Can you believe it’s almost 2019 already? This year has positively flown by. Perhaps that’s because I’ve read so many stories and visited so many different worlds this year -- for the first time ever, I’ve completely 100 books (and I’m still going)! It feels amazing to have accomplished that, and at the same time, I’m not sure it’s something I want to repeat. Even with my blog, for which I have to carefully reflect on the books I review, I can barely remember most of the books I’ve read.
Since we last met for SUYB, I’ve finished 11 books -- four of which I finished in the 5 days of the Thanksgiving Readathon. That’s a lot to catch you up on, so I’ll try to keep it brief!
Here’s a look at what I read over the last month and what might be on the docket next:
But first, Last Month’s Edition & What My Ratings Mean
4-Star Reads ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Alice Network - My whole book club loved this story of two world wars and fearless female spies. [review + recipe]
Little - This fictionalized account of Madame Tussaud’s life was my first Edward Carey novel, and I will absolutely be looking into some of his backlist. It was a book I didn’t know I needed, but I ended up wholeheartedly enjoying.
The Line That Held Us - David Joy’s latest novel is a dark Appalachian thriller about the cover-up of an accidental murder and all that follows. I was horrified and riveted by the story and captivated by Joy’s writing.
Where the Crawdads Sing - My whole (other) book club loved this novel, too. I found Delia Owens’ writing transporting and was totally immersed from beginning to end. [review + two recipes]
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - When this novel was selected for my office’s book club, I was less than excited (I campaigned for There There and lost). I finally picked it up over Thanksgiving break and raced through it. This nonfiction account of the murders of Osage Indians beginning in the 1920s prompted an excellent discussion. It’s a book everyone should read.
Becoming - Michelle Obama’s memoir was as excellent as I expected. I took way too long to read it (due to a book obligation backlog) and unfortunately turned it into the library a few days late, but it was worth it -- and I’m sorry to everyone who was waiting on that copy! Look out for my full review with an Obama family favorite recipe, of course, on Saturday.
3-Star Reads ⭐⭐⭐
Marilla of Green Gables (3.5) - I’ll admit I was nervous to revisit the beloved world of Green Gables, but I was intrigued to read Marilla’s backstory and ultimately couldn’t resist. In the end, I was charmed by old characters and new. It’s a welcome accompaniment to the existing Anne series. [review + recipe]
*Family Trust - I read Kathy Wang’s novel as part of a book tour stop on Literary Quicksand, and while I didn’t love it, it was a well-written and unique take on another story about “rich people problems.” [full review]
A Spark of Light - Jodi Picoult’s newest novel, which came out in October, was one of the books I was anticipating most this year, and as such, I felt pretty let down by the result. I know other people have loved this one, but it didn’t blow me away (and had me pretty confused at times). I also reviewed this one on Literary Quicksand. [full review]
**The Adults - If you’re looking for a Christmas-y novel with a little intrigue, this might be a good choice. Caroline Hulse’s novel about two exes vacationing with their daughter, her imaginary bunny and their new partners was a quick, entertaining read. [review + recipe]
The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley - When we discussed this at book club last week, the reviews were pretty mixed. I myself was sort of on the fence -- mainly about Samuel Hawley himself. Still, I loved Hannah Tinti’s writing in this coming-of-age story mixed with a criminal thriller.
What was the best thing you read last month?
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*I received a free copy of this book through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
**I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I really wish Spark of Light was written forward instead of backward. Really really.
I loved Crawdads, if you can say that about a book so searingly lonely.
I love goat cheese and the Alice Network! I have seen a few reviews for Spark of Light and it doesn't seem to be worth the read
I definitely recommend the goat cheese recipe -- easy and delicious! And perfect for any parties you've got going on this time of year 🙂
The Joy & Owens books both sound great (is my Southern showing?). Can't wait to read Becoming!
Ha, maybe a little bit, but there's no problem with that! I think Southern settings have such a sense of place and makes them all that much more immersive. <3
I really disliked A Spark of Light, so you're not alone. Glad you liked Becoming, I am currently reading it for book club now, which is this weekend so I better pick it up and move a bit faster lol. The Alice Network is on my list, glad you liked it.
I'm glad to hear that -- I sort of felt bad not liking it, but I have been seeing lots of similar reviews. Enjoy Becoming! It's long, but pretty quick.
Kay R.D. says
Where the crawdads sing has been on my radar forever and I really hope I can get to it soon.
I was so worried it wouldn't live up to expectations and kept putting it off, so I'm glad it got picked for my book club -- it was the push I needed!
My mom has a copy of Becoming, so hopefully I can borrow that from her soon.
I hope you can too 🙂 It was wonderful.
Jana @ Jana Says says
Samuel Hawley was one of my favorite books of last year. Or whatever year I read it. It haunted me.
I'm waiting on a few of these, and The Line That Held Us is 100% my kind of book.
It was definitely interesting. I liked the writing and storytelling style a lot! I want to check out something else by her. Have you read anything else from her you'd recommend?
I’ve got to get my hands on “Little”! Sounds like a good read.
You definitely should! It was great. I got the recommendation from Liberty Hardy. 🙂
Tanya @ A Mindful Migration says
I'm on the wait list for Becoming and it sooooooo long. But I can't wait to get my mitts on it. The Line that Held Us sounds really good - adding it to my TBR.
I can't wait to read Becoming! And good to hear about Where the Crawdads Sing too, that's one I've wanted to read as well. I also enjoyed The Alice Network. You read a lot of good ones last month!
Disappointing to hear about Spark of Light as I was eyeing it up, even though I have a huge pile of books to read, haha!
Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins says
Oh, Little sounds fantastic!! Why haven't I heard of it before?? Thank you for putting me onto it! And, if it helps, I know A Spark of Light got a lot of hype very early on, but most of the reviews I've read have said it was quite a let-down (to the point where I won't be picking it up), so you're definitely not alone in that view.
I'm still on a comedown from Elena Ferrante's My Brilliant Friend - I'd call it my book of the year, hands down one of the best books I've ever read - but I've also finally got around to reading The Grapes Of Wrath, which blew me away. Very unexpected!
I have been wanting to read My Brilliant Friend forever! I'll have to make a point to pick it up next year -- it was also recently made into a movie (I saw it on the HBO App). Have you seen that?
The Alice Network is on my 2019 list - I have a copy on my shelf but I've heard the audiobook is lovely too. Crawdads is on my list too!! I'm reading Marilla of Green Gables right now and it is good so far!!
So much good reading in your future 🙂 Glad you're liking Marilla so far!
Michelle K says
Last month was a good reading month for me: I read and enjoyed Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jun Lee and The Library Book by Susan Orlean. I cannot wait to read Becoming and Where the Crawdads Sing.
I've been wanting to read The Library Book! I had it once from the library, but didn't get a chance to read it -- I'll have to go back on the waitlist. Glad you enjoyed it!
Alexandra Consolver says
I've heard so many good things about your 4 star picks. I wish there was more time for reading! Don't you?! Here from SUYB! XO - Alexandra
Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things
Oh yes, I would definitely appreciate more time for reading 🙂