Penny's Passion: Books I Read in August 2023

Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Books I Read in August 2023

Hello!  Welcome to Thinking Out Loud Thursday.  It's the first Thursday of the month so I'll be thinking about the books I read last month.  In August, I read some great books!  Four books were completed.  I rarely reread books, but this month I reread two!  Here’s the summary ~


Tom Lake by Ann Pachett

I grabbed Ann Pachett’s newest book on audio the minute it was released because it was being narrated by Meryl Streep.  I loved the story and I loved listening to it!  The story had a few twists I didn’t see coming and kept me interested throughout the entire book.  A couple of times you could have caught me sitting in the garage upon arriving home not wanting to get out of the car until the chapter was over.  Here’s the summary ~

In the spring of 2020, Lara’s three daughters return to the family's orchard in Northern Michigan. While picking cherries, they beg their mother to tell them the story of Peter Duke, a famous actor with whom she shared both a stage and a romance years before at a theater company called Tom Lake. As Lara recalls the past, her daughters examine their own lives and relationship with their mother, and are forced to reconsider the world and everything they thought they knew.

Tom Lake is a meditation on youthful love, married love, and the lives parents have led before their children were born. Both hopeful and elegiac, it explores what it means to be happy even when the world is falling apart. As in all of her novels, Ann Patchett combines compelling narrative artistry with piercing insights into family dynamics. The result is a rich and luminous story, told with profound intelligence and emotional subtlety, that demonstrates once again why she is one of the most revered and acclaimed literary talents working today.


This was another one I chose to listen to because it was read by Stanley Tucci’s himself.  I went all in on this book.  Near the beginning, Stanley talks about a movie he both directed and starred in called Big Night.  At the first chance I got, I rented the movie for Eric and me to watch.  I didn’t love the movie, but it was nice having the background of seeing it because he goes on to mention it a few more times in the book.  I also ended up buying a hard copy because several times he would read recipes that were implanted in the book and I wanted to see them.  If you’re a fan of Stanley Tucci and / or food, you will love this book! 

Stanley Tucci grew up in an Italian American family that spent every night around the kitchen table. He shared the magic of those meals with us in The Tucci Cookbook and The Tucci Table, and now he takes us beyond the savory recipes and into the compelling stories behind them.​

Taste is a reflection on the intersection of food and life, filled with anecdotes about his growing up in Westchester, New York; preparing for and shooting the foodie films Big Night and Julie & Julia; falling in love over dinner; and teaming up with his wife to create meals for a multitude of children. Each morsel of this gastronomic journey through good times and bad, five-star meals and burned dishes, is as heartfelt and delicious as the last.

Written with Stanley’s signature wry humor, Taste is for fans of Bill Buford, Gabrielle Hamilton, and Ruth Reichl—and anyone who knows the power of a home-cooked meal.

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

It has been a minute since I read a self-help, motivational book.  I remember liking this one and thought it would be helpful to listen to it again.  The book offers so many thought-provoking ideas and encourages vulnerability.  It talks about how you should show up for your life.  I'm a fan of Brene Brown, so listening to her ideas is a boost for my motivation to do better and be better.

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Gamus 

This was a re-read for me and I can honestly say I liked it more the second time around.  It was our library book club read this month and since it had been some time ago that I read it, I thought I better read it again.  The first time I read it, it had just been released.  It was amazing how many things I had totally forgotten about! We had a lively discussion at book club and the majority of people loved it.  Apple TV made the book into a drama series that will premiere on October 13.  Definitely one I'll watch!  Here's the book summary ~

Chemist Elizabeth Zott is not your average woman. In fact, Elizabeth Zott would be the first to point out that there is no such thing as an average woman. But it's the early 1960s and her all-male team at Hastings Research Institute takes a very unscientific view of equality. Except for one: Calvin Evans; the lonely, brilliant, Nobel-prize nominated grudge-holder who falls in love with—of all things—her mind. True chemistry results.

But like science, life is unpredictable. Which is why a few years later Elizabeth Zott finds herself not only a single mother, but the reluctant star of America's most beloved cooking show Supper at Six. Elizabeth's unusual approach to cooking ("combine one tablespoon acetic acid with a pinch of sodium chloride") proves revolutionary. But as her following grows, not everyone is happy. Because as it turns out, Elizabeth Zott isn't just teaching women to cook. She's daring them to change the status quo.

Laugh-out-loud funny, shrewdly observant, and studded with a dazzling cast of supporting characters, Lessons in Chemistry is as original and vibrant as its protagonist.


And that's a wrap on my August reading.  I'm currently listening to The Covenant of Water and it's a long one!  The audio is 31 hours long!  That should carry me through several days worth of traffic jams.  

Now it's your turn - what are you thinking out loud about today?  Link up and share!

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  1. I'm a Brene Brown too. I've started re-reading The Gifts of Imperfection. I also read Lessons in Chemistry and found it so interesting! It would definitely be a great book club choice.

  2. Thank you for hosting this link up party! My entry number is 11.
    Take care and best wishes!

  3. That sounds like a wonderful month; I do love audiobooks that are read by their own author (usually I'm sure since they are a famous person and it often lands somewhere in the memoir genre).