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 piles of great books lately! Today I’m sharing a handful of new releases I loved, plus a few backlist selections. This is a pretty typical mix for my reading life—it’s essential for me to mix the old with the new in order to stay satisfied with my reading life.
This is just a sampling of the books I’ve read since our last round of Quick Lit. If you’re interested in hearing more about my recent reads, I highly recommend tuning into my podcast What Should I Read Next. In a show about books, I can’t help but discuss my current reading.
I can’t wait to hear about your recent reads in comments.
What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable
It's hard to believe this almost-classic by Jacqueline Woodson is twenty years old: the themes in this love story between two star-crossed teenagers, inspired by Romeo and Juliet and an Audre Lord poem, are as fresh as ever. Jeremiah is comfortable in his Brooklyn neighborhood. But as a Black teen attending a new Manhattan prep school, he feels less comfortable. When he meets Ellie, a white Jewish girl from a different world, they know they fit together, but everyone around them is skeptical, or downright hostile. A moving and tragic story of first love, unjust loss, and the fleetingness of time. More info →
What fun to read this early and offer words of endorsement! Here's what I said: "Wise, warm, and relatable, this is the perfect read for anyone interested in exploring how to use their words to deepen their relationships." I'm so glad this is out in the world now so you can read it: I read it SO FAST because I wanted to read the story of it, but the themes and questions have stuck with me for months now. More info →
My first Becky Chambers experience was an utter delight, and unlike anything I've read before. I've seen her name around for years, then What Should I Read Next guest Emily Van Ark's strong recommendation (in episode 259, "The formula for a 5-star read") moved this up my To Be Read list, then our producer Brenna read it and said YOU HAVE TO READ THIS NOW. I'm so glad I did! This rollicking, big-hearted, constantly surprising space opera told a great story built on big themes—friendship and love, gender and politics, mortality and prejudice. I loved these characters and look forward to seeing how the rest of the trilogy unfolds. More info →
When I read Haig's new novel The Midnight Library last fall, which touches on mental illness, I didn't realize he'd also written several nonfiction books about his own experience with depression. Haig says in the opening pages that he's attempting to do two things in this memoir: to lessen the stigma of mental illness by talking about it openly, and to "try and actually convince people that the bottom of the valley never provides the clearest view." I highlighted extensively, copying nearly a page worth of quotes into my journal; the one I keep returning to in my own mind is "Minds have their own weather systems." I found this to be fascinating in its content, surprising in its scope and design, packed with good words about books and reading, and life-affirming in its conclusions. More info →
How could this podcaster resist a novel about podcasting, set in the world of public radio? In this enemies-to-lovers romance, Solomon takes the familiar fake dating trope and gives it a fun twist: in order to advance their respective careers, Shay and Dominic say “yes” to their boss’s not-quite- legit plan to co-host a tell-all podcast, where they’ll pretend to be exes and deconstruct what went wrong in their relationship. But to convince their listeners it’s real, they need to get to know each other—and that’s when it gets complicated. I loved the Seattle studio setting and sense of humor in this breezy read. Heads up for an open door scene or two. More info →
This past year I picked up Sarah Gailey’s works for the first time, and have been so impressed at the range of their talents: westerns and magic and sci-fi, oh my! Their next book opens with a black tie gala: renowned researcher Evelyn Caldwell has to face her cheating ex-husband at the awards dinner meant to honor her, but soon discovers that’s the least of her problems. If her colleagues find out he unethically used Evelyn’s research to clone himself a more agreeable version of herself, her career is over... and that desire to cover up the truth leads Evelyn into more and more trouble, as she scrambles to cover-up a crime while questioning her right to “play God” in her work. The intimate first-person narration amps up the tension—and the enjoyment. A fun, thoughtful, and satisfying genre mash-up. More info →
I usually like to go through a poetry collection slowly over time, but I had a difficult time not inhaling this collection all at once—I had to force myself to put it down! By turns witty, tender, snarky, and gutting, always relatable, and never boring. Highly recommended, whether this is your first poetry collection or your hundredth. 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.