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Welcome to Quick Lit where I share books that I chose for my own reading enjoyment in a mini-review format. These are not books I received for review, but books that I’ve been wanting to read or that have 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’m still reading TOM LAKE (reading physical books is hard right now for some reason,) and on my Kindle, I’m reading IF YOU SEE THEM and A WILD HEAVENLY PLACE. I don’t have an audiobook going right now, but I have been listening to the Confronting Columbine Podcast which I am finding so fascinating. Here’s what I’ve read in the last month.

Quick Lit February 2024
The Guncle cover


By: Steven Rowley

Narrated by: Steven Rowley

Published: May 25, 2021

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons


Format: Audiobook through Libby

I read several heavy, sad books in a row and when this came up on my Libby holds, I knew it was the right time. Even though there is an umbrella of grief over this novel it is still light and funny. Gay Uncle Patrick has his young niece and nephew for the summer due to the death of their mother and their dad entering treatment. Patrick knows very little about taking care of kids, but he makes their days fun and that is what these kids (and Patrick) need. This was highly entertaining and the author narrates it expertly.

Patrick soaked his reply in so much sarcasm that it might as well have been a teenager experimenting with cologne.

When the summer is over and Patrick gives the kids back to their dad, Rowley has a metaphor that hit me in the gut because I had experienced this exact feeling.

Patrick hung back, already displaced, a substitute without a classroom now that the teacher had returned.

There are two tragedies in life, one is NOT getting what you want, the other is getting it. Patrick had lived both. The second was preferable.

Book #2, THE GUNCLE ABROAD, comes out in May and I can’t wait to read it.

Don't Forget to Writte cover


By: Sara Goodman Confino

Narrated by: Helen Laser

Published: September 1, 2023

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Historical Fiction

Format: Audiobook purchase

This was an Amazon First Reads choice in August and my cousin and I both chose it. I added the audible narration for a couple of dollars at the time knowing I might get to it quicker if I listened to it. My cousin raved about it after reading it right away, so I knew I would likely love it as well.

It’s the 1960s and Marilyn has been caught kissing the rabbi’s son during worship. So, her parents send her to live with her Great-Aunt Ada for the summer to get her life under control. Ada is a 70+ year-old matchmaker and has lived her life as she has wanted with privilege and no BS.

I spent a summer with my Great-Aunt during college and I have so many fond memories of that summer. I adored this story so much and was sad when it ended. The narration is excellent. Don’t miss this witty, heartwarming story of a young woman deciding what she really wants in life.

The Teachers cover


A Year Inside America’s Most Vulnerable, Important Profession

By: Alexandra Robbins

Narrated by: Alexandra Robbins

Published: March 14, 2023

Publisher: Dutton


Format: Audiobook through Libby

In 2015, Robbins wrote a similar book featuring four nurses and the healthcare system. In The Teachers, she focuses on 3 teachers spread out across the US but also has insights and stories from many other teachers including ones from Iowa. I’ve been a substitute teacher for 14 years in the district we live in and our kids attended. I’m quite passionate about education and after subbing full-time in high school English during COVID, I have a whole new perspective. She talks about teaching during the pandemic and how so many teachers left the profession. I can totally relate and I only did it for 4 months. I think anyone who works for a school system or has a child in school should read this. At the very least, send your child’s teacher an email, or a note, or tell them in person how much you appreciate all they are doing to teach and care for your child.

Miguel, a special education teacher who is featured in the book, found ways to motivate the kids through doughnuts by having a doughnut store every Friday. Of course, this was out of his own pocket, but by using a ticket system, his students were motivated to complete assignments and behave in the classroom. Miguel’s unique ways of teaching and reaching his students were inspiring.

Teaching should not be a hazardous occupation. I’ve been thinking more and more about this after the shooting at Perry High School here in Iowa. Especially as a substitute teacher, I worry about how I would handle a situation if I was in the building even though I know our building well and have been ALICE trained. I’m still not in the building every day and I worry that I could be the person, a sub who “doesn’t know what’s going on” to set a kid off.

In Florida, teachers were forced to manage behaviors and document them. Teachers compiled a mountain of evidence that public school wasn’t the place for a particular student who had numerous mental health issues, was obsessed with guns, and was suspended 18 times in one school year. After 5 months, he was finally transferred to a special middle school. But, he was determined to attend public high school and due to Florida’s disability law, he was allowed to attend.

This student was Nikolas Cruz, the school Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and in 2018, Cruz killed 14 students and 3 staff members and injured another 17 people in one of the deadliest school shootings in history. He is currently serving life in prison. I have been listening to the Confronting Columbine podcast and this same situation came up in the podcast discussing how the Florida public school system ignored so many red flags with this student.

Teachers are often the only adults who spend as much direct time with children as their parents do, or more. Why does this country entrust teachers with our most precious demographics but refuse to provide the tools necessary to best educate them? Improving teachers working conditions will improve the students’ experience too.

This book describes educator’s challenging work conditions in an effort to make the public aware of the realities of teaching, more inclined to appreciate teachers, and motivated to lobby to get teachers the support they need. With that said, it is common for educators to love teaching even if they don’t love the profession in its current state.

My only negative with this book was the audiobook narration. The author narrates it and I did not enjoy it. She tried too hard with voicing different teachers and conversations and it didn’t feel authentic but forced and unnatural.

What good things have you been reading? I’ve also read books that I reviewed for publishers. Check them out, HERE.

You can see all my other Quick Lit posts by clicking, HERE.

This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you paying a cent more for your purchase.
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