What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable.

Welcome to Quick Lit, where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately.

This month my reading was heavily influenced by these 8 books recommended by readers with great taste. This month I also read several books I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time, and took another stab at a book I abandoned this spring.

December Quick Lit
Essays of E. B. White

Essays of E. B. White

I used to love personal essays, but it's been a while since I've cozied up with a good collection. I'm so glad I took Katie Gibson's advice and dug into this collection. In this eclectic collection he covers writing, farming, city life, puppy love, and politics, and more. My favorite essays are "Here Is New York" and "Will Strunk." The first needs no explanation; the second pays tribute to the author of The Elements of Style. More info →
A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove

I gave the hardback version of this debut novel a try back in the spring and abandoned it halfway through. But in October this was one of the 8 books recommended by readers with great taste. Marybeth Whalen specifically recommended the audio, so I downloaded it and started again, from the beginning. This time it hooked me. The narrators' accents—especially for Ove—are fantastic. I laughed and cried and couldn't stop listening. But do yourself a favor: don't even think about finishing this novel in a public place, and think about removing your mascara first. More info →
The Listening Life

The Listening Life


I loved Adam's previous book Introverts in the Church, so I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I very much enjoyed (and at times felt painfully convicted by) this book, which explores: what listening really is (it's probably not what you think), why it's worth doing, and why it's so terribly important in a culture that never stops talking. Relatable and wise.

More info →
Goodbye Stranger

Goodbye Stranger


I'm a big fan of Newbery winner Rebecca Stead, and the reviews on her new novel are fantastic. I was underwhelmed by the composite structure and thought the ensemble cast only worked so well, but my biggest regret has nothing to do with Stead's writing. This was the first time I handed one of her novels off to my kids (in this case, my 10-year-old) without reading it first, and boy was I sorry. The three interwoven plots tackle the Sturm and Drang of adolescence, and my daughter wasn't ready to read about cyberbullying or sexting. Not bad, but nowhere close to When You Reach Me, and definitely for middle school and older.

More info →
Coming Clean: A Story of Faith

Coming Clean: A Story of Faith


This was one of my favorite nonfiction books of the year. A new release shouldn't be priced this low, so snatch it up while it lasts.

More info →

What have YOU been reading lately?

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Leave A Comment
  1. Linda Stoll says:

    Yep, Introverts in the Church was a favorite, too, so Adam’s The Listening Life is definitely on my soon-to-read-in-2016 short list.

    As ever, thanks for this truly wonderfully cozy online library you’ve created, Anne. You’ve influenced my reading list this past year … and even more so, nurtured my lifetime love affair with books.

    I so appreciate you!

  2. I felt the same way about Goodbye Stranger (as I mentioned in a comment on a previous post!), but just barely missed handing it off to my daughter before reading it. I understand that those issues are very real and relevant for many mg readers, but I felt a little betrayed that no one warned me.
    I really want to find the book on listening–that sounds (sorry, the pun came out by itself) excellent!

  3. Thanks for another great week of recommendations! I’ve so enjoyed reading about books that you’ve been into this year and I look forward to seeing what you come up with next year. The Listening Life sounds excellent, something that even as an introvert I could definitely use to work on.

  4. Dana says:

    Just finished Do the Work by Stephen Pressfield. As soon as I finished it I started to re-read with a highlighter and pen in hand. So full of wisdom for a short, short book.

    Also read You are A Writer ( so start acting like one) By Jeff Goins Very short .

    I am reading:
    A Curious Mind By Charles Graver. Loving it.
    Got it from the library.

    You’ve Got a Book in You By Elizabeth Sims. I bought this for Kindle but now I wish I had a hard copy so I could mark it up. I will finish it and probably go buy one. Great book for fiction writers in particular. Very positive spin on writing.

    Sky Lantern by Matt Miklatos Slow going so far. From the library. I was intrigued by the story premise but the writing style is rambling.

    Second Chance Cafe by Alison Kent A Kindle daily deal. So
    far I am not loving this one. .

  5. Victoria says:

    I read A Man Called Ove in November too and it made it onto my top six books from fall list! I kind of dreaded reading it, but then every time I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. About half way through I realized that I was LOVING it. And yes…I cried. In my living room without makeup….I read portions of it out loud to whoever was in the room occassionally and when I stopped, several of my family members asked if I finished “Ove” and they were sad because THEY missed him!

    Backman has another book, did you see it on GoodReads?

  6. Corby says:

    Listening to A Man Called Ove right now. I love love love it.

    Side note on E.B. White. My criminal law professor from 1996 told us that when he was young he didn’t like the ending to Stuart Little so he wrote E.B. White a letter letting him know he was so worried for the bird and Mr. White not only wrote him a letter back but wrote him a whole other ending to the story. What a priceless gift.

  7. Susan says:

    So happy you read A Man Called Ove – – it’s hilarious to me that my experience with it was the same (start and stop and then won over by the Audible version.) I went on to read Backman’s new book “My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry” – a little different, but also wonderful and you’ll fall in love with the characters in this one, too.

  8. donna says:

    I loved A Man Called Ove as well. It made me laugh out loud. I just finished Benediction by Kent Haruf which I highly recommend. I’m making my way through Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng on audio (so far
    so good). I’ve got two reads
    left on my fall reading list:
    Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth
    The Jaguar’s Children by John
    I hope to finish both by next
    Happy reading!

  9. s says:

    I am not sure how I missed that October post, but enjoyed discovering it. I absolutely loved A Man Called Ove and have bought copies for gifts to share. I am reading After I Do which I am enjoying, and I just finished Fates and Furies (hope I got that right) which I definitely did not enjoy, and only finished because I kept hoping the reason it was so well reviewed would become apparent to me…I am still stumped. I also have started My Grandmother asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry.

  10. Shannan says:

    Added “Coming Clean” to my TBR list. I am addicted to food. It will be interesting to see if I could glean any lessons applicable to me from this book.
    Thanks for doing these Quick Lit Link-Ups. My TBR list expands every single time.

  11. I’m so glad you enjoyed E.B. White. I love his work so much, as you know.

    I’m reading Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams, and just started One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty. (So lovely, so far.)

    • Anne says:

      I haven’t read Eudora Welty since college! I remember very much enjoying One Writer’s Beginnings–I think that one would be worth coming back to.

      Thanks again for the White recommendation. 🙂

  12. Vanessa says:

    Just finished A man called Ove and can’t say I liked it. I didn’t like the character himself, as he seemed emotionally abusive by withholding all love and smiles. I know he had his troubles, everyone does, but his unkindness spread in waves around him. I also thought it read more like a screen play than a book. Backman was able to draw some laughs and tears, but otherwise the book was flat to me.

    • Anne says:

      Did you read it on paper or do the audio book? (I abandoned the hardcover but a friend convinced me to give the audio a try, and I enjoyed that version so much more.)

      • Vanessa says:

        Paper. I suppose that a good narrator could make a difference to a book. When Cherry Jones narrates the Little House on the Prairie series, there is more poetry in it.

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