books

Quick Lit: April 2018

This has been a rereading season for me, with a few exceptions. I’ve highlighted a few favorites (both old and new) below.

Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry Hannah Coulter

I posted a longer review here, but in short Hannah Coulter is a beautiful novel that reads like a memoir. Hannah is a young woman who comes of age with WWII. She lives her life in a farming community that shapes her ideas and vision of the world. It is contemplative, beautiful, and thought provoking. Highly recommended.

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast by Laura Vanderkam What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at HomeVanderkam’s study of the habits of successful people was a much-needed reminder of how to shape my days for the important rather than the urgent. If you’re feeling like you’re spinning your wheels and are ready for a retooling of your days, this might be (part of) what you’re looking for.

What the Bride Didn’t Know by Kelly Hunter

Hunter’s romance between two Australian spies covers a deeper exploration of what happens to a person when they become disabled. (No spoiler here: it’s in the first chapter.) Warning for mature themes, including sex, but the writing is smooth and witty, and Hunter tells a good story.

Fever of war : the influenza epidemic in the U.S. Army during World War I 

by Carol R. Byerly Fever of War: The Influenza Epidemic in the U.S. Army during World War I

Byerly’s scholarly exploration of the influenza epidemic is also a fascinating study of race in the American medical profession. It provides answers to a question that has bugged me since medical school: why did I not hear about the 1918 influenza epidemic until very recently? I took both AP US history and world history in school, and then I went to medical school… and still I heard almost nothing about the influenza epidemic that killed more people than combat in World War I.

If this is a subject that interests you, I would also recommend Gina Kolata’s fantastic book, Flu.

Flu: The Story Of The Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It

And because I love epidemics so much, I reread one of my favorites:

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

This was the first time I had listened to the audiobook. I love how listening to someone else read a book I’ve already read helps me see (hear?) new things. This, like Willis’s other Oxford Time Travel books, will be shelved with the SciFi, but don’t let that fool you. Doomsday Book is a well-researched exploration of the plague and how our modern day sensibilities color our interpretations of history. Highly recommended.

Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan Dad Is Fat

This was my son’s choice, and we listened to it as a family in the car. Very, very funny, and full of truths about parenthood and childhood. My kids liked it as much as I did. Highly recommended.

What are you reading? For more short reviews, check out Modern Mrs. Darcy.

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