Posted in Books and Shows

January 2022: What I’ve Been Reading

Hello and Happy Monday!

Before I get started with today’s post, I have to share that Ronda is the winner of the Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag. I will be in touch soon!

I can’t believe it’s the last day of January. I saw this meme, and it felt so true!

Honestly, January gets a bad rap, but it’s one of my favorite months. January is for a fresh start, it’s a calmer month coming off the holidays, it’s my birthday month, and we usually get a snow day or two which is my fave.

Before we turn the calendar to February, I have to share the books I read this month. I’m hanging on to my monthly average of reading three books.

This month I read…

{As always, book summaries are from Goodreads…}

Going There:

Summary:

For more than forty years, Katie Couric has been an iconic presence in the media world. In her brutally honest, hilarious, heartbreaking memoir, she reveals what was going on behind the scenes of her sometimes tumultuous personal and professional life – a story she’s never shared, until now. Of the medium she loves, the one that made her a household name, she says, “Television can put you in a box; the flat-screen can flatten. On TV, you are larger than life but smaller, too. It is not the whole story, and it is not the whole me. This book is.

Beginning in early childhood, Couric was inspired by her journalist father to pursue the career he loved but couldn’t afford to stay in. Balancing her vivacious, outgoing personality with her desire to be taken seriously, she overcame every obstacle in her way: insecurity, an eating disorder, being typecast, sexism . . . challenges, and how she dealt with them, setting the tone for the rest of her career. Couric talks candidly about adjusting to sudden fame after her astonishing rise to co-anchor of the TODAY show, and guides us through the most momentous events and news stories of the era, to which she had a front-row seat:  Rodney King, Anita Hill, Columbine, the death of Princess Diana, 9/11, the Iraq War . . . In every instance, she relentlessly pursued the facts, ruffling more than a few feathers along the way.  She also recalls in vivid and sometimes lurid detail the intense pressure on female anchors to snag the latest “get”—often sensational tabloid stories like Jon Benet Ramsey, Tonya Harding, and OJ Simpson.

Couric’s position as one of the leading lights of her profession was  shadowed by the shock and trauma of losing her husband to stage 4 colon cancer when he was just 42, leaving her a widow and single mom to two daughters, 6 and 2. The death of her sister Emily, just three years later, brought yet more trauma—and an unwavering commitment to cancer awareness and research, one of her proudest accomplishments.

 Couric is unsparing in the details of her historic move to the anchor chair at the CBS Evening News—a world rife with sexism and misogyny.  Her “welcome” was even more hostile at 60 Minutes, an unrepentant boys club that engaged in outright hazing of even the most established women.  In the wake of the MeToo movement, Couric shares her clear-eyed reckoning with gender inequality and predatory behavior in the workplace, and downfall of Matt Lauer—a colleague she had trusted and respected for more than a decade.

Couric also talks about the challenge of finding love again, with all the hilarity, false-starts, and drama that search entailed, before finding her midlife Mr. Right.  Something she has never discussed publicly—why her second marriage almost didn’t happen

If you thought you knew Katie Couric, think again. Going There is the fast-paced, emotional, riveting story of a thoroughly modern woman, whose journey took her from humble origins to superstardom. In these pages, you will find a friend, a confidante, a role model, a survivor whose lessons about life will enrich your own.

Quick Thoughts:

Shew! That was quite the summary! My friend let me borrow Katie’s book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love a good autobiography, and Katie definitely went there. This book is filled with tons of short chapters. I enjoyed reading about how she grew up, and my heart broke as she shared about losing her husband and having to be a single working mom to two young girls. I thought her professional journey was really interesting, and she did a great job owning up to mistakes and discussing being in the news business as a female. I always had Katie, Matt, Al, and Ann on in the background during my college and early teaching years. I always assumed they were one big happy family. Through the years, when she moved on, Ann awkwardly left, and then, of course, the Matt Lauer scandal came to light, I knew going into the book that the Today show wasn’t all sunshine and roses. She definitely talked about the Matt Lauer situation, and I will say those chapters made me cringe. Anyway, she found love again, enjoys time with her two grown daughters, and is definitely living a great second chapter of life. This book didn’t disappoint.

Rating:

The Royals Next Door:

Summary:

Piper Evans: elementary school teacher by day–avid romance reader and anonymous podcaster by night. She lives a quiet, reclusive life, taking care of her mother, who struggles with mental illness, avoiding her regrettable ex, who bartends in town, and trying to make inroads in the tight-knit island community that still sees her, five years in, as an outsider.

And she’s happy with how things are–really–until British royals rent the property next to hers and their brooding bodyguard decides she’s a security threat. Piper quickly realizes that one person’s fairy tale is an ordinary woman’s nightmare as a media frenzy takes over the island and each run-in with Harrison Cole is hotter and more confusing than the last. But beneath Harrison’s no-nonsense exterior lies a soft heart, one that could tempt a woman who’s sworn off attachments into believing in white knights.

But when Piper finds herself smack in the middle of a royal scandal that rocks the island she’ll need more than Harrison’s strong arms to shield her–she’ll have to do a little rescuing herself. With careers, hearts, and friendships on the line, Piper and Harrison will have to decide what they’re willing to give up for a chance at their own happily ever after.

Quick Thoughts:

This book. Sigh. When I started this book, I was really enjoying it. It had a very “Meghan and Harry move to the United States” vibe. It was even a bit predictable from the beginning, but I’m ok with books like that. Then, in the middle of the book, it went left real quick and become R rated. I think at that point, I realized I didn’t even like how it was written. I became picky about word choice and simplistic sentences and was kind of over it. It may be the first book I’ve read that I wanted to take my English teacher red pen and mark it up! Anyway, if you’ve read it, I’d love to know what you think, but this book was a bust for me.

Rating:

I give it three stars for first half and two stars for second half of the book. My first ever two star book rating!

We Are the Brennans:

Summary:

When twenty-nine-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it’s not easy. She deserted them all—and her high school sweetheart—five years before with little explanation, and they’ve got questions.

Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family’s pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets—secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes—and ultimately find a way forward, together.

Quick Thoughts:

I can’t remember who shared about this book, but I added it to my Good Reads list a couple of months ago. I really enjoyed this book. The big Irish family aspect provided dynamic characters and interesting family relationships. As the secrets of the family members unfold, I was invested in seeing just how the book would end. I liked how each chapter picked up with the last line of the previous chapter making the ideas flow. This was a good one!

Rating:

I always feel like after the holidays and reading light-hearted books, I want to read more serious books. Two of the three books I read this month were just that. I’ve started Our Woman in Moscow, and it took me a bit to get into it, but I think I’m going to like it.

*sigh* these posts from the KC library were fun while they lasted. We have some sad Chiefs fans in the house today. The better team won, and I guess there’s always next year.

I hope you have a great start to your week. See you back here tomorrow for my *short* Prime Purchases post.

10 thoughts on “January 2022: What I’ve Been Reading

  1. Just finished a long read and lived every minute of it. The Rose Code is focused on three women who joined code breaking efforts in Britain during WW11, without knowing exactly how they would be helping their country. It is interesting, historical events set in fiction, thrilling and heartbreaking all in one. One of the best examples of love and intimacy (not just sex) I have ever read. Of coarse I had to skip over the parts describing the code breaking machines they used–have no idea how they worked. All in all, one of the best reads in years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is the first thing I’ve ever won. I’m thrilled.
    Thank you. I so enjoy your Show Me and Sweet Tea blog. It’s delightful and I love seeing H & H as they grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t live autobiographies but now I’m intrigued! The second one held such promise but I won’t even now that I hear short choppy sentences. Can’t do it. Maybe the third will be fun in March for Paddy’s Day! Lol!
    Sorry about your team!

    Liked by 1 person

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