Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of the month.
I’ve been reading a lot this past month, vetting plentiful potential Summer Reading Guide titles and striving to keep my “currently reading” list in balance by carefully choosing backlist titles for my nightstand. You’ll see both reflected below.
I hope you’ve enjoyed some good books lately as well. Please tell us all about your recent reads in comments.
What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable
Strout fans, would you believe I still hadn't read the Olive books? Retired schoolteacher Olive is not keen about the way her small Maine town is changing. Through a series of interconnected short stories, we get to know Olive's family and some of the townspeople as they each grapple with their respective problems. Each story is written with care and offers some hope as Olive comes to have a better, more honest understanding of herself and those around her. I just stumbled upon Olive, Again on my library's "lucky day" shelf and am looking forward to reading that next. More info →
I was pleased to find this large Pilcher novel, the one published immediately after The Shell Seekers, in the hotel library when I was traveling last month—and even happier to discover that its minor character Noel Keeting play a major role here. The novel opens in May and, in rotating points of view, Pilcher examines the life and love troubles of several characters who we know will all find themselves at the old family home in the Scottish Highlands come September, because they've been summoned to attend a celebration for the daughter of one of the small town's leading families. I didn't love it as much as The Shell Seekers, but this was the right book at the right time for me this January. More info →
I enjoyed listening to the audio version of this new YA release on Libro.fm, as narrated by Emily Woo Zeller. Ever Wong is an eighteen-year-old Asian American girl in Ohio, a talented dancer who, unknown to her parents, harbors dreams of pursuing professional dance when she graduates. When her parents find out she's considering abandoning the medical school path they've always dreamt of for their daughter, they promptly put her on a plane to Taiwan to spend the rest of the summer at Chien Tan—an immersive high school program that focuses on language and culture. She does NOT want to go, but when she arrives she's surprised to discover that far from the scholarly summer she expected, the students themselves call the program "Loveboat," because so many long-term relationships begin here, and they have so much unsupervised leisure time. Her roommate has even come in search of a husband. This was a fun listen about a girl traveling halfway around the world to find herself, and maybe find love, too. More info →
I read—and loved—Twarp's previous book The Creative Habit. (It even makes an appearance in chapter 11 of Don't Overthink It!) Tharp is now seventy-seven years old, and in her new book she writes about finding purpose as you age, and maintaining vitality in both mind and body. As with all her books, my favorite bits are the specific glimpses into her own routines and work experience. More info →
The premise of this new February release caught my attention: what if one woman doesn't live her life linearly, but completely out of order, one year at a time? On the eve of her nineteenth birthday, Oona is in a good place: at a New Year's Eve party with the man she loves, counting down to both the new year and a new year in her own life. But just as the clock strikes midnight, Oona passes out—and wakes up as a 51-year-old, in an unfamiliar place, greeted by a stranger who expects this to happen, and a letter from herself explaining the wild ride she's just begun. I appreciated the creativity of this story, which reminded me of Back to the Future for theme and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine for tone. More info →
What have YOU been reading lately? Tell us about your recent reads—or share the link to a blog or instagram post about them—in comments.