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 book reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

This month I’ve been re-reading some old favorites to make sure they were indeed worthy of being MMD Book Club picks (YES), knocking off some backlist titles that have been on my TBR for ages, and indulging in a few new releases.

Quick Lit September 2018
You Learn by Living

You Learn by Living

I've loved this book in the past, and was so hoping it would hold up on a current re-reading, because I desperately wanted to pair it with Kelly Corrigan's Tell Me More for next month's Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club selections. (It did, and we're reading the two in October!) Roosevelt penned this part memoir, part advice manual little book back in 1960, when she was 76 years old. I was flabbergasted on my first reading by how smart and entertaining Eleanor Roosevelt was. (I should have known better, but I didn't. My mistake.) It’s striking how fresh and wise her insight seems today, over fifty years later, on topics ranging from career to confidence to politics. More info →
The Singer’s Gun

The Singer’s Gun

I've read Mandel's most recent book Station Eleven multiple times, and have been slowly working my way through her backlist. (I'm biding my time until her new release The Glass Hotel hits shelves in 2019.) I thoroughly enjoyed this terrific crime novel, her second, published in 2010, though even eight years later its key plotline is still the stuff of headline news. (If you only know Mandel from Station Eleven, you may be surprised to hear that Mandel was once afraid of getting pigeonholed as a crime writer.) More info →
The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother

The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother

Author:
I've been meaning to read this memoir for ages. McBride's parents didn't hold race or religion in common, something that was exceedingly rare in 1940s America. In this, his first book, McBride speaks directly and poignantly of his childhood, growing up in Brooklyn with a white Jewish mother and black father. The story is told from two points of view: one voice belongs to McBride, who tells the story of his childhood; the other to his mother, who also begins her story in her childhood. Each voice is beautifully done; for the reader, the combined effect is greater than the sum of its parts. More info →
The Masterpiece

The Masterpiece

Author:
This was one of this year's hot summer books, but this historical novel with a fabulous setting works just as well for September. Few remember it now, but a thriving art school (the Grand Central School of Art) was housed for twenty years in the upper eaves of the east win of Grand Central Terminal, beginning with its founding in 1924. The book switches back and forth in time between the art school years and 1974, when the terminal was very nearly razed by developers in order to build a skyscraper. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (who briefly appears in the novel) led the fight to save the terminal by granting it landmark status. Davis is the author of historical novels like the popular The Dollhouse and has said that her newest novel "touches upon issues dear to me: how women's voices and agency have changed over time, the importance of the arts in our lives, and the hidden stories within New York’s historic skyline." More info →
The History of Love: A Novel

The History of Love: A Novel

Author:
I reread this 2005 novel, one of the 50 contemporary books every woman's gotta read, before naming it our November pick for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club. With interweaving storylines, Krauss shows how a sixty-year-old lost-and-then-found manuscript connects multiple people—Holocaust survivors, fatherless children, widows, and lovers—across time and space. Touching, humorous, and heartbreaking. 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!

77 comments | Comment

77 comments

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  1. mary says:

    Just finished “Queen of Hearts”, “What She Knew” and loved them. The “One-in-a-Million Boy” was so dear, highly recommended. Just started “The Awakening of Miss Prim” and so far, really enjoying the development of the characters. Reads like a hybrid of Jane Eyre and Mary Poppins. Plan to read “Forces of Nature”, “A Place for Us”, and “Persuasion” this Fall. Have some Wendell Berry, Christopher Cleave and Barbara Kingsolver on the nightstand already as well.

    • Aimee says:

      You and I have similar reading tastes. Loved Queen of Hearts and One-in-a-Million Boy! Have you read Love and Other Consolation Prizes? I’m going to check out The Awakening of Miss Prim!

  2. Marcia says:

    Loved Fiona Davis book MASTERPIECE….have read her previous two books.
    Currently reading THE SECRET DIARY OF HENDRICK GROEN, 80 1/4 YEARS OLD by Hendrik Groen. Humorous, wise, and tragic, couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.

  3. Mary says:

    I just read the Eleanor Roosevelt book a couple of months ago, and I was amazed at her insight and timely advice! I loved it as well! Thanks for your great recommendations, I’ve only been following you about 2 months but have already read many of the books you recommend. The great thing is I am enjoying even all of your older blogs as they are all new to me and also have great recommendations! Keep up the good work, it’s so nice to be in the company of readers.

  4. Rebecka says:

    Oh, I have to check out The Singer’s Gun! Last month I read The Lola Project, which I liked and last year I read Last Night in Montreal which I liked even more, allthough neither one of them moved me as much as Station Eleven did.

  5. Birgitta Qvarnström Frykner says:

    Love the Eleonor Roosevelt book. A book you will miss out on is the book 1793 by Natt o Dag, a Swedish author making a really good “crime” novel of the historic important time after our king was murdered during a mascerade at the opera. Yes the opera is made of this real occasion. The book is Sweden 1793 after this Gustaviansk period, very well written you almost smell the odeurs from the muddens and street. I have also read some Denise Domning, some good the Season books, other well not so good the Ladies series. Mary Boleyn in a nutshell by Sara Bryson, Vittoria Cottage DE Stephenson and The House by AO Connor

  6. Mimi Gregor says:

    I just finished your book, Anne, which is how I came here. Loved it; read it in one day. I could identify with SO much (except maybe living next to the library…. You lucky thing, you!)

    Right now I am reading The Wisdom of Insecurity by Alan Watts. Published in 1951, the insecurity and anxiety of which he speaks (concerning the Cold War) is just as relevant today.

  7. Nancy Willard says:

    Last week I read “Harry’s Trees” by Jon Cohen as well as “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owen. I loved both books and the happy, satiated feeling I felt after finishing. I am just about finished with “Free Food for Millionaires” by Min Jin Lee, who also wrote “Pachinko”…another favorite.

  8. SoCalLynn says:

    I just finished The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin. Loved it. What a great story about marriage, marriage to a complicated unsympathetic man. Finished Ten Little Indians, my first Agatha Christie. Mysteries are not my genre. Also just finished a suspense novel, Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. It held my attention. I’m now reading two non fiction, This House of Sky by Ivan Doig, which is wonderful and I can see the beginnings of the stories of his English Creek series which is fantastic. Also, Laurel Canyon, the history of that very creative time for folk/rock musicians in the early 70’s. Bought both of these used, both happen to be author signed. bonus!

  9. Donna says:

    Love these posts! Definitely adding The Masterpiece to my reading list!
    Currently reading Us Against You by Fredrik Backman. I was dying for it to come out! Sooooo good. Also reading and loving China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan.

  10. Lisa says:

    I loved your new book so much, Anne! “Life Imitates Art”, and “The Readers I Have Been” both made me cry, but in a good way. And in “Again, for the First Time”, you inspired me to think in a new way about rereading some of my favorites. Thank you!

  11. Eva says:

    Love these Quick Lit posts – it’s the best way to find new novels!! I’ve got a bunch of Eleanor on my library list that I should definitely read for fall. I feel like it will renew me and empower me with the new season. Thanks, as always, for the fabulous recs!

    Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

  12. Sue B says:

    Looking forward to reading You Learn by Living and Masterpiece. Also need to get busy and read Gaudy Night! I just finished Just Mercy by Stevenson! So powerful! Everyone should read this. Before that I read Small Great Things by Picoult–both have similar themes and would be a great pairing.

  13. Shelley Schlosser says:

    I’ve reread The General’s Women and Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert. Both are fictional books based on history about General Dwight Eisenhower and Eleanor Roosevelt and they were just as good on the second read as they were on the first. I highly recommend both!

  14. Dani Haney says:

    I just finished Educated by Tara Westover. It was excellent and made for great discussion at book club. Definitely recommend.

  15. Susan says:

    I recently read Where the Crawdads Sing and thoroughly enjoyed it – strong sense of place and great female lead character. I have read the first two Cormoran Strike detective mysteries and I am hooked! Currently reading A Place For Us – really good and slow going because the characters are all so richly portrayed.

    I am waiting for the Masterpiece at the library – cannot wait to read this one!

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