Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of the month.
Today’s list is nonfiction-heavy by my standards, but I’ve been reading heaps of fiction, too! Our next Winter Book Preview is coming up on December 8, and I’d like to weigh in with personal opinions on a nice percentage of those titles, so I’ve been reading lots of forthcoming releases.
This is just a sampling of the books I’ve read since our last round of Quick Lit. If you’re interested in hearing more about my recent reads, I highly recommend tuning into my podcast What Should I Read Next. In a show about books, I can’t help but discuss my current reading.
I can’t wait to hear about your recent reads in comments.
What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable
After reading Clayborn's forthcoming novel Love at First for the Winter Book Preview, I was in the mood to read more of her work as soon as possible. I tore through her Chance of a Lifetime trilogy, about three friends whose lives are changed after they go in together to buy what turns out to be a lottery ticket, in a week! This series opener centers Kit, a steady scientist who, because of her peripatetic childhood, wants to use her winnings to create a home for herself and develop roots in her community. So when Ben shows up in his role as recruiter her to entice her to leave it all behind and move to Texas ... well, it's a disaster. But as they keep talking, their connection grows. I loved watching Ben and Kit work through their respective baggage over the course of the story, and the large cast of well-developed secondary characters give this series life. More info →
This genre-blending book was a delightful—if quiet—surprise. May defines "wintering" as "a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, side-lined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider." She takes this single subject and turns it, chapter by chapter, considering different events, aspects, incarnations, and inciting events of a winter season, guiding the reader through scenes of her life and inviting them to join her on adventures to explore what it means to winter—heading to Stonehenge, to Iceland, to ice-bathe, to sauna. I appreciated the multidisciplinary approach; May builds the narrative around events of her life, but draws from health, psychology, spirituality, religion, science, nature and more to tell her story. This was lovely on audio, as narrated by Rebecca Lee. More info →
"We don’t know what the holidays will bring, but we know they will come." I love these words that introduce my friend Tsh's gorgeous new hardcover, an ecumenical guide through the waiting season of Advent, which begins this year on November 29. The structure and practice are deliberately simple, with a short reading for each day, accompanied by a short discussion question, a piece of music to listen to, and a work of art to reflect upon. It's a forgiving guide: if you start late or miss a day (or several), no worries, just flip to the current day and carry on. More info →
For this collection of author interviews, librarian Nancy Pearl and writer and producer Schwager wanted to explore one question: How does the practice of reading inform the life of a writer? To do this, they sat down with a series of twenty-three of today's best-loved working writers, including Amor Towles, Louise Erdrich, Andrew Sean Greer, Laila Lalami, and Donna Tartt, asking them why they read, and how reading helps them write. All of the interviews, with one exception, were conducted in person, and I appreciated the immediacy of these transcribed conversations. Be careful with this book: with so many tempting titles discussed, you'll be tempted to triple the size of your TBR. More info →
This sci-fi series opener, loosely inspired by Hidden Figures, has a fabulous premise: what if an asteroid slams into the earth, eventually leading to the founding of a colony on Mars? In this alternate history of the 1950s, the world may soon become uninhabitable, and so a group of female scientists led by WASP pilot and mathematician Elma York race against time to find a way for earth's residents to survive the cataclysmic fallout from the blast. There is A LOT of science in this book, but Kowal keeps it easy to read and emotionally relatable. The series currently stands at three books, with a fourth planned for a 2022 release. 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.