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

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’ve blown through a stack of recent and brand-new releases and I’m happy to finally get to talk about them.

Series: Quick Lit 9/16
You Will Know Me

You Will Know Me

Abbott has a reputation for writing real nail-biters but this is the first of her work I've read. In her newest release (just out in July), she builds her domestic suspense around an elite teen gymnast—an excellent backdrop for a creepy mystery because in this high-stakes world people will stop at almost nothing to get what they want. Abbott kept me guessing the whole way through: just when I thought I had the mystery figured out, she pivoted again. Recommended reading for fans of Mary Kubica and Gillian Flynn. More info →
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

I'd read a few interviews with the author and they left me eager to hear more of this story. I was captured by Vance's description of the hillbilly culture he grew up in: he said in one interview that "hillbillies, rednecks, and white trash" were the only people in America it was 100% acceptable to still make fun of, even by the supposedly "culturally sensitive." To Vance, these people were his family, friends, and neighbors. In an unusually nuanced approach, he reflects on his upbringing in rural Eastern Kentucky and the Rust Belt town of Middletown Ohio, coolly assessing the bad and the good of the culture that raised him, and examining why he was able to largely escape its woes while so many others cannot. An eye-opening, timely, and highly readable memoir. More info →
Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

I've been looking forward to this one for a long time. Great message (and one I'll probably never stop needing to be reminded of). More info →
A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel)

A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Gamache Novel)

As you know if you've hung out on this blog for a few minutes, I'm a huge fan of this series and the lastest installment—#12!—didn't disappoint. I don't want to give even hints of spoilers to those of you not this far along in the series, so I'll just say that Penny returned to the big-picture plot in this latest mystery in a big way, and I loved it. More info →
The Underground Railroad

The Underground Railroad

First Oprah picked this, and I resisted. Then I heard about Whitehead's construct—that his "underground railroad" is an actual locomotive, powered by coal and running on actual track below the surface—and I was intrigued. Then I found out Whitehead is coming to my town later this year for my favorite literary event series, and I bought the book. While I felt like my time was well spent, it didn't blow me away ... although I may change my mind after I've heard the author speak about his own work. (I did this on audio, and while it was fine, it didn't add anything to the story. If I had it to do over again I'd stick to paper.) More info →

What have YOU been reading lately?

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  1. Sandra Mosolgo says:

    Loved Storied Life of A.J. Filkry-Liked The One-in-a-Million Boy
    The Boys in the Boat audiobook was fantastic.
    I am currently reading a British police procedural, The Dead of Winter, by Rennie Airth. It is third of a series but stands alone.
    I want to read Hillbilly Elegy and of course, the new Louise Penny.

  2. J. A. Hall says:

    Just finished reading a book I would have never, EVER picked to read. My Dad gave it to me; my sister got for him at a bargain basement book sale. He was wowed by it and though this book is completely out of my reading spectrum, I was riveted.
    The book: 13 HOURS, The Inside Account of What Really Happened In BENGHAZI, is written by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team.

    This book so compelling because it has nothing to do with the United States Government, conspiracies, controversies, talk shows, nothing. It is a firsthand account about what happened on the ground and in the streets of Benghazi, Libya on the night of September 11, 2012. It’s a story of unthinkable assaults, tragic loss and incredible heroes written from a totally neutral perspective. History told as a story.

  3. Shea says:

    I’ve heard good things about You Will Know Me and am tempted to pick it up, although I read The Fever by her and hated it… so I’m wary. I also read Still Life this summer, and I’m reminded now that I need to get to the next one in Penny’s series. Hillbilly Elegy sounds fascinating too–going to have to add it to my list!

  4. I read Present Over Perfect in August too (yay for release-day delivery from Amazon). I really enjoyed its message, even though my life is very different from Shauna’s. I just picked up Hillbilly Elegy from the library today (first on the list at my branch!) and already started – I’ve always been fascinated by Appalachian culture, and I am looking forward to learning more.

  5. Precillar says:

    I’ve just started reading again after a long hiatus and I find your reviews/reccomendations so very helpful!
    Now, is there any way to say in your review if the book is written in first or third person? I absolutely dislike reading first person books and I’ve had to return couple boooks because of that:(

  6. Donna says:

    Eeek! So I started Liane Moriarty’s Truly Madly Guilty yesterday evening and I’m already at page 275. I stayed up late last night and completely lost track of time. I went to bed at 4 am.😶
    She’s so good at keeping us
    guessing throughout…geez!
    This is the fastest I’ve read any of her books. I loved Big Little Lies and I didn’t fly through it like this!

  7. Melissa says:

    I am excited about You Will Know Me! I hadn’t heard of it yet! I put in on hold at the library. I just finished Before the Fall and I Let You Go so now I am on a mystery kick!! I love a good mystery / thriller.

  8. Pam says:

    I’ve had a slow month of reading. I enjoyed One in a Million Boy and I’m currently finishing up After You. Next up is Present Over Perfect and You Learn By Living.

  9. Gisela Scofield says:

    Dear Anne – a few months ago I sent you a little book I had written and was wondering if you have had a chance to take a look at it. The title is My Childhood in Hitler’s Germany, it is the first of a trilogy. I would really very much appreciate hearing from you, even if you have not had a chance to review it.
    Thank you, and best regards
    Gisela Scofield

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