We are a solid week into 2016 and I am finally getting around to writing my December Book Banter post. Blame it on the wedding, blame it on the honeymoon or blame it on the amount of laundry I had to do, but forgive me for being late.
December was a magical month for reading. I was still working on cleaning out my kindle (too bad I continue to buy books) and somehow the books I had in the queue were so good! So here they are, the December Dream Team.
1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This book was recommended by a blogger that reads and enjoys the same types of book I do. This is not a genre I usually read but decided to try it. I am so glad I did. From start to finish this book was engaging and entertaining. Full of eighties pop culture but set in the future, this book was like the sci-fi version of Gilmore girls. Its set in a world that is lived more in a virtual reality video game than in the real world. I am not one to play video games, because let’s be honest, I’m not good at them and they make me mad, but I have watched my husband play and knew some of the lingo used in the book already. I was pretty proud of myself. There were a couple of cheesy parts in the book, but it also had elements of mystery, suspense and humor. I imagine this would be a pretty good book to listen to as an audiobook as well because the narrator has such a strong voice and personality. If you too are not a regular sci-fi reader, try something new and read this book. Then tell me what you think! Goodreads Rating: 4 stars (I’d give it a 4.5 if half stars were allowed.)
2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
I, like every other girl who loves books about every day life and human nature, am a fan of Austen. Meeting Mr. Darcy as a idealistic 17 year old was enough for me to swoon. I read a few more Austen books my freshmen year in college and then got off track. This is my first time reading Sense and Sensibility, which many argue is her best work. While I did enjoy this book immensely, it didn’t have Mr. Darcy. But it did make me want to pick up where I left off 7 years ago and keep reading Austen. I listened to the audible audiobook version but I wish I had read the physical book. There were so many parts that made me laugh out loud that I wished I could reread the lines. While Austen doesn’t write about what most of us would consider every day people, her insight into human nature is spot on. And did I mention, she’s funny? This book was so fun and I know I will revisit a hard copy in the future. Goodreads Rating: 5 stars (I’d give it 4.5 if half stars were allowed.)
3. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by. C.S. Lewis
If you read my Year in Book Review post you know this book was one of my favorites of the year. I have loved this book since the first time it was read to me. It is so full of magic and real life lessons. It was magical to read it at Christmastime. The Father Christmas scene was just what I needed to read to get my in the holiday spirit. I have never read this book to a class before but after reading The Magician’s Nephew the kids begged me to read all of The Chronicles of Narnia. So we started in on this one and they loved it as mush as I did. Read this!!!! Goodreads Rating: 5 stars.
4. The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz
I could write a series of blog posts on this book. This book examines the relationship of happiness and the number of choices people are confronted with on a daily basis. Historically, the more choices people have, the happier they are. In recent studies people have been reporting that making choices is starting to make them unhappy. I am a chronic, “I don’t care, whatever you want” person. Annoying, I know. I have been trying to work on that. I have opinions, likes, dislikes and I am fully capable of making a choice. Especially when it comes to choosing what I want for dinner. I should not be giving myself anxiety about making run of the mill every day decisions. This book jumped into my hands at the right time. The studies the author includes are interesting and his insights are valuable. I put it down numerous times to flush things out with Anthony and while I am not sure he always enjoyed the conversations, I sure did. While I did not agree with everything the author said he did make many valid points. If you want to learn if you are a maximizer or a staticiser then check this book out. Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
5. Christmas in Good Hope by Cindy Kirk
I got this book as one of my “kindle firsts” freebie books. I picked it because I wanted a a fluffy romantic holiday book to read as I was getting ready for the wedding. This was all of those things, and I actually enjoyed it. Apparently it is the first book in a series and I will probably read the next one. I mean the main character owns a bakery. Enough said. But, also she is sweet but has real life problems and a real life family. Oh, did I mention the town she lives in loves Christmas and does a “Twelve Nights Festival.” Sigh. The love story was pretty cheesy and predictable and uncomfortable in some parts but it was the perfect chick lit for right before my wedding. Goodreads Rating: 3 stars (I’d give it 3.5 if I could!)
6. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This book was heartbreaking, uplifting and memorable. It tells the story of a family and their involvement on the home front during WWII. It is a good thing that the author’s name was only vaguely familiar to me. If I had remembered she also wrote Firefly Lane I might not have picked it up and that would have been a mistake. Anthony and I tried to listen to the audiobook of Firefly Lane and let’s just say we abandoned it. This book had a subject that was more my speed and was very well written. I enjoyed the complexity of the characters and their stories were so touching. I may have finished reading it while waiting in the horrendous line for the Transformers ride on my honeymoon. I may have also been crying in said line. Whoops. Its a good one. Goodreads Rating: 4 stars
Like I said, it was a good month for reading. I took a break from my murder mystery kick and it was refreshing and fun. Since it was the last month of the year I also got my Goodreads Reading Challenge results. Every year I set a book reading goal and keep track of what I read. In 2015 I set my goal at 70 books and I hit my goal right on the nose. So hooray! I read 70 books, my Goodreads record. These 70 books contained 23,812 pages. I set my goal at 74 for next year. You can set your goal on goodreads.com as well. So tell me, have you read any of these? Tell me what you think if you have. I’m dying to talk about books and Anthony gets a little sick of only knowing half of what is going on in the stories as I am ranting. So please share!
Until next time,
I love you more than snowy reads and infinite choices,