Series: Quick Lit January 2019

From the publisher: "It is a brisk English March day, and Dolly is getting ready to marry the wrong man. Waylaid by the sulking admirer who lost his chance, an astonishingly oblivious mother bustling around and making a fuss, and her own sinking dread, the bride-to-be struggles to reach the altar."
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This series is about the neighbors who live at the eponymous address in Edinburgh's New Town, and was originally written as a weekday column in The Scotsman over a six-month period. The newspaper asked for stories short enough for commuters to read on the train, which is why the novel consists of one hundred short chapters. This was delightful travel reading. 
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My husband read this in the fall, and when I was recently debating what to read next he put this in my hands and said, "read this so we can talk about it." The author quit her job as a journalist and dove headlong into the wine industry, giving herself a year to become a master sommelier. I appreciated the nice mix of science, story, and humor here, and understand the comparisons to Mary Roach and Anthony Bourdain. Fun and funny, plus it's inspiring us to step out of our comfort zone at the local wine shop.
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From the publisher: "England, 1939. Ten-year-old Virginia Wrathmell arrives at Salt Winds, a secluded house on the edge of a marsh, to meet her adoptive parents—practical, dependable Clem and glamorous, mercurial Lorna. Virginia's new parents' marriage is full of secrets and tensions she doesn't quite understand, and their wealthy neighbor, Max Deering, drops by too often, taking an unwholesome interest in the family's affairs. Only Clem offers a true sense of home. War feels far away among the birds and shifting sands—until the day a German fighter plane crashes into the marsh, and Clem ventures out to rescue the airman. What happens next sets into motion a crime so devastating it will haunt Virginia for the rest of her life. Seventy-five years later, she finds herself drawn back to the marsh, and to a teenage girl who appears there, nearly frozen and burdened by her own secrets. In her, Virginia might have a chance at retribution and a way to right a grave mistake she made as a child."
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This was my first completed read of 2019, and a great way to kick off the year. And it's just as good for any fresh start. Drawing on personal experience (and with a big nod to Charles Duhigg), Clear writes about the basics of habit formation and follow-through. My favorite insight, and the one that's made a practical difference in my work life, is his insistence that 1% gains in performance—which many of us tend to disregard as "not worth the time to pursue"—make an incredible difference in our lives when implemented and compounded.
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