Book Chat

Reading Log: December 2013

Wow, another month of reading has come and gone… and somehow 2013 has ended!  December was super busy and I didn’t feel like I had much time to read… but looking back, I actually did read quite a few (although some were picture books).  Once the dust settles from the holiday season, I’ll get my annual Reading Stats together… one of my favorite posts to write every year!

Below is my Reading Log for December 2013, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  And of course I keep track of my rating on the grade system, the binding, genre, etc… just for fun!

December 2013

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.
F = Fiction, HF = Historical Fiction, NF = NonFiction, YA = Young Adult,
CL = Children’s Lit, B/M = Bio/Memoir, SF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

Title Start Finish Grade/
Format
Genre

 

Let’s Pretend This Didn’t Happen (A Mostly True Memoir),
by Jenny Lawson
7/17/13 12/29/13

B
PB

M

Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse,
by Jennifer Worth
11/28/13 12/1/13

B+
K

M

Call the Midwife: Farewell to East End,
by Jennifer Worth
12/1/13 12/6/13

A
K

M

Downton Tabby,
by Chris Kelly
12/4/13 12/4/13

 

A
K

F

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats,
by Jan-Philipp Sendker
12/7/13 12/11/13

B
K

F

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,
by James Thurber
12/10/13 12/10/13

B
AB

F

Bossypants,
by Tina Fey
12/11/13 12/17/13

A+
K

M

Christmas Day in the Morning,
written by Pearl S. Buck and illustrated by Mark Buehner
12/13/13 12/13/13

A
HB

CL

Winter Lights: A Season in Poems and Quilts,
by Anna Grossnickle Hines
12/14/13 12/14/13

A+
HB

CL

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice #1),
by George RR Martin
12/18/13 Still Reading

TBD
K

SF

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Story,
by Emily Winfield Martin
12/30/13 12/30/13

A+
HB

CL

Thoughts:

Let’s Pretend This Didn’t Happen (A Mostly True Memoir), by Jenny Lawson – B

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

Another funny blogger’s memoir that received rave reviews, but I have to say I thought it was uneven at best.  Parts of it were really funny, but I was never really engrossed and it took me a while to actually get through it.  Her childhood was pretty unusual, but she seemed to complain about it much more than other life events that were much more serious in comparison… like her miscarriage and anxiety disorder.  I definitely giggled a few times, but I don’t think this book will leave a lasting impression.  I don’t know why books by bloggers are so disappointing, or for that reason why I keep reading them when I always have the same reaction!

 …

Call the Midwife: Shadows of the Workhouse, by Jennifer Worth – B+

The Amateur Librarian // November 2013 Reading Log

It took me a while to get into the 2nd volume, and I infinitely prefer the first, but it got better.  The second book follows a few secondary characters more closely with hardly any midwife stories. The stories of the workhouse are so horrific that I had to take a break.  Fascinating stories of post-war London… after this series, I think I’ll need a break from Britain and WWII for a while!

 …

Call the Midwife: Farewell to East End, by Jennifer Worth – A

The Amateur Librarian // December 2013 Reading Log

The last book in the memoir trilogy.  This time the author returned to the episodic style, which I enjoyed more than the fictionalized portrayals of the people she met.  Some parts could get very graphic (especially the illegal abortions), but even at its mort heart wrenching, it’s fascinating stuff.  I especially liked the epilogue of sorts at the end, when we find out what happened to all the nurses and nuns.  I only wish there was more about the author’s own personal life, but I guess this period of time was only a small portion of her life.  And now it’s time for a departure from war and post-war Britain!

 …

Downton Tabby, by Chris Kelly – A

The Amateur Librarian // December 2013 Reading Log

A silly little spoof with cats as the stars of Downton Abbey.  Lots of pun with some gossipy commentary about all the characters – funny stuff.  The absurd photos of cats’ heads on screen shots from the show were hilarious – easily the best part.  Cute little book and fun to have the ebook version – it’s exactly the sort of book that’s read once or twice and then just takes up space.

 …

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, by Jan-Philipp Sendker – B

The Amateur Librarian // December 2013 Reading Log

Book club pick for November – I missed the meeting but everyone enjoyed the book so I caught up a month later.  Quick, enjoyable read – almost a fairy tale.  A daughter searches for the truth behind her father’s sudden disappearance and learns about the secrets of his past life in Burma.  I don’t normally enjoy magical realism, but it was slight and didn’t bother me.  I think it actually helped keep the romance from being too sentimental, and I appreciated that the narrator struggled with accepting the  mystic parts of the tale as well.  After finishing I made the mistake of reading the GoodRead reviews… they were super harsh!  I need to remember not to resist reading reviews of books I like, they always leave a bad aftertaste.

 …

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, by James Thurber – B

The Amateur Librarian // December 2013 Reading Log

I didn’t realize that the movie coming out is actually a remake from the 60’s, and they’re both based on a short story by James Thurber.  I found an audio version narrated by Ben Stiller for free… hooray for movie tie-ins.  The story was very brief – I listened to it twice just to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.  Walter Mitty is married and downtrodden and daydreams to escape his boring life… and that’s about it.  I enjoyed the sketch but I’m not quite sure how it could be stretched into a movie without major changes and additions.  I liked it but I wish I had read it without the influence of a movie trailer in the back of my mind.

 …

Bossypants, by Tina Fey – A+

The Amateur Librarian // December 2013 Reading Log

I had to suppress several giggles on the bus… and really, that’s all I ask after a string of depressing war books!  I really enjoyed Tina Fey’s voice and her brand of feminism – witty and snappy, but still realistic and warm.  There were a few juicy bits of gossip from behind the scenes of SNL and 30 Rock, but mostly it was self-deprecating.  Sometimes it jumped around a lot all over her life and sometimes it felt a bit superficial for a memoir – it made we wonder what’s really under the layer of jokes and what it’s really like when she doesn’t have to put on a show, but hey – it’s her memoir and she can write it how she wants.  Just what I needed to cleanse the palate.

 …

Christmas Day in the Morning, written by Pearl S. Buck and illustrated by Mark Buehner – A

The Amateur Librarian // Christmas Eve Reading

Beautifully illustrated and captures the story perfectly.  I remember reading this short story several years ago and remembered the story vaguely, but I was touched all over again reading it this year.  The story is real and heartwarming, not sentimental at all but with a sweet message.  An excellent read aloud that I’m looking forward to bringing out every year.

 …

Winter Lights: A Season in Poems and Quilts, by Anna Grossnickle Hines – A+

The Amateur Librarian // Christmas Eve Reading

I’ve had my eye on this book for the past couple years, and I finally bit the bullet.  There are about 15 different poems, each accompanied by a quilt detail as illustration.  The quilts are really stunning, modern and colorful and abstract but evocative.  This picture book would be great in the classroom because it covers all the winter holidays, from Chanukah to winter solstice to Kwanzaa.  The book used to be available through Amazon but it must have gone out of print because this year I could only find it in used condition.  I’m glad I snapped it up for my collection!

 …

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice #1), by George RR Martin – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // December 2013 Reading Log

Still reading.  I’ve been wavering back and forth about whether I wanted to start this epic series, and finally I decided to go for it.  So far, the television series follows the book very closely, practically scene by scene.  The writing is really easy to read and since we’ve watched the show I already love all the characters and plot twists.  It’s fun to have more background info and the best part of watching the TV show first is that I know how to pronounce all the names!  I would’ve read them completely differently based on spelling and probably would’ve been annoyed when it didn’t match what I thought.  I bought the 5-book set on Kindle for a great deal, but the only problem is that I can’t tell how far I’ve read in Book One because all five are included… so I’m at 8% through the entire set but have no idea how close I am to finishing the first book other than comparing what happened in the first season of the show.

 …

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Story, by Emily Winfield Martin – A+

The Amateur Librarian

This was a Christmas present to myself.  I absolutely love Emily Winfield Martin’s illustrations – the book could even be wordless, but the story is still a sweet companion.  I love the idea of dream animals escorting you to your dreams each night, and I would imagine that each dream scene could inspire its own stories as well.  Delightful bedtime story for my collection!

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of December.  Anyone reading a good book?

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