Book Reviews | December Reads

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I did it - I completed my 2016 reading challenge! It was so much fun and I thoroughly enjoyed dedicating a bit more of my time to reading. It's one of the only ways I can switch my brain off properly, which is why I'll be continuing with a new challenge this year. You can see all of the books that I read here or you can read back through my book review posts here. Today's post is the final installment of book reviews for 2016 and there were some real goodies that I'm excited to tell you about...

Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

I'm a big fan of Jodi Picoult and have enjoyed many of her previous books, so I was pretty excited when I saw she had a new book out. However, when I read the blurb for this book, I was SUPER excited and it didn't disappoint. Small Great Things does a fantastic job of dealing with difficult subjects like prejudice and racism whilst also weaving a fantastic, gripping storyline. I felt great sympathy for some of the characters and despised others, but either way I felt emotionally connected to all of them and wanted to find out where their journeys took them. This was a book that stayed with me for a long time - it may not be "To Kill a Mockingbird for the 21st century" as it's being advertised on Amazon, but it's a bloody good read that tackles important issues.

When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalinithi

I picked this book up after it was recommended to me on Twitter and I'm really glad that I did. This is a book about dying and living and trying to wrap your head around both, and it is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read. I pored over certain paragraphs again and again and felt moved to both tears and laughter more than once. This memoir has a tragic ending as the author, Paul Kalinithi sadly passed away before finishing it, but it is still an incredibly uplifting and moving read that will make you think differently about life.

The Last Act of Love - Cathy Rentzenbrink

I've not stopped talking about this since I finished reading it and I have already recommended it to half of my family. This book is an incredibly moving account of how Rentzenbrink and her family coped when her brother was involved in a serious accident that caused severe brain damage and how they faced the heartbreaking decision to end his life eight years later. I recognised so much of the emotion described in this book from what my own family have been experiencing in recent months, and it was so comforting to hear Rentzenbrink talk about how her own family have been able to piece their own lives back together. This is a book filled with love and one that will truly warm your heart.

The Year of Magical Thinking - Joan Didion

Since losing Blossom I've noticed that there seems to be so little written about grief in an honest and raw way, so when a couple of people recommend The Year of Magical Thinking, I picked it up immediately. Similarly to The Last Act of Love, this book articulated so many of the emotions associated with grief in a way that I haven't seen anywhere else which was incredibly comforting - it felt like as the book moved along and Didion was processing her own feelings, I was starting to process my own too. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who has lost someone close to them.

It's Not How Good You Are, It's How Good You Want to Be - Paul Arden

I read this book in between Christmas and New Year to give me a much needed kick up the backside before getting back into the swing of things again. This was a re-read for me but I always take something new away from it each time - this time it was all about the power of not only thinking big, but thinking bigger than would ever seem logical. It really helped me rethink some of my goals and ambitions for 2017 and certainly forced me to be bolder and stretch further with what I want to achieve. This is a great book to get you thinking in a more creative way.

What have you been reading this month? Have you set yourself a reading challenge for the year ahead?