Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of the month.
In a predictable but unwelcome turn of events, my short-lived book tour has not done great things for my reading life. When I’m on the road, I often spend my evenings meeting readers, which I love to do. But when I’m at home, I spend my evenings reading.
And I have to say the coronavirus has likewise not done great things for my reading life. I’ve been reading the news more than I’ve been reading novels. While this was necessary while we were making important decisions about my Don’t Overthink It book tour—which is now sadly, but necessarily, canceled for at least the rest of March—I’m now ready to take a deep breath and dig into some escapist fiction.
All that being said, I’ve read some wonderful books lately, and I hope you have, as well. Please tell us all about your recent reads in comments.
What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable
I've been meaning to read this series for a while now and am so glad I made time for this first installment! As a Black Texas Ranger, Darren Matthews has an intricate understanding of racial tensions in East Texas. He’s proud of his roots and his family, but when his loyalty lands him in trouble, he agrees to get out of town and investigate a crime for a friend. He drives up Highway 59 to the town of Lark, where a recent murder has stirred up hatred and history. Atmospheric and timely, and terrific on audio. More info →
I've had the pleasure of reading several of Camille's books, and they have a few important things in common: they're all about love, loss, navigating life's curve balls. They go down like light-hearted, escapist reads, but they address issues that matter to us all. They get into heavy territory, but Camille's books are FUN. In her latest, a chemist named Annie who got forced out of the job she loved has her life turned upside down. Her fiancé wants to go find himself—alone—in Paris, her new neighbor needs her help, and a new friend/detective has her sneaking around minding other people's business. I loved watching Annie come into her own. (Also: THAT COVER.) More info →
I added this book to my list on the recommendation of a friend. It wasn't exactly what I expected, but I appreciated the message and loved McKowen's insistent writing. In personal, sometimes painful, always gripping chapters, she relates why and how she got sober—and why it matters for the seemingly "lucky" among us who don't (yet) struggle mightily with alcohol addiction. This is worth a read for the wonderful storytelling, and because it's no exaggeration to say that none of us are untouched by addiction. More info →
Funny thing: I read three books last month with protagonists named Olive; this was the middle book, sandwiched between Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteredge stories. I met the author (hi Sarah!) on a writer's retreat last fall and it was a joy to get to read some of her work. This book, her newest, just came out in January, and it was so sweet and fun. Liv's hot temper got her kicked off her school's softball team, but then she's given a second chance at athletic success when her new school's quarterback recruits her to be his back-up. If you're on the lookout for a sweet, smart, and chaste YA novel—whether that's for you or a young reader in your life—this could be exactly what you're looking for. More info →
What have YOU been reading lately? Tell us about your recent reads—or share the link to a blog or instagram post about them—in comments.
P.P.S. The beautiful bookstore in the photo above is R. J. Julia, where I kicked off my Don’t Overthink It book tour. Isn’t it beautiful? It was such a joy to finally get to visit a store I had long longed to see in person.