What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable

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 went to the beach for a week, which greatly affected my reading list. I’ve been reading tons of OLD books this summer, but I felt like skewing new for my vacation. (You’ve seen how book lovers go on vacation, right?)

Series: Quick Lit July 2017
The Essex Serpent

The Essex Serpent

Author:
This cover is completely gorgeous—in fact, this is my book I picked for the cover in the 2017 MMD Reading Challenge. The critics are raving. The prose was lovely, the premise intriguing, and the story obviously crafted with care. But this one didn't land for me. It reminded me strongly of The Miniaturist, another book of which I could say all the same things, which means very well done, but not to my taste. (I would LOVE to hear your thoughts if you've read this one!) More info →
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

Author:
I picked this up for my beach reading after several MMD Book Club members called it one of the best books they've read all year. I really enjoyed this story about an isolated young woman who is drawn into the world again, decidedly against her will, in the spirit of A Man Called Ove. Take note: the reviews are decidedly mixed. And Reese Witherspoon already owns the film rights. More info →
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do: Take Back Your Power, Embrace Change, Face Your Fears, and Train Your Brain for Happiness and Success

Author:
I bought this on a whim went it went on sale for Kindle, and finally got around to reading it this month. I didn't encounter any truly new information (which is probably a good thing as far as my own mental health is concerned!) but it was packed with solid tips on developing and maintaining mental strength, and contained lots of food for thought about my own thought patterns, habits, and routines. More info →
Grief Cottage: A Novel

Grief Cottage: A Novel

Author:
I just read this at the beach on vacation. Gail Godwin is the author of two books I love and have read numerous times each: Father Melancholy's Daughter and Evensong. Her newest was engaging and easy to keep reading, and her strong female character—this time an aging alcoholic artist who unexpectedly becomes an adoptive parent—kept me turning the pages. I liked this book, but I didn't LOVE it like I do my two favorite Godwin titles. More info →
Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility

Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility

Like many devoted Austen fans, I approach most modern Jane Austen adaptations with a combination of enthusiasm and dread—I WANT it to be wonderful, but what if it's terrible? Readers, this new take on Sense and Sensibility was so much fun. In this novel, two broke adult sisters and their sweet little sister flee expensive San Francisco to set up a new tea shop in Austin, Texas. The bones of Austen's original are visible, but Lodge doesn't hew too closely to the original, to her credit. I spent a happy afternoon devouring this book. More info →

What have YOU been reading lately? Link up your post below, or tell us all about it in comments!

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40 comments

  1. Christiana Succar says:

    On my vacation last week I read Sunshine Away and hot zone. Two completely different genres both harrowing in their own way..

    • Elizabeth says:

      I’m going to pick this one up too! I’m also interested in the “13 things…” book. I’m feeling like it probably won’t shed any light on my personal world (I am good about shaking off adversity for the most part)… but I try to sprinkle books like this throughout my reads for building business and motivational skills. This one looks like it will help me understand the psychology behind why some people AREN’T able to overcome adversity as well as others.

    • Tracy says:

      I just finished Eleanor Oliphant on audio and I LOVED it. It’s my favorite book this summer and I’ve been reading a lot! I also LOVED The Beach House this summer. Both great summer reads.

  2. Amelia says:

    I just finished my BOTM pick, Final Girls. One of the best thrillers I have read in a long time, full of twists and turns! I do not advise reading before bed, however.

  3. Amanda says:

    My reading has been mostly plowing through the Deborah Crombie series this month (while anxiously awaiting the next Louise Penny). It wasn’t until the third book that I was fully invested but it’s been fun quick summer reading. Book nerd problem: what next?!?

  4. Andrea says:

    I’m finally reading a Beatriz Williams book (A Hundred Summers) after putting her on my TBR when listening to the ‘honeymoon’ episode you did awhile back! Perfect summer fare. I hope you’re enjoying/enjoyed Empire Falls – that is a fave of mine, and I was glad to see you picked it up 😀

  5. Jenny says:

    I finished the Essex Serpent a week ago, and I think your review is spot on. The story and the writing kept me engaged. I was curious about what was going to happen next, and I finished the book. But at the end I wondered what the point of it all had been. I enjoyed the writing, the bits of history mentioned, and how the scenes were set, but overall I was mildly disappointed. It felt like a book that should have had more of an impact on me.

  6. Donna says:

    These all sound soooo good, Anne! I am currently making my way through The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand. Last night I started Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza and it’s so incredible. I can’t stop laughing! I absolutely adored The Knockoff (read it twice last summer).
    Also just picked up Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips two nights ago and I am flying through it. I know you love a good thriller. Highly recommended!!

  7. I’m re-reading Jane Eyre and it’s everything I thought it could be. 🙂 Next, I’m going to read The Secret History of Jane Eyre: How Charlotte Brontë Wrote Her Masterpiece. It has mixed reviews, but I’m intrigued.

  8. Moriah says:

    Currently almost finished with The Essex Serpent, and I feel the same! I picked it for its gorgeous cover, ratings, and because I just studied abroad in the Colchester area, but it’s been hard to get through for me. I’m more intrigued to see where it’s going to end, but it’s not as if I want to pick it up anytime I have the chance. Unfortunate, but still a very pretty addition to the shelf!

  9. Kristin says:

    I just finished the fifth of the Louise Penny series and started my first Kate Morton – the Secret Keeper. Before that I read Dreamland by Jennifer Latham and Windfall by Jennifer Smith. All good books!

  10. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan and Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller – both interesting reads but very different. First … quirky, light summer read … moved along … wanted to keep reading and didn’t guess the mystery until 3/4’s of the way through. Second … “English” quirky … darker more complex characters and story but also kept me reading to see where it was going.

  11. Cheryl Weaver says:

    I am currently reading The Souls of Black Folks by W.E.B. Dubois, The Infidels Guide to the Koran by Robert Spencer, Trust by Dan Busby. I need a novel.

  12. Vikki says:

    I felt the same about The Miniaturist. The cover was beautiful, and what I’d heard about the book had me intrigued. I wanted to love it, but the story just didn’t deliver.

  13. Tracy Davis says:

    I just finished the last book of the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini so I could talk about them with my teenage sons, especially my dyslexic 15 year old who has listened to the audio over and over and writes his own fantasy stories. The four long books make pretty good story, and I even cried at the end.

    • Sarah says:

      that is one of my favorite series! i never was able to read other fantasy type novels because i always compared them to his. love love love his books!

  14. Suze says:

    I just finished The Mothers by Brit Bennett in less than 24 hours. I loved it and particularly the ending- which is not usually my style of ending.

  15. Tif says:

    This weekend I plowed through Hello, Sunshine (Laura Dave) and it was excellent. I enjoyed it as much as her 800 Grapes a few years ago. Also finished The Best of Adam Sharp by Simsion Graeme and immediately created a new playlist. I love how music drove the novel. Up next – Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage on Anne’s recommendation.

  16. Kathy says:

    I felt exactly the same about the Essex Serpent. I felt like I should be loving it whilst I read it, but something stopped me. Hard to define what it was, I enjoyed reading it but I wasn’t compelled to keep reading it. If that makes sense?

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