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 several long-awaited library holds came in. Real life bumped a spiritual memoir to the top of my reading list. And I was underwhelmed by a much-anticipated new release, but I’m carefully recommending it anyway (with caveats).

Quick lit 1/16
Girl Waits with Gun

Girl Waits with Gun

Stewart is best known for her science writing: she's written six nonfiction books with unusual takes on the natural world. (See: The Drunken Botanist.) This book is a departure for her, and a successful one: readers buzzed about it all fall and it hit many best-of-2015 round-ups. This novel is based on the true story of Constance Kopp, one of the first female sheriffs in America. I tend to shy away from biographical fiction because the narrators often ring false to me, but I loved the way Stewart brought her leading lady's story to life. More info →
Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People

Accidental Saints: Finding God in All the Wrong People

Fans of the author's first memoir Pastrix won't want to miss this new one: Bolz-Weber delivers another wildly irreverent, profanity-filled spiritual memoir about how God chooses who he chooses, even if those people seem to us like the most unlikely candidates. Poignant and hilarious stories give life to this concept: in my favorite chapter, Bolz-Weber and her "token" conservative friend fire off rifles at the local shooting range. The second half lags a little but I'm glad I stuck it out.

More info →
A Share in Death

A Share in Death

This first installment of the Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series represents the half dozen Deborah Crombie books I've read in the past month. These British mysteries are the reason I haven't read as many new releases as I usually do lately! These novels remind me of Louise Penny's Inspector Gamache series. The two detectives work in Scotland Yard, and in each novel they solve a new murder. Personal dramas and entanglements drive the story as well. More info →
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: A Novel

My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry: A Novel

I began this immediately after finishing the wonderful audio version of the author's previous work A Man Called Ove. Backman's second novel follows the adventures of a 7-year-old named Elsa, whose grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters, sending the young girl on a scavenger hunt with weighty implications. Whimsical and engaging, if not quite up to the level of Ove. More info →
Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion

Take This Bread: A Radical Conversion

I've been meaning to read this book for years: it's been highly recommended by readers with great taste. But it wasn't until my family started volunteering at our church's food pantry that it vaulted to the top of my list. I knew our church began the food pantry BECAUSE of Sara Miles's visit to the church a few years ago, and after reading her inspiring story, I understand why her enthusiasm for community food pantries is contagious. A compelling spiritual memoir, though I did find the first half stronger than the second. More info →

What have YOU been reading lately?

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  1. GingerG says:

    I’ve been wavering on Girl Waits For Gun but now I’m adding it to my TBR pile. Thanks for the suggestions and inspiration. I love these link ups! Such a fun community of readers!

  2. Addie says:

    I just got done with Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and quite enjoyed it…. have you read it?

    I read it because I heard they were making it into a movie this year…. and also saw they were making Eleanor and Park into a movie! Thought you would appreciate that!

  3. Meg Evans says:

    I am reading Accidental Saints right now, and I’ll add the Deborah Crombie books to my list–I have the first three Louise Penny mysteries waiting for me on my shelf!

  4. Heather says:

    Great list! I recently finished Our Souls at Night (Kent Haruf), which was lovely, and Pretty Girls (Karin Slaughter), which was suspenseful but a bit gruesome.

  5. Now that you’ve successfully been hooked on Louise Penny and Deborah Crombie… it’s time to go for the Elizabeth George. DO IT. I mean, her books average about 550 pages each, and there are only 19 of them. And you only have 4 kids. You clearly have plenty of time to join the Inspector Lynley addiction. 😉

  6. Shannon says:

    I just finished Black River by S.M. Hulse. This is a short, hauntingly beautiful novel that is difficult to read at times. It will remain with me for a long while.

    Looking forward to Girl with Gun and to adding Deborah Crombie to my TBR list!

  7. liz n. says:

    Finished two books that I chose for the 2016 reading challenge: “Shanghai Girls” and “Frankenstein.”

    “Take This Bread” looks like one I need to read.

  8. Dana says:

    Several of the books you mentioned are on my radar if not in my TBR stack yet. I want to give Deborah Crombie a try. I read the first of Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache mysteries and I was underwhelmed. I need a new mystery author. My favorite of all time, PD James, passed away, so sadly no more of her wonderful Inspector Dalgliesh.

    This month I have read:
    The Lake House by Kate Morton. Page-turner! Loved it.

    The Last Bus to Wisdom . The last novel by Ivan Doig who wrote about the West in beautiful prose. He passed away last year. This one was a coming of age story set in 1951 about a boy and his great uncle who run away on Greyhound bus one summer. Really good.

    Now almost finished with The House at The End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag. Magical realism full of mentions of famous women ( particularly authors) and books. It is a great book for bibliophiles. If you like Sarah Addison Allen, you will enjoy it. Her other book The Dress Shop of Dreams is also quite good.

      • Dana says:

        In my opinion, some of her later ones in the Adam Dalgleish series are the best. She definitely improved as she went along. Plus the first ones were written in the 60’s and they have a different tone. My favorites are:

        Devices and Desires
        The Murder Room
        A Taste for Death
        The Lighthouse

        If you don’t read them in order it is not a big deal, although you might be confused by his change in rank and his “romantic” life.

  9. Dawn says:

    My reading habit plummeted in December, and this year I am determined to read more non-fiction, and more from my own shelves. I have finished The Green Ember by SD Smith (recommended by my grade-schoolers who loved it) and am nearly done with How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, which came in my Christmas stocking. Also reading Creative Schools by Ken Robinson who did the TED Talk on education. Once I finish those two I’m choosing a big fat novel to celebrate.

  10. Donna says:

    I picked up ‘Girl Waits With Gun’ last fall and I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe I’ll give it another try at some point.’My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry’ is the same as ‘My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises’ right?

    Thanks for sharing!

  11. Donna says:

    This week, I’m making my way through The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith. I have to take breaks because I’m finding it a bit graphic at certain points.
    I’m also reading and loving The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (finally!)
    Also reading Jon Krakauer’s ‘Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town’. It’s a tough read but incredibly well done.

  12. AuburnCathy says:

    I am halfway through “Maeve’s Times, In Her Own Words”, a selection of Maeve Binchy’s writings from the Irish Times. Although I have read every single Maeve Binchy book more than 1 time, I had never read any of her “columns” in the Irish Times. Many of the pieces have made me laugh aloud! Even though I am not Irish ? A must for Maeve Binchy fans! I still tear up when I think of her death 3.5 years ago.

  13. Lori says:

    Thanks so much for hosting the Quick Lit link up! I find myself checking out your blog weekly and am excited to listen to the new podcast as well. Currently, I am reading The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (working through the Pulitzer Prize winners) and Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Thanks again and good luck with your reading!

  14. Lisa says:

    I received Girl Waits with Gun for Christmas, and I cannot wait to read it!! My TBR is monumental, but after reading this, I am going to move it up. I hadn’t heard about Accidental Saints, but I’m definitely putting it on my list. I loved Pastrix. Great list!

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