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

Short and sweet reviews of what I've been reading lately

Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of the month.

My reading journal tells me I’ve finished sixteen books this month and started three more: that’s a lot for me! Because of Fall Book Preview, many of my reads have been new or forthcoming releases, but you’ll only see one of those in today’s round-up.

Today’s collection of recent reads is nicely varied and reflects what has been an incredibly satisfying reading month: a music memoir, some literary fiction, contemporary fiction and romance, and TWO French novels. Attention audiobook lovers: I recently shared my round-up of recent listens right here.

My recent reading has also been heavily influenced by the upcoming Bookmarks NC Festival of Books & Authors, happening next weekend in Winston-Salem. I’ll be there speaking twice publicly on Saturday, September 24. All events are free and open to the public. The full schedule is available here.

In my first session, Reading Past Bedtime, I’ll speak at noon on cultivating a love of books and reading in young readers, topics I indirectly address in my kids’ book journal My Reading Adventures. Later that afternoon, I’m moderating the Book Club Favorites panel featuring Tia Williams, TJ Klune, Brendan Slocumb, and Andrew Sean Greer. You’d better believe those authors have been on my nightstand lately! I’ll sign books in the afternoon in the signing tent and would love to meet you there, as well as sign and personalize all your books.

That’s not all: we’re starting the day with a meetup for Modern Mrs Darcy readers and What Should I Read Next listeners. I hope you’ll come by and say hi! Join us at 9:30am for a casual gathering in the picnic area behind Calvary Moravian, the large venue at the center of the festival space. If it rains we’ll move indoors to the Bookmarks bookstore café and look for each other there. I hope you can make it!

I hope you had a good reading month—I can’t wait to hear about your recent reads in comments!

Short and sweet reviews of what I’ve been reading lately

Normal People: A Novel

Normal People: A Novel

I didn't think Sally Rooney was for me. But because I recorded a What Should I Read Next episode this week with a podcast guest who calls Rooney her favorite author, I decided to sample this one—and then I didn't want to stop reading! Without getting plotty on you: I was captivated by Rooney's skill at portraying the quietly devastating interactions between Connell and Marianne, Irish teenagers who begin an on-again, off-again relationship (though they wouldn't call it that) in high school and whose paths continue to cross when they move on to university in Dublin. Her unusual style suits the story, and the acuity with which she probes friendship, trauma, and mental health is striking. I'm so glad I was given a reason to read this. (Tell me in comments if I should try Conversations with Friends?) More info →
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The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music

The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music

Years ago I thoroughly enjoyed this old podcast interview with Grohl about his creative process, so I added this to my TBR the minute it came out. I began the audiobook with high hopes, and will admit to disappointment with the gap-riddled narrative and cliché-ridden prose. There were certainly redeeming moments, my favorites being not the stories about Scream or Nirvana or the Foo Fighters but instead those about synesthesia, buying a Joan Jett Barbie for his daughters in London, and that time Weird Al called the SNL dressing room for permission to cover "Smells Like Teen Spirit." But this wasn't the glimpse into the mind of the storied musician I'd hoped for. More info →
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Fresh Water for Flowers

Fresh Water for Flowers

After loving the works of Maylis de Kerangal in 2021, I've been interested in exploring more French literature, and I've had Perrin in my sights because she's published by Europa, a publisher I love for translated works. (Hildegarde Serle translates this one.) When Fabled book buyer gave me a nudge to read this, I was only too eager to jump in! I was hooked by her English language debut from the lyrical and utterly surprising opening passage, in which narrator Violette grounds us in her work as a cemetery caretaker. She sees her setting not as a sinister place but as a garden of souls where she gently tends the dead and those who come to pay them tribute. The achingly sad and touching story unspools over more than twenty years, yet always felt immediate, even urgent, mixing love and betrayal, drama and resilience, friendship and loss, drama and resilience, even poetry to great effect. I listened on audio, which was a little tricky in places because the narrative jumps through time, but I still loved experiencing the story in that format. I'm eager to read more of Perrin's works and already downloaded her new release Three to begin next. More info →
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Mary Jane

Mary Jane

I've heard good things about this one since it came out in spring 2021, but didn't feel the urge to pick it up until several Modern Mrs Darcy Book Club members cited it as a favorite "feel-good" novel in a recent discussion. (Funny thing: last year I had this book in my house when it released in the spring but I gave it away to clear space—but that was easily fixed as my library had several copies and short waitlists.) This 1970s coming of age story features 14-year-old Mary Jane, a sheltered girl from a respectable Baltimore family whose life changes the summer she nannies for a local doctor ... whose best client is about to become a live-in rock star in rehab. Mary Jane can't tell a soul what she sees in that house: the rock star's presence is a tightly-kept secret, plus her prim parents would make her quit if they grasped just how much their family sensibilities differ from those of her employers. She's left on her own to process her introduction to the baffling adult world of sex, drugs, friendship, and rivalry, as well as her burgeoning friendship with the rock star's wife, an actress she's long admired. I appreciated the strong setting and found myself googling numerous Baltimore landmarks, and Blau's light touch with heavy topics lent the book an easy-reading and entertaining, if not wholly memorable, quality. More info →
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The Anomaly

The Anomaly

"All smooth flights are alike. every turbulent flight is turbulent in its own way." This was the second French novel I read this month, a 2020 international bestseller and a lockdown publishing phenomenon in France translated by Adriana Hunter, and it is WILD. The author himself calls it "experimental, bizarre, and a little crazy." To American readers, the premise sounds like something out of Blake Crouch: on March 10, 2021, Air France Flight 006 passes through a storm so terrible as to have no precedent and subsequently safely lands in New York, the shaken passengers disembarking on the runway. 106 days later, Air France Flight 006 endures a terrifying storm and subsequently lands safely in New York—and no one knows what to do, because this plane, these people, have already landed. Le Tellier employs this plotty premise to embark on a deeply philosophical examination of what it means to be human, as he portrays a half-dozen individuals wrestling with the unfathomable reality they now face, and—in cheekier passages—shows governmental authorities scramble to explain the unexplainable to their citizens. Amidst global uproar, the spotlight inevitably turns to the author of a recent work called The Anomaly, whose previously obscure work is believed to hold a key to understanding what went wrong with the two flights, and what that may reveal about the human condition—if there is such a thing. I couldn't put this down. More info →
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Lark Ascending

Lark Ascending

I didn't include this new Silas House release in our recent Fall Book Preview only because I didn't know about it until just before the event! This dystopian novel with echoes of The Dog Stars and The Road is set in the not-too-distant future, where fires have ravaged the globe and religious extremists have seized control of governments. This is the story of Lark, a teenage refugee who fled Maine with his family hoping to find sanctuary in Ireland, the last country rumored to be accepting refugees—only to discover upon arrival that the borders have closed and his perilous journey has only just begun. Dejected, starving, and alone, he sets out for Glendalough, the "thin place" his mother told him about before she died. Along the way he befriends Seamus, a trustworthy beagle who somehow managed to survive even after dogs were eradicated, and encounters others who wish to both help and harm him. This is a departure for House; those who have enjoyed his past work may especially appreciate the wistful prose and LGBTQ love story in this one. More info →
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Seven Days in June

Seven Days in June

I've been meaning to read this book I'd heard described as "romance with serious depth" since it came out last summer, and did so now because next week I'm moderating a panel called "Book Club Favorites" at the Bookmarks NC Festival of Books & Authors—and Tia Williams is on it. The early pages are set at a literary festival (ha!), where bestselling writers Eva and Shane are reunited after nearly twenty years apart, in front of an audience of delighted readers. Nobody knows the two have met before, or that they were high school soulmates before they were wrenched apart due to circumstances neither fully understand. This was a lot of fun and also insightful about the complexities of romantic and family relationships, with a summer-in-NYC setting I particularly enjoyed. A couple of content notes: this is open door, with a gently shocking prologue that actually led me to put the book down last summer, but this time I just kept reading and was glad I did. And there are a lot of content warnings here, including addiction and self-harm, as Williams shows her characters working through trauma in order to find both healing and their way to each other. 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. 


Leave A Comment
  1. For me, August was all about reading women in translation for Women in Translation Month. Fresh Water for Flowers was on my list but unfortunately, I didn’t get to it (yet). Of the two novels I read, both by Norwegian authors, one was a recently released debut novel and the other by a favorite author. Both were 5-star reads. Both were also longer books, so I wasn’t able to read as many as I would have liked to.

  2. Michelle says:

    I have also had the experience of donating a book on my shelf and then finally getting the itch to read it years later, haha!
    I don’t usually read long books or bestsellers, but I devoured TWO this month:
    – The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towels (I cannot believe how much I loved all of the characters in this book.)
    – Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (I love that the protagonist and I use the same curse words like “gosh-golly” and “crud.”)

    I also read a few STELLAR children’s books that are way underrated:
    – The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (about a young zelot in Bible times)
    – The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (set in ancient Thebes)

  3. Sandy says:

    I’ve been reading a lot in September, I’ve finished:
    – Land of Wondrous Cold: the race to discover Antarctica and unlock the secrets of its ice, by Gillen D’Arcy Wood;
    – This Time Tomorrow, by Emma Stroub, time travel fiction;
    – Say No to the Duke, by Eloisa James, on Hoopla;
    – 700 Sundays, by Billy Crystal, a 2005 memoir about his late father;
    – Lost in the Cold War: the story of Jack Downey, America’s longest held POW, by John T. Downey, Thomas J. Christensen and John Lee Downey, on Hoopla;
    – The Rose Code, by Kate Quinn, historical fiction, about WWII British women at Bletchley Park, and
    – My Wife is Missing, by D. J. Palmer (a wife tries to disappear with her children)

    And I’ve started three novels:
    The It Girl, by Ruth Ware
    Hazards of Time Travel, by Joyce Carol Oates
    The Madonna Files, by Stephen Ryan

  4. Emily Brown says:

    I just finished Chorus by Rebecca Kauffman and really enjoyed it. It’s a slight novel told in anecdotes ranging from the early 1900s through the 1950s about a family with seven children. It reminded me a lot of Elizabeth Strout, Marilynne Robinson and Anne Tyler.

  5. Beth Gross says:

    Just finished Miraculous by Caroline Starr Rose. A good middle grade is just the ticket during high stress seasons when a complex plot is too much to handle.

    I read Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan. It landed better for me than Echo.

    I also read Devotedly, by Valerie Elliot Shepherd. For me, it was more pieces to the puzzle of the Jim and Elisabeth Elliot story. I felt like I had a deeper understanding when I was done.

    I read Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner. Michelle’s memoir included SO much Korean food, an inside look at a bicultural family, battling cancer and identity issues.

    I included it in the list on my blog of Books Like Educated.

    • Elena W says:

      I love many of the books you included in this post, Beth! I wouldnt have ever connected them to Educated, which I also enjoyed, but the threads you connected made sense to why I enjoyed so many of those books, particularly We Were the Lucky Ones, The Hiding Place, Born A Crime, Gift from the Sea, When Breath Becomes Air, Seeking Allah Finding Jesus, and Unbroken. I have This Beautiful Truth and The Sun Does Shine on my TBR, so I may need to bump them up after reading your reviews! Always a delight to see how you find similar themes in books I would never have thought have similarities!

  6. I haven’t read any Sally Rooney yet but I do have Conversations with Friends on my shelf. I think it was a Target Book Club pick back when they would send you books.

    I read 6 books in the last month which is a lot during a very busy season of our son’s wedding, my dad’s 90th, and school starting for our senior. I’ve already subbed 8 days and this is only the 3rd week of school! But, listening to books on audio helps a lot!

    Of these 6, 4 were mostly on audio. I’m sharing some nonfiction, a popular fiction novel from last summer, a historical fiction, and a great curmudgeon story that Kaytee raved about on the Currently Reading podcast.

  7. Indiana Gigi says:

    I absolutely ADORED reading Anne’s 2022 Summer Reading Guide pick, “Fellowship Point” by Alice Elliot Dark. How often are we gifted with two strongly written women characters in their 80’s? I need more great books about female friendship! This was a treasure ❤️ 📚

      • Indiana Gigi says:

        Me too! I love that neither women are judged for their choices! Like most moms/wives, I can identify with Polly, but the older I get, I feel the inner Agnes coming out more and more 😉

    • Suzy says:

      I’ve been trying to get “Fellowship Point” for several months, I’ve ordered it thru Interlibrary Loan, but so far, nothing! Now that I read your comments, I want it even more!

  8. Adrienne H. says:

    I’ve had a wonderful and busy reading month! Recent reads include:
    * Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (audiobook) – This was such a different story than All the Light We Cannot See, but the narrative style and exquisite storytelling was the same. This was such a strange story, ranging from the 1400’s to the future and spanning multiple continents, and I wondered how Doerr would pull it all together at the end, but of course he did. 5 stars
    * What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan – I enjoyed this story of a Chinese family who returns to Shanghai after living many years in the USA. It was an insightful look at modern day China, but I ended up feeling that this book somehow just skimmed the surface and I was left wanting more. 4 stars, rounded up from 3.5
    * The Seed Keeper by Diane Wilson – This was a pick for my book club which I would never have read on my own. It’s the story of a Native American woman who spent much of her childhood and youth in foster care in Minnesota, marries a white farmer at age eighteen to escape foster care, and explores her lifelong search to understand her ancestry and find her family roots. It also explores the impact of large corporate farming on the small family-owned farms and environment. A second storyline from the 1860’s tells of her ancestors, in particular the women who were responsible to save and store seeds that would enable them to grow crops. This is a very reflective book which certainly made me think. 4 stars
    * Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – I got half way through this and although it was extremely well written, the occult themes were just not for me. Did not finish this one…
    * Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams (audiobook) – I really enjoyed this story which explores the early days of aviation in the 1920’s and 1930’s. 4 stars
    * Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister – I loved this very unique time travel novel, which poses the question “Can you go back in time and prevent your child from committing murder?” This is such a clever and well-written book, and a very unique twist on time travel. 5 stars
    * Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak – This was another 5 star read for me. This tells the story of two young lovers, on Muslim and one Christian on the island of Cyprus, who are torn apart by the war and unrest. The books includes a modern day narrative, as well as the story of the events in years past. Shafak adds a wonderful element in this novel by using a fig tree as one of the narrators, and uses this to tie the story lines together. This was a beautiful and magical book. 5 stars and this will be one of my 2022 favorites!
    * Upgrade by Blake Crouch – A fast thriller which takes the concept genetic engineering to a whole new level. I was fascinated, even though I found the story to be pretty creepy. 4 stars.
    Current reads are The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray (loving this one) and Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (slow start, but I’m enjoying it).

    Happy Reading!

  9. Kristine says:

    I’ve read both Conversations with Friends and Normal People. I’m not a fan when authors do not use “” for dialogue. Knowing this style, I read Normal People via audio and enjoyed it. Read it for book club and it was very mixed and most were not fans! Did not like CWF at all. Just my 2 cents! Great month of reading myself! Looking forward to fall!

    • Suzy says:

      Sally Rooney’s “Normal People” was not for me, I hated the aimless, purposeless, unguided lives the characters led. It will take much convincing for me to try another Sally Rooney.

  10. kelly hill says:

    Seven Days in June was a revelation. I had checked it out from the library and when I finished it immediately bought my own copy. It is the book I have recommended most in the past 12 months

  11. Mindy says:

    The Anomaly sounds really fascinating but I’m a nervous flyer so wondering how you handled that part of the story? Aren’t you a nervous flyer too?

  12. Aimee says:

    I read Normal People last year and did not enjoy it at all. It was what I imagine it must be like reading students’ English homework. There wasn’t a single character I found interesting. The one upside was that my rather sedate life seems exciting in comparison.

  13. Jamie says:

    Based on your mentions in previous blog posts I recently read “Becoming Duchess Goldblatt” and “Future Home of the Living God”. I LOVED these 2 books so much and just want to thank you for doing your thing!

  14. Elizabeth says:

    I LOVE Sally Rooney and have read all three novels. If you enjoyed Normal People, I think you’d like Conversations With Friends or Beautiful World, Where Are You? As Dwight Garner wrote of Rooney’s work in the NYTimes:

    “…her books glide along similar tracks and can bleed together in your mind. Both are about intense but furtive love affairs that are thwarted by misunderstanding after misunderstanding … You buy Rooney’s ticket, you take her ride.”

    Also, it’s gratifying to hear that I was not alone in my experience of The Storyteller. I always choose a celebrity-read audiobook to listen to on our family’s summer vacation drive and this year it was Dave Grohl. While I was impressed by his work ethic and dedication to music, even as a teenager, I got tired of hearing him praise his mom over and over and, as you say, there were too many “light at the end of the tunnel” style cliches. I kept thinking, where was the editor? He seems like a genuinely good-natured person, so I can understand why he didn’t write more about his time in Nirvana and the other players in that saga. But, is it fair to say that memoirs from good-natured people who don’t have a bad word to say about anyone just aren’t that interesting? I was listening through the Libby app and had to return the audiobook before I was finished. I’m not sure if I will complete it now.

    I also read The Shell Seekers this summer after hearing it recommended by Anne numerous times. I loved it and will try her other novels now. Discovering a great backlist title is one of my favorite things about MMD, so thank you.

  15. Lynn says:

    I always love to see what you are reading and love to read through all the comments. My tbr stack always grows after these posts. I haven’t had any five star reads recently, in fact, I read a few that I didn’t really like. However, they are all books that I am glad I read because they made me think and they took me outside my normal reading comfort zone. https://fromourbookshelf.com/august-2022-reads/

  16. Susie Yates says:

    My son, age 30, and my mom, age 97, passed away exactly one month apart, in 2018. I share that only because my grief was softened by the beautiful story and writing in Fresh Water for Flowers. It truly moved me in undescribable ways. Simply put it just helped me to begin to breathe and start to see beauty again! Additionally, I found Rosemonde Pilcher on my mom’s bookshelf when I was cleaning out her home and that book/author felt like a direct gift from above! I’d never heard of her before. Both authors are significant to me and both I learned about from MMD members!!

    • Indiana Gigi says:

      I am so sorry for two such devastating losses. It’s remarkable that reading can be a balm during the worst of times. I’ll have to check that book out that you recommended ❤️ I fell in love with Pilcher as well after Anne recommended The Shell Seekers. I’ve read three of her books since then and have loved all of them. Winter Solstice, I’m particular deals with the unexpected grief that you mentioned. Sending you peace and love today.

    • Aimee says:

      Susie, I echo what Indiana Girl said. I am so very sorry for your losses – you inspire me that after such devastation and heartbreak you are still finding beauty and positivity.

      Shell Seekers is a great book but my favorite of Pilcher’s is Winter Solstice. I listened to it on audiobook and it was like hearing a story from an old friend. It also deals with loss and grief. I listened to it in the fall/early winter and it just a perfect read (listen?) both emotionally and from a sensory perspective.

      Wishing you peace.

  17. Adrienne says:

    Jumping back on here to say that Anomaly looks amazing! I loved your description of the book, and the comparison to Blake Crouch compelled me to order this one right away. Looking forward to reading this one ASAP!

  18. Heather says:

    I have read Conversations with Friends and watched Normal People on Amazon Prime. I can tell you that I was not a fan of Conversations with Friends and was not planning on reading another Sally Rooney novel or watching the show, however a friend convinced me to watch the show. It was amazing and now I’m not sure if I should read the book because I liked the show so much! Perhaps it’s that a lot of Rooney’s plot in CWF surrounds these complex feelings which can become a bit insufferable when you read them on the page, but played well by an actor, can make for rich scenes on screen.

  19. Anna says:

    Thanks for these reviews this month. I just added The Anomaly to my library holds. I loved Dave Grohl’s audiobook having not known much about him. The day I started it his mother had just passed away so it was bittersweet to hear his memories knowing he was mourning her. I love his music and am amazed at his self-taught talent so was excited to hear the backstory of his career. Such a nice person and sounds like an amazing dad. I loved the Joan Jett Barbie story. He seems like he is always up for saying yes to anything and is a very gracious and grateful human.

  20. Lori says:

    I enjoyed “Normal People.” I was expecting it to knock my socks off from the buzz I’d heard, and it didn’t quite do that for me, but I still gave it four stars. But if you liked the book, you MUST watch the TV adaptation. Adaptations are rarely as good as the books, but I LOVED this and thought it was actually even better than the book. The actors who played Connell and Marianne are just perfect in their roles — chemistry galore. Content warning: the sex scenes are very realistic.

    I read “Conversations With Friends” after “Normal People.” I thought it was good (and a pretty impressive debut novel), but not as good as NP. The characters just didn’t grab me in the same way (and I found Bobbi in particular annoying), although I thought things picked up towards the end. I gave it three stars, rounded up to 3.5. Haven’t seen the TV version yet. “Beautiful World” is in my to-read pile, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.

    I loved “The Storyteller,” but I realize some people may have wanted more out of it. It’s not a linear “then this happened” kind of memoir, and you’re right, it doesn’t give a lot of deep insights into the creative process, but I still found it a lot of fun with some great anecdotes.

    One recent read that I really enjoyed was “Exit” by Belinda Bauer, for one of my online book clubs. I had no expectations going in, and I absolutely loved it. It reminded me a bit of “The Thursday Murder Club,” but kind of darker and grittier/quirkier.

  21. Valerie says:

    Mary Jane is one of my all time best reads (listens). I recommended this to so many people. Living in Baltimore enhanced the reading pleasure because so many of Mary Jane’s experiences (like shopping at Eddie’s!) are so familiar.

    I also read The Anomaly. I think that one requires a discussion with friends. It was a very interesting premise.

  22. Jill Jaclin says:

    Thank you for sharing your reviews. Interesting you were disappointed with Dave Grohl’s memoir. I also listened to it on audio. I love the Foo Fighters and found Grohl’s honesty and vulnerability endearing in the stories he shared. I did find it interesting, however, he barely, if ever, mentioned any of the women in life with the major exception of his mom (loved how he adores his mom). I also enjoyed Mary Jane and am curious if you read Sister Stardust by Jane Green. I enjoy stories that encompass rock from the 60s and 70s. My recent reads included Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke which was wonderful. I also read This time tomorrow by Emma Straub (3-star). Loooved Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Just brilliant.

    • Lisa says:

      I enjoyed his memoir as well. And I’m not even that much of a Foo Fighters fan. I enjoyed hearing how he had this niche skill and his mom allowed him to pursue a path outside of societal norms.

  23. Kayli B says:

    I LOVE Sally Rooney but thought Conversations with Friends was her most thematically immature book. Still a great read but Beautiful World Where Are You is hands down my favorite. I would love for you to give that one a go!

  24. Carolyn says:

    I highly recommend Mary Jane on audio; it’s so well done and includes a fun little bonus at the end.

    I read/inhaled The Anomaly this past weekend. Such a wild ride!

    Other top reads this month were The Change by by Kirsten Miller; Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow; and Run Time by Catherine Ryan Howard.

    • Yes! I listened to Mary Jane and loved it in that format. I also read it at the start of summer, in between some heavier reading and so it landed *perfectly* for me as a light (but not fluffy) coming of age summer read. (I love when that happens!)

  25. Taylor B. says:

    I just finished Left on Tenth by Delia Ephron and it was really good and so heart wrenching, I flew right through it in a few days!

    I am currently in the middle of Jacqueline in Paris by Ann Mah. I can’t recall reading any other books set during the time immediately after WWII (they are usually during!) and this one, set in the late 1940s has all kinds of historic details while also providing a lovely escape to Paris! I only just realized this is a historical fiction of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis during her year studying in Paris… Apparently Jacqueline Bouvier was her maiden name! Learn something new everyday! ANYWAY, it’s charming and I’m enjoying it! It comes out later this month.

  26. Linda Henry says:

    I just finished reading Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner; The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan; Raising Lazarus by Beth Macy and Apocalypse Never- why environmental alarmism hurts us all by Michael Shellenberger. They were all great reads but obviously for different reasons. Crying in H Mart was good reading for me as I am also very close to my mom but things are changing as she begins her battel with Alzheimer’s. The School for Good Mothers was a disturbing but provocative read in trying to answer the question how is a good mother defined. I work in public health policy in mental health so the other two books are about public health crisis that we face today- addiction and depression/ anxiety- kids today wake up to news that the world is going to end if we don’t make drastic changes which is really not the case as argued in Shellenberger’s book although we do need to take care of planet Eart. Lacy addresses grass roots efforts that are needed to help overcome the epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths.

  27. Lisa says:

    I just finished I’m Glad My Mom Died and it was surprisingly good. Disturbing. Occasionally graphic. Hilarious. Profoundly sad. Couldn’t put it down.

  28. Suzy says:

    I’m interested in “Mary Jane” because my mother spent the early days of her marriage in Baltimore, and she’s gotten all nostalgic about it. Also, “Anomaly” because it sounds really cool!
    For my last month, the best thing I’ve read (5 Star) is the graphic novel, “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” by Roz Chast! It’s awesome! If you are the age where you are taking care of elderly parents, you have to read this memoir!!
    + Heartstone–Pride and Prejudice in dragon country, surprisingly boring.
    + On Royalty, by Jeremy Paxman. A comprehensive study of royalty all around the world, (published 2006) but including the British Royal Family and I was reading it when the Queen died! Lots of interesting insight about Prince Charles (ahem, King Charles III) in younger days, and the author was making a big deal of Queen E’s 50th jubilee….
    + Greenwich Park, thriller. It was pretty good.
    + The Next Great Jane–medium-grade story set in Maine. Sorry, nothing special.
    + The Art of Gathering, by Priya Parker. Much of it too wordy and irrelevant for me (the business meetings and peace talks) but the parts about dinner parties and gatherings REALLY were thought-provoking and started many conversations with family and friends.
    + Two Nights in Lisbon, Chris Pavone. Thriller, pretty good.
    + One Italian Summer, Rebecca Serle. How to categorize? 30 yr old Katy travels to Positano, Italy and there meets her 30 yr old mother. I liked it! Great sense of place. I want to go there.
    + The Last to Vanish, Megan Miranda. Another thriller, again pretty good, very creepy atmosphere in this NC mountain village that caters to tourists and AT hikers.

  29. Lori says:

    I devoured all 4 books in the Sonali Dev The Rajes series! They all retell Jane Austen favorites. After the 1st one Pride, Prejudice and Other Flavors, you will be hooked!

  30. Janet says:

    Recent reads: Crying in H Mart (my relationship with my own mother is so tattered, I’m fascinated by people who have good ones with their moms).

    Becoming Duchess Goldblatt ❤️

    Sea of Tranquility ❤️

    The Plot❤️

    Thursday Murder Club (for my book club. I usually avoid mystery). This was amusing, and had a blurb by Kate Atkinson, so I was hopeful. But it kinda fell apart at the end.

    The Palace Papers—didn’t know it would wind up being so timely.

  31. Ruth O says:

    I recently finished The Peach Rebellion (YA) by Wendelin Van Draanen, set in California just after WW2, with three girls’ points-of-view, and it was hard to put down. In the midst of Write For Your Life by Anna Quindlen, which I am really enjoying, as well as The Florence Legacy by Lauraine Snelling. Have just gotten into The Cartographers (Peng Shepherd) and The Lazy Genius Way (Kendra Adachi). I was overestimating how much time I would have to read while on vacation, but determined not to give up!

  32. Audrey says:

    The Invention of Curried Sausage by Uwe Tim translated from the German by Leila Vennewitz—a backlist title (translation from 1995) is my current fiction read. For nonfiction I am reading the 2022 new edition of Flutes of Fire: An Introduction to Native California Languages by Leanne Hinton. And I have 6 NBA Longlist titles on hold AND the fiction list isn’t out yet!!!

  33. Tamara says:

    My favorites for this month were The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce ( lonely people finding connection), With you forever by Chloe Lies ( romance with neurodivergent MC), Signal Moon by Kate Quinn (ww2 crossover with sci fi novella)and Armada by Ernest Cline ( made better by Wil Wheaton’s natration).

  34. Love your round-up, thanks for sharing, Anne!

    I finished Dream Country by Shannon Gibney, which is an excellent early adult historical novel exploring several generations of a family in both the US and Liberia. Very interesting structure, with rich character development, and I learned so much along the way!

    Also, just finishing Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, which I’m loving on audio.

    And right in the middle of a wonderful graphic memoir in essays by Mari Andrew called Am I There Yet? The Loop-de-Loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood. Highly recommend for young adults and old!

  35. Tanya says:

    I’m so glad you loved Fresh Water for flowers. I want everyone to read that book, I thought it was so beautiful.
    I’m currently reading Strout’s first novel Amy and Isabelle. Apart from one scene which made me REALLY uncomfortable I’m really enjoying it.

  36. I think you’ll like what I’m sending you.

    Mills Enterprises is a business that specializes in military and tactical gloves. We manufacture the gloves ourselves, and then wholesale them to businesses. Take a look at our website and let me know what you think. If you have any questions, please let me know as well.

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  37. SIBlesHr says:

    This is so fun! Always a satisfaction to peer what y`all are reading. Today I`m sharing five overdue summertime season reads I recommend + three new releases you won`t need to miss.

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