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257: Our Book Recs for Each Other 2023 - Reading Update


Do you enjoy book recommendations from friends? In episode 249, Ashley and Jen each picked a book for the other to read, which is one of the categories for the Unabridged Reading Challenge this year.


To kick off season 7 of the podcast, Jen and Ashley circle back to the books we've recommended for each other, and we share our thoughts after having read the books.


If you're looking for a recommendation from a bookish friend, let us know on social media, and we can recommend something for you to meet that challenge category!


Bookish Check-in

Ashley - Alison McGhee’s Pablo and Birdy (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

Jen - Amy Tan’s The Kitchen God’s Wife (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Our Book Recommendations for Each Other

Recommended by Jen for Ashley - Sara Novic’s True Biz (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)

Recommended by Ashley for Jen - Aiden Thomas’s Lost in the Never Woods (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


Flashback to Four Years Ago: September 2019

Listen in to hear what our lives and podcast looked like in September of 2019, and take a look back at your own timeline to let us know on social media what you were up to then!


(A note to our readers: click on the hashtags above to see our other blog posts with the same hashtag.)


Interested in what else we're reading? Check out our Featured Books page.

Loving what you see here? Please comment below (scroll ALL the way down to comment), share this post using the social media buttons below (scroll down for those as well!), and find us on social media to share your thoughts!

 

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Bookish Check-In

Ashley was reading...

Book cover of Alison McGhee’s Pablo and Birdy

Alison McGhee’s Pablo and Birdy (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


From the Publisher: "A boy who drifted into the seaside town of Isla as a baby searches for answers about where he and his parrot came from in this charmer of a tale laced with magical realism from New York Times best-selling author Alison McGhee.


"The seaside town of Isla has many stories, the most notable being the legend of the Seafaring Parrot. Locals claim that the Seafarer remembers every sound, every whisper, cry, laugh, or snort ever uttered. But, though there have been rumored Seafarer sightings, no one has actually seen the bird before. Other stories surround a boy named Pablo, who had washed up onshore in a blow-up swimming pool as an infant with only a lavender parrot as a companion. Now, on the eve of his tenth birthday, the stories are repeated.


" 'At first I thought it was a huge fish,' Emmanuel, the man who found and took Pablo in, says. Pierre the baker's guess was a good one: Perhaps Pablo has come from an undiscovered country, one unknown to the rest of the world. Maybe the inhabitants there lived in tree houses or underground. Or maybe he's a pirate baby. But Pablo wants the truth, and the only one who might know it is Birdy, his parrot. After all, she was there, holding on to the raft. But unlike most birds who live in Isla, Birdy can neither talk nor fly. Or, at least, she never has. Until...one day, when strong winds begin to blow - winds similar to the ones that brought Pablo to shore - Birdy begins to mutter. Could Birdy be a Seafaring parrot? If she is, then she will be able to tell Pablo the true story of where he came from - of who tied him so lovingly and safely to that raft? But if she is, that also means the second part of the Seafarer myth is true...that Seafaring Parrots will eventually fly away.


"As Pablo is buzzing with questions, hopes, and fears, an old saying echoes in his mind: Winds of change mean fortune lost or fortune gained. And while the winds rise in Isla, Pablo holds tight to Birdy. Would losing his companion, his dearest link to his past, be that loss?"


Jen was reading...

Book Cover of Amy Tan’s The Kitchen God’s Wife

Amy Tan’s The Kitchen God’s Wife (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


From the Publisher:

"For decades — in China and in San Francisco — Winnie Louie and Helen Kwong have kept each other's confidences, but those secrets are about to be revealed. Convinced that she is dying, Helen decides to celebrate the Chinese New Year by unburdening herself of hidden truths — not only hers, but those of Winnie and of Winnie's daughter, Pearl. So begins a series of comic misunderstandings and heartbreaking realizations about luck, loss, and trust — about the things a mother cannot tell her daughter, about the secret that daughters keep, and about the miraculous resiliency of love."


Our Book Recs to Each Other

Ashley's Book Recommendation for Jen...

Book Cover of Aiden Thomas’s Lost in the Never Woods

Aiden Thomas’s Lost in the Never Woods (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


From the Publisher: "It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into the light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road...


"Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, asks for Wendy’s help to rescue the missing kids. But, in order to find them, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods."


Jen's Recommendation for Ashley...

Book Cover of Sara Novic's True Biz

Sara Novic's True Biz (Bookshop.org | Libro.fm)


From the Publisher:


"True biz (adj./exclamation; American Sign Language): really, seriously, definitely, real-talk


"True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they’ll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who’s never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school’s golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the hearing headmistress, a CODA (child of deaf adult(s)) who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another—and changed forever.


"This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection."

 

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