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 I share short and sweet reviews of what I’ve been reading lately, and invite you to do the same.

I’ve been trying to stay on top of spring’s new releases. Today I’m sharing 5 of my favorites.


by Rachel Held Evans

22574709I’ve been impatiently awaiting a new release from Held Evans, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The author’s adult experience with the church mirrors my own, and that’s not a coincidence: the book explicitly addresses the struggles millions of American millennials have with organized religion. The book is structured around the seven sacraments, so it’s no wonder that though categorized as a memoir, there’s a lot of theology here. (Readers of her blog and past books will have a good idea of what to expect.) Very fun to see my own church make a cameo appearance. Honest, moving, relatable. Release date: April 14.


by Lauren Winner

18669493People of faith are used to hearing metaphors for God—usually the same ones, over and over again. In her new book, Winner pushes aside these overfamiliar images to explore some of the more obscure biblical metaphors for God: clothing, laughter, fire, a laboring woman. More exposition than memoir, although my favorite parts were her insights from the class she taught at the local women’s prison. Intelligent and detailed, but not dry. Release date: March 31.


by Elizabeth Berg

23256785Berg’s brand-new novel is based on the incredible and iconoclastic life of French novelist Aurore Dupin, better known by her pen name: George Sand. Berg’s portrait of Dupin’s life, work, and motivations is fascinating, but like so many novels of this type—The Paris Wife, Loving Frank, The Aviator’s Wife—Sand’s voice never felt right to me. (If you like that type of novel, add this to your list.) This was my first Berg novel and I’d like to give her another try: what should I read next? Release date: April 14.



by Caroline Starr Rose

Starr Rose’s follow-up to sleeper hit May B. The year: 1587. The setting: Roanoke island. Two girls—one Native American, one just off the boat from London—form an unlikely friendship in the midst of dangerous relations between the settlers and the Roanoke tribe. YA historical fiction, written in verse, (which has “a book in a genre you don’t usually read” written all over it, at least for me). The verse makes for quick reading, so your kids will enjoy plowing through a 400 page book in record time. Release date: March 10.


by Lisa Genova

22716194I went on a tear and read all of Genova’s works in one short month this spring, enjoying her fictional but uncannily accurate portraits of those affected by various neurological conditions—Alzheimer’s disease, left neglect, autism. In her latest book, she tackles Huntington’s, a lethal neurodegenerative disease which has no treatment and no cure. Genova describes it in her forward as “the cruelest disease known to man.” I couldn’t get through this book, but not because it wasn’t good: it might have been too good. Genova’s tale of a Boston police officer’s progressive illness wrecked me. A gripping read, but not for the faint of heart. Release date: April 7.

What have you been reading lately?


Leave A Comment
  1. Good Morning, Anne … your review of Rachel’s book is prompting me to re-visit her blog. It’s been awhile …

    And I love Lauren’s writing. I’ll be checking out her new work.

    And thanks for this monthly gathering … you sure know how to throw a great party!

  2. beth lehman says:

    oh, so glad to see these titles!! as for elizabeth berg… my favorites are the first two i ever read, durable goods and joy school.

  3. Annie says:

    I read another review of Blue Birds lately and can’t wait to read it. And I’m looking forward to a new Lauren Winner- thanks for the review.

  4. Arenda says:

    I think you meant “I went on a tear and read all of Genova’s works.” I find it fascinating that she describes Huntingdon’s disease as the cruelest disease known to man – I don’t know much about HD, so I’ve always thought of Alzheimer’s that way. I’ll be keeping an eye out for “Inside the O’Briens.”

  5. Amy says:

    I love when everyone shares their books! This is my Devin time to join in and it is so much fun and really expands my reading. Thanks for doing this. I can’t wait to get Kindle samples of your suggestions, Anne. Have a great day!

  6. Cassie says:

    I was reading MaddAdam when the library let me know they had All the Light We Cannot See ready for me. So MaddAdam is on hold while I devour All the Light We Cannot See… so good and worth the library wait!

  7. Jeannie says:

    I haven’t read many of Elizabeth Berg’s books but I enjoyed Home Safe — and I particularly liked her book about writing, Escaping Into the Open.

  8. Katie says:

    Durable Goods is great and its first follow-up Joy School are two of my faves. My first Berg book was Talk Before Sleep. I am not loyal to many authors, but I read everything of Berg’s that I can get my hands on. A Year of Pleasures might be my favorite. She’s got a beautiful way with words. Also, her book on writing, Escaping into the Open: the Art of Writing True, is definitely worth a read.

  9. Alyssa says:

    I’m not sure I can read Lisa Genova’s new book but I’m glad she is bringing light to these subjects and how they affect families. The Alzheimer’s one hit me pretty hard, having lost my Grandpa to it at only age 63.

    My aunt lost her first husband to it (she had divorced him–later found out it was the disease that made him become violent) Her 2 children inherited it and needed increasing care until they passed away in their 30’s. Her pain is so deep- I can’t even imagine, I understand how it’s called the cruelest– my beautiful cousins slowly lost their physical abilities and then their personalities. I hope the book will help raise awareness for research.

  10. Emily says:

    I LOVE Elizabeth Berg, because when she’s on, she’s on. I just started Dream Lover so I can’t pronounce on it yet. 🙂 My favorite is The Year of Pleasures, followed closely by We Are All Welcome Here, and her Christmas book, the Handmaiden and the Carpenter. I also liked The Art of Mending. My grandma liked Dream When You’re Feeling Blue, but that wasn’t one of my favorites of hers.
    I was debating reading Inside the O’Briens, but I think I will now.

  11. Kristen says:

    Thanks for the reviews! I might have to check Searching for Sunday and Wearing God out–they sound so good.

    I just started reading Living Into Focus: Choosing What Matters in an Age of Distraction by Arthur Boers. It’s been on my To Read List since hearing about it at the Hutchmoot conference last year and I finally bought it. The author talks about focal practices, such as sharing meals, walking in the woods, and gardening. I’m loving it. I’m only a couple chapters in, but I’ve already been inspired to go for walks at a nearby state park and to invite friends over for game night this weekend.

  12. Janet says:

    I’m reading Station 11 by Emily St James Mandel, The Sisters: The Saga of The Mitford Sisters by Mary Lovell and Singing Sands by Josephine They

    • Meredith says:

      Janet, I really liked Station Eleven even though it’s a genre I don’t typically choose. This one snagged me though and I would read another because of this book 😉

  13. brianna says:

    I am reading meet the obriens and loving it. Just started part two and I know it’s about to get REAL soon. Where did you stop reading? I have read all of Genovas work and loves her first two but found love Anthony lacking. She is totally spot on so far though in the obriens

    • Anne says:

      I stopped reading when they started honing in on Huntington’s as a diagnosis, and started talking about what life with the disease would be like.

  14. Emilee says:

    I read “Still Alice” last month and was delighted to find out she had a new one coming out this month! I was completely devastated after finishing “Still Alice”, because dementia runs in my family and I know that will be my fate in about 15 years. I picked up Inside the O’Briens last night at the library and read a few chapters already. As a scientist I really appreciate how she intertwines the science with the personal side of the disease she’s focusing on in the story.

  15. liz n. says:

    “Open House” was the first Berg novel I read, and is the one that got me hooked on her! It’s still my favorite of hers. However, she is unpredictable. Her writing is either brilliant and beautiful, or reads as though she wrote the most important parts before the coffee was ready.

  16. Dana says:

    I just started High Divide by Lin Enger. He is the brother of Leif Enger who wrote Peace Like a River ( one of my Top 10 Best books ever).

    Just a few pages into High Divide but I like it already. It was recommended by my local indie book dealer who never misses on a recommendation.

    Also reading Making a Literary Life by Carolyn See who is the mother of Lisa See. It is for writers and was published a while back so some of the advice about publishing is dated but the rest of it is pretty good. She is funny and encouraging. I got it at the used bookstore.

  17. Julie R says:

    Blue Birds sounds like something my daughter would like. Would you recommend it for an almost 10 year old who is an advanced reader?

    • Anne says:

      Probably, but that will depend on the 10-year-old. There is some violence, but it’s not more serious than most fifth graders’ assigned reading for school.

  18. Sarah says:

    Always so happy to see your suggestions Anne, and also delighted that some of them are Christian fiction and non-fiction (I have no problem with people whose beliefs differ from mine or who choose to read different types of literature, but I often find it’s so hard to find good religious material for those who are interested.) Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait to check these out.

  19. Meredith says:

    I am about 2/3rds of the way through Outlander on audible, working through Thirteenth Tale, Tess of the d’Ubervilles and The Geography of You and Me. Way too many on my TBR list, but I’m plugging away 😉

  20. Leah says:

    I’ve only read one novel written in verse and was VERY hesitant about it in the beginning (would it feel too hokey/gimmicky, would I get a good feel for the characters and the story?) That book? brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. I was lucky enough to have received an early copy, but it’s one I MUST own in hardback – or even a trade, just as long as I own SOME sort of finished copy. I’m not too big on YA or memoirs, but this one completely surpassed any and all expectations. Highly, highly recommended if you haven’t already read it!

    I’m typically a one-book-at-a-time kind of girl, but these past few weeks I’ve gone a little crazy. Throughout childhood and on into high school/college, it was the norm for me to be in the middle of 5, 6 books at once. I cut back over the past few years and only recently remember just how much I enjoyed it. This week I finished Clifford Jackman’s The Winter Family – a delicious gritty western, basically Tarantino in book form and Joel Fishbane’s The Thunder of Giants, a fictional take on real-life giant Anna Swan. I enjoyed it while reading, but it’s not one I would revisit.

    And I’ve fallen back in love with audiobooks. I’m almost finished with Erik Larson’s Dead Wake, about the sinking of the Lusitania, and man oh man I will be sad when this one is over.

    • Anne says:

      I keep hearing great things about Brown Girl Dreaming but haven’t read it yet. Thanks for the nudge.

      Erik Larson’s new book sounds so interesting.

  21. Karen says:

    My favorite Elizabeth Berg book is What We Keep. I know you shouldn’t “judge a book by its cover”…..but I do! And I love her covers. I know…I’m shallow :). As for Inside The O’Brien’s….I was disappointed. I LOVE Lisa Genova’s books. They are educational and good stories. I just could not connect to the characters in this one. Maybe it’s because she presented so many differing reactions? At times I felt like I was reading a case study instead of a novel. Regardless, I am glad I read it as It raised my awareness to Huntington’s Disease and the agony of the disease. My favorite part is that she is using her work to raise funding to find a cure.

  22. Jennifer says:

    I wouldn’t read any more Elizabeth Berg. When I was in college (25 years ago) I read Talk Before Sleep and absolutely fell in love with it. I gave a copy to my mom who read it and loved it and gave copies to her best girlfriends. I’ve tried reading a couple other of her books since then and just can’t get into them. For me, she’s a one-hit wonder.

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