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Read Like Reese Witherspoon!

YPRL Staff

6 January, 2023

To continue wrapping up the excellent reading year that 2022 was, we’re delivering you the monthly picks from the lovely Reese Witherspoon's Bookclub.

Reese started her Book club in 2017, as a booklover herself, the main goal for her club is to select books thoughtfully and look for ways to deepen our connection to books, authors and ourselves.

Each monthly pick is a story involving a woman at the centre of it all, making them even more special! 

Here are her picks from 2022: 


Honor: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar  

Also available as an eBook (Libby) and in Large Print.  

Indian American journalist Smita has returned to India to cover a story, but reluctantly: long ago she and her family left the country with no intention of ever coming back. As she follows the case of Meena—a Hindu woman attacked by members of her own village and her own family for marrying a Muslim man—Smita comes face to face with a society where tradition carries more weight than one's own heart, and a story that threatens to unearth the painful secrets of Smita's own past. 


The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont 

Also available as eAudio (Borrow Box), eBook (Borrow Box), and in Large Print.  

The greatest mystery wasn't Agatha Christie's disappearance in those eleven infamous days, it's what she discovered. 
London, 1925: In a world of townhomes and tennis matches, socialites and shooting parties, Miss Nan O'Dea became Archie Christie's mistress, luring him away from his devoted and well-known wife, Agatha Christie. 
The question is, why? Why destroy another woman's marriage, why hatch a plot years in the making, and why murder? How was Nan O'Dea so intricately tied to those eleven mysterious days that Agatha Christie went missing? 


The Club by Ellery Lloyd 

Also available as an Audiobook (MP3), Audiobook (CD).  

Everyone's Dying to Join... 
The Home Group is a glamorous collection of celebrity members' clubs dotted across the globe, where the rich and famous can party hard and then crash out in its five-star suites, far from the prying eyes of fans and the media. 
The most spectacular of all is Island Home—a closely-guarded, ultra luxurious resort, just off the English coast—and its three-day launch party is easily the most coveted A-list invite of the decade. 
But behind the scenes, tensions are at breaking point: the ambitious and expensive project has pushed the Home Group's CEO and his long-suffering team to their absolute limits. All of them have something to hide—and that's before the beautiful people with their own ugly secrets even set foot on the island.


True Biz: A Novel by Sara Novic 

True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history finals, and have politicians, doctors, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they'll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who's never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school's golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the headmistress, who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both. This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, disability and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. 


The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams  

Also available as eAudio (Borrow Box), eBook (Borrow Box), Audiobook (MP3), and as a Book Group Kit. 

Esme is born into a world of words. Motherless and irrepressibly curious, she spends her childhood in the Scriptorium, a garden shed in Oxford where her father and a team of dedicated lexicographers are collecting words for the very first Oxford English Dictionary. Young Esme's place is beneath the sorting table, unseen and unheard. One day a slip of paper containing the word bondmaid flutters beneath the table. She rescues the slip, and when she learns that the word means "slave girl”. As she grows up, Esme realizes that words and meanings relating to women's and common folks' experiences often go unrecorded. And so, she begins in earnest to search out words for her own dictionary: the Dictionary of Lost Words. 


Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen  

Also available as an eBook (Libby).  

Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home—she's built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava's world is crumbling. Enter Winnie Fang, Ava's enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China, who abruptly dropped out under mysterious circumstances. Now, twenty years later, Winnie is looking to reconnect with her old friend. But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods. The secret to her success? Winnie has developed an ingenious counterfeit scheme that involves importing near-exact replicas of luxury handbags and now she needs someone with a U.S. passport to help manage her business—someone who'd never be suspected of wrongdoing, someone like Ava. 


Honey & Spice by Bolu Babalola  

Sharp-tongued (and secretly soft-hearted) Kiki Banjo has just made a huge mistake. As an expert in relationship-evasion and the host of the popular student radio show Brown Sugar, she's made it her mission to make sure the women of the African-Caribbean Society at Whitewell University do not fall into the mess of "situationships", players, and heartbreak. But when the Queen of the Unbothered kisses Malakai Korede, the guy she just publicly denounced as "The Wastemen of Whitewell," in front of every Blackwellian on campus, she finds her show on the brink. They're soon embroiled in a fake relationship to try and salvage their reputations and save their futures. 


Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

Also available as an eBook (Borrow Box). 

How do you stop a murder after it’s already happened? Find out the lengths one woman will go to save her family in Gillian McAllister’s suspenseful psychological thriller.

It’s every parent’s nightmare. Your happy, funny, innocent son commits a terrible crime: murdering a complete stranger. You don’t know who. You don’t know why. You only know your teenage boy is in custody and his future lost.

That night you fall asleep in despair. Until you wake . . . and it is yesterday. Every morning you wake up a day earlier, another day before the murder. Another chance to stop it. Somewhere in the past lie the answers, and you don’t have a choice but to find them . . .


On the Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton  

Vivian is a formidable matriarch, raising her three daughters to fulfil their potential as jazz singers. She may have compromised her own ambitions when she was forced to flee racist violence in her home state of Louisiana, but she dreams of a bigger life for their daughters. Talented, hardworking and driven by their uncompromising mother, Ruth, Esther and Chloe find stardom as The Salvations. But somewhere between rehearsals on the rooftop and weekly gigs at the Champagne Supper Club, the girls become women - women with hopes and plans of their own.


Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in a university library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve "American culture" in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic - including the work of Bird's mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old. Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn't know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn't wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is pulled into a quest to find her.


Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed  

Available as an eBook (Libby), and as an Audiobook (MP3).

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar is a collection of Strayed’s column, which she wrote for The Rumpus. She responded to troubled readers who were coping with loss and other life problems by giving advice on how to handle those emotions. Her intimate replies schooled both the letter writers and her broader audience on how to handle a range of difficult emotions including heartbreak, depression, jealousy, and grief. In her book, Cheryl Strayed gives advice to people who are going through a difficult time. She usually draws on her own experiences in order to help other people. 

 Everyday across the world, people go through the full and glorious gamut of life, but sometimes, a little advice is needed.


The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell 

Also available as an Audiobook (MP3).

Florence, the 1560s. Lucrezia, third daughter of Cosimo de' Medici, is free to wander the palazzo at will, wondering at its treasures and observing its clandestine workings. But when her older sister dies on the eve of marriage to Alfonso d'Este, ruler of Ferrara, Modena and Reggio, Lucrezia is thrust unwittingly into the limelight: the duke is quick to request her hand in marriage, and her father to accept on her behalf. Having barely left girlhood, Lucrezia must now make her way in a troubled court whose customs are opaque and where her arrival is unwelcomed.

In the court's eyes, she has one duty: to provide the heir who will shore up the future of the Ferrarese dynasty. Until then, for all of her rank and nobility, her future hangs entirely in the balance.


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