Reading Lately: December 2018


Despite the cold, I love December. Or rather, I love Christmas season. The lights! The trees! The time with family! It feels like a time to pause, reflect on the year, absorb the beauty around us, and be with the people we love. Plus there's so much time for reading!

This month was mostly meh, with several books that were enjoyable enough to see through but that I wouldn't necessarily recommend. I loved "Eleanor Oliphant", despite having put it down halfway through 6 months ago, but other than that I can't honestly rave about any of my other reads. So, I suppose this is a list for is you have absolutely nothing better to read. HAHAHA as if that ever happens.

Here's to starting off the new year with better books!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Gail Honeyman

Definitely my favorite read this month, I put "Eleanor Oliphant" down last May, deciding I didn't care for the protagonist or plot. If only I had read 50 more pages! I won't give away any spoilers, but will only say that you should power through at least 1/2 the book before giving up on it. More is revealed about Eleanor that makes her a much more palatable character, and by the end you'll be literally crying for her. At first it seems like a book about a stuck-up loner with a horrible mother, but later you'll find themes of loneliness, judgement, depression, and trauma. A must read!

If You Come Softly

Jacqueline Woodson

I read this as part of John Green's Life's Library project, and have mixed feelings. It's short enough that I'd consider worth the investment of time and energy, and I wholeheartedly understand and endorse it's status as an important book which has remained remarkably relevant for 20 years now. I may not have liked it, but it was a good book for me to read and reflect on. I also liked that the focus wasn't just about race, but that both characters were complex and layered, and race was just one part of their multi-faceted identity. I know the book is based on "Romeo and Juliet", but it was a little hard to get over the love-at-first-sight thing, and felt the use of poetry was heavy-handed. It made the book unnecessarily angsty, and distracted from the prose. Lastly I hated the end. I'll try not to spoil it here, but it felt like an attempt to "save" the book or give it more meaning than it could have otherwise. While realistic, it felt like a way of avoiding writing more character development, and actually following through on the protagonists relationship. Ok, dangerously close to spoilers, so that's all I'll say.

Late Bloomers' Club

Louise Miller

Some words to describe this book: Fine Cute Relaxing Forgettable Shrug

A Princess in Theory

Alyssa Cole

This was nearly the perfect romance novel. The smart, capable heroine! The sensitive, supportive hero! SHE PEES AFTER SEX TO AVOID A UTI! I really enjoyed this book - the plot was interesting and exciting, the characters were endearing, and it addressed social issues particularly around sex head on. The perfect modern romance, if you ask me!


Curtis Sittenfeld

Honestly, I wouldn't recommend this book. I made it to the end, and it was good enough that I wanted to know what happened, but there's much better literature and characters out there (Eligible by the same author being a good example!). My main complaint is that the narrator doesn't abide by a set of principles, and while I think there's a place for flawed narrators and protagonists this one was so annoying and spineless. She doesn't take her family's best interests into account, and reveals herself to be selfish and weirdly obstinate on certain issues while flexible on others. I was too far in by the time all this happened to put the book down, but I honestly have no sympathy for her.

Shakespeare: The World as Stage

Bill Bryson

I read this before giving to my dad as a Christmas present, and was surprised and delighted by how entertaining it was. It attempts to examine Shakespeare's life, but because so little is known about him ends up being more about the time-period and context he lived in. I don't generally care for history, but thought this was fascinating and at time hilarious. Who knew the Puritans living in Elizabethan England were so wily? Or that a rival theater group literally stole a theater and rebuilt the building on the other side of the river? Highly recommend this short and fun read!