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.

This month I knocked out five popular new (or new-ish) releases that I’ve been meaning to read since they hit the bookstore’s shelves.

Series: Quick Lit 3/16
The Light of the World: A Memoir

The Light of the World: A Memoir

Alexander's husband died just four days after his fiftieth birthday. A few years later, Alexander looks back on their life together, their love, and the impact of that loss in her life. The author is a poetry professor at Yale, which obvious in the story's richness and language. Her source material is fantastic: Alexander is an American, born in Harlem. Her husband was born in Eritrea, in East Africa, and came to New Haven as a refugee from war. Both were artists—that’s his painting on the cover of the book—and their home sounds like this amazing, vibrant, multicultural extravaganza with food and friends and music and art. I could barely put this down. More info →
Reclaiming Conversation

Reclaiming Conversation

Author:
The title is admittedly a little dry but the content is so good! This is Turkle's wake-up call to our modern era where we're over-connected to each other when apart but under-connected—thanks to our devices—when together. As a professor at MIT Turkle collected reams of research on how our devices are serving us well, and how they're not. (The latter column is the fuller one.) It gets depressing at times, but Turkle is persistently optimistic about how we can control our technology, instead of the other way around. Resistance is not futile, but highly effective, and once we understand how our devices are really affecting us, we'll be empowered to change. Surprisingly fascinating. More info →
My Name Is Lucy Barton

My Name Is Lucy Barton

I finally succumbed to the buzz on this, my first novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout. This is a short, almost poetic, work—barely more than 200 pages—but Strout covers a lot of ground, from the perspective of a woman who's reflecting back on the time she spent in a NYC hospital in the 1980s: poverty, the AIDS epidemic, art and artists, and especially, the relationship between mothers and daughters. You could read this in an afternoon. Recommended for fans of Marilynne Robinson. More info →
When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air

Author:
I told you back in January that I probably couldn't handle this one ... and I'm mostly glad I let myself be talked into it. Kalanithi is nearing the end of his long and arduous training in neurosurgery when he receives his own terminal cancer diagnosis, and the role reversal is immediate: suddenly he's the patient, not the doctor. This is the book he wrote after his diagnosis: he'd always dreamed of writing a book "one day," and when his own timeline was dramatically shortened, he got to work. He didn't quite finish: one of the best parts of the book is the moving epilogue written by his widow. Recommended for fans of Atul Gawande: his Being Mortal is an excellent companion. More info →
Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

Author:
I've been looking forward to this one ever since I saw Cuddy's viral TED talk last year. Cuddy is best known for her advocation of "power posing": her belief that our posture literally changes who we are. In this longer treatment she unpacks what it means to be truly present in life, and how we can all achieve greater presence in our own lives. While a little uneven, I walked away with a pile of insights that made it worth my while. Highly recommended: if you don't find a few gems that will change your life, I'll be happy to share mine. More info →

What have YOU been reading lately?

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58 comments

  1. Melissa says:

    I cannot stop thinking about the “power posing” after you wrote about it!! It is crazy how something so simple can be so powerful. So good. I am really excited to read Presence.

  2. Pam says:

    So far in March I’ve Read:

    Dear Mr. Knightley
    Ready Player One
    and just started
    The Boston Girl
    I will then get to a non-fiction: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

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