Quick Lit August 2018
Special Topics in Calamity Physics

Special Topics in Calamity Physics

$7.99$1.99Audiobook: 12.99 (Whispersync)
I originally read this a few years ago, at the strong urging of my local booksellers and a few friends with good taste, and it was fun to revisit. Back then, I was expecting a Very Serious Literary Book, and instead it *almost* read like YA. The narrator is Blue van Meer, a bookish teenager who has been moving from town to town with her father ever since her mother died, accompanying him to each of his short-term professorial stints at tiny liberal arts colleges across the country. Her senior year, Blue falls in with an enigmatic teacher and a hand-picked group of students she's gathered around her. Blue doesn't know it, but this isn't a coincidence. This is our book flight pick for September in the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club. More info →
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So You Want to Talk About Race

So You Want to Talk About Race

I'd heard such good things about this book, and it deserves every glowing review I've seen. Drawing on her personal experience and years of work and research, Oluo thoughtfully engages complex issues like micro-agressions, cultural appropriation, police brutality, affirmative action, the model minority myth, the n word, and more. She dismantles myths, exposes often-unseen narratives that govern our actions, and gives advice to those who want to do better. I listened to this on audio; Bahni Turpin's narration is perfection. More info →
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The Overstory

The Overstory

When authors discuss what they're reading, Richard Powers' name is frequently mentioned (like in this Tayari Jones interview). This is the kind of book they write about in Outside Magazine (and I've gotten some great book recs from Outside). In the early chapters, Powers explores the lives of nine different people in a series of stories, which share one common thread: they all involve dramatic experiences with trees. It's a slow build, but eventually the stories come together. (With 512 pages, Powers has lots of room to play.) This intricately crafted novel, which ultimately explores the connection between humans and nature, and the responsibility of one to the author, requires a patient reader. Reading Challenge participants: this is a 2018 Man Booker Prize nominee. More info →
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Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants

Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants

I've become a crazy plant lady, and this book was pure fun for me. This large coffee table book profiles five Europeans homeowners, sharing abundant lush photographs of how they style and live with plants. 18 bloggers also contributed to the book, sharing their own plant-filled spaces. And the book contains care tips and styling advice for common houseplants like monstera, succulents, palms, sanservieria, and pilea. I used plenty of book darts to mark the ideas I want to try in my own home. More info →
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The Dinner List

The Dinner List

A friend recommended this months ago, and after Book of the Month dropped it in my lap, I read it in two days. You know the game: name five people, living or dead, whose company you would most enjoy for your dream dinner party. The book opens on Sabrina's 30th birthday, with her dream come true: she's dining with her best friend, her favorite college professor, the father she never knew, the love of her life, and Audrey Hepburn. The story alternates between the often-tense dinner party and flashbacks to the past, which reveal the origin—and perhaps fate—of Sabrina's great romance. Without Audrey Hepburn, the bittersweet story would dissolve into sappy, but with her wry presence, it works. For publishing nerds: this is an Amy Einhorn book. More info →
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