started—I'm 10 pages in literally—but this is one I've seen all over Bookstagram. It's on the shortlist for the National Book Award. And what I've read has made me really intrigued by the plot. So because I'm so close to the beginning, I'm just going to read a little bit of the summary on the inside of the book jacket: 'Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation, a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they've rented for the week. But with a late night knock on the door the spell is broken. Ruth and GH, an older couple, who claimed to own the home have arrived there in a panic. These strangers say that a sudden blackout has swept New York and with nowhere else to turn, they've come to the country in search of shelter.' I won't even read all of the book jacket because sometimes I think they give too much away. But yeah, I've read nothing but good reviews. Alam is a great writer. And so thus far he has done a great job describing the characters, but there's this impending sense of dread. This is just partly because of the description, but also just in the way he's written these opening descriptions."
Ashley said, "So, this is Karina Yan Glaser's The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street. And I absolutely loved this book. So I love the family, there are five children. And they are pretty wide-ranging in age. They have a great relationship with each other and their parents. But they're each very different kids. So it's just a really fun story. But it's also really sweet because it's them uniting together. They have been told that they're going to have to leave their apartment at the end of this year, and it's right before Christmas. So it's really a very short turnaround time, and it's basically that their lease runs out at the end of the year, and that the landlord has told them that they're going to have to leave instead of continuing the lease. And so they find that out really quickly, or have a very short amount of time to do something about it. And they have been there their whole lives. And so they're really distraught. But they also are resilient. And so I just think is a really great story."
Main Segment - Cozy Reads
In the main segment, Ashley, Jen, and Sara discussed each of their picks for Cozy Reads.
Jen said, "So, what I am recommending is Alan Bradley's Flavia de Luce series. This is a mystery series. The protagonist is an 11-year-old British girl named Flavia who lives with her family in this broken down English manor house. I guess they are impoverished at this point. So, it's sort of land rich and the home belongs to her mother's family. Her mother died 10 years before when Flavia was a baby. She lives there with her dad, who fought in the war and definitely has some PTSD, and her two older sisters who are also brilliant, but in different ways. One of them is very dramatic and loves the theater and literature. And one of them is a virtuoso pianist. And then there's Flavia who, again, is obsessed with chemistry and with poison, and is just constantly brewing up new things in her uncle's chemistry lab...She lives in a small town, and there just happens to be a lot of murder there. And so Flavia gets pulled into investigating each of these murders. She fights all the time with her older sisters. And so she's always battling them to be able to sneak out of the house and go investigate a murder and they're always trying to, you know, stop her. She plays pranks on her older sisters. Like she'll put some kind of poison in their lipstick to see what happened. Then they get angry. Which sounds horrifying, but somehow it is really funny."
Sara said, "I'm going to recommend one that I read a couple years ago. It's called The White Christmas Inn. And I also am unapologetically a fan of Hallmark Christmas movies and holiday movies. I like all of that. So this kind of reads like a nice, comfortable Hallmark movie. It is it does have conflict, but you know, it has a happy ending. And I just find that when I need something cozy and I just want to snuggle down and read that I like reading these type of books. So The White Christmas Inn is by Colleen Wright. It's set in New England, and the inn is in the middle of nowhere. There's a snowstorm. And then this kind of cast of characters come to this inn. The inn has come upon some harsh financial times, and they think it's the last year that the inn is going to be open. So the innkeepers in the book, Jean and Tom, they are kind of struggling with that. And then all of the people that come and stay at the inn during the season have their own set of conflicts. So there's all kinds of things that happen. And there's a huge snowstorm so nobody can leave. And you know, high jinks ensue. And it's just, I mean, it's just really lovely. And what I really like about it is that I am all about like a cabin in the woods and a fireplace and like the stockings hung and everybody just being together. And so that's what happens in the book, you know, because they're snowed in and it's just easy there. There's some conflict, but it's resolved fairly quickly. It's a slim book, and reading holiday books just gives me all the cozy vibes. And I need all the coziness that I can have right now."
Ashley said, "The one I want to recommend is Alexis Hall's Boyfriend Material. And I listened to this on Libro.fm—it was one of the ARC books. And I just absolutely loved it. The narrator was great. Joe Jameson is the narrator who does the book. And I will definitely be looking for others narrated by him, because I just thought that audio narration was phenomenal. And what I really loved about the story is that people are working through a lot of things. And yet, they're trying so hard to work things out for each other. There's really great friendship groups in the book, and there's a lot of effort to work through the complexities of being human and of relationships. So this one's about Luke O'Donnell, and his dad is estranged from him and he has a good relationship with his mom. But both of his parents were rock stars. And so he has this tangential relationship to fame. It's all the bad parts, and none of the good parts, and so he is always kind of being watched. He feels as if every time he makes any kind of slip up is all over the press, even though again, he doesn't really have his own reason to be famous. And so it's just this is just the paparazzi part basically. And I liked that, also in the book, the commentary about how negative that can be. And I think a lot of people can relate to that now with the role of social media that even if you are not famous, it's this feeling of somebody watching to see you make a mistake. There's definitely that feeling in the book. And so I love that."
Give Me One - Cozy Comfort
Don't miss our Give Me One segment, where each of us share a cozy comfort that we love.
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