An Open Book: What I Read in December

December was the first month where I waged an e-book battle and lost.

I finally got my hands on an e-book version of The Worse Journey in the World through the library that’s been checked out for several months. I plowed through the chapters, staying up for hours every night reading long after Cory drifted off to sleep. But this book is a beast (600+ pages), and though I got 75% of the way through it in two weeks, the library yanked it back from me before I had the chance to finish it. There was already a line of people with holds on the book when I tried to renew it, so now I’m in line with a hold as well. The book is engaging and exciting (even though I know how it ends), and I’m anxious to get it back on my Kindle so I can (hopefully) finish it in January.

This post is coming to you from Spain, where I’m finishing it up between sips of local Spanish wine. One of the highlights of this trip has been a visit to a wonderful new and used bookstore in Madrid called Desperate Literature. Cory and I spent a long time browsing the books on the store’s shelves, and walked away with several. The experience was wonderful, and I hope to write a separate post on it soon, but this is all to say that I’m currently reading a legitimate printed book right now, which is so nice.

This month I finished three books – two non-fiction and one fiction (which Cory and I read aloud together) – so I’m still successfully varying my reading genres. I set the goal of reading 30 books in 2016, a number I always aim for, and ended up reading 36.

Here’s to reading more stellar books in 2017!

December book titles

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Three-line review: How has it taken me so long finally mark this beautiful yet simple book as “read?” I actually listened to the audio book, read by Angelou herself, and it was exceptionally powerful to hear her narrate painful, profound and poignant moments that defined her childhood and influenced her life’s course. There is nothing easy about hearing someone read about their own memories, like being molested at the tender age of eight, but it made this book that much better for me.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Three-line review: Even though we watch a movie version of A Christmas Carol every year, it’s been a long time since I read the book, and I remember now why it is considered a classic. Though Dickens is verbose and wordy, he’s actually quite clever, and Cory and I both enjoyed talking about the creative word choices and imagery he elicited throughout this popular story. And, of course, the book has a message worth revisiting every year, whether through book or film.

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities by Rebecca Solnit

Three-line review: After this year’s presidential election, I decided to read more non-fiction that offers insight and perspective into the people, movements and global concepts that build the world’s foundation, which is why this book ended up on my to-read list. As the title notes, it highlights times in past years (especially during the Bush presidency) when grassroots initiatives have made a positive impact on the living conditions of whole communities and societies. However, Solnit also reminds readers that working toward hope and a better world is not a one-time task but an ongoing effort – something I think we all need to keep in mind as we move into 2017.

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