Monday, January 9, 2017

Reading Roundup - December 2016

Book Day! It feels a little strange to be talking about 2016 anymore since everyone is so focused on 2017 goals and plans, but I have to finish up my year in books. As usual I'm linking up with Steph and Jana for Show Us Your Books. I have really enjoyed being part of the online book community this past year!

I had a slow start to December due to above-average TV watching and one DNF, so I didn't finish a single book until the 21st, which made me feel a little antsy, but I ended the year at 60 books total, not including The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness which I'm talking about here even though I didn't finish it until January 1st.

1) To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey. 4/5 stars. This book had a slow start but I really liked it by the end. Set in the 1880's, it tells the story, via journal and letters, of Colonel Allen Forrester ,who leads a small expedition into a remote and previously impenetrable section of Alaskan wilderness, alternating with his wife Sophie's experience back at the military barrack in Vancouver. What elevates this book above a somewhat slogging expedition report (a la Shackleton, if that's your cup of tea) is a subtle vein of magic as Allen comes into contact with the native Alaskan tribes.


2) Loving My Actual Life: An Experience in Relishing What's Right in Front of Me by Alexandra Kuykendall. 4/5 stars. This book reminded me of Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project but with a Christian focus. The author focuses each month on one aspect of her life with the goal of appreciating and cherishing the everyday moments more. She has a nice list of suggestions at the back for small actions to take in each area that can have a true impact on our overall awareness and enjoyment of ordinary life.


3) Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in an African Slum by Kennedy Odede and Jessica Posner. 3.5/5 stars. This is an incredible story which is both difficult and inspiring to read at times. Kennedy is from Kibera, one of the largest slums in Africa, outside Nairobi, Kenya. The poverty, violence, heartbreak, and desperation that he tells about is truly horrible. Kennedy overcame an incredibly difficult childhood to start a nonprofit to help the people in the community, which Jessica volunteered at several years later. They fell in love and have since built the nonprofit, Shining Hope for Communities, into a huge force for good.


4) The Survivor's Guide to Family Happiness by Maddie Dawson. 3.5/5 stars. The main character of this book, Nina, sets out to find her birth family after the death of her adoptive mom. The people and connections, and ultimately the family, that she meets along the way is messy and complicated and not at all what she expected or imagined, but the story is heartwarming. It's told mostly from Nina's perspective with occasional chapters by her sister and mother.


Swede's Book of the Month: Such a Little Mouse by Alice Schertle with illustrations by Stephanie Yue. This book is a really cute little tale of the changing seasons from the point of view of a little mouse exploring the wide world.


That's all! Here's my January 2017 TBR pile. I've started with Under the Influence because it's due back to the library first, but am looking forward to The Trespasser.


Here's to a great year of books in 2017!

30 comments:

  1. If you get a chance, check out "What you think you know" by Sue Fairchild. She's my friend and it's her first book she just published!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How exciting for your friend, I will definitely look for it!

      Delete
  2. Loving my Actual Life sounds good!! Adding that one to my TBR list. I'll be interested to hear what you think of The Trespasser...have you read all her other books? I've only read one but I heard they can read out of order.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have read all Tana French's books. I don't think you'd miss that much by reading out of order but there are some slight carryovers from book to book that I like having read the previous ones to get - Faithful Place then Broken Harbor then The Secret Place then The Trespasser. This one is really good so far, I am racing through it because I need to know what happened!

      Delete
  3. I love how diverse your reads were! I am seriously off my blogging game and all over the place. I have some catching up to do here on your site and then I am adding you to my feed! (I'm the worst at remembering to do this! :( ) XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This month was more diverse than usual - Normally I'm 100% contemporary and/or literary fiction. Trying to branch out (a little) in 2017.

      Delete
  4. I added The Survivor's Guide after seeing it on your IG (I think?) - I love the cover.

    My book month always goes from SUYB to SUYB, so it's always what I've read from the last link up. It annoys me that 2016 and 2017 books are both on mine this month. hahaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've thought about doing it that way, from one SUYB to the next, but I'm such a stickler I guess I like it being just the one month.

      Delete
  5. I'm drawn to that Bright Edge book just by the author's name. Eowyn Ivey is a cool name. I think I've got the others on my list to read, as well. Love how you included Swede's favorite book. I can't wait till Ellie gets into books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the name Eowyn, That is #1 on the list of nerd names that I wish I was brave enough to use. I also love Daenerys.
      Reading with Swede is one of my favorite things!

      Delete
  6. I'm adding The Survivor's Guide to my TBR. It's such a beautiful cover.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the cover too - I am such a judge-a-book-by-it's-cover-type! Luckily the book was good too.

      Delete
  7. It was weird to write about 2016 books in 2017 but that's how it is. SUYB does what it wants!

    Better Than Before has been on my TBR since I heard it was coming out. Still haven't read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly I'm procrastinating a bit on reading Better than Before, I always like her books but I'm never super exciting to sit down and read non-fiction at the end of the day.

      Delete
  8. I love the concept of Loving My Actual Life! Definitely need to pick that up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really liked it! Definitely filled with small changes that can really make a big impact in overall everyday happiness.

      Delete
  9. the survivor's guide to family happiness sounds interesting. i've read another one of her books and quite liked it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was thinking about trying another of her books! Which one did you read?

      Delete
  10. To the Bright Side of the World has such a pretty cover-- I just commented on another post about how I don't think I've ever read anything set in Alaska, but I added 2 books to my tbr list today. I added Loving My Actual Life too! I have Tana French's Into The Woods from the library right now and am anxiously excited, but nervous to read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked Eowyn Ivey's first book, The Snow Child, even better than Bright Side, and that cover is one of my favorites ever. I would frame it! Go look at it now! The trees, the fox - So pretty. Also set in Alaska and also a little bit magical.

      Delete
  11. I like the sound of Loving My Actual Life, especially since you mentioned The Happiness Project similarity and I love that book. I also loved Better Than Before, which I see is in your TBR pile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gretchen Rubin is my guru! I have actually read Better than Before when it first came out but I thought it'd be a good re-read to start off 2017 with better habits.

      Delete
  12. Loving My Actual Life & Find Me Unafraid both sound like great reads! I will have to add them to my list (which seems to grow at an alarming rate every time I check out other blogger's reads)!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a little compulsive about keeping my list from getting too long - Currently at 25 books - But I do get so many good ideas every month from this linkup!

      Delete
  13. I love the sound of Such a Little Mouse! We're always looking for fun new books for Spencer, and he would LOVE this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True story: We checked it out from the library a year ago and Swede destroyed it - Tore the pages to shreds. To this day she is still not allowed to have "paper books" during quiet time. I bought a new copy for the library and just re-checked it out now. Glad I did so that everyone can enjoy this sweet story.

      Delete
  14. I always enjoy seeing what books you've read because there are always some different ones in the mix.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah, Thank you! That is a nice complement.

      Delete
  15. I'm currently reading The Trespasser now. I like it! It's pretty good, but it's definitely on the longer side...

    -- Dara || www.peoniesandhoneybees.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Her books are pretty long but I tear through them because I can't wait to find out what happens!

      Delete

Please comment if you feel so inclined! I will reply via email if you provide your email address. If not - Check back here for a reply.