I’m sharing books that I chose for my own reading enjoyment in my monthly Quick Lit posts. Not books for review, but because I’ve been wanting to read them or they caught my attention. Most of them have been talked about ad nauseam or have been on my to-read list for a long time so they don’t really need a full review. But, I’d still like to give them some space here on the blog, so instead, I’m offering mini-reviews of the books that won’t get full-page space here.
I’ll be linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy and her monthly Quick Lit link-up. Be sure to head over to see others share their Quick Lit posts. This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read more about that.
I’ve been sharing a lot of great children’s books lately that would also make excellent Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers. See them HERE.
My current reads are THE BOYS by Ron Howard and Clint Howard on audio (which I am loving by the way) and WINTERING by Katherine May. I’m still working on finishing PERSONAL EFFECTS by Robert A Jensen which has been a tough read due to the content.
Finding Joy in a Common Chore
By: Patric Richardson
Published: March 30, 2021
I purchased this book right when it was published on the recommendation of Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy. Richardson is known for his laundry classes that he holds at the Mall of America and now I want to go to one. His book is really all about laundry and how to care for your clothing and I have taken his advice to heart. I have changed many of the ways I do laundry because of this book and took each step one at a time. I worked through his book slowly over the last eight months, reading a chapter here and there. I look at my clothes (the ones I own and consider purchasing) differently now and use very different products and ingredients than I used to when I clean them. I haven’t gotten my husband on board yet (he does his own laundry…by his own choice) but at least when I do laundry I can feel better about the products I am using and that my clothes will last longer and look better. I will be keeping this in my laundry room for future reference, especially for the stain guide.
THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR
By: Ellen Marie Wiseman
Published: August 4, 2020
Our book club choice last month was one that kept all of us turning the pages. I hate saying a book like this was “good” because it was so heavy. It’s set during the Spanish Flu epidemic in Philadelphia that began after the Liberty Parade to promote government bonds. The flu spread quickly through immigrant neighborhoods where many were refused treatment and hospitals became too overwhelmed. Many died in line on the streets hoping for care. This disease wasn’t picky. It took young and old, healthy and sick, and was a brutal end for many.
In this story, Pia, a young daughter of German immigrants has to make a quick decision to help save her family and that decision forever alters her whole life. The story is told from Pia’s perspective as well as Pia’s neighbor, Bernice. Bernice also makes a life-altering decision as she sees Pia leave their home. I wasn’t sure I could handle all the devastation as I was reading, but I was too compelled by Pia’s story to stop reading.
There is deep sadness and despair in this novel and I’d wager there will be a few times you will want to throw the book in anger, but I implore you to continue on hoping for a future for Pia and all she has ever dreamed of.
Fans of historical fiction will love this and be shocked by the ideas the people of Philadelphia thought would cure and prevent the Spanish Flu including soaking sugar cubes in kerosene and giving them to babies! Can you imagine? Or wearing gauze, yes gauze masks, to prevent the spread of the disease.
The downsides to this book for me were the overloaded details, extra characters that didn’t seem to contribute much to the story, and the swift ending. It felt like she had to wrap up the book all of a sudden and compared to the style of the rest of the book, it seemed rushed. Overall, I loved the book though.
MAJOR PETTIGREW’S LAST STAND
By: Helen Simonson
Narrated by: Peter Altschuler
Published: March 2, 2010
Publisher: Random House
Format: Audiobook and eBook
This has been on my list for quite a while and when I saw our library had the audiobook, I added it to my holds list and it came up pretty quickly. They also had the eBook available immediately so when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to finish the audiobook in time, I added the eBook and finished it that way. But, the narration was well done and I did enjoy listening to it.
If you like a good curmudgeon story, add this one to your list. Major Pettigrew lives in a small English village and is a well-respected man, obviously given his title. His wife has been gone several years and his son lives in the city. When the Major befriends the local Pakistani shopkeeper, Mrs. Ali (also widowed) the villagers and members of the local country club start fussing about the “inappropriateness” of their friendship.
Major Pettigrew became a quick favorite and I am often drawn to curmudgeonly old man’s stories. He isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind except maybe when his heart is hurting a bit. I loved the slow romance building between the Major and Jasmina and how the relationship with his son changed throughout the novel. Plus, I loved that there was lots of tea and biscuits to be had with the characters! I definitely recommend this one.
ON EARTH WE’RE BRIEFLY GORGEOUS
By: Ocean Vuong
Published: June 4, 2019
Publisher: Penguin Press
This came in my Literati Book Club Subscription Box in November. I had not heard of this book before it arrived in my subscription. This is Vuong’s debut novel, but he is well-known for his poetry. His writing in this novel is very intimate and poetic. He writes very descriptively and lyrically, but I found it also a bit too disjointed and rambling for my style of reading.
Little Dog, a young man in his 20s, is writing a letter to his mother. But, it isn’t written in a letter format, instead, he is “talking” to his mom through the words on the page. His mother is Vietnamese, but he grew up in Connecticut. His mother still has harsh memories of the Vietnam War and takes it out on her son, physically. But, he always seems to forgive her. Little Dog also writes of his own teen years struggling with his own identity and writing, quite graphically, about his first intimate relationship with a teen boy. Since I don’t typically read open-door books, I wasn’t prepared for the explicit details which I didn’t think were necessary to the story.
When Little Dog has to struggle with yet another tragedy, he tries to come to terms with the decisions in his own life and realizes life is full of possibilities if you are willing to take the chance. Many, many others have RAVED about this book, but it just wasn’t one that resonated with me.