Sat. Mar 25th, 2023

Welcome toQuick Lit,where we share short and sweet reviews of what we’ve been reading lately on the 15th of the month.

My reading varies quite a bit from month to month and season to season. My reading journal reveals that I read quite a few coming-this-summer releases as I continue to vet books for the 2023 Summer Reading Guide, and that I started quite a few books (more than I remembered) that I only read twenty or so pages of before moving on. I intend to circle back to some of them; the reading life is all about timing, and those books weren’t quite right for me, right now.

This month I read a few new and recent pageturners from the mystery, contemporary, and historical fiction genres, plus enjoyed a 2021 memoir and a reread of a favorite nonfiction.

As always, I compiled my roundup with major assistance from my My Reading Life book diary, so it’s easy to know what I’ve been reading lately. If you’re not currently tracking your reading, I highly recommend it, no matter what method you choose.

I hope you had a good reading month—I can’t wait to hear aboutyourrecent reads in comments!

My Quick Lit roundup for March 2023

Hooked by Sutton Foster book cover

Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life

Author: Sutton Foster

My theater kids are huge Sutton Foster fans, and Will and I inhaled Younger over the holidays: now I’m finally getting around to reading her memoir, and I’m so glad I did. This was delightful on audio, voiced by the author herself. Of course it’s about crochet, but also about her childhood, her path to the stage, her difficult relationship with her mother, and her difficult road to becoming a mother herself. I appreciate the peek behind the curtain, and the humor and sensitivity with which she shared her story. Now I’m itching to watch Bunheads; who wants to talk me into it?

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Bookshop | Buy on

Walkable City (Tenth Anniversary Edition): How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time

Author: Jeff Speck

I’ve read this book half a dozen times over the years (it’s one of my favorite urban planning); this month I read the new 10th anniversary edition for the first time. Urban planner Speck’s General Theory of Walkability asserts that for people to choose to walk, the walk has to be useful, safe, comfortable and interesting. His premise is that when cities get walkability right, so much of the rest of the attributes we desire for our communities will follow. I’ve long appreciated how Speck’s work has changed how I view and understand the spaces around me. This time, I especially enjoyed the 100-page 10-years-later update that addresses COVID-19, walkability and equity, deteriorating pedestrian safety, bike lane developments, ride-share services, and more. I read this to prepare for an upcoming podcast conversation: Jeff Speck is coming to What Should I Read Next next weekend!

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Bookshop

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson book cover

The House of Eve

Author: Sadeqa Johnson

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time! This historical novel is very much in the vein of Ann Patchett’s The Patron Saint of Liars and Dolen Perkins-Valdez’s take my hand. The story centers two young Black women in the 1950s: Ruby is an ambitious high school sophomore in a single-parent family of limited means in Philadelphia; Eleanor is a promising student at Howard University who, despite her working class upbringing, soon fines herself moving in the upper echelon of DC’s Black society. Both women have big hopes and dreams for their futures: they want love and marriage and family, as well as college degrees and satisfying careers. But shortly after each falls in love, big changes happen—and hard choices have to be made. A good story, well told, with a satisfying ending. Be sure not to miss the author’s note!

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Bookshop

The Golden Spoon by Jessa Maxwell book cover

The Golden Spoon

Author: Jessa Maxwell

I can’t describe this better than the delightful and irresistible mash-up descriptions the publisher has shared: The Great British Bake-Off meets The Only Murders in the Buildinggold Knives Outgold key. Maxwell’s puzzle-box of a debut is a closed circle murder mystery; the crime takes place on the set of an American competitive baking show on a remote Vermont estate. With a large cast of characters, it took a long time for me to get oriented and figure out which character was who (I should have made notes, for real), and when the resolution came it sure came in a hurry, but I enjoyed every minute.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Bookshop

Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister book cover

Wrong Place Wrong Time

Author: Gillian McAllister

This was the best kind of brain bender! In the opening pages of this time-travel mystery, a British woman watches in horror from her window as her 18-year-old son stabs a man on the street. A horrific scene ensues, the police take him away, she spends the evening at the station, in shock and agony. But then Jen wakes up the next morning, only to find that it’s not the next morning at all, but the day before the crime occurred. When she wakes up the next morning, it’s the day before that. Jen seems to be living her life backward, and—with the help of a physicist friend-of-a-friend—determines that the only way to break out of the time loop is to “undo” whatever event put her son on the path to murder. To do that she has to go far, far back in time, getting to the roots of her most important relationships. This may end up on my best of the year list; it will certainly be one of my most enjoyable reading experiences.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Bookshop

The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff book cover

The Bandit Queens

Author: Parini Shroff

The premise of this January release sounds grim, but tone is everything, and here it’s relentlessly upbeat, even feel-good. I picked this up after several booksellers recommended it for our WSIRN State of the Bookstore episode and I’m so glad I did! Five years ago, village resident Geeta lost her no-good husband. The truth is he abandoned her, but the village gossips say Geeta is a “self-made” widow, a rumor Geeta has done little to quiet. (Because another truth is that people treat you with respect when they think you’re a murderer.) But Geeta isn’t the only village woman with a no-good husband, and soon more than a few of them approach Geeta—sometimes forcefully —for her help to make them self-made widows like her. It would be easy for this to become macabre, but instead it’s sharp and funny: think Kirsten Miller’s The Change, but significantly more lighthearted.

Buy on Amazon | Buy on Bookshop

What have YOU been reading lately? Tell us about your recent reads—or share the link to a blog or instagram post about them—in comments.

The post What I’ve been reading lately: the new and the notable appeared first on Modern Mrs Darcy.

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