What I’m reading: the new and the notable.

What I’m reading: 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 been reading Southern fiction, a few new releases, and a handful of fast and fun weekend reads. I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been reading: link up a post or tell us in comments.

Quick Lit 9/15
Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World

Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World

This is Emily's fourth book, and it edges out A Million Little Ways as my favorite so far. It's about finding grace in our everyday lives: not in the big-deal spotlight moments, but on an ordinary Tuesday, the smallest day of the week. I think many readers will find, as I did, that this is the right book at the right time for them. Published August 2015. More info →
Good Cheap Eats: Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less

Good Cheap Eats: Dinner in 30 Minutes or Less

I'm a huge fan of Jessica's food writing and original recipes. She has good taste and her recipes always work. She also has a big family, and is savvy and realistic about what it takes to put dinner on the table every night. My kids and I flipped through her newest cookbook together, and we've bookmarked two dozen recipes we can't wait to try when our kitchen is up and running again. Published September 9. More info →


This is one of those books you all have been telling me to read for YEARS. (I'd be embarrassed to add up how many times I've checked it out of the library and returned it unread.) When yet another due date approached, I read it in one day. This is a squeaky-clean Regency romance, strongly reminiscent of Georgette Heyer and often recommended for Jane Austen fans. I wouldn't hesitate to pass this on to my 10-year-old. Fast and fun. More info →
This Is What Happy Looks Like

This Is What Happy Looks Like

Smith is one of my favorite YA authors writing today: I included her novel The Geography of You and Me in this year's Summer Reading Guide. I read this in one day when I needed a break from the Serious Fiction I'd been reading all week. Smith excels at writing likable, sympathetic characters and plopping them into interesting settings, transforming her sometimes implausible premises into something worth reading. Sweet and engaging. Published 2013. More info →
Dear Carolina

Dear Carolina

I read this in preparation for Triangle Reads this weekend. This debut novel is written as a love letter to a baby girl from her two mothers—one by birth, one by adoption. This novel is fundamentally about love and motherhood, but the themes of interior design, addiction, and canning real food are also woven throughout. Feel-good Southern fiction. Published May 2015. More info →

More books coming this month I can’t wait to read: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith (9/1), Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling (today!), The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr (today!), Lovable Livable Home by John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love (9/22), Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (9/22), and After You by Jojo Moyes (9/29).

What have YOU been reading lately? 

P.S. The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle website crashed last night, so they’ve extended the sale through today (that’s Tuesday, September 15) at 2:59 p.m. Eastern time. If you couldn’t get on the site last night, no worries: get your bundle here.

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  1. Kelli Wick says:

    Thanks for the recommendations! I’m currently reading (and liking): Being Mortal (heavy/sad for me to read, but so good), Us by David Nicholls (author of One Day), and The Phantom Tollbooth (with my son!).

  2. Suzanne says:

    Thanks for the book recommendations. I just sent myself some samples of Jennifer Smith’s books. I am currently reading The Language of Flowers and The Boys in the Boat. I like them both.

  3. Susan says:

    Sadly, I’ve got nothing to share in the “what I’m reading” column. I need to get on that!

    I would love a post on YA books/authors that are good for the younger end of the spectrum. I have a 6th grade girl (11 yo), and the school library is stocked with YA books. She’s an avid reader and keeps coming home with books that I think are more appropriate for 8th grade and up. I don’t read a ton of YA, and I am having such a hard time putting books in her hands that are age appropriate but still appealing to her middle school self. I am going to check out Edenbrooke for her. Sounds like a book she would enjoy and a good start for me!

  4. Ana says:

    whenever I read your book posts I open up my library tab and add things to my holds list! I know I’ll find something I want to read—today it was “The Geography of you and me” and “Edenbrooke”. Can’t wait!

  5. Peggy kelly says:

    I just finished Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods “.It was light and gave me a chuckle. Today I hope to start reading,”Nagasaki, Life After Nuclear War” by Susan Southard. Not so light.

    • Anne says:

      That’s a serious pendulum swing! I loved A Walk in the Woods and I’ve heard excellent things about Nagasaki. Hope you’re finding it worth your while.

  6. Heather says:

    I always enjoy seeing what you’re reading! This week I’m finishing up STATE OF WONDER, just finished BIG LITTLE LIES and A BAD CHARACTER, and started THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH. Last week I read and loved ABOVE THE WATERFALL, Ron Rash’s latest.

    • Anne says:

      For the same reason I let my 10yo watch Pride and Prejudice and You’ve Got Mail. By “romance” I meant “love story.” It is very, very tame. Totally g-rated. She might be bored, but there isn’t anything objectionable there for her age.

      • Anne, I didn’t mean my question as criticism. I’m just trying to decide if I should let my daughter read romances. I grew up reading them and I believe they messed me up. I read a lot of nonsense romance novels, not the classical literature, and I think they gave me an unreal idea of what love and romance is. I think a certain maturity is necessary to grasp the wave of emotions that characters go through in those romance books, and understand what is real and what is just nonsense drama. Thanks for the input. 🙂

        • I forgot to share my books. Last weekend I read 2 books by Patricia Mccormick: “Sold” and “My Brother’s Keeper”. Both YA but with really heavy themes. I enjoyed the first one more than the second.
          I am also reading “Eat and Run” by Scott Jurek. I’m really enjoying it. I love me some autobiographies. I’m also reading “Being Mortal”. Great book. Thanks for the suggestion.
          Tried the “Orange is the New Black” and couldn’t finish the first chapter.

        • Anne says:

          No worries! I realized when you asked the question that out of context my own brain tends to equate “romance” with “Danielle Steele” and I wanted to clear that up!

  7. Dana says:

    Just finished The Martian, which I devoured in a day! Cannot wait for the movie. I have been reading books to prepare for Triangle Reads as well. I have recently read The Canterbury Sisters and The Unexpected Waltz by Kim Wright who lives in my city and Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson. I am reading The Bootlegger’s Daughter By Margaret Maron. That is the first book in her mysteries series. I started there since I had not read anything by her. I also have an Elin Hidlebrand book, Winter Street, at the top of the TBR pile. I need to get to it by Saturday. I may read that in the car on the way up. I have Simply Tuesday waiting as well. I am also reading Scribbling in the Sand by Michael Card, which is about creativity and faith.

  8. Bekki says:

    Currently reading “How to Stay Sane” (A School of Life Book) by Phillipa Perry. Interesting (and refreshing!)perspective by a psychiatrist on building and maintaining mental health.

  9. M.E. Bond says:

    I got two cookbooks for my birthday last week: Smitten Kitchen and Voracious. Voracious has short chapters, each about a different book that influenced the author’s life, and each ends with a recipe she developed. It’s divided into three sections: Childhood, Adolescence/College, and Adulthood. I love it!

  10. Jennice says:

    Right now, I’m reading The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, and The Namesake by Jhumpar Lahiri. I have a couple “books about bloggin” I should be reding which are The Art of Social Media and Problogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to A Six Figure Income

  11. BethM2 says:

    Good Cheap Eats is one of my go to cookbooks. Borrowed it from the library last year, and liked it so well that I asked for it for Christmas. Jessica hits the delicate balance of delicious, healthy, economical and kid-friendly, which is not easy to do.
    Do not miss:
    Potato Corn Chowder recipe. p.28 in my copy, which has a different cover from yours.
    Easy Shredded Pork Tacos p. 220

    • Anne says:

      I’ve enjoyed a handful of his past interviews (although I’m not a regular) but I didn’t know about this one. Thanks for sharing! Downloading it NOW. 🙂

  12. Kristina says:

    Just wondering how you manage to read what is coming out this month, by mostly using the library? My library doesn’t get new books in right away, and there’s usually quite a line for holds.

    • Anne says:

      First off, I’m more likely to buy new releases. Sometimes I get advance copies, which is pretty dreamy. But importantly, I’ve finally caught the rhythm of the library reserve request cycle: as soon as a book is available for pre-order on Amazon, I start checking my local library system: as soon as a book is “on-order” in the system—which is often months and months in advance—I can request it. Not all libraries work like this, but many do.

  13. Patti says:

    I’m reading Rising Strong by Brene Brown, Euphoria by Lily King, and Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Americanah is a library book that I now own due to my puppy eating the cover off the book. I’m re-reading Anatomy of the Spirit by Caroline Myss for a book club and also need to start Women’s Rites of Passage: How to Embrace Change and Celebrate Life for another book club. Thanks for the recommendations! I’m still working through your summer reading guide.

  14. Susan in TX says:

    Recently finished The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, which I surprisingly enjoyed (I love books that make me think), and Lord Tony’s Wife by Baroness Orczy (one of the Scarlet Pimpernel books). Currently reading Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed by Philip Hallie and The Story of Science by Susan Wise Bauer (dipping in and out of this one).

  15. Anne says:

    I will look up Jennifer L. Smith and Edenbrooke. Thanks! 🙂 Your list of books coming out looks really good. I’m looking forward to Karr, Gilbert, and the Petersiks (pre-ordered!).

  16. Vickie Rader says:

    im a 57 yr old lady ….emtpy nest…..that is just now beginning to read…i so enjoy your site. i know this is a ridiculous question ……but how do you read so much? do u speed read? i know you do more that read bc u have a family,,,,,,but really do u listen to audio books while u drive or do laundry?

    • Anne says:

      Reading is how I recharge my depleted introvert self, and relax before bed. I’m not a speed reader, but I am a naturally fast reader. (I’m a terribly slow runner, so maybe it all balances out?) I do often listen to audiobooks while I drive (if I’m in the car by myself), fold the laundry, or do dishes.

  17. There are so many books coming out this month that I want to read! Ransom Riggs (Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children), Geraldine Brooks, Jan Karon, JoJo Moyes, Emily Wieranga, and Rick Bragg … too many books, too little time. I’m chugging through Cutting for Stone, which is dense but so good so far.

  18. Molly says:

    I am working my way through Lincoln’s Team of Rivals (past the half-way point), Teaching with Poverty in Mind, and my book club chose The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. I have heard nothing but good things about this last title.

    • Anne says:

      I loved Team of Rivals but it was definitely one I had to work my way through. (You’re past the hardest part—I thought the first 150 pages were SO SLOW!)

  19. Arenda says:

    I’m slowly making my way through “A Prayer for Owen Meany” (John Irving) and starting “Doctor Thorne” (Anthony Trollope). The BBC is coming out with a television series based on “Doctor Thorne” so it seems like a good time to start on that. 🙂

  20. What am I reading lately? Work stuff. I am four books behind my personal reading goal for the year, so hopefully I will find some time! I did get to read my SIL’s book (All the Difference, by Leah Ferguson (shameless family plug)), so I will count that as a win. And hope for a sudden change in days that gives me several more hours.

  21. I have recently read First Impressions by Charlie Lovett, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey, and some of Louisa May Alcott’s works. I loved First Impressions.
    I am currently reading a biography of Louisa May Alcott and The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings.

  22. Amy Reasoner says:

    The Girl with all the Gifts, M. R. Carey – good, but heads up on this one (MILD SPOILER!) you find out about 20-30 pages in that this is a zombie book, which the cover copy doesn’t really indicate, and which is way outside what I normally read, but I liked it pretty well anyway.
    The Sense of Style, Stephen Pinker
    The Quilter’s Apprentice, Jennifer Chiaverini
    The Royal We, Heather Cocks (LOVING this so far; thanks for the recommendation!)
    All the Light We cannot See, Anthony Doerr

  23. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for the Edenbrooke recommendation–I was having quite a week of health scares (mostly my friends’ families; everyone is doing better now), and it was a safe, diverting refuge in the chaos. I even enjoyed analyzing its plot and thinking of points I’d like tweak if I were its author. =) Next up is her other book, Blackmoor!

  24. I don’t know how I missed this… But thank you ever so much for reading Dear Carolina and sharing it with your readers. You are wonderful! I loved meeting you at Triangle Reads. You are even lovelier in real life! xo Kristy

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