Five Things I Can’t Live Without

Five Things I Can’t Live Without

by Holly Shumas

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I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Five Things I Can’t Live Without by Holly Shumas.

The title of this book is sort of a jumping off point for the internet dating bios that Nora, our heroine, tries her hand at writing. It’s a good way to narrow things down about yourself — if your list includes your collection of Civil War memorabilia as opposed to having it include, say, your Mahnolo stilletos, you’re saying fairly significant things about yourself.

We meet Nora mid-crisis. Although after we meet Nora, its clear crisis is where she spends a lot of her time. Her job at the dog pound (do they still call it that?) is a dead end because she doesn’t actually like animals. Her roommate is throwing her out, which is okay because she doesn’t actually like her roommate either. And so in a perfect storm of decisiveness, Nora decides to quit her job and move in with her boyfriend of 6 months, Dan, who immediately had my sympathy.

Nora’s problem is that she operates in what she calls meta-life, which I do and probably you do also. It’s when you prefer thinking about and analyzing what you’ve just done to actually having the experience. Her obsession with her own every move is keeping Nora from finding out what the five things are that she can, in fact, not live without.

Holly Shumas’s first novel was particularly interesting to me because I share some of Nora’s habits. I also found myself in disagreement with Holly over some of Nora’s motivation, as you’ll hear. And of course, the first thing I had to do was put together a list of my own.

1. my loved ones, otherwise it would be 5 people
2. cooking excellent food with my fiancé
3. my garden
4. books
5. being on the ocean

Too cheesy? Hey, put together your own list and try and leave puppies and sunsets out of it, let’s see how you do!

The book is Five Things I Can’t Live Without by Holly Shumas. I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


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