Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December Wrap-Up

December has come and (almost) gone, and a new year is upon us! Before I start thinking about what I'll be reading in 2015, I thought I'd talk a bit about the books I read in the last month of 2014.

The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga
The Sixteen Pleasures

This book was pretty in the middle for me. It follows a female book conservator in I think the 40s or 50s who travels to Italy after a massive flood damages many historical libraries. I heard about this one from one of Nancy Pearl's Books Lust books. It wasn't bad, and it didn't disappoint me, but I didn't really connect with it.

A Prayer Journal by Flannery O'Connor
A Prayer Journal

As an English and Religion double major, this book hits a lot of my interest points. It was really interesting seeing how O'Connor related to God, and chose to present that in her journal. I wasn't a fan of the intro; according to the back of the book he was a close friend of hers, but I didn't like how he seemed to be suggesting that O'Connor's journal was less of a sincere set of letters to God than another dramatized writing exercise of hers. No matter how well you know someone, I'm not sure you can ever make judgments or statements about someone else's faith. So that kind of soured it for me, and I wished I hadn't read the intro. The journal was very interesting though, but be forewarned that it is very very short, so I wouldn't buy this one unless, like me, it really hits your interests.

The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

I was pretty sure I would like this book and I was not disappointed. It was so fun to read, but it was sincere and very real. It tells the story of a man who has lost his family and has become a certified at-home caretaker. He starts to care for a teenage boy with muscular dystrophy, and it catalogs their relationship and growth together. The second half of the book consists of a road trip that brings on a cast of quirky characters, but it never feels cheesy or forced. I gave this book 5 stars on goodreads because it was such a pleasure to read.

The End of the Jews by Adam Mansbach
The End of the Jews

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It's one of the few books that I've bought in recent years without hearing anything about it beforehand. It just looked interesting and so I bought it. But then I was reluctant to read it. I finally picked it up and I'm glad I did. It has a similar feel to Zadie Smith's White Teeth in that it follows different members of a family and spans different generations, and focused on the issues of family, belonging, and identity. It was really well-written and I really think this book deserves to be talked about more.

Knit the Season by Kate Jacobs
Knit the Season (Friday Night Knitting Club, #3)

My grandma picked this up for me from a garage sale because she thought I had read the other books in this series. I actually haven't, but after reading the not-so-great reviews on goodreads I decided it would be best to read it right away and get it over with. And unfortunately I really did just want to get it over with. The characters were flat and at times, especially the males, unbelievable, and for a knitting book it didn't have too much to do with knitting. A good piece of knitting fiction makes you want to knit, and inspires you. This one did not, and I would avoid this read.

Etched on Me by Jenn Crowell
Etched on Me

This book was a little different than I expected. I picked it up because I love books about people in mental hospitals (I know, weird) and this book definitely has that element. I didn't realize that it is and LGBTQA book, so if that is something you're uncomfortable with I would avoid this book. Overall, I didn't absolutely love this book, and I've definitely read better books that deal with this subject matter, but this one did offer a unique perspective, and it wasn't predictable. It was compelling and I for the most part enjoyed reading it. I think this one is worth a read.

So, there was my December. I hope everyone had a fabulous reading year, and here's to another great one!

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