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.

This month I’ve been reading up a storm, but since many of those titles don’t come out for a while, mum’s the word for now. (All will be revealed when the Summer Reading Guide hits in May!)

Actually, I’ve been thinking I need to make some kind of rule for myself so I don’t get burned out on brand-new fiction. Maybe one new book, one old book for the next few months? Three new, one old? I’d love to hear your recommendations, and your own personal rules, in comments.

My what-I’ve-been-reading list is genuinely short and sweet today, especially because I decided not to duplicate my recent reads I shared in the recent post 11 books to curl up with this winter. Check out that post for more winter reading inspiration.

Quick Lit January 2017
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

I surprised myself by reading this one twice: the first time I just read it, the second time I had my bullet journal in hand, taking notes. This is a compact (if you can call 700 pages "compact") distillation of the best of Tim Ferriss's podcast. Over the years, he's interviewed more than 200 guests for his podcast, and this book is his cheat sheet to the best-of-the-best content they shared over the years. My favorites were Maria Popova, Kelly Starrett, Alex Blumberg, and B.J. Novak. More info →
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The Second Mrs. Hockaday

The Second Mrs. Hockaday

I've been hearing quiet buzz about this one since late summer; it was just published last week. When the story opens, you know there's been a scandal, and you know it was somehow resolved, but you have no idea what happened in the middle—a premise that sucked me right in. The story unfolds through letters, and while I'm not usually a huge fan of that format, it worked for this novel. (Think Guernsey, but darker.) Rivers based her tale on the true story of a Civil War soldier's wife who conceived, bore, and buried a child while her husband was away for years. If you loved I Shall Be Near to You, read this next. More info →
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Forever, Interrupted

Forever, Interrupted

I stumbled upon Taylor Jenkins Reid's latest novel One True Loves last spring, and since then her work has been a fun (if sometimes emotionally fraught) palate cleanser when I'm reading mostly serious stuff. I don't want to explain too much about the plot line, but I'll just say Reid's m.o. is to layer chick lit-style prose atop serious, thoughtful subjects. More info →
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Leave A Comment
  1. Kaytee says:

    I have Second Mrs. Hockaday waiting for me (and have for a long time as a Galley) but haven’t picked it up yet. Your review makes me want to dive into it right away!
    Thanks for hosting the linkup!

  2. Tamara says:

    I always get such great recommendations here! Personally, my reading goal for the year is to read at least one classic, one spiritual book, one book by an author from a different culture or set in a different culture, and 5 books to review every month. (That sounds like a lot when I write it out like that!)

  3. Veronica says:

    Since I work at a library, I seem to read new fiction,and neglect some of the classics and older books on my TBR list. I’m trying to change that by putting a new book on hold, and freezing it on my list. When I’m ready for it I release the frozen hold. I’ll see if that works. I just finished The Trespasser, and am now reading Braving it, which I’m really enjoying.

  4. Lina says:

    I read a mix of old and new but don’t follow a formula. I mostly look for recommendations on blogs like this and from friends as well as seeing what’s new at the library. As a children’s librarian I feel a need to read a lot of new kids’ books, too. I recently enjoyed Three Sisters, Three Queens, by Phillipa Gregory, which has inspired me to want to learn more about Margaret Tudor. On the kids’ side, I just finished Thd Tournament at Gorlan, the first in a series by John Flanagan featuring characters from his Ranger’s Apprentice series.

  5. Dana says:

    I was in a bit of a reading slump in the fall, but after the holidays I have plunged back in…I think new Christmas books helped. Here’s what I have read since Christmas:

    The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone ( I have read all the HP twice but this lavishly and intricately illustrated version is a treat. I pored over the details in the pictures.)
    The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.

    The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge By Charlie Lovett. Set 20 years after the events of the original story. Short and amusing little book.

    Essentialism By Greg McKown, on your recommendation, Anne. I devoured this. Great stuff!

    The More of Less by Joshua Baker. Highly motivating and inspirational treatise on minimalism. Liked this much better than the Life-Changing Magic….

    How to be an Artist: Without Losing Your Mind, Your Shirt or Your Creative Compass By Joanneh Nagler

    The Bookshop on The Corner by Jenny Colgan ( Now I want to open a bookmobile!)

    Head in The Clouds by William Poundstone A good argument for how the internet is changing how we think, learn and remember ( and not all for the good.)

    The Closed Casket by Sophie Hannah 2nd in a new series about Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s detective. Not as well done as the original stories…a bit of an organizational mess.

    The Summer Before The War by Helen Simonson. Loved this! Best novel I have read in a great while.

    Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. I re-read this once a year. So inspirational for anyone wanting to live a creative life. As he says, ” Isn’t that all of us?”

    Now I am reading Hidden Figures before I go see the movie, which has been experiencing sellout crowds for over a week in my city. Also reading The Life You’ve Always Wanted by John Ortberg.

  6. Jessica says:

    I don’t worry much about old vs. new when it comes to my reading, but I do try to always have one fiction and one non-fiction going. I also tend to read similar books in spurts. I was on a big suspense/thriller kick this past summer, and I have a bunch of celebrity memoirs on hold now, so I’m guessing that’s what my February reading will look like!
    I’ve found the most important thing for me is just reading what I’m in the mood for, so I don’t lose momentum in my reading life.

    • Corinne says:

      I try my best to read one non-fiction a month on top of whatever is on my nightstand. I’ve got The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate for my Newberry Honor book on the book challenge list and I started Between Shades of Gray this afternoon.

  7. Donna says:

    Thanks for sharing, Anne! Thanks to you, I started reading Taylor Jenkins Reid’s novels. I read ‘Maybe In Another Life’ last year and I plan on reading ‘One True Loves’ this year.

    Last year, I wanted to read older books, but every time a new release would hit shelves, I ran out and borrowed it! I couldn’t resist.

    I am currently working on my 2017 reading list and trying to include as many older books as I can. I found making a list and sharing it on the blog helped keep me motivated and accountable last year. There are soooo many old books I’ve been meaning to read over the years, but then I get distracted by the new.

    What I’ve read so far this year:

    Fig by Sarah Elizabeth Schantz. I don’t usually read young adult novels, but this debut novel grabbed me from the opening line. Narrated by Fig, from ages six to nineteen, it’s a painfully authentic portrayal of life with mental illness and a mother-daughter relationship. I can’t stop thinking about it!

    You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris. This short memoir brought me to tears several times. After his wife Helene was killed in the Paris terrorist attacks, Leiris is left to pick up the pieces and care for his seventeen-month-old son. With honesty and vulnerability, he shares the story of his grief and struggle in the days and weeks after Helene’s murder. A must-read.

    Fractured by Catherine McKenzie. An amazing psychological suspense. I read it in a day. It’s so brilliant! I plan on reading 3 of her novels for the reading challenge.

    Reading now: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown (I finally started it yesterday!) and Love, Loss, and What We Ate by Padma Lakshmi.

  8. Dawn says:

    You have convinced me to add “The Second Mrs. Hockaday” to my reading list. I am guilty of only reading review books. This year I am trying to read at least two other books each month.

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