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’ve been systematically tackling the old stuff, mostly books I picked up at a used book sale here in town earlier this spring. Plus a few titles coming this August that I can’t wait to tell you about.

Today, we’re covering the old stuff. I read a few modern classics I’ve been meaning to read for AGES, a gentle YA novel that everyone in my family had read but me and my 7-year-old, and an easy-reading (or easy-listening, for me) political memoir.

Series: Quick Lit June 2017
Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go

I'm so glad I finally read this. I wish I could have gone into it knowing nothing at all, but I saw too many movie trailers for that to be possible. Even so, I enjoyed (though that doesn't seem like the right word) the way Ishiguro slowly introduces the reader to three teens in a 1990s British boarding school. His prose says so much while revealing so little, as it slowly dawns on the reader what is not-quite-right about these children's lives. So well done, and it makes me want to read more of his work. More info →
Love and First Sight

Love and First Sight

I was the FIFTH person to read this newish YA release in my family! Everyone but the 7-year-old has enjoyed it so far. This is the story of 16-year-old Will Porter, who's been blind all his life. We meet Will on his first day at a "mainstream" school—not his old school for the blind—and it could be going better, though he makes a few friends and develops a serious crush. Then Will finds out he qualifies for an experimental procedure that could enable him to SEE, for the first time in his life. But he's not sure if he wants it—and from Will's point of view, we discover just how complicated this vision thing really is. Make sure to read the author's acknowledgements for some very interesting backstory. More info →
Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House

Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House

I downloaded this audiobook on my husband's recommendation, and WOW was it not what I was expecting! Imagine Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me?, but with politics instead of Hollywood production, and you've got this chatty memoir about right. While Mastromonaco does offer the promised behind-the-scenes look at the Obama White House, she also shares many personal stories about everything from relationships to packing tips to her cats to meeting the Queen. More info →
The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking

I've been meaning to read this for ages, but there's never been a good time to read a memoir about grief. I decided to read it anyway, now. This book is Didion's account of year following her husband's death, but it's really about the many years of the life they lived together. Writing in real-time, she captures emotion on the page so well. I felt like this wasn't just an exploration of her own grief and mourning, but an inquiry into capital-case Grief and Mourning. So well done, and so worth reading (if a little tough to do so at times). More info →
Our Souls at Night

Our Souls at Night

I can't believe I didn't read this book years ago, because now that I've read it, it reminds me so much of my all-time faves Stegner, Berry, and Robinson. I don't want to say too much, but I found this up-close look at an unlikely relationship between two long-time acquaintances in small-town Colorado completely absorbing. This is definitely one of those books where the flap copy doesn't do it justice. 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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  1. I recently read Jane Austen: The Secret Radical by Helena Kelly. After listening to your latest podcast yesterday, I think you might enjoy it, if you haven’t read it. Jane Austen’s work is so much more than light romances, and the “heroes” are sometimes much darker than the movies and miniseries show.

    I’m now reading the first in a fantasy series, Khe by Alexis Razevich. I see by the comments above that perhaps fantasy is not a favorite genre of your readers. Since I’m new here, I may be wrong. I love fantasy. This series is rather unique because the characters are humanoid but not like us. Their social structures, religion and world is quite different and very well detailed. When I finish the series, I will most likely write about it in one of my Sage Woman Chronicles, blog posts.

  2. DebMac says:

    Our book club recently read “Our Souls at Night”. The book was well received and struck home with our (mostly) older members. We had quite a discussion about “would we” or “would we not”.

  3. Torrie says:

    I liked Never Let Me Go when I read it, but I initially didn’t give it a super high rating (3 stars) for reasons I don’t even remember now. The funny thing is, that book has really stuck with me (which makes me probably think I should have given it a higher rating!).

    I’ve also always intended to read that one by Joan Didion, but like you said, it never seems to be the right time to read a book on grief (which is probably a good thing, for many of us, that we don’t have such tragedies going on in our own lives at the moment to feel that need). But maybe I’ll take a leaf out of your book and just jump in with both feet anyway.

    Currently, I’m reading The Lost Book of the Grail (thanks to your reading guide) and the nonfiction book Grit, which is basically blowing my mind. Summer reading is the best reading!


  4. Maryalene says:

    Three months in, and I’m still working on Middlemarch. Maybe this will be the month I actually get it done.

    I really want to read The Year of Magical Thinking, but I’m worried that it will hit too close to home. What’s silly is that it Isn’t the grief that worries me as much as the regret. I have lost virtually all memory from much of the first year after my husband died. I’m worried I’ll read the book and kick myself for not recording that time for myself. Or maybe I’ll read it and feel grateful that I forgot??

  5. Anne says:

    Really enjoyed “Who Thought This Was a Good Idea” earlier this year and especially enjoyed the references to the Pod Save America crew. Almost done with Connie Willis’s newest “Crosstalk” – screwball sci-fi fantasy comedy – a book you can just give yourself up to, not challenging but just fun and well done. And a little over halfway done with Ai Jen Poo’s “The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America” – which addresses the difficult subject of caregiving in a way that is warm, personal, and moving.

  6. Suzanne says:

    The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout, Beartown by Fredrik Backman, and The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas. The library hold list is killing me; everything comes in at once!

  7. Andrea says:

    Wait, have you not read The Remains of the Day!? You MUST! I’ve had Never Let You Go sitting on my kindle for awhile – will move it up in the queue 😀

  8. chlo says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this 🙂 I really want to read “The Year of Magical Thinking”. I’ve never heard of it before but, it sounds amazing as well as very emotional. It seems like a book that will open my eyes and really make me appreciate the good things in life.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    Chloe @ https://girllgonerogue.blogspot.co.uk/

  9. I absolutely adored Our Souls at Night – such a sweet story! And am planning to listen to Who Thought This Was a Good Idea as well.

    I didn’t realize Never Let Me Go was a boarding school novel…I LOVE those! And I also haven’t read it yet. Adding to my TBR now 🙂

  10. Sarah says:

    I managed to get an advance copy of a new YA novel – The Secrets of Islayne by Kari Lynn West. So so good. It comes out June 30th, I believe. Highly recommend!

  11. Cath says:

    I read our souls at night recently and had exactly the same reaction as you – had such a similar feel to crossing to safety. Love love love these short reviews! Thank you for some great ideas!

  12. Victoria says:

    Never Let Me Go is one of my all-time favourites! I was so happy to hear it mentioned on the podcast recently. I too knew about it from the movie trailer, but it didn’t change a thing for me. So good. Your post reminded me to read Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day now! 🙂

  13. Kathryn Bojanowski says:

    I’ve just finished reading Girl’s Weekend and Practicing Normal, both by Cara Sue Achterberg. Really enjoyed them both. Not your run of the mill story lines. I also read the Fifth Gospel by Ian Caldwell. Fantastic!!!

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