What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable

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.)

Quick Lit October 2018
Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis

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 →
Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

Almost Everything: Notes on Hope

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 →
The Witch Elm

The Witch Elm

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 →


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 →

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!


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  1. Allie says:

    I’m reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis and enjoying it. Just saw Patti Callahan on her book tour and she was phenomenal! I’m eager to get my hands on Ann Lamott’s latest. I just finished I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron. It was fabulous!!!!!! I want to reread it right away. I’m listing to Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams.

  2. Birgitta Qvarnström Frykner says:

    I have read some of Estelle Ryans book about autistique Genevive L, and the came the next of onw of my favourite nowadays author Anne Perry TripleJeopardy

  3. Leslie says:

    I’ve been reading the Miss Julia series, written by Ann B Ross. I love it, and Miss Julia is awesome! Her adventures are fun, she is hilarious, and fun to read! I’d love to have a friend like Miss Julia.

  4. Sarah says:

    I just finished Almost Sisters and adored the narrator! Her wit was a sharp as a whip and she was downright hilarious at times. I love that it shows how choices made bond those together out of love and loyalty. And how that effects our course in life. Now I’m reading the Tattooist of Auschwitz. But Lethal White is Next!

  5. Susan Clark says:

    A Place for Us – Fatima Faheem Mirza
    I know you read this one Anne. Its one of my favorites in a few years. There are really good books and then there are “great” books. This is a great one!

  6. Claire says:

    I read Lethal White, too! It was so good. I did not enjoy 2 books that I was expecting to love based on the author’s other books that I’ve loved—The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton did not live up to expectations. It was a struggle to get through it. Windfallen by Jojo Moyes was not so great, either. I’m trying not to get into a slump after those 2.

      • Claire says:

        It was almost like I was grieving over it not being what I wanted. I had saved it from my BOTM Club box for the weekend so that I could give it my full attention, and then it was a major letdown. I did snag an ARC of The Lost Man on eBay because I’m a terrible, impatient person, and it’s darn good.

  7. Margo says:

    I’m reading The Kite Runner. Yes, I know I’m late to the party on this read! People were raving about over a decade ago and I remember seeing commuters reading it on the subway. I’m enjoying it and next on my list is White Teeth, Zadie Smith and Brick Lane, Monica Ali. None are current due to a great second hand book store where I live. Will you be doing a “what’s hot for Fall 2018” when you get a chance to breathe? My most current read on my list is, There, There by Tommy Orange and I’m thinking of taking on the classic Middlemarch as a winter read challenge.

  8. TJ says:

    Your plane read sounds fun and safe for traveling. Hope your book tour continues to go well. My reads this month ranged from a book on creativity to a political thriller to a YA sci fi series.

  9. I have ben curious about Becoming Mrs. Lewis but have a hard time reading biographical novels because I have a need to fact-check and get annoyed when authors use creative license as an excuse for making things up, so I am leaning towards going straight to a biography about her, but I’m seeing this book everywhere so I just cannot make up my mind!

    p.s. It was wonderful meeting you in Austin!!

    Here are my September reads: https://elle-alice.blogspot.com/2018/09/september-book-reviews.html

  10. Guest says:

    My favorite recent reads: The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters; Simple Acts of Kindness (kind of a gift book but great ideas and very encouraging); Rush by Lisa Patton. I have the Lamott book and Becoming Mrs. Lewis on hold at the library along with The Last Midwife.

  11. I just finished Belong to Me (read Loved Walked In and that one so I can read I’ll Be Your Blue Sky). Currently on #2 of the Inspector Gamache series now. I am intrigued by the Cormoran Strike series, but quite sensitive (INFP, Enneagram 9, HSP… you know the drill!), and mostly only read after the kids are in bed, so I have been leery to start it! I ADORE JK Rowling though!

  12. Cathy says:

    I just discovered Robert Galbraith this weekend! I read the first 3 over the weekend on Overdrive and bought Lethal White on Kindle to read next. Also I’m reading Glass Castles by Jeanette Walls. I’m a third through and don’t know what I think of it.

  13. I’m currently on hold at the library to read UNSHELTERED and THE WITCH ELM — very excited for those both! I just finished my ARC of DAUGHTERS OF THE LAKE by Wendy Webb, one of my favorite authors. Her newest did not disappoint!

  14. SoCalLynn says:

    I am looking forward to reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
    I have a quick question. I know you’ve been reeeeaaaalllly busy, but do you have any plans to go back to the old way you had the links on Quick Lit, instead of having the links in comments? I like it better the old way. Thanks!

  15. We’ve been doing a little Reading Challenge (affectionately called ‘Booktober’) over on my blog this month so this has been a good month for my TBR list. Here’s what I’ve been reading–http://themythretold.com/october-quick-lit-booktober-check-in/

  16. Karen says:

    I’ve been binge-reading books about the American Revolution the past couple of weeks: “Bunker Hill” by Nathanial Philbrick, “Victory at Yorktown” by Richard Ketchum, and “1776” by David McCullough. All very good, well-written and researched. I’ve stayed up way too late reading because I just had to know what happened next. “Mom,” my oldest son says, “you know what happens.” Well, yes, but I don’t know the details!

  17. Hannah says:

    Just added Becoming Mrs. Lewis to my wishlist!

    I recently wrapped up The Night Circus (for the first time—I’m never up to speed with the new releases) and loved it. Perfect October read!

  18. Lilith Homer (@chainreading) says:

    My library holds on both the Barbara Kingsolver and the Anne Lamott came in on Monday, and I’m feeling a little stressed by the 14 day loan stickers, since I also have to finish The Dream Lover by Elizabeth Berg and read a couple of other books for book club ASAP. However, knowing that you liked them soothes me a little bit. Thanks for the positivity when I needed it!

  19. Carrie Wilmont says:

    I’ve been looking for book club recommendations and I think I just hit the jackpot! Add “Spirit of the Fox” by Mathew O’Connell to your reading list. A great combo of women’s fiction and strange phenomenons; a page turner for sure! His site http://www.matthewoconnellauthor.com has more info plus his other book, and other book recommendations.

  20. Donna says:

    As always,thanks for the thoughtful recommendations, Anne! Definitely adding Almost Everything to my TBR!
    I am very behind on my reading list for this year so I’ve been playing catch-up! I recently read and loved Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. Definitely one of my favourite reads for 2018. Also finished China Rich Girlfriend two nights ago and I highly recommend it! I picked up Rich People Problems last night and I am flying through it.

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