Book Chat

Reading Log: December 2015

Whew, what a whirlwind of a month! I can’t believe I read anything at all in December, but the reading log says differently. Toward the end, I brought a bunch of unfinished books to the library because the pile was stressing me out, but I still managed to sneak in some fun reading over the holidays. It’s been a wonderful year of reading – I can’t wait to sit down and take a look at the whole long list (over 80 total, wow!) and think about my favorites from the year. But for now, must get back to unpacking…
Quick note: I don’t have any intention of monetizing my blog, but I’m trying out the Amazon affiliate program on posts where I’m already linking to Amazon products – mostly books, of course! If you purchase anything on Amazon.com after clicking the link, I will get a small referral fee. Consider yourself disclosed!

Below is my Reading Log for December 2015, 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 2015

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, SFF = Sci-Fi/Fantasy, C = Craft

Title Start Finish Grade/

Format

Genre
Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs,
by Sally Mann
11/8/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
M
The Secret Keeper,
by Kate Morton
11/13/15 12/24/15 A+
AB
F
The Marvels,
by Brian Selznick
11/22/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
CL
Jackaby,
by William Ritter
11/28/15 12/8/15 B
K
YA
Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives,
by Gretchen Rubin
11/29/15 12/20/15 A
HB
NF
Humans of New York: Stories,
by Brandon Stanton
12/4/15 12/8/15 A+
HB
NF
The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life,
by Lois Ehlert
12/4/15 12/4/15 A+
HB
CL
My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan #1),
by Elena Ferrante
12/11/15 Still Reading TBD
K
F
Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – And What You Really Need to Know,
by Emily Oster
12/12/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
NF
The Book with No Pictures,
by B.J. Novak
12/15/15 12/15/15 A
HB
CL
The Wonderful Things You Will Be,
written and illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin
12/15/15 12/15/15 A
HB
CL
Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3),
by Robert Gilbraith
12/26/15 Still Reading TBD
LB
F

Thoughts:

Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs, by Sally MannTBD

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log November 2015

Still reading… but I had to return it to the library before I could finish. I loved the first hundred pages, so it’s hard to wait for it to become available again, but it’s probably for the best since my library pile was getting unwieldy and stressful during the move.

The Secret Keeper, by Kate MortonA+

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log November 2015

Wow, what an introduction to Kate Morton! Now I understand the obsession with her historical mysteries, and I’ve added her backlist to my To Read list. Following two timelines, from 1941 as two women’s lives become entangled in wartime London, to 2011 as the daughter of one of them searches for the truth behind her mother’s mysterious past. Any more than that would be too spoilery, you just have to trust that it’s thoroughly engrossing. Such a cozy mystery with enough twists and turns to justify the extensive descriptions. This was the perfect audiobook for the commute, and even though it was quite long (17 cds!), I still wasn’t ready for it to end.

The Marvels, by Brian SelznickTBD

The Amateur Librarian // November 2015 Reading Log

Still reading, but another one I had to return to the library before finishing. This is a whale of a book – the first 400 pages are wordless black-and-white illustrations, and I had just gotten to the first couple chapters of text when my hold ran out. Can’t wait to continue!

 

Jackaby, by William Ritter – B

The Amateur Librarian // Reading Log

Eh… this was ok. Set in an indeterminate “old timey” New England, it follows the new assistant to an eccentric detective who investigates supernatural crimes. It’s another homage to Sherlock Holmes (with a bit of Dr. Who thrown in to account for the supernatural). The fantastic bits felt rushed, and the first thirty chapters felt like one long introduction while Girl Friday was getting acquainted with Jackaby’s unconventional methods. Maybe the sequel would be better, with the backstory already established, but I don’t think I’ll have the patience for it. I might be getting too old for witty banter of the YA variety, it just made me roll my eyes. Picturing Benedict Cumberbatch delivering the lines helped a bit thanks to BBC’s Sherlock, but in the end I just couldn’t connect with this story at all.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen RubinA

The Amateur Librarian // May 2015 Reading Log

I loved Gretchen Rubin’s practical advice from The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, and her latest book is no different. Taking her happiness research one step further, Rubin delves into the study of habits, including personality tendencies and how to work with your own (and others’) nature in order to cultivate the right habits and actually keep them. I tend to get burned out by self help books but Rubin is always interesting as well as thorough. Her podcast Happier is a great supplement to the book, although it’s nice to have all the info in one place. (Full review here!)

Humans of New York: Stories, by Brandon Stanton– A+

The Amateur Librarian // December 2015 Reading Log

The second book by Brandon Stanton really represents the evolution of HONY on social media, from a simpler photography collection to the profound storytelling with far-reaching effects that it’s known for today. I loved the way it was laid out, with interesting groupings and such a diverse range of stories. There are some repeats I remember from Instagram but I didn’t mind since they are the best of the best – my favorite is the Brownsville phenomena that started with one kid praising his principal and ended with scholarships established through donations and meeting the president! So good.

The Scraps Book: Notes from a Colorful Life, by Lois Ehlert– A+

The Amateur Librarian // December 2015 Reading Log

Lois Ehlert has created artwork for some of the most iconic children’s books that have affected my life, from growing up with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom to all my favorites from my school librarian days: Snowballs, Eating the Alphabet, Growing Vegetable Soup, Planting a Rainbow, Feathers for Lunch, Nuts to You, etc. (I told you she was prolific!). This book fills in the background of her life as an artist and showcases her process of using found objects in collage. I had to read it a couple times to pick out al the little details, from the text to the captions to the DIY projects. Love it!

My Brilliant Friend (Neapolitan #1), by Elena Ferrante – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // December 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. I’ve meant to start this for a long time, especially with all the buzz in the publishing world around the release of the fourth (and last) book of the series by Italian writer and recluse Elena Ferrante. I’m having a difficult time getting into it, but I keep hearing that all the elements from the first book deepen and become even more interesting as the series progresses, so I’ll try to stick it out.

Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong – And What You Really Need to Know, by Emily Oster – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // December 2015 Reading Log

Spoiler alert: I’m Not Pregnant! Just curious. An economist frustrated by the misleading and conflicting information regarding pregnancy Dos and Don’ts (just how dangerous is deli meat? And coffee? And alcohol?, etc.) sets out to find the source material and analyze it herself. Interesting stuff!

The Book with No Pictures, by B.J. Novak – A

The Amateur Librarian // December 2015 Reading Log

The power of this book lies in the read-aloud; and the sillier the narrator the better, I’m sure. Just how hilarious it is to make the grownup repeat all manner of silly sounds and phrases probably depends on the child. I could see this being a favorite with kids, but as a book by itself it’s not so memorable. I guess I should try it out with some kids instead of reading it to myself… classic grownup mistake, ha!

The Wonderful Things You Will Be, written and illustrated by Emily Winfield Martin – A

The Amateur Librarian // December 2015 Reading Log

So sweet! The perfect bedtime book and gift, worthy of Seuss but more earnest. I love the soft, whimsical illustrations, with just enough unexpected details to keep it from being too saccharine. Emily Winfield Martin is one of my favorite contemporary artists, and this might be my favorite children’s book of hers yet.

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3), by Robert Gilbraith – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // December 2015 Reading Log

Still reading. I love the Cormoran Strike detective novels, and each one gets better. This one really delves into Strike and Robins’ backstories and relationship which I’m really enjoying. I love how each novel shines a spotlight on J.K. Rowling’s thoughts on different aspects of her life – in the first, celebrity and the media; in the second, the publishing industry; in this one, being a woman. So good!

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of December, the last month of 2015.  I’m always looking for more book recommendations – are you reading any good books?

The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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2 thoughts on “Reading Log: December 2015

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