Monday, December 31, 2018

What I've Been Reading Lately: December




Every month I share the books I've read and podcasts I loved.  I do not finish books I'm not into.  There are just too many great books out there to waste time with something I don't love.  So each of the books below would get at least 3/5 stars.  This was a great reading month for me! (Actually it's been about 6 weeks since I last posted book reviews.  I decided to switch to posting at the end of the month instead of halfway through.) What have you been reading lately?


My Lady Jane


This audiobook is probably one of my favorites of the whole year.  The story is fresh and funny and the added element of a hilarious narrator made it so I was looking for excuses to listen.  It's an altered history, very very loosely based on the story of Lady Jane Grey also known as the Nine Days' Queen.  Jane is feisty and bookish and heroic.  It's delightful.


Hattie Big Sky

This novel tells the story of a sixteen year old girl who ventures to Montana to take over her uncles claim.  (Can you imagine working a claim by yourself at 16? I was no where near mature enough for that!). Hattie's story is juxtaposed with letters between herself and her good friend who is fighting in WWI. It's about friendship and determination and I loved it.  I was particularly happy with the ending.


The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles

Read this fun book aloud to my kiddos.  It's written by Julie Andrews Edwards (Yes, THAT Julie Andrews) and is a bit silly, but a well-written, clean and engaging story.  It reminded me a bit of The Phantom Tollbooth and a bit of something Roald Dahl-ish (but cleaner).  We all enjoyed it!


The Librarian of Auschwitz

This is a novel based on the true story of a young woman who served as "librarian"(which meant keeping track of 8 books) in the family camp at Auchwitz.  While we learn about her courage and dedication to this role, we also get a different look into the politics inside concentration camps.  This one took me a little while to finish, I kept setting it aside to read other things.  But I kept coming back. it's a difficult topic


The Autobiography of Santa Claus

I stumbled across this book recently and absolutely loved it.  It's a mixture between accurate historical facts and magical Saint Nicolas mythology. It claims to be Santa's autobiography.and presents logical explanations for all the spectacular and magical stories about him. It's interesting and well written and moves quickly through time. The characters are delightful, there is just the slightest touch of magic. It's fun to see well known historical figures in a new light, I won't give anything away, but there were many famous people who joined Santa's crew throughout history, united in the cause of bringing joy to children in need.  This was a perfect read for this time of year.


Garden Spells

This was a light, fun, slightly predictable read.  I listened to it while I drove a long distance by myself and it kept me awake.  I love that there is a a small amount of magic interspersed in the everyday world.  (Warning: There is some romance, and the love scenes were a bit too descriptive for my taste)


Dear Mrs. Bird

I adored this book.  Set during WWII, it tells the story of a plucky, somewhat meddlesome aspiring journalist.  I loved the characters, the story is well-paced and fun to read.  This is probably one of my favorite books of the whole year.


The Magical Misfits

I am delighted by pretty much anything Neil Patrick Harris does, and this audiobook, written and narrated by him is no exception.  It's a fun middle grade novel about friendship and trust and kindness and magic.  It includes magic trick tutorials throughout, which is extra fun.


Gulp

I love a well told medical story.  Gulp is a fascinating (and at times disgusting) look at all things Alimentary Canal.  Anything and everything along the digestive tract is covered.  It's interesting and informative.  Quick-moving and well written.



My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She's Sorry


Loved this sweet, imaginative story about love and loss and messy family relationships. It was so fun to see how all the pieces of the puzzle came together and all the story lines interrelated. 


Joy in the Covenant


Julie B. Beck shares her insights from growing up in a faithful, strong Latter-Day Saint family.  Her parents were strong examples and taught and lived the gospel, served whole-heartedly and loved their family well.



And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer


Another Fredrick Backman delight.  Though, can you call it a delight if you sobbed through most of the book?  I loved this book, but read it perhaps too soon after losing my beloved Grandpa very unexpectedly a few weeks ago.  A sweet, heartbreaking story.


Kringle


Loved this read aloud with my big kids.  It's Tolkien-esque: goblins and elves, good and evil and Santa's origin story.  So good!




I'll Be Your Blue Sky


Two story lines about two strong and interesting women and their lives and families. Their stories merge and interweave through the book.  It's well written and one of my favorite books of the year.







The Nature Fix

Interesting look at the power of nature on healing, learning disabilities and every day happiness.  Inspired me to spend more time outside with my kids, even though it's so dang cold outside right now.


PODCASTS I LOVED RECENTLY:

The Dream.  This series was absolutely fascinating to me.  It focuses on MLM (Multi-level Marketing) companies: how they work, who is successful, who is scammed.  It was eye opening and rather appalling.  I found myself telling my husband all about it each time I listened to a new episode.  It was interesting to see how Utah (where I live)  was specifically mentioned as being particularly susceptable to the draw of MLMS.  It made me super curious and I wish I had the guts to ask people I personally know who are involved in such companies if they are actually financially successful.  (But I won't)

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