Quick Lit November 2020
The Writer’s Library: The Authors You Love on the Books That Changed Their Lives

The Writer’s Library: The Authors You Love on the Books That Changed Their Lives

For this collection of author interviews, librarian Nancy Pearl and writer and producer Schwager wanted to explore one question: How does the practice of reading inform the life of a writer? To do this, they sat down with a series of twenty-three of today's best-loved working writers, including Amor Towles, Louise Erdrich, Andrew Sean Greer, Laila Lalami, and Donna Tartt, asking them why they read, and how reading helps them write. All of the interviews, with one exception, were conducted in person, and I appreciated the immediacy of these transcribed conversations. Be careful with this book: with so many tempting titles discussed, you'll be tempted to triple the size of your TBR. More info →
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The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel

The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel

This sci-fi series opener, loosely inspired by Hidden Figures, has a fabulous premise: what if an asteroid slams into the earth, eventually leading to the founding of a colony on Mars? In this alternate history of the 1950s, the world may soon become uninhabitable, and so a group of female scientists led by WASP pilot and mathematician Elma York race against time to find a way for earth's residents to survive the cataclysmic fallout from the blast. There is A LOT of science in this book, but Kowal keeps it easy to read and emotionally relatable. The series currently stands at three books, with a fourth planned for a 2022 release. More info →
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Beginner’s Luck

Beginner’s Luck

After reading Clayborn's forthcoming novel Love at First for the Winter Book Preview, I was in the mood to read more of her work as soon as possible. I tore through her Chance of a Lifetime trilogy, about three friends whose lives are changed after they go in together to buy what turns out to be a winning lottery ticket, in a week! This series opener centers Kit, a steady scientist who, because of her peripatetic childhood, wants to use her winnings to create a home for herself and develop roots in her community. So when Ben shows up in his role as recruiter her to entice her to leave it all behind and move to Texas ... well, it's a disaster. But as they keep talking, their connection grows. I loved watching Ben and Kit work through their respective baggage over the course of the story, and the large cast of well-developed secondary characters give this series life. More info →
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Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

This genre-blending book was a delightful—if quiet—surprise. May defines "wintering" as "a fallow period in life when you’re cut off from the world, feeling rejected, side-lined, blocked from progress, or cast into the role of an outsider." She takes this single subject and turns it, chapter by chapter, considering different events, aspects, incarnations, and inciting events of a winter season, guiding the reader through scenes of her life and inviting them to join her on adventures to explore what it means to winter—heading to Stonehenge, to Iceland, to ice-bathe, to sauna. I appreciated the multidisciplinary approach; May builds the narrative around events of her life, but draws from health, psychology, spirituality, religion, science, nature and more to tell her story. This was lovely on audio, as narrated by Rebecca Lee. More info →
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Shadow and Light: A Journey into Advent

Shadow and Light: A Journey into Advent

"We don’t know what the holidays will bring, but we know they will come." I love these words that introduce my friend Tsh's gorgeous new hardcover, an ecumenical guide through the waiting season of Advent, which begins this year on November 29. The structure and practice are deliberately simple, with a short reading for each day, accompanied by a short discussion question, a piece of music to listen to, and a work of art to reflect upon. It's a forgiving guide: if you start late or miss a day (or several), no worries, just flip to the current day and carry on. More info →
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