December Reads

Month Count: 3 texts, 3 audiobooks, 6 total
Year to Date: 52 texts, 34 audiobooks, 86 total

Goodreads profile HERE!

Bookstagram profile HERE!

Book of the Month Referral Link HERE!

Catch up on previous month’s read recaps: January – February – March – April – May – JuneJulyAugustSeptemberOctober – and November

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Camino Island by John Grisham – my first and my last John Grisham. Why do people read his books? It was poorly written. There were plot holes that had me rolling my eyes. It seemed like such an unsophisticated literary journey from someone who has a strong reputation as an author. It makes me question the industry… but then again – he is an old white man, so I can see his “appeal.” *eye roll*

Sankofa

Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo via Audible was recommended to me by a close friend, Mary. She specifically mentioned the audiobook to get the accents and she wasn’t wrong.

Goodreads: Anna is at a stage of her life when she’s beginning to wonder who she really is. She has separated from her husband, her daughter is all grown up, and her mother—the only parent who raised her—is dead.

Searching through her mother’s belongings one day, Anna finds clues about the African father she never knew. His student diaries chronicle his involvement in radical politics in 1970s London. Anna discovers that he eventually became the president—some would say dictator—of a small nation in West Africa. And he is still alive…

When Anna decides to track her father down, a journey begins that is disarmingly moving, funny, and fascinating. Like the metaphorical bird that gives the novel its name, Sankofa expresses the importance of reaching back to knowledge gained in the past and bringing it into the present to address universal questions of race and belonging, the overseas experience for the African diaspora, and the search for a family’s hidden roots.

I loved Anna’s journey. I felt so connected to her and empathetic to her disconnection with so much in her life. I don’t know how else to say it other than I really loved her journey. It’s a must-listen/read, and the audiobook is where it’s at.

IG: @Beers_andbooks

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham was my December BOTM pick. It was a pre-release from a debut author in thriller genre that really took my love of reading and my love of true crime. Chloe Davis is the main character, whose father is convicted as being a serial killer when she is twelve years old. Twenty years later, it would seem as though a copy-cat is recreating her father’s crimes and Chloe is disturbingly close to them yet again.

My only complaint about A Flicker in the Dark was the pacing. I thought it was really well paced until the last few chapters, which started to give me whiplash from all the “whodunnit” swirling around. I’ll still give it a solid 4, maybe even 4.5 because it sucked me in pretty hard, even when I thought I had it figured out at page 90.

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The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music by Dave Grohl via Libby app and yes, he narrates it. Question… Is it possible to have even MORE of a crush on Dave Grohl? Answer… yes. Listen to this and enjoy.

This was my road trip buddy post-christmas. I’m so disappointed I didn’t find it a little earlier because it turns out my locally owned bookstore, Malaprops, had autographed versions of this that I absolutely would have scooped up.

I loved Dave’s connection with his mom and his friends’ moms. I enjoyed his fatherly perspective over his girls sprinkled in throughout the memoir. It was heartbreaking and interesting to read about him finding out about Kurt Cobain. It was beyond fascinating to hear his chance encounters and subsequent friendships with so many insanely famous artists – seriously, Tom Petty? Elton John? Paul McCartney?

My only complaint really, is that Dave never introduces his wife. He says her name throughout, but she really is only mentioned as, like, the mother of his daughters. His daughters are featured heavily; however, Jordan really doesn’t get an introduction. I feel like that detail would have further enhanced the story and driven that emotional connection. Still a solid 4.75 stars for me though. I loved it.

The Push

The Push by Ashley Audrain via Libby App for my road trip. Yes, I had an eleven hour trip to knock out and then spent an additional couple of days power cleaning my house without children or hubby present so audiobooks were the jam. This was – pardon my language – fucking creepy. Holy shit.

Picture this: a family saga of women spanning four generations. The main character is Blythe, so her grandmother, mom, and daughter are the basis of this story told mostly from her perspective. A history of mental illness, abuse, etc absolutely challenged me to the core. It’s graphic, dark, emotional, tense, and insanely complex. It is probably not a great book for everyone, depending on your triggers and sensitivities; however, it is so deep and touches on a few topics that hit really close to home. Thankfully, it touched on a lot that wasn’t close to home as well. Holy shit.

IG: @Beers_andbooks

How to Stop Losing your Sh*t with your Kids by Carla Naumburg. I came across this book listening to a parenting podcast (the Parent Footprint with Dr. Dan) and the sheer name of it told me it was a must-read. The podcast episode is also very helpful and worth a listen, but what I loved most about this book is the real-world application not just for parents.

I have used the analogies several times already, and while I still lose my shit sometimes, I’m able to catch myself, be aware, and I’m working on self-love/forgiveness. That one doesn’t come so easily to me.

My favorite analogy is that parents are just like elevators with a million little buttons all over themselves and what does EVERY kid do as soon as they walk into the elevator? They push EVERY DAMN BUTTON. So it’s not about trying to stop your buttons from being pushed, but more like making your buttons either harder to reach for the young toddlers, or not as bright and shiny. I’ve used some of the tactics in this book for coworkers, kids, friends, and even circumstances. It’s very helpful; however, it’s one of those concepts which requires a lot of practice. Unfortunately, most of these “triggers” are habit for me at this point so learning to keep the switch flipped is taking a lot of self-awareness.

It’s a fast read with a lot of good advice and relatable information.

Well, that’s a wrap! 86 books, as compared to 71 in 2020. I barely squeaked by my 2020 text-book record of 51 books with 52 this year (hey! one a week on average!!) and finding the Libby app has been the game changer for me, knocking out literally double the number of audiobooks with 34 in 2021 as opposed to 17 in 2020.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my reading resolutions (and other resolutions) for 2022 and I am setting my read-goal pretty low comparatively to the last 2 years. I want to read 50 books and the reason I’m reducing it is because I want to save time for me to write!

Yes, I’m committing to writing my memoir about the plane crash that I was in. I have my sights set on 50,000 words and I even joined a writing workshop locally to help!

A few other goals I have include writing a full 2021 best-of recap by the end of this week featuring 5-10 of my favorite books from the year and why, and identifying some timelines for my memoir to help keep me on track.

What were your favorites for 2021??

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