Monthly Wrap-Up | December 2019

Another month gone by in a flash, and with it the end of the year and a decade. Tomorrow I will be posting my ideas, hopes, and blogging goals for the new year, but for now I’m focusing on the reading and blogging I did in December.

Books I Read

  1. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – I’ve seen the movie and have even read The Rules of Magic, but this was my first reading of the book that started it all. Like I said in my Fall 2019 TBR Wrap-Up, while I was reading Practical Magic I was surprised by how little of the story I remembered (via the movie) – most of it felt new to me, which I think was ultimately a good thing since it felt like a fresh story I hadn’t encountered before. I was also/thus surprised at how heartbreaking this book is. It is sad, and painful, and at times hard to read because the emotions and life events of the characters feel so real. From the elder aunts to Gillian and Sally to Gillian’s daughters, it feels like Alice Hoffman took great care to consider each woman’s age and personality in order to present such interesting characters on every page. This goes for the secondary characters too; even those that didn’t have a lot of mentions were still recognizable when they appeared in the story. If I have any qualms about Practical Magic they have to do with how crudely some of the sex scenes, rape and abuse scenes/memories, and descriptions of harassment were written. During most of them it felt like the author wanted to heighten the shock value for reasons beyond emphasizing the intimacy (consensual sex scenes) or suffering; I don’t think that dialing back the intensity of those scenes would have made them less impactful within the overall story. Despite this, however, I did really enjoy Practical Magic, and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it.
  2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Yes, I finally read this hyped, now-a-movie story, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I love the way Paula Hawkins used multiple points of view and different points of time within those POVs, and how every character – except maybe Cathy – was unreliable. I soaked up every detail, tried to piece together the greater mystery, and was shocked but satisfied by the finale. Will I watch the movie? I think that because I am now familiar with the way things end up, the movie would be a bit boring. I should tell you that I’m a terrible movie-watcher and typically find the actual act of sitting down to watch a movie on a whim at home boring, so if you liked this book and also recommend the movie, let me know!
  3. Felicity by Mary Oliver – I only added this to my book collection on Sunday (Barnes & Noble gift card via Christmas!), and as it’s a short poetry collection I finished it Sunday night. If you have followed my blog and Instagram this year, you likely know that I have fallen deeply in love with Mary Oliver’s writing – her essay collection Upstream is one of my favorite books, I’ve decided. I read her poetry for the first time almost exactly one year ago (January, 2019), and haven’t read another one of her poetry collections since then. My Barnes & Noble delightfully has nearly every one, so I will likely go back and get the rest in 2020. 😆 A couple of my favorite poems from Felicity include “The World I Live In”, “Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way”, “Humility”, “I Did Think, Let’s Go About This Slowly”, “What This Is Not”, “Except for the Body”, “Not Anyone Who Says”, “I Don’t Want to Lose”, and “I Have Just Said”.

Currently Reading (Carried over from OCTOBER and NOVEMBER)

No, I still haven’t finished these books (but I still want to!). I’d say I’m putting them on the back burner for now, but they are already there…😆 Is there one in particular you think I should finish ASAP?

  1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 
  2. Chocolate House Treason by David Fairer 
  3. The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar 
  4. Dracula by Bram Stoker 
  5. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier (audiobook)
  6. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James 

Did Not Finish

  1. The Silver Witch by Paula Brackston – In my Fall 2019 TBR Wrap-Up I mentioned how I just couldn’t bring myself to finish this book before the end of Autumn. I still haven’t finished it, and don’t plan to any time soon, even though I’m so close to the end. It started off strong and was magically mysterious; I was excited to dive into a story inspired by Welsh folklore and myths – of which I know very little. The story is told from two different perspectives: one from a woman living in modern day (Tilda), and the other a woman from Celtic times (Seren). Both live(d) on the shores of a lake in a remote village, and Paula Brackston created a winter setting that is unforgettably beautiful and appropriate for the atmosphere of the plot and subplots. Unfortunately, the multiple subplots caused me to lose interest in the book, because none were really strong enough to fully capture my attention. I almost wish this had been a book about the woman from Celtic times – Seren – as her chapters are the strongest and most memorable. I have read up to the point where Seren and Tilda’s lives intertwine, but I find myself just not caring because the events are a little too corny and convenient.

In Other News…

There’s not much more to say, except that I’m ready for the new year, a fresh start, and for things to calm down just a bit now that the busiest time of year [for me] is nearly over. Bring on the new decade!

As always, thank you, blog reader and/or follower, for continuing to support my space for rambling, sharing thoughts about books, and gaining inspiration of all kinds. If you are interested in reading about my goals and ideas regarding books and blogging in 2020, come back on New Year’s Day (or later this week) for my first post of the new year. And ff you wrote something you’re particularly proud of during this month, year, or are feeling especially excited about a readathon, a photo you took for bookstagram, or just a memory you want to share, leave a link and/or your thoughts in a comment below.

See you next year!

💚 Kelsey


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