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This seems to be an annual post…here we go.

August: The Song of Achilles, A Novel, by Madeline Miller.  As I mentioned in my last Literate Lushes post, I couldn’t put this book down.  I started reading it was I waited to board the plane to Florida for one of my best friend’s weddings, and finished it in the uber on the way to the hotel (in between getting pulled over and telling the office my name so he didn’t think I was the female that had a restraining order against my uber driver).  It is a heartbreaking rendition of a Greek classic.

September: The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead.  This past year has been the year of some pretty heavy books.  This book was recommended by a dear friend of mine, and I’m so glad I chose it as my book club pick.  The title is self-describing, but it goes into heartbreaking detail on the tragedies suffered by people in slavery.  I still can’t wrap my head around how cruel people can be to one another.  I feel like we all learned a lot from this historical fiction book, and our discussion was great.

October: Salem’s Lot, by Stephen King.  A nice and easy vampire read for the Halloween month!  Slavery followed by vampires wasn’t exactly what the doctor called for, but it was a nice change of pace and a good read.

December: The Girl With All The Gifts, by M. R. Carey.  So slavery followed by vampires followed by zombies!  Another book that I would have never picked to read on my own, but once I started it I couldn’t put it down.  An interesting spin on the zombie story line, with an ending that I couldn’t stop thinking about for days.  I heard that’s a second book to this series that I have yet to get back to.

January: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.  A non-fiction story on the first immortal strand of cultured DNA (I’m not a science person, so possibly the worst science lack of terminology there, but…maybe 80% correct), and how it was obtained without consent from an African American woman in 1951.  A truly amazing story, and the conflict between morality, medicine, and racism (and so many other things).  The science-y parts bogged me down a bit, but an enthralling story nonetheless.

February: Turtles All The Way Down, by John Green.  This one really took me a while to get into.  It’s a young adult novel written in the first person, so sometimes the thought dialogue was a bit hard for me to keep reading/listening to.  I did up the speed on my audible on this one which made it more bearable.  But once I got a third of the way in or so, it made me realize how hard it must be to have some form of OCD or depression or anxiety.  It was good to be in someone else’s shoes to try to understand the difficulties that face others-we just never know how hard something can be for someone else.

March: The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern.  After all the intense books we’d read in the months prior, this was such a pleasant and nice read.  Just a love story full of magic and time travel (story lines, not actual time travel).  This book totally had me hooked and I loved the ending.

April: The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom.  Another emotionally difficult book, this one about the holocaust and work/extermination camps.  This book started a little slow, but the storyline picked up a little bit, and then it was just astounding, once again, to read about how horrible people can be to each other.

May: Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman.  This book was a collection of short stories, which is not my most favorite, but it was cool to read some new and some familiar about Norse mythology.  Jake is starting to get into the Avengers, so reading stories about Thor and Loki were pretty cool.  The audible version is narrated by Neil Gaiman, and he did a great job.

July, White Chrysanthemum, by Mary Lynn Bracht. Have I mentioned heart breaking?  I almost didn’t continue reading this book-it starts with a pretty heavy amount of rape and sexual abuse, and it’s the first book I’ve considered not finishing because it was just hard to listen to.  This book is about the Japanese occupation of Korea, and the only reason I continued reading it was because I thought it was important for me to read about what happened.  I’ve never studied anything about this chapter of history, and my goodness, how awful.  How a human being can endure so much pain is just beyond me.  But, a great read and a wonderfully told story.

Bonus reads:

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, by ZZ Packer.  This was a pretty quick read.  I saw it highly recommended somewhere online and thought I would give it a try.  Like I mentioned above, I’m not a fan of short stories, so this book was a little disappointing in that respect.  Each individual story had a little heart break, but kind of like Small Great Things, helps to put me in someone else’s shoes, shoes that I’m thankful I haven’t had to walk in.

Capital Gaines, by Chip Gaines.  A fun, quick read.  We’re obsessed with Chip and Joanna over here, so it was nice to learn a little more about them and gain some insight on how they’ve become so successful.

My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, by Fredrik Backman.  Another great read from Fredrik Backman.  I really do love his style of writing, and the characters in his stories.  Britt Marie comes back in this one, and she’s hilarious and heartbreaking yet again.  And again, I laughed, and I cried.

The Keeper of Lost Things, by Ruth Hogan.  This was a great light read, that got me through some of the heavier books listed above.  Just a light hearted story that follows two different story lines, that end up intertwining at the end (in a way that I think was very obvious if I had read more carefully, but thankfully caught me by surprise).

What have you been reading lately?  Or in the last year? :-P