I’m totally slacking in 2017. I had all these New Year’s Resolutions, and then I guess January 2 happened and it all went out the window. I don’t even know. I’ll do another post regarding my New Year’s Resolutions (and my husband’s that, ironically enough, include me). Anyway, on to the list. It turned out way longer than I expected!
In December, I did not read nearly as much as I would’ve liked. I’d like to chalk it up to the holidays, and maybe that did have something to do with it, but really, it was a lot of lazy.
This year, I’ve decided to do Modern Mrs. Darcy’s reading challenges. She has two this year, one for fun and one for growth. I’m doing both, I think. You can find them here. I’ll note which books I choose for each category in the challenges.
Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs. There, I’m done with the series. I was so ready for this book to end. Not because it wasn’t good. I quite enjoyed it. I get like that with a series. After three or four books of the same characters, I’m over it. Poor Twilight couldn’t even get a fair review on that last book. I was done. Anyway, I do recommend this series to anyone. It was out of my norm, and it read really easily and fast. In this last book, Jacob is torn between his two worlds. In an effort to save all the ymbrynes, he learns a lot about himself and his peculiarity. The crew goes into the depths of hell to help their friends and it ends beautifully. I checked this one out from the library. There was quite a wait on this that I didn’t expect. That’s a heads up to anyone that gets their books from small libraries, sometimes long lines on popular titles.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. This one is, by far, my favorite Harry Potter book. Harry Potter discovers even more about his past, including a sacred new friend, and he learns a lot about himself as well. There is so much strength in this one boy. This is probably one of my favorite Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers, and that crazy teacher that thinks she can see into the future, good grief. Loved it.
The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Pia Edberg. Hygge (pronounced HOO-gah) is a very popular topic right now. There are MULTIPLE books out there promoting the concept and how to make it work for you. This one was $1.99 on Amazon for Kindle this month, so I picked it up to see what all the hype is about. Turns out, I already hygge quite a bit. Hygge is about creating a cozy or homey place for friends and family. Home cooked meals around the table, homemade cookies and gifts, candles and fires and quilts. Lots of welcoming into your space. We already eat around our table every night as a family. I’m trying to do more homemade gifts and food items for friends and neighbors. The concept is about putting down your phone, turning off electronics and TV and just being with your people. Not as easy at it sounds with our busy schedules but doable. I enjoyed this short book.
Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay. The MMD book challenge calls for a book of any genre that addresses current events. I picked this book up for Kindle for $1.99 in December with intentions of it being my read for a collection of essays, but with all the women’s marches going on around the country, I thought it would be good as a book that addressed that. I hated this book. Many of the essays I just quit in the middle or skipped all together. I wasn’t expecting so many book and movie and music reviews. I also wasn’t expecting so much bias. The beginning essays were good. I would love to know more about the author’s life growing up with immigrant parents and she survived at least one very traumatic event. These things shaped her world, and I got a real taste of that in the first section, but when she started complaining about movies and the way black people are portrayed, I could really see that she clearly has some work to do on herself. She admits that. She used to (or still does) play Scrabble competitively. Also, she’s a college professor. This is fascinating to me. This clearly expands the vocabulary, except there apparently is only one word for the way women are treated and that is misogyny, and only two words for abortion and that is reproductive freedom. Shoot me. I want equal pay for women as much as the next person, but I’m not taking to publishing my rants and views in order to get my point across. I don’t think I’m a feminist at all if this book represents feminism’s many aspects. If you want to read a book that addresses current events, choose a different one.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger. The title of this book mislead me.I thought it was going to be about community and your people. Not at all. I need to start reading the synopses of these books on Kindle. This has happened to me more than once now. This was more about the way that Native Americans lived versus the white Europeans when they first came to America. Then it ventured into how the military veterans are received and treated when they come home from war. It was $1.99 on Amazon. I was reading this for the community aspect and not any category of the reading challenge.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. I checked this audiobook out from thelocal library just like I’ve done with the rest of the series. This book is LONG. My Ali is finishing it up right now, and I almost dread the end for her. There are at least three long, drawn out monologues that I would’ve skipped right over if I had been reading the paper book. I got so bored! This could be a sign that I need a break from the series. I don’t know. Anyway, I liked it over all. Ali is attracted to its 32 point AR worth.
Eleanor+Park by Rainbow Rowell. I bought this book a long time ago for $1.99 on Kindle and started it but put it down because I wasn’t prepared for all the language at the beginning. I’ve heard rave reviews, which is why I bought it in the first place, but I was disappointed in the first three chapters. I was googling books with a reputation of being unputdownable for the reading challenge and this one came up. Since I already owned it, I thought I’d give it another try. It totally lived up to that rep. I stayed up until 3:30 am one morning devouring it before I finally made myself put it down, then finished it quickly the next day. So, so good. There is a lot of language and a few scenes that left me mad for Eleanor. Eleanor represents tons of kids I know and people I see at work, so the story hit pretty close to home. I only cried a little, and that’s a huge feat for me (those who know me can attest to this). This was my book with a reputation of being un-put-downable.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I listened to this one on Audible. I’ve heard great things about this book including a recommendation from one of my blog readers! Thanks Elena! It took me a little bit to get into this one. I wasn’t Ove’s biggest fan at first, but this book has just about the sweetest, happiest ending I’ve ever read. I loved the whole motley crew of characters by the end. These people are my people. And Ove reminds me so much of my grandfather that I couldn’t help but love him. My grandfather always drove a Chevrolet and his tractors were always blue Fords and everyone should just obey all the rules and we will all get along just fine. I want to read another of Backman’s books. He’s got a great style of unfolding the story just slowly enough to keep all your interest.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I also listened to this one on Audible. There is no picture of this one because it almost destroyed my relationship with my Kindle, and when I finally got rid of it, I couldn’t bring myself to pull it back up and get a picture. The Audible help folks didn’t come right out and say it, but I’m pretty sure that we were in agreement that the download was likely demon possessed. I listened to it mostly while I was purging my house, ironically enough. Kondo has some good ideas about what to get rid of and making sure everything has a place. I’m not really into the idea of treating my stuff like living things, so I couldn’t take it totally seriously. One thing I did take away, if you wear sweat pants all the time, you become a person that should be wearing sweat pants instead of a put together person. This hit home for me. I’m a yoga pants junky. Also, she says not to sleep in over-sized shirts, but get yourself some real pajamas, so that’s on my list to do soon. This qualified as “a book in translation” for the reading challenge. A Man Called Ove qualified for that category as well.