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’ve been reading a TON lately but I don’t have much to share with you yet! All this Summer Reading prep is lots of fun (mostly) but it’s killing me to stay mum about the summer books I’m reading for now.

Series: Quick Lit 4/16
How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living

How to Be Here: A Guide to Creating a Life Worth Living

Author:
In short, story-driven chapters, Rob Bell explores presence, mindfulness, and creativity in his newest release (published March 8). Regular listeners of his podcast The Robcast will find many of the concepts familiar. I enjoyed this one, and especially appreciated his insistence that you don't need a fifty-year plan to begin something, you just need to do the next right thing. This would make an excellent companion to Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. More info →
City on Fire

City on Fire

I had heard good things about this one from a few readers I trust (which surprised me, given the book's solid 3-star rating on Amazon) but was hesitant to invest 944 pages of my reading life in it. But then I interviewed Seth Haines for What Should I Read Next? and he convinced me to give it a try. The novel revolves around a punk-rock band, a wealthy, dysfunctional NYC family, a pyrotechnics expert and his daughter, and the invisible threads that bind them all together in 1976 Manhattan. If you're deciding if this one's for you, you should know that it's being compared to Wallace, Wolfe, Franzen, and DeLillo, and is full of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. More info →
Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

Author:
When I first read this book it was a delightful surprise: I expected dry and boring and instead it was riveting. I've been re-reading this slowly over the past two months and am enjoying it just as much the third (or maybe fourth, honestly) time. The content is fantastic (whether you're an introvert or extrovert) but Cain is also a top-notch storyteller. More info →
Stars Over Sunset Boulevard

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard

Author:
When I got together with a bunch of writers recently we all talked about how much we loved Susan Meissner. Her most recent novel, published November 2015, begins in modern-day times when a distinctive green velvet hat appears at a vintage clothing shop. The hat is instantly recognizable as one that Scarlett O'Hara wore in Gone with the Wind; it disappeared during filming and hasn't been seen since. Of course the hat has a long, strange history, and Meissner takes us back in time to 1938 Hollywood, where two young friends are trying to make it in Tinseltown, each in their own way, and we see how that hat changed both their lives. This isn't my favorite Meissner novel, but it's a solid one, and Gone with the Wind fans won't want to miss it. More info →
The Kitchen House

The Kitchen House

I was warned this beautiful and heartbreaking story would suck me right in and it certainly did. The year is 1791, and an orphaned Irish girl is brought to a Virginia plantation as an indentured servant and makes her home among the slaves. The story is told alternately by the orphan Lavinia and 17-year-old Belle, the half-white illegitimate daughter of the plantation owner, who becomes Lavinia's de facto mother figure. The story keeps a brisk pace, propelled forward by rape, corruption, lynching, and occasionally, love. Now I'm looking forward to the just-released sequel Glory Over Everything: Beyond the Kitchen House. More info →

What have YOU been reading lately?

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48 comments

  1. Linda Stoll says:

    I’m a big QUIET fan … I think it’s time for a re-read. Highly recommend! Filled with ‘aha’ moments for us introverts and those of you who can’t quite figure what makes us tick …

    • Jen R says:

      I’m in total agreement with you about Quiet. I loved it and after reading it, it made me feel less crazy. lol. In connection with Quiet, Introverts in the Church is also a great read for a Christian introvert.

  2. Ellen says:

    I think I’ll give City on Fire a try. I remember resonating with a lot of Seth Haines’s comments on his episode of WSIRN, except he and I will have to agree to disagree about Go Set a Watchman.

  3. I’ve been reading through the Anne of Green Gables series for the first time! I have read all but The Blythes are Quoted. I don’t know why I never picked them up as a girl because they are definitely a series I would have loved, but I also loved reading them as an adult.
    Also I just finished The Happiness Project and The Best of the Happiness Blog by Gretchen Rubin. I can’t seem to get enough of her writing!

  4. Sara K says:

    I just read Ashley Weaver’s latest mystery Death Wears a Mask. Just love her characters! Very classy and fun 🙂 And I’m looking forward to the new one later this year!

    I also recently finished The Kitchen Counter Cooking School after you recommended it to someone on the podcast. Not being a novice cook myself it still gave me a much needed motivational boost to take control of my kitchen again and reclaim the joy of cooking 🙂

  5. Bonnie Oswald says:

    “Don’t Speak” by J.L. Brown…. My review below:
    THANK YOU, J.L. Brown, for this Absolutely, POSITIVELY, Fantastic Read! SHE is one of the best authors I’ve EVER read & 2 of my favorites are John Grisham & David Balducci!!!! And for the next to the last words throwing a HUGE curve ball!! LOVED IT!!!! OK, if you love mysteries, political thrillers, Today’s Current complex Issues, serial killers…. This book has them all! I loved the phrase “Commiecrats'”, you’ll just have to read this book to find out what that means….. I am Blessed & Honored to have received this book as a giveaway & Thankful to be able to write this review! (less)

  6. The Kitchen House sounds like my kind of read. Making note!

    I wanted to tell you I requested My Year of Running Dangerously, and it just came in. And here I am, still busy with These Is My Words (LOVING) and a book club book I need to finish before this afternoon.

  7. Bonnie Oswald says:

    “Keeper of the Flame” by Jack Batten:
    Very good read….. I just realized, I don’t know the main character’s first name! He’s just Crang, a criminal lawyer who is not above taking “interesting” cases! This one (& I will be adding others to my to-read) involves a hip-hop singer about to crossover & make a movie…. But he wrote some Really Crude lyrics as a teenager & now is being blackmailed. The “Heaven’s Philosopher’s” group has some unusual characters. I don’t giveaway plots in reviews, but you will enjoy the twists & turns that keep you thinking! Thanks for the opportunity to read this giveaway book, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  8. GingerG says:

    The Kitchen House has been sitting on my shelf for months. I really need to pick it up. Thanks for the reminder. Adding Stars Over Sunset Boulevard to my reading list. I love Gone with the Wind!

  9. Kim says:

    I just finished The Book Thief. I just started Slipstream Time Hacking: How to Cheat Time, Live More, And Enhance Happiness and Drums of Autumn (the fourth Outlander book).

  10. Dawn says:

    “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll…”
    What more can I ask from a book? Haha!!! Definitely checking that one out. As a kid born in 1967, the 70’s and 80’s are irresistible to me.
    Also gonna grab The Kitchen House. I love certain historical fiction and that looks fantastic!!

  11. I love Quiet. Love. Might be time for a reread.
    I’m reading The Travelers by Chris Pavone, and some poetry by Naomi Shihab Nye, because it’s National Poetry Month. I just finished Stir by Jessica Fechtor, which I LOVED.

  12. I read Quiet last month and LOVED it! It helped me understand my introvertness a lot better and helped me be more confident in my personality rather than wanting to be more extroverted or talkative.

  13. The Kitchen House is on my TBR list – I love historical fiction, and I haven’t read anything from that era in a long time! Right now I’m reading The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake – set in post-WW2 Tokyo, it’s so fascinating. I haven’t read anything EVER about that period, so I’m really loving it.

  14. Dana says:

    I just finished:
    A Murder of Magpies by Judith Flanders.- a funny, breezy mystery. 1st in a newish series.
    The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows. I enjoyed it for the most part.
    I also just finished a biography of CS Lewis by Alister McGrath which was good. Going to read Mere Christianity soon.

    I am reading Write.Publish.Repeat. by Sean Platt on indie publishing.
    Have a TBR pile I am sorting through tonight.

    • Kim says:

      Absolutely loved The Kitchen House, beautifully written. Just finished Inside The O’Briens by Lisa Genova (Still Alice). Another powerful, moving story about a family dealing with a major illness.

  15. Pam says:

    So far in April I’ve read:
    Landline By Rainbow Rowell
    Big Little Lies By Liane Moriarty
    Just started The Perfect Son By Barbara Claypool White

  16. I linked up below but since writing that post I have three more terrific reads to share: Lab Girl by scientist Hope Jahren. Reading now and really liking it. It is unlike anything I have read lately. Smart and quirky. The Narrow Door, a beautifully written memoir about a long time friendship by Paul Lisicky. His sentences are beautiful and his writing is so honest. And Catastrophic Happiness by the always wonderful Catherine Newman whose Waiting for Birdy is also a must read. You will laugh until you cry and you will tear up as she describes those beautiful moments that are the essence of the parent child bond. She captures the craziness and profound love and grinch-like multiplying of the size of your heart involved in parenting better than anyone. If you haven’t read either how lucky you are to have them in your future! Next up: the Vanishing Velaquez.

  17. Helen Tomlinson says:

    Just finished The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark (1961); All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Dooer, The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (for the umpteenth time), still on/off reading Quiet inbetween reading everything else, and also dipping in and out of The Simple Act of Reading – a collection of gorgeous essays about books and reading edited by Debra Adelaide – loving it. Happy reading to all!

  18. Krista says:

    Just finished How to Be Here by Rob Bell (based on your recommendation). LOVED it! I so appreciate an inspirational self- help kind of book that is realistic and easily attainable and not the least bit preachy or guilt-inflicting. Thanks for the recommendation!!

  19. I loved The Kitchen House as well! And – City on Fire – let’s say I wanted to throw it across the room by the time I was done. It was a 4 star read for me until about the 65% mark, then the ending was just horrendous and way too long and drawn out. Knocked it down to 2.5 stars for me.

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