Well, I am at least getting to this before the end of January – and maybe I’ll actually get 2020’s wrap-up done before we finish the first month of 2021?? We shall see…
I’m very sad because it’s been so long since I’ve read anyone else’s blog. I subscribe to everyone’s blogs via email and when new posts arrive, I chuck them into a folder to be read later… except now I’m months (and almost 2000) emails behind. The truth is, I probably won’t actually get to read them all, which means I’ve missed out on some fabulous posts. But I really want to get back into the groove of this community, so we’ll see what happens next. I appreciate you all sticking with me even when I haven’t been good at reciprocating interactions!!
Favorite December Read
I think I’m going to go with The Christmas Sisters, although pretty much any of the 4* reads below could have taken this slot. My higher-ranked reads this month were rereads and I like to choose a new book for this spot when I can.
Most Disappointing December Read
Probably Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe, just because I expected something more out of P&P retelling.
Other December Reads
- Husband Under Construction by Karen Templeton
- Christmas Comes to Dickens by various authors
- Christmas Gifts Collection by Elena Aitken
- The Christmas Wish by Nora Roberts
- Christmas With You by Nora Roberts
- Holding Out for Christmas by Janet Dailey
- It’s a Christmas Thing by Janet Dailey
- Santa’s on His Way by various authors
- Silent Night by Mary Higgins Clark
- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
- These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
- White Christmas Wedding by Celeste Winters
- The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
- Total Number of Books Read: 29 (3 Kindle, 26 physical)
- Total Pages Read: 9122
- Average Star Rating for September: 3.6
- Longest Book: Ready Player One (579 pages)
- Shortest Book: Foxes in Love (103 pages)
- Oldest Book: These Old Shades (published 1926)
- Newest Book: Ready Player Two, Holding Out for Christmas, The Twelve Dates of Christmas, Christmas Comes to Dickens, and Foxes in Love (all published 2020)
- Number of New-to-Me Authors: 12, plus several more in the compilations
The only one I had this month was Christmas in Paris by Anita Hughes. I really wanted to get on with this book and I just couldn’t. Isabel has called off her wedding at the last minute and gone on her honeymoon trip to Paris on her own. In the suite next to hers, Alec’s fiancee eloped with someone else just before their wedding so he’s also honeymooning on his own. This could have been a fun and gentle story of second chances, but instead it was mostly about Isabel’s just mind-boggling levels of self-centeredness. First off, we find out that the reason that she called off the wedding was because her fiance decided that he wanted to leave his job in the city and take over his family’s horse farm. The implication is that this is one of those gigantic, multi-million-dollar horse farms, not some little shack in the boonies, but it’s not good enough for Isabel, despite the fact that we find out that her fiance has always said that taking over the horse farm is his ultimate goal in life. But Isabel LOVES her job and LOVES living in the city so she doesn’t even bother to try to work things out with her man because why bother? It’s not like they’ve been in a relationship for several years or anything. The author does this bizarre thing where she has Isabel bring along her “engagement journal” that she started when she first got engaged. Throughout the story, Isabel reads random sections of it, recalling how excited she was at the beginning, and WOW did that make this book significantly more depressing because we’re basically reading about how happy and full of love she is for a relationship that we know is going to fail a year later. Talk about a downer, plus it honestly just emphasized how completely self-absorbed she is. Throughout all the preparations for the wedding that didn’t happen, it’s all about her and if her fiance doesn’t agree with her, it’s because he just doesn’t “get” her like he used to. I got about halfway through this one before giving up because Isabel got more unlikable, not less. She’s a total snob, obsessed with wealth, position, and jobs. She kind of dates another guy but when she finds out that he’s “just” rich and titled and doesn’t actually do much in his day-to-day job, she blows him off. Heaven forbid someone who’s a millionaire just kick back and enjoy life instead of working in finance all day. What even. Plus the whole “he doesn’t work hard enough for me” thing just didn’t ring all that true considering she broke up with the other guy because he was “just” going to be a farmer. Oh my gosh. I just couldn’t deal with her whiny, entitled attitude for a second longer.
This I keep updated as I go, so it’s current as of today, rather than as of the end of December. Still a million years behind on reading blog posts, though! :-/
For those of you who don’t know, I’m weirdly obsessive with organizing the TBR, and have it on a spreadsheet divided into six different tabs:
- Standalones: 515 (up 2)
- Nonfiction: 124 (holding steady)
- Personal (which includes all books I own (fiction and nonfiction), but lists any series I own as only one entry…): 647 (up one)
- Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 255 (down one)
- Mystery Series (each series counted separately, not each book within a series): 118 (holding steady)
- New Arrivals – if you actually pay attention to this section, you’ll know this is a new slot. I have a lot of books that I have been gifted or that I pick up somewhere and they get put on my “oh I’m so excited about this shiny new book” shelf… and then of course don’t actually get read. I didn’t have this as its own list for quite a while because there’s a lot of overlap (sometimes I buy a book because it’s on my TBR, so now it’s both on the TBR and on the New Arrivals) but that just means reading a book from this shelf will make multiple lists drop!!: 115
Reading Challenges Updates
- #ReadingEurope2020 – visited no where – this challenge is NOT going to get completed this year but I’m still tracking it for fun (total 9/46 complete)
- #ReadtheUSA2020 – visited New Hampshire & Oklahoma (total 35/50 complete – this one isn’t getting done this year, but I’m going to try again in 2021!!)
- #SeparatedbyaPondTour – visited the states above plus Alberta (Canada), Aberdeen (Scotland), & the City of London. (Total 63/159 complete – this is still on the 3-year track. If anyone has books they love set in Canada, Ireland, Scotland, or Wales, let me know!!)
- #LitsyAtoZ – 2 books – got both Y & Z at the last minute!! (24/26 complete – only weird letters left. Specifically Q & X)
- #BackwardsAtoZ – 22 books (No V on my fifth list through No Q on my sixth list – I’m trying to do this one in order and to see how many times I can get through the alphabet!)
Working my way through The Pioneers by David McCullough, which is pretty interesting nonfiction so far. It’s focused on the settlement of Marietta, Ohio, which is only a couple hours from here. It’s fun and interesting to read about places I’ve seen in real life.
To balance that out, I’m reading The Mislaid Magician by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. It’s a reread, but so much fun!
The probable next five (ish) reads…
- The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack – not one I would have necessarily picked up on my own, but it’s my next read for the traveling book club. I’m actually in two groups right now, but my other book for this group hasn’t arrived (wow the postal service has been crazy, that’s a whole other topic, but my books for the traveling book clubs were heading to Massachusetts and Connecticut respectively (from here in Ohio) yet went to DES MOINES and sat there for almost two weeks…!!!!) and I can’t even remember which one it is, so that’s a surprise title that will get read whenever it arrives!
- Miss Eleanor Tilney by Sherwood Smith – After reading Northanger Abbey I realized that what I really wanted was a book about Henry’s sister!! This is the only one I’ve found and since it’s free on Kindle Unlimited I’ll probably give it a whirl even though the reviews aren’t that great.
- Bill the Conqueror by P.G. Wodehouse – I haven’t forgotten my goal to read through all of Wodehouse’s works in published order, but other reads keep getting in the way!
- The Boden Birthright by Mary Connealy – frankly, I don’t even remember what this book is about, but something possessed me to download it for free to my Kindle at some point! This is the next book in my attempt to wade through my neverending Kindle backlog.
- Time and Time Again by Ben Elton – a random book from my TBR – it’s been there forever – I’m not a huge fan of time travel-y books, but I’m willing to give this one a try.
Well, my friends, that’s finally all the reviews for 2020!!! Hopefully I’ll post a wrap up for the year sometime soon and then – on to 2021!! Happy new year!!