What I Read in December

I think the week between Christmas and New Year’s is my favorite. I got so many books for Christmas and I’ve had so much time to read. But I met my goal for the month long before Christmas, believe it or not–mostly because I read almost exclusively fiction!

The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware

Emily brought me this one from the library when I mentioned how much I had enjoyed reading another Ruth Ware book earlier this year.  This was an absorbing mystery although I did manage to figure it out before the end.

Rock, Paper, Scissors by Alice Feeney

This comes also courtesy of Emily, who had checked it out of the library and offered it to me when she was finished. The twist at the end of this one was absolutely not one I saw coming at all.

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien edited by Humphrey Carpenter

I have been reading this off and on for several months as my reading plan is to always be reading something either by or about Tolkien. This was just delightful–both for the insights into the writer and his creation. Catholics will especially enjoy learning more about Tolkien’s faith and its relationship to his mythology.

The Rose Rent by Ellis Peters

I foresee that by next Christmas I will have completed the Brother Cadfael books and will be requesting a boxed set of my own. For now, I try to hold back to reading one per month from the library. I invariably finish in a day or two, captivated by the adroit mixture of mystery, history, and faith. This one was no exception and I never saw the ending coming.

Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

This was a surprising installment in the Wallflowers series in which the author pretty successfully convinced me of the rehabilitation of someone I thought was irredeemable.  I am looking forward to the final installment but since they are seasonal Emily says we cannot read it till Spring.

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

I cannot tell you how many times I have read this, which is one of my favorites of all time. I think I got it for Christmas when I was around 12, and it takes place during the Christmas season, so I always get an urge to read it at this time of year.

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

This is actually the first book in The Dark is Rising sequence but I originally read the second one first so I always like to start with that one. This one is told from the point of view of mortal children who do not have a full understanding of the struggle between the Light and the Dark which is made much more explicit in the other books.

The Girl with the Phony Name by Charles Mathes

I continue to collect books I once owned that were lost in our fire ten years ago. I think I got this one from some book of the month club way back in the day. It stuck with me for some reason and I wanted to read it again. It was just as fun as I remembered with eccentric characters and an absorbing mystery.

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

My grandmother bought me my first copy of this book, which I read literally to pieces. I enjoyed reading it again although I am taking the copy I got for Christmas to McKay’s and ordering a better one. Watch out for those cheap Amazon reprints of classics, y’all.

Joanna’s Husband and David’s Wife by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

I found this in my mother’s bedroom a million years ago and read it before I could possibly understand it. Now as someone who has been married more than thirty years it resonates more and more. It’s a diary of a marriage as written by a wife and annotated by her husband, showing both sides of a complicated story and showcasing both the joys and the difficulties of attempting to join two lives into one. Y’all may be more familiar with the writer’s epistolary novel A Woman of Independent Means, which I also need to add back to my library.

Greenwitch by Susan Cooper

Even after Christmas, with all those good books to read, I was determined to continue with this series. The third one, like the first, is set in Cornwall, and the protagonists of the first and second join to face the forces of the Dark together.

The Holy Bible

Maybe it’s not fair to say I read the whole Bible this year, but I did listen to it (courtesy of The Bible in a Year podcast). And this year I am going to follow new plan and read a different translation myself.

Dear Enemy by Jean Webster

Last book of the year! This is a sequel to Daddy-Long-Legs above, and another book originally given to me by my grandmother, who had read both herself as a girl. This was my favorite of the two growing up, and I still enjoyed it, but I found it harder to endure the racism and eugenic sentiments (yes, really!) on this read-through. This is another one that will be traded in for a better version shortly.

Did y’all count? That’s THIRTEEN BOOKS!!

Want to find more great reads? As ever, I’m linking up with An Open Book.

And stay tuned for a “Best Reads of the Year” post I hope to have up within the next week!