Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet book reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.
What I’ve learned this fall: book tour is hard on my reading life. I struggle to read while on the road, but still managed to cobble together a list of five enjoyable new releases I’ve read lately. (And I am happy to say that despite my aversion to reading on airplanes, I read a hundred pages of this book in-flight and was way too proud of myself.)
I love the backstory on this: when a friend asked Patti Henry what she would write about if she could write about anything: the answer came at once: Joy Davidman. Years later, this book is the result of that conversation. In her new biographical novel, Henry tells how American poet and mother Joy Davidman became the wife of C.S. Lewis. While I thought I was familiar with the story, I learned something new on every page, and polished this off in an enjoyable two days. More info →
You know it's a good sign when you want to read a book out loud to anyone close enough to listen, and that was me with this new Anne Lamott book (which, as a bonus, is completely gorgeous). The guiding principle here, as she expresses in her "Humans 101" chapter, is: "Almost everything is screwed up, broken, clingy, scared, and yet designed for joy." I laughed, I cried—sometimes on the same page. This is one I'll want to read again soon. More info →
Barbara Kingsolver is a must-read author for me. I love her work, especially The Poisonwood Bible. At 466 pages, this is a long book, but I inhaled it. Kingsolver writes that she is explicitly addressing the events of her time, but she does that in part by looking back: her double narrative follows the life-changing decisions and uncertain times experienced by two separate families, one hundred years apart, who both live in the same home in Vineland, New Jersey. Kingsolver found one heck of a subject for the historical element, an American scientist I'd previously never heard of named Mary Treat. I loved the clever linking of the chapter titles—pick up the book and you'll see what I mean. More info →
This book turned around my sagging reading life this month: I read 400 pages in a day while camping early this month! I enjoyed the mystery aspect, which begins when a mentally ill man bursts into Cormoran's office raving about a murder he witnessed as a child. But my real interest in this fourth novel lay in the personal lives of the detectives, especially after book three's cliffhanger ending. Sensitive readers will want to know that Lethal White is much less gruesome than books two and three. It's intense, but not gory or graphic. More info →
I just finished this last night—I started it on book tour and found it too creepy to read late at night in strange hotel rooms! You may know French from her six Dublin Murder Squad mysteries; this is her first standalone. The characters may be unfamiliar, but the slow build, brooding characters, and psychological tension feel like hallmark French. Toby Hennessy is a good-looking, well-to-do twenty-something. He's always considered himself lucky, but early in the novel he makes one bad decision. The devastating consequences lend an eery, off-kilter feel to the whole book (you'll see)—and that's before we get to the murder plot. This would be an excellent companion to Judy Blundell's The High Season for its themes of forgery, family, and privilege. More info →
What have YOU been reading lately? Tell us all about it in comments or share a link in the comments to your post on what you’ve been reading lately!