What I’ve been reading lately: 1 new release plus 4 books I’ve been meaning to read for years

What I’ve been reading lately: 1 new release plus 4 books I’ve been meaning to read for years

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

This is total coincidence, but this past month I happened to finally finish one book my daughter’s been begging me to read for months and three books I’ve been meaning to read for YEARS. Plus one new release (that I’ve nevertheless been meaning to read since Christmas!)

Series: Quick Lit July 2016
Amy Snow

Amy Snow

Author:
I'd heard enthusiastic reviews about this new release, but was intimidated by its length. If you cringe at a page count that's 500+, don't worry: it's a relatively fast read. The title character takes her name from her startling origins: as a tiny infant, she's found in a snowbank by a young heiress, who persuades her parents to take her into the family. Amy Snow is subsequently raised by this wealthy family, an uneasy combination of companion and servant. Years later, when Amy is just seventeen, the heiress dies, but she's left behind letters that send Amy on a treasure hunt of sorts all over England. Lovers of gentle historical fiction (think Susan Meissner, or a toned-down Kate Morton) will enjoy this. Published June 7 2016. More info →
Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen

Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen

Author:
I love foodie memoirs and have been meaning to read this essay collection for years. When Will and I visited a bookstore devoted exclusively to cookbooks and cooking books in Chicago last week, this was my impulse buy. I started it immediately and loved it so much. Colwin's chatty style is funny and endearing, and the book is so slim—and so enjoyable—I finished it in an afternoon. I'll be reading more of Colwin's work. Highly recommended for fans of Ruth Reichl and Molly Weizenberg. More info →
Muggie Maggie

Muggie Maggie

Author:
My 9-year-old adored this Beverly Cleary title (that I'd never heard of until this year!) and has been begging me to read it for months. It was even one of her 3 favorites when she was a guest on the What Should I Read Next podcast. I finally tracked down a copy and read it in an hour. It's the same Beverly Cleary we know and love, although this one is aimed at a slightly younger audience than the Henry and Ramona books we love so much around here. More info →
Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Author:
I've been meaning to read this 2006 novel for ages: it's been highly recommended by my local booksellers and a few friends with good taste. But whoa, it was NOT what I was expecting! I was expecting a Very Serious Literary Book, and instead it *almost* read like YA. The narrator is Blue van Meer, a teenager who has been moving from town to town with her father ever since her mother died, accompanying him to each of his short-term professorial stints at tiny liberal arts colleges across the country. Her senior year of high school, her father declares they will spend the whole year in one place, and Blue falls in with an enigmatic teacher and a hand-picked group of students she's gathered around her. The whole book is strongly reminiscent of The Secret History, yet despite this I still didn't see that big left turn coming. Smart, snappy, and interesting. More info →
Lonesome Dove

Lonesome Dove

Author:
This big, fat, Pulitzer-winning novel has been on my radar for years, so I chose it as one of my 2016 Reading Challenge picks to inspire myself to finally cross it off the list. It's not the kind of book I expected to love: the story revolves around a 3000 mile cattle drive from a dusty Texas border town to the unsettled lands of Montana in the 1880s. Yet I enjoyed it so much. I listened to the audio version of this one (all 36 hours of it—although thankfully at 1.5x speed it didn't take *quite* that long). More info →

What have YOU been reading lately?

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47 comments

  1. reb says:

    I agree with you on Special Topics… It was actually one of my favorite books when it first came out just because the story was SO unpredictable and a little shocking!

  2. Home Cooking! I love Colwin’s voice so much. And you know I adore Lonesome Dove. I remember liking Muggie Maggie when I was in elementary school. And I’m so curious about Amy Snow!

    I just read Amy Stewart’s new novel, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, and loved it so much. And Everyone Brave is Forgiven, which was heartbreaking and gorgeous.

  3. By says:

    Just added mine! Oh, I loved Special Topics in Calamity physics – did it as an audiobook, which I’m normally super impatient about.

  4. Felicia says:

    I love Laurie Colwin, and long ago, when I was a food writer, drove all over Fort Lauderdale in search of burnt sugar so I could make the Jamaican Black Cake recipe in Home Cooking. Quite the project! I also love her fiction, which has great titles like A Big Storm Knocked It Over. And I’ve always felt so sad that she died so suddenly and so young.

    Lonesome Dove and Special Topics are other favorites, so we seem to be in sync with literary tastes this month.

  5. Melanie says:

    I just finished Lonesome Dove yesterday. I started it about a month ago and kept just reading a chapter or 2 at a time. Once they left on the drive, the pace picked up and I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up way past my bedtime several nights and read it most of the weekend. Ahhh, so many feelings.

  6. Re: Lonesome Dove: Be prepared to fall in love with the handlebar mustache. This book will prove to you that nothing says manly like a bit of center-parted hair between the nose and the upper lip. 🙂

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