My favorite book on this list. I consumed this as an audiobook, narrated by Shonda herself, and man, she can tell a story. (The creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal has clearly found her calling.) Everything she has to say about life, happiness, hard work, motherhood, and dreams, is badassery stuff. Read it.
“There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be. Being traditional is not traditional anymore. It’s funny that we still think of it that way. Normalize your lives, people. You don’t want a baby? Don’t have one. I don’t want to get married? I won’t. You want to live alone? Enjoy it. You want to love someone? Love someone. Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than. When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it. No fairy tales. Be your own narrator. And go for a happy ending. One foot in front of the other. You will make it.”
No need for me to summarize what the book is about when this video does it best (spoiler alert). But it’s a fascinating read into a piece of history I knew nothing about. A page-turner for those who like true stories of heroism and succeeding against all odds.
Diana is one of my heroes and I’ve written before about how she inspires me. But while I thought I knew her story, her determination to never give up and to swim from Cuba to Florida, I really didn’t. And after reading this, I’m in even more awe at how she overcame all the suffering that life handed her and chose to transcend it.
“Yes, it’s true. At age sixty, I’ve let go of the rage. At sixty, in every way, including as an athlete. I am at the prime of my life.”
The first in the Peter Grant series, it’s a detective story with some fantasy, magic, and British humour mixed in. So if you like your crime novels and a bit of the supernatural, this one is for you.
“You put a spell on the dog,” I said as we left the house.
“Just a small one,” said Nightingale.
“So magic is real,” I said. “Which makes you a…what?”
“Like Harry Potter?”
Nightingale sighed. “No,” he said. “Not like Harry Potter.”
“In what way?”
“I’m not a fictional character,” said Nightingale.”
A book full of mysteries and secrets that alternate between the 1930s, 1960s, and present day. It reminds me somewhat of Elizabeth is Missing in that the past and present must come together in order to solve a crime.
“It suddenly seemed to Laurel that all the absences in her own life, every loss and sadness, every nightmare in the dark, every unexplained melancholy, took the shadowy form of the same unanswered question, something that had been there since she was sixteen years old— her mother’s unspoken secret.”
Well I do love my mysterious thrillers and this book felt like a homage to Hitchcock and Rear Window, a girl watches the lives of strangers unfold as she peers into their windows from her passing train. But like Jimmy Stewart, she can’t help but dig deeper and becomes part of the story. (Read it before the movie comes out.)
“There’s something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.”