In addition to podcasts, I also really like to listen to audiobooks while I drive – especially for the longer trips I have to make. Being able to start a book and finish it in one sitting helps make the trips a little more bearable for sure! Earlier this spring I discovered Taylor Jenkins Reid when I saw a book on Hoopla with a cover I really liked, an interesting title (Maybe in Another Life), and a synopsis that grabbed me:
At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan. Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan? In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her.
I listened to the entire book and was rattled by it by the time I got home – without spoiling too much (because you really should read it for yourself) it made me think a lot about the hundreds of decisions I make each day and how each one impacts my life. Since then, I’ve read all four of her books (and discovered that she’s also contributed to my favorite blog, The Billfold!) and enjoyed every single one, so this installment of book club is dedicated to my girl crush, TJR.
Maybe in Another Life: Her third book and the first one I read, I absolutely love this story. It’s hard to talk about without spoiling too much, and the description of the book is above, so I’ll just post my favorite quote from the book. It’s one I think about a lot when things are tough and just imagine that somewhere in a different timeline, everything is alright and eventually, things will work out in this one, too. (As a warning, you will have cravings for cinnamon rolls while reading and for months afterward, so prepare accordingly.)
Forever, Interrupted: I listened to this on the drive back to Nashville after having finished Maybe in Another Life, and it made sitting in traffic less awful. Elsie is widowed within the first few pages of the book after a quick romance and marriage – the marriage certificate hasn’t even made it to them before her husband passes away. It’s a story of how tragedy can bring to people who have never met together, and what kind of legacy you can leave behind.
“No matter how strong you are, no matter how smart you are or tough you can be, the world will find a way to break you. And when it does, the only thing you can do is hold on.”
After I Do: Lauren and Ryan are in love until they’re not, and when they realize that, they make a decision to try to save their relationship and marriage that many would consider crazy. They learn a lot about what it means to be in love and what happens when the shape of that love changes.
“Ryan and I are two people who used to be in love.
What a beautiful thing to have been.
What a sad thing to be.”
One True Loves: This book came out a few months after I binged the others, and I did something I haven’t ever done with a book before: I pre-ordered it. I eventually ended up listening on Hoopla anyway once it was posted there, and it’s another great premise: what happens when you marry your soulmate and he dies, but what happens once you move on… only to discover that he didn’t actually die?
“Good things don’t wait until you’re ready. Sometimes they come right before, when you’re almost there. And I figured when that happens, you can let them pass by like a bus not meant for you. Or you can get ready. So I got ready.”