Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog! It’s the time of the month again for another monthly wrap up, and the last wrap up of this year! December was a cold month, there are happy times and also sad times. The beginning of the month started off a little weak with me not reading much, but I pushed myself to read more books I’m excited for midway through. Let’s get into the books! I also did a week-long readathon this month, with a TBR post and a wrap up post you should definitely check out as well.
As I mentioned in a post a while ago, I went to Maastricht on a day trip to visit its Christmas market. But not only that, I also visited one of its most famous bookstores, the bookstore located inside an old church: the Boekhandel Dominicanen. I couldn’t help but pick up a book. And I struggled a little to choose which book to buy, just because I don’t often buy books spontaneously and have a lot of books in my TBR (or to be bought list) as a result of that. Finally I decided to pick up Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney because of all the great reviews I’ve heard about the author and because of the different edition of the cover than the normal editions I usually see online. I’m very excited to start reading it soon!
Now let’s talk about the books I read this December!
The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country by Helen Russell
I started listening to this during Nonfiction November but finished it in early December. Suddenly moving to a small seaside town in the middle of nowhere in Denmark, our writer Helen Russell tries to discover what makes the people in Denmark the happiest people in the world, and explores different aspects of the country through her own personal research; from childcare, traditions, food, history, culture, and of course, getting to know the locals.
The writer is funny, adventurous, but her writings also feel personal and at the same time informative. Across the chapters she scatters different bits of information (mostly statistics) and it really shows how much research she puts into this book. But they do not feel like info dumping because they are interlaced within her own experiences and thoughts, including funny dialogues and scenes. Overall this book was fun and super enjoyable. It’s highly readable, the audiobook was narrated in a very fun way, and was not boring at all.
How to Live Like Your Cat by Stéphane Garnier
This cute little mini self-help book is basically what it says it is on the title: it is a guide of how to live more like your cat. Each chapter describes an aspect in your life you can improve by looking at how your cat lives its life and incorporate that into your own life. It’s light and fun and interesting, but not exactly very insightful. Though I did find that the author’s points are correct, none of them really resonates deep within me and really makes me want to live my life differently. But it’s such a nice fun read for cat-lovers because you can really relate the things with your cat’s attitudes and habits.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Such an amazing book!!! With the reverse plot of why-did-that-person-do-it similar to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History, and the ethical problems and themes similar to Jodi Picoult‘s novels, with traces of small-town-drama filled with unique character relationships very much like JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, this is such an engrossing and thrilling read, and would make the best books I read this year.
This book is so much more than what I thought to be a literary mystery. I found the characters in this book to be so captivating, and each with their own stories to tell. The women take a huge part in the book, so much so that the men are slightly underdeveloped. Ng explores about different mother-daughter relationships in this book and we see many other different topics surrounding motherhood and families, the debate between nature and nurture, and how mothers have such a difficult time showing their love to their daughters and so do it in different ways.
Additionally other themes like abortion, racial identity, coming of age, surrogacy, and choosing a career path that you want is also interwoven through the character’s lives and relationships in this book. This book definitely packs a lot of stuff, and they are all wonderfully incorporated.
Despite the slightly rushed ending and some relationships that felt a little weak, this book had so many other good attributes – it’s super hard to put down, it made me cry because of its wonderful writing, the characters and their relationships are wonderful, and the difficult themes tackled in this book are woven beautifully. Overall, a very interesting book that is so well-written and so touching. Highly recommend and definitely check out my full rant-y review in Goodreads for more on my thoughts.
We, The Jury by Robert Rotstein
I read this book during my ARC readathon, and this book is a legal thriller focusing on the people in the justice system with each of their own different point of views revolving around the jury deliberation of a specific trial.
It’s such a compelling read, and a great thriller. The ending was spectacular, but for me the best parts were the middle where we slowly get to know all the characters. If you like legal thrillers you should definitely give this a try. And I think it is also perfect for people who are not used to reading courtroom fiction and intimidated by all its phrases and unknown procedures, because in this book the story and the people are the focus instead of the trial itself. Additionally this book isn’t as long as a mass-market paperback by John Grisham so it’s a great stepping stone for those of you interested. But all in all, I highly recommend this awesome book.
I started and have not finished another ARC during my readathon last week, which is The Birthday by Carol Wyer. Set in a small town in the US, it’s about the disappearance of a little girl during a birthday party. It’s quite an interesting thriller so far, but to be honest I haven’t had much reading since my readathon and so haven’t managed to progress much on this book.
I’m also currently in the middle of the first book in the Veronica Mars series: The Thousand-Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas. I’m listening it on Audible and loving it, I love Kristen Bell’s feminine and pretty voice and though I’m not feeling compelled to keep reading it, I would occasionally turn it on when I’m in the mood for it.
What books did you read at the end of this year? Any highlights? In the meantime, talk to me in the comments below, don’t forget to check out my bookstagram, and I’ll see you in my next post this Friday 😉