January 1, 2024

November and December Books + 2024 Book Goals

The New House by Tess Stimson

This was fine. I liked parts of it and the end really showed what happened when you make one decision and it affects everything else. It wasn't 5 stars mind-blowing but it was time well-spent, I think. Takes place in England, different characters/personalities, a few different narrators but none are really unreliable. I felt like it was trying to be Big Little Lies for a bit there and it is definitely not. 

How to Keep House While Drowning by K.C. Davis

This hit where it hurts. Or hurts where it hits? One of those. If you ignore the strong liberal bent of some of the chapters, there's some solid advice about household tasks being morally neutral (laundry upkeep does not equal your value as a person), most of the hard times in housekeeping we go through are based on seasons and aren't forever, and understanding that you will never be all caught up at once is important. The Lazy Genius quoted a bunch of her book on a episode awhile back, but I'd had it on my holds list for months after reading about it on a blog. 

The Replacement Wife by Darby Kane

This book was about 200 pages too long. It's the perfect example of telling, not showing. I never quite got a handle on what I was supposed to be visualizing as I read. The main character was sympathetic but also kind of the worst. The twists were way too twisty. The little kid + parent interactions were entirely non-believable. The author overused a few tired twists. Her first book was so great, so I was disappointed.

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

I bought this as a potential read aloud for the second semester. It's a really great story. There's some magic (just the right amount), a lot of mystery, and the setting is like a character in the story because it's all about the setting. I truly recommend it if you have an 8-12 year old. I can almost guarantee you've never read anything like it. 

It's Never Too Late to Sleep Train by Dr. Craig Canapari

I've not read a sleep-training book for years. Wells became a good sleeper around 2.5 or 3 and I haven't looked back. Sutton tricked us: she was a great sleeper until 11 months and then it's been a crapshoot for almost a year now. She's getting better in terms of I can tell her to go back to sleep and she does...sometimes. Two was the magic age for Wells and she's on the same trajectory, it seems. Anyway, I grabbed this audiobook in a moment of sheer desperation and listened to it in two or three days. He has a lot of great information for parents of older children or toddlers, not just the typical "drowsy but awake" that you see on most baby sleep platforms. He does point out that all sleep training will involve crying. People who are afraid of making their baby cry will likely never be able to sleep train. I tried all kinds of crazy advice with Wells and, while it was a rough few years, he is a fantastic sleeper now and has been for at least 2 years. 

I Survived: The Wellington Avalanche by Lauren Tarshis

I used this as my read aloud last month and I wanted something winter-themed but not Christmasy. They enjoyed it. It was pretty good. I Survived books are safe territory: like I know I can just start reading aloud and I won't run into anything questionable if I haven't read it before. (like the time I read aloud a book and the dad suddenly died in Iraq...I will not make that mistake again)

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White

This was a historical fiction novel about the sinking of the Lusitania. It was good. It was interesting. I learned a lot. It was definitely a multiple-viewpoint, jumping through time periods story so if you don't like that, you won't enjoy it. All of Beatriz Williams' books are this way, so you'd likely know what you're getting into. 

Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews

I've had this on my TBR for 2-3 years. I finally just bought it for like $3 on Kindle. If you like Bridgerton, you will like this. It's interesting. It's actually much longer than other novellas I've read so take that for what it's worth. It's a Christmas tale, so grab it now or put it aside for next year...I think this is the only Christmas story I read this year. 

Do You Remember? by Freida McFadden

This was just okay. Not a terrible way to pass the time but it definitely had that Groundhog Day feel of repetitive days in the story but the character was *unaware* that the days were repeating..if that makes sense. I would definitely download it on Kindle Unlimited if you have it, but it's not my favorite of hers. 

Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin

I read this in preparation for starting a new year and new Bible study. It's very good. Best of luck to me, I guess. I would recommend it to anyone who is embarking on a Bible study plan in 2024. 

Street Smarts: Using Questions to Answer Christianity's Toughest Challenges Greg Koukl

If you read Tactics, this is a follow-up. I can't recommend Grey Koukl enough. He should be required reading for everyone, just because he teaches you how to think differently. 

Little Pilgrim's Progress by Helen L. Taylor

I admit that I have never read Pilgrim's Progress but this is the more juvenile version for middle-grade. I'd liken it to C.S. Lewis maybe in that it should be something kids should read or listen to as part of their Bible stories or Christian education. Wells and I listened to it on the drive back to Missouri from Pennsylvania last week and he really seemed to enjoy it. I don't know how much he understood but I'll ask him what he thinks the next time we're in the car. You see, it was a very delicate balance to get Sutton to stop screaming during this 13+ hour roadtrip. When she'd finally fall asleep, I could turn the story on but if we talked, she'd wake up. And then I'd have to turn music back on to placate her. 

Anyway, I don't think it was inappropriate for a 5 year old to listen to and I'd liken it to Narnia. We'll probably do that one next. It's a straight allegory and very easy to understand. I would recommend this to adults who haven't read Pilgrim's Progress (which I should probably track down in 2024).

Speaking of...

I hit my goal of 50 books on, literally, December 31st. Am I proud? No. Am I smug about being able to finish 50 books this year? Yes. I will take it. I clawed my way to the finish with a bunch of audiobooks last week and I'm okay with that. I started these books this year and just never finished them so I was just tying up loose ends. 

Regardless, I'm not smug enough to try for 50 books in 2024. For some reason, the number that works best for me, always, is 36. That's 3 books a month. And I can tell exactly if I'm on track or not by counting instead of doing some percentage like I would have to with 40. 

But again, not quite confident enough for 50. 

Books goals for 2024: What's going to be your number?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments make my day!