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 have two new ones and three olds (even one re-read!) to share with you.

Quick Lit November 2017
Rules of Civility

Rules of Civility

I'm a re-reader, and thoroughly enjoyed reading this for the third time, finding it every bit as good as I remembered. This Gatsby-esque novel plunges you into the streets of Manhattan, circa 1938. Young secretary Katey Kontent and her roommate Evelyn meet handsome Tinker Gray by chance. The girls vie for his affection—until one impulsive decision changes everything. A beautifully drawn story of wealth and class, luck and fate, love and illusion. More info →
Instructions for a Heatwave

Instructions for a Heatwave

I picked this up after reading—and loving—O'Farrell's newest novel, This Must Be the Place (a 2018 MMD winter Book Club selection!). During a record-setting heatwave, the patriarch of an Irish family clears out his bank account and disappears, leaving his family to puzzle out where he went, and why. Reminiscent of The Dry for its oppressive, atmospheric heat, and Ann Patchett's Commonwealth for its fraught sibling relationships. More info →
The Deal of a Lifetime: A Novella

The Deal of a Lifetime: A Novella

A strange, magic-tinged novella from the author of A Man Called Ove and Beartown. The story begins on Christmas Eve, with a father telling a story to his son—but it's not your typical Christmas story. The other-worldly quality put me in mind of The Book Thief. If you're in a reading slump, this is the right length and pace to get you out of it. More info →
Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

I've been thinking of reading this for a year, but a friend talked me into it, saying that every member of her diverse book club loved this—the twenty-somethings and the sixty-somethings. That got my attention. It's the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish takes a walk in late-night Manhattan, on a very specific mission. As she walks, she reflects on the life she's lived, the people she's known, and where things began to go wrong. This reminded me of J. Courtney Sullivan's The Engagements because of the strong women at the center of each. More info →
Something in Between

Something in Between

A reader (Hi, Bethany!) enthusiastically shared this title with me after I mentioned I was reading de la Cruz's brand-new book Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (mentioned in this week's post about Jane Austen retellings). When Jasmine wins a big-deal college scholarship, her immigrant parents are forced to reveal the truth they've been hiding: their visas expired years ago, and they're staying in California illegally. To keep things interesting, de la Cruz throws a cute boy in Jasmine's path, as well as some friend drama. If you loved The Sun Is Also a Star, add this to your reading list, pronto. 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. Elaine says:

    I’m reading “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel” by Rachel Joyce. It is a wonderfully written, sweet but not sentimental, story of a life unfurled to and by the person who lived it, the mistakes made and graces overlooked. I loved the spiritual undertones of it as “pilgrimage” which were never heavy-handed and always just right.

    • MaineGirl says:

      I’m currently reading Five Quarters of an Orange by Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat. My mother and aunt hand me down books constantly. We have a rotating book swap in the summer when my grandmother and aunt are home from Florida. Then get my sister home for a holiday, and there are books flying everywhere, so my mom gave me this book to read. Its a little disturbing but I’m definitely hooked. The story line is about a women who purchased her childhood home in a rural French town. She recalls her experience of living in occupied France during WWII. Her mother experienced strange headaches, and she and her siblings take advantage of her sick days to go to town and give information to a German soldier in exchange for trinkets. Its alarming and intriguing and definitely a different view of the war from the inside.

      Prior to this I read Before We were Yours, the new hardcover that is showing up on lists around the net, by Lisa Wingate. I recommend it. Its very sad but very rewarding and also a quick read despite its length and delves into a harrowing, nasty, specialized story from history you may have never known about in America to do with “authorized” orphan trafficking.

  2. Elizabeth says:

    I’m halfway through Middlemarch right now, and I’m loving it! I struggled through the first 150 pages, but once the “introduction” was over and I had a handle on the main characters, I got sucked in. I’m watching the BBC series as I read, too.

  3. Melanie says:

    I’m about 100 pages into This Must Be the Place. I still don’t know where the story’s going, but that’s okay, I’m enjoying it.

    I also started listening to Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton biography a couple of days ago and it’s fascinating! Biographies have the potential to be really dry, but this one is anything but.

  4. Val says:

    I loved Rules of Civility, one of my all time favorites. I just finished Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan. I loved her book, A Visit from the Goon Squad, but I wasn’t feeling this one.

  5. Michelle says:

    I’m loving Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste My. I picked up Lillian Boxfish at the library and I’ll be starting it tomorrow. My BOTMC pick was After the Eclipse. Such a heartbreaking memoir about a mother’s murder that really helps the reader understand the long term effects of violence on the survivors. And lastly, Stepen and Owen Kong’s joint effort, Sleeping Beauties gives the reader much to think about.

  6. Beverly J Marmas says:

    I’m reading The Burning Girl by Claire Messud. A story of growing up & loosing close childhood frienship. Easy story to relate to. Beverly

  7. Rachel B. says:

    I just finished reading A Gentleman in Moscow. I read Rules of Civility earlier this year and would have a tough time choosing which one was my favorite! Enjoyed them both.

  8. Kristina says:

    I just finished “Who thought this was a good idea?” by Alyssa Mastromona, which is about her years as President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Not usually something I would gravitate towards, but I loved it and it pulled me out of my reading dry spell. It’s also a super quick read.

  9. Julia says:

    I’ve just finished Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney too. I loved it! Enjoyed the way the structure moved from present to past and such a great character. A poignant read.
    I’ve just started Winter Garden by Kirsten Hannah; so far so good!

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