Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Reading Recap: December Edition

In early December we found out my dad has cancer.  This news prompted a few trips to visit my family.  We also traveled to Dollywood to see my husband's family.  Lots of travel, but one theme: family.

After a year marked by family tragedy, we decided that our priority would be visiting family and inviting family to stay with us.  I feel like we did a good job making sure we got to spend quality time with loved ones--even when it was challenging. 

With all this driving around and trying to figure out how to live in this new reality (cancer sucks on so many levels), I still got some reading done.  I think I read more in December because everytime the world seemed overwhelming I cracked open a book.  Life often felt overwhelming.  Also, I learned that I can read in the car and that was a big win.  Here's what I read:

Holidays on Ice
This was...different.  I've never read anything by David Sedaris so this was my introduction.  Holidays on Ice a compilation of short holiday stories that are unrelated.  It was really good for a short attention span.  The stories are irreverent and bizarre but definitely humorous.  I can see that Sedaris wouldn't appeal to everyone, but I think I like him.  I'll definitely be reading more by him this year. 

My Sister, the Serial Killer
I heard about this novel from a podcast.  The story sounded so interesting: a sister who helps her sister clean up the mess after she kills her boyfriends.  I have been enjoying traveling the world in my books this year and this one is set in Nigeria. 

The most challenging thing about this book was the cadence, which is something I struggle to adapt to each time I read books set in other countries.  Also, the actual book was a small hardcover that I had to struggle to keep open.  I was surprised by how annoyed I was by the physical book.  

Anyway, the story is fast paced and modern noir and I love it.  It was thought-provoking but never preachy.  There were timeline jumps that were perfectly paced to propel the reader through it.  You just gotta find out what happens next.  One of my favorite characters was in a coma for the majority of the book.  When I finished I really wanted to talk about it with someone.  

The Count of Monte Cristo
This is a classic that I have been meaning to read FOREVER.  This year I got the audio and listened to all 52 hours of it.  And it was fantastic.  

I've heard lots of people say it's the only classic they love or it's the classic that got them reading classics.  It's such an adventurous story--love, drama, revenge.  *sigh*  There are lots of plot lines and at first I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep track of them, but each story is compelling and connected.  Dumas was an artist.  

I loved the audio because of the names and the French/Italian words.  I was able to talk about the book with my family and say things like "Jacopo," "Caderousse," and "Mercedes" like the narrator--with an over-the-top accent.  It was a delight.  

The Beautiful Mystery
Oh, Inspector Gamache, how I love thee!  

At first, this book, not set in Three Pines, made me annoyed.  What is happening to Clara and Gabri and Ruth???? But after 100 pages I got really engrossed in the mystery (basically a closed room set-up involving monks) and the trajectory of Gamache and Beauvoir's relationship.  It was so good!  

And, because I didn't listen to the audio I don't know how to say any of the French names.  I asked my daughters who are taking French how to say "Jean-Guy Beauvoir" and they have not stopped making fun of the way I butchered the name.  

The Bookshop on the Corner
Modern Mrs. Darcy Book club pick for December.  I don't usually read along but I every time I've heard this recommended it piqued my interest.  With all the emotional things happening in my life I thought nothing would be better to close out the month with than a rom-com in novel form.

This book helped me realize that I just don't like sweetness.  I mean, I like warm stories but not novels that I have to suspend all disbelief.  The story was ok, but a little far-fetched.  It was more Hallmark movie than rom-com and I am not a Hallmark movie fan.  However, if you are, you should totally read this.  You will love it.  Let me know if you want my copy--you can have it.

The book was begging for awws and I just can't.

So, that was December.  And I got this blog post before the 15th of January.  I'm pretty impressed with myself.  

good work me!

What was your best/worst of December?

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