December 15, 2017

Quick Lit: October 2017

Yes, you read the post title correctly. This is my Quick Lit post for October. I know, I know. I actually had most of it finished by the end of that month, aside from two reviews, and then I completely forgot about it. Oops!

I finished 15 books in October, and I'm reviewing 12 of those in today's post. It's a long one! I surprisingly read a lot of non-fiction and many were library books. That's not super helpful for tackling my TBR, but at least it saves money. If you're looking for more book recommendations, check out the linkup at Modern Mrs. Darcy

I shared my September Quick Lit in October, which had a lot of variety. Additionally, I posted a review for First Comes Love by Emily Giffin (my September Picky Pledge Challenge choice) and a review of the The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen, which included thoughts on the first two books after re-reading. On to the reviews:


GLITTER AND GLUE BY KELLY CORRIGAN | I heard of this book a while ago, but it popped up on my radar again recently. Y'all, I loved it so much! The title comes from the way Corrigan's mother summarized their family dynamic: "Your father's the glitter but I'm the glue." This lovely memoir examines the bond between mothers and daughters, and I couldn't put it down. I loved Corrigan's storytelling ability and the wit and warmth that nicely balanced the more heartbreaking moments. You don't have to be a mother to enjoy this book, but I think I appreciated it more now than I would have if I'd read it a few years ago. In fact, I So Loved It.

STANDARD DEVIATION BY KATHERINE HEINY | 
I've recently become a huge fan of the podcast From the Front Porch and love following co-host (and bookstore owner) Annie B. Jones on Instagram. I became curious about this book after her glowing review of it, but I thought it might be too literary for me. You can imagine my surprise when I realized that I So Loved It! Heiny's characters are fantastic - quirky but compelling. The writing had me completely engaged and frequently laughing over the dry humor. I wish there'd been a bit more to the plot (it's definitely a character-driven novel with a slower pace) but I think that was also part of its charm.

FOOD FIGHTS BY LAURA JANA AND JENNIFER SHU | My eighteen-month-old is a picky eater, which can be very frustrating. I know it's common at this age (and often a control / asserting independence issue more than anything else), but I felt like I needed some reassurance and practical advice. Thankfully, I loved that this book was positive, encouraging and helpful. The tone was occasionally corny, but I'll take that over judgmental/discouraging. I skimmed a few sections that weren't relevant, but I appreciated the overall advice. I So Liked It and thought it was a good starting point in my "picky eating" research.


BREAD AND WINE BY SHAUNA NIEQUEST | I bought this in a Book Outlet sale but ended up borrowing the audiobook from my library. While I missed out on the recipes in that format, it was lovely hearing Niequist read her own work. I'm not a foodie or an extrovert, so I was surprised by how much this book spoke to me! I loved Niequist's descriptions of food, her love for entertaining, and her talent for finding meaning in the smallest moments. I couldn't always relate to her lifestyle or personality, but she still managed to draw me in to her story. I will definitely be re-reading this one in the future - highlighter in hand - because I So Loved It.   

THE KEY TO EXTRAORDINARY BY NATALIE LLOYD | Many years ago, I was subscribed to a faith-based magazine for teen girls. My favorite thing about getting my copy every month was flipping to Natalie Lloyd's column. So, I've been following her work for more than a decade. I read A Snicker of Magic last year (obsessed!) and was excited to dive into this one. I borrowed the audiobook from the library and finished it within two days! The quirky characters, evocative setting, hint of magic, compelling mystery and fantastic writing made this such a delightful read. And narrator Kate Simses was the perfect voice for this story! I So Loved It.

HEATING AND COOLING BY BETH ANN FENNELLY | I would never have picked this book up if it hadn't been recommended on the podcast I mentioned earlier in this post. These essays make up 52 micro-memoirs, a term I was previously unfamiliar with. Fennelly says so much with so few words. For example:

WHY I'M SWITCHING SALONS
"We can put on a topcoat with glitter," said the manicurist. "We've noticed you like attention." 

Despite the fact that it's only 112 pages, I felt like I knew Fennelly so well by the end. She managed to capture such a wide range of emotions in a precise and relatable way. I've never read anything quite like this before, and I So Liked It. It was a pleasant way to pass an hour or so, and I love surprise gems! If I had one complaint, it would be to echo Fennelly's mother: "This book has a lot of penises, Beth Ann." 


LIFT BY KELLY CORRIGAN | After loving Corrigan's Glitter and Glue, I picked up this slim memoir. Written as a letter to her daughters, it was a short and sweet 96-page volume that I read in one sitting. On the fourth page, I couldn't help but pause to write down this passage:
"I heard once that the average person barely knows ten stories from childhood and those are based more on photographs and retellings than memory. So even with all the videos we take, the two boxes of snapshots under my desk, and the 1,276 photos in folders on the computer, you'll be lucky to end up with a dozen stories. You won't remember how it started with us, the things that I know about you that you don't even know about yourselves. We won't come back here."
I don't think I would have appreciated the truth of this statement before having kids. As I spend my days taking care of my little boy, it makes even more thankful for the millions of ways my mother served us over the years. While I would have loved for the book to be longer and a bit more developed, I still So Liked It. There's something about Corrigan's writing style that I just connect to - there's so much heart and humor in it!

THE END OF THE AFFAIR BY GRAHAM GREENE | I used to read and adore classics, but this one was never on my radar. To be honest, I'd never even heard of it until I saw it while browsing Audible one day! But when I realized it was narrated by Colin Firth (BAE), I bought it immediately. This was well written, and Firth's narration was divine (as expected), but I didn't completely love the story itself. It's a reflective story where the narrator recounts a past relationship and discusses love, faith and identity. I So Liked It, though I'm not sure that I'd read it again or push it on anyone. I appreciated the writing and thoughtfulness, but I was never emotionally invested.

NO LIMITS BY ELLIE MARNEY | OH MY GOSH, THIS BOOK! After loving Marney's Every series, I was super curious about this new release (especially because the main character is someone from that series). I downloaded a sample on my Kindle and immediately bought it when I finished the sample... and then stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish it. I could not put it down, and I don't even have the words to tell you how much I'm So Obsessed With It. I adored the characters, Marney's writing, the high-stakes plot, the intense emotions and the super swoony romance. There's depth, drama and just damn good storytelling in these pages. I can't wait to re-read!


THE MIDDLE PLACE BY KELLY CORRIGAN | After falling in love with Glitter and Glue and then liking Lift, I decided it was time to pick of Corrigan's first memoir. She writes about being diagnosed with cancer at the same time as her father. But it's not just about the cancer - it's about being in the middle place, that point in time where adulthood and childhood seem to overlap. I liked the humor and the honesty, but I just didn't love the book. I was So Okay With It, and my biggest issue was Corrigan herself. I found her so selfish and off-putting by the end, which makes me sad to say (though is a common issue with memoirs since they are, obviously, self focused). 

UNTANGLED BY LISA DAMOUR | This book, about guiding teen girls through the seven transitions into adulthood, was on my radar because of this post. My child is nowhere near the teen years (and is a boy), so this was an incredibly random book for me to read. But I read a few pages at the library and couldn't put it down! I thought this book was absolutely fascinating. I thought the research was insightful, the writing style was conversational, the tone was supportive and confident (not trying to scare you!), and the advice was so valuable and practical. Even though I had no reason to read, I So Enjoyed It

OUTRUN THE MOON BY STACEY LEE | I pre-ordered this book after obsessing over Under a Painted Sky, but it sat on my shelf until I spotted the audiobook on Hoopla! Narrator Emily Woo Zeller was a little annoying at first, but I got used to her (and thought she toned it down, in a good way, as the performance went on). The story itself was good! I knew very little about the San Francisco earthquake and loved learning about it. It did seem to take a long time for the plot to develop, however, and that led to a slow pace. I loved the heroine and wished for fewer secondary characters, but I'd still say I So Enjoyed It

What have you been reading lately?

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm... I may need to check out that picky eating book. My 2 1/2 year old is picky also and my main strategy lately is to just quit worrying about it, but while that may have helped my sanity, it hasn’t helped the food situation (milk and peach applesauce for dinner last night — may have been one of the oddest ones yet!)

    I loved Snicker of Magic and have Key to Extraordinary on my shelf — I definitely needs to read that in the new year!

    ReplyDelete

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