Book Review: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
by
Lori Gottlieb

Rating:

Lori Gottlieb, a writer and psychotherapist, felt crushed when the long-term relationship with her boyfriend ended abruptly. She was certain she’d been wronged and wanted to find a way out of her pain. So she found her own therapist (Wendell) and, while he was helping her, she was helping her patients with many of the same issues, all of which come from being human.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is the story of four of Gottlieb’s patients and of her own journey to better self-understanding. She explains the similarity and why she wrote the book: “Our training has taught us theories and tools and techniques, but whirring beneath our hard-earned expertise is the fact that we know just how hard it is to be a person.”

Gottlieb introduces us to her patients: John, a highly successful television writer who thinks everyone is an idiot; Charlotte, a twenty-five-year-old with anxiety and relationship issues; Julie, a thirty-something newlywed with a cancer diagnosis; and Rita, nearly seventy and considering suicide.

In chapters that connect Gottlieb’s progress with her patients’, we get to know them all. The author describes how it feels to be both patient and doctor. “Does my therapist like me?” she hopes. “Are my problems boring?” she worries. She talks about the relationships with her patients and how invested she becomes in their progress and happiness. And how they see her. What would they think if they knew that she, too, was in therapy?

As we learn more about them, we begin to see that the problems John, Charlotte, Julie, Rita and Lori have are variations of our own and based on a search for meaning in life.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is both anecdotally funny and informative about theories and methods. Gottlieb gives us insight into her own therapy by laughing at her initial awkwardness with Wendell. She shares her insecurities and obsessions over the “Boyfriend” who broke it off. And as a therapist, she describes the many professional decisions she must make, such as how to honor the confidentiality contract with patients when your paths cross, in person and through referrals. As she discusses their sessions, she shows what methods she uses to see what’s really underneath John’s anger, to show Charlotte how to break her self-destructive habits, to help Julie with a grim diagnosis and to teach Rita how to find a reason to live.

She encourages her patients to acknowledge their pain because “feeling your sadness or anxiety can also give you essential information about yourself and your world.” She emphasizes recognizing sadness and breaking free from “stepping in the same puddle,” pointing out that “most big transformations come about from the hundreds of tiny, almost imperceptible, steps we take along the way.” I like that.

I found this book highly readable and informative. By sharing her problems and relating them to her patients’, Gottlieb erases the stigma of going to therapy. Her message? We all need someone to talk to.

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On blogging and menu pages

If you’re interested in seeing what I’ve read since the beginning of Book Club Mom, check out the yearly “Books of…” in the top menu. Here’s a quick run-down of them:


Books of 2013

Book Club Mom was born in 2013. Understanding blogging takes a while and learning how to write proper book reviews takes even longer. So this was the year of figuring it out. But I read a lot in 2013. Classics, new books, Young Adult and several random books. And some terrific 5-star reads, including Gone With the WindThe Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird and Life After Life.


Books of 2014

This year I read a lot of short fiction and re-read some of my favorite children’s books. I also mixed it up with my favorite classics – Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Lord of the Flies, a wildly popular book of the time, Me Before You, and one of my favorite reads of the year, The Interestings.

And 2014 was also the year when I re-read my all-time favorite book, Youngblood Hawke!


Books of 2015

This year I read a variety of genres, including short fiction, and dipped into some nonfiction. I remember loving The Sound and the Fury when I was in college, but I had a hard time getting through it this time! I re-read one of my favorites, The Grapes of Wrath and read Julius Caesar because one of my kids was reading it in school.

I had never read Slaughterhouse Five and was blown away by it. What a book! And of course, All the Light We Cannot See was an unforgettable story. Some popular books and some fun ones rounded out the year.


Books of 2016

This year I did two things that were different. I started writing articles based on books I’d read for a website. And I got a job in a public library. I did my first summer reading challenge which had me reading different types of books. I also renewed my interest in thrillers and historical fiction. I went on a Hemingway kick and reread A Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea and read A Moveable Feast for the first time. And this was the year I read some great indie and self-published books, including Eating Bull by Carrie and Calmer Girls by Jennifer Kelland Perry.  Some nonfiction rounded things out, including The Ghost Map, which one of my kids had to read for his freshman seminar in college.


Books of 2017

2017 was a different year because I started to get more into thrillers. It’s fun to mix them in to other types of books. I also started helping out with the Whodunits Mystery Book Club at the library where I work, so I took up mysteries. That’s a genre I hadn’t read much of before and I read some excellent ones like Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and The Lewis Trilogy, which is set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. I did our library’s summer reading challenge again and read some different books, like The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and Black Beauty.

I also read two books by my author friends, The Seneca Scourge by Carrie Rubin (don’t read this on an airplane! 😬) and Calmer Secrets by Jennifer Kelland Perry, a great sequel to Calmer Girls.


Books of 2018

2018 was the year I started listening to audiobooks. I’d never tried them and wanted to “hear” what they were all about. Although I still prefer reading books, I found that listening to audiobooks was a fun way to pass the time while I was walking or doing things around the house. I learned, however, not to listen while I was cooking because of a measuring incident while listening to a thriller!

I read some excellent nonfiction this year, including Killers of the Flower Moon, Educated and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. And I continued to enjoy several of my blogging/writing friends’ books, including The Bone Curse by Carrie Rubin, The Storyteller Speaks by Annika Perry, Second Chance Romance by Jill Weatherholt and Death in a Mudflat by Noelle Granger.


Books of 2019

2019 was a great reading year. I listened to more audiobooks, read mysteries for work, and talked more with my work friends about what books were hot, which led to me reading (and listening to) Long Way Down and What If? and reading Lab Girl and The Beneficiary. I read a few debut books that became really hot during the year, The Silent Patient and Miracle Creek.

Several 5-star reads included In Cold Blood, Less and Where the Crawdads Sing.


Books of 2020

Just getting started!


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Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone and Happy New Year!

I’ve had fun seeing what all the book bloggers read in 2019 and now it’s time to begin again! I’m not doing any reading challenges this year, but I always like to have a short-term plan for what I’m going to read.

So here’s what’s in store for January:

I just started A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. It’s on loan from the library on my Kindle and due soon, so that’s first. OMG I am tearing through it. I’m already sure I will give it a good review!


Next up is The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins. I’m reading it for my mystery book club at work. We decided to return to one of the first of the genre and this one goes way back. The Moonstone was first published in 1868!


I got two books for Christmas and I can’t wait to start them. I’ve been talking about reading a Howard Hughes biography and this one is Howard Hughes – the Untold Story by Petter Harry Brown and Pat H. Broeske.


I also got You by Caroline Kepnes. If you don’t know about this book, it’s also a series on Netflix and Season 2 just started. I’m going to read this first, watch Season 1, then move on to either the sequel called Hidden Bodies or watch Season 2 first. Can’t decide!


I hope you have some fun things and some good books lined up for 2020. What’s the first book you will read?

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A great reading year for fiction and nonfiction – check out these recommended reads!

Image: Pixabay

It’s been a great reading year and the perfect time to share the books I’ve enjoyed. I’m ready to curl up with a good book, are you?


Fiction

Leaving the Beach by Mary Rowen

The story of a young woman and her search for happiness. Set in the working class town of Winthrop, Massachusetts, readers get to know her in alternating time periods—in the 1970s and ‘80s as an awkward teenager and college student, and in the 1990s as a young adult.


Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Highly recommend this terrific story of complicated family dynamics. You’ll want to read it all at once to know how it works out!


Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington

Debut collection of 13 coming-of-age stories, set in Houston, and told mainly by one character. An uncensored look at a struggling population with a hopeful finish. One of Barack Obama’s Top Picks of 2019.


Nonfiction

The Beneficiary – Fortune, Misfortune, and the
Story of my Father by Janny Scott

Interesting biography of Robert Montgomery Scott, written by his daughter Janny Scott. A history, spanning four generations of a wealthy family that settled on what’s called the Main Line outside of Philadelphia.


Honor Girl – A Graphic Memoir by Maggie Thrash

Young Adult graphic memoir about the author’s coming-out experience at a summer camp in the mountains of Kentucky.


How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in
Thirteen Animals
by Sy Montgomery

The more Sy Montgomery studies animals and nature, the more she knows that humans have a lot to learn about the creatures that share our world. In this book, she describes her unique relationships with 13 animals and what they have taught her.


What good books did you read in 2019?

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Book Club Mom’s great reads of 2019

I read some great books this year. Here’s a list of my favorites!


Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Is it good luck to survive a plane crash over the Atlantic? Most would think yes, but Scott Burroughs, after a heroic swim to safety, with four-year-old JJ Bateman clinging to his neck, may wonder. Because he will soon find himself caught between competing government agencies searching for a cause and the media’s ruthless pursuit of a story, any story, even if it’s unfounded. Winner of the 2017 Edgar Award for Best Novel and the 2017 International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel.


In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Fantastic nonfiction novel, the first of its kind and considered Truman Capote’s masterpiece. The chilling depiction of a senseless 1959 murder of a Kansas family. Capote and his childhood friend, Harper Lee, went to Kansas to research the story and compiled over 8000 pages of notes. They were granted numerous interviews with the murderers, who by then, had confessed and were in jail awaiting trial. They moved to death row after their convictions, where Capote continued to interview them until their hangings. He became particularly attached to Perry Smith and related to his unhappy childhood.


Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Fantastic memoir about Hope Jahren’s experiences as a scientist. Jahren’s field is plants, especially trees, and her interest in them is contagious. She explains the fascinating way in which they grow, reproduce and adapt. Jahren writes beautifully about her profession, its challenges and about her lonely childhood in Minnesota, college life and early years trying to make it as a scientist.


Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Arthur Less is turning 50 and he’s at the edge of a crisis: his writing career has stalled and his former lover is getting married. To guarantee he’ll be out of the country on the day of the wedding, Less accepts a string of unusual writerly engagements that take him around the world. His goal? Forget lost love and rework the novel his publisher has taken a pass on. In a comedic series of travel mishaps, Less bumbles through this symbolic journey in search of happiness. Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.


Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan

Set in New York during the Depression and World War II, the story begins with Anna Kerrigan as a young girl whose father has ties to organized crime. She accompanies her father on an errand and meets a mysterious man with powerful connections and won’t fully understand the impact until years later. I highly recommend Manhattan Beach to readers who like historical fiction and big stories with strong female characters.


Notes from a Public Typewriter – edited by Michael Gustafson and Oliver Uberti

Guaranteed to put you in a good mood, about the Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor, Michigan, owned by Gustafson and his wife, Hilary. When they set up the store in 2013, they put out a typewriter, with paper, for anyone to use. It wasn’t long before customers began to type random, sometimes whimsical and often heartfelt messages for all to see. This book is the combined story of these messages.


Refugee by Alan Gratz

Terrific Young Adult historical novel about three refugee children, caught in different periods of conflict, who flee their countries in search of safety and a better life. In alternating stories, the children face unpredictable danger as they desperately try to keep their families together. Each discovers that, by being invisible, they escape many dangers, but miss chances for others to help them. Published in 2017 Refugee is now included in many middle and high school curriculums. A New York Times Notable Book, an Amazon Best Book of the Year, and both Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year.


Sounds Like Titanic by Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman

Great memoir about a woman who is hired to play violin in a prestigious touring orchestra, only to discover that the microphones are turned off. What’s turned on is a $14.95 CD player from Walmart, playing a recorded version of a composer’s music, performed by other musicians. The music sounds suspiciously like, but a strategic note or two different from, the score of the popular 1997 film, Titanic.


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

Kya Clark is six years old when her mother walks out of their shack, a place hidden in the marshes of North Carolina, where racial tension and small-town prejudices are firmly in place in the nearby coastal town of Barkley Cove. Soon her father’s abusive rages drive Kya’s older siblings away, leaving only Kya and her father. Then one day it’s just Kya, known in town and shunned as the wild Marsh Girl. The story begins in 1952 and jumps to 1969, when a young man has died. In alternating chapters, readers learn Kya’s story of survival and how she becomes part of the investigation into his death.


What books were your favorites in 2019? Leave a comment and share your best!

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On using animals and nature as literary devices

I really like when fiction authors include animals and nature in their stories. I don’t mean when animals or trees talk, though. I’m talking about when nature has a strong influence on the story and its characters. Sometimes it’s just the setting that affects the characters, like Jane Harper’s use of a drought in The Dry. Or how Delia Owens uses the marsh to drive the story in Where the Crawdads Sing. Other books have a lot of other things going on, like in Life After Life and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson, but nature’s influence is still prominent. Here are links to these and a few other fiction books that fit into this category.

Fiction

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
The Dry by Jane Harper


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

And here are some great nonfiction books about nature and animals. They leave me feeling a strong connection between humans and nature.

Nonfiction

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen
How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals by Sy Montgomery
Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

Do you like books that include nature and animals? Can you add to this list?

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Book Club Mom’s September recap – summer’s over!

Image: Pixabay

September is often the month for fresh starts and getting back on track after the lazy days of summer. The truth is, for me, summer can be busier than fall! It’s much quieter here now, with kids out of the house, going to school or working. I like the hustle bustle of a full house, but there are always books, right?


I read some good ones this month and was surprised that I had chosen three nonfiction books! I have always preferred fiction, but I’m noticing more and more interesting narrative nonfiction books that I want to read.

The Escape Room by Megan Goldin
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
My Friend Anna – The True Story of a Fake Heiress by Rachel DeLoache Williams
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
The Library Book by Susan Orlean

In case you missed these author profiles:

Who’s That Author? Truman Capote
Who’s That Author? Linda Holmes
Who’s That Indie Author? Amy Tasukada
Are you a self-published or indie author? Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com
if you would like to be featured on Who’s That Indie Author.

And I wrote these random and spontaneous posts:

Library book strategies – managing (or not managing)
holds on the new and popular books
Grammar talk: misspelled words and other confessions
Social media book groups – are you in one?
Here comes fall – books to match the season!

I know it can be hard to say goodbye to summer, but I think September is a good transition month. Hope you are ready to ease into fall with a good book! What’s in your reading pile?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!

Book Club Mom’s March recap – a month of blog posts

Image: Pixabay

March powered through like a freight train on greased wheels and I’m happy to say I didn’t derail!

Spring has finally arrived and, for the first time since I planted bulbs, the bunnies haven’t chomped my flowers down to the nubs. That must be a sign of good things to come!

I had a busy blogging month. I read some good books, profiled two indie authors, brushed up on my vocabulary and grammar, wrote and shared some special posts and made a few YouTube videos.

Here’s a quick “ICYMI” summary of what went down in March at Book Club Mom. Click on the links to visit each post.


Book Reviews

Mar 3: The Widow by Fiona Barton
Mar 11: Transcription by Kate Atkinson
Mar 22: Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
Mar 24: What If? by Randall Munroe
Mar 30: How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery


Mar 6: Giselle Roeder
Mar 19: Gina Briganti

I love meeting indie authors and I’m always looking for new profiles to post. If you are interested in being featured, please email bvitelli2009@gmail for more information.


Grammar and Vocabulary

(Images: Pixabay)

I may have majored in English, but I make plenty of mistakes. These grammar and vocabulary posts are my way of staying fresh with the rules:

Mar 5: On vocabulary, words both big and small…
Mar 21: “Into” and “in to” – are you into it?
Mar 28: Using ellipses – are you doing it right?


Special Posts

I shared two posts written by my son, Austin Vitelli. The first is a book review and the second is a feature article that appeared in The Morning Call on March 26.

Mar 6: Sweetness by Jeff Pearlman – thoughts on NFL legend Walter Payton
Mar 26: How 3 former Lehigh football players and their friends started a record label


Guest Post on author Jill Weatherholt’s blog

I was excited to be featured on Jill’s blog, where I talk about my blogging experiences (and mistakes!) and tackle the tricky question of what to do when I don’t like a book.

Mar 29: Welcome Book Blogger Book Club Mom


I’m still learning the technical side of making videos, but I’m having a lot of fun along the way. I have some new ideas for April, so stay tuned!

Mar 7: Self-publishing – here’s how we did it!
Mar 13: Walking and listening to audiobooks
Mar 20: Audiobook update and general news!


I hope you had a great month too! Looking forward to more fun in April!

Image: Pixabay

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Sweetness by Jeff Pearlman – thoughts on NFL legend Walter Payton by Austin Vitelli

I like when I read a book and feel the need to discuss it, but I mostly cover fiction and fiction book reviews tend to stick to what’s on the pages, with commentary about characters, plot, writing style, etc. It’s harder to find opinion pieces that take the subject of a book to the next level, but biographies are a great way for readers to develop and share ideas about a person’s life story.

Today I’m sharing a post by Austin Vitelli about the life of NFL legend Walter Payton. He wrote it after reading Sweetness by Jeff Pearlman, a biography about Payton. If you’re not a football fan, you may not know the name, but Walter Payton is the namesake of the annual NFL Man of the Year award. Each year, the NFL honors a player “for his excellence on and off the field. The award was established in 1970. It was renamed in 1999 after the late Hall of Fame Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton. Each team nominates one player who has had a significant positive impact on his community.”

Vitelli writes,

One thing I struggled with throughout the book was weighing the good and bad in Payton’s life. Payton was likely one of the nicest and most genuinely caring NFL players ever. But he also made lots of questionable decisions that seemingly get left out in many people’s stories of him.

Click here to read the rest of Vitelli’s thoughts on Walter Payton’s life and career. And visit austinvitelli.com for more about Austin’s career in journalism and editing.


Like sports biographies? Check out Gunslinger by Jeff Pearlman
and this Q&A with the author.


Thanks for visiting – come back soon! 

 

Who’s That Indie Author? Michelle Burke and Lilamani de Silva

whos-that-indie-author

Author names:  Michelle Burke & Lilamani de Silva

Genre:  Non Fiction – Motivational, Self Help

Book:  15 Minute Pause, A Radical Reboot for Busy People

Bios:  Michelle Burke is a sought-after leadership and team coach, consultant and speaker. She is Founder of Energy Catalyst Group, devoting her 20-year career to helping organizations becoming thriving energized workplaces. A few clients include Sony PlayStation, Microsoft, Disney, HTC and Snap Inc. Lilamani de Silva and Michelle have created card games and educational products for over 17yrs. Lilamani’s eclectic career has included publicist at London Zoo, Assistant producer of natural history documentaries for Discovery and Animal Planet.

Favorite thing about being writers:  Inspiring people to have more joy and share insights

Biggest challenge as indie authors:  Spreading the word – promoting the book’s message

Favorite books:
Lilamani: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, Signature of All Things Elizabeth Gilbert
Michelle: Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh and The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Contact Information15minutepause.com, energycatalystgroup.com


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

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