Sunday, January 10, 2021

Reviewing (52/52/2020)

Wow, one blog post in 2020. I haven't written so little since 2012. Yet, I did read 52 books in 52 weeks in 2020...barely. I squeezed in fourteen books during the month of December after asking for recommendations for books under 250 pages. I received a great many recommendations for which I'm thankful. Not all were so short. I finished two books which I had started earlier in the year, and I listened to two audio books (How have I missed 84 Charing Cross Road all these years?!) I even wound up with one book extra and one extra day in 2020! Libby, an online library was a lifesaver this year (although excruciatingly hard on my eyes until I got special online glasses). To a lesser extent so was Hoopla, online books attached to our local library system. Unfortunately, they only allowed me to check out five books a month. 

Since I did not blog for each book in 2020, let me give reviews here which are shorter than the ones I put on Goodreads. I will post my Goodreads Books in Review pictures after I post a picture of the books I do own. 

Neal Shusterman's Sythe series -- discussion worthy; violence and death; sci-fi
Rene Gutteridge Boo series -- first was okay; I could barely get through second; Christian-fi
Julie Yep-Williams -- The Unwinding of a Miracle -- one of the best non-fiction dying books
Blake Crouch -- Recursion -- I think part of a series also; sci-fi; discussion worthy
Audi Kolber -- Try Softer -- 5 stars --non-fiction; brain research+Christian; discussion worthy
Tembi Locke -- From Scratch -- non-fiction; one of the best grief books + love story + Italy

Georgette Heyer needs her own paragraph here as this was definitely a Georgette Heyer year for me. I needed her lighthearted fiction. Definite cultural issues in her treatment of certain types of women and of men who "cuff lightly their women" along with bad boys who meet the right woman and become good. Why then did I read her? Incredible vocabulary and dialogue along with stories that are as funny as Shakespeare and Austen (not the same, just saying don't give the grace to Shakespeare and Austen and take it away from Heyer). Also, Heyer is a master of satire so don't miss that she shows the upper class who supposedly have "good manners" being crude and the lower class who supposedly have bad manners being of worth and value. Most of the ones I read were her regency romances. The one mystery I fully read Footsteps in the Dark was a good one. The rest of her mysteries I did not finish. I hated her historical novel Beauvallet and only finished it because I thought I could rate it and warn others not to expect the same quality. 

Akilah Hughes -- Obviously -- non-fiction; part of my ever-growing list of books by women, books by those of a deeper coloring than I am

Lori Gottlieb -- Maybe You Should Talk to Someone -- non-fiction; therapist going to therapy and doing therapy; funny and real 

Richard Rohr -- Falling Upward -- Christian theology/formation; young life/older life
Lacy Finn Borgo -- Spiritual Conversations with Children -- Christian; one of the best; good for adults
Susan Meissner -- Bright as Heaven -- story with setting of 1918 epidemic -- read it before stay-at-home
Henning Beck -- Scatterbrain -- non-fiction; made me feel better about my brain. Lol. 
Liane Moriarity -- two books; I will say chosen for humor, but I never solve the mystery before the end

Kevin Kwan -- Okay, so I didn't read as many of his as Heyer's, but then again, he hasn't written as many as Heyer. Caveat: sex and language. I knew nothing of the cultural setting for which he wrote so that intrigued me. His books and Heyer's were somewhat chosen for the same reason -- nothing heavy in 2020; quick reads. I have to add that a person who has read a lot and read widely will pick up on his allusions to other literary pieces. Then, in his Sex and Vanity, I knew many of the settings in his book, plus he does take on, in a subtle way, biases. 

Kim Michele Richardson -- The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek -- finally a book I don't have to explain why I chose it -- historical background of blue people and librarians on horseback (or mule/donkey) 

Patrick Rothfuss -- The Name of the Wind -- just about killed my eyes trying to get this 662 page book finished in time, and all I wanted to do was read the story. Fantasy Epic novel -- think Tolkein and Homer even though, yes, there is a modern sensibility (or lack thereof for some readers). This is more so in his second book in the series which I finished the first week of 2021. Violence. Oh...and unfortunately his choice of cuss words ("Black hands!") bothers me tremendously. Discussion worthy book. 

Henry Van Dyke -- The Story of the Other WiseMan -- one of the short books recommended to me; perfect for December 

Helene Hanff -- 84, Charing Cross Road -- recommended to me, and I can not believe I have missed this book all these years. I could not find an ebook online (well, I think it was on Hoopla, but I had already used up my allotted five books) so I listened to it with the various narrators. Now I can't think of reading/hearing it in any other way! 5 stars!! 

George Saunders -- Congratulations By the Way -- Commencement speech written down -- excellent
Jessica Day George -- Tuesdays at the Castle -- upper elementary school book; excellent; new idea 
Sophie Kinsella -- I've Got Your Number -- What can I say? See Heyer and Kwan--see 2020
Matt Haig -- The Midnight Library -- Christmas gift; not embarrassed on this one; 5 stars; discussion
Richella Parham -- Mythical Me -- Christian, dealing with comparisons

Kate Bowler -- Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies, I've Loved  -- theme of prosperity gospel and dying...tempted to give you a plot spoiler in this non-fiction, but I won't. 

Nick Page -- A Nearly Infallible History of the Reformation -- Christian history, and I wish all history books were written with as much humor as this one. History class would have been a lot more interesting. 

In the words of my grandson, "Ta-da!" 

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