Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet book reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.
My personal reading list has been heavily influenced by my recent trip to Scotland and my early preparations for the 2019 Summer Reading Guide, but as you will see, I also snuck in one book that was a perfect read for the New Year.
You all recommended this serialized novel before I left for Scotland: I started it on the plane ride over and finished it in Edinburgh. (And then, in a delightful coincidence, the sparse bookshelf in our airbnb held the sequel!) This series is about the neighbors who live at the eponymous address in Edinburgh's New Town, and was originally written as a weekday column in The Scotsman over a six-month period. The newspaper asked for stories short enough for commuters to read on the train, which is why the novel consists of one hundred short chapters. This was delightful travel reading. More info →
This 1932 classic is often described as "witty" but I found it sad: a bride is preparing for her wedding to the wrong man, and it has the whole household in a state of confusion. This was one of the books I brought home from Scotland, and it was my 200th read of 2018. While I love the look of this gorgeous Persephone classic, and I’ll keep it as a Wigtown souvenir, the best thing about it might be the beautiful endpapers. More info →
My husband read this in the fall, and when I was recently debating what to read next he put this in my hands and said, "read this so we can talk about it." The author quit her job as a journalist and dove headlong into the wine industry, giving herself a year to become a master sommelier. I appreciated the nice mix of science, story, and humor here, and understand the comparisons to Mary Roach and Anthony Bourdain. Fun and funny, plus it's inspiring us to step out of our comfort zone at the local wine shop. More info →
In this moody debut, a 10-year-old girl comes to live with a childless couple at Salt Winds, their home on the edge of a beautiful but dangerous marsh. Virginia takes to her adoptive father at once, but it's clear the marsh isn't the only thing to fear in her new home situation, and soon her worst fears are realized, both natural and man-made. Brooks does an incredible job building and sustaining the creepy gothic atmosphere, even if I was less satisfied with the resolution than the setting. I look forward to reading what she writes next. More info →
This was my first completed read of 2019, and a great way to kick off the year. Drawing on personal experience (and with a big nod to Charles Duhigg), Clear writes about the basics of habit formation and follow-through. My favorite insight, and the one that's made a practical difference in my work life this month, is his insistence that 1% gains in performance—which many of us tend to disregard as "not worth the time to pursue"—make an incredible difference in our lives when implemented and compounded. More info →
What have you been reading lately? Tell us all about it in comments or share a link in the comments to your post on what you’ve been reading lately!