As December ends, so does 2019! It’s simply unbelievable how quickly time passes, and this year was no exception. As I completed the year I spent time reflecting on the stories I’d borrowed for a time, the narratives I had read and committed to memory. But more about that in my previous post, 2019: A Best of Books edition. Today, we’re talking about the books I read this month.
Holy cow, I slowed down in December. On December 1st, I completed my 2019 reading challenge and breathed a massive sigh of relief. At that point, I picked up Little Women. I knew it wouldn’t be a quick read simply because classics generally are not, but I definitely didn’t expect it to take my 25 days to read (insert smiling while sweating emoji here). I am glad that I read it; in reading, I discovered that I never actually read it while growing up (a shocking realization that happens frequently to me). It’s something I think every young woman should read, maybe every person in general. A masterful coming-of-age story.
I was also able to work in a few audiobooks this month! A charming addition, as I have missed listening to those on my daily commute. One of those ending up being a 5-star read, one of the 16 five-star ratings I gave this year.
- Nonfiction: 2
- Fiction: 5
- Audiobook: 2
By Star Review:
- ✪✪✪✪✪: 1
- ✪✪✪✪: 4
- ✪✪✪: 2
Favorite Read: Red at the Bone
Most Likely to Recommend: City of Girls
Most Quotable: Come Let Us Adore Him
Most Important/Powerful/Heavy/Thought-Provoking: Red at the Bone
Most Fun: City of Girls
Late to the Party: Little Women
Favorite Instagram Post:
- City of Girls
- Talking to Strangers
- The Christmas Pact
- Christmas Roses
- Little Women
- Red at the Bone
- Come Let Us Adore Him
City of Girls, Elizabeth Gilbert
I loved this book; still, I wasn’t sure it was a 5-star read (that’s why it only got 4), but it was such a fun reading experience. This book was an absolute romp. I think I’ve described it this way at least four times, and I would apologize, but I’m fairly certain it’s the most apt description (enter emoji of brunette girl shrugging unapologetically here).
This is the 1940s story of a young, wealthy girl who finds herself in New York City after being kicked out of college for basically just not caring. Her aunt (and newest chaperone) owns and operates a theater known for doing cheap and cheesy productions. When Vivian, the main character, falls in with a bit of a loose crowd, she is quickly immersed in the seedy underbelly of New York City club life culture: sexual promiscuity, drinking, and general debauchery. Vivian accepts her place until the arrival of a big theater name from Britain and her famously good-looking husband. Events occur, war happens, and Vivian is left to deal with the consequences of her actions for decades to come.
One thing I love about this story is that it ends beautifully. We don’t leave off with Vivian as a young girl; instead, we are able to see the woman she becomes as a result of the events in the first sections of the book. I’m a big fan of this one.
Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell
I read this book because I listen to (and really enjoy) Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History. I have not read any of his other books, but after listening to the interview he had with Oprah about this work, I was interested. Some people regarded this book as praiseworthy, while others went so far as to label it as dangerous. To that opinion, I can only say that I think content is truly dangerous when we approach and receive it with blind faith and trust. The reviews and opinions supplied in relation to this book are varied, but I am rewarding it for this one simple fact: it made me think.
I love nothing more than a book that requires me to think deeply and form opinions for myself. Can I say I agreed with everything Gladwell offered in this book? No. Can I say, however, that it did require me to personally wrestle with ideas and concepts in my own mind? Yes, it did that. I feel that I have a stronger grasp on those ideas because I was forced to come to my own decisions about them. I like that.
The Christmas Pact, Vi Kreeland
This isn’t a normal read for me; it definitely veers toward romance. I don’t really read romance because it’s just not my bag, but I thought this might be a good little audiobook to get me in the Christmas spirit! Oh, also, it was my Audible Original pick for December. It was an okay book (3 stars) that I didn’t consider a waste of time. It was fun.
In some strange universe Riley Kennedy is employed by a company that also employs a Kennedy Riley. Riley loathes Kennedy Riley, just loathes him, despite the fact that they have never met in person. Their emails are constantly getting confused, and when an embarrassing email sent by Riley to an advice columnist gets back to Kennedy. When Kennedy and Riley meet, a unique (and trope-y) proposal presents itself: Kennedy will accompany Riley to her family’s Christmas in exchange for Riley to attend a wedding as Kennedy’s date. What do you think happens? I bet you can guess.
Christmas Roses, Amanda Cabot
Set in a mining town in 1882, Celia is a young widowed mother struggling to make ends meet. She owns a boardinghouse, but there are few boarders coming to stay in Wyoming Territory over the winter season. When a desperado enters town looking for the father who abandoned him years ago, Celia is given an opportunity to have both a helper and a husband (sorry, spoiler).
I liked this for what it was. I do think maybe my review of three stars was a bit generous (but I do get generous during the holidays). It was a pleasant read, but not the type I would normally choose.
Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? Probably nothing.
I did love this book. When I started reading Little Women, it was under the assumption that I had read this when I was young; that was wrong, because I quickly realized I had never read it. Oops! No book-loving girl should go through 26 years of life without reading Little Women. It’s essential!
I’m not going to summarize; that seems silly. I will say that I have described this novel as all-encompassing. There is an abundance of family relationships, there is romance and courtship, there is political drama in the distance and social justice in the hearts of the March family. There is heartbreak, but also hope because of the fact these women are able to achieve their deepest desires through determination and perseverance. It’s the ultimate coming-of-age story. At the conclusion of my reading time, I gave this 4 stars, but I think I was just bitter over the fact that it took me basically an entire month to read. I’m pretty confident that’s a star rating I will change.
Red at the Bone, Jacqueline Woodson
Pretty sure Jacqueline Woodson is a genius. Honestly, I’ve read three of her books and have given each the full 5 star rating because they are just that great. I was gobsmacked after Brown Girl Dreaming because of its beauty, and then listened to it on audio just because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the story.
I chose to read Red at the Bone as an audiobook because I had available credits on Audible and also because I trusted Jacqueline Woodson’s writing to translate beautifully regardless of the reading method chosen. I was correct on that count.
The book begins in 2001 (a time period in which not many books I have read are set) when Melody is 16 and attending a coming-of-age ceremony with her family. The story alternates viewpoints (I LOVE THAT), and explores the relationships of those with whom Melody is closest: her parents and grandparents. I don’t want to give too much away or oversimplify it, but this is a family story. It delves deeply into what we have given to those we leave behind when we pass from this life and the long-term bonds between those we love.
It’s an incredible book.
Come Let Us Adore Him, Paul David Tripp
This book is an advent devotional. I really don’t think this would be a four-star read for everyone, and honestly I gave it the benefit of the doubt for a few different reasons. One of those reasons would be that I really enjoyed several of the daily devotionals, but I also didn’t read this the way that I was supposed to; I got behind and then had to read lots of days at one time, and I don’t think that’s the way this was designed to be read.
Tripp is very wise; I have heard him speak on many occasions, and I really appreciate and admire him. I think that the ways he discussed the holiday season and the gift of Jesus Christ was quite good.
That’s all, folks.
That’s it for December! Thanks for sticking with me the past few months. I appreciate each and every one of you.
Until next time, happy reading!