In this last month of the year my reading life was all over the place. I needed some fun fiction to distract me during some stressed out times, and then over vacation time. In December I read:
- Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline – I loved the first book at the end of November, and a friend was raving about this sequel, so I rushed right into. Overall, I liked this book, but not nearly as much as the first one. I loved the John Hughes world, and if I was a bigger Prince fan, I would have loved that world too. The other pop references in the sequel weren’t as enjoyable to me, plus it took a long time for Wade to gain empathy and become a better human being, inside and outside his game world. But I still appreciate the creativity of the author, creating such a rich fantasy world.
- The Guest List by Lucy Foley – This was a fun mystery to read on a cold Saturday, wrapped up in a cozy blanket. Throughout the book I hated each character equally, for their lies and secrets and hubris. The book takes place on a supposedly haunted Irish island, where everyone is brought over by rocky boats for Will and Jules’ wedding. Will’s groomsmen are all awful immature men who still relish the naughty fun they got into at their boarding school. Jules and her half sister have their own secret shames they are trying to hide. Everyone feels suspicious! As you read, each chapter is told from a different character’s perspective and part of the story takes place in the present, and part the day before, flashing back and forth as we learn more about what happens at the wedding. When I finished, I was sure I had read other books by this author because the style felt so familiar, but I haven’t. It’s similar to books by Shari Lapena.
- Skipping Christmas by John Grisham – I have read this book at least 10 times, always in December. I love the laugh-out-loud humor of the outrageous story! It’s a heartwarming holiday story that just makes me feel like I’m wrapped up in happy memories.
- One Life by Megan Rapinoe – I picked this up from my library because I saw Glennon Doyle speak with Megan during an Instagram live (and I love all things Glennon Doyle!). I know nothing about soccer (men’s or women’s) and even less about Megan, but I enjoyed this story. It is part a history of her soccer career and part a story of her growing activism. I appreciated the way Megan addressed the reality of intersectionality, being a woman who is also gay, in a male-dominated sport where women are severely underpaid. I appreciate that a white women is using her platform to shine a light on the inequities of racism and sexism and homophobia in our country. She seems like a spitfire of a woman, determined and outspoken and brave. I enjoyed this even more than I thought I would.
- Hit List by Stuart Woods – When I need a quick fiction read that I know I will enjoy, I look for the next book in the Stone Barrington series. I love these fast-paced mysteries.
- Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin – I remember a few months ago when Laura Tremaine mentioned this book on one of her podcasts. I wrote down the title and waited for it to be available on my library e-reader app. By the time I started it, all I remembered was that a young American girl goes missing while on a family vacation on a Caribbean island. But this story is about so much more than that. It’s about Alison, who goes missing, and Claire, her little sister whose life is impacted more than once. It’s about the locals on the island, the life of rebellious teenagers, secrets, lies, and life’s trials. This was not what I was expecting, but it was a very interesting story that I’m glad I read.
- The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins – This was my December Book of the Month Club pick and it was good, but not great. I loved the ending more than the first half of the book! Jane is a girl with secrets about her past when, as a dog walker in a wealthy neighborhood, she meets a recently widowed man, Eddie. Jane and Eddie fall in love, with the shadow of his missing and presumed dead wife hanging over them. All of the characters had secrets in this book, and most were not likeable people, but interesting characters in this charade they crafted.
Here are December’s stats:
Young Adolescent: 1
Audiobooks: 0 (Currently listening to Obama’s latest book which will take many more hours to finish!)
Author is of or plot addresses a different race/ethnicity, orientation, religion than me: 1
Female author: 4
Male Author: 3
Nonbinary Author: 0