I wanted to make sure I gave some love to the books I read in the last months of the year before 2016 came to an end. As there are 4 months to report, I’m putting them all together here in one big list. I also wanted to note that on this last day of the year, it pains me that I am still in the middle of 8 books. Some I’m only a few pages in, some I’m almost finished with, but none of them will be finished this year. I’m doing my best to get over the lack of closure, but oh man it’s hard. There’s just something about the new year that begs for clean slates! Anyway, onto what I DID finish:
This was a tough month for reading as I had major surgery on Aug 30th. I assumed I would read stacks of books during my recovery but as it turned out, the pain meds I had to take for the first few days made me nauseous and blurred my vision, so there was no reading. Even the next week or so after the meds were stopped, I was so tired that reading just put me to sleep. I didn’t even manage to read my usual book a week, but I loved the few books I did get to.
1. The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster – I love her books. I laugh so loud at them that I sometimes wake up Adam. In this one, Lancaster decides to “Martha Up Her Life” for a year and try and live life how her beloved Martha would. If you need a good pick me up, I recommend it.
2. Dandelions In A Jelly Jar by Traci DePree – An engaging, contemporary story about a women in the midwest and her life. I enjoyed it, but 4 months later, the other two books are fresh in my mind still and although I recall liking this one, it’s not as memorable.
3. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – An amazing book that I have been wanting to read and it did not disappoint. Following the life of a boy from early teens through adulthood and the epic story of his life, it’s a fantastic story and focuses around a painting, which is double cool. If you have it on your list to read, do it.
I had a conversation the other day about what we do when we find authors that we love. My friend said that she immediately buys all of their books and binge reads everything they ever wrote. I thought for a moment and realized that I do the opposite. I like to buy one book every year or every few months and spread them out so I have them to look forward to. This month I read a few books by some of my favorite authors and it made me so happy!
1. It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Arden – A quick little book and self proclaimed bible for the advertising world. The advice of course can apply to most areas of design. Our education never ends!
2. The Last Queen by C. W. Gortner – Gortner is quickly becoming one of my go to authors for historical fiction. His writing is wonderful and he weaves vivd tales. I did add all of his books to my amazon list after reading this one.
3. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi – This is one of those books that I really wanted to love. It dragged on for me though. I found myself skimming a lot of it as I just couldn’t get through it without doing so, but I wanted to. It’s a powerful memoir and was a book I that I felt essential to read, but I’m glad it’s behind me.
4. Madame Tussaud by Michele Moran – Moran is at the top of favorite historical fiction authors list. I LOVE her books. This one was wonderful and I wished it didn’t have to end.
5. Plan B by Jonathan Tropper – Another beloved author, he develops characters excellently. A story of love, addiction and friendship, it’s well written and engaging.
6. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp – I LOVED THIS BOOK. It deserves yelling from rooftops. I will even go as far to insist that anyone who is has selected the path of creativity for their career should read this. I devoured it in one afternoon, could not stop or put it down. We read it for a book club and I didn’t think I’d love it as much as I did!
I’m staring at the stack from this month and all I can think is: meh.
1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Ok this is the exception this month, as it was not meh, in fact the book is fantastic. As expected as it was raved about when it was released. I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would, it’s amazing.
2. On Beauty by Zadie Smith – I officially give up on reading anything by Zadie Smith. This was the second of her books I’ve read and I had to drag myself through both. I kept waiting for it to get good. It was ok, I didn’t hate it, but I do not enjoy her writing enough to try again.
3. Boomsday by Christopher Buckley – Witty and sassy. A satisfying satirical read. The same author who wrote Thank You For Smoking, it was exactly what I hoped it would be, just not jaw dropping amazing.
4. The Laments by George Hagen – Another well written story. The month seemed to be filled with strong authors who write well, don’t get me wrong, just not my favorites of all the books I’ve read.
Halfway through the month, I was tired from the season and went to the Goodwill to grab a pile of fluff. It was exactly what I needed. I have spent the year moving away from it, but sometimes I need to read as an escape and fluff takes me away better than calgon.
1. Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund – Pre fluff. An amazing book. Reminded me of Secret Life of Bees and the book where the nanny tells the young girl that she is kind all the time. Set in Birmingham, AL in the early 60’s and potent with what is going along the lines of racism and sexism today. I really, really liked this book.
2. The Sea by John Banville – Pre fluff. Beautifully written fiction of the literature variety. This is an incredible book, but it did send me over the edge and straight to the doors of the goodwill for fluff.
3. Alamo House by Sarah Bird – Fluff at it’s finest. I have read other books by the author and I knew she’d deliver. Bonus that it was set in Austin in the 80’s so fun to compare to now and all of that. Such a chick lit book, but a good one.
4. The Beach House by Jane Green – The height of fluff. Another go to of mine for chick lit. It was exactly what I needed. If you ever need a book for a beach, a plane or a bathtub, Jane Green is a good choice.
5. The Cotton Queen by Pamela Morsi – Filled with mother daughter stuff that gets pretty serious and made me second guess if this was something I wanted to read right now, and a bit beyond fluff as rape is a central theme, but a great vacation type read.
Have a wonderful New Year, I can’t wait to share what I read in the coming months with you!