What I Read: December 2015

Hello, everybody!  It’s been far too long since I’ve posted, and since one of my intentions of 2016 is to commit to one post per week, I thought I would start off with a new series I will be doing once monthly that includes short & sweet book reviews from what I’ve read the previous month.

I’m a huge book nerd/hoarder/collector, and since my attention often gets grabbed by a new read, I have made a few vows to myself for this year to change things up a bit, because as much as I love where my curiosity leads me book-wise, I hate the frustration that I feel when reading 10 books at once and not managing to finish a single one in a normal amount of time.

So I made these promises to myself:

  1. I will not buy a single book in 2016.
    • I made this promise to myself for 2015 and it didn’t work out so well, but I have a few new strategies here to help me because I have WAY too many books and it’s getting out of hand.
      • I have a Microsoft Word document on my laptop titled, “Books to Buy in 2017” and I’ve been adding to it as I come across new titles I’m interested in.  (I may ask for a few for my birthday next December, if anything).
      • I think the hardest part about this will be when I walk through McNally Jackson or The Strand or B&N and have to resist buying the books that are calling out to me, but I’ll try adding them to a list on my phone and then transfer it to my Word document and see how that goes. (Maybe I’ll treat myself to one book per month or something, we shall see!)
  2. I will read two fiction and two non-fiction books per month.
    • I’m tracking my progress on Goodreads (feel free to add me as a friend here 🙂 I find it so fun and also really satisfying to track my progress and then write a review at the end.  My friend, Alex, got me back into using this about a week ago and I’m completely addicted.  I’ll write more in-depth reviews on my account, and then the ones I post here will be more succinct (as succinct as I can possibly be, that is – I do love to write).  This current post is only longer because I haven’t written in so long and want to explain my intentions.
    • The reason why I’m reading two fiction alongside two non-fiction is (1) to keep things interesting and (2) to be more balanced in what I’m reading – I tend to go through tons of self-improvement type books while neglecting fiction, and since my word of 2016 is balance, I thought it wise to incorporate fiction into my nighttime reading to help me unwind.

So here we go… [December 2015 Reads]

  1. Brooklyn by Colm Tóibín
    • I mainly read this book because I saw the trailer for the movie and was completely captivated. It was a quick and beautiful read, and I’m so excited to be seeing the film this upcoming Sunday. I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a not-so-dense fiction read that pulls you into the story right away and makes you feel both satisfied yet sad to say goodbye to its protagonist at the end.
  2. Witches of America by Alex Mar
    • I heard of this book through and friend and since I’m secretly sort of obsessed with the whole idea of witchcraft (especially in Colonial New England), I couldn’t wait to read about Alex Mar’s adventures into the world of Paganism in the U.S. She gives a dense history of Wicca, which does get a bit tedious at times, but what most kept my interest was her own journey into becoming a witch of sorts. Overall, however, something about this book just fell flat for me, though I wish I liked it more.
  3. Self-Compassion by Dr. Kristin Neff
    • I heard of this book when I was reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and knew immediately that I needed to have it in my life. If you’re someone like me who often speaks to herself in a way that I would never speak to a friend or family member, this book is for you! It can be so hard and so unnatural to be compassionate toward yourself, especially in a society where we are always told to be kind as can be to others but never really taught how to translate that kindness to ourselves. I LOVED this book and I know that I will be taking its lessons with me into the future. Dr. Neff even has mp3 downloads on her website of some of the meditations that she includes in her book. Simply put, I cannot rave enough about this book.
  4. Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed
    • As someone who is completely enthralled with the Dear Sugar Podcast and who has not one but two copies of Tiny Beautiful ThingsI knew that this small book of inspiring quotes would hold a special place in my heart, and I was correct. As my Tumblr bio states, I am a self-professed inspirational quote enthusiast, and I know that I will be turning to this book moving forward, especially in the moments where I need that extra nudge of courage. A personal favorite that I posted on Instagram, “Hello, fear. Thank you for being here. You’re my indication that I’m doing what I need to do.”

Thanks for reading, and expect a monthly post like this with my four books for the month moving forward! 🙂

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