Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet book reviews of what we’ve been reading lately. Jump in anytime and share yours: write about your recent reads on your blog or on your Instagram account, and leave the link in the comments section.
This month I’m continuing to read advance review copies for the Summer Reading Guide, which is only a month away now. But I’ve learned that I can’t only read brand new books or I’ll lose my mind, which is why you’ll see an assortment in today’s book list.
I enjoy Kleon's work—especially his weekly newsletter—so I picked up his brand-new release to tangibly support what he's doing when I popped into Rainy Day Books in the Kansas City area earlier this month. After reading his blog posts about the process for well over a year, I enjoyed reading the finished product, in just one sitting. The creative life (or any other kind of life) can be a slog sometimes, and I found Kleon's advice for carrying on to be fun, pithy, and practical. He has a gift for stating familiar ideas in fresh and unexpected ways: "you can be woke without waking to the news", "sleep tidies the brain," "the demons hate fresh air." More info →
I read this book as a sort of homework assignment: the author was coming to my church to speak, I'm on the committee, and I read only because I wanted to be prepared. And then I couldn't put it down. Despite the "reconstruction" referenced in the title, I was surprised to find this book to be a thorough history lesson. Wilson-Hartgrove, a white minister serving in a historically black church in Durham, NC, discusses the Christian religion, the New South, America's racial divide, and politics. The history is uglier than I knew, with Wilson-Hartgrove's portraying too many professed Christians who knew “how to worship Jesus on Easter Sunday morning and stamp out ‘Negro rule’ in the afternoon.” The current situation remains bleak, yet Wilson-Hartgrove insists that to remain hopeful, it's necessary to both take a long view and take action to right the unjust systems of this world. I'll be thinking about this book for a long time. More info →
They say write what you know, and Claire Gibson has done just that with her debut. Born and raised at the U.S. Military Academy, she is intimately familiar with that life and West Point's tight-knit community. Beyond the Point follows the lives of three female cadets, from their school years at West Point in the 1990s, and then as their assignments take them around the world and away from each other. I appreciate how this book combines elements that we don't expect to go together, but in Gibson's hands, of course they do: women's fiction + a military setting; the power of female friendship + the soldier's life. I was happy to see this chosen as a Book of the Month selection for April. More info →
I enjoy the genre sometimes dubbed fi-sci: fiction steeped in the world of science, and Freudenberger's new release takes place largely in the theoretical physics department of MIT. Helen is a physicist whose professional life is on track: her work on five-dimensional spacetime and black holes has earned her worldwide acclaim. But her personal life is thrown into disarray when she receives word that her best friend has unexpectedly died. I especially enjoyed the subtly-drawn parallels between quantum physics and complex personal relationships. I recommended this book on Episode 177 of What Should I Read Next ("When your reading life is a roller coaster") for its compassionate portrayal of living with chronic illness (lupus). The title comes from an Auden poem: "For time is inches / And the heart's changes / Where ghost has haunted / Lost and wanted." More info →
What have you been reading lately? Tell us all about it in comments or share a link in the comments section to your blog or instagram.