What I’m reading: the new and the notable.

What I’m reading: the new and the notable.

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

This month I’ve been reading historical mysteries, Southern fiction, contemporary novels, terrific nonfiction, and a much-anticipated sequel. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been reading: link up a post or tell us in comments.

Series: Quick Lit 10/15
A Curious Beginning: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery

A Curious Beginning: A Veronica Speedwell Mystery

Author:
Raybourn writes historical fiction with a twist; she's best known for her Lady Julia Grey mysteries. This is her first novel in a new Victorian series featuring the badass but well-bred Veronica Speedwell. I heard the author speak about her source material for this new series in Raleigh, and I was intrigued: her heroine travels the world hunting beautiful butterfly specimens and the occasional romantic dalliance. When her guardian dies, the orphaned Veronica expects to embark on a grand scientific adventure. But Veronica quickly realizes that with her guardian's death, she is no longer safe—and she begins to unravel the mystery of why she poses a threat to dangerous men. An easy, enjoyable read. More info →
Pretending to Dance: A Novel

Pretending to Dance: A Novel

Chamberlain is known for writing contemporary Southern fiction featuring strong female characters and not shying away from sensitive subjects. In this novel, her thirtysomething heroine's adoption process forces her to confront secrets she's been keeping for twenty years about her family of origin. Chamberlain uses two narrative voices—that of 14-year-old Molly and 20-years-older Molly, to explore the power of the secrets we keep out of fear and shame and the pretending that can actually make us strong. This is the first book I've read by Diane Chamberlain; The Silent Sister is next on my list. More info →
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

Author:
I nearly didn't read this book because of the horrible title, and that would have been a shame. I'm so glad I relied on a friend's recommendation, and my own enjoyment of Gawande's latest release Being Mortal, and read it anyway. This brief, engaging book is about how to successfully live and work in a world that's becoming increasingly complex. Gawande draws fascinating examples from medicine, construction, and aviation to explain why systems remain vulnerable to human error, and what we can do about it. Highly recommended. More info →
A Window Opens: A Novel

A Window Opens: A Novel

Author:
I almost abandoned this book, and thought hard about including it in Quick Lit because I found it underwhelming. Its heroine, Alice Pearse, is a sandwich generation wife and mother of three who takes on a new and demanding job when her husband loses his. The book had potential: I found the premise relatable and the characters likable. But instead of thoughtfully addressing the issues Alice faces, Egan fabricates silly problems (such as a big bad corporate employer reminiscent of The Circle) for her characters and simplistic solutions. Alice works in the world of publishing, and I did appreciate the novel's unabashed love for books and readers. If you decide to read this, please read it with your book club: at least you can enjoy tearing apart the ending together. More info →
After You: A Novel

After You: A Novel

Author:
Finally! The much-anticipated (and originally unplanned) follow-up to Moyes's word-of-mouth sensation Me Before You. The bad news: the sequel isn't as good as original. The good news: Moyes at least had the guts to take her characters in an altogether different direction, and if it's not perfect, at least it's interesting. Moyes also left the door wide open to a third novel, which I would welcome. More info →

What have YOU been reading lately? 

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64 comments

  1. Sarah says:

    The Checklist Manifesto sounds really interesting! I preordered the audible version of After You, but I haven’t gotten to it yet! I also have a copy of Pretending to Dance that I need to read. I keep getting caught up in series.

  2. Grace says:

    Interesting! I wasn’t head over heels the way a lot of people were about Me Before You, so I didn’t know if I wanted to read After You. I did just find out yesterday though that Sam Clafin is playing William in the Me Before You movie, so that got me excited.

  3. Mary says:

    This month I have been revisiting Dorothy L. Sayers Lord Peter Wimsey. The Nine Taylors, Busman’s Honeymoom, Five Red Herrings, Cloud of Witnesses, and just finished Strong Poision. Some things never grow old. (sigh)

  4. Raela says:

    I’m in the middle of too many books!
    Audio:
    Just recently finished Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper on audio. I was interested but not all that invested until the TWIST–at that point I was all in and can’t wait to listen to more of hers.

    Listened to Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen and thought it was fine, a nice story, but it didn’t blow my socks off. Hoping another of hers is more compelling to me!

    I’m early in Jojo Moyes’s Last Letter to Your Lover and am liking it. I very much enjoyed The Girl You Left Behind, so I think this one should be a win too in the dual time novel category.

    Print:
    I’m currently reading 2 cooking-related novels. The Coincidence of Coconut Cake and Kitchens of the Great Midwest. Enjoying both so far. The former is more of a fun read and the latter is stronger writing, so we’ll see how they finish.

    I’m about halfway through The Bronze Horseman but had stepped away for a while. I plan to finish it but am curious about others’ thoughts. I was expecting to have more of an Outlander-like reaction to it, and it hasn’t sucked me in quite as much as I thought it would.

  5. I have After You on my nightstand and your comments are making me think I might hold off on reading it right away like I planned. It’s funny, I adored A Window Opens so much! It reminded me of Where’d You Go, Bernadette, but I thought it was even better with the humor and work/life balance issues of a working mom.

    Right now I’m trying to tackle Ready Player One. It’s a bit geeky for me, but I’m enjoying slipping out of my typical genre 🙂

  6. Kelly says:

    I read Me Before You and loved it! One of my favorite books! I read After You last weekend and was disappointed. It was still a good book but doesn’t compare to the first one! I still love her writing though!

  7. I recently read ‘One Plus One by Jojo Moyes’ and really enjoyed it. I have ‘After You’ on my to-read list but now I’m wondering if there are other books of hers that may be worth reading instead. Any recommendations? Thx 🙂

  8. Veronica Speedwell is my new favorite heroine! I never read anything of Raybourn’s before this…I picked it up because the cover caught my eye. I love the love/hate relationship between Veronica and Stoker. I hope it stays that way and doesn’t morph into a full blown romantic relationship. I feel like there’s a lack of that type of relationship in Victorian era books (due to cultural norms) and they all lean towards romantic relationships. I keep seeing Pretending to Dance at Barnes & Noble but haven’t decided whether to buy it or not yet.

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