Some time in early December, I noticed that I was only ten books away from my lofty goal of reading 76 books in 2016. (This was arbitrarily set at one more than I read last year. #stretchgoals) The frenetic pace of my reading this month indicates how I got a little obsessed with making it….until right after Christmas, when I stalled out on a non-fiction book. So I topped out at 73 books this year, nine of which were in December. Full year in review coming soon.

The second Outlander book was randomly available from the library, and I finally felt recovered enough from the emotional onslaught of the first one to tackle it. It took me a good couple of weeks, but it was good! It got more complicated than the first one, with some political intrigue going on that I found a bit difficult to follow, but you can sort of skim those bits and not be too fussed about it if you don’t want to be. Over the weekend I bought the first season of the Starz show and binged on that for New Year’s Eve, and I can highly recommend it as well. Only 7 more books to go in the series! (Book 9 is coming.)

Anne Tyler keeps popping up in things I’m hearing, like one caller in to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s podcast who looooves her and has read all her books. I’ve read a couple now and they are not my favs, but they’re often available from the library as e-books, so I gave this one a shot. At first, I found Mason’s obsessiveness very disconcerting, but as it faded into the background a bit I was able to see why some find this story charming.

I decided I wanted some seasonal reading, so here I go with the Nora Roberts again. The best I can say about these is that they were short. Although maybe their being short is why I didn’t think they were her best works.

I feel like I can truly call myself a writer and/or grammar pedant now that I’ve finally read The Elements of Style. This illustrated version had delightful pictures throughout, which only somewhat distracted from how boring it is to read this straight through, rather than as a reference. BUT, now that I know what all is in it, it will be easier to refer to things.

Another seasonal read, but much more enjoyable than the Nora Roberts ones. Even though it was first published in 2000, Winter Solstice seemed to be having a moment this year, at least in the bookish circles I frequent. A good meaty read, it doesn’t beat you over the head with Christmas, but it had its festive appeal.

I bought Christmas at the Cupcake Cafe on sale for Kindle but then saw it was the sequel to Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe, which fortuitously was available from the library, so I read that one first, and I’m glad I did. Not that you need a ton of context for a chick-lit type book, but it helped to have seen the character setup firsthand, if you will. Meet Me was more delightful than Christmas but they were fun to read together. I just started reading a JoJo Moyes backlist book, and she thanked Jenny Colgan as a friend in the foreword, so no surprise that I’ve enjoyed Colgan’s books as well!

Nothing says Christmas like a murder mystery, amiright? I traveled back to Three Pines on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for this second Chief Inspector Gamache book. It was not as charming to me as the first one, but I do love that little town. Except the murder rate per capita is through the roof!

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman