Kick back Midsters, put your feet in the sand, and check out Ellen's five great summer reads!
This week our Midster bibliophile and co-host Ellen shares, why she loves book groups and why checking one out, is an excellent idea for every Midster. And, Ellen shares with us 5 books by some of her favorite authors for Midsters to check out this summer.
This week's obsessions:
Tish: NeoraGlow Illuminating Body Oil
Ellen: Travel mini steamer - don't ever iron again!
Felicia: tennis lessons!
Ellen's Summer 2022 book suggestions:
1. The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave - mystery-thriller
2. Gifts of imperfection by Brene Brown – self-help
3. Sister Stardust by Jane Green - chick lit/romance
4. Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid- chick lit/romance
5. The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles - historical fiction
So today we're here to talk about book clubs. And Ellen is going to share with us her four or five selections that you just need to read this summer. So for the summer of 2022, she's got some great pics. Well, that's exciting. I love reading, so I can't wait to hear all of her selections. And actually, it's glad for us to I'm so happy that the three of us are back together again. It's really been too long. Oh, yeah, you. Me too. The band is back together. And ladies. Yes, yeah, it's great to get back together. And we all love reading so much. And we're super excited about this episode. So let's start off first though, with some of our obsessions. So we can get quickly back to our talking about our books.Felicia:
Well, I'm going to start with mine if you guys don't mind since I've been gone, but my obsession is tennis. I know you aren't play tennis. I have a lot of friends that play tennis. So I feel like I'm a little late to the party. But I think it's a great sport that I can play with you guys with other friends, double singles. And it's a great form of exercise. We have a great community center here in St. Petersburg, the St. Pete Tennis Center, and I'm taking an introductory clinic. So that's going to be my obsession, that only for today, but for the rest of the summer. That's a great one.Tish Woods:
I love that site is my obsession is actually kind of summer focus, too. But it's called, it's this new product that a friend of mine actually sells. And I was so excited to try it. It's called neuro glow. It's like an illuminating body oil, but it's a dry body oil so you don't feel all slick and greasy. And it has just enough shimmer to give you that like I've just got back from the beach glow without feeling like you're 16 and all sparkly. So that is my obsession is the Nora glow. And it even can compensate. Say you have a strap mark. She was putting it on her strap marks and they were almost disappeared. So that's my new obsession for the summer.Ellen Gustafson:
It's a good one, you can have that with your Silver City pink, my friend and she's so Beachy. No, nice. Well, my obsession is a steamer. Because I've recently been steaming graduation gowns for kids. And now I'm about to take a trip for the first time in a while this summer, and it's called The Joy steamer. And I seriously haven't ironed in five years since I got this thing Do either of you have a steamer? I do because I was anti shiny clothes like turning your your fabrics into a machine all over them from the iron. So I love the steamer. I use a little hand one myself, even at home. This brand, they also make a little mini travel one and they come in fun colors too. So we'll put links in the show notes to all of these obsessions this week, Bailey, maybe we'll have a few photos from our recent girls trip of everyone playing tennis and pickleball for you, but nice. Well, maybe I should jump right into summer reads for 2022. And, you know the joys of being in a book group. I think you both know, I love to read. And I've loved to read since I was a kid. And I also love bookstores and libraries. Like if I'm visiting a town I may check out to see if there's a Carnegie Library in the town. And I love small independent bookstores and browsing. And I really feel like if I have any addiction in my life, it's reading. I'll stay up super late. I'll just be like one more chapter one more chapter, my hands start getting and I just can't put a book down to either if you guys feel that way. I love reading. I have found that with the introduction of the cell phone. My reading has gone down drastically that I too love going to bookstores, wherever I am I go to a bookstore, I have a huge collection of books. So really, that's a huge obsession. I love collecting books. I love collecting books I've read as a child. So yes, I'm right there with you. Love Reading at this one. I know well, I've also been in a book group basically the whole time I've been an adult and you know, Felicia you were out here. I think it was maybe 15 years ago and you came to one of my book groups when I was in a much larger book group. It was a blast, right?Felicia:
I love it. Yeah, some great women. And that's all IEllen Gustafson:
At one point when I didn't have a book group get. Thank you what a great bunch of women that you are engaging with. It's so fun. And I think for mid stirs. It's a really great social thing. when I moved towns, I actually went to the book group at my public library and so I just wanted to go Have a shout out for that, if you don't really know of a book group, great way is the public library, I'm sure almost every library across the country has it. And the good part about that is, you know, you don't feel as obligated, if you don't like the book or in the end, you don't want to go, it's really kind of like, well, I read a good book, and I kind of really nothing there, I feel quite obligated to go to my book group that I have now. But in a good way, I just want to give a shout out to Cam Julie and Molly from my book group, we call ourselves the MARIN Book Group. I'm sure there's many others here. But what I love about this book group I'm in right now is there are only four of us. And it's really small and fun. And everybody almost always reads the book, which is a great thing. But these ladies pushed me to read things that are a little out of my comfort zone. And I think that's a nice thing to write. I'm actually learning and expanding kind of what I would normally read when they ask a question. Yeah.Tish Woods:
Let's say you're in town, and you're not a member of a book club. And you mentioned the public library. How do you find your your book clubs outside of the public library? Are they groups of friends that you've gotten together? Or did you hear about a book group and you were invited? Or how did that come about?Ellen Gustafson:
You know, both times I heard about it and was invited. But we also have a great independent bookstore here in we're in book passage. And they have book groups as well. So I think if you're somebody who doesn't have a friend, or a colleague, or someone that's inviting you, that's a great way either through the public library, or through a local bookstore. But I wanted to say for me, there's three main things about book groups that I just love. One is that, like, what I just said, I pick up something I never would have on my own. So it really expands my reading. I love being with other women who love to read, right? It just feels so good. And we've all had that book that we're just dying to talk to somebody about right? And then, you know, you have food and drinks and books, and then just conversation, right? It's it. For me as a single Minster. It's a great monthly event on my calendar that I really look forward to. Sometimes we go to wine bars, sometimes we go to someone's house and sit in the backyard. So it's something that really adds a lot to my social life.Tish Woods:
Now Ellen, I know that you are have always been a huge reader. But I also know that you do like audiobooks, especially when you're traveling. And I recently was going on vacation, and I wanted to read the new finding me by Viola Davis. And when I heard she was actually reading her own book, and I just love her voice. It's just so deep and rich. So I thought, No, I'm not going to buy the paperback, I actually listened to the audio. And I did it as I did this really long drive. And in my mind drove just mind drive just flew by. Because I was just so engrossed in the book. So when do you decide whether you're going to do a book in your hands or on your cell phone? Or you listen to it?Ellen Gustafson:
You know, great question. And I still need to listen to that Viola Davis book, I know you had recommended it. Usually, if I'm going on a big trip, I will gang up a book and some podcasts on a car, in the car. And even in a long plane ride. I know that I'm out in California, I take a lot of trips back East. I think it's great on a plane also to be listening to an audio book. What about you? Felicia? Do you ever listen to audiobooks?Felicia:
As soon as you said that I pulled up my audio list, of course, you know, that's another obsession. I have audible. I don't know if you all have that for you pay a monthly fee, and you get credits. So right now I'm looking at I have six credits. I'm kind of excited. I think I'm going to download some of the books you're going to talk about. But yes, right now I'm reading the golden couple. And you know, I go back and forth, I find that I read several books at a time I read a novel A self help book. So yes, I have a couple going on right now on Audible. And the other thing I do on Audible is I will get a classic. And I also have the amount of MonteCristo. It's over. I think I have 52 minutes. So yes, it's a great time to be in the car and listen to these books. Awesome.Ellen Gustafson:
Well, let's jump right into my five. Yes, I couldn't narrow it down to four books that I'm recommending for the summer of 2022. And I know faily you have a couple of books you're going to be recommending here as well as we walk through these. So the first book is a thriller and a mystery. And it's called the last thing he told me by Laura Dave. And this book is set in Marin County where I live in Do you think you'll pick up the last thing heFelicia:
hat sounds very exciting. I also love that Sausalito. And the main character finds out her husband told me? Mainly, what? My book that I just recommended? Do you genre. Huge James Patterson right now, I'm actually reading is being investigated for a crime and he's missing. And he's think you'll pick that up? a book by Patricia Cornwell autopsy. So it's a female, as left her with his 16 year old daughter who doesn't really like her. And from the very first paycheck got me, it really Absolutely, 100 %. I'm gonna put it on Audible reminds me of Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, and you just can't put this one down. So the last thing he told me great for the beach for the plane, or just on your back porch, deck patio on a weekend. T you know, a strong female pathologist. So that's what I'm reading right now. So it's a great genre to read. actually, with my credits. Absolutely. All right.Ellen Gustafson:
Well, the second book, I know that Tish and I have talked about a lot. It's the Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. I think almost everybody's heard of Brene Brown researcher, speaker author, she explores this idea and this practice of wholehearted living. And she always talks about how she's a researcher, and I really like that everything she talks about is based in shame, vulnerability, and self worth. All great topics for us Midsters. I think a lot of us are at this point in our life, where we really are looking to dive into those subjects, and wholehearted living will help you cultivate worthiness that you're good enough. And it was just the 10 year anniversary. She has a podcast herself with her two sisters, where they discuss this book. And it's like a multi part podcast. So Tish and I are both going to be listening to the podcast and doing the book.Tish Woods:
So yeah, I really, this one really spoke to me a lot. And again, it's the 10th anniversary of this book, but she really felt a need to revisit it and revisit all these different things in this with her sisters, and to bring us along. So definitely, it's a podcast you want to touch base on, as well as the book. What was so intriguing about this book, to me was this idea of letting go of who you think you're supposed to be, and embracing who you really are. And it really is kind of speaks to the whole notion of what we're doing in a podcast is, you know, embracing who we are, and not letting any anyone else out there. Define it. So that was great. And I love how she works in what they call what guidepost guideposts. Yes. So one of the guideposts that really speaks to be spoke to me is this idea of making laugh, sing and dance a priority. And for me, you know, I'm always this adventure of trying new things, doing new things. So that one really spoke to my heart. And I can definitely relate to that of the guidepost Ellen, which one speaks to you the most? I think self compassion.Ellen Gustafson:
And I have to say here at midlife, I am trying to speak to myself much more kindly and gently and be more forgiving of myself. And so I think that one spoke to me a lot. But when you just said laugh, sing and dance, too. It's like, so simple to bring those things in when you think about it, right? When you know that it's something that you you have to think about, but I definitely think self compassion. Yeah. I love that. This is a great summer read. But it's also that self help that's not gonna have you like crying by yourself. In bed one night is a really uplifting self help book. So I'm dying to know what your third book is, though. Well, my third book is by one of my favorite authors of all time, Jane Green. And she has a new book called Sister Star Dust. And if you haven't heard of JaneGgreen, she has 21 prior novels. I checked it out. And, you know, she's like one of the authors that really started kind of the chiklit movement, at least 10 or 20 years ago. So every summer I've read a Jane Green novel. This one is interesting because it was inspired by a true story from the 1960s. And she takes you from London to Marrakech in the swinging 60s. I mean, it's just a ride. And that's a generation that I kind of idealized. And I think all of us have pictures of our mom's from the 60s in calf tans and the big teased hair, you know, that kind of thing. And I think Jane green even made a line of jewelry and caftans and different things. She's quite creative. I follow her on Instagram, and she's in Connecticut, and Tish and I did the oyster shells that we dacoupaged. So she kind of inspired Tish and I last year to do an arts and crafts project with wine. So it's a book that that's a great beach read, and I know faily we were just talking about some other great beach reads before we started the episode.Felicia:
We do you know, I want to go I'm excited about reading this book, because it does take us back to a happier time. And I have a lot of memories from the 60s I was little but I still have a lot of memories. And I love the fact that it takes you to different places that you may never have gone but it gives you you're able to be there in a novel. My daughter has become an avid reader, which I am so proud about. She never used to read but I don't know what happened but she now is an avid reader. And she has introduced me to I'm sure you all heard over. Elin Hillenbrand Hildebrand Yeah. She is very well known for her summer beachy romance novels. And so she's been reading those and what what I found interesting what she said, I love murder mysteries. But she said during the summer when she's at the pool that's too heavy for her. She wants to read something light Fun at the Beach like she's on vacation. So those books kind of take her away. She's at the pool. So I think I'm going to pick up a few of her books as well to read this summer.Ellen Gustafson:
That's great. I think everyone should I love books by Elin Hildebrand. And it does make you want to go to Nantucket, that's for sure. My fourth book kind of is in that same genre. It's called the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid. So I didn't know this. But this book was published in 2017. But I just got it at the San Francisco Airport in the last few months. And you think, who has seven husbands? What is this book about? Right. And the five hour flight to Tampa went by in a flash. So Evelyn Hugo really does have seven husbands. And it tells the story of kind of like old Hollywood of a girl who goes to Hollywood and has nothing and makes it big. And at the age of 79. In the book, she gives a final interview to this woman, this young girl in her 20s. And you learn all about her life, and it's glitzy and it's glam. And it's horrible. It's like everything you think of the Hollywood of the 40s and 50s and 60s, and you find out why she picked Monique Grant, the young writer in the end, and I just read another book by Taylor Jenkins Reid and this I would say is a quintessential summer travel summer beach read?Tish Woods:
Well, it's funny because with this with this story. You know, I think the gist of it is we are desperate to be seen beyond what our celebrity is or what people think we are. And I think about that a lot. Like, you know, we have this desire for people to really know the real us and to really know beyond the surface. And I think really, that's a lot what led us to this podcast as well. We had a message we had a voice to say about something. And we want people to know who we are down deep what's important to us. So that was really spoke to me with this book is The we live in such a time of, you know, beautiful snapshots and Instagram and Fast, fast fast. And to get to know who someone is beyond that quickness. And especially like somebody like Hollywood celebrity, you're really going to see that they probably don't know you probably don't know who the real them are, because you just know their characters. But just in real life. I think we all put on that character. You know who's the person we are at work who's the person we are here, but you know to kind of get beyond that. Now I know we originally had said you were going to talk about for summer reads, but you had a burning desire to bring in number five. So I want to hear what it is and why you felt this was a add this one to your list to kind ofEllen Gustafson:
it's true. This was a last minute addition and it is historical fiction, which is a genre I really love. Do you both like reading historical fiction, ladies?Tish Woods:
Yeah, I've gotten away from it. You know, I used to love it, you know, but I really have gotten away from it. And so this piqued my interest for sure.Ellen Gustafson:
Yes, well, this is called the Lincoln highway and my book group read this book, lamb back in March, I think. And just to kind of set the stage, the Lincoln highway was the name of what's now route 80, which is the northern route across the country starting, I think, in New York, New Jersey, all the way into San Francisco. And that road was opened in 1912. And it was how people, you know, made their way cross country back back in the day. And this is by Ammar tolls. And one of the reasons I was so excited to read this book was that the Gentleman in Moscow, which I think was his second book is actually I would say, in my top 10 books of all times, so he writes historical fiction, his first book was set in the roaring 20s. And so this book is set in 1954. And it had this theme of kind of, you know, going someplace to better yourself. And of course, California is where they want to end up. So it's a, it's a book about a young boy who gets out of like a reformed school or detention center and comes back and gets his younger brother. And they're going to head west to find their mom who kind of abandoned them. So California is the golden place where they're going, and they're going to take the Lincoln Highway, but through a whole series of things that happen to other boys from the detention center come, and they end up taking this crazy road trip back to the East Coast. And I'm telling you, there's violence, there's manslaughter, there's murder, there's love, there's racism, there's incarceration, there's, you know, I mean, it's a brother story, it's a road story, it's a road trip story. And it's all set in 1954. And, you know, what, what kind of struck me was how poor the characters were, and you know, that they didn't really have a lot going, and just that they were going to hit the road in search of a better future. And they hit some crazy, amazing, you know, kind of roadblocks along the way. And not to give too much away, but it does have a good ending, you know, after all of that craziness. And so it really takes you to that time of 1954 of big cars and crops that failed, and people wanting to go to California in search of a better life. And, you know, you just can't put this book down.Tish Woods:
I love that. That sounds awesome. Yeah.Ellen Gustafson:
Oh, I'm sorry. I was just going to add that, I saw that Bill Gates put this on his summer reading list today. So definitely the book comes, you know, with a lot of accolades and people referring it.Tish Woods:
So I'm going to say, you know, if you're not in a book club already, go find one. It'll encourage you to read and, you know, reconnect with that love of just, you know, transporting yourself to a different time place. And if you can't find one, well talk to us about it. Send us your questions about if you read any of these, we would love to hear if how you feel about any of Ellen's picks for this summer, but just go out, cut that time out for yourself to really enjoy a good read a good light summer read.Ellen Gustafson:
So I'm going to put all of these books in our show notes so people can easily find them and a link to the author as well. And I just want to say get reading everyone enjoyed the summer.Felicia:
I'm excited. Lots to read.Ellen Gustafson:
All right Midsters, till next time, have a great week, guys.