Saturdays at the Café is a weekly feature hosted here to talk about and discuss the books I’ve discovered during the past week, added to my shelf and am excited about reading. They may be new/scheduled releases I’ve seen on NetGalley, at the library, or from publishers or they may be older titles my friends have reviewed and shared on Goodreads or blogs.
In this “wise and wickedly funny novel about love, creativity, and the limitations of the tech-verse” (Vogue) newlyweds Asha and Cyrus find themselves running one of the most popular social media platforms in the world.
Meet Asha Ray. Brilliant coder and possessor of a Pi tattoo, Asha is poised to make a scientific breakthrough when she is reunited with her high school crush, Cyrus Jones.
Before she knows it, Asha has abandoned her lab, exchanged vows with Cyrus, and gone to work at an exclusive tech incubator called Utopia to develop an app called WAI — “We are Infinite.”
WAI creates a sensation, with millions of users logging on every day. Will Cyrus and Asha’s marriage survive the pressures of sudden fame, or will she become overshadowed by the man everyone is calling the new messiah?
This “scathing — and hilarious — take on startup culture, marriage and workaholism” (Politico) explores whether or not technology — with all its limits and possibilities — can disrupt modern love.
This showed up at my library and has so many intriguing elements I decided to go for it after reading so many positive reviews by Goodreads friends.
The story of three once-inseparable college friends in Nigeria who reunite for the first time in thirty years at a lavish wedding in Lagos for one of their daughters—a sparkling debut novel about mothers and daughters, culture and class, sex and love, and the extraordinary resilience of female friendship.
Funmi, Enitan, and Zainab first meet at university in Nigeria, and became friends for life despite their differences. Funmi is beautiful, brash, and determined; Enitan is homely and eager, seeking escape from her single mother’s smothering and needy love; Zainab is elegant and reserved, raised by her father’s first two wives after her mother’s death in childbirth. Their friendship is complicated but enduring, and over the course of the novel, the reader learns about their loves and losses.
Now, some thirty years later, the three women are reunited for the first time, in Lagos. The occasion: Funmi’s daughter, Destiny, is getting married. Enitan brings her American daughter, Remi. Zainab travels by bus, nervously leaving her ailing husband in the care of their son. Funmi, hosting the weekend of elaborate festivities with her wealthy husband, wants everything to go perfectly. But as the big day approaches, it becomes clear that something is not right.
I’ve modified the blurb significantly because so many reviewers complained about too many spoilers. It showed up at my library and I was immediately interested in a story involving female friendships in an African culture. By the time I read it, I won’t remember the spoilers😏
A vivid biography of Harvey Weinstein—how he rose to become a dominant figure in the film world, how he used that position to feed his monstrous sexual appetites, and how it all came crashing down, from the author who has covered the Hollywood and media power game for The New Yorker for three decades
Twenty years ago, Ken Auletta wrote an iconic New Yorker profile of the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, who was then at the height of his powers. The profile made waves for exposing how volatile, even violent, Weinstein was to his employees and collaborators. But there was a much darker story that was just out of reach: rumors had long swirled that Weinstein was a sexual predator. Auletta confronted Weinstein, who denied the claims. Since no one was willing to go on the record, Auletta and the magazine concluded they couldn’t close the case. Years later, he was able to share his reporting notes and knowledge with Ronan Farrow; he cheered as Farrow, and Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, finally revealed the truth.
Still, the story continued to nag him. The trail of assaults and cover-ups had been exposed, but the larger questions remained: What was at the root of Weinstein’s monstrousness? How, and why, was it never checked? Why the silence? How does a man run the day-to-day operations of a company with hundreds of employees and revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars, and at the same time live a shadow life of sexual predation without ever being caught? How much is this a story about Harvey Weinstein, and how much is this a story about Hollywood and power?
In pursuit of the answers, Auletta digs into Weinstein’s life, searching for the mysteries beneath a film career unparalleled for its extraordinary talent and creative success, which combined with a personal brutality and viciousness to leave a trail of ruined lives in its wake. Hollywood Ending is more than a prosecutor’s litany; it is an unflinching examination of Weinstein’s life and career, embedding his crimes in the context of the movie business, in his failures and the successes that led to enormous power. Film stars, Miramax employees and board members, old friends and family, and even the person who knew him best—Harvey’s brother, Bob—all talked to Auletta at length. Weinstein himself also responded to Auletta’s questions from prison. The result is not simply the portrait of a predator but of the power that allowed Weinstein to operate with such impunity for so many years, the spiderweb in which his victims found themselves trapped.
Like many others, my first introduction to Harvey Weinstein was when Ronan Farrow published his astonishing exposé about him. But this author had been writing about him for years, trying to expose him as the predator most knew him to be. This will be a tough story but one I think important as Weinstein is just one of many powerful men out there and I need to know how they pull it off. I’m in a short queue for the audiobook at my library.
An immigrant mother’s long-held secrets upend her daughter’s understanding of her family, her identity, and her place in the world in this powerful and dramatic memoir
“This is the Carmen Rita Wong I know—fierce and true. Her story broke my heart and filled it up at the same time.”—Sunny Hostin, three-time Emmy Award–winning co-host of ABC’s The View and New York Times bestselling author of I Am These Truths
My mother carried a powerful secret. A secret that shaped my life and the lives of everyone around me in ways she could not have imagined.
Carmen Rita Wong has always craved a sense of belonging: First as a toddler in a warm room full of Black and brown Latina women, like her mother, Lupe, cheering her dancing during her childhood in Harlem. And in Chinatown, where her immigrant father, “Papi” Wong, a hustler, would show her and her older brother off in opulent restaurants decorated in red and gold. Then came the almost exclusively white playgrounds of New Hampshire after her mother married her stepfather, Marty, who seemed to be the ideal of the white American dad.
As Carmen entered this new world with her new family—Lupe and Marty quickly had four more children—her relationship with her mother became fraught with tension, suspicion, and conflict, explained only years later by the secrets her mother had kept for so long.
And when those secrets were revealed, bringing clarity to so much of Carmen’s life, it was too late for answers. When her mother passed away, Carmen wanted to shake her soul by its shoulders and demand: Why didn’t you tell me?
A former national television host, advice columnist, and professor, Carmen searches to understand who she really is as she discovers her mother’s hidden history, facing the revelations that seep out. Why Didn’t You Tell Me? is a riveting and poignant story of Carmen’s experience of race and culture in America and how they shape who we think we are.
I’m unfamiliar with the author but her story resonates with me, coming from a family also prone to keeping major secrets! And, the reviews are wonderful. Thanks to my library for the audiobook.
“Speak your truth.” An icebreaker leads to unintended consequences for two strangers aboard a luxury yacht in this seductively twisty short story by the New York Times bestselling author of The Good Sister.
When Ella boards a sumptuous charter off the coast of Australia, she feels…dread. Her husband, Mac, the social butterfly who makes these wellness retreats so much easier to navigate, is stuck at work, leaving her exposed to the other passengers. Luckily, she forms an instant bond with the charismatic Chloe, a newly single woman salving a broken heart. But as the friendship grows, Ella discovers they share more than the need for an escape, and their devastating connection has the power to forever alter their lives.
Uncharted Waters by Sally Hepworth is part of Getaway, a collection of six stories about dream escapes that take unimaginable, even sinister, turns. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single sitting.
I agreed to this audio review request before it had a description solely because of Hepworth. Now that I’ve got one, I requested the other five in the Getaway collection.
The latest installment in the highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling Strike series finds Cormoran and Robin ensnared in another winding, wicked case.
When frantic, disheveled Edie Ledwell appears in the office begging to speak to her, private detective Robin Ellacott doesn’t know quite what to make of the situation. The cocreator of a popular cartoon, The Ink Black Heart, Edie is being persecuted by a mysterious online figure who goes by the pseudonym of Anomie. Edie is desperate to uncover Anomie’s true identity.
Robin decides that the agency can’t help with this—and thinks nothing more of it until a few days later, when she reads the shocking news that Edie has been tasered and then murdered in Highgate Cemetery, the location of The Ink Black Heart.
Robin and her business partner, Cormoran Strike, become drawn into the quest to uncover Anomie’s true identity. But with a complex web of online aliases, business interests and family conflicts to navigate, Strike and Robin find themselves embroiled in a case that stretches their powers of deduction to the limits – and which threatens them in new and horrifying ways . . .
A gripping, fiendishly clever mystery, The Ink Black Heart is a true tour-de-force.
It’s been some time since I last read a book in this series (love Cormoran Strike!) and now it’s time to return. I’m one book behind but should be caught up by the time this is released late next month. I’m in a short library queue for the audiobook.
What happens if the only Christmas celebration you want to attend is one you haven’t been invited to? USA Todaybestselling author Sarah Morgan delights with this hilarious and heartwarming Christmas cracker of a novel!
A family gathering
This Christmas the Miller siblings have one goal—to avoid their well-meaning family’s endless stream of prying questions. Ross, Alice and Clemmie have secrets that they don’t intend to share, and they are relying on each other to deflect attention.
An uninvited guest
Lucy Clarke is facing a Christmas alone and the prospect of losing her job. Unless she can win a major piece of business from Ross Miller, the season promises to be anything but festive. She’ll just deliver her proposal to his family home and then leave. After all, she wouldn’t want to intrude on the Miller family’s perfect Christmas.
A Christmas to remember
When Lucy appears on the Miller family’s snow-covered Highland doorstep, she’s mistaken for Ross’s girlfriend. By the time the confusion is cleared up, they’re snowed in—she can’t leave, even if she wants to! But does she want to? As secrets spill out like presents from an overstuffed stocking and the chemistry between her and Ross ignites, this is going to be either Lucy’s worst Christmas ever or the best mistake of her life.
Yay, a new Sarah Morgan Christmas story! It’s an audio review hopeful.
Zanne Klein never planned to be a personal assistant to Hollywood royalty Ted and Holly Stabler. But a decade in at thirty-eight, that’s exactly how she spends her days, earning six figures to make sure the movie mogul and his family have everything they could ever dream of and more.
However, today is no ordinary day at the Stabler estate. Tonight, everyone who’s anyone will be there for the Hollywood event of the season, and if the party’s a success, that chief of staff job Zanne’s been chasing may soon be hers. Which means she can buy a house, give her girlfriend the life she deserves, pay off her student loans.
Nothing’s going to get in Zanne’s way—not disgruntled staff, not a nosy reporter, not even a runaway hostess. But when Ted’s former business partner, Phoebe Lee, unexpectedly shows up right before go time, Zanne suddenly has a catastrophe unfolding before her—one with explosive consequences. As the truth comes out and Zanne realizes how deeply entangled she’s become in the Stablers’ world, she must decide if the sacrifices she’s made for the job are worth the moral price she has to pay.
Told over the course of a single day and from three fierce perspectives, The Work Wife is a richly observed novel about female ambition, complicity, privilege and what happens when the brightest of stars aren’t allowed to shine.
This also showed up at my library and it sounds interesting. Not many reviews yet but I think I’ll give it a shot, on audio.
What books did YOU add to your shelves this week?