Happy New Year! I meant to spend this weekend catching up on blogs and comments, but I spent almost no time at my computer. The weekend was full of baking, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. and now I’m ready for the last day of our holiday before our typical routine resumes. Today’s post is a quick summary of the books I read in December — the good, the okay, and the read-alouds (which were also quite good!). I haven’t shared my weekly reading since the second Wednesday of December, so we haven’t chatted about half of these books. Let’s catch up!
I’ve spent this whole month telling people that I’ve been in a funny reading mood and haven’t read much, but this graphic definitely says otherwise. While I didn’t do as much reading as I typically do, it ended up being an average month and I managed to read three books that I adored. Here’s just a few words about each of the books from December:
❤️ Lucy by the Sea – the latest in the Lucy Barton series that saw Lucy and her ex-husband escape NYC during the Pandemic and stay at a friend’s house in Maine. It was wonderful, Lucy is wonderful, Elizabeth Strout is wonderful. I hope there are more Lucy books in the future!
❤️ A World of Curiosities – the latest Inspector Armand Gamache that brought us back to Three Pines with an intricate mystery involving a newly found room that had been boarded up for over 100 years. I worry every year that this series is going to fizzle out and that the next will be a dud, but this is the 18th book and it hasn’t happened yet!
❤️ The Sentence – a reread for the Erdrich-Along and just as wonderful as it was a year ago. This was Louise Erdrich’s pandemic novel featuring Tookie, an unforgettable woman who has become a friend to me. We live life in lockdown while helping to run a haunted independent bookstore and witness the murder of George Floyd through the eyes of a Minnesotan. It’s such a good book and Louise Erdrich is a must-read author for me!
− Demon Copperhead – has gotten a lot of buzz but I didn’t find it to be very compelling. The narrator is Demon, an Appalachian boy with a very difficult childhood and adolescence. Kingsolver did a wonderful job describing his life and showing how the opioid epidemic has affected people in the area, but I found Demon’s voice to be too harshly acerbic to sit with him comfortably.
− The Last White Man – on the Aspen Words long list. In this short novel, white people wake up to find that they are now brown. How would that change how people see themselves? How people see others? It was an interesting thought experiment but I found that it only scratched the surface and was left wanting more.
− Dinosaurs – on the Tournament of Books short list and I’ve heard many people call this their favorite book of the year. It’s another very short book but I was NOT left wanting more and couldn’t wait for it to end. Gil is a rich white man who walks from New York to Arizona and befriends his new neighbors. He tries very hard to make up for being so rich by being a good guy. And honestly — I couldn’t have cared less about him. This was a total miss for me.
📚 Bronwyn and I finished Kirsten’s American Girl books. Kirsten was my favorite AG when I was little and I was happy to see that her story has stood the test of time. We also started Addy’s story — a little girl who is born a slave and takes her freedom. This first book in the story was powerful and quite sad in parts. I’m anxious to see what else is in store for her. Bronwyn also randomly chose an Ivy & Bean book at the library for us to read before bed, which was enjoyable and funny.
📚 Bryce and I finished three Captain Underpantses in December. There’s not a whole lot to say about them except that they’re surprisingly funny and that Bryce has loved them for years. He’s totally capable of reading these by himself, but I’ll keep reading them aloud if that’s what he wants before bed. He’s 9 and who knows when he won’t want me to anymore? I won’t be the one who makes that decision.
It’s just after 5:45 this morning and I hear stirring upstairs, so I’m going to get the pancake batter ready. I hope you’re able to celebrate the New Year a bit more and that the day is full of exactly what you need. I hope to be back on Wednesday with another reading update. Until then – take good care.
Good to see Louise Penny still going strong, she’s one of my favorites. Enjoy your day and happy reading!
I should be getting the Louise Penny soon (I’m currently 10th on the hold list), so I’m glad to hear it’s good! I also finished my reread of The Sentence yesterday, and it was still wonderful. I think I actually got more out of it from reading it on the page this time.
I read Louise’s last book and enjoyed it also, I don’t know how she keeps coming up with the ideas! I’m not relaxing this morning, I’m starting the bookwork in preparation for tax season, blah!, but it needs to be done and procrastinating doesn’t help. Enjoy your day!
Excellent reading month, Katie! I have seen such varied reviews of Demon Copperhead… I have yet to put myself on the waitlist for it!
It is funny how widely people’s opinions of Demon Copperhead range. I’ll read it eventually but not anytime soon. Dinosaurs is on my TBR – I’ll give it a try sometime! Happy reading in January, Katie.
I’ve not ready any of those. Hurray for bedtime stories. I love being read too. Pancakes for breakfast, lucky children.
Read-alouds and re-alongs are the best! I’m going to start The Sentence (for the 2nd time) tomorrow and look forward to the re-reading experience. I first read it in December 2021 … and a lot’s happened since then. I did love Demon Copperhead (and noticed about 1/3 through that Demon’s voice was surprisingly OK for me … maybe reading with my ears and eyes helped? the narrator was fantastic!) but I know it’s getting really mixed reviews. Agreeing about books is fun, but disagreeing about them is interesting. I love it all! Happy New Year!!
I’m with you on Demon Copperhead, I wanted to love it, but I didn’t. I kept thinking of how much I loved and cared for Douglas Stuart’s characters, Shuggie Bain and Young Mungo and I wanted to feel the same way about Demon/Damon, but he left me feeling cold. I wonder if I would have felt different if I hadn’t read Douglas Stuart’s books?
Best wishes to you and your family for 2023!
I’ve not read any of the books you featured. Enjoyed reading your take on them.
I’m on the (very long) wait list for for the latest Louise Penny. Love that series. I will skip Demon Copperhead. I love Kingsolver’s early books, but her later ones have left me cold…and in most cases the books unfinished.
I’m only on book 6 or 7 of the Gamache series, so I have a long way to go before I get to the more recent ones. That’s good because I’ll probably never have to suffer a long hold line! I also read The Last White Man and I definitely liked that author’s other two books better.