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 on the 15th of the month. Since the 15th falls on a Tuesday this month, when we post our show notes for our Tuesday What Should I Read Next episodes, I’m posting this month’s edition a day early.  

I’ve read A LOT this month, much more than usual, and struggled to narrow down my monthly reading to any kind of manageable list. I typically share five or six titles. Today’s list has eight, because I wanted to share a representative sampling of what I’ve been reading, and couldn’t (or didn’t want to?) do it in less. 

This month I’ve read a dozen romance novels, listened to half as many audiobooks (half of today’s titles were audiobook listens, as noted), and several literary and nonfiction titles. My recent reads have been more backlit than brand-new.  

This is just a sampling of the books I’ve read since our last round of Quick Lit. If you’re interested in hearing more about my recent reads, I highly recommend tuning into my podcast What Should I Read Next. In a show about books, I can’t help but discuss my current reading. 

I can’t wait to hear about your recent reads in comments. 

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



I thought this was a re-read for me: I was certain I'd read all of Maryilynne Robinson's novels, and downloaded the audiobook version of this first, her 1980 debut, for some familiar comfort reading. As it turns out, I was entirely mistaken—and grateful for the mistake, because I wouldn't have wanted to miss this tale of two orphaned sisters in Fingerbone, Idaho, struggling to find their place in the community and with each other after their mother's death. They're first cared for by a string of relatives, one of whom is named Nona. (This was the dead giveaway I hadn't read this book before. Nona is my grandmother's name, I've never met another, in real life or the pages of a book. This detail would have stuck with me.) Finally, their eccentric Aunt Sylvie steps in, and comes to "keep house" for them. But Sylvie's odd ways disturb the staid members of their little town, and the misunderstanding threatens the little family's stability. I listened to the newly released 40th anniversary edition, narrated by Therese Plummer. More info →
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Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President

I've been meaning to read this narrative nonfiction about Garfield, his assassin, the circumstances under which he was shot, and the medical care that killed him for ages. When Suzanne of Goodreads chose this as one of her favorite books in What Should I Read Next Episode 242 ("Sharing Good Reads with good friends), I bumped it back up to the top of my TBR. Millard devotes considerable space to Charles J. Guiteau, the man who thought he was doing a political rival a service by pulling the trigger, but I found this thread far less interesting than that of Garfield's political career and short presidency. I'm sure I learned some of the details of his nomination and subsequent electoral win in history class, but I had completely forgotten how reluctant he had been to assume office—and how scholars agree that he would have survived the bullet wound just fine if the doctors had only left him alone. I'm interested in reading more by Millard. More info →
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Remedial Rocket Science

Remedial Rocket Science

Over the course of the past month I've been reading scads of romance novels, including this entire series, each of which features a female protagonist who works in STEM. When this first book opens, Melody is having a terrible night. First her date stands her up, then the creepy guy at the bar won't leave her alone. When a handsome stranger offers her an escape, it leads to one fabulous night—and that's all it can be, because the next day Jeremy has to fly home to L.A. But then three years later, Melody graduates and lands her dream job at an aerospace company—in L.A., where she reconnects with Jeremy and discovers not only is he as charming as ever, he's the CEO's son. And a billionaire. (This series is closed door, but that's not true for all of Nix's work.) More info →
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Funny thing about this book: I had it checked out of the library for SIX MONTHS (due to COVID-19 closures), returned it unread, and only then downloaded the audiobook after a reading friend told me it was fabulous in that format. This reflective and often pained retrospective examines a complex mother-daughter relationship. Daughter Norah's musings are prompted by a graduate student who comes calling, seeking insight into the life of her mother, the brilliant Irish actress Katherine O'Dell. The style is almost—but not quite—stream of consciousness, as Norah examines her mother's early years as an actress, her sudden and enduring fame, and then her encroaching mental illness. I loved this book for its voice: Norah is a remarkable narrator of her mother's story, and I loved the sly way she lets her own story slip into the frame. Anne Enright is equally remarkable: very few novelists narrate their own audiobooks, but Enright reads hers here in an incredible performance. More info →
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Before the Ever After

Before the Ever After

In my recent WSIRN episode with Afoma Umesi (Episode 249: "Who would read the dictionary for fun? We would."), she says one of the reasons she loves middle grade novels is that they're short—so you can read a whole stack of them in a weekend. I was happy to recommend this new Jaqueline Woodson novel for her TBR. Black preteen ZJ has always had a strong relationship with his father, a football star who's a living legend and fan favorite. But ZJ and his mom have been struggling lately, trying to make sense of his dad's increasingly erratic behavior. The doctors suspect the many concussions he's suffered over the years are the culprit, but they don't know what to do about it. Woodson doesn't sugarcoat the suffering, but a drumbeat of hope and resilience anchors ZJ's story. I listened to the audiobook narration by Guy Lockard: the story was AMAZING in his voice, and delivered a wholly satisfying story in just 2 hrs and 14 mins. More info →
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Don’t Look for Me

Don’t Look for Me

I loved the premise of this brand-new psychological thriller: on a dark and stormy night, a guilt-ridden mother walks away from her life, five years to the day after her youngest child was killed in a tragic accident. Two days after she disappears, police find Molly's handwritten note in a local motel: it says the pain is too much to bear, her family will be better off without her, she's leaving. "Don't look for me," she writes. The police call it a walk-away, saying it happens all the time. But Molly's daughter is suspicious and begins her own investigation into her mother's disappearance. This was a serviceable mystery; I enjoyed the first half more than the second, and listened to the audiobook version narrated by Therese Plummer. More info →
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Winter Counts

Winter Counts

I thoroughly enjoyed this new crime novel set on the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, home to the Sicangu Lakota nation. (Weiden is a citizen of the Sicangu Lakota Nation and received his MFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts.) Virgil Wounded Horse is a Native American vigilante for hire: when people can't get justice through the reservation's official channels they turn to him to enact their own. This happens with depressing regularity because of the 1885 Major Crimes Act: certain felonies can only be prosecuted by the federal government, but at their discretion—and they typically decline to prosecute any case that doesn't include murder (Weiden says in his Author's Note that this circumstance is factual and all-too-real.) When Virgil's nephew gets entrapped in a fake drug bust, authorities more or less force the young teen to take a dangerous undercover assignment so they can nail the men who are trafficking heroin on the reservation. While the story is solid, this book shines for its setting, and its powerful exploration of identity. Though this reads as a standalone, Weiden left the door wide open for a sequel; I'm certainly interested in reading more. (Though the story is rarely graphic in portraying violence, the novel does begin with Virgil knocking out a child molester's teeth in a parking lot, please be mindful of the associated content.) More info →
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Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round

Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round

Even before I finished Welcome Home, I was putting Myquillyn's principles into action—and enjoying the process. There's no one I trust more for guidance on making my home livable, welcoming, and beautiful. Her new book walks you through the seasons of the year, highlighting simple and gratifying ways to decorate (yay) and host (eventually) in tune with the rhythms of the year. For the fall season, I'm ready to shop my backyard for fall decor, as she suggests, and my kids can't wait to try the stacked apple cider bar she demonstrates how to do for a fall celebration. This would make a lovely gift book. More info →
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What have YOU been reading lately? Tell us about your recent reads—or share the link to a blog or instagram post about them—in comments. 

P.S. 10 favorite audiobook narrators (plus 30 excellent audiobooks they narrate). Plus 15 backlist books to enjoy while you wait for this summer’s buzziest new releases and 10 excellent fall nonfiction reads.


Leave A Comment
  1. Beth Gross says:

    Thanks, Anne, for another great list of thoughtful reviews.

    I’m almost done with The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I’m enjoying the mystery and intrigue as well as another peek into the era of the swishing skirts.

    I read The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield on Saturday, which I thought was masterfully written, but the disturbing themes definitely ruined it for me.

    On my blog I gleaned from my bookselling days to put together a list of the best devotionals for personal use or to give away.

  2. Amy Fink says:

    Hi Anne!

    I always love to see what you are reading. I tend to be a mood/seasonal reader and in the fall I love a good campus novel, mystery/psychological thriller. I just finished The Body in Question by Jill Ciment, and I picked up a backlist title that was a grab from several years ago on a Barnes and Noble sale table called Arrowood by Laura McHugh. I am four chapters in and it is a compelling gothic fiction/thriller. The manor house definitely is a looming character in the story so far and I can’t wait to keep turning the pages to find out what happened so long ago to Arden’s twin sisters when they disappeared without a trace and how this creepy home and it’s family may have played a part. Great for those who love a spooky fall read! (At least so far to chapter 4)

  3. Sarah says:

    Oh, Housekeeping is one of my all time favorites. I first listened to the audio book in 2017, and by the time I had finished the audio I had already purchased the paperback and immediately re-read it.

  4. Lis Moriarty says:

    ahhh I love the variety in your list – the STEM romance series sounds fantastic! especially to binge read.
    Here’s what our family has been reading lately which is huge variety too from “The Undocumented Americans” {incredible!} to “Spoiler Alert” {such a fun nerdy romance} to “The Shell Seekers” {how did it take me so long?!?} to “A Darkling Plain” {my husband’s sci-fi} to fairy tales, fantasy, & books for back to school for my littles.

  5. Shawntaye Hopkins says:

    Anne, I read a book that I really think you would enjoy. His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie. Going into this book, I thought it would be about women arguing over a man, which I wasn’t all the interested in. But it’s not. I would call it a coming of age story about a young woman who figures out what she wants out of her marriage and her life and learns to speak up for herself. It has a satisfying ending and is closed door.

  6. Lynn says:

    Thanks! Always live Quick Lit day. Two excellent books I have just read are Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore and American by Day by Derek B. Miller (read Norwegian at Night first). Both are very intense and well written. Valentine is outstanding in so many different ways -developing the characters, the setting and all of it coming together so well with the plot.

  7. BETH ROIREAU says:

    This week I read Writers & Lovers by Lily King. In enjoyed it and more than I had expected. It had the right mix of painful experiences and hope for me. I found myself relating to similar losses in my life and imagining how I might write about them. So it was unexpectedly contemplative for me but with sprinkles of humor.

  8. Becky says:

    I am almost done with Ordinary Hazards by Anna Bruno. I love it. At first I was hesitant to start it because of the poor reviews. The whole story takes place one evening in a local bar. It is basically about human interaction among the regulars. Each one has a story. Great writing!

  9. Amapola says:

    I read “Mexican Gothic” without knowing Sylvia Moreno-García insists her book belongs in the horror category. Her take on the patriarchy and colonization fits the setting. The beautiful language lures you in and then it’s too late to find your way out of that house. It was fun, but I would never eat mushrooms again.
    I found recently Elsa Hart’s series featuring librarian Li Du investigating murders in 17th century China. “Jade Dragon Mountain” and “The White Mirror” were great reads and now I’m looking forward to the rest of her books.
    “Long Bright River” by Liz Moore was also a good read.
    “No Visible Bruises” by Rachel Louise Snyder was an informative and much needed resource about domestic violence.

    • Aquagirl809 says:

      I loved reading “Destiny of the Republic!” A lot of fabulous historical and scientific information is included in this compelling true story.

    • Lynne Osborne says:

      I agree that it was a great book! There’s a lot of excellent American history writing out there. I loved “Grant” by Ron Chernow.

  10. Wyndi says:

    I started a graduate course in August, so aside from some heavy academic reading, I’ve totally been binge-reading romance and YA. I tore through The Selection series and started the Red Queen series. I have visited Virgin River (Robyn Carr) a lot this month. Plus, I read couple of the Mia Vincy novels I found through the blog. Reading is my favorite form of procrastination 🙂

  11. Lori Fleming says:

    Hi Anne, I have just finished The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, a fun romance that I really enjoyed. I am reading The House on Fripp Island now. Thank you so much for WSIRN! I love it!

  12. Heather says:

    The book” Destiny of the Republic” intrigues me I will have to add that to my ever TBR list. My own reading this month has been interesting -https://myviewofthehoneypot.blogspot.com/2020/09/booking-it-september-edition.html

  13. Laurie says:

    You will so enjoy Destiny of the Republic…such a good read. I was lucky enough to hear the author speak and meet her. Fascinating!!!

  14. Adrienne says:

    Hi Anne,

    I’m going to have to add ‘Destiny of the Republic’ to my ever-growing TBR list. And since you mentioned wanting to read more by Candice Millard, I highly recommend ‘The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey.’ Fantastic book!

    Here are my recent reads:
    * The Love Season, by Elin Hilderbrand – 4 stars. This is off her backlist, written in 2006. Highly enjoyable, and while the plot of the story takes place in one day on (you guessed it) Nantucket, the book also covers past events in Paris, New York, and Morocco.
    * 28 Summers, by Elin Hilderbrand – rounding up to 4 stars. I listened to the audiobook, which was well done. I’d describe this book as “…exactly what you’d expect from an Elin Hilderbrand summer read.”
    * The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel – rounding up to 4 stars. This book has an interesting story well-told, but it was just lacking some spark and intensity, and I thought the ending was just a bit too fanciful. A good read, but not great.
    * Redhead by the Side of the Road, by Anne Tyler – rounding up to 4 stars. I listened to the audiobook, which is surprisingly short at about 6 hours. I find the characters in Anne Tyler’s novels delightful; they’re usually quirky, interesting people, and this book is no exception. It’s a slow moving book, more about people than events, and reminded me in some ways of A Man Called Ove, by Fredrick Backman.
    * Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – 1 star. This started out well, but about half way through the book it took a turn for the absurd, at 75%, absurdity turned into ridiculousness, and at 80% I couldn’t take it any more, so I gave up. I would have thrown the book at the wall, except I was listening to the audiobook version, so that would have involved hurling my phone across the room. I’ll chalk this one up as “not right for me”…. Highly disappointed!
    * This Tender Land, by William Kent Krueger – 5 stars. This book really lived up to all the great reviews I’ve seen. I loved the story and the characters; this book is described as a “modern classic” and I believe it truly will have that longevity.

    Current reads are ‘Simon the Fiddler’ by Paulette Jiles, ‘The Gilded Hour’ by Sara Donati, ‘Strike Me Down’ by Mindy Mejia, ‘A View Across the Rooftops’ by Suzanne Kelman, and ‘Galatians’ by Tim Keller. Happy Reading!

  15. My first visit and I love the list and recommendations! My favorite read of September was Essie’s Roses by Michelle Muriel- setting is 1854 Alabama plantation, Westland. A touching story of friendship between a slave girl, Essie, and Evie from the “big house.” Wonderful descriptions and in touch with feelings & emotions of the young girls. Sequel is coming soon. Full review on my blog: https://gratefulreader.home.blog/

  16. Jill Duffin says:

    Reading The Overstory by Richard Powers. Highly recommend this fictional story about our environment especially the world’s trees and how we are connected to them. An unusual format – seemingly 5 different short stories which eventually connect. Not the easiest of reads (a few references to I-don’t-know-what!) – modern, almost stream-of-consciousness but I am loving it!

  17. Katie says:

    I’m interested in Remedial Rocket Science, Housekeeping, and Don’t Look For Me. Off to see what my library has…

    The past couple of weeks has seemingly been a High/Low for my reading year. I loved the new Louise Penny. Her past couple of new releases didn’t quite do it for me, but All The Devils Are Here rekindled my LP love. Then I read Majesty… and was completely disappointed after American Royals was a 5 star book. I haven’t written up my Goodreads review yet because I’m still thinking about what I want to say – spoilers will be involved. I did find a middle grade book browsing the library this past weekend and I have one chapter left. It’s called The 68 Rooms and it’s been a lot of fun! It’s about the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute in Chicago. I had never heard of them. They are miniatures, and in the book, the two main characters find a key that allows them to shrink and explore the rooms. There are two more books in the series that I’m sure I will read. I’ll probably purchase these to keep for my kids.

  18. Katie says:

    Just popped back over to say that I just went to Anne’s link for Remedial Rocket Science and it is FREE for kindle right now. Not sure how long this will last.

  19. Betsy says:

    Love Destiny of the Republic!! I also enjoyed Millard’s book about Theodore Roosevelt (The River Doubt), but it was such a different setting that it felt like a very different book.

    I’m re-reading Woodson’s Brown Girl Dreaming right now, so I should bump that Woodsoon one you mention to next.

    I’m also reading The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty and really enjoying it. It was a random choice, but I’m so glad I tried it.

  20. Martha Borkan says:

    The PBS series “American Experience” had an interesting episode a few years back called “Murder of a President” based on the Candace Millard book “Destiny of the Republic”.

  21. Rada Foote says:

    In August I read The Less People Know About Us:A Mystery of Betrayal, Family Secrets and Stolen Identity. This is a true story about a girl in the Midwest who’s family identity was stolen and how that affected her life.
    I listened to the Poet X on audio and it was amazing. I really like a novel in verse.
    I tried to read Picnic at Hanging Rock, but it was not my jam.
    Finished up with month with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I really enjoyed.

    • Aquagirl809 says:

      Fredrick Backman is one of my favorite authors! “My Grandmother . . .“ is excellent as well as so many others he has written. “Britt-Marie Was Here,” is also a winner.

  22. Sarah says:

    I’m so excited to see winter counts on your TBR, it’s on mine too! This month I’m also finishing up Just Mercy which is phenomenal! Happy and you know it, and Transcendent Kingdom! I’m geeked!

  23. Marie says:

    I am having such a difficult time keeping my attention to reading since this virus. I am now reading Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah.

  24. Suzy says:

    First, Anne, have you seen the movie, Housekeeping? With Christine Lahti? It’s very good, very true to the story and directed by Bill Forsyth who does QUIRKY so well. I’m listening to HOME, by Marilynne right now….
    Second, my mother and I are dying to read the Garfield book—
    Third, I have started putting into the practice the RANDOMIZER idea for my TBR list, and it’s so fun! The first book that came up was a loan from my grieving brother in law, On Mystic Lake, by Kristin Hannah. I’m not in the same place he is, and found it a chick-lit weeper, but I’m glad that I got it read so I could discuss it with him. Second, and it was AWESOME, was Life of Pi, sitting on my shelf for YEARS!! I love this book!! So glad it was chosen by the random google gods. 3rd random book is September, by Rosamunde Pilcher, and although it wasn’t what I would have chosen, still, I am enjoying it (after making a chart of characters) and getting to know RP’s writing. Apparently I read The Shell Seekers in 1993, but am completely blank about it, no memories.
    Next up, 84, Charing Cross Rd—I read this as a teen, but it’s time for a re-fresh!

  25. Gaby says:

    Remedial Rocket Science sounds perfect for a Romance selection for my MLIS Readers’ Advisory Selection. Just checked on Amazon and the Kindle version is currently FREE! It was meant to be.
    I read several books in August. My favorite was What You Wish For by Katherine Center. As a library student I would love to work in the school library depicted in this book.

    • Rachelle says:

      Thanks for the tip! I usually click on the link of books I want to read, but for some reason, I didn’t. I would have missed the FREE book!

  26. Leslie says:

    Hello Anne. This past weekend, I read John Tests’ memoir in a day. It is a wonderful book, and I recommend it to those who love autobiography.i like his music too. Hope you are feeling better.

  27. Kate says:

    I’m just finishing All The Devils Are Here by Louise Penny. New setting, more character development and amazing plot. I paid full price for the book and it’s worth every penny. Awesome read.

  28. Susan E Doherty says:

    I just finished This Tender Land, which was hard to get into because the treatment of those orphaned boys was so horrible, it was hard to read. I am glad I stuck with it. A five star book for sure. During the pandemic, I took a chance on an Amazon first read novel. In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn was so good! (I could see it being made into a movie.)

  29. Stephanie says:

    I’ve read two YA novels, which I enjoyed- Like No Other by Una LaMarche and In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton. I’ve also read a few nonfiction books that I loved, though they’ve been sobering reads: Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder, and Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn (both HIGHLY recommended).

    I’m about 52 pages into Overground Railroad: The Green Book & Roots of Black Travel in America by Candacy A. Taylor, and holy cow, this book is AMAZING. I want to sign up for Ms. Taylor’s master class and absorb everything she knows. This is heartbreaking and important history that isn’t much taught in school (and I say that as someone whose schools did a fairly good job at teaching the history of racism in the US; there’s still so much to learn and understand), and I’m looking forward to diving into it more tonight.

  30. Kristen E says:

    I was thrilled to tackle (and love), The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer an American journalist in Germany from 1935 to 1941, and again during the Nuremberg Trails. At 1600 pages it was daunting, but 5/5 stars worth it. The material angered me to no end, but it needs to be known.

    I also finished The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I was not as shocked as I wanted to be by this one. I gave it a 3/5 because I felt as if the story was dependent on the shocking revelation. I know most loved the story, I just thought it was a bit eh without any twist for me.

    I also listened to the entire Justin Cronin trilogy “The Passage”, “The Twelve” and “The City of Mirrors”. I devoured them! Never mind that my favorite narrator, Scott Brick, read the entire series, but I found myself enthralled in the characters unlikely post apocalyptic adventure. Did I mention, I hate post-apocalyptic stories?

    These were the big highlights of my reading month.

  31. Rebecca Merrell says:

    Anne- thank you for those recommendations! “Winter Counts” is now on my list- I just finished the fourth and final in the Neapolitan series that Elena Ferrante wrote- what a delight and yet,somewhat sad to say goodbye to Lila and Lenu, (at least until season 3 comes out!)
    I also enjoyed “28 Summers” by Elin Hilderbrand, “Big Summer” by Jennifer Weiner and “The Lions Den” by Katherine St. John all about 4 for summer reading.
    I am looking into diving into more literature this Fall and continuing my love of African women writers. 🙂

  32. Janna Steele says:

    I’m reading Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers’ books- smart romances with a bonus: you fall in love with and get to know the entire town. Perfect for these serious times. I’m not a big romance reader but I am totally into these. I LOVE “fun” books that are also VERY well-written. (Heads-up: some open door scenes)
    Also of note: “Bluebird, Bluebird” by Attica Locke is, in fact, excellent on audio. I have MMD to thank for finding it. (And for finding Penny Reid!)
    I encountered an excellent nonfiction book while studying for my yoga teacher certification: “Breath: The Mew Science of a Lost Art” by James Nestor. Highly recommend for wellness geeks.
    Happy reading!

  33. Elizabeth Barnhill says:

    I adored Destiny Of the Republic! And I had the same reaction to Don’t Look for Me. Started out great but the ending made it forgettable.

  34. I’m definitely telling my nephew about Winter Counts. He teaches HS English on a reserveration in Northern Minnesota and this sounds right up his alley.

    I have lots of YA books this month preparing to teach English myself this fall as a long-term sub. I don’t usually read much YA so it was interesting to spend so much time in that genre.


  35. Ha ha, I loved your story about Housekeeping—pretty sure I’ve done that with multiple books. Glad I’m not the only one! And I loved Gilead by her and actually just bought Housekeeping from my local used bookstore, so I’m excited to dive into that myself!

    My reading life has slowed down dramatically thanks to having to house hunt in an insane housing market, but now that we’re finally under contract for a house (HOORAY!), I can focus my attention on things I’d rather be doing, like reading 🙂

    This month I finally picked up Just Mercy, as well as read What You Wish For (I think at your recommendation?), as well as a few others:


  36. Megan Pierson says:

    The Last Migration
    By Charlotte McConaghy

    This is not a happy book. It is however far too beautiful to be depressing. I finished it with a few shuddering breaths, a nap and a walk down to the lake to comfort myself watching the birds.

    It tells the story of Franny Stone as she attempts to follow the Artic Terns on what she predicts will be their last migration from Greenland to Antartica over oceans empty of fish to feed on.

    The book portrays a world where almost all the birds, fish & animals are gone except for the ones who feed us or give us company. How sad an empty sky, an empty ocean!!!

    Franny’s love of the ocean and propensity to swim in freezing waters left me chilled to the bone.

    Good storytelling as well as beautiful language & writing and themes that linger…I loved this book.

    • Britany Arnold says:

      YES Megan!! This was a surprise gem for me. I loved the characters and still find myself thinking about swimming in the freezing sea.

  37. Ruth O says:

    Thank you, I always enjoy this post each month, and all the titles and links in the comments! I just finished Bess Kalb’s book, Nobody Will Tell You This But Me, and highly recommend it. I’m in the middle of How the Penguins Saved Veronica and hooked! Code Name Helene, Separation Anxiety and The Language of Butterflies are three titles now in my TBR library stack.

  38. Emma says:

    If you’re looking for another book featuring a Nona, Anne, my mind went straight to an Australian young adult novel called Nona & Me by Clare Atkins; it’s about the friendship between two girls, one of them white and the other one Indigenous Australian.

  39. Emma says:

    I’ve had a really great reading month, despite being super-busy with studying and running for local government.

    I found ‘Nothing to See Here’ by Kevin Wilson in a Little Free Library and couldn’t resist. Loved it, and yes, I saw it here first! Followed up with ‘Such a Fun Age’ by Kiley Reid and ‘Mary Poppins’ by P.L Travers (sensing a theme?), but didn’t enjoy either.

    ‘The Last’ by Hanna Jameson was a diversion into a post-apocalyptic world, but had waaaay too many triggers for right now. But still on a dark theme, I found myself reaching for the first two Inspector Rebus novels by Ian Rankin, which is weird because I NEVER read crime/detective fiction. But now I’m committed to reading the whole series, mainly because they’re set in Edinburgh, an old friend of mine.

    Currently reading ‘The Signature of All Things’ by Elizabeth Gilbert and loving it.

  40. Wow, you really did have a great reading month! I just maxed out my Overdrive recommendation limit with books from this list — I’ll have to come back tomorrow to add the ones I couldn’t fit in this round 🙂

    In contrast to yours, my list was shorter than usual this month because I’ve started reading Christmas books for my holiday list and didn’t include those here.


  41. I have also turned to romance this month to escape into some guaranteed happy endings. Can’t wait to check out “Remedial Rocket Science”. This seems like a great time of year for “Welcome Home: A Cozy Minimalist Guide to Decorating and Hosting All Year Round”. I can always use more tips and ideas for embracing the holidays as a minimalist.

    After seeing the series recommended by “Penny Pushers” everywhere, I finally read “Still Life” and promptly fell in love with the town and villagers of Three Pines! My library hold for the second book just came in earlier than expected. Yay!

    So far this month in romance, I adored “The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang and am currently reading an old Nora Roberts’ series “The Calhouns”: https://lifesapearl.com/what-ive-been-reading-lately-september-quick-lit/

  42. Rebecca Soule says:

    I’m doing some romance re-reads this month – Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie being a hilarious favorite.

    I also just finished reading two books:
    The Eighth Detective – this was such an original format to me – short stories with chapters in between linking to a bigger mystery (or two).
    Migrations – felt a bit like Station Eleven, but a much more personal story. Haunting.

  43. I added Welcome Home to my library holds as soon as I saw that she had a new book coming out. I can’t wait to read that one.
    I’ve read quite the variety in the past month-ish – historical mystery fiction, sci-fi, oral history, contemporary, and all about Harry & Meghan. Talking about those here!

    • Diane, is there something going on with your blog? I tried clicking on your name link and it takes me to a site with your blog web address but it has movie titles and there’s some foreign language on there? I hope your blog hasn’t been tampered with!

  44. Susan says:

    Every Missing Piece by Melanie Conklin is a middle grade book I just finished and enjoyed. It’s nice to see a main character dealing with anxiety.

  45. Beth says:

    Anne, you’ve got me blowing through the Penny Reid Knitting in the City Series. They are so fun! If anyone else is interested, I think all of them so far (6) have been available as part of the Audible “Escape” package. It’s normally not my genre, but 2020 is weird.
    I’m also working my way through Anna Karenina. (Coincidentally, there’s a spoiler in one of those Penny Reid books!) Finally finished The Guest List, an absorbing locked door type mystery which kept me guessing until close to the end, and Cork Dork, an interesting story of the author’s journey to become a certified sommelier.

  46. Nicola Jesse says:

    I have re-discovered Laurie R. King. Read her out of sequence so picked up the
    first in series-The Beekeeper’s Apprentice-which I have never read. Now I am
    on the Newest-Riviera Gold. I Love anything Sherlock so quite a nice twist
    with a Mrs. Sherlock! or she calls herself Mary Russell and this newest one Mrs. Hudson history! twist. All good and fun read.

  47. Donna says:

    I took a bit of a reading break in August and finally getting back into it. Recently read and loved The Girl From Widow Hills by Megan Miranda and The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica. Currently reading The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth and I can’t put it down.

  48. Janice McBratney says:

    I have read Millard’s Destiny of the Republic and thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also read her book The River of Doubt/ Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey which is about navigating the Amazon River. It was unbelievably harrowing. I am looking forward to reading her other book Hero of the Empire about the Boer War and the making of Winston Churchill. Millard’s nonfiction Reads like a novel reminiscent or Eric Larson’s books.

  49. Charlotte Stice says:

    The new Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling pseudonym)is out (Cormoran Strike #5)—Troubled Blood and it is just as good as they other 4!

  50. Georgia says:

    What a great list! I love Housekeeping. Best last line of any novel I’ve read. I’m reading Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio by Jessica Abel. Learning so much already.

  51. Gina Therrien says:

    I love that I found you Anne! I only wish it had been sooner. All October books so far have been from the podcast. I’m only on episode 125. I’ve read Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino, Far Far Away by Tom McNeal, and I’m halfway through Rules of Civility. All great recommendations! Thanks 😃

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