The final month of the year! I’ll have my 2016 review for you in two weeks.

Now, let’s look back at December. My goal:

“I’m not going to set a December goal. I’m just going to read what I want to read and enjoy the season.”

So, spoiler alert, that means I made my goal because I didn’t set one.

Let’s see what I actually read… (Link to my Goodreads 2016 shelf where you can find individual reviews that may or may not differ from what is posted here.)


Don’t You Cry – Mary Kubica – 4* – (Dec 11):

Uneven writing. Sometimes beautiful, sometimes clunky. The story itself was quite good.

I would’ve thought this was Kubica’s first book, rather than the most recent, based on the writing because I don’t remember a lot of those issues with the other two I’ve read.

 

 


The Things We Wish Were True – Marybeth Mayhew Whalen – 4* – (Dec 13):

There are nothing small about the secrets in this small town. The relationships become more and more complex and connections are revealed. A few of the discoveries weren’t much of a surprise, but a couple caught me off-guard.

Despite working with a large cast of characters, the author managed to make many of them very complex and distinct.


The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge – Charlie Lovett – 4* – (Dec 25)

What happened after Ebenezer Scrooge’s huge transformation? This novella brings us the life of Scrooge 20 years later. His life is quite different as his generosity has left him in trouble with the bank. Even worse, his ghost-friend Jacob Marley is still held down by heavy chains. Scrooge asks Marley to be revisited by the three spirits in order to create more change for good, in hopes of setting Marley free.

The writing style was very similar to that of the Dickens original. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much, but it was still a fun spin with a version of Scrooge’s Christmas-Future.


One Hundred Names for Love: A Memoir – Diane Ackerman – 4* – (Dec 27):

I read this as research for a short story I’m writing.

Reading about the struggles and progress of Paul West as he fought back post-stroke was inspiring. And reading about the burden it placed on his wife was eye-opening. It was reassuring to see how their relationship changed but remained strong.

 


The Couple Next Door – Shari Lapena – 4* – (Dec 29):

Twisted. The action revolves around the abduction of a baby, but the story is more about the characters. Nobody in this book is trustworthy and every relationship is dysfunctional. It’s hard not to suspect everyone of wrong-doing (at least on some level) because they’re all so shady.

 

 


I have three reading goals this year:

  1. Read 50 books: – Somehow, I finished this in November. Done!
  2. Complete the PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge: There are 40 categories, and I’ll count no book for more than 2. I also decided not to count re-reads (unless the category specifies it must be a re-read). Numbers below are new/add’l categories completed. Done!
    1. January – 4 (blue cover, murder mystery, set in Europe, takes place in summer)
    2. February – 3 (culture unfamiliar with, translated to English, library)
    3. March – 10 (autobiography, political memoir, graphic novel, over 600 pages, satirical, guaranteed to bring joy, poetry, finish in a day, NYT bestseller, under 150 pages)
    4. April – 2 (road trip, published in 2016)
    5. May – 4 (YA bestseller, recommended by someone you just met, written by celebrity, protagonist with your occupation)
    6. June –  2 (Oprah’s book club, science fiction)
    7.  July – 4 (becoming a movie this year, 100 years older than me, takes place on an island, book and its prequel)
    8. August – 4 (recommended by family member, dystopian, future romance, home state)
    9. September – 3 (written by a comedian, Nat’l Book Award, first in bookstore)
    10. October – 2 (20th century classic, not read since HS)
    11.  November – 2 (self-help, based on a fairy tale)
      1. (Total = 40)
  3. Read at least 3 classics from new-to-me authors: 
    1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Diversity? Several thriller/mystery novels, a holiday novella, and a memoir by the wife of a stroke victim.

Star ratings: I base this on the flat stars Goodreads displays in list-view, not the quarter-star system I assign in my reviews.

  • 5 stars: 4 books (1 re-read)
  • 4 stars: 30 books
  • 3 stars: 20 books
  • 2 stars: 3 books
  • 1 star: 0 books
  • 0 stars: 2 books (both books I started and abandoned)

Pages read:

  • January – 1608
  • February – 1420
  • March – 2521
  • April – 1258
  • May – 2197
  • June – 886
  • July – 549
  • August – 2433
  • September – 807
  • October – 1003
  • November – 2304
  • December – 1359

I’ll go into more detail when I do my Year-in-Review, but I didn’t read any new-to-me classic authors in December. It felt good to read without a quota or trying to fill any crazy categories.

In January, I have some travel planned and I’m beginning my final course for the editing program I started last summer. I’ll set a goal of 4 books for the month. Also, I’m starting the Rhymes with Croatia 2017 Reading Challenge. If you haven’t looked into it yet, please do!

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