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.
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →