book report: january 2019

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It feels so fun to be starting fresh with my book goals at the beginning of the year. For 2019, I’m upping my goal to read 70 books through the end of December. That’s about six books a month, so I’m right on track having read exactly six this month.

Progress: 6/70

The Beautiful Mystery by Louise Penny
This was the eighth book in the Chief Inspector Gamache series, which currently consists of fourteen books and counting. Unlike the majority of the books, this one took place outside of the village of Three Pines which isn’t my preference but I really enjoyed this story. A group of monks at a secret monastery in Quebec become famous after a recording of their Gregorian chants goes viral, then the abbey prior is found dead and the Chief Inspector is sequestered in the abbey until he finds the killer. This book has a lot of character development, especially for the Chief Inspector’s right hand main Beauvoir. As always, it’s a beautifully written, intelligent mystery.

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Where do I start? I already loved Michelle Obama, but after reading this, my respect and admiration for her has only grown. I also realized that Barack Obama might be my dream man, but that’s another story! I love that this book tells the story Michelle’s life from growing up on the south side of Chicago to Harvard Law through all of the iterations of her career and, of course, her time as First Lady. Her life story is so interesting and inspiring, but reading this also brought me back to the Obama presidency and all of the milestones that represented. Her warmth and candor really came through in this book and it’s definitely a must-read this year.

Wellth by Jason Wachob
This is a book by the founder of Mindbodygreen, a website I love for articles on everything from nutrition to meditation to fitness. Over the course of thirteen chapters, he discusses the different facets of wellness and what it means to build a life around wellness rather than building a resume or working super hard until you die, basically. While the information was a little bit basic for me, I think this is a great book for someone just getting into wellness or those times when you just need a little refresher in a certain area or two.

Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
Like many people, I read a lot of stories set during World War II because the sheer number of different perspectives and experiences are endless and it’s an event that should never be forgotten. If you like WWII books, this is a must read and it’s one of my new favorites. I think I’d compare it in tone to “The Nightingale” which was incredible. However, this is the only Holocaust related story I’ve ever read where all three main characters were not Jewish which was super interesting. It follows three women, a New York socialite, a Polish girl who gets sent to a concentration camp, and a female doctor at one of the camps. I have to say, the female doctor character (who is based on a real person) was extremely scary to me because she seemed like a “normal” human being, yet she adamantly defended all of the heinous things she did to women at the camps. Long review, but I could write so much more! You have to read this.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
I gave this book a solid three out of five on Goodreads and I’ll tell you why. The story is about a woman who is accused of killing her husband and then she suddenly stops speaking and is admitted to a psychiatric hospital where she is monitored by a psychotherapist who has a keen interest in her. First the positives: I breezed through this book because it was quickly paced and definitely held my interest. I also like the way the author tied in a certain Greek myth. However, I saw the ending coming from a mile away and though it was pretty meh. If you’re new to psychological thrillers, you might like this because it is a compelling read but if you’ve read quite a bit in the genre, you’ll probably find it quite predictable.

The Light Over London by Julia Kelly
This was another WWII novel I read this month that was just released earlier this month on January 9th. It was different than most WWII novels I’ve read because the content was a little bit lighter and it was more of a relationship drama than a novel about the atrocities and politics of the war. That’s not to say it wasn’t good, just different! There are two storylines, one in the present and one in the past, that link together. This is a good read for a weekend where you want something historical with vintage vibes but not too heavy.