Quick Lit November 2019
The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession

The Bookman’s Tale: A Novel of Obsession

I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this in preparation for my chat with its author, Charlie Lovett, at a live event in Winston-Salem last month; this literary mystery is tailor-made for bibliophiles, beginning in 1995 Hay-on-Wye, and then traveling back in time, first to Victorian England, and then to Shakespeare’s time, in pursuit of the bookish truth. Charlie and I had a wonderful time discussing the enduring power of books and stories, how books connect people of all ages and times, the art of literary forgery, marginalia, symbolism, and much much more. If you’re thinking I wish I could have been there, you can listen in on the podcast,What Should I Read Next episode 208, "The under-appreciated art of literary forgery." More info →
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The Dutch House: A Novel

The Dutch House: A Novel

When I talked about this in our Fall Book Preview, I mentioned that I already wanted to read this one again—and then I did. For my second run through The Dutch House, I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Tom Hanks. (It was great.) Some critics are calling this Patchett’s “masterpiece.” I need time to decide if I agree, but I certainly loved it; it's an excellent pick for any reader who loves dysfunctional family stories or any kind of family saga, books that track people and relationships over decades, or stories of love and betrayal and forgiveness. If you like a character-driven novel that doesn’t sacrifice plot—what I’d call “compulsively readable literary fiction,” this belongs on your TBR. More info →
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Miracles and Other Reasonable Things

Miracles and Other Reasonable Things

I've been eagerly awaiting this new spiritual memoir, which Sarah has repeatedly described as "a bit weird"—and I am here for that—as well as "one part memoir, one part a theological exploration of the ideas, hopes, and devastations of miracles or the lack thereof." This is the story of the devastating car accident that triggered the crippling fibromyalgia that caused a spiritual seeker to see the landscape in a new way. I loved the combination of the quotidian and the miraculous, the earnest search for answers that remain incomplete, plus the writing here is absolutely lovely. More info →
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Ordinary Grace

Ordinary Grace

William Kent Krueger is a fairly new addition to my literary radar; this backlist title was ardently recommended by readers with great taste. In small town Minnesota, 1961, a 13-year-old boy is suddenly brought face to face with death, and it ushers him into a very adult world of love and loss and all their complications. Five people in his community die that year, Frank tells us in the opening pages, and this is his account of what happens, what it meant then, and what it means to him now. Recommended for Louise Penny fans, yes, and also those who enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars and this year's Summer Reading Guide pick The Current. More info →
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The Family Upstairs: A Novel

The Family Upstairs: A Novel

Lisa Jewell has a gift for coming up with intriguing premises, and her new novel is no exception. Shortly after Libby turns 25, she gets a letter from the trust attorneys. She’s been expecting the letter her whole life; her biological parents died when she was young, and she knew about the trust. But the contents of the letter shock her: Libby didn’t expect to inherit much, but she’s suddenly the owner of a mansion on the finest street in Chelsea. She soon discovers the house has a tragic past, and she is intimately tied to the tragedy. And what’s more, she learns she has a family out there somewhere—one she hasn’t seen in 25 years. A spine-tingling mystery. More info →
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