What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable

What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable

Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

I’m in serious Summer Reading prep mode, which means I’m reading lots of books hitting shelves between April and July. But I’m making time to read the old (and by “old” I mean “not brand-new”) stuff, especially the books you all recommended to me in Episode 62 of What Should I Read Next aka What Should ANNE read next?

Here’s what the last month has looked like:

Series: Quick Lit February 2017
A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy

This book has been sitting on my shelves for many months, thanks to Book of the Month. After we discussed Columbine on What Should I Read Next, many of you recommended Sue Klebold's powerful memoir, and assured me my HSP self could take it. It was very well done, and Klebold shed so much light on not only the actual violence, but also on larger issues such as news coverage and brain health. After reading it I completely see why she felt compelled to share her story. More info →
The Whole Town’s Talking

The Whole Town’s Talking

After a listener recommended Fannie Flagg on episode 62 of What Should I Read Next, I rushed out and got her latest. This was my first Fannie Flagg novel, and when I started talking about it, you all were quick to tell me that this one wasn't representative of her work and I should read something else! I currently have Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café in progress and Can't Wait to Get to Heaven checked out from the library. More info →
Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock

Another recommendation from Episode 62 of What Should I Read Next; I couldn't believe I hadn't heard of this Australian classic before and put it on my list immediately! As I was reading this short novel, it strongly reminded me of something I'd read before, but I couldn't figure out WHAT. I finally realized it wasn't a book at all—it was the TV show Lost! (If that's not a recommendation, I don't know what is.) More info →
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

I'm reading this because one of the authors, Luke Shaefer, is coming to town later this month to discuss the issues he addresses here and I wanted to be ready. (Heads up, Louisville: more info here.) This was a quick read, and while it's not exactly the kind of book you read for the scintillating prose (you know what I mean, right?) it was an interesting look into a topic I knew very little about. Recommended. More info →
Hamilton: The Revolution

Hamilton: The Revolution

I picked this audiobook up when it was on the MMD deals page a couple of months ago and listened to it in ONE DAY while I was packing and unpacking boxes over the weekend. It was perfect for that—such good fun. I was clueless about most of the Hamilton backstory and hearing about the musical's long history was fascinating. More info →

What have YOU been reading lately?

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  1. You’ll have to let me know if Picnic at Hanging Rock now publishes with its final chapter. When it first came out, the mystery isn’t resolved. It’s eerie and wonderful that way (I first saw the movie as an exchange student in Australia and immediately read the book).

    Evidently, when the book sold, the publisher decided to hold off publishing the final chapter — the solution — until the author died. Or maybe it was her idea? Anyhow, I was back in Australia a few years later, and one of the first things I did was find out if that last chapter had been published. It had, as a separate booklet.

    I won’t say anymore, but I’m curious if newer versions now include it!

  2. Lynn says:

    I have never read Fannie Flag, but several of her books are on my to read list. I can’t wait to hear more of what you think of them. My daughter is reading Hamilton and has really enjoyed it. It is on my to read list, but I might end up trying the audio version instead.

  3. Debbie Snyder says:

    Unrelated, but I wanted to tell my fellow readaholics that I was able to buy six very interesting books at the Dollar General this past weekend for $11! I have never even thought to look for books there, but I stopped in to kill time waiting for a dinner reservation and stumbled upon them. All hardbound books too!!

  4. Susan says:

    $2.00 a day sounds heart-wrenching and interesting. Does it encourage humanitarianism? Promote a spirit of giving or compassion for the needy? Or is it a book that slams the establishment?

    • Anne says:

      I didn’t know the angle before I began, and it wasn’t what I expected. It’s very much about governmental policy. It’s a data-driven book, based on a particular study, that gives a short overview of the history of welfare in America (going back to the Johnson administration), and advocates for changes to current policy. The $2 a day refers to actual cash-in-hand of the poorest poor in America, and why actual cash matters.

  5. Teresa says:

    Recent reads: The Wonder, Lily and the Octopus, The Dollhouse, The Forgetting Time, Everything I Never told You, The Sun is also a Star, Behind her Eyes, A Man Called Ove. Currently reading Code Name Verity and Love Unending. Up next: This is How it always is.

  6. I finished A Mother’s Reckoning about a month ago and really enjoyed it. I listened to the audiobook, which Susan Klebold narrates, and found so much to think about as I thought about her experience and perspective surrounding Columbine. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Sarah R says:

    I’m an unabashed Fannie Flagg fan (say that 3 times fast!) but wow, I was so disappointed with The Whole Town’s Talking. I loved Fried Green Tomatoes, Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, and Welcome to the World Baby Girl.

    I’m in the middle of Tools of the Titans and I’m hooked.

    • Allison says:

      I love Fannie Flagg’s earlier stuff, but I’m not planning to read The Whole Town’s Talking because my mom (also a Fannie Flagg fan) couldn’t even finish it.

    • Siobhan says:

      Came to sing the praises of Fanny Flagg, and I figured someone else would have already said so…

      Daisy Fay was my favorite book for many years, and Welcome to the World, Baby Girl is the book I re-read when I’m having a bad day. That being said, some of her books are better than others.

  8. Bryanna says:

    Recently I’ve read What She Knew, Brooklyn, and The Happiness Project and enjoyed them all. Right now I’m reading Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty and next on my list is Still Life by Louise Penny.

  9. Leslie says:

    I’ve been on a kid lit binge since last summer. These are 100 page books. Most are 300-400 pages. Some interesting ones..
    The Books of Bayern (Goose Girl) by Shannon Hale,
    The Penderwick Series by Jeanne Birdsall,
    The Reading Promise by Alice Osma (not kid lit)
    The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series by Maryrose Wood
    There are some great books out there. And I guess I need to borrow some of my moms Fannie Flagg!

  10. Amanda says:

    Currently reading: Cress (Lunar Chronicles), so worried this series would feel gimmicky, but I adore it. Reimagined fairytales is one of my favorite categories of books! Love Warrior (eh, not sure how I feel about this one).
    Currently listening: The Twelve (not light reading!), Ballad of the Whiskey Robber (with husband, crazy tale), and The Greenglass House (with daughter, fun).

  11. I read The Whole Town’s Talking recently, and I loved it! The writing just sucked me. It was such a sweeping tale, and not as much of a mystery as I was hoping, but yet I couldn’t seem to stop reading. I should read more of her work as well.

  12. Grace says:

    I recommend checking out the print copy of the Hamilton book when you get a chance. So many beautiful images and graphics that you miss out on with the audio copy.

  13. Mary says:

    I don’t have a blog to share what I am reading, but I hope comments are okay. I just read “Tell Me Three Things,” and I enjoyed it. What do you think about recommending it to my teenager? There is some discussion of sex, but maybe she needs some discussion. I just thought it had a great story.

    • Jennifer N. says:

      I say go for it – sex is such a confusing topic as a teenager, and many don’t feel comfortable talking about it (especially girls) so reading about it might provide a safe space for her to develop her own ideas. Additionally, I think recommending a novel for your daughter that discusses sex will signal to her that you are a safe place to go with questions if she has any.

    • Anne says:

      I thought it was a great story, too. I think that depends on the age and maturity of your particular teenager. I think it’s a plus that you’ve read it, too—fiction can be such a good way to talk about big topics in a non-threatening way.

  14. Jennifer N. says:

    I’ve just wrapped up the Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury and On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis, both of which are for the 2017 reading challenge (A Book Published Before I Was Born -and- #OwnVoices, respectively.) I loved them both!

    The Martian Chronicles was lovely – so much more a societal commentary than science fiction. The stories were varied and highly intriguing, and though most stories involve completely different characters it really does read more like a novel than a collection of short stories.

    On the Edge of Gone could easily be read for the “unputdownable” category, as well. The author, being autistic herself, writes her protagonist (a highly functioning autistic black girl in Amsterdam) beautifully – you find yourself the character’s biggest champion through the whole book. The events are fast-paced – there’s no dawdling in this book – I remember being blown away by all that happened in the story in just a few days’ time.

    Currently I’m reading Perfect Little World, my first ever Book of the Month pick and I am really enjoying it. I don’t think I’ve hit the meat of the story yet, but so far so good!

  15. Tifffany says:

    I didn’t realize there was a new Fannie Flagg out! I’m treating myself to that one 🙂 Fried Green Tomatoes is my all time favorite book. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

  16. Veronica says:

    Recently finished Dark Matter, The Bear and the Nightingale, and Silver Bay. Both Dark Matter and The Bear and the Nightingale were wonderful. Silver Bay was ok, but not one of Jo Jo Moyes best.

  17. Kinsey O. says:

    I enjoyed the Hamilton: The Revolution audiobook as well, but ended up getting a hard copy for all the pictures! My husband and I are both obsessed with the musical, so it seemed like a good coffee table book purchase. 🙂

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