quick lit – next page, please {february 2021}

I can’t believe that I read 13 books this month. As I said last month, I have been not watching television mindlessly and playing Rise of Kingdoms on my phone and have been reading instead.  I have taken this time mostly from my evenings and right before I go bed. The number of books I have read this year makes me wonder how much time was I wasting watching television and playing games? It’s alarming!

A couple of caveats to this month’s numbers: (1) I participated in the 24in48 Readathon during a weekend in February.  During this time I completed three books I was halfway through.  (2) One of these 13 is a short story but Goodreads counts it as a whole book and I’m going to do the same.

I continue to make a dent in my Unread Shelf this month; I read four books and DNF’d one book. I read very broadly across genres: a couple of sci-fi, which I have found to be very enjoyable right now; two memoirs; a short story; and a book that was written and illustrated by the same person.

Read

  • My Friend Fear: Finding Magic in the Unknown by Meera Lee Patel. I am fascinated by the intersection of words and pictures, writers and painters. This little volume about fear is beautifully written and illustrated by Meera Lee Patel. I had the pleasure of meeting her at Parnassus Book Store when this released. I love the artwork and the nuance you can find in each painting.
  • A Promised Land by Barack Obama. Very long but very informative. I loved how he took the time to tell us why and how he arrived at the decisions that he was making, even if I didn’t agree with his conclusions. I listened to this on audio.
  • Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles. One of the writers that I follow (sorry, I can’t remember who) recommended this little book. I got it from my local library and immediately wanted to begin highlighting and taking notes, ergo, I bought my own copy. A great resource, I will refer to again and again.
  • Artemis: A Novel by Andy Weir. A fellow reader, hi Brigid, recommended this to me when I told her that I was feeling like reading more sci-fi. A heist on the moon! Say no more.
  • Who is Maud Dixon?: A Novel by Alexandra Andrews. Thanks to Snail on the Wall and Edelweiss for this very fun read. I didn’t read the ending like I normally do, so I didn’t see the plot-twist coming, which was surprising.
  • Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig. I loved Haig’s novel, How to Stop Time and how he explores time and depression in a lot of his work. Reasons to Stay Alive is his memoir about his depression and how he worked his way out of it. It was full of tips that he has found to help him with his mental health. A very meaningful read.
  • Mr. Death by Alix E. Harrow. This was a short story by an author who is fast becoming one of my favorites. I adored the ending. And Goodreads counted it as a book read, so I did also.
  • Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. I read this because it was the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club February pick. Stradal told this story in a very unique way; the protagonist only had one chapter in her voice. The rest of the story was told in the perspective of everyone around her during the course of her life. I had not experienced this before and it was different. I don’t know if I would like all stories to be told this way, but it was very enjoyable. Plus, he was a sheer delight in his interview with Anne.
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers. This novella was WONDERFUL! A 5-star read and one of my favorite for the year. Engaging but comforting. I cried from relief at the end; it was the release I didn’t know I needed. I don’t typically read sci-fi but on a recommendation from Brenna, a fellow team member on the podcast What Should I Read Next, Episode 268, I read Chamber’s A Long Way to a Dark Angry Planet. With this title, I believe that I will read anything Becky Chambers’ writes. I wish that “Psalm” would release immediately; all of my friends need to read this because, as the dedication says, it’s “for everyone who needs a break”, and after the year we have had, we all need this break. A HUGE thank you to Snail on the Wall and Edelweiss for early access to this one. It releases July 13.
  • Save Me from Dangerous Men by S. A. Lelchuk. This is the first in the Nikki Griffin Series. The second releases April 13. It is on my TBR.
  • The Power of Writing It Down: A Simple Habit to Unlock Your Brain and Reimagine Your Life by Ally Fallon. This was one of those that was sitting on my Unread Shelf. Yay! This one is great if you are looking for a way to get out of your own way and change your life. Highly recommended to anyone curious about a way to do that without hefty therapy costs.
  • Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor by Jana Reiss. Another one that was sitting on my Unread Shelf.
  • Good Apple: Tales of a Southern Evangelical in New York by Elizabeth Passarella. This is laugh-out-loud funny and I love LOL memoirs. Entertaining but thought-provoking, a very good combination.

Currently Reading

What’s some books you have enjoyed recently? Did any of these pique your interest? No? No matter. The real point is that we…

…enjoy life.

quick lit – next page, please {september 2020}

Quick Lit - Next Page , Please {September 2020}

I read so much this month. I really surprised myself. I am 9 books ahead of schedule in my goal to read 40 books this year. I have only have 2 more left to reach my goal.

On the other hand, my Modern Mrs. Darcy 2020 Reading Challenge is not going nearly as well. I have only read 6 of the 10 categories and am missing the following: (1) a book by a local author-I’m not sure how to categorize this-local in my city or my state, (2) a book in translation-does British English to American English count? (3) A book nominated for an award in 2020 and (4) a classic you didn’t read in school.

Here’s what I read last month and what I am currently reading now.

Read

  • The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis. This was THE pick from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading Guide. And I liked it; didn’t love it but I did like it. The storyline was a bit more serious so it wasn’t a light-hearted read that I expected but I did like it and am happy to have read it.
  • The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley. This book imagines the life of Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s daughter, Anne, whom we know next to nothing except that she is sickly. Well, Greeley, fills in those gaps for you and gives us an idea of what might have happened when she didn’t wed Darcy. It was very interest. Thanks to William Morrow for the Advanced Reader’s Edition.
  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle. I have finished my reread of this one. And will probably read it again.
  • The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I identified with the main character, Nora Seed, I have not experienced anything like the death of parent, the total estrangement of a sibling, or my cat dying but I did once have a sense of an overall dissatisfaction, a malaise, with my life and some of the choices that I believed had led me to that point. I have dealt with guilt and regret which are teh true villains in this story. I enjoyed this tale of Nora moving from regret to acceptance and the lessons Haig teaches on the journey. I plan on rereading this again at some point. I have also added one of his backlist, How to Stop Time, to my TBR. Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced reader’s digital copy.
  • Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams. I love the premise of the Bromance Book Club series; a bunch of guys get together to read romance novels to help them with their relationships with their spouses/significant others. Can’t wait for #4. Thanks to Snail on the Wall via Edelweis for the advanced reader’s digital copy.
  • What You Wish For by Katherine Center. She joined Brene Brown at a virtual event and said that people mistakenly believed that Katherine Center was Brene Brown’s pen name for writing fiction. I had to admit that the thought had occurred to me as well. Her stories often deal with issues of vulnerability and forgiveness. While I liked this novel, my favorite of her’s is still Happiness for Beginners. Thanks to Netgally for the advanced reader’s digital copy. Just took me a while to get to it.
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. This is my first novel-in-verse. I don’t really count myself as a poetry girl but I really enjoyed this one. And she was delightful when she joined the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club last month.

Currently Reading

  • The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth. Anne’s pick from my time as a guest on the What Should I Read Next podcast and the current pick of the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club. I am halfway through it with just one sitting so, yeah, it’s good!
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. This is the classic that I didn’t read that everyone tells me I will just love. I started giving it a go last month and haven’t really made much progress. We will see but I don’t know if I’m going to finish since I have another book in my mind for that classic category.

DNF’d (Did Not Finish Reading)

  • A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro. Charlotte is the sister of Sherlock Holmes, one of my favorite fictional characters but, at some point, you have to decide whether a book is for you at this time or not. I read the first few chapters and if I didn’t have so many anticipated reads I might have finished it. A book for another time, perhaps.
  • Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks. I started this on audio. I had it in my head that these were short stories from Tom Hank’s life and I don’t think that was the case. I read/listened to the first two stories and then had to return it to library.
  • Midnight Sun (The Twilight Saga #5) by Stephenie Meyer. This is a very thick hardback (and I generally like my fiction the shorter side) and it is in demand at my local library so I was unable to finish it before I had to return it. I don’t know if I am particularly interested in finishing it. After all, I know how the story ends.

Anticipated Reading

Check out the Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club if you need some more reading inspiration. If you are a member of the Modern Mrs. Darcy Book Club, you can check out Anne’s interview with the delightful Elizabeth Acevedo here. If you’re not a member, join the fun.

Anne also does a Quick Lit post every month discussing what she is currently reading, to which I am linking this post. If you’re here because of her, I thank you and her.

What have you been reading lately?

enjoy life…

quick lit – next page, please {january 2020}

Happy Valentine’s Day.  I love and adore my Valentines, the Hubby and the Buddy Man. They both know I love books and loved them before either of them came along. LOL

So, with that in mind, here’s a recap of the nine books that I read in January.  I am well-ahead of my goal to read 40 this year. These picks also contributed my sanity last month.

Read

  • Still Life by Louise Penny. Over in ModernMrsDarcy land, people LOVE the Inspector Gamache series. I have never read any of them – and there are currently 23. For the MMD Reading Challenge this year, one of the categories is three books by a single author so I thought that now would be as good as time as any. These seem to start off a bit slow but I have been told numerous times that these take a while to get going and that the series really picks up in book 4.  Don’t know if I will make it that far but I am enjoying Penny’s writing style so, we will see.
  • Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over by Nell Irvin Painter. I can’t remember who recommended this book to me but my interest in it might have had something to do with my turning 40 and wondering if there is life to be had over the hill. LOL.  It might also have started an interest in reading about creatives in memoirs and fiction.
  • A Fatal Grace by Louise Penny. This is the second book about Inspector Armand Gamache series. I am chugging along.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. This was January’s Rocket City Mom Virtual Book Club pick for January.  I had avoided reading it until now but I am glad that I did. My full review is here.
  • The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman. Nell Painter sent me down a rabbit hole of writer/artists: artists who write or writers who draw and paint perhaps because I might want to do that one day.  Who knows.  Anyway, Maira Kalman, an artist who has illustrated for the New Yorker was in the rabbit hole so I picked a copy of this from the library to see more. It was a brief read. I liked it.*
  • Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna. This is the first book about PI Alice Vega. I read this because I’m interested in Luna’s second book about Vega, The Janes, released January 21, which Anne Bogel previewed in her Winter Preview. She said that she was hooked from the first line.  Plus, this is my fourth crime mystery (not a genre I usually read) this month and I might be a bit over it. I have placed The Janes on hold at my local library.  We will see what kind of headspace I am in when it comes in.
  • Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams. This is the second book in the Bromance Book Series and it was AWESOME!!!! My first 5-star read of the year. It releases on March 10th so thanks to @WhatKariReads for sending the ARC my way.  Romance is a great genre for when things are dreary and bleak. The story always ends well.  This one did and I loved it.
  • The Painter by Peter Heller. Last year, the Modern Mrs. Darcy book club read Celine also by Heller which I thoroughly enjoyed. I adore Heller’s writing style. And since I have this new inclination to read about artists and creatives and the book is about a painter, it was a no-brainer to pick this up from the library. I’m glad that I did.
  • The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory. The second book in The Wedding Date series and my second romance of the month. Yep, January was that kind of month.

Currently Reading

 Abandoned Reading

My theme/word of 2020 is Savor so I really do want to relish everything that I read. I am not going to say that this has happened with everything that I have read this year but it definitely means that I am not going to be upset if I don’t finish books that I start this year. To that end, here’s what I have abandoned so far.

So, whatcha’ readin’?

Per usual, I am linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Quick Lit post.  As you can see, she is an excellent resource when you can’t figure out what to read.  And if you are here, because of her, I can’t thank her, and you, enough.

enjoy life…

*I also discovered that Maira Kalman had illustrated an edition of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style – the quintessential book on writing with clarity.  Yeah! I bought it.