Quick Lit
A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 7)

A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Mysteries, No. 7)

$9.99$2.99Audiobook: 11.99 (Whispersync)
Author:
Series: Best novels of 2015
Genre: Mystery
Tag: Quick Lit

Penny's mysteries are alternately centered in the cozy village of Three Pines and the wider world. For this excellent follow-up to the game-changing Bury Your Dead, Inspector Gamache returns to Three Pines to solve a murder that's intimately tied to the world of fine art. The story is built around the concept of chiaroscuro—the contrast between dark and light that's significant in some artists' works, and in all our natures. It may sound obtuse, but Penny probes with a light hand. It works.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
A Window Opens: A Novel

A Window Opens: A Novel

$11.99$2.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

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 →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Book 1)

A Share in Death (Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James Book 1)

If you're all caught up on Penny and Galbraith novels, try this engaging series of Scotland Yard police procedurals. This first installment reminds me of Dorothy Sayers: detective Duncan Kincaid happens to be vacationing at his posh cousin's time share when a body is found in the resort pool. The local detectives rule suicide, but Kincaid is certain there's more to the story. As the series progressives, the police work is only half the content: Crombie devotes considerable ink to her detectives' personal dramas and romantic entanglements as well. Get caught up this summer so you're ready for book #17 Garden of Lamentations, though its release date has (sniff) been pushed back to February 17, 2016. Highly recommended for mystery-loving Anglophiles.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
You Will Know Me

You Will Know Me

Author:
Series: Quick Lit 9/16
Genre: Mystery
Tag: Quick Lit

A new nail-biter from Thriller Award winner Abbott is always news. She's best known for The Fever, a book I've been meaning to read for ages. I know her by reputation, though I haven't yet read her work, and was surprised to hear her forthcoming novel is focused on an elite teen gymnast, a tragedy that rocks her training facility, and the subsequent unraveling of everything the characters thought they knew about each other. Add Audible narration for $12.99. Publication date July 26 2016.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World
After You: A Novel

After You: A Novel

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 →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: A Novel
The Girls in the Garden

The Girls in the Garden

The action in this new suspenseful novel centers around a beautiful private communal garden in London. Most of the neighbors have lived there for years and trust each other implicitly; one family felt lucky to find their new flat when they were displaced from their home after a tragic fire. In the prologue, one of these new neighbors, 12-year-old Grace, is found in a corner of this supposedly idyllic garden, injured and unconscious after a neighborhood party. Jewell flashes back in time to introduce us to all the neighbors, and we discover much to mistrust as we try to figure out what happened to Grace. I read this as a Summer Reading Guide contender, and while it held my attention, it wasn't a favorite. Published June 7, 2016.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
We Never Asked for Wings

We Never Asked for Wings

$9.99$1.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

Like many of you, I'd been anxiously awaiting a second novel from The Language of Flowers author Diffenbaugh. This standalone deftly weaves together tricky topics like immigration law, biology, and teen parenthood. Gorgeous prose, heartwarming story, likable characters.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Write without Crushing Your Soul: Sustainable Publishing and Freelancing

Write without Crushing Your Soul: Sustainable Publishing and Freelancing

$9.99$0.99

Writers of faith will appreciate this straight-talking guide to the ins and outs of the industry, as well as how to save your soul (and your sanity) from the unusual demands of the writing life.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion

Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion

$12.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Whispersync)
Author:
Series: Quick lit 1/16
Genre: Memoir
Tag: Quick Lit

I've been meaning to read this book for years: it's been highly recommended by readers with great taste. But it wasn't until my family started volunteering at our church's food pantry that it vaulted to the top of my list. I knew our church began the food pantry BECAUSE of Sara Miles's visit to the church a few years ago, and after reading her inspiring story, I understand why her enthusiasm for community food pantries is contagious. A compelling spiritual memoir. Add Audible narration for $3.99.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Lily and the Octopus

Lily and the Octopus

$20.992.95 (AUDIBLE DAILY DEAL)

This debut autobiographical fiction from screenwriter Rowley is at once poignant and kooky. This is the lightly fictionalized tale of the author's last 6 months with his beloved dachshund and the brain tumor ("octopus" that ended her life. This little book provided me with one of my more bizarre reading experiences, because the great similarity between Lily and my own beloved lab were uncanny (even if Harriet and I never played board games or compared the two Ryans, Gosling and Reynolds), so much so that when I described the book to my husband right after finishing it (with tears streaming down my face) we both collapsed in helpless laughter. Definitely a strange book, but a sweet and strangely powerful one for anyone who's loved a dog.

More info →
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
The Truth According to Us

The Truth According to Us

I loved this historical novel from the bestselling co-author of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. From the publisher: "Annie Barrows once again evokes the charm and eccentricity of a small town filled with extraordinary characters. Her new novel brings to life an inquisitive young girl, her beloved aunt, and the alluring visitor who changes the course of their destiny forever."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life

I'd forgotten how good Reichl's food writing is: I loved this so much, I can't even tell you. This collection truly is as much memoir as cookbook: there's a story to accompany every single recipe. (I only made one recipe—the marinated london broil—but it was a hit.) I happened to sit down and read this (like a novel) right after we got back from New York, and I especially loved the copious number of NYC stories: I kept googling Manhattan shops, neighborhoods, and restaurants while reading. I checked this out of the library and I already miss it: this might be a keeper.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Among the Ten Thousand Things

Among the Ten Thousand Things

Fun fact: this has been a "love" AND a "hate" on What Should I Read Next. This wrenching debut novel tells the story of a family that falls apart after infidelity comes to light.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally-Minded Kids One Book at a Time

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally-Minded Kids One Book at a Time

Author:
Series: Quick Lit 7/16
Genre: Nonfiction
Tag: Quick Lit

I blurbed this title and am thrilled to see it's finally on bookstore shelves! I know I’m not the only one who’s stood in the middle of the children’s section at the library or bookstore knowing I’m surrounded by good books to read but wishing someone would point me toward which ones to choose—and which to pass over. Jamie's done the hard work: is here to help me do just that. She’s done the hard work for you: this is a big list of annotated book recommendations, broken down by region, along with plenty of tips on using literature to foster a love of reading and a global awareness in the kids in your life. Published June 7, 2016.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home

$9.99$1.99Audiobook: 3.99 (Whispersync)
Author:
Series: Quick Lit 8/15
Genre: Memoir
Tag: Quick Lit

Fans of Amber's writing love her distinctive, lyrical voice. I was so happy to see that it works in this book-length spiritual memoir. The details give the story richness: the scent of wild grapes, the cacophony of the woods on a Southern evening, the ginormous swimming pool slide with no pool at the bottom. A must-read for fans of Amber's blog.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
The Gift of Failure
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. Whether you've already read it or are thinking about it, don't miss Kathleen Grissom talking about how this story came to be on episode 78 of What Should I Read Next.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
A Fall of Marigolds

A Fall of Marigolds

This has been on my TBR for a while, because so many historical fiction fans recommended this to me as Meissner's best novel. The action goes back and forth in time between two women, a century apart, who are linked by a beautiful scarf and by their unlikely survival in two devastating tragedies in New York City. Meissner's tone makes this an easy, enjoyable read despite the tough subject matter—I read this in a day.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound
When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine

When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine

$9.99$2.99
Author:
Series: Quick Lit 7/16
Tag: Quick Lit

I just bumped this way up my TBR list because I loved the author's latest novel, out April 5. I may do it on audio because the price is right for a Whispersync deal. From Ken Burns: "This is an extraordinarily moving book, so carefully and artfully realized, about loss and life and love. Monica Wood displays all her superb novelistic skills in this breathtaking, evocative new memoir. Wow." Add Audible narration for $3.99.

More info →
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This isn't a productivity book, exactly: McKeown's point is that instead of trying to get more done, we need to focus on getting only the right things done. Ironically, this book about ignoring the inessential felt a little padded to me. My favorite takeaway was the "monk mode" strategy McKeown relied on to write this book: he shut out the world from 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. every day to focus on his "essential" project for that season.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man’s Miraculous Survival

Author:
Series: Quick Lit 2/16
Genre: Memoir
Tag: Quick Lit

I've been meaning to read this modern adventure classic for years, largely because I'm obsessed with Into Thin Air. I expected the two books to be similar but—aside from the fact that they both deal with life and death in the icy mountains—the books didn't feel at all the same. Krakauer's is reflective and journalistic; in Touching the Void, Simpson and his climbing partner alternately tell the tale of their disastrous ascent of a remote peak in the Peruvian Andes.

More info →
Buy from Amazon
Miller’s Valley: A Novel

Miller’s Valley: A Novel

This story of a young girl growing up in a rural community during a time when the community itself is facing a tremendous change. This was wise, reflective, and easy to read, and strongly reminiscent of Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from IndieBound
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing Of The Lusitania
Good Cheap Eats: Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less
Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith

Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith

$11.99$1.99Audiobook: 7.49 (Audible)

I'm not sure the concept of this book would have made sense to me in my early twenties, but nearly 15 years later, I understand what it means to be "out of sorts"—it's that disoriented feeling that comes with personal growth and change. In a spiritual sense, it's that time when you're having to figure out everything you thought you once knew "for sure" all over again. Those who feel that they're still sorting through their faith, or sorting through it again, will relate to Bessey's personal journey. My favorite line: "If our faith doesn’t change and evolve as we go through our lives, then we simply aren’t paying attention."

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
City on Fire

City on Fire

$14.99

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 →
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Homegoing

Homegoing

$13.99$3.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)

I keep hearing this new debut novel mentioned in the same breath as "best of the year" and now I understand why. For the first hundred pages I didn't quite grasp what the author was up to, but when it hit me it was powerful. By exploring the stories of two sisters, who met different fates in Ghana more than 200 years ago, Gyasi traces subtle lines of cause and effect through the centuries, illuminating how the deeds of ages past still haunt all of us today. A brilliant concept, beautifully executed. Read it.

More info →
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Audible.com
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from IndieBound