"Although she was a logical, practical person, she believed that in books there existed a kind of magic. Between the aging covers on these shelves, contained in tiny, abstract black marks on sheets of paper, were voices from the past. Voices that reached into the future, into her own life and heart and mind, to tell her what they knew, what they'd learned, what they'd seen, what they'd felt. Wasn't that magic?" - Christi Phillips
Educated, Tara Westover: I could hardly put this down - the story of a young woman’s upbringing by a bipolar father and submissive mother in a Mormon fundamentalist family, without education, healthcare or even a birth certificate had me riveted from pretty much the first chapter. Her meteoric rise from a childhood of abuse and deprivation to her current status - a PhD from Cambridge, Harvard masters, best-selling author - is a story that’s equal parts fairy tale and American dream.
Becoming, Michelle Obama: I really liked this extremely au courant choice - Michelle Obama has a lovely literary voice that is candid, uncompromising and unapologetic. While I loved the behind-the-scenes glimpses into her life as First Lady, I felt that the book focused almost too much on the pre-Presidential chapters of her life - fascinating though they were.
One Day In December, Josie Silver: This was charming and sweet and exactly the kind of chick lit that one wants to read around the holidays - the story of a young woman who spots her “one true love” through the window of a bus unspools over the course of ten years or so, and illustrates both romantic relationships and female friendships in a way that is sweet without being saccharine. Perfect for those of you heading into long, cold, dark winters.
Winter Storms, Elin Hilderbrand: I was hospitalized at the tail end of the month, and extremely cranky about that fact, so I self-medicated with chick lit. Elin Hilderbrand is a new-to-me author who I’ve had on my “Books To Read” list for the better part of a year, and I really enjoyed this one. I think it was the third in a trilogy, but that said, I still jumped right in and liked the various plot threads of a well-heeled Nantucket family dealing with a POW situation and complex interpersonal dramas.
Nantucket Nights, Elin Hilderbrand: Another Hilderbrand offering I enjoyed - a mysterious disappearance of a mysterious woman off the coast of Nantucket on Labor Day, rife with people sleeping with people they shouldn’t and generally bad but deliciously dramatic situations. A quick, salacious read to power through.
The Royal Runaway, Lindsay Emory: This was truly the nadir of my hospitalization - I read it overnight while kept awake, and it was actually pretty delightful. A princess of a fictional country in Europe teams up with a sexy, mysterious Scottish spy to find out what actually happened to her vanishing fiance, and ends up on a dark and twisty path of murder and intrigue and espionage. SUPER light, super fast, super entertaining. Pretty much Netflix’s “A Christmas Prince” in movie form, but with murder and spies and fraud!
Nothing - super nice month of reading things I actually enjoyed (or at least was in the right frame of mind for!).
Fake Plastic Love, Kimberley Tait: I revisited this in the hospital as well, and it was just as frothy and visually evocative as the first time around. The story of two erstwhile best friends, one a romantic blogger, one a pragmatic banker, growing apart and surviving their twenties together, is sweet but provides an interesting social commentary on the worlds we live in (and construct for ourselves).