Kat’s 2023 Book List

This year’s list is the shortest since I started these lists in 2011 – just 35. My annual goal is 52, and the past 2 years, I hit at least 75. Why so few this year?

  • I consumed several VERY LONG books, including Barbra Streisand’s mammoth memoir – 48 hours on audio; I started it on Nov. 7 and finished it today, Dec. 22.
  • I had health issues earlier in the year that prevented me from doing some of the chores during which I normally listen to books.
  • Related to my health issues, I didn’t engage in exercise, like walking, during which I normally listen to books.
  • I did very little road-trip traveling this year, during which I normally listen to books.

People always tell me “it’s not a race,” and I know that. I’m not beating myself up over the small number of books consumed; simply reporting the facts.

Other than the sparsity of this year’s list, I hewed to normal patterns – several books about women of India, a few books about women of color, mostly books by female authors, my annual dip into a literary classic, obligatory book that overlaps with Barack Obama’s favorites of the year (The Covenant of Water), books by tried-and-true authors (Catherine Ryan Hyde, Jo Jo Moyes, Laura Lippman, Ann Patchett, Harlan Coben, Stephen King, Peter Swanson, Thrity Umrigar, Chitra Banerjee Divakarun, Natalie Barelli [mixed feelings on her, as you’ll see], Susan Isaacs, Laila Ibrahim) and discovered a couple new ones whose books I’d like to read more of (Amy Harmon, Jacqueline Winspear). A new trend this year was books (about 6 of them) set in the time of COVID.

I normally read more fiction than nonfiction, but this year was especially pitiful in the nonfiction department; I read just 3 works of nonfiction, all very long memoirs/biographies (Prince Harry, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Streisand).

My top favorites are pictured above. If I had to choose just one as my favorite of the year, it would be The Unknown Beloved.

The list is in the order in which I read the books, except that my sparse nonfiction choices were interspersed with fiction, and if I read more than one book by the same author, I kept the books together on the list (but I also made an exception to that protocol; and who really cares what order these are in?). I started and ended the year with the same author – Catherine Ryan Hyde.


  1. Where We Belong, by Catherine Ryan Hyde. This was the fifth book I’ve read by Hyde, an author I like for her old-school style and heartwarming subject matter (e.g., kids, dysfunctional families, animals, curmudgeons). In this one, 14-year-old Angie is the glue that keeps her struggling family – an immature mother who depends too much on Angie and a sister on the autism spectrum with severe behavioral issues – together. A Great Dane and retirement-age man with his own issues (though not quite a curmudgeon) play roles. I always know I will enjoy Hyde’s wholesome and engaging storytelling and am glad she has many more books in her oeuvre for me to enjoy. Reading her books feels like wrapping myself in a soft, warm, cozy blanket.
  2. The Language of Hoofbeats, by Catherine Ryan Hyde. My second Hyde book of this year and sixth total. I chose this one in particular because a Facebook friend passionately raved about it. I thought it might be even more special than the other Hyde books I’d read. It’s just as good as all her others, but I wouldn’t say it stands above them. It features standard Hyde characters – a curmudgeon, broken people, children, and at at least one animal, a horse. The only problem with stories about curmudgeons is that the curmudgeon’s ultimate redemption is predictable. But I liked this novel just as much as I’ve liked all Hyde’s other books.
  3. Fleishman Is in Trouble, by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. I became obsessed with the TV series based on this book and figured the book would be similar since Brodesser-Akner plays a major role in the show’s production. Though the series hews closely to the book, the book offers many choice writing tidbits that might have been difficult to depict on TV. The writing is witty and wonderful. I enjoyed picturing the two central characters as the actors who played them in the series (Jesse Eisenberg and Claire Danes), although the book’s description of Toby Fleishman was not much like Eisenberg.
  4. Honor, by Thrity Umrigar, is the sixth Umrigar novel I’ve read. While she often tells tales about “women of a certain age,” the protagonist of Honor is younger, and a journalist. Honor is a good follow up to The Parted Earth (not by Umrigar), which I read last year. In that novel, I expanded my knowledge of the partition of India in 1947 that divided British India into India and Pakistan along religious lines, with Muslims in Pakistan and Hindus in India. Honor deals with the journalist’s reporting of Hindu brutality toward a mixed Hindu-Muslim couple and about the journalist’s own experience growing up amid Hindu cruelty toward her Muslim family. While I’ve liked some of Umrigar’s books more than others, I find all of them reliable for their storytelling in a genre that has become one of my favorites – Indian and Indian-American Women.
  5. The Nurse’s Secret, by Amanda Skekandore. Serviceable historical fiction about a thief/grifter on the lam in 1880s New York City who decides to hide out in a nurse training program right at the time when the nursing profession is emerging.
  6. Someone Else’s Shoes, by JoJo Moyes, is the ninth Moyes book I’ve read. This one spins off a highly improbable premise (with several more improbable premises within), but Moyes’s writing, humor, character development, and presentation of the kinds of moral shades of gray I love, pretty much make up for the improbability. A satisfying read.
  7. Independence, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, the author who kicked off my interest in books about Indian and Indian-American women. This is the fourth of hers I’ve read and the third novel within the last year that deals with the partition of British India in 1947 into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan. While I’ve found none of Divakaruni’s novels equal to that first one I read, Sister of My Heart, I appreciated another dimension about the 1947 partition and the saga of three sisters seeking to fulfill their aspirations.
  8. Maisie Dobbs, by Jacqueline Winspear. As I did last year, I turned to an author who was one of my late mother’s favorites. One of my great joys was selecting books to give my mother for every gift-giving occasion. Winspear and the Maisie Dobbs series sat atop her list of favorites. I had every reason to believe I would enjoy them, too, but had never tried them before now. I found the structure of the novel clever and effective. Maisie is a private investigator in late 1920s London. The book begins with Maisie’s first (rather lightweight) investigative case and then is given over to the backstory of how Maisie transformed from a servant-class maid to a Cambridge-educated professional who also served as a nurse in WWI. Then, backstory meets Maisie’s current life as we’re back in the late 1920s, and Maisie’s new investigation is connected to her backstory. I can see myself reading more of the Maisie Dobbs series.
  9. The Kind Worth Saving, by Peter Swanson. My words about Swanson will sound familiar to the rare person who actually reads my annual lists in depth. He releases a book just about annually (not 2016). None have approached the twisty wonderfulness of the similarly titled The Kind Worth Killing, and one was downright terrible. Three of his nine books remain unread (by me). I’ll admit the similarity of this title to his masterpiece seduced me into hoping it might be as good as its name twin. Early on, I suspected and confirmed this 2023 offering was a prequel to The Kind Worth Killing with the same detective-protagonist. About 85 percent of the book seemed to live up to The Kind Worth Killing, but it really fizzled out at the end. Thus cementing Swanson’s perfect record of not equaling that great story (unless the three I haven’t read are worthy).
  10. I Will Find You, by Harlan Coben, is my ninth Coben novel. Despite a preposterous premise, I was immediately engaged. Steven Weber’s exquisite audiobook narration greatly enhances all of Coben’s books. Coben likes to spin his tales around contemporary trends or issues; in this one, it’s infertility/infertility clinics. Because Coben hails from my birth state, New Jersey, he often mentions locales I’m familiar with; this time, St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, NJ, which I drove by often while living in North Jersey. I even experienced a nod to Daytona, FL, which I lived near during my 22 years in Florida. While I Will Find You held my attention, it was ultimately marred by the preposterous premise – man is serving life sentence for killing his 3-year-old son, and then evidence emerges that the boy is still alive.
  11. The Grand Design, by Joy Calloway. Historical fiction about early 20th-century interior designer Dorothy Draper (with whom I was unfamiliar) and her quest to restore The Greenbrier hotel in West Virginia, which had played a significant role in her early years. Except that it’s unknown whether the Greenbrier played any role in Draper’s early life; the author’s note indicates Draper’s story is significantly fictionalized. The topic of design was what drew me to the book, but either design is hard to capture in words or Calloway isn’t good at it. Today’s designers probably would have called Draper more of an interior decorator. Other interesting bits include the appearance of Helen Taft, daughter of President William Howard Taft and Draper’s ups and downs as an entrepreneur who came from a wealthy family and certainly didn’t have to work. The most compelling piece in the novel was Draper’s completely fictional romance with an Italian race-car driver and the fictional love triangle that also included Helen Taft. Decent book. Didn’t love it.
  12. Gilded Girl, by Pamela M. Kelley. London ladies maid learns she is the illegitimate daughter of a very wealthy American and goes to live with him and his two nasty other daughters in Gilded Age New York City. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but it seemed a bit like a YA novel to me. A simple but enjoyable story that seemed predictable but did have a couple of mild twists and turns.
  13. Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris and Mrs. Harris Goes to New York, by Paul Gallico. Both these titles were combined in a single audiobook; I’m counting them as one book. The Paris volume in particular, having been published in 1958, has been on my radar for much of my life, and of course interest in it has been revived by the recent movie adaptation (which I started to watch but got very bored with). Paris is very much a fable with an improbable premise that leads to a lesson learned, a moral of the story. It gets a lot more engaging and heartwarming about midway through the tale. And I do enjoy old-school, mid-century writing (no present tense). The New York volume is not a fable. It’s premise is just as improbable as that of the Paris volume and compounded by a preposterous coincidence. Even though the book was written in 1960, it’s jarring to hear ugly racial slurs from a detestable character. It’s clear that neither the author nor the characters approve of this nasty language, but the fact that they tolerate it is uncomfortable. I liked the New York volume far less than the Paris counterpart.
  14. The House of Eve, by Sadeqa Johnson. This is my second book of the author’s, and it’s very different from The Yellow Wife, though both are historical fiction. The House of Eve is set in the late 1940s-early 1950s. It’s one of several books I’ve read in which the storylines of two women are presented. The reader assumes the paths of the two will converge, and it seems to take a long time for that to happen. The best aspect of the book for me was that it captured the struggles black women faced in that time – and unfortunately well beyond that time.
  15. The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, by Alka Joshi. I didn’t know when I read Joshi’s The Henna Artist in 2020 (my favorite book of that year) that it would become the first book in a historical trilogy, the next two books having been published very shortly after The Henna Artist. The trilogy features Lakshmi, who in the 1950s works tirelessly to improve her economic condition through her henna artistry, dabbling later in The Henna Artist in herbal medicine. In the 1960s India of The Secret Keeper of of Jaipur, she now has a herbal-medicine clinic. In this second volume, Lakshmi’s isn’t the only storyline; two of her protegees narrate their own tales, interwoven with Lakshmi’s. I found myself not very interested in the protegees, but I continue to enjoy Lakshmi’s story.
  16. Bad, Bad Seymour Brown, by Susan Isaacs. Isaacs has been a favorite author for a long time. She’s not in the forefront of my favorites currently, only because her output has slowed down (it’s OK; she’s 79). Bad, Bad Seymour Brown is the second in a series about Corie Geller, a former FBI agent, newly partnered with her ex-cop dad, and conducting investigations. I know I read the first in the series, Takes One to Know One, but sorry to say I barely remember it. In this follow-up, Corie and her dad investigate a long-cold case in which an accountant (read “money-launderer”) to the mob is killed with his wife in a fire. Their young daughter escapes, but as an adult, it seems she is under threat from persons unknown. I enjoyed the book, the Corie character, and the engaging storyline. I also liked that the the novel was partially set in New Brunswick, NJ, and involved Rutgers University, as I have lived in the former and attended the latter. My only complaint was that the book seemed longer than it needed to be. (I may just be grousing because at this writing, I’m behind on my 52 books/year goal.)
  17. Feather on the Water, by Lindsay Jayne Ashford. Historical fiction about 3 women working in a Displaced Persons camp in Poland immediately after WWII in 1945. I appreciated learning about this slice of history I hadn’t known about before, though it took me a while to get into the book. Once I did, I was quite engaged in the stories of the 3 women, all of whom started their journey in some state of brokenness
  18. The Personal Librarian, by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, is the fiction version of the story of JP Morgan’s personal librarian Belle da Costa Greene, who joined her African-American family in passing for white in the early 20th century. While some of the interpersonal relationships in the novel are apparently more speculative, the basic facts of Greene’s career and passing for white seem to be accurately presented. Benedict collaborated with Murray to ensure the black perspective would be central to the novel. I was engaged in the book and appreciated this fictional portrayal of one of the most powerful women of her time.
  19. The Covenant of Water, by Abraham Verghese. I was very excited to read this followup to Verghese’s Cutting for Stone, which I read for book club in the previous decade and loved. My heart sank a bit when I realized the author was narrating the audiobook. Most author-narrated books don’t come off as well as they could if narrated by a professional narrator. I would rate Verghese’s narration as above average, but I especially wished for a different (female) narrator during the large part of the novel that focuses on an unnamed Indian girl who marries at 12 (we finally learn her name about 3/4 into the novel). With about 5 hours left in the book, it dawned on me that I could bump up the narration speed to improve on Verghese’s slow and sometimes tedious reading style. The storyline, which unfolds over much of the 20th century, is satisfying, but long (31 hours on audio), and in present tense, which I dislike. I appreciated that it is largely female-driven, and in fact, fits into my beloved genre of women in India. I found it interesting that the characters were primarily Christian since most books I’ve read of India feature Hindu or Muslim characters. This is another dual-storyline tale, although the secondary story of a Scottish doctor who ends up in India is much less prominent than that of the girl whose life spans a large chunk of the 20th century. The Scottish doctor’s presence in the book remains mysterious until close to the end, at which point it feels good. While I liked Cutting for Stone (not written in present tense) better, I enjoyed The Covenant of Water.
  20. Prom Mom, by Laura Lippman. I’ve read most of Lippman’s work, especially enjoying her Tess Monaghan series, but also appreciating most, but not all, of her standalone novels. I’ll put this one in the plus (plus, plus) column for its excellent storytelling, blessedly short length (after the several very long books I consumed this year), and contemporary feel (COVID and Trump-era politics play roles). Like almost all Lippman’s books, this one is set in Baltimore, though mostly the suburbs, with several town names I recognized from my dad’s long residence in that area. At this writing in early August, I’m calling Prom Mom my favorite book of the year for its compact and absorbing story and a twist or 2. We’ll see if that assessment holds up.
  21. Search, by Michelle Huneven. I like novels with unusual subject matter. This one is about Unitarian Universalist church’s search for a new minister. The novel reinforced my enjoyment of selection processes and the gossipy chatter about candidates that goes along with then. Interesting church politics and personalities. I was also left wanting to be a Unitarian. I liked the book a lot.
  22. Tom Lake, by Ann Patchett. Ann Patchett, how do you do it? First, you got Tom Hanks to narrate The Dutch House and now Meryl Streep to narrate this new one. It’s good, BTW, and not surprisingly, Streep narrates quite well. I haven’t read all of Patchett’s books, but I’ve read 8 of them. I like that her subject matter varies significantly from book to book, although family stories like this one are not uncommon. I smiled when the story referenced the film “The Deerhunter” because Streep was in that movie. My recollection of The Dutch House was that I wouldn’t have liked it as much if Tom Hanks hadn’t narrated it. Tom Lake would have been enjoyable without Meryl Streep, but my goodness, she was magnificent.
  23. Our Missing Hearts, by Celeste Ng. In three of the last four books I’ve read, the pandemic has played a significant role; in Our Missing Hearts, a different crisis obliquely stands in for COVID. Had I known the novel was set in a somewhat fascist near future, I probably wouldn’t have read it. I read and greatly enjoyed Ng’s Everything I Never Told You, but couldn’t get into Little Fires Everywhere (liked the mini-series based on it a bit more). I liked Ng’s writing in Our Missing Hearts and found the story compelling, but I also experienced significant discomfort reading it and fretting about a future thought-police society like the one Ng envisions.
  24. 56 Days, by Catherine Ryan Howard. Serviceable thriller with one fairly predictable twist that occurs with two hours left in the book. Then two more rather predictable twists. I will say I found myself thinking about this novel, the fourth this year in which COVID has been the backdrop, when I wasn’t reading it, so it must have been somewhat compelling. In an author’s note, Howard said that at the time she was writing the book, people said no one would want to read books set during the pandemic because they wouldn’t want to be reminded of that time. But she later came to believe it was important to write the book with that setting because the pandemic changed the world so significantly.
    • Bronte sisters interlude: A little voice in my head told me it was time for my annual dip into 19th-century literature. I’ve known for quite a while the next dip would be a work by a Bronte sister, and I was torn between Emily and the apparently underrated Ann. I’ve already dipped into Charlotte’s work with Jane Eyre, which I loved. So, I initially decided to try Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte. I found it complex, full of indignant characters, as well as characters confusingly sharing the same name. I decided to read a synopsis to help me grasp it better, but even the synopsis was complex. So, I’ve decided to go with Ann Bronte and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. But in the meantime, I started the Stephen King below, so look for Ann Bronte farther down the list
  25. Holly, by Stephen King. I don’t like horror but have enjoyed King’s non-horror (or should we say “Horror-Lite?”) novels, such as 11-22-63 and the Mr. Mercedes series, of which Holly is a spinoff. Holly Gibney is a quirky but brilliant character who helped the ex-cop protagonist of the Mr. Mercedes series to solve a case and went on to start her own investigative agency. King is an undeniably excellent writer, and I enjoy his nods to real-life events and history, such as the Trump era – and yes, this turns out to be yet another 2023 COVID novel. He also liberally peppers the book with current pop-culture references; I don’t know if I’ve noticed that in his other books and wonder if it makes them seem really dated when read years later. Interestingly, King address his contemporary references in an author’s note, stating that he believes novels are more believable when they co-exist with real-world events “and even brand names.” King also addresses his pro-vaccination stance that comes through in the book, knowing that some readers may find it “preachy.” He explains that he felt the Holly character would be pro-vax based on how he has developed her in past books. As I got more into the novel, the horror teetered on going beyond “horror-lite,” but its particular circumstances also gave it a slightly comedic edge. I found Holly an enjoyable read, and I continue to like the Holly character and her associates, brother and sister Jerome and Barbara Robinson. This King novel was also notable for being, I believe, the first female-narrated King book I’ve read.
  26. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Ann Bronte: I liked it more than it appeared I would like Wuthering Heights but not as much as I thought I would. The characters were not likable, and I had hard a hard time understanding motivations and behaviors (not unexpected when a book is going on 200 years old). But it can go on the long list of novels that illustrate the inequality women have endured and continue to endure – and much of the incomprehensible behavior can likely be explained by how circumscribed women’s lives were at that time. I did like the book a bit more at the end, but I believe I’ll be sticking with Charlotte as my favorite Bronte sister.
  27. The Unknown Beloved, by Amy Harmon. I loved this book and feel it would make an excellent movie! I’m not sure if we’d call it noir but it’s set in the Depression/Gangland/Pre-War late 1930s in Cleveland. A law-enforcement agent who works for real historical figure Elliot Ness reconnects with a young woman he helped when she was a child as he is assigned to track down a serial killer in her city. The young woman has a gift – she can glean copious information about people by touching their clothing. The woman’s role in attempting to solve the serial-killer crime and her relationship with the law-enforcement officer form the crux of the story. Achingly romantic, and some good suspense, too. This one may have replaced Prom Mom as my favorite of the year. Funny, I feel that I don’t like romances, but these two favorites have strong romantic storylines.
  28. Scarlet Carnation, by Laila Ibrahim. Ibrahim’s work has grown to be an almost annual habit for me. She seems to put out a book every couple of years, and I’ve read 5 of the 6. Her books are historical fiction that generally focus on ethnicity, racism, slavery, immigration, and similar topics. Scarlet Carnation is set in the early 20th century and deals with many social issues of the time – eugenics, Margaret Sanger’s birth-control advice (along with the suggestion that the potions Sanger recommended to induce abortions caused birth defects), housing discrimination, neglect of of babies born with birth defects, racism in the military, Woodrow Wilson’s racism, and the influenza pandemic. One problem with the book was that it did, in fact, seem like a slice of life, a parade of historical social issues, with a story that, except for a few compelling moments, was weak. I should say “stories,” because the other problem with the book was dual storylines – a young woman hoping her fiance will propose and the young woman’s older cousin, a nurse. Dual storylines can work well when the stories intersect, but in Scarlet Carnation, they rarely did. Readable, but not Ibrahim’s best.
  29. Until I Met Her, by Natalie Barelli. This is my fourth Barelli novel, and my experience with her work has been mixed. Implausible plots are an issue, and Until I Met Her also suffers this affliction. So why do I keep reading her books? I think the plots sound intriguing but they then just end up feeling preposterous. This one revealed a significant plot point in the first chapter (not necessarily a negative, but unusual) and had some other things working against it, such as no likable characters. It was also an interesting study in the extent the reader will root for an evil-doer. As many negatives as it had, I found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it and wanting to get back to it, so it must have been successful on some level. In a nutshell, a plot resembling “All About Eve” but set in the publishing world. After I read the book, I learned it had a sequel, and despite my better judgment about Barelli’s questionable plotting, I decided I had to read it.
  30. After He Killed Me, by Natalie Barelli. And here it is …. the sequel to the above. Before I even got into the story and whether it was plausible, compelling – or both – I was instantly turned off because this volume had a different narrator from the first one – a narrator who was way too perky and whose voicing of the first-person protagonist failed to convey the nuances of a complex character. She sounded as though she were voicing a comedy; while Barelli’s book has moderate comedic elements, it’s certainly not a comedy. Interestingly, the narrator was similar to the one on the next book on the list – both ill suited to their respective books. The story was dopey enough for me to have perhaps gotten Barelli out of my system.
  31. The Widows of Malabar Hill, by Sujata Massey. This book seems to be all I would ever want. Historical fiction. Set in India (in roughly the same 1920s period as Scarlet Carnation). Woman protagonist. Mystery/investigative. I had trouble getting into it, though, because I wasn’t in love with the narrator. She was almost too expressive, and read the book as though it were a children’s book. Once I did get into it, I was especially intrigued (and appalled) by depictions of the treatment of women at that time, often mandated by religion, such as isolation in a stinky little room during their menstrual periods. Marriage and divorce laws were also quite unfair to women. I see that several more Massey books feature this protagonist and have a different narrator, so I may well try more in the series.
  32. Bea and Allie, by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Thought it would be kinda cool to start and finish the year with the same author, this being my third of hers this year and seventh total. This one involves a curmudgeon and a teen in crisis and offers such themes as trust, avoiding assumptions, and the value of being open to all life has to offer. Hyde consistently maintains suspense despite predictability and engagement despite similarities to her other books and characters.


  1. Spare, by Prince Harry. Lots of Harry Haters seemed to emerge when this memoir came out; I haven’t read any positive reviews. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for Harry because he was born just a couple weeks before my daughter was. I liked the book. Harry’s intense, life-long pain from losing his mother the way he did at age 12 permeates the story of Harry’s life, and I’m sure has colored all his emotions and actions since, as well as his roller-coaster relationship with the rest of the royal family and the institution of the monarchy. His lifelong hatred of the media needs no explanation. I found it especially enlightening to listen to Harry read his memoir via audiobook. I was surprised/not surprised he used a ghostwriter because he sounded so natural and conversational reading his saga. Like we were friends and he was telling me about himself. It’s certainly an unprecedented glimpse into royal life in the 21st century – and almost exclusively the 21st because he says very little about his life before Diana’s 1997 death. How else could I have learned of his frostbitten princely penis from his trek to the North Pole?
  2. Eleanor Roosevelt, Volume 1: 1884-1933, by Blanche Weisen Cook. I’ve read A LOT about the three most famous Roosevelts – Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor. So reading this bio of Eleanor could be classified as part of my tendency toward “comforting narratives,” topics I’ve read a lot about but keep gravitating to. Cook’s bio is fairly well known and one I’ve wanted to read, but it wasn’t on audio until fairly recently. Although it’s quite possible I forgot a lot from my previous Roosevelt readings, some of the material in Cook’s biography felt new to me – more details about her tragic childhood in which her mother died and her alcoholic father eventually did, too. Her political activism in the 1920s felt fresh, as did her relationship with Earl Miller. I will read the other two volumes, perhaps one a year.
  3. My Name is Barbra, by Barbra Streisand. Streisand’s memoir is a behemoth at 48 hours on audio, and she narrates it herself. While it doesn’t quite have the magic of such self-narrated memoirs as Springsteen’s and Patti Smith’s, it does feel very real to listen to Streisand tell her story, and I get the sense she is ad libbing just a bit in the reading (later in the book, she admits to making changes as she narrated the audiobook). A huge perk of consuming the book via audio is that it includes clips from her songs; can’t beat that. I enjoyed belting “My Man” from Funny Girl with her when it came up in the book (she sang it better). Inspired by her discussions of them, I also looked up her old TV specials on YouTube and apppreciated them. I enjoyed Streisand’s gossipy dishing about celebrities. I learned some things about her – that she was driven to be an actress, not a singer, and that her real passion grew to be directing and writing films.

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