What I’ve been reading lately: the new, notable, and giftable

Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet book reviews of what we’ve been reading lately. Today I’m sharing my recent reads that also happen to be perfect for gifting this season.

For more literary gift ideas, check out these resources:

Quick Lit December 2018
Kingdom of the Blind (A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel)

Kingdom of the Blind (A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel)

I couldn't update you on my recent reads without including the latest Inspector Gamache novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Kirkus review made me laugh out loud: "Penny has upped her thrills-to–pain au chocolat ratio." This new installment in the series picks up where Glass Houses left off, with Gamache on suspension from the Sureté and the deadly opioid that he failed to recover expected to hit Montreal's streets any day. The story opens on a dark and stormy night—although in Three Pines, the storm is a blizzard—and while the murder mystery is solid, Gamache's interior journey is even more compelling. If you're gifting this, start with book #1, and check out this list if you're on the hunt for another unputdownable series. More info →
Leaf Supply: A Guide to Keeping Happy House Plants

Leaf Supply: A Guide to Keeping Happy House Plants

I checked this out of the library earlier this fall, and knew it was a keeper. (Wild Geese Bookshop gave it to me as a gift when I visited for book tour—thank you!) I've put it to good use. This beautiful coffee table-worthy book is packed with practical tips and plenty of inspiration for bringing houseplants into your home. If you love Leaf Supply, definitely check out Urban Jungle—it might be my favorite in this category. More info →
Walkable City Rules: 101 Steps to Making Better Places

Walkable City Rules: 101 Steps to Making Better Places

Walkable City was one of my favorite nonfiction books of years gone by—it's a book I can't stop talking about. So of course I couldn't wait to get my hands on Jeff Speck's latest, devoted to "everything that people tend to get wrong these days when designing pieces of cities." I was pleased to see it's not a retread of Walkable City, and contains overwhelmingly new content. In his author's note, Speck says he considered calling this book Walkable City Patterns, as a tribute to Christopher Alexander, so it's no coincidence that Alexander's A Pattern Language would also make an excellent book for anyone interested in this subject. More info →
1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List

1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List

This fun doorstop of a collection (and I say that with affection) was fourteen years in the making, and includes titles I expected (all six Austen novels) and titles I didn't (Make Way for Ducklings, Into Thin Air, The Hunt for Red October). The book includes numerous shorter reading lists, thorough indexes, and a checklist so you can see how many on the list you have read. (My current total is 168.) Stay tuned: I'm chatting with Mustich on a special New Year's episode of What Should I Read Next?. More info →
The Diary of a Bookseller

The Diary of a Bookseller

I'm spending part of this December in Wigtown—in Bythell's own bookshop—so of course I had to read this. This is Bythell's actual year-long diary of his days at the helm of The Bookshop, complete with daily customer count and till totals. But the real focus is on the customers: Bythell documents the unusual, eccentric, and often irksome behavior he witnesses every day in his shop. As for my own visit, I'm especially interested in seeing the Kindle Bythell describes shooting and wall-mounting with my own eyes. More info →

What have you been reading lately, and what books are YOU giving this season? Tell us all about it in comments or share a link in the comments to your post on what you’ve been reading lately!

more posts you might enjoy


Leave A Comment
  1. C White says:

    I’m enjoying being deeply immersed in Michelle Obama’s new book ‘Becoming’ and have already bought several copies as gifts. Another non-fiction that is well written, fascinating, and opinion shaping is ‘Chasing the Scream. The beginning and end of the war on drugs’ by Johann Hari.

  2. Janet Saxon says:

    I loved the cover of Diary of a Bookseller, but when I looked on Amazon to buy it? Totally different cover! Not pretty at all! Isn’t it weird how that makes so much difference?

    • Ginger Horton says:

      It does make a difference. 🙂 I have been known to poke around hardcover/softcover/buy used until I find a cover I like. 🙂

      • Michelle says:

        I identify with this very much ladies! I buy a lot of my books thrift/used. I get really excited with I’ve sourced one online and it shows up with an unexpected cover. That’s happened with an Outlander book, a Rosamunde Pilcher, and a Kate Morton – all overseas versions I wasn’t expecting. It’s like a treasure hunt! I’m a sucker for beautiful cover art.

  3. I read several excellent books this past month, but Fed Up by Gemma Hartley was definitely the most impactful read. I got my husband to read it and it has already made a huge difference in how much he helps with the management of the household! You might remember her viral article Women’s Aren’t Nags—We’re Just Fed Up from last year — that’s the opening chapter of the book. Definitely recommended.

    Here’s what I’ve been reading!

  4. Pam says:

    Books read: I read 15 books in November, although that included nine(!) graphic novels – quick reads! My favourite books read last month were: Holy Ghost by John Sandford (thriller), Sweet Tooth Vol. 1: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire (science fiction; graphic novel); and Y: The Last Man Book 1 – Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan, et al. (Science fiction; graphic novel).

    Currently reading: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. The last of the books I specifically planned to read in 2018. Yes, I do up a spreadsheet at the beginning of the year and list the books I want to read (e.g., to meet challenges). Of course, that list is changed and added to over the year. For example, none of my November faves (above) were planned reads for me.

    Hoping to read by the end of December: The Witch Elm by Tana French; Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty.

  5. Jessica says:

    The Diary of a Bookseller is DEFINITELY calling my name. As for the other books, I’m really intrigued over Walkable City for my mother. It sounds appealing for me, as well, but something about it screams her name. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Alice says:

    I took a trip to NYC and made a special trip to CW Pencil!!! So much fun and an experience for sure ! Thanks for recommending it .

  7. Julie says:

    Such a great year for good books! I posted my favorites on https//:www.nursebeansews.wordpress.com Many are WSIRN podcast recommendations!
    Julie aka @nursebean82

  8. Hannah says:

    I’m currently reading The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy. It’s the last book I had on my original 2018 Book List, and I was kindof saving it because I loved Tess of the D’Urbervilles so much last year but this one is turning out to be a bit of a slog. It’s going much slower than I anticipated.

    I’m giving my sister-in-law/best friend Little Women for Christmas because BabyGirl #4 is on the way due next June! I’m so excited for my newest little niece to arrive!

    • Anne says:

      A family member requested Walkable City for Christmas this year and it made me so happy. You can guess what they’re getting this year.

      I enjoyed browsing this list—thank you for sharing. Several of your 5-rated books were not on my radar.

  9. S says:

    A new indie book store opened in a nearby town so I did a some Christmas shopping there. Saw your book on one of their tables!

    The bookseller and an enthusiastic patron highly suggested I read Hey,Kiddo and warned me it was hard to put down. So true – I absolutely loved it (4 1/2 stars as I am conservative with my ratings). Bought a second copy to gift.

    • Anne says:

      I’ve heard wonderful things about Daunt Books—I hope you enjoyed your visit! (Also: I love your domain name. I’d rather be at Pemberley, too. 🙂 )

  10. I read 92 books this year! That’s a definite record for me. Several favorites from December: Dear Mrs. Bird, I’ll Be Your Blue Sky, The Autobiography of Santa Claus and And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer (I bawled uncontrollably through that one!).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.