December 16, 2013

December Reading Roundup

Between the holiday craziness and general life craziness I ended up stalling out on a few books before I settled into my reading groove this month. The good news is that all the books I did finish were Good! Capital G and exclamation point good. (Except for one. Sorry Jim Gaffigan.)

Now I have a stack on my bedside table from the library and borrowed from friends and an ever-growing To Be Read list on Goodreads that I'm excited to start in the new year. My book club met last week for our holiday book exchange and to plan what we're reading for the next few months. I'm looking forward to every single book on our list. We start with The Aviator's Wife and Paris Wife and move on through Empire of the Summer Moon and Rules of Civility later this spring.

Per usual, I'll be linking up with the Twitterature linkup over on Modern Mrs. Darcy. Go check it out for lots of reading inspiration!



The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. 
I should have read this before reading The Firebird, which is almost a sequel to The Winter Sea.  Regardless, I loved them both. Kearsley's books are becoming comfort food to me. They all have a similar time slip set up of two connected stories, one modern and one historical. In this one, a writer moves to a small coastal town in Scotland to work on her novel about the Jacobite rebellion of 1708. She decides to use the name of an ancestor as the heroine and discovers more than she expected about her family history. And of course, a handsome Scottish history professor. Kearsley has a lovely descriptive voice, and excellent character development. I can't wait to work my way through the rest of her books.


Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan
A collection of essays about parenting from comedian and Dad of 5(!) Jim Gaffigan. When this is funny it is really funny, but he lost me for a while in the middle. I really think this was a case of "it's me, not you" though, because I have had a hard time with books that are set up like this lately. (Like Carry On, Warrior last month.) When I'm stressed I'm easily distracted and these just don't have enough of a plot line to keep me involved the whole way through like a mystery or novel does.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
We read this to our boys this month and it's been a ton of fun. My husband and I both adored Dahl as children, and we've been really excited for the kids to get old enough to read his stories. Funnier (and a bit snarkier) than the movie versions, the boys were hooked the whole way through. Now the only question is which Dahl to read next? My vote is The BFG.


Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
This mystery secretly written by JK Rowling is living up to all my expectations. I'm about halfway through and I can't put it down. My friend and I were both reading it while waiting in line to get books signed by Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman) on Saturday and it made that part of the wait fly by. The story follows Cormoran Strike, a down on his luck wounded soldier turned private detective in London. He's hired to look into the supposed suicide of a supermodel, and nothing in the case is as it seems. Rowling is in perfect form-the writing is excellent, the characters are compelling and the plot is a page turner.

I usually add some holiday reads in during December, like A Christmas Carol or Winter Solstice, but I'm not sure I'll get to it this year. What have you been reading lately? Are you thinking about what you'll read in 2014 yet? 

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20 comments:

  1. Going to have to look into Susanna Kearsley. She sounds right up my alley. I've also not gotten to A Christmas Carol or Winter Solstice yet. I think Winter Solstice is going to be my post-Christmas pick-me-up this year. :) And thanks for the hint about the Modern Mrs. Darcy books.

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  2. What a fun list. I am not familiar with Susanna Kearsley. I'll have to look her up- the books sound like a lot of fun! Too bad about the Jim Gaffigan book- I think he is so funny but I often find that books written by comedians are not nearly as funny as their stand up! And I also vote for the BFG- it's actually my favorite Dahl book :)

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  3. Ana @ Lessons From YesterdayDecember 16, 2013 at 8:30 PM

    I just put Cuckoo's Calling and The Winter Sea on hold! The Winter Sea keeps coming up as an Amazon recommendation due to my other likes, so this made me pull the trigger. :-)

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  4. i adore the Mr. Universe show by Jim Gaffigan that we saw on Netflix. we watched it right after our son was born and the first bit about childbirth and raising kids had us roaring with laughter. The Winter Sea looks great!

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  5. I read the Jim Gaffigan book in October and laughed my way through it! I have 5 kids, too, so there was just so much I could relate to. I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my kids a few years ago. I've always been a little creeped out by the movies (too dark!), but the book was great. So well-written and hilarious. We loved The BFG, too.

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  6. I have heard so many mixed reviews of The Cuckoo's Calling - I think I will just have to finally read it. :) I'm not familiar with Susanna Kearsley but the description you gave makes me think she is an author I need to check out. Thanks for the suggestions!

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  7. Allie @ The Annotated LifeDecember 17, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    I'd like to read The Winter Sea--sounds interesting. And I vote the BFG next too--I might do it for our next read aloud!

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  8. I'm putting Cuckoo's Calling on my 2014 reading list. Can't wait!


    You're in for a treat with Rules of Civility. It was a delicious look at 1930s NYC!

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  9. I've never actually read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I've only seen the movie, which is pretty creepy--I think I'd like Dahl's version much better!


    I keep checking Cuckoo's Calling out of the library, and I keep returning it unread. I'll get to it someday, I think. (I hope!)


    I loved Rules of Civility. Curious to hear what you think.

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  10. I think you would really enjoy Kearsley! We might need to have a tea and Skype mini book club for one :)

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  11. Oh good! You'll have to let me know what you think of it!

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  12. I love his standup! And some of the book was laugh out loud funny too-especially the essay about actually leaving the house with more than one kid in tow!

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  13. The movies have always creeped me out too! My husband is reading the story aloud to all of us, and it's much funnier and lighthearted-especially when he does different voices :)

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  14. We had our book club meeting for Cuckoo's Calling tonight and it seems to be one you either love or hate. We all agreed that the writing was phenomenal, but some characters can be tough to relate to. Worth a try though!

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  15. So glad to see so many BFG lovers here :) It's so fun to have an excuse to read childhood favorites again!

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  16. I can't wait for Rules of Civility-we're supposed to read it in June, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to start it shortly after the new year!

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  17. The movie is so creepy! I'm loving the book-especially as a read-aloud. I finished Cuckoo's Calling today (just in time for book club tonight!) and while the reviews were mixed, it made for great discussion! One of our best in a while, so I think it's worth a read.

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  18. Love that idea!

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  19. Thanks for the info - I'm going to give it a try - I'll let know how it goes!

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