Books & ReadingWhat I’ve been reading lately: the new and the...

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

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

I’ve had a great reading month! April and May are unusual reading months for me: because of our Summer Reading Guide editorial timing, I read an overwhelming number of new releases between April 1 and May 5 — quite different from my usual balanced cadence of backlist and brand new. (I’m not complaining, but it’s important for me to notice what’s different about the reading season I’m in.) As you’ll see, I did sneak in one old book in today’s edition.

Our on-ramp to summer reading makes this a really fun edition of Quick Lit, and one many of you look forward to, because I’m sharing several new releases I loved and adored but read too late to even consider including in the Summer Reading Guide.

Our 2022 guide drops on May 23 — or May 19, for our Modern Mrs Darcy Book Clubbers and What Should I Read Next patrons. If you’re not part of either or both communities, I hope you’ll consider joining before our Thursday seasonal kick-off book party we call Unboxing. Now is a great time to come on in, and not just because your membership includes your Unboxing ticket and expanded Summer Reading Guide. We’re going to have a blast, at Unboxing and all season long.

Click here to get more info and join MMD Book Club

Click here to get more info and join our What Should I Read Next patreon

(Not sure which community is right for you? We answer that frequently asked question here.)

Without further adieu, here’s a peek at the books I’ve been reading lately, none of which are in the Summer Reading Guide. I can not wait to hear about your recent reads in comments.

Short and sweet reviews of what I’ve been reading lately

The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water
Author: Charles Fishman

I put this 2011 nonfiction book on my reading list years ago, after a friend told me she thought about it every single day after reading it herself. In it Fishman argues that in many parts of the world, including here in the United States, we’re at the end of our hundred-year “golden age” of water during which it’s seemed to be easy and free to access — but really it’s anything but. We’re facing very real water problems, and if we do not fix our relationship to water soon, the consequences will be dire. The problem, he says, is that most of us simply do not understand how our relationship to water works, or should work. While Fishman brings plenty of stats to the text, I especially enjoyed the stories he tells about people who work in the water business (for it is definitely a business), and the way he demolishes common misconceptions about wise and wasteful use. It took me a while to get through this one, but I’m glad I read it. More info →

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Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance
Author: Alison Espach

I do not remember why this new novel (out May 17, 2022) caught my eye, but once I began listening to Jesse Vilinksy’s excellent narration I was immediately swept up in the story. Chronologically, this story of two sisters in small-town 1990s Connecticut begins when shy Sally is just thirteen, and her bold and beautiful sister Kathy is sixteen. But on the first page of the story Sally is 28, seemingly telling her absent sister about everything that happened between then and now. (“You disappeared on a school night. Nobody was more surprised by this than me …”) Back then both girls nursed crushes on Billy Barnes, the handsome senior a year older than Kathy; when Kathy and Billy start dating, Sally drinks in all her sister’s updates on their relationship. But then a car accident involving the three teenagers kills Kathy. This is the story of what happened after, a haunting portrait of confusion, love, and grief, enhanced by the unusual second person narration. A note for sensitive readers: this book is beautifully drawn and undeniably sad. Content warnings apply. More info →

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The Golden Couple
Authors: Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

After listening to Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance I wanted something completely different in tone for my next audiobook read, and this twisty thriller jointly voiced by favorites Karissa Vacker and Marin Ireland was just the ticket. The story revolves around a seemingly perfect DC area couple who are keeping a closetful of secrets from each other and their “therapist,” who can not truly claim that title anymore because she lost her professional license due to an ethics violation. She has not let that loss stop her — in fact, she believes she can better help her clients with the unorthodox methods she’s fully embraced since she was censured. This was a fun and engrossing listen, with an over-the-top ending that scored low on believability but high on entertainment value. More info →

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Fault Lines
Author: Emily Itami

One trend I’m noticing in this year’s new releases goes something like “not-unhappy forty-ish-year-old woman rethinks her life and relationships. “Luckily, I could happily read stories like these forever — so when Andrea at Main Street Books said she’d loved this literary novel along those lines I snapped it right up. The story is about Mizuki, an affluent Japanese singer-turned housewife who loves her workaholic husband and two beautiful children but has grown lonely and bored with her life. When she catches the interest of a handsome restaurateur, she is unable to resist the advances of a man who actually “thought about the answers to the questions I asked him and looked right at me when he replied.” This is a quiet yet vivid story set against the backdrop of Tokyo in springtime. More info →

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This Time Tomorrow
Author: Emma Straub

This is one of the best May releases I’ve read that will not be in the Summer Reading Guide due to timing. I was not expecting to love this — and because Straub’s career has exploded in recent years, I intended to bypass this new release (out May 17) and use my SRG reading time exploring releases by lesser known or debut authors that you would be less likely to hear of. BUT. Then Emily Henry came on What Should I Read Next — that episode airs on May 24 — and raved about this, describing it as a poignant, time-travel (!!) tale of a father-daughter relationship. I picked it up that night and finished it the very next day. Alice is 40, living on the Upper West Side, and not un-happy, except for the fact that her beloved father is dying. After a disastrous birthday dinner, she falls asleep drunk at 3am and when she wakes up, she’s 16 again. Her father made his fortune writing a blockbuster time travel novel, so she KNOWS she should not try to alter the future — but she can not resist trying to engineer an outcome that gives her father a longer life. I loved it. More info →

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Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl
Author: Joya Goffney

I was eager to read Goffney’s latest (out May 3) after loving her YA debut, last year’s Summer Reading Guide pick Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry. Goffney’s plot is perfectly constructed to engineer plenty of story-driving conflict: Monique is a Black preacher’s daughter in a small Texas town, who desperately wants to have sex with her boyfriend (something her parents can NEVER find out about) but is physically unable to do so because of a medical condition she comes to learn is called vaginismus. After she gets her diagnosis, Monique resolves to “fix” her body so she can win back the boyfriend who dumped her because of her condition. She gets help from two unlikely sources: the seeming goody-goody girl who is a lot cooler than Monique ever guessed, and the bad boy her father is trying to rehabilitate. Along the way she learns surprising things about herself, her world, and the secrets her family’s been keeping. In the author’s note at the front of the book, Goffney explains that she wrote this book to bring awareness to vaginismus, and to inspire readers to reclaim their sexual identity without shame or fear. This sex-positive teen story is incredibly different from the stories I was raised with, so much so it made my head spin! This book will be exactly right for some readers (including me); I can see how it would be an excellent conversation starter should I pass it on to my own older teens. (I’m still debating.) More info →

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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.

PS I snapped that top photo on a recent trip to Main Street Books Davidson, which felt appropriate for today’s edition. Last I heard they had signed bookplates for my books: shop their site right here.

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

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