December Book Report

If you said to me that I would finish reading 30 books this year, I would have said you were insane. I mean – I do have a life, you know, outside of reading. I have kids, a job, a home, a husband, a dog, friends, family, etc. When will I ever find the time to read 30 books?

Oh, who am I kidding? Apparently, if I cut out enough Netflix and doom-scrolling, I can carve out the time to read. So, I did just that.


I looked back to see what exactly I had read. Turns out, I finished 11 non-fiction – mostly memoirs – and 19 novels. I listened to seven books on Audible, read nine on my Kindle, and the rest were actual books from my bookshelf or local library. I DNF’d two books but only counted one of them in my total because I read most of it before I gave up completely.

It didn’t seem like I read this many books, so I’m glad I kept track of them. Otherwise, I may not have believed it myself.

Honestly, it isn’t about the number of books I read but the quality of the books and what brought to my life. I’ve enjoyed each story immensely, and I have no regrets for passing on both seasons of Ted Lasso to snuggle up with a good book. Although, I’ve heard it’s an excellent show.

This month, I read two books.

The Plot, by Jean Hanff Korelitz

It is so nice to end the year with a five-star read! This book had a lot of hype around it which always makes me suspicious. I’ve read rave reviews, and too often, the book doesn’t live up to the press it gets. I was more than pleasantly surprised when this book delivered the goods. The Plot centers around author/writing instructor Jacob Finch Bonner, a struggling writer who still hopes to write a bestselling novel someday and enjoy all the fame, fortune, love, and admiration that success brings. His last few attempts fell short of this goal, so he decided to teach at a third-rate MFA program in New England. When one of his students tells him about his story idea that will be a sure thing, Jake is envious and resigns himself to his mundane lifestyle.

But, when the student unexpectedly dies, Jake sees the opportunity to tell (a.k.a. steal) the storyline for himself. This fateful decision brings him the life he always dreamed of, along with a nightmare of epic proportions. This thriller is quite the page-turner, and although I did figure out the twist halfway through, I had to know how it ends.

This is a book that is not to be missed. Trust me.

How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

New Years’ resolutions rarely work out for me (except for when it comes to my reading goals 🙂 ). I have high hopes but rarely commit to a long-term plan to cross the finish line. I’ve read plenty of books and articles about forming sustainable habits and staying motivated, but they haven’t moved me enough to succeed. This book was different.

Wharton professor, Katy Milkman, tackles six reasons one may fail to achieve their goals – impulsivity, procrastination, forgetfulness, laziness, confidence, and conformity. In each chapter, she offers up compelling stories and examples with solid science and evidence showing how each of these obstacles can get in the way of reaching our full potential. Sometimes, these books contain so much science that I lose interest. Other authors tend to tell stories without a valid point. Milkman gives just the right amount of everything and makes a good case for turning each of these negatives into a positive way to make a change.

I’m not big on re-reading books, but I know I will refer back to this one frequently as I try once again to finally achieve some lofty goals.

What’s Next?

I have three books in the queue for January. The first is one that my sister has recommended to me – Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir. I’ve had it downloaded in Audible to listen to since October. But, the book is over 500 pages long, which equates to about 18 hours of listening time. In addition to it being a big book, it is also science fiction which is not a genre I usually read. However, I’ve heard great things about the story, and I’m up for the challenge.

The next book is for neighborhood book club – We Are Not Like Them, by Christine Pride and Jo Piazza. This novel has made the rounds on some of the bookish podcasts I listen to, and I’m looking forward to diving into it.

The third book I want to read is Inheritance by Danni Shapiro. This memoir is about a woman who takes a genetic test for fun and learns that the man she has called dad her entire life is not her birth father. This book has been on my TBR list for quite some time.

A final word…

This is the part of my blog where I encourage you to shop at an independent bookstore of your choice. While I regularly support a few different bookstores, I have also been feeding the Amazon beast by downloading cheap titles on my Kindle. I’m not proud of it, and I wanted to come clean.

I feel much better now. Indie bookstores are still my favorite places to shop for books, but the lethal combination of convenience and affordability are too tempting. I still hope you shop at indies as I do. They need our support, and a bookseller’s recommendations are invaluable – but nobody’s perfect.

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2022!

XO,
Elisa

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