Reading Challenges

Reading Challenge | 2020 Reading a Shortlist

Hello and welcome to the final installment of my Reading a Shortlist Challenge where I read the 2019 Booker Prize Shortlist. This is the second time I am challenging myself to this challenge, and wont be the last. This year I set a challenge to read the 6 books, but I will be honest at this point in time I decided not to read one in part because I don’t agree with the outcome of this award in 2019. I will explain this a bit more, but here are my thoughts on the 5 books I did read!


Ducks, NewburyportDucks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a book I would have never tried to read if it was not on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize. Saying that, you can most likely see I ended up giving this book 1 star. While the idea of this book did sound very appealing as soon as I started to read it a red flag for my personal reading tastes went up. The first few pages was just a never ending list with commas, never a period. The book was being told by someone who is just rambling on and on, which I can see is most likely a choice to get the feel for how thee narrator is feeling about life.

For me, this was so stress inducing for a few reasons. I felt like I was reading the equivalent to Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder movie) taking the winners down the chocolate river through a tunnel. It was just getting more and more intense because I was reading faster and faster just trying to find a period. I. just wanted a natural stopping point to put the book down. The second being, I personally dislike stream of consciousness writing.

Mainly due to the formatting and how the author choose to write this book, I did not like it. But, thesee are mainly personal reasons and if any of these don’t bother you I say give it a go. Like I said the idea of this book is great, it was just ruined for me based upon the formatting.

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Girl, Woman, OtherGirl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another book on my quest to read all the 2019 shortlisted books! I am pleased to say that reading this book was a very different experience than reading the previous book I read in this challenge. I truly loved the writing style of this book and how it was set up. The is a collection of short stories where all of the characters are connected in one way or another. I personally have never read a collection like this, but it made all the difference for me.

Every voice in this book has a powerful story to tell, each perspective is of an individuals who is minority in the Britain. Each one of the authors story was wonderfully written, their writing talent is truly something of wonder, their voice is strong and confident, which I truly enjoyed. As I read I was invested in the characters even though we were not with them the entire book. I tend to have difficulty doing this in short stories since we spend so little time with characters. But, the quality of these stories really elevated my reading experience. Also, really liked how the author discussed huge topics such as feminism, racism, different forms of abuse, love, and many more. I am thankful that this book was on the shortlist, because sadly this book is not talked about otherwise and it truly is a shame. I honestly think she should have been the only winner as well.

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QuichotteQuichotte by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Overall, I really liked this book it addressed a lot of issues in our society when it comes to both race and mental illness. I recommended this to quote a few people after reading this retelling of sorts of Don Quixote. But, it is more than a retelling, as I mentioned it address quite a few topics, but does so as a magical realism novel mixed with a couple other genres.

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10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want to start off by saying that this is one of the most inventive and unique books I have read based upon the idea alone. But, this book is penned by a very talented writing and it just makes the book that much better. The first part of this book follows the 10 min. after death of a woman named Leila, who lived a very interesting life. You learn about her life through various memories that come to her in her last moments of life. It really hits home the “life flashes before your eyes” idea.

The second part discusses humility, society, and just being a decent human and how a system takes that away. How some individuals in life and in death can be discriminated against. It was a very interesting book that not only showed you the life of the characters, but also talked about society and highlighted how friendship can be such a powerful thing. I feel like this is a book I will be rereading because I feel like I can get even more out of it.

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An Orchestra of MinoritiesAn Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So, this is a very imaginative story. I really loved the premise of the tale and I really enjoyed that it was narrated by a guardian spirit called a chi. The writing itself was really wonderful and I think the author has a gift for sure. I would really like to see what else they have written because the writing is that good.

Unfortunately there were a few things I personally could not get over. The use of a really inappropriate word that honestly has no business being in a book published in 2019, so many other words could have been used to get the point across with ease. Secondly, this was said to be an interpretation of the Oddesey and I did not pick up on it personally, but I am very open to being wrong about this. If you have read it and I just missed it, please let me know.

Also, this book was filled with female objectification and I can only hope that the authors purpose in this is to bring light to this. The main character cannot take any responsibility and is pig headed. He commits a horrible act who hurts someone he is meant to “love”. I put it into quotes because it isn’t love. The women in this novel are nothing more than their use to the main character. I had such high hopes for this novel, while I did not like this tale at all I will be checking out the authors other work because their writing itself was done very well. I plan on picking up The Fishermen in the next few months and very much look forward to it.

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Now, for the book I decided I did not want to read, The Testaments by Margaret Atwood. I decided not to read this for a few reasons, but the most propionate being I really think Bernardine Evaristo should have been the only winner. The second being I have tried multiple times to try and read The Handmaid’s Tale and I could not get into it at all, the writing bored me.

Overall, I am really happy with this years challenge, I ended up liking a majority of the books. Plus an authors whose writing I liked and will give another try since the book itself, plot wise, was not something I enjoyed. In previous years I was not so lucky. I have also recommended quite a few of these to friends and family and loaned them out, which is a huge complement to any book in my eyes.

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Tags

Let’s Talk | The Bookish Baking Tag

Let's TalkHello and welcome to a tag. I have not done one in a while, I am sorry! But, I was so happy when Alexandra over at Reading by Starlight Blog tagged me to do this. I love baking and books, so this is a perfect combination! Also, I want to note I made this a little extra challenging by only picking books I read this year.


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☆ Thank whoever tagged you
☆ Link back to them and the original creator (Kay @ Hammock of Books)
☆ Answer the 12 prompts, and feel free to use these graphics
☆ Tag 5+ friends to share the sweetness


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Norse Mythology

Norse Mytholgy by Neil Gaiman, I picked this one because the start of this book Gaiman goes into his personal history with Norse Mythology and it was really interesting and I felt it really set a great tone to the whole book.pumpkinpid.png

Little Women

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, this novel will forever be a holiday book for me because it just feels cozy and it radiates family to me. This also a book I reread often and when I want to relax so either holiday meaning it has it covered!

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Firestarter

Charlie from Firestarter by Stephen King, I feel so much for Charlie in this book and I feel like everyone should just protect this poor girl. I don’t want to say much because you know, spoilers. But, I just want her to be safe and with those who care.

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Beach Read

Beach Read by Emily Henry, I mean the cover and title alone really say it all. This was a really fun and you probably heard all about it because so many people have been raving about it. It is a fun read that tackles a few sadder themes, but over all it had full on summer vibes and even a summer romance.

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Teen Titans: Raven

Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo, so this one I am twisting a bit. Raven really made me think about what makes us, well us. In addition to the importance of family. I feel like the, “who am I?”, “What does it all mean?” are questions a lot of us ask of ourselves from time to time, but I feel like it happens a lot as we grow up in high school. Like I said, I am twisting this prompt a little, sorry!

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Northanger Abbey

 

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen, I read this a bit ago and it was a really fun classic to read. I loved that the narrator had a sense of humor and was making fun of the book. On top of that it was a very typical love classic into also a horror/thriller esc. classic. It was quote enjoyable. I ended up writing an entire post about this one, Let’s Talk | BuzzFeed Picks My Jane Austen Novel

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Don't Touch My Hair

Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri, this was such a great read. I annotated this book so heavily I needed to buy a new highlighter. This was such a great mixture of memoir and history of slavery all tied together by hair. It is a wonderful anti-racism novel that I think more people need to talk about and read.

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Mooncakes

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu, okay, I admit this is not all fluff, but I just loved the relationships in this graphic novel and the support given! I just had to mention it, I need to read more by these two.

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Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, the message of this book, at least to me, was savor all the time we get to spend with those around us. You never know when things will happen and you don’t want to regret not saying something or showing how you care. This was a beautiful short story.

macarons.pngAlexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow, this book is HUGE. Now, I love history and I worked with someone who also loved history at an old job. I knew their taste was generally similar to mine and they were having a hard time reading it saying it was slow and dragged. So, I was really afraid to read it. Well, years later I finally read it and this person could not be more wrong, at least in my opinion.

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Girl, Woman, Other

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, such a wonderful book. This book was diverse in so many ways. It was diverse in so many ways, such as age range, race, sexuality, economically. It was a wonderful book and I will say, this should have been the ONLY winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize.

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Mexican Gothic

 

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, as you all probably know. This book has been on booktube, blogs, and just about everywhere I see books talked about. Well, I picked it up and I really did love it! This author is so talented, I can’t wait to see what they do next. It really is amazing when the hype pays off.

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Misty

Evelyn

Kayla

Destiny

Whitney

Meeghan

You!


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Wrap Up

Wrap Up |April | #OWLsReathaon2020

Wrap Up

Hello and welcome to my April and OWLsReadathon wrap up! This month has been an outstanding reading month in my eyes. I did not expect I would be reading nearly this month, but with everything going on I found I had more free time and books filled that time up. Since I have so many reviews in this post I am going to just get to it.


Read 2

How to Read LiteratureHow to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One person blurbed the back of this book as ‘Lively and engaging…English 101 in a book.” I would say Michael Lindgren hit the nail on the head with the description. If you need a refresher on reading critically and activity. It is throughout and well done.

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The Scorpio RacesThe Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I will be 100% honest about this, I had no idea what to really expect when I jumped into this book. I mean I obviously read the description and I knew I would be reading about kids riding on water horses, which sound amazing by the way, and there would be a race. I also knew our main character was going to be a girl. I am not sure why, but I got hunger game vibes and for me personally that isn’t a good thing.

When I actually got to reading  I liked the writing style, but I have always enjoyed the style of Maggie Stiefvater. I read the first two books in The Raven Cycle and liked how lyrical and her sentences felt, they just had a good rhythm. This book also had that feeling of magic, if that makes sense? I will say, that this novel was written before The Raven Boys and you can tell. That is not to say the writing is bad in anyway, but you can see how much her writing improved.

One thing I really liked about this story was the fact that the love was not the main driving force of this book, but working together to make it through this dangerous race. Nothing felt forced or just there for the sake of the plot, which annoys me to no when when that happens. The plot overall was good, I enjoyed it from start to finish for the most part. There were times I just wanted to skip a few pages because got bored, but as soon as the thought entered my mind something would happen to pull me back in. I will say, I was slow though even with all the action. Which is a bit confusing for me.

Overall, I am glad read it and Meeghan picked it for me. It was enjoyable and it was nice to read something different from Maggie Stiefvater. Was it my favorite by her? No, I still prefer what I have read of The Raven Cycle. Take that as you may, I still enjoy her style.

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Beach ReadBeach Read by Emily Henry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book! I had a feeling I would because it had a few of my go to keywords, writers and not a great first impression. What really stood out to me about this book was the dynamic the two main characters had. It was fun, light hearted, but also serious. I really loved the style of this book and will read more from her  easily.
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The Widow of Pale HarborThe Widow of Pale Harbor by Hester Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A wonderful gothic mystery novel, including murder, witches and a secret hidden in a house located in a coastal Maine town. I was enthralled from page one. It was wonderfully written, a great plot, and it has a perfectly creepy and eerie atmosphere.

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Girl, Woman, OtherGirl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another book on my quest to read all the 2019 shortlisted books! I am pleased to say that reading this book was a very different experience than reading the previous book I read in this challenge. I truly loved the writing style of this book and how it was set up. The is a collection of short stories where all of the characters are connected in one way or another. I personally have never read a collection like this, but it made all the difference for me.

Every voice in this book has a powerful story to tell, each perspective is of an individuals who is minority in the Britain. Each one of the authors story was wonderfully written, their writing talent is truly something of wonder, their voice is strong and confident, which I truly enjoyed. As I read I was invested in the characters even though we were not with them the entire book. I tend to have difficulty doing this in short stories since we spend so little time with characters. But, the quality of these stories really elevated my reading experience. Also, really liked how the author discussed huge topics such as feminism, racism, different forms of abuse, love, and many more. I am thankful that this book was on the shortlist, because sadly this book is not talked about otherwise and it truly is a shame. I honestly think she should have been the only winner as well.
View all my reviews


Salvation StationSalvation Station by Kathryn Schleich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review to come soon!
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Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am glad II finally got to this book, but I don’t think it is for me. I don’t see myself continuing wth the series. I bought this book years ago on my kindle and this type of story just isn’t my thing anymore. Funny how reading tastes change.

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Middle Mark Books 2

Full Throttle by Joe Hill, My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Girls of Gettysburg by Bobbi Miller, My rating: 3 of 5 stars

They Will Drown in Their Mothers’ Tears by Johannes Anyuru, My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Macbeth by William Shakespeare, My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Magician King by Lev Grossman, My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill, My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Magical Readathon Update

Seer Profession

Ancient Runes – Heart rune: heart on the cover or in the title

Astronomy – Night classes: read majority of this book when it’s dark outside

Divination – Third eye: assign numbers to your TBR and use random number generator

Animagus Training 

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: read something outside your favorite genre

Potions – Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages

Transfigurations – Animagus lecture: book/series that includes shape shifting

Magical Shop Management 

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: read something outside your favorite genre

Bonus OWLs

History of Magic – Book that features witches/wizards 

  • The Magicians King by Lev Grossman

Muggle Studies – Contemporary

  • Beach Read by Emily Henry 

Defense Against the Dark Arts

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Charms

  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Graphics created by @ladette_M on Twitter!

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Beat the Backlist 2

Start of 2020: 51

Current: 11


Reading Stats

  • Number of Books: 15
  • Number of Pages: 5,097
  • Fiction: 13
  • Nonfiction:2
  • DNF’ed: 0
  • Ebook: 3
  • Audiobook: 1
  • Paperback: 4
  • Hardcover: 7
  • Library: 1
  • Owned: 14
  • 5 Stars: 6
  • 4 Stars: 4
  • 3 Stars: 4
  • 2 Stars: 1
  • 1 Star: 0

What was your favorite book this month?

How did you do in your OWLs? 

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Reading Challenges

Reflection | Reading a Shortlist Vol. 1

Reflection

Hello and welcome to my first check in for my Read a Shortlist Challenge for 2020, you can find more details in my post, Reading Goals | 2020 Edition. In this post I am just going to be talking about the first two books I have read off of the shortlist of the Man Booker 2019 edition. In this installment I am going to be talking about my thoughts on Ducks, Newburyport and Girl, Woman, Other. This challenge is one of my favorite I do each year because it exposes me to books I would not have read otherwise and I always find a gem of a new author to read. Without further delay, onto the reviews!


Ducks, NewburyportDucks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a book I would have never tried to read if it was not on the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize. Saying that, you can most likely see I ended up giving this book 1 star. While the idea of this book did sound very appealing as soon as I started to read it a red flag for my personal reading tastes went up. The first few pages was just a never ending list with commas, never a period. The book was being told by someone who is just rambling on and on, which I can see is most likely a choice to get the feel for how thee narrator is feeling about life.

For me, this was so stress inducing for a few reasons. I felt like I was reading the equivalent to Willy Wonka (Gene Wilder movie) taking the winners down the chocolate river through a tunnel. It was just getting more and more intense because I was reading faster and faster just trying to find a period. I. just wanted a natural stopping point to put the book down. The second being, I personally dislike stream of consciousness writing.

Mainly due to the formatting and how the author choose to write this book, I did not like it. But, thesee are mainly personal reasons and if any of these don’t bother you I say give it a go. Like I said the idea of this book is great, it was just ruined for me based upon the formatting.

View all my reviews


Girl, Woman, OtherGirl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another book on my quest to read all the 2019 shortlisted books! I am pleased to say that reading this book was a very different experience than reading the previous book I read in this challenge. I truly loved the writing style of this book and how it was set up. The is a collection of short stories where all of the characters are connected in one way or another. I personally have never read a collection like this, but it made all the difference for me.

Every voice in this book has a powerful story to tell, each perspective is of an individuals who is minority in the Britain. Each one of the authors story was wonderfully written, their writing talent is truly something of wonder, their voice is strong and confident, which I truly enjoyed. As I read I was invested in the characters even though we were not with them the entire book. I tend to have difficulty doing this in short stories since we spend so little time with characters. But, the quality of these stories really elevated my reading experience. Also, really liked how the author discussed huge topics such as feminism, racism, different forms of abuse, love, and many more. I am thankful that this book was on the shortlist, because sadly this book is not talked about otherwise and it truly is a shame. I honestly think she should have been the only winner as well.

View all my reviews


There you have it, my first two reviews for my read a shortlist challenge. One a personal dud and the other a wonderful and powerful read by an author I need to read more of ASAP. This often is the case for the Man Booker Prize, there are always books I end up hating and others I end up loving. At this point the score is 50/50 and I hope the loving score keeps going up.

Have you read either of these books? Are either of them on you TBR?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | March 2020

To Be Read

Hello and welcome to another TBR post! This month I am keeping my TBR nice and small so I can have some random picks as the month goes on and also not put too much pressure on myself because as many of you know I am starting to study a new language. But, I still want to keep reading and I am really excited about the books on my list!

The Magicians by Lev Grossman, I am buddy reading this with reading this with Reg and Jenna this month. This has to be a series I have been interested in this series for what feels like years. I am expecting to love this book so much I actually bought the series bundle.

Girl Woman Other by Bernardine Evaristo, I have been reading this book on and off since January. The main reason I have been reading this book for so long is because I thought I lost this book, turns out it was in my trunk. When I was reading it, I was really enjoying it so I am happy to have found it.

Hamlet by William Shakespeare, this is my March Shakespeare of the month for my Shakespeare challenge, if you want to know more about this, check out my most recent installment, 2020 Shakespeare Challenge | February. I am a bit worried about this one, I feel like the tragedy were my most disliked. plays when I read them in high school, but this is one of the most popular one of them all. So, I am hoping that this one wont be as bad as I think it is, fingers crossed.



What books are you planning on reading this month?

What book are starting the month with?

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To Be Read

To Be Read | January 2020

To Be ReadHello and welcome to my first post of 2020! I am excited that my first post is setting an intention for the first month of the year, my TBR for the month. This month I am keeping it pretty relaxed so I can add more books as I feel, but there are a few I really want to get to this month for one reason or another. So, on with the books!


This first set of books are ones I am really excited to jump into. Girl, Woman, Other is the first book I am reading for my Read a Shortlist Challenge. It was on the Shortlist and won The Man Booker Prize 2019. Where the CrawDads Sing is another one for a series I am going to be revamping this year ‘Someone Picks My Books’, I am so excited to be bringing it back, I truly have missed it. Mythos has nothing to do with a series or challenge, but I have been on such a mythology kick I want to read it now.

These next two books are also ones I am really excited about, but were so small they wouldn’t stand up with the rest of the books, so they get their own picture. The first book is Widows Weeds and Weeping Veils and it talks about 1800s mourning rituals, which is a bit dark, but I personally find the topic really interesting. The second book here is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is the Shakespeare play I am reading in January for my 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. I am really excited to jump into this Challenge and I created a goodreads group for it if you would like to join, it is called  2020 Shakespeare Challenge Group. Very original, I know.

Anyway here are the books I am very excited to get to in January! I really love how all over the place they are, works perfectly for my mood reading.


What books are you planning on reading this month?

What book are you currently reading?

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Hauls & Unboxings

Book Haul | Last One of 2019

BookHaul12:17

Welcome to my last haul of 2019, I still cannot believe I am writing that. Anyway, before the year finished up I wanted to post my book haul from the second half of December, I went a little over board with my holiday money and used my gift cards well. From this point on I am officially back on my Read 5, Buy 1, which if you want to learn anything about, you can do so here: Read 5, Buy 1 Series. Anyway, here are the books I added to my owned TBR! 


American Dirt was a hand me down from a friend, I am so thankful for! I have been seeing so many people saying great things.  Girl Woman, Other is a book I am very excited to get to, I feel like it is going to be heart wrenching and powerful, it was also awarded The Man Booker Prize 2019. Civil War Wives is a non-fiction I am excited to jump into, it was an area that was much overlooked in my education and I wish to explore it further. Were the Crawdads Sing has been recommended to me so many times I lost count. Some of these you will be seeing in upcoming series, so keep an eye out!

The Girls of Gettysburg is along the same line as Civil War Wives, I really want to dive into the lives of women who witnessed or partook in the Civil War. It really was overlooked and I know there is a lot to explore. Agatha Christie collection was from my Coffee and a Classic Box, sadly the last one I will be getting. I loved the box, but I needed to make some cuts and save some more money. I will miss it greatly. I will say, I am happy to end with this box because Agatha Christie is one of my favorite mystery writers. Last in this picture is Mythos, I have been on a huge myth swing as of late so I needed to add another one to my TBR.

Here is a Celestial Atlas I picked up and I am in love with. It is so beautiful with stories about all the constellations. Next is a very short book no mourning in the 1800s, I have always been intrigued with how society deals with this topic and how it has evolved so when I saw this I added it to my pile. It also gives me Caitlin Doughty vibes and I just love her books and her youtube channel called Ask a Mortician.

Here are a few more Shakespeare plays I am adding to my collection and for the 2020 Shakespeare Challenge, which I went on about in my post Blogmas | Goals | 2020 Shakespeare Challenge. If you want to join in on the fun I created a goodreads group or you can just follow along on my blog. In January I will be reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


What books did you acquire during the month of December?

Have you read any of these books? Do you think I will like them?

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