I feel like I am in the midst of the reading slump to end all reading slumps. It has stretched from October to November to December. On the rare occasion that I have a moment to actually pick up a book, I lack the mental bandwidth to focus on it. And that’s really a bummer for me because reading is my relaxation, my escape from reality.
If I’m not reading, I have to listen to whatever drivel is on the TV at night.
Even when I experienced bouts of insomnia, I couldn’t really focus on what I picked up to get me through the night.
I feel like I might be making a slight comeback since work is starting to slow down for the rest of the year. Fingers crossed because I’m about to go stir crazy!
C’est la vie.
The December Books
A Carnival of Snackery by David Sedaris
I finished this one and it was amazing. And I felt a little sad at the end. This collection takes us through 2020, meaning it’s going to be quite a while before Sedaris accumulates enough diary entries for another volume. That said, I saw he has a new collection coming out in May 2022. Yes, I already pre-ordered it.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
The thing I like about Sally Rooney is that her writing is smart but fun. A lot of times when I read “smart” writing, I feel dumb because the books are a slog to get through. Not here. It’s like a huge gab-fest with your best friend, where you talk about intellectual, important things, and in the next sentence, you talk about sex, pop culture, or whatever.
I didn’t finish this one because it didn’t quite fit with my mood, but I definitely can’t wait to get back to it.
The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
Like I said last month, I really wanted to re-read this one after reading Towles’s newest book. I had forgotten how much I love this story and the writing in it! This one takes you through New York City in the late 1930s and it is just exquisite. A working-class girl finds herself rubbing elbows with the upper class.
Again, I set it aside, but I can’t wait to go back to it. (I’m noticing a theme here…)
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
I re-read this one in a day. Once upon a time, Nora Ephron was married to Carl Bernstein and their marriage totally crashed and burned. Then she wrote a hilarious novel about it. Revenge might just be a dish best served by Nora Ephron.
I love how she took a painful experience and rendered it in a humorous way. It definitely got my wheels spinning about a novel I’d like to write.
The Fran Lebowitz Reader
This past month I wanted to laugh and read smart things (which maybe wasn’t the best impulse to follow because my concentration was nonexistent). This volume pairs two collections written by Lebowitz. Her pieces are short, funny satires that are definitely a style to aspire to.
I also love that she is a notoriously slow writer. It gives me hope.
Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
As I was trying to make progress on a project for NaNoWriMo, I was reviewing Save the Cat Writes a Novel, which gives examples of the different types of novels. I was looking at road trip novels and this was a suggestion. I don’t typically go for YA, but this sounded like a lot of fun.
Amy has just gone through a family tragedy and has to make her way across the country where her mom has taken a new job. She doesn’t want to be in a car, let alone drive. So her mom finds a friend’s son who needs to get across the country as well to drive with her. The route is planned out, but they decide to go on an adventure instead.
I definitely want to get back to this one because it’s just cool. Also, I get the sense that there’s more going on than we’re told, so I want to get to the bottom of it.
The Bone Spindle by Leslie Vedder
One of the new perks of my job is getting to read for work! I got access to an arc of this one for an upcoming episode of the podcast and was thrilled to sit down and read it. I haven’t finished yet, but I think this one is going to be a blast and that you should definitely keep an eye out for its release next month.
The Bone Spindle is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty with some Indiana Jones thrown in. Oh, and Vedder flipped the genders of the main characters. I am super excited to read about how the female rescues the male. And it’s a great buddy tale of the treasure hunter and the bookish historian. This is absolutely the type of book I hope we’ll see more of in the future.
The sad part of all of this is that I am certain I started more books, but I just can’t remember what they were! That said, I know I didn’t finish more than I did. Here’s hoping next month goes better. I should probably focus on finishing all of these half-read books.
Total Books Read in 2021: 36
Tell me in the comments below: What’s on your TBR for December?
Lori Walker is the Operations Maven at DIY MFA. Though she’s fallen off the wagon as a writer, she’s hoping to return to writing essays (perhaps even a novel!) through her involvement with DIY MFA. She is also Launch Manager, Web Editor, and Podcast Producer for DIY MFA and a Book Coach. She resides in Smalltown, Oklahoma, with her husband and their cat, Joan Didion. You can follow her on Instagram at @LoriTheWriter.