Here we are at the last hurdle of the race, will she meet last year’s record of 78 and beat it??
December is probably the most important month in the reading calendar, since it’s the final month to cram in as many books as possible if you are falling behind target.
It didn’t help that I spent a lot of the month back in New York, exploring the city I used to call home. BUT, we will never complain about being in New York.
And so I can confirm that I didn’t meet last year’s record of 78 books and nor did I exceed that total. I managed a total off 77 books, just one book shy of last year – but I was strolling about New York for the past two weeks, so do forgive the lack of time I had to cram in some final short books.
Here are the reviews of the eight books I read in December:
Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now. They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot, on to the stage at the Whisky, the band were irrevocably changed. Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.
My rating: ★★★★★
Ok, I’m obsessed with Taylor Jenkins Reid. Give me any of her books and I will sit down and try to read in one sitting. Like The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Daisy Jones & The Six is apparently loosely based on celebrities (this time, Fleetwood Mac) and knowing this just makes you so much more invested in the story and wishing it really was a biography. I’m so glad that this is being made into a TV series or movie soon as I can’t wait to see it come to life on screen. One of my favourite reads this year for sure.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Set in the deep American South between the wars, The Color Purple is the classic tale of Celie, a young black girl born into poverty and segregation. Raped repeatedly by the man she calls ‘father’, she has two children taken away from her, is separated from her beloved sister Nettie and is trapped into an ugly marriage. But then she meets the glamorous Shug Avery, singer and magic-maker – a woman who has taken charge of her own destiny. Gradually Celie discovers the power and joy of her own spirit, freeing her from her past and reuniting her with those she loves.
My rating: ★★★★
I found this in my local library and instantly recognised the name, although didn’t know the storyline or actually the year that it was written. The Color Purple centers around poverty and slavery in the south of America in the 1900s, but also shows what a force women can be when they fight for themselves in terms of education, being treated fairly and wanting a better life for themselves. A great book, especially for its time.
The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees. That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding… six-pack abs. Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.
My rating: ★★★
This was another one of my Booktok purchases and I think this will be the end of me buying books based on teen TikTokers and stick to my usual book guru of Jack Edwards on YouTube. Once again, it was like reading fanfiction on Wattpad and it reminded me of Grey’s Anatomy, were the characters still in Medical school. It was just too predictable and lovey-dovey for me, but if you like a cliche romance novel, look no further.
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her. Never ask about the past. Don’t expect a future. They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.
My rating: ★★★★
Ok, so this is my third Colleen Hoover book, after I bought quite a few based on TikTok recommendations (lol) and once again, you can tell the exact audience that Colleen Hoover is writing for. I feel like Colleen Hoover is the Danielle Steele for the younger generation, churning out books as quickly as teens are running to the stores to buy them. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it and Colleen Hoover does write very well to make you want to keep reading, it just had me retching at some of the gooey lines at all which I don’t think I will ever hear uttered in real life (or would I want to).
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa ask each other endless questions. As their relationships unfold, in person and online, they discuss sex and friendship, art and literature, politics and gender, and, of course, one another. Twenty-one-year-old Frances is at the heart of it all, bringing us this tale of a complex menage-a-quatre and her affair with Nick, an older married man.
My rating: ★★★
My love affair with Sally Rooney continues. I’ve now read all of Sally Rooney’s novels and like Beautiful World, Where Are You, I just didn’t really get this one either. It was all just a bit boring for my liking since the plot didn’t really go anywhere. But, as I’ve said before, apparently this is a theme with Sally Rooney’s writing in that she doesn’t go for plot but really goes for character development and you can see that in the writing as all of her work is beautifully written. For me, I much prefer a book that has a great plot line that will keep me reading a book and not wanting to put it down, not the opposite where I don’t want to pick the book back up again.
The Bell Jar by Syliva Plath
The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that Esther’s insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies. Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.
My rating: ★★★★
When I was in New York, I wanted to read only books that were set in New York, and so I started with The Bell Jar. Surprisingly for me, only a small section of the book was set in New York but it still counted. The Bell Jar doesn’t have the most upbeat of a plot, but for this book written in the 1960’s, it was well ahead of its time writing about women with depression, thoughts of suicide, their future careers and the treatment of mental health in asylums and with shock therapy and lobotomies. It’s a hugely insightful book for anyone that’s interested in mental health and how it was handled years ago in America.
One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures. But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.
My rating: ★★★★
This was a book I had seen recommended on Good Reads quite a lot and I just happened to stumble upon it in a Little Free Library in Brooklyn when I was in New York, and luckily for me, the book is set in New York and was within my New York based books criteria. The storyline for this book wasn’t anything I expected and I think this is what kept drawing me back to reading the book every day. It’s a unique book in the way that it’s told, but I also loved the parts about Brooklyn and where the Q train travels to since I hopped on and off of it when I was in New York a few days ago.
The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisenberger
When Andrea first sets foot in the plush Manhattan offices of Runway she knows nothing. She’s never heard of the world’s most fashionable magazine, or its feared and fawned-over editor, Miranda Priestly – her new boss. A year later, she knows altogether too much: That it’s a sacking offence to wear anything lower than a three-inch heel to work. That you can charge cars, manicures, anything at all to the Runway account, but you must never, ever, leave your desk, or let Miranda’s coffee get cold. And that at 3 a.m. on a Sunday, when your boyfriend’s dumping you because you’re always at work, if Miranda phones, you jump. But this is Andrea’s big break – it’s going to be worth it in the end. Isn’t it?
My rating: ★★★★
A title that won’t be unfamiliar to anyone, this is one that I definitely wanted to read in New York since the entire book was set in New York, mentioning different locations, streets, buildings and restaurants that I could wander around while reading the book. I was quite surprised that the book was quite different from the movie with the order of events, some characters and names had all been changed but the main characters of Andrea and Miranda were identical to the movie which I did like. If anything, reading this book made me miss my old job in Luxury PR which I’ve been missing a lot more recently. Hopefully I can go back to that old PR lifestyle soon, just without Miranda Priestly as a boss please.