“Three Wishes” book response and July selection!

Virtual Book Club
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It’s the last Wednesday of the month and you know what that means… my monthly book review! After heavy and lengthy books, the Virtual Book Club wanted something light and summery to read for June. I was grateful because although reading hard, important books, magazines, and the news is something we should all do for our own self-enrichment, sometimes an escape is necessary as well, and isn’t that what summer reads are for?

Not that Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty is all sunshine and roses. It’s actually kind of dark tempered with lots of light moments. There is a ton of slapstick humor running through the book; it lightens up the continually awful events happening to one or more characters at a time. The book contains overarching themes about sisterhood, secrets, hardships (relationships and childbearing), and what success really looks like.

The premise of the book centers around three triplet sisters in Sydney who are at different stages in their lives, despite being the same age. It takes place at Christmas, which can be a very stressful time of the year for those with complicated families. Twist: Christmas in Australia is in the middle of summer; this still qualified as our summer beach read!

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The Kettle family is complicated, but not in that way that families in books and movies always hate each other. The family was unique in that all three sisters, plus mother and father (divorced decades ago) and grandma all lived in the same city and generally all like one another. Unheard of in movies these days! The sisters are very close—a recurring theme in the book is that some characters think they are too close. When you’re a triplet, where do you draw the line between yourself and your family? Who comes first: sister or spouse/significant other?

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One of my favorite things in Three Wishes was that Moriarty included these little asides narrated by bystanders observing the Kettle family and then relaying the vignette to someone else. It reminded me of the asides interspersed throughout When Harry Met Sally. Although to us our families may seem screwed up, to others they seem sweet and normal. To me they served a dual purpose: One, don’t underestimate the struggles someone is going through just because they seem okay; and two, something that seems huge and all encompassing at the moment could blow over and isn’t really worth getting so worked up about. Perspective!

[Possible spoilers here but I’m being pretty vague] I feel that the book never really answered the “who is more important, sisters or husbands” question, but it did push each triplet sister to grow in their own way. The one with an apparently perfect life learned to ask others for help. The freespirit matured in a visible way (although, maybe she was secretly mature the whole time?) and the codependent one learned independence and self-discovery.

I wonder what I’ll learn next year? I am (gulp) creeping up on 30 this September, after all.

As always, leave your comments below or link me to your review if you’ve already posted it on Goodreads or Amazon! I would love to read your take! 


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Last night we held our monthly discussion group on Facebook. I ran it (!) and we had the BEST time posting celebrities who we’d like to cast in the movie version of this book. It’s great to hear other perspectives on themes and events in a book while it’s fresh in our minds. If you’d like to join us over there (normally the last Tuesday of the month), message me on Facebook to be added.

For July, our group voted on runner-up books from the past few months. We will be reading One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter by Scaachi Koul, who is a feature writer for Buzzfeed. Some reviews draw positive comparisons to Mindy Kaling (which we did as a group last September) so I am really looking forward to this collection of short stories. Please join along with me, Libby, and the rest of our group as we read together.

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“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” book response and June selection!

Coming off of grim dystopian novel A Handmaid’s Tale, we all decided to read something sweeter for April and May. Confession: I nominated this book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and didn’t realize how long it was (500+ pages) so we extended the book club by a month (hence no post at the end of April).

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I read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn several years ago and remember being quietly moved by it. I was eager to revisit it and find out if the feeling was still true. It was.

This is Betty Smith’s first and most famous novel, largely based on her own experience growing up in a poor immigrant family, after the turn of the 20th century but before World War I. The book is written in third person but focuses mainly on the main character, Francie, and secondly on her family, the Nolans: mother Katie, father Johnny, and brother Neely. The premise of following along as an 11-to-17 year old girl grows up in desperate poverty sounds quite grim, but Francie’s rich inner world and constant childlike-but-wise observations on the world around her are constantly charming and heartwarming. In this way, we can all take a lesson from this and reflect on the beautiful in the everyday.

“Then I’ve been drunk, too,” admitted Francie.
“On beer?”
“No. Last spring, in McCarren’s Park, I saw a tulip for the first time in my life.”

The thing I liked most about the writing in this book is how often Smith would lay out the story or moment, and then at the end let us enter into the character’s reflection at the end. She would summarize dinner and the evening routine in the Nolan household, maybe one without enough food to go around, and then slip in something poignant like Katie thinking to herself, “It’s a hard and bitter world. They’ve got to live in it. Let them get hardened young to take care of themselves.” Peeking into the inner lives of the characters, even side characters from time to time, connected me more to each of them and reminds me that we all aspire to be more and we have inner lives that only some of us bring to daylight.

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As the book progresses, it does so slowly at times, and rapidly at times, just how I felt as I grew up. And, although the world in the book was 100 years ago, there are so many relatable everyday moments. There are still those universally relatable moments—sibling jealousy, the struggle of a horrible teacher, the worries about not fitting in at a new job. I’m sure I will read this again every few years to remind me that every life is a journey, even if it doesn’t seem to have a straight direction, and that I should pause and reflect on the small things in my life from time to time.

“If there was only one tree like that in the world, you would think it was beautiful. But because there are so many, you just can’t see how beautiful it really is.”

As always, leave your comments below or link me to your review if you’ve already posted it on Goodreads or Amazon! I would love to read your take!


Virtual Book ClubLast night we held our monthly discussion group on facebook. I love setting aside time to hear other perspectives on themes and events in a book that was fresh in our minds. If you’d like to join us over there (normally the last Tuesday of the month), message me on facebook to be added.

For June, our group selected by vote Three Wishes by the ubiquitous Liane Moriarty. I’ve never read anything by this author but she is wildly popular, so I’m sure it will be good. Please join along with me, Libby, and the rest of our group as we read together.

Summer Forecast

Okay, so, my home isn’t new to me, but I have been putting a lot of thought into designing my spaces better. I feel that we’ve finally gotten settled, gotten to know our home, and really know what works for us. Now the fun part comes. Getting each room tweaked just so, and realizing our condo’s full potential. We are traveling a little bit in May, but in June and July I think we are going to work on home stuff a lot more than we have in the last year or so.

Living Room: The living room is humming along. We are working on a wood paneling update that I’ll share more about in a week or two. We are going black and white inspired by the interior design firm Commune’s work at the Ace Hotel LA. Here is a sneak peek and a little inspiration I am working from.

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Bedroom: The paneling has been going so well in the living room, I think we have enough leftover to do paneling in the bedroom too. I think the recurring feature will connect the rooms, but for color I am still deciding between matching the black from the living room or going with a color.

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All of this exciting redecorating on the horizon has got me thinking back to moving into our place for the first time. Making a neutral space exciting takes a little bit of skill, a little bit of luck (if you’re a bargain/thrift shopper like me) and a dose of color. I’m finally ready for phase two of decorating, but phase one is a challenge for a lot of people. I brainstormed with Casper to come up with some essentials to make a new house feel like home.

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Rug: Rugs are great because you can move them from room to room and house to house. They are a good investment and can cover up less than desirable linoleum or blah carpet.

Artwork: Like rugs above, artwork can be sentimental and move from home to home. Putting art up on the wall instantly transforms a room from a plain box into a place with warmth and dimension.

New Mattress and Pillows: Every room can do with new throw pillows, and moving is a good opportunity to trade in for a new mattress, too. If your mattress is doing okay, it’s still a good idea to get new bed pillows because… do you even remember the last time you got new bed pillows? I mean… you could get your dog a new bed too. Mosey asked me to mention that.

Paint: Confession, even when I was a renter I took the liberty of painting my space. Something about picking out the color you want to surround yourself with is liberating. We recently painted our living room from beige to white, an almost imperceptible change but the room just feels “right” now.

Lighting: I switched out my dining room light and have felt like a rockstar ever since. I think this usurps painting as the act that truly claims a space as your own. If you invest in lighting (it ain’t cheap) and put it up without zapping yourself… your house has truly become home.

Tool Kit: Trying to assemble furniture or switch out finishes can be frustrating without the right tools. I got this IKEA tool kit when I moved into my first apartment in college. I have used it countless times. It has just about anything you need to do odd jobs around the house—I can’t recommend it enough and I think everybody should have one tucked in their bottom kitchen drawer, like we do.

What do you think takes your living space from “house to home?” Having friends over is an instant fix–they call it housewarming for a reason. Baking something delicious and filling the home with the scent of that is another great idea. Share your move-in traditions, or must-haves, or best housewarming gifts in the comments!

Casper provided me with the infographic, but this is not a sponsored post.