How is it already time for my last Book Banter post of 2016?! This month (and my Christmas vacation) certainly flew by. It may have felt faster than normal because my nose was apparently stuck in a book for much of the month. I blame it on the snow, but I am still surprised I read 10 books this month! Since I read so many titles I will be posting in two parts. So get ready for a lot of book talk, because I still need to countdown my favorites of the year too! As always, the books appear in the order I read them. Each title will be linked for your buying pleasure, just note I may receive a small commission from any purchase you make!
1. A Wardrobe, A Hobbit and a Great War by Joseph Loconte
This book was excellent. I mean, who doesn’t want to read about how the Great War influenced some of the best writers of the twentieth century? Ok, probably not everyone, but I certainly do. If you know me, you know I am a bit obsessed with WWI. I took every class I could about it college and continue to read about it often. In fact, I have actually read a few of the books cited as sources for this one. Can anyone say #nerdalert? With WWI as the backdrop for this nonfiction read, I knew I would enjoy it. Add in C.S. Lewis (who I read more of later this month) and J.R.R Tolkein (who wrote my beloved The Hobbit-still have not read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, awful I know) and this book was practically written for me. I loved it. I could not put it down and even made my husband wait in the car with me, before going in to a party, so I could finish my chapter. This thing is so full of my highlights and notes, I am excited to go back and read them again.
I was on a veeerrrry long holds list to get my hands on the much anticipated sixth book in French’s Dublin Murder Squad series. I have read my way through the series in the past two years and enjoy the level of detail and character development these books have. Warning: these books contain graphic scenes and bad language, sensitive readers beware. This book follows a female detective with a chip on her shoulder, Detective Conway. Detective Conway is beginning to feel like it is time to move on from the murder squad and reckons that the straightforward lovers quarrel gone wrong she is handed will be her last case. But when the evidence doesn’t point in the right direction Conway decides this case is way more complicated than it appears. While I liked the plot twists and turns in this book I did not like Detective Conway. At times her character development felt forced, which I have not seen in many of French’s other books. I still enjoyed this book it dragged for me a bit and was one of my least favorites of the series.
I had never heard of this book and would have probably never picked it up if it had not been featured as part of a book list for a course on Totalitarianism being offered at Hillsdale College. I decided to read through the book list and follow along as Dr. Arnn and Hugh Hewitt discuss the books. You can listen here. This book is about what happens when the regime you helped bring to power has no more use of you. In this book, Rubashov, who is fictional character who is based on real people in the socialist Soviet movement, finds himself arrested by the government he helped create. What follows is his interrogation and an internal struggle. Rubashov must determine if the ends justify the means. There is so much in this haunting novel that sheds light on what totalitarian regimes are capable of. It not only illuminates the horrors of the past, but allows the reader to see how the present suffers from the same ailments. There was a particularly disturbing scene in which Rubashov and a prisoner on the other side of the wall from his cell have a conversation by knocking back and forth about their definition of honor and the stark differences were horrifying to me. I highly recommend this book.
I love a good romance around Christmas time and had been wanting to read something like Christmas in Good Hope which I read last year and really enjoyed. When I saw this on sale for kindle I grabbed it up. It contained four short stories all set around Christmas time, each with an element of mystery. Had I known they were suspenseful Christmas stories I probably wouldn’t have purchased them. I was wanting a fluffy, snowy romance, complete with a bakery owner who can’t seem to find the right guy. A couple of these short stories had just enough of that and I enjoyed them. I did not particularly like the one set in Hawaii because it was not Christmasy enough, but overall they satisfied my romance fix. I also enjoyed reading short stories and want to read more in the future.
This is another book that I had to wait on the library holds list for quite awhile to get my hands on. I am making my way through Patchett’s work after reading Truth and Beauty falling in love with Bel Canto. This book is the story of two families that become one. It is one of those books that is really about nothing more than people. It reminded me of The Interestings and City on Fire, only I liked it better. There was just something about the characters that made this more compelling than the other stories I have read that are like it. They weren’t all likable, but they seemed real. The story is told from different points of view and an episode from the childhoods of the main characters drives the narrative. There were some very beautiful scenes that had me tearing up. If you like stories about the messiness of being human, that don’t have a ton of action or plot, but are full of characters you may relate to, this would be a good book to put on your “to read” list.
Those were the first five books I read in the month of December. Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments! Click here for December Book Banter: Part 2!
Until next time,
I love you more than books about the Great War and December books galore,