What I Read: December 2019

Well, I did it! I read 11 books in December, bringing my total to 121 and surpassing my total goal for the year by one. I’m a little bit more embarrassed by how few of the challenge titles I actually read from my lists in January last year. I’m determined to do better on that front this year, but more on that in a different post! Right now we’re just talking about December books so let’s get to it!

The Books of December
  1. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. This was such a great read! It was a really interesting cross between historical fiction, alternative 1950’s history, and science fiction. Really well written, witty, and very smart.
  2. The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar. This was another good one! Historical fiction, and focused on the women pilots who flew supplies in World War Two as part of the WASP (womens airforce service pilot) program.
  3. Lost Roses by Martha Hall Kelly. I guess I was just working my way backwards through the decades, if you let me count the 1950’s alternative history as one. Lost Roses is set around the first world war and the Russian revolution. It was a family drama/mystery and set in a time period that isn’t overdone.
  4. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. For the first time ever, we actually got through A Christmas Carol before Christmas! It was so fun, and I was struck by how witty Dickens can be. The way he phrases things can be so subtly humorous. I just love it.
  5. Eyes of the World: Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and the Invention of Modern Photojournalism. Very interesting look into the birth of modern war photography and photojournalism. I’m not certain how much of the biography account of Capa and Taro is accurate, because seemed pretty glowing (maybe that’s just my inner pessimist coming out) but regardless, I can’t help but respect them just for what they accomplished in the field. They were at the forefront of groundbreaking journalism in the Spanish Revolution that paved the way for journalism in WWII.
  6. The Last of August by Brittany Cavallaro. This was the second book in the Charlotte Homes series. I read the first one sometime last year and liked it, so had to read this one. I didn’t like this one as much. It was fine until the end, but the end made no sense to me and felt like it was just thrown together, trying to come up with a way to tie all the plot strings together. It was unexpected, I’ll give you that, but it also made zero sense.
  7. The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia. This was a really different read for me. It is a translation of a book originally published in spanish. I don’t know how much that had to do with the tone of the book, but it was very different from most other books I’ve read. Different in a good way, for the most part. It’s very literary and lyrical, but difficult to follow as it switches between narrators sometimes. The ending didn’t entirely make sense to me either, but overall, not a terrible read. I mostly enjoyed it.
  8. Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey. I saw this one recommended on one of Anne Bogel’s reading lists and finally got it from the library. It was a perfect light, fun read over Christmas break. If chick flicks could be books, this would be one.
  9. Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers by Kate Hopper. This had a lot of interesting writing insight and prompts that I’m going to try to use to structure some of my creative writing over the next year. I loved the perspective it gives on writing motherhood memoirs because that is an area that I’m always inspired to write in… and always struck by self-doubt when I try to do it.
  10. The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey. I know, I know, another WWII historical novel. This one was unique! It focused on the Red Cross Donut girls. I’ve read about them the Red Cross WWII papers, but have never seen fiction about them! It was relatively light, given the subject matter–not chick flick light, but definitely not literary fiction heavy–and I loved it.
  11. All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin. Somehow I went into this expecting a really light read, and it really wasn’t. It was easy to read and quick, but it dealt with some pretty heavy modern topics. Even though I wasn’t totally expecting it, I thought it was well done and it succeeded in making me think. What would you do if your child was implicated in a horrific school bullying scandal as victim or instigator? How would you respond? What would you change? My only criticism of the book is that, like so often these days, wealthy people were portrayed as very elitist and snobby, when not downright evil. It’s just not true, and I get really tired of it. Evil is in the heart, not the pockets.

And that’s a wrap on my reading for 2019! I can hardly believe it, but we’re already 6 days into 2020, so I’d better get my head in the game with a quickness. Happy New Year!