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 on the 15th of the month.

The theme of my reading life this past month has been “you win some, you lose some.” Where I live, school started this week. I had originally thought that this past month would consist of leisurely summer days, and I was so wrong. It’s been nonstop chaos around here. And while that schedule hasn’t done great things for my paperback-reading life, my audiobook listening time has dramatically increased. Since I always say good books are my coping mechanism of choice, I’m just happy to be reading. 

I hope you have enjoyed some good books lately. Tell us your favorites in comments?

Quick Lit August 2019
The Stationery Shop

The Stationery Shop

Author:
In 1953 Tehran, a young man failed to meet his betrothed in a Tehran square. Sixty years later and half a world away, the woman, now grown old, is about to discover why. This sweeping love story spans 60 years and two continents, taking the reader between contemporary New England and 1953 Tehran, thoroughly immersing the reader in the volatile political climate of 1950s Iran. This is easily one of the best books I've read this year: listen to me recommend it on Episode 194 of What Should I Read Next ("No plot, no problem!"), and we'll be reading it in the MMD Book Club in January, where we'll pair it with A Place for Us. If you enjoyed either of these books, add the other to your TBR right now. More info →
The Flatshare: A Novel

The Flatshare: A Novel

Author:
I read this entire novel in one sitting on a Sunday afternoon; it's a romantic comedy that manages to tackle serious issues while maintaining a light and breezy feel. Don't miss the backstory on how the author's personal life inspired the premise, and how she managed to write nearly every word of the 320-page novel on her own commute in and out of London. There are a few spicy scenes but this romance is mostly closed-door. More info →
Chances Are…

Chances Are…

Author:
My husband and I passionately disagreed about this book. He says it's the best thing he's read this year, even better than The River. I thought it was fine—maybe even good—but definitely didn't LOVE it. In this short novel, three college friends come back together for the first time in years, reunited at the very place where they spent a life-changing weekend together nearly forty years before. That was the weekend that one of their friends—a friend they were all at least a little bit in love with—disappeared, and they've been thinking about her ever since. A story of male friendship, family tragedy, and how the past is never really past. More info →
The View from Penthouse B

The View from Penthouse B

Author:
I just recommended this 2013 release to Mary Laura Philpott on Episode 195 of What Should I Read Next ("Wanted: book enthusiast at large"). Two adult sisters have grown apart, but when they each suffer their own personal and economic tragedies, necessity brings them together again, and they're soon cobbling together a new found family in a Greenwich Village penthouse. Fast and fun. More info →
The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals

The Home Edit: A Guide to Organizing and Realizing Your House Goals

Like so many readers, I love The Home Edit instagram account, and enjoy ogling other people's tidy and ROYGBIV-ed closets and pantries. However, I was really hoping to find some great advice here on how to organize my refrigerator DOORS, and didn't find a single word or photo about that here. Long story short: if you're a fan of their social media accounts, I don't think you'll find much new info here. (Any tips on those doors? Please share in comments!) More info →

What have YOU been reading lately? Tell us about your recent reads—or link up a blog or instagram post about them—in comments. 

P.S. 10 audiobooks to listen to while you clean, purge, and tidy, and the Quick Lit archives.

86 comments | Comment

86 comments

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  1. I need more rom-com in my life so I might need to check out The Flatshare! Also, I can never get enough home organization so The Home Edit is going on my list as well. I’ve been doing even more reading than usual recently because our air condition was out for nearly a week and reading in front of a fan was one of the only activities that felt acceptable 😂

    Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
    https://readeatrepeat.net/2019/08/15/books-in-progress-what-im-reading-right-now-august-2019/

    • I’m doing a challenge with Net Galley. And so far I’ve finished 3 books: The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman, Mother of Pearl by Angela Savage and ADeath in Harlem by Karla Holloway. Currently I’m reading The Watanabe Name by Sakura Nobeyama and Maternal Instinct by Rebecca Bowyer.

  2. Jess Anne Cole says:

    I’m loving Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield. One of my favorite books is The Thirteenth Tale. I like this even more. It is storytelling at its best. Sadly I’m down to the last 50 pages!

  3. Donna says:

    I agree with you…I didn’t like Chances Are as much as I have other Russo books. Right now I’m reading The Beekeeper of Aleppo, which is out on Aug. 27. And I’m also reading Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life. Both are very good!

  4. Lynda says:

    I’m reading Everyone Brave is Forgiven, it’s fine..I’m about 30% into it, and hoping it gets better. I’m listening to Louise Penny’s, The Cruelest Month, and loving it! I’m especially enjoying hearing how all the French words sound and love Ralph Cosham’s narration.

  5. James McKinley says:

    If you can believe it, I have four books going right now. One audiobook, two books on my Kindle, and one paperback. My two Kindle books are Lord of the Flies by William Golding and The Art of War by Sun Tzu. I am only reading The Art of War because it’s on a list of 100 books to read; it’s not terrible however. Lord of the Flies lives up to the hype of being quite disturbing and I’m digging it! The audiobook is Wolves of the Calla by Stephen King. I have read the paperbacks of the Dark Tower series but I wanted to revisit them and I decided that audio would be faster. The paperback is The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. Her debut novel The Anatomy of Dreams was absolutely great! I just started this one so we will see if she hits that infamous sophomore slump.

  6. Sandy says:

    I am having a Rosamund Pilcher re read summer. I read The Shell Seekers and now am reading September. (I don’t read as fast as I used to)
    Love her books!

  7. sarah says:

    I just read The Course of Love by Alain de Botton because you just recommended it last week and I flew through it even though I found myself having to go back reread sentences. The writing isn’t complicated but the thoughts are deep and philosophical even though it’s speaking about the mundane everything things that let’s face it, we all want to know about when it comes to other people. Will check out Penthouse B and The Stationery Shop!

  8. Celesta Carlson says:

    am listening to “I Miss you when I blink” after hearing her on your podcast. I absolutely love this book. I feel like she got inside my head and wrote down everything I was thinking.

  9. Susan Clark says:

    I also read “The Stationary Shop” this month loved it! Two days ago I finished “The Alice Network”…a story about the women spies in WWII- I loved how the author wrote it in the present and past but brought it to the present at the end.

  10. Sarah says:

    I read Where the Crawdads Sing and Becoming this Summer…and got my book club to read Harry’s Trees and The Boys in the Boat, which were both on my list. For some reason, A Gentleman in Moscow in taking me forever, I’m listening to This is the Story of a Happy Marriage, and I’m halfway through When Breath Becomes Air for Book Club.
    The Stationery Shop and Chances Are both sound great to me, and are going on top of my teetering list!

  11. Catie Wardwell says:

    I adored The Flatshare! This month I’ve also finished The Unhoneymooners (loved it!), Waiting for Tom Hanks (fun!), The Feather Thief (fascinating), and We Came Here To Forget (undecided). I’m currently reading When All is Said, and listening to The Thousand Dollar Tan Line and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s been a good month!

  12. Janet says:

    I loved Once Upon a River! Our book club selection is Pachinko but I’m not making good progress what with visiting family in central Michigan. Will have to get serious on the flight home!

  13. I really enjoyed “The Stationary Shop.” SUCH a good read! I read 20 books in July, and a handful were just stellar: The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck, Ayesha at Last (a P & P re-telling), Three Ways to Disappear, The McAvoy Sisters Book of Secrets, and The Book Charmer (wow).

  14. Kelly says:

    I am really looking forward to reading The Stationery Shop. Right now I am reading The Soul of an Octopus and it is fascinating!

  15. I’ve been seeing The Home Edit around a lot, and it looks like it would be filled with gorgeous photos, which now makes sense since I didn’t know it was based off the IG account. The way I organize my fridge doors is to have the top shelf be for butter/cream cheese, the widest shelf for milk, and then the two other shelves, I have one that’s for condiments that are ready to go as is–ketchup, pickles, salad dressing, etc., and the other shelf is for condiments I use in cooking, such as hoisin sauce, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, etc. Works for me, although I’m not sure how “pretty” it is!

    Here’s what I’ve been reading lately:
    http://www.toloveandtolearn.com/2019/08/13/loving-and-learning-lately-17/

    • Susan J says:

      I’ve been feeling the same way about summer reading—here in Maine, summer is too short and we have way too much to do! Gardening, house painting, home projects, trips for the kids, lawn mowing, festivals and seafood eating, cleaning the gutters—so our reading is stolen here and there, and at night, for me. Winter is when we read in Maine.

  16. Lynn says:

    The Stationary Shop is sitting in my pile of books to read. I have heard so many great things about it. I have had a great reading summer. I also discovered why so many people love Wendell Berry when I bought a couple of his books at a used bookstore on vacation. I am loving them. I had never read any of his books until recently. We visited a few bookstores on vacation in Oregon and I shared a few of the books we bought and read, including the Wendell Berry ones. https://fromourbookshelf.com/a-few-vacation-reads/

  17. Ellen Cole says:

    I’ve been mainly listening to audiobooks, as I get 1-2 hours of listening time every day on my commute. I too am enjoying Rosamund Pilcher this year! I listened to “Shell Seekers”, having loved reading it years ago. I also listened to “The Empty House”. Currently, I’m loving “Coming Home” and I have “September” on-deck when I’m finished. I may listen to “Winter Solstice” again in December. Listening to Rosamund Pilcher books is soothing to the soul…like a bubble bath or a hot cup of tea.

  18. I listed what I read last month here: https://barbarah.wordpress.com/2019/07/31/end-of-july-musings-and-a-blog-anniversary-giveaway/.

    One of the best was Suffering Is Never For Nothing by Elisabeth Elliot. I also enjoyed a few of Ann Tatlock’s novels, especially Every Secret Thing, about a teacher who goes back to teach at the prep school she attended and tries to figure out a cover-up that happened in her student days. I just finished 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and Kill Order by Adam Blumer (just released today! Haven’t reviewed that one yet.

    I’m currently listening to Anna Karenina and reading Rachel’s Prayer by Leisha Kelly and There’s a Reason They Call it GRANDparenting by Michele Howe.

  19. Amy says:

    I just finished (and loved!) The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, and just started her latest book, Times Convert. I agree that this series is ‘a brainy Twilight for adults,’ which I read in one review. Does anyone else who liked this series have an idea for another similar book or series I can start on next? Thanks for any ideas!

  20. Lori says:

    I was very excited to read City of Girls because I had heard such great things about it. Ultimately, I thought it was fine, but it didn’t live up to the hype. I am currently reading, and LOVING, Lisa Damour’s, Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls.

    • Katie says:

      I was listening to City of Girls on audio for my book club and I’ve basically abandoned it 25% of the way in. I’m finding it so boring and unoriginal. The main character is not well developed and I really don’t care about finding out what happens. But every review I’ve read is so positive. It’s surprising!

      • Brenda says:

        All they hype and positive reviews are not surprising because we are all “supposed” to love everything Elizabeth Gilbert does. I, for one, did not like Eat, Pray, Love so was hesitant to read City of Girls. While it’s not the best book I’ve ever read, it wasn’t the worst. (I read it for a book club that was to be held at a wine bar – so there was the incentive) I did like that the main character and her Aunt never felt the need to be anything but what they were. Not for society, for family, or for love.

  21. Krista Mays says:

    I just finished Jenny Colgan’s Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe a fun story about following your passion & even better it included recipes. I’m still winding my way thru The Overstory by Richard Powers which beautiful & heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time.

  22. Janet Cosbey says:

    I’m reading The Bookish Life of Nina Hill…a fun read! And listening to Alexander Hamilton – lots of food for thought there!

  23. Karen North says:

    I’m reading Tish Harrison Warren’s Liturgy of the Ordinary in little bits here and there. I resonate with her perspective and want to grow and deepen in living glad and grateful in every moment of my dat. Just finished Gentleman in Moscow – which I (and my book club) loved.

    Thanks for all the recommendations – you are a great resource for me. 🙂

  24. School also started here this week and I feel you on the last couple weeks being chaos. It was more work than I remembered to get our son ready! Uniforms and lunchbox and verification day. I feel like I should get more reading in now that school has started (and I have an 18 month old at home…that’s saying something).

    My Quick Lit is here, despite a pretty tough last couple weeks of reading I still did finish 16 books, largely thanks to a vacation week right before the crazy started!

  25. Brandon Harbeke says:

    Here are the best books I read last month:

    Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
    Ball Lightning by Cixin Liu
    To Be or Not To Be by Ryan North (a Hamlet choose-your-own-adventure)
    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
    Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien

  26. Teresa says:

    I have had such a great reading summer-alas school starts soon #teacherproblems
    I have recently read Ruth Wares new one which I enjoyed ..yes even the ending. I am currently reading The Dry by Jane Harper. Liking this one .

  27. Emily Murphy says:

    I’m about to read Lilac Girls and am excited about it. I also have War Storm (the final in the red queen series) and Where the Crawdads Sing (FINALLY!) available on hold. Can’t wait to dive in on all three of those!

  28. Beth Gross says:

    Thanks, Anne, for sharing about the Stationery Shop. I’ve got to get my hands on a copy of that one and share it with my parents, since we lived in Iran in the 60s.

    This month I’m blogging about Middle Grade Novels adults will love. I’ve found that a good Middle Grade is just what I need when I’m too stressed to follow a complicated plot. I’ve found a lot of them here at MMD.

    https://purplecrayonyourworld.com/more-awesome-middle-grade-novels-adults-will-love/

  29. Sue says:

    SCHOOL started?? Apparently in Arizona and Colorado, it starts even earlier! I never knew this, having lived in the Northeast all my life, where it is written in stone that School Shalt Not Start Until After Labor Day,— I am still dumbfounded over this. It’s not right that kids should go back to school while it’s still summer.
    Anyway, I spent my morning volunteering for my local library’s annual book sale, nearly swooning over all the books I was in the midst of….so many delicious books, and I came home (they believe in not muzzling the bull while it’s threshing) with 4 hot titles—Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea, The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, and Ross Poldark by Winston Graham. The first 2 are recommended on Anne’s blog–Also, for the first time, I clicked on every single link mentioned in reader’s comments and really enjoyed other views…if only I had endless time…

  30. Susan says:

    I just finished reading If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais. LOVED IT! ❤ Some heavy topics but I kept wondering what was going to happen next so I wasn’t brought down too much. Now I’m enjoying The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. I’m liking it a lot too! I’ve read her two previous books as well. Both are lighthearted fun.
    Anne, I’m always looking forward to the 15th of every month!

  31. Nic Crew says:

    I just finished Recursion (great!) and Rules of Civility (amazing!!!). Great reads all-around. Currently reading Where the Crawdads Sing. And I’ve added The Flatshare to my TBR and my friend’s, because I know she will love it too. Ha!

  32. Donna says:

    Definitely adding The Flatshare to my TBR! I am currently reading and loving Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis. I can’t recommend it enough! Also picked up The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda and I cannot put it down. Sooooo good!

  33. Helen Herndon says:

    Since August is “back to school” month for my high schoolers and college student, it is a slow reading month. I did manage to finish THE GIFTED SCHOOL just in time for the new school year which was fun. I found the characters very believable — though unlikable — based on personal experience and the current college admissions scandal. I also finished THE GREAT ALONE and thoroughly enjoyed it. I found the Alaskan setting to mirror relationships among the characters – at times beautiful and at other times dark and dangerous. Loved the book. I’m currently moving slowly through THE WHISPER MAN, JANE EYRE and DARING GREATLY while listening to THE CUCKOO’S CALLING on Audible. and My next read will be LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE.

  34. Laurie Carlson says:

    I have been starting a new tradition inspired by my increased interest in reading. When I travel I stop in local bookstores to purchase a book set in the region I am visiting. Recently we were on our annual trek to Minnesota to visit our extended families. I had heard Anne mention she had just finished “The Lager Queen of Minnesota” so I thought that sounded like a fun book to look for. We went to Valley Bookstore in Stillwater to look for the book. I asked the book seller if they had it and was pleased to hear from her that they had recently hosted a launch party at a local brewery with the author who was originally from a nearby community and told of his beloved mother who he modeled some of his novel characters after and what a fun event it was to host him. I was so sad to hear I missed the event but they did have multiple signed copies of his book in the store. I purchased and read the book and it is now being passed around to my adult children to read and sign their names in it too. What a fun connection between place, books and family. Thank you Anne for the book recommendation – I loved it.

  35. Glen Day says:

    About the girl in red….I somehow manage to re as a fair a,pint of post apocalyptic books, and not on purpose, they just find me. Girl in red isn’t scary, but it’s a sort of strange little tale. (I think all postapoxolyptic stories are!) I enjoyed it a lot, and think I need to read this authors other books. He likes doing twists on fairy tales, apparently.

  36. June says:

    I’ve just finished listening to Big Sky by Kate Atkinson. It was delightful…..dry British humor, but enough mystery to make it interesting. This is the 5th Jackson Brody installment and I’ve listened to all but one (which I read). I think the narrator in the audible versions really add to this series.

  37. Mary says:

    My recent reads:

    Once Upon a River – via librofm (oh my goodness – so good!)
    Lonesome Dove: I have no idea how McMurtry kept all those characters straight while he was writing this book!
    Call of the Wild: for homeschooling — this is NOT one of my favorite books
    Anxious for Nothing: Cure for the Cares of Your Soul — looking forward to this as my oldest just left for college and I’m needing all the encouragement I can get!

  38. Laura T says:

    I’ve been reading a military sci-fi series called Poor Man’s War by Elliot Kay that has been great. I’m listening to the Mystery of Alice, but I’m not going to recommend it to anyone. It’s a bit too dark for my tastes and it has the unfortunate tendency of some YA books of reminding you too often of key points. I read the most recent book in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric & the Demon series and it was as enjoyable as all the others. I’ll be checking out Flatshare and The Stationary Shop after all the comments here.

    As for refrigerator doors, here’s my recommendations, my apologies if this all seems obvious. First if you’re not using it or use it rarely (like liquid smoke for me) then take it out of the door and put it in the back of the shelf. This works well for things that have a specific use so you’ll look for it in particular. Not so well for that awesome unique jam you’re slowly using and don’t want to forget about. In general put like stuff together and try to keep bigger/taller to the back. So mayo, pickles, and mustards are all together. Jellies are together. Salad dressings are all together, and finally all juice/milk are together. I hope that helps!

  39. Heather says:

    So many new selections to be added to my TBR. I am late to this party but I have been quite the reading summer -https://myviewofthehoneypot.blogspot.com/2019/08/august-reading.html

  40. SoCalLynn says:

    My refrigerator door shelves are organized this way: top: butter sticks; next: 1/2 Asian cooking such as soy sauce, hoisin, sriracha, sweet chili sauce and wasabi, 1/2 ingredients such as a jar of sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hears, horseradish. Next shelf: 1/2 salad dressings, 1/2 Mexican sauces like Tapatio hot sauce, jarred jalapenos chipotle peppers. Next shelf: condiments for burgers and sandwiches (ketchup, mayo, mustard, relish) and jelly and jams. The bottom shelf is a container of barley, maple syrup, Hershey’s chocolate syrup, BBQ sauce.

  41. SoCalLynn says:

    In the last month I read Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz, which I really enjoyed though I’m not usually a fan of mysteries. I also finished a wonderful quartet series I’ll describe as a cozy, generational historical fiction by Lauraine Snelling about Norwegian immigrants to Minnesota called Under Northern Skies. I love everything she writes. Now I’m reading a history about Queen Victoria’s daughters; Gift From the Sea by Ann Morrow Lindbergh; and ready to pick up We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

  42. Kristin Fields says:

    Your husband, and maybe even you, will love The Heavens May Fall by Allen Eskins. Very twisted and well-written thriller with courtroom drama and a fantastic main character detective. I listened on audio. Great narrators.

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