Quick Lit: October

It’s been awhile since my last Quick Lit review.

The Martian (Andy Weir)

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For whatever reason, I tend to avoid books that are greatly hyped. However, when two good friends, both scientists, recommended this book to me, I had to read it. And from page one, when Mark Watley, the botanist and engineer of NASA’s Mars mission is stranded there, I was hooked.

While the science is fascinating, The Martian is full of suspense and adventure, humor and humanity. I loved that none of Mark’s mishaps- except the initial stranding on Mars- was because of a freak accident. Mark’s disasters are consequences of his own decisions, and in that way, I identified with Mark’s struggles, even though (thankfully) I will never be trying to survive on Mars by storing my own urine.

Go read it now.

The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco* (Laura DiSilverio)

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This cozy, the first of DiSilverio’s new series about a book group, was entertaining and clever. I enjoyed the characters, the hint of romance, and the setting in a quaint Colorado town.

DiSilverio has a keen sense of human nature and frailty, and both shone through this mystery that will keep you guessing without keeping you up at night.

Timeline (Michael Crichton)

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Crichton writes an intriguing story. This 1999 novel focuses on a group of archeologists and historians excavating a fourteenth century French castle.   The quantum science was more interesting to me than the characters, and at the end, I had a vague sense that I’d read this before. Apparently it was also made into a movie in 2003, but it fell right in a three year period where I did nothing but nurse babies and change diapers, so I’m sure I haven’t seen the movie.

A good vacation read, but nothing to write home about.  If you’re looking for good time travel fiction, I recommend Connie Willis’s Blackout and All Clear, or The Doomsday Book.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo)

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Another vacation read, albeit an odd one. This slim tome is part how-to, part philosophy, and while it was heavy on the animism of our possessions, I appreciated her main idea: keep only what is bringing you joy. If you’re holding onto something that doesn’t give you joy, you are either holding onto the past, or afraid of the future. It did inspire me to come home and purge lots of my belongings, without the guilt that the process has brought me in the past.

The Reckoning Stones* (Laura DiSilverio)

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Iris is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and her scars barely cover gaping emotional wounds. When her rapist comes out of a twenty-three year coma, she is compelled to confront him.   Are secrets kept this long better left alone, or does the truth make us free?

The back jacket made me nervous to read this book, but DiSilverio walked a careful line here, painting simultaneously a religious community that has been complicit in terrible abuse, and people within it of genuine faith. I enjoyed this one very much and have circled back multiple times to ponder DiSilverio’s questions and characters. The Reckoning Stones is neither easy nor comfortable, but well worth the read.

Command Authority (Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney)

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I don’t generally read co-authored books, but I have enjoyed the Jack Ryan books, and this one was on the bookshelf at our vacation rental. The interesting piece in the story was the play between Jack Ryan, Sr., and his son, Jack, Jr. Don’t ever think your past won’t affect your future…

It was a good vacation read: fast paced, suspenseful, and light on the deep questions. Really, the perfect antidote to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (Jeanne Birdsall)

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I read this aloud to the children, who consistently begged for more. (How can I not love that?!) In this installment of the Penderwick chronicles, Rosalind goes on vacation with a friend while the younger three girls go to Maine with Aunt Claire. This leaves a reluctant Skye as the OAP (oldest available Penderwick), while she, Jane and Batty have a full complement of ordinary and wonderful adventures on their vacation.

Skye’s fulfillment of the OAP duties has been a topic of family conversation here all month. My kids have started to ask themselves how they take responsibility for our family’s well-being and happiness. The kids have already put the next Penderwick adventure on hold at the library.

*Occasionally I receive author’s copies of books to review, but the opinions here are 100% my own.

My previous Quick Lit reviews can be found here: May, April, March, February, January, December 2014.  For more Quick Lit, check out Modern Mrs Darcy.

11 thoughts on “Quick Lit: October

  1. I read the Kondo book earlier this year and I really liked it. I went through my clothes and books back in May and had the kids to the same. I actually donated 113 books! It was very liberating! And I’ve kept it up. The paper category was the hardest for me, though I’ve let go of most of it. And I’ve purchased less because I look at it and if I don’t LOVE it, I don’t allow it in the house. I actually like the clothes in my closet and wear them and hardly ever look into the closet and say “I have nothing to wear,” even though there is less in there than ever before, I’ve kept the house tidier in general actually. It’s not perfect, but it has come a long way. 🙂


  2. I’m so glad to hear both that you enjoyed The Martian & that it came recommended by scientists you know. I picked it up last week & it’s gracing my To Be Read pile. Thank you for sharing your impressions.


  3. I also have a tendency to pass over the most hyped books, but I was thrilled I made an exception for The Martian. If you can, I’d also suggest going to see the movie…Matt Damon is the perfect fit for Mark Watney!


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