Hello and Happy New Year to you! I’m a bit late saying that and with this post but I was away over New Year’s and didn’t want to put up my reading post as there was one book that I was hoping to finish by the end of the year but wasn’t sure if I had the chance (spoiler alert: I finished it). Reading in December wasn’t great, I was sick again and then there was the rush before Christmas. But I did well enough. Onwards to the reads!
Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan
This is book three in the series which follows Polly and her life running a bakery in the little Cornish village of Polbearne, along with boyfriend Huckle and puffin Neil. Polly’s best friend Kerensa is married to Huckle’s best friend Rueben, who is a very rich loud man. He asks Polly to cater for his family when they are visiting for Christmas. This puts a lot on Polly’s plate, along with wanting to save puffin sanctuary, trying to keep Kersena’s big secret and worrying about her own relationship. On top of that a big mystery from Polly’s background comes to the foreground. I felt like this book tried to pack too much in, there was enough drama to fit into two books (but I think Colgan plans to finish this series at this book so that’s probably why everything was crammed in). This tends to add to a feeling of anxiety and when you’re reading a Christmas book, you want it to be more feel good than worrying. If it had cut out one or two of the story lines, it would have been a much more enjoyable read. I did like it but I was a bit let down considering how much a preferred the other books in the series. You could probably pick this up as a Christmas read with the other two books but I usually find it’s better to have the whole story. [NetGalley]
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
I had one more book left for the Book Riot Read Harder challenge and surpringly enough it was the food memoir one. I picked up the audio version of this and listened to it while knitting Christmas presents. Most people are familiar with the story (due to the film) but if you’re not this memoir is from Julie Powell, a government secretary living in Queens who is bored and decides to take on the challenge of cooking all of the recipes from Julia Child’s book Mastering the Art of French Cooking. We follow Julie for a year of her trying to complete all 524 recipes in the book. Fair warning, this doesn’t really centre much around the food. So of course it’s mentioned and it is a big part, but it’s not done in the timeline how she did everything in the actual year. Instead we anecdotes and memories that are told and then the cooking is tied in to this. We don’t hear a lot about how to food was cooked or how learning the skills helped her, which is fine once you know that’s what you’re going in to. It can be a bit repetitive at times and the language can be quite vulgar (it didn’t bother me) but I didn’t find it as bad as a lot of other people did. That said, I won’t be rushing to pick up her other book.
Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures. Living the Danish Way by Charlotte Abrahams
I showed this book in a haul post and it is a beautiful book! So pretty and feels lovely to hold. Hygge (hoo-gah) is a Danish word and it roughly translates into ‘cosiness’. If you haven’t heard of this concept then you must be living under a rock because it’s all over the place! Hygge is about staying in, with warm blankets, candles, good food, good wine and great company. Denmark is often said to be the happiest place to live and hygge is said to play a big part of this.
This book is a lot more than a simple ‘how to hygge’ book. It’s a mixture of the history of hygge and it’s role in Danish society, a memoir of Charlotte’s life and then how she tried to incorporate more hygge practices in her life. I must admit I found it a bit heavy to read at times. The section of Danish furniture design was a bit too much for me and I was disappointed the food part had no recipes. But I think this book is perfect if you want a big more in depth explantion of the Danes and their lifestyle. And I liked the section at the end ‘How to Hygge: The Soul’ with some tips about making yourself happy (like taking a bath or going for a walk) or embracing the simple things (drink from a nice mug or pick some pretty flowers). If you’re someone who’s heard a lot about hygge but want a more in depth read about history and culture around it, then this book is for you [Requested a copy from publisher, Trapeze Books]
The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell
So I actually started to listen to this in September and after reading the above Hygge book, I felt compelled to finish it. Helen is an overworked, stressed journalist who moves to rural Jutland after her husband is offered a chance to work for Lego for a year. We discover a lot about Denmark and Danish culture such as their love for rules and traditions, the fact everyone loves to be part of clubs and societies, how important hygge is and other things like work ethic, education, childrearing and taxes. It was an interesting read, I enjoy finding out about other countries and I liked how this tied into Charlotte Abraham’s Hygge book too. With hygge being such a big concept this year, it’s nice to have a memoir like to explain this concept but also oter aspects of Danish life. And I enjoyed listening to it too, it was an easy listen.
Winter by Marissa Meyer
This book 4 in the Lunar Chronicles, the conclusion to the story. Like the other books it centres roughly around a fairytale and the main character in this is Winter, the step daughter to the evil Queen Levana. Winter is beautiful but because she refuses to use her Lunar glamour gift, she suffers from hallucinations. Though Winter isn’t as weak as her stepmother might think. I won’t say much else about this book as it might ruin some other things but I did like it. The Lunar Chronicles has an interesting world, part sci-fi futuristic with cyborgs and living on the Moon, part dystopian. Even though the book came out last year it took me a while to pick it up for some reason, I was actually really interested in finishing the series but wasn’t inspired to pick up this book. Overall though I did like it as an ending to the Lunar Chronicles and look forward to first of all picking up the short story that follows and then trying out Meyer’s new book called Heartless which centres around a young Queen of Hearts.
Number of Books Read- 5
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 2:3
Number of eBooks- 1 (Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery)
Number of Audiobooks- 2 (Julie and Julia and The Year of Living Danishly)
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 2 (Julie and Julia and Winter)
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge Completed
Read a Food Memoir- Julie and Julia
And that’s 2016! I have several posts to come in the next few weeks including my Book Riot Read Harder Wrap Up, My 2016 Reading Stats, 2016 Resolutions Review and 2017 Resolutions, and 2017 Book Releases to name a few. I’ve started gathering some of the information for my stats post which is great, I love making the graphs and seeing how things measure out compared to other years. For this month however, I was pleased I managed to read some more non-fiction and very happy I managed to finish Winter before 2017! I have some more books I’m in the middle of reading that I’ll carry over but it was good to have that one finished.