What I Read: December 2016

Happy New Year!  I am excited to say that I ended the year having read 102 books – 104 if you count the Bible and The Greatest Gift, Ann Voskamp’s Advent devotional that I re-read this year.

I will post again in a few days to share my favorites from all of 2016 and my reading goals for 2017, but for now, here’s what I read in December.

  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – this came highly recommended and I bought it back in June, but for some reason I didn’t pick it up till this month. The book begins with a plane crash…not a spoiler. From there, we follow the lives of the survivors post-crash and learn about the victims’ lives leading up to that moment as we slowly come to learn why the crash took place.  Suspense without gore – a good, hard to put down story.
  • Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Eric Larson – this is the first of Larson’s books that I’ve read, even though I also own two others. Larson has a similar style to Jon Krakauer, who I’ve mentioned many times before. The book is completely non-fiction, but so well researched and written that it seems like you’re reading a story.  This one did start slow for me, as Larson chronicles every day of the ship’s journey before the big event, and I really just wanted to get to that part. Still, it’s fascinating and I put his other books on my priority list for 2017.
  • At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen – set in World War II Scotland (are you surprised), this isn’t life-changing fiction but a well-told love story with a little bit of folklore and the Loch Ness Monster, so that’s fun.  A good beach/escape read.
  • Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah – I loved this book! I listened to the audiobook and highly recommend it to anyone. Noah reads the story and this adds to the experience – it also helps with all the South African languages he uses in the dialogue.  For those unfamiliar with apartheid, it will be a valuable education. What I liked most about this book is that even though it is a memoir/autobiography, it is arranged topically instead of chronologically, and connects Noah’s experiences to that of a nation.
  • The Aviator’s Wife  by Melanie Benjamin – this is a fictionalized “autobiography” of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of famous aviator Charles Lindbergh. I read this as a combo audiobook/ebook and I think I may have lost some of it in the process. I did like this book and I learned about Charles and Anne as people. It left me feeling a bit sad, so if you don’t want to feel that way at the end of a book, maybe don’t read this one.
  • Brooklyn: A Novel by Colm Toibin – I’m a bit late to this one but it is a good immigrant story.  It wasn’t my favorite because I found the character development to be a bit lacking and I felt detached from all the characters, but given the success of the book I know many people feel differently.
  • Anchored: Finding Hope in the Unexpected by Kayla Aimee – another Christian themed memoir…I didn’t relate to it and I’m glad it was a $0.99 kindle deal.  Not for me, but nothing wrong with it.
  • Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love by Katherine and Jay Wolf – this one will probably end up on my top 10 list for nonfiction this year. Katherine suffered a brain stem stroke at age 26 and this is their story of recovery.  More than anything, I loved the deep Truth that is presented in this story. It’s currently $1.99 on Kindle – get it ASAP.
  • Brush of Wings by Karen Kingsbury – I only read this because I can’t not finish a series but I don’t think I can read much more by this author. Ugh.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but her perfectly tied up happy Christian endings frustrate me.
  • A Baxter Family Christmas by Karen Kingsbury – see above comment.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – I have a confession to make. I have never read the Harry Potter series or watched any of the movies, but I have committed to reading them all.  I will refrain from commenting on them until I’ve read them all, but fantasy is not a genre I am particularly fond of, so we’ll see how this goes.

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