The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid was wonderful! It’s been awhile since a book sucked me in so quickly. There’s something so fascinating and yet relatable about Evelyn. Doesn’t hurt that I’m a sucker for historical fiction and I love old movies… Monique on the other hand, was a needed character, but she had no personality whatsoever. I generally skimmed her parts.

However, my brain is hurting today, so I’m copying and pasting the blurb from Goodreads:

From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump start her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.

I don’t want to ruin anything for those who haven’t read it yet, but there are a few big twists, about which I’d like to hear others’ opinions. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo was also a huge departure from Reid’s other works (granted I’ve only read two of them). And I think she did a great job! Maybe it was just the subject matter, but it reminded me a bit of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walters, which I also loved. I guess this is telling me that I need to read more fiction about the golden age of cinema.

PopSugar Reading Challenge: A Book set in two time periods

Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge: Read three book by the same author (Maybe in Another LifeAfter I Do, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: an LGBTQ Romance Novel

One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter

I toyed with the idea of signing up for Book of the Month back in April. Ultimately, I decided not to join, but if I had, I would have gone with One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul, partially because it fits a Book Riot Read Harder category and partially because the cover and title are awesome, but mostly because I was intrigued. I really enjoy books of essays, although I rarely read them.

While I really enjoyed One Day We’ll All Be Dead, it did take me a while to finish. I’d tear through one essay and then not be motivated to pick the book up again until lunch three days later and so on and so on. Even though it took me a long time to finish the collection, I really enjoyed it. Koul is an amazing writer, and very clearly highlights the racial and gender issues so common in our society, while also making you snort with laughter.

“Nothing bad can happen to you if you’re with your mom. Your mom can stop a bullet from lodging in your heart. She can prop you up when you can’t. You mom is your blood and bone before your body even knows how to make any.”

I found myself vacillating from shock to laughter to almost crying to laughter again and again. For me, Koul’s writing is strongest when writing about her family, and as someone who worries about her parents and who has a strong relationship with her mother, I can really empathize with many aspects of these essays.

Popsugar Reading Challenge: A book written by someone you admire

Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: A collection of stories by a woman

Modern Mrs. Darcy: A book of any genre that addresses current events

 

Summer Happenings

We’re halfway through our summer reading program, so I thought I’d share some of our library’s happenings: passive and active.

Teen Fandom Passive Program:

One of our volunteens made this endcap sign for our teen area. It’s been super fun to see what teens are loving, and as a major Harry Potter fan, I love that Harry is still on the list. The list also includes, Percy Jackson, Shrek and Hamilton.

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Stuffed Animal Sleepover:

One Thursday evening a group of kids came to their library with their favorite stuffed animals, and listened to a bedtime themed storytime. After storytime their stuffed animals stayed behind for an epic sleepover, which was documented. Obviously. The next day, the kids came to pick up their stuffed animals, and some photos. We had some lovely volunteers help us with a display to commemorate the shenanigans.

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Captain Underpants Passive Program:

I found a template online and our volunteens have been cutting them out for us. We have the underpants and crayons/colored pencils available for kids to color in the library. They can take home the underwear or display it in the library. Of course, we can’t keep any of the Captain Underpants books in stock to display with the passive program.

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Teen Club:

Once a month teens gather in the library meeting room to discuss books, get ARCs, play games and enjoy some snacks. While I’m not leading the program, it’s been fun to hear about!
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Readers Advisory Conundrum

Today, I had a more unique readers advisory interview. A young girl came up to the desk, blushing (or maybe sunburned), and asked for recommendations for good books for a 10-year-old. After going through the “what’s the last book you read you like” and “what did you like about it” I learned she likes romance books. Now I read romantic type books too when I was that age (almost every Ann Rinaldi * and Dear America ** book had some sort of romance), but we don’t have many of those anymore. And our young patron would have to be interested in historical fiction to enjoy my pre-teen reads.

I recommended the Wide Awake Princess series by E.D. Baker, Bloomability by Sharon Creech, The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (can’t remember any romance, but she did say she liked mermaids), and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. She seemed less interested in Anne since the first books isn’t very romantic, but I hope she does eventually read the Anne series. Anne and Gilbert are one of my favorite fictional couples. So sweet.

Did I miss something obvious? She seemed on the younger end of 10 so I didn’t to get too crazy with the romance, and certainly not into young adult, but I’m stumped! And this should be my wheelhouse (as opposed to J Sci Fi)! Blerg.

*in 6th grade I read Time Enough for Drums by Ann Rinaldi so many times that we almost bought the book from my middle school library since it was out of print at the time. Lucky for me, it was reprinted by the time I was in 7th grade.

**Voyage on the Great Titanic: The Diary of Margaret Ann Brady, R.M.S. Titanic, 1912A Coal Miner’s Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminksa, Lattimer, Pennsylvania, 1896 and The Great Railroad Race: the Diary of Libby West, Utah Territory, 1868 were particular favorites of mine. 

Who Was… Book Club

One of the new programs I’m running this summer is a Who Was… book club. For those of you not in the know, the Who Was series are super popular among elementary readers. They are short biographies of important historical figures (past and present) and they are expanding to significant events and locations. We get so many kids coming in looking for a specific section of the Who Was books, but we have them cataloged and shelved according to their Dewey Decimal number. I’m toying with separating them out, but in my experience, it makes it much harder for staff. And hopefully, readers will find something else in the area near Who Was Michael Jackson? For example that might interest them.
Anyway. Our first book club selection was Who Was Sojourner Truth? Day of, I remembered just how hard it is to discuss a nonfiction book. Oops. This book was also difficult, although important, because it deals with so many hot button issues, including women’s rights and racial disparity. Since I accidentally scheduled the first meeting on the last day of school, only two girls showed up. We discussed the book, and talked about how brave Sojourner Truth was, and how her name is so representative of her and her values. We then read the “Ain’t I Woman Speech” and discussed it, and the women’s convention. Then we mapped out Sojourner Truth’s travels. Overall, I regret not thinking of a better activity. Next month, Who Was Paul Revere? I’m going to plan everything a little better, and hopefully include a craft or larger activity.

I’ve Got Your Number

When I first saw the “book you bought on a trip” prompt for the PopSugar Reading Challenge I knew I had to re-read I’ve Got Your Number. I don’t often think of myself as a “chick lit” person. I don’t particularly like the rest of Sophie Kinsella’s books (the plot of the Shopaholic series annoys me in general) nor do I enjoy Emily Griffin or Jen Lancaster. But, I do like Lauren Willig and her Pink Carnation series is basically historical chick lit and I love I’ve Got Your Number.

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British Cover

I visited a friend of mine while she was living in Mozambique and we met in South Africa to go on a safari. Our safari ended in Durban, South Africa and we had to take a public bus from Durban to Maputo. My iPad battery died and therefore all of my bus entertainment, so I decided I had to have a physical  book for the bus ride instead of reading on my iPad. Off to the local bookstore we went and I picked up the paperback copy of I’ve Got Your Number (side note, I like the British cover much better than the American). I devoured the book on the bus ride and then promptly began it again the day after finishing.

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American Cover

I can’t quite describe what I like about the, because Poppy is such wackadoo. She makes some seriously questionable choices. Yet, I’ve read or listened to this book maybe four times now in the last 4 years. So there is obviously something that draws me into the crazy. Maybe it’s the British-ness. Maybe it’s the somewhat normal-ness of Poppy, even if she is a wackadoo (the plot of the book is wildly unrealistic) or maybe it’s because Kinsella has a way of creating characters you root for, even if they drive you nuts.

Luckily for me, all my other reading challenges have a “book you’ve already read” prompt, so I got to check off lots of prompts with one old favorite.