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).
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 →
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 →
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.
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 →
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 →