Despite having COVID, I was able to get quite a bit of reading done. Here’s what I read during December.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. I had heard so much about this book in my time as a library director, but I never got around to it. I haven’t really had time to read physical books recently, so when I saw that this was available on audio, I’m like “Let’s do this, bruh.” Honestly, I think the audio is the way to go with this book. Lawson narrates it herself and she is just a hoot. In this book, she talks a lot about growing up in a… non-traditional household full of really interesting characters. Definitely worth picking up, however be aware that there is some very frank talk about depression and other mental illnesses and about her miscarriage. This is a 4/5, 7/10 for me.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. This is Lawson’s second book and, in my opinion, way better than the first one. Her trademark humor is there but there is a layer below it that is rather melancholy. She outlines the idea of being Furiously Happy, her way of coping with her depression. This means that she is going to force herself to be happy out of spite which speaks volumes to me. It’s the only way to live! This leads her on a bunch of different hilarious adventures (and some not so hilarious consequences). Again, be aware that she does not hold back when talking about her mental illnesses, so if that is a trigger, be cautious. 5/5, 9/10.

A Cup of Holiday Fear by Ellie Alexander. Since it was around Christmas time, the Freking Book Club decided to do some cozy Christmas themed mysteries for the month of December. One of the conditions was the we needed to read a book with recipes in the back because I find that hilarious. This was the first we tackled and it was just a delight. This is the 10th book in the Bakeshop Mystery series and I honestly might pick up one of the earlier books, it was that fun! Jules, owner of Torte Bakery in Ashland, is preparing for the annual Christmas events around town. During the Dickens Feast, the new owner of the inn is murdered! Gasp! But it’s fine because no one liked her… ANYWAY, Jules amateur sleuths her way into solving the mystery. It’s light, dumb fun with a great cast. 4/5, 7/10.

The Sun and Her Flowersby Rupi Kaur
i like poetry
and this one
was enjoyable like
the sun
on a cold winter’s morn
warming my body
with its fingers of warmth
or something
5/5, 9/10

Educated by Tara Westover. Wow, this was not a fun read. It was incredibly well written. It was beautiful and heartfelt and devastating in all the best and worst ways. But, boy, is this a tough hang. This memoir is about Westover’s upbringing in an incredibly sheltered, almost cult-like survivalist home. Her dad was fearful that, at any moment, they are going to come and get them. Who is they? *Shruggy emoji* Anyway, this book is mainly about her education (strange) in both life and in academia. Her story is incredibly powerful, coming from an abusive and uncaring home to become a doctorate holder. She also talks about her love of music and how that effected her growing up. Definitely pick it up. 5/5, 10/10.

Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. What a cute book. The son of the President falls in love with his arch rival, the Prince of England. The First Son is a playboy who discovers that he is bisexual. The Prince guides him through his first time with a man and it’s just so well written. There are some great bits of representation for bisexual people which you don’t tend to see in romances. Usually they are bisexual on their way to becoming gay or a lesbian which isn’t the case for people who are bi. It’s very nice to see that representation. 5/5, 10/10

Murder, She Wrote: A Little Yuletide Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain. This was the second Christmas book the Freking Book Club read and, yes, it feels so much like an episode of the classic show. My wife is a huge fan of the series, so, naturally, so am I (I pretend to be at least). The man who plays Santa each year in Cabot Cove is found murdered and our favorite busybody, Jessica Fletcher, sticks her nose into everyone’s business to solve the case. They also explicitly say “There aren’t any murders here in Cabot Cove” and we all know that is a bald faced lie. 3/5, 5/10.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides. I did this book on audio and I usually play video games while I listen. It’s a great way to multitask when you are playing a game that involves a lot of grinding or monotony. I’m playing a game (Darksiders III if anyone cares), when I hear the big twist near the end. It came out of nowhere for me so I had to go back and relisten a few times. All that is to say, this is a really good book. A therapist sets out to get a patient who, after witnessing (or causing) a murder, hasn’t spoken for twelve years to speak. The book switches perspectives from the therapist’s narration to the patient’s diary from the time leading up to the murder. Really worth picking up! 4/5, 8/10.

I also read Nick by Michael Farris Smith and Going Green by Nick Spalding. You can read my full reviews by clicking on the links.

That’s it! The end of 2020. Up next, I’ll go over my top ten books that I read last year. See you then!

All images are from Goodreads.