Short Take: The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie

In the opening pages of Rachel Linden’s newest book, The Magic of Lemon Drop Pie, her main character, Lolly, is making her daily six lemon meringue pies for her family’s restaurant. And as I read the descriptions of Lolly constructing her pies, spooning in the filling, and chatting with her sister, I found myself swept away on a wave of nostalgia.

My paternal grandmother is known in our family for her delicious cooking, but most especially for her pie. Every dinner at her home was followed by a highly anticipated pie, apple or lemon meringue being the most requested. If you were lucky, you might also sneak a midnight slice later on, or get a sliver with breakfast coffee. As I got older, and my grandma did too, I realized if I didn’t ask her to teach me soon, I might miss my chance to learn directly from her years of experience. 

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Short Take: A Prayer for the Crown-Shy

So, I’ve had a bit of a reading slump lately. Picking things up, putting them down, trying to decide if they are worth finishing or not. With this high turnover, I’ve begun to notice that a determining factor can be the emotional atmosphere each story creates in me. I can’t put my finger on the mechanics, but I am definitely aware of the resonance I’m left with as I pause to step away. And when I’ve put down multiple books half-finished, it’s a pleasure to find a new book by an author I already know will bring me joy. Such is the case with Becky Chamber’s latest installment of her Monk and Robot series. While I haven’t been much of a sci-fi reader, I could not resist her tea-monk protagonist from last year’s A Psalm for the Wild-Built. I found it both delightful and profound, despite its brevity. Discovering she had another Monk and Robot novella slated for release this week, A Prayer for the Crown-Shy, made it the perfect book to pick up after a spate of disappointments.

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Short Take: This Time Tomorrow

I know I said last week that female protagonists of a certain age were few and far between in fiction. And it’s true they are, but sometimes the universe decides your reading life is going have a few serendipitous book pairings. When I started listening to the audiobook of This Time Tomorrow, it was not because of the age of the main character. It was because Emily Henry blurbed the book and I love Emily Henry. And there’s time travel. So I decided to give it a whirl.

Our heroine, Alice Stern, is turning forty. She’d like a washer/dryer in her apartment and for her dad not to be terminally ill. Her job is fine, her boyfriend is decent, and her life is going along without much particular direction. But when Alice wakes up the day after her 40th birthday she finds herself in her old bedroom and her 16-year-old body. It’s the morning of her 16th birthday, her dad is relatively young and healthy and Alice has the disorienting chance to live this day over again, with the benefit of knowing what the future holds. Or so she thinks.

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