Books I Read in June

The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is a good novel, which won’t surprise anybody who read the author’s Daisy Jones and the Six (also amazing). It’s about an aging Hollywood actress, formerly a huge star and now a recluse, who stuns everyone when she insists an unknown magazine reporter write her life story. It’s well-written, interesting, and certainly kept my attention. It also packs a wallop of an ending and that’s all I’ll say about that. I highly recommend this novel.

About the Author, by John Colapinto

What a book! I read late into the night with this one because I had to see what happened next. The novel is written as though it’s an autobiographical story by Cal Cunningham, who appropriates his roommate Stewart’s novel manuscript after Stewart is killed in a bicycle accident. Cal sends it out as his own, it gets published, and suddenly Cal is being celebrated as an amazing novelist – but then he learns that, just before he died, Stewart sent a copy of the manuscript to his girlfriend. Cal manages to retrieve that copy, still unread, but then the next complication ensues. It just goes on and on and gets worse and worse. It’s captivating, though, which means it’s written well. It really kept my interest. What a book!

Forever, Interrupted, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I’ve been on a TJR bender. She’s so good. I listened to this as an audiobook from Chirp and liked it a lot. She’s one of those writers that makes it all look so easy, like the story just flowed out of her fingers, she blew on it for luck, and then it was published. We all know, though, that it takes a lot of work to write such a seamless novel. This earlier TJR novel is about a 20-something girl who finds the love of her life. They quickly marry but then tragedy ensues. It tells an interesting story of her meeting her mother-in-law, who hadn’t known about the marriage, and how their relationship evolves. She also makes friends with an elderly man at the library where she works who is preparing for the death of his wife. Life and death. This one, too, is set in L.A.  Clearly Taylor Jenkins Reid is an L.A. girl, and she portrays it perfectly. I enjoyed the listen. Good book.

Maybe in Another Life, by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I also listened to this one as an audiobook from Chirp. It’s told in two threads – first what happened when the protagonist was hit by a car and how her life unfolded afterward, and alternately what happened when she wasn’t. So interesting to see two versions of the different decisions she made, people she married, and the twists the story took. It falls together well, it’s all interesting, and it feels real. At the end, there’s a discussion of multiverses by one of her friends—the theory that there are endless numbers of us living lives “out there” with every possible choice being followed. I enjoyed this book.

Mercury and Me, by Jim Hutton

An audiobook (from Chirp) by Freddie Mercury’s long-time partner Jim Hutton, who lived until 2010. I have long been a big fan of and fascinated by Freddie Mercury. His drive to succeed fascinates me, and also, of course, his music – wow. I’ve watched the movie Bohemian Rhapsody a couple times and found it interesting that this book tells a very different story than the movie. For instance, I came out of the movie liking his best friend Mary, but you get a completely different picture of her as seen through Jim’s perspective. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between. The memoir is not about the band or the music at all, but about Freddie Mercury as a person and as Jim Hutton’s partner. It’s a good listen for anyone who’s a Freddie Mercury fan.

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