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.

There have been so many good books coming out this winter, and I’m valiantly struggling to keep up. With one exception, these are all new releases I’ve been waiting to share with you.

Quick Lit February 2018
The Good House

The Good House

A friend with great taste specifically recommended the audio version of this to me and I could not listen to it fast enough—I folded so much laundry and got the kitchen sparkling clean so I could listen to just one more chapter, over and over again. Hildy Good has lived all her life in the small town of Wendover, Massachusetts. She's 60 years old, divorced, a successful realtor. And she drinks—a lot, and the situation is getting out of control. Only Hildy doesn't see it that way. A quiet drama with terrific, fleshed-out characters and an entertaining, thoroughly untrustworthy narrator. More info →


In Cantrell's new novel, two estranged sisters reunite near Oxford, Mississippi to celebrate their parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary. And then their mom drops a bombshell that forces them to reevaluate what they're doing with their lives. I get a lot of requests for inspirational, feel-good fiction with little to no sex and swearing. If that's what you're after, I highly recommend Julie Cantrell. More info →
By the Book

By the Book

Jane Austen fans, take note: this brand-new Jane Austen-inspired reimagines Persuasion, set at the fictional Fairfax College, with Anne as a tenure-seeking English professor and Wentworth as the newly installed president. Not great literature, but lots of fun, and Sonneborn did a solid job reinterpreting Anne Eliot's hard choices for the 21st century. If you don't want to watch your beloved Austenish heroines make terrible life choices, this may be a trying read. More info →
Next Year in Havana

Next Year in Havana

After her beloved grandmother dies, a Cuban-American woman travels from Miami back to Havana and unearths a treasure trove of family secrets. If you love stories that go back and forth in time, this is for you. In 1958, 19-year-old Elisa falls in love for the first time—with a dangerous revolutionary. In 2017, Elisa's granddaughter Marisol travels to newly-open Cuba, ostensibly to write an article on tourism, but really to learn more about her grandmother and the complicated country she loved. I didn't know much about Cuba, then or now, before reading this, and really enjoyed the experience. More info →
Still Me

Still Me

I wasn't thrilled when I found out Jojo Moyes's next book was going to continue the Louisa Clark story she began in Me Before You. But you know what? As a series closer, this one delivers. If you're invested in Lou's life and wants to know what happens to her in NYC with Ambulance Sam, definitely pick it up. (If you haven't read the first two, skip it.) More info →
The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts

If you picked this book up because of the cover, I wouldn't blame you a bit. Zadie and Emma have been best friends since med school; now they're practicing physicians in Charlotte. But when an old colleague comes to town, he stirs up long-buried secrets from the past. If you love Gray's Anatomy, this one's for you. This novel had special appeal for me because it's set alternately in Charlotte, where I spent some time last fall, and Louisville, where I've lived for years. More info →

What have YOU been reading lately? Link up your post below, or tell us all about it in comments!


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  1. Guest says:

    Adding several to my holds list at the library! I realize I am late to the party on this one but I finished A Gentleman in Moscow last week and oh, I loved it. Books that people go on and on about are rarely high on my list so I had put it off but it is one worthy of the accolades.

    If you enjoy watching Victoria, which I do, you just might enjoy Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking: The Royal Marriages That Shaped Europe by Deborah Cadbury. It’s a bit thick in content because Victoria had so many grandchildren and all the Princes and Princesses and Tsars and Empresses from other countries can require backing up occasionally but I did find it an interesting read. Lastly, Pachinko is one about which I’m still not entirely sure what I think and I finished it last month. Lots to think about.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I want to read all these books just because the covers are so pretty. They would all look nice sitting around on coffeetables and night stands! I always love hearing what you think about a book. I will probably pick a few of these titles you shared. Thanks, Anne!

  3. Alisa says:

    Thanks so much for the recommendations. On a super long hold list for Still Me at the library, but just instantly downloaded the audio of The Good House from Hoopla!! Which will hopefully motivate me to get this house cleaned today ?

  4. Deb Coco says:

    I just finished So This Must Be the Place. Wow. I headed into this book somewhat wary given reviews by others in the MMD bookclub. I thought this novel was a masterpiece both in structure and writing. It is told in multiple narratives over decades; there are a LOT of characters woven in, which posed a problem for many readers. I found this method both unique and engaging – I was totally absorbed. This is due much to the fact that O’Farrell is a MASTERFUL storyteller. I haven’t read prose of this caliber since The Goldfinch. It does take time to process all that is going on, but that is part of the beauty; it isn’t superficial as so much out there is now. O’Farrell is a keen observer of human behavior and we have a rare window into the minds of her characters. If you want a quick read, this is not your book. But if you love a writerly style with a story and characters of substance, look no further.

  5. Jennifer Nash says:

    I’ve been participating in a February Reading Blackout for Black History Month, and since I decided Beloved by Toni Morrison was my first pick, it’s been a bit of a slow month! I finished Beloved last week (I loved it – but not an easy read by an stretch, for lots of reasons) and am reading Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke currently, which I am enjoying. I also finished Between the World and Me by Te-Nehisi Coates on audio. I’ll probably need to listen to that one about 5 more times – it’s short but dense!

  6. Elizabeth Barnhill says:

    The Good House is an audio book that I recommend to everyone! Her voice is perfection. I recently loved The Woman In The Window. Great if you love thrillers you can’t put down.

  7. I really enjoyed Next Year in Havana and cannot wait for the sister’s story. I am really afraid to read Still Me. I loved book one and felt the story was complete. By the Book is on my wishlist and I love the cover. 🙂 I’ve been on a bit of an urban fantasy and paranormal binge, but just finished a wonderful historical fiction that made me cry more than once. Promise to Keep by Genevieve Gramham.

  8. Mary Kay says:

    I agree with the other comments that these book covers are gorgeous! I read “Me Before You” but pretty much abandoned “After You”. Is “Still Me” worth reading without finishing the 2nd book?

  9. I am currently reading a book sent to me called Gospel Centered Mom by Brooke McGlothlin. It teaches moms how to take themselves out of their child rearing and put God in the middle. I learned a lot and I’m not even halfway through yet. I speak about it a little on my Periscope series, The First 100. If you’re interested in checking it out, my handle is mommyincolor. Great picks!!!

  10. Birgitta Qvarnström Frykner says:

    I think i have read around 10 books in Feb but the book that made the most impression with me was Chris Matthews The Raging Spirit, about Robert Kennedy , i loved this as he told the story from his own experience as an irish catholic boy. I think we all think of Robert Kennedy as the freedom champion, but the way there. Dont ever say that a human being is not able to change. I also started the book for winter the Snow child, am not finished with that yet. I also have Les Miserables by Victor Hugo on my Kindle as actual. I am also in a biography for a swedish grand old Lady on our theater scene, she was handpicked by Ingemar Bergman. Marie Göransson, she is so impressing and best friend of Britt Edland once married to Peter Sellers. But the book is not in on any juicy pieces, just how you have to struggle with a theater career with small children and the hardness of not earning a lot of money. To be a actress in Sweden is not about big money, rather salaries as a normal person. Cora Harrisson, 2 books about the Brehon( judge) Mara during the 16th Irland.

  11. Katie Noah Gibson says:

    I really enjoyed Next Year in Havana, too. I am/was also skeptical about Still Me! I’m deep into Julia Spencer-Fleming’s mystery series set in upstate NY and loving it.

  12. Donna says:

    These sound sooooo good, Anne! I added The Queen of Hearts to my list when I saw your Instagram post yesterday.? Still Me is definitely on my TBR this year.
    I’ve read a couple of good books so far this year.
    The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
    The Perfect Girl by Gilly Macmillan
    The Perfect Nanny by Leila Slimani, translated by Sam Taylor

    Currently reading and LOVING:
    The Break by Katherena Vermette (my pick for a book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion). The author is Metis.
    Last night I started The Boat People by Sharon Bala. I know it’s gonna be one of my favourite reads this year! Highly, highly recommend.
    In Every Moment We Are Still Alive by Tom Malmquist, translated by Henning Koch (my pick for a book in translation)
    As always, thanks for the thoughtful recommendations! Happy reading!

  13. Mary Jane McNeill says:

    Have you read an ARC of The Ensemble yet? Annie Jones (I know you know her 🙂 ) from my hometown bookstore The Bookshelf in Thomasville, Georgia RAVES about it and has me impatiently waiting for its May release!

  14. Melanie says:

    If you haven’t read An American Marriage yet, it’s wonderful. Best book I have read this year and I feel like will be favorite of 2018. I chose it for my Book of the Month Club pick and then the next week it was an Oprah’s Book Club choice. I can see why!!

  15. Lisa Gelber says:

    Currently reading The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny, War and Peace (100 pages per week), Give and Take by Adam Grant, and listening to Interpreter of Maladies.

  16. Mary in TN says:

    I am 4/5 through The Secret Keeper. I read just a few minutes before bed. This (jump back and forth in time) book has been confusing at times because it has taken me so long. I REALLY hope the author does a good job tying it all up.

  17. Sheyenne says:

    I love that The Good House is on your list! I’ve read two of Ann Leary’s novels… The Children and The Good House. The Children had me wondering if I had schizophrenic/bipolar tendencies and The Good House had me questioning if my casual drinking ever infringed upon alcoholism. You know its a good book when the author has you questioning your own sanity!

  18. Amy says:

    A good fresh list, thank you! I look forward to reading especially Next Year in Havana, after I finish Anne of Green Gables for the upteenth time. Also, I’ve recently stumbled onto a blog of fairy tales by Amelia Brown that has proven to be delightful fun called Fairy Stories and Other Tales, which I’ve been reading in between books. It has a bit of an L.M. Montgomery feel…

  19. Amy says:

    I am thrilled to have some new recommendations, particularly one that is ‘inspirational and feel-good.’ I just read The Folded World and Ginny Moon, both of which were decidedly not feel-good. I am reading The Power now, so I’ll be ready for some feel-good fiction in about 3 days!

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