Ep 68: Plot summaries are the worst (with Laura Tremaine)

Ep 68: Plot summaries are the worst (with Laura Tremaine)

It's Tuesday, readers! New What Should I Read Next, coming up. 

Today’s guest is Laura Tremaine. You may know her from her former blog Hollywood Housewife... or the Sorta Awesome podcast... or The Smartest Person In The Room podcast... but no matter where you first heard Laura's voice, I think we can all agree she's a delight. I always love to hear her thoughts on what she’s reading, even though—or maybe especially BECAUSE—our taste is not the same. 

A lot of bookish ground is covered in this episode. We discuss the author Laura thinks is underappreciated, even though he’s a huge commercial success (any guesses?) We touch on how competition and insecurity in the reading world gets real. Judy Blume, Reese Witherspoon, book clubs, and how plot summaries are THE WORST.

With that much ground to cover, there's no time to waste - let's dive in!

There's plenty of Laura's energy out there on the internet! Get to know her a little better: 

Laura Tremaine
Website Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

The Smartest Person in the Room podcast
WebsiteFacebook | Instagram

Books mentioned in this episode:

• Starring Sally J. Friedman As Herself, by Judy Blume
• IT, by Stephen King
• 11/22/63, by Stephen King
• The Stand, by Stephen King
• The Shining, by Stephen King
• Carrie, by Stephen King
• On Writing, by Stephen King
• The Sound of Gravel, by Ruth Wariner
• Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver
• The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver
• All The Ugly & Wonderful Things, by Bryn Greenwood
• My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout
• Anything is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout
• The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead
• Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
• Columbine, by Dave Cullen
• A Mother’s Reckoning, by Sue Klebold
• The Dry, by Jane Harper


One of the books Laura and I discuss today is a Book of the Month pick for March! Here's judge Leigh Habor, the Books editor for O Magazine, on why it's such a timely pick: 


"There couldn’t be a timelier novel than migrant love story Exit West. Mohsin Hamid never names the city from which his hero and heroine—Saeed and Nadia—must escape. They fall in love like many modern men and women do, at first tentatively, and then with increasing urgency, constantly in cell phone communication, negotiating sexual and relationship boundaries, smoking pot, even tripping on shrooms.

Early on, while there are hints of the lethal destruction to come, they can tune out when they are together. Later, the violence consumes everything, which, we realize, is what it must be life for an Iraqi, a Syrian, a Somali. As we become absorbed in their world through this remarkable book, we too become migrants, feeling the differences between us fall away, leaving only the sense of what it is to be a human being with nothing left except a glimmer of hope that somewhere else, things will be better.

No, this novel is not airy and light. It contains a lot of gorgeous writing, and it is a slim volume that packs a lot of movement and action into its pages, as well as an epic romance. But you can’t walk away from it and feel unchanged, because nothing I’ve read before has made me feel what it is to have your native city become an uninhabitable war zone; feel what it must be like to flee all you know and many of those you love—as Hamid puts it, “like dying and being born”—for a wholly unfamiliar place where you will forage for food, hide from authorities, be beaten by unwelcoming, anti-immigrant mobs, have no access to hot water or clean, comfortable beds.

I guess you can sense that I am passionate about this book. It’s a novel for globalists who see the world not in skin colors or borders but as a planet populated by people who all want the same things, and perhaps, more than anything else, to one day meet a person who will say, yes, I get you."

Click here to check out all the current Book of the Month picks. (New selections announced on the 1st!) Read my Book of the Month review here.

Many thanks to today's sponsor PrepDish! Head here to get your totally free two-week trial

What do YOU think Laura should read next? Tell us in comments!

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  1. Because Laura loved The Sound of Gravel, she needs to read The Polygamists Daughter by Anna LeBaron. She will recognize the last name because Anna is cousins with Ruth. This book is told from the Ervil side of the family. Fun fact, Anna and Ruth met for the first time because Anna helped Ruth launch her book.

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