January 2017 Reads

Not only was I successful in binge watching Netflix this month, I was able to squeeze in a few new books, too. My favorite past time is curling up on the couch with a cozy blanket, a cup of something hot, and a book. Throw a scented candle in the mix, and I’m not moving for the entire day.

Last year I was hoping to finish all the unread novels I have laying around the house, but with the total coming to 48 books, well… It just didn’t happen. Maybe that goal wasn’t realistic or maybe I wasn’t very committed to it, but I didn’t get anywhere near reading that many books. So this year I want to continue down that path, just at a slower pace. I think aiming to read 3 books a month is a great place to start, which is exactly what I did this January.

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I mentioned in this post that I received True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart by Thich Nhat Hanh as a Christmas gift. I was only half-way through it when I blogged about it at the time, but I managed to finish reading not long after. And my thoughts still stand. Anyone looking to improve upon their relationships in life should read this book. It’s a quick read, so it won’t take you longer than a day, and it provides several mantras that will help you live a more mindful existence. You can find it cheap on Amazon, so I recommend taking the time to get it.

Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread was given to me, to read, by my mother-in-law. We have this fun tradition of passing on books to each other after we’ve read them, and this has brought several books into my life that I wouldn’t have read otherwise. While I recognize that the author created complex characters and backstories that display the ups and downs of family life, I didn’t really care for this book. It felt more character driven than plot driven, and most of the story was told through past events. I don’t think any of these things alone make for an uninteresting book, but the way in which this author threw them together, along with her style of writing, didn’t capture my interest. I did find it easy to read, in the sense that I flipped through the pages pretty fast. But often times I was just waiting to get to the point of the story, something I never reallyΒ  found. Maybe that’s a harsh criticism. Maybe the point of the story is to cause readers to reflect on the interpersonal relationships between family members. But this book just didn’t do it for me. I ended it confused, unsatisfied, and wanting more.

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And now for the most entertaining book of the month: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. This book has been on my need-to-buy list since it was published, but after Carrie’s passing, I finally made the purchase (I was worried it would sell out, so I grabbed it the second I saw it at Costco). It’s a fun, bittersweet read and at times, particularly when Carrie refers to her own death, a bit off-putting. I felt myself resonating so strongly with her personal struggles regarding her self-image and mentality, and her diary entries serve as a reminder of why Carrie meant so much to a lot of people: not just because she is Princess Leia, but because she is a human being who is open and real about the struggles in her life. Carrie has given a voice to addiction and manic depressive disorder, among other things, and this has paved a way towards an understanding of mental illness. It’s easy to read this book and take away only that which is given to us on a juicy, silver platter: her affair with Harrison Ford and life as an iconic sci-fi character. But Carrie’s writing and honesty has always provided us with more than that; she’s provided a deeper understanding of the human condition.

Something Carrie talks a lot about in her book is her association with Leia and questioning who she would be without Leia’s existence. It’s apparent that she’s uncertain her level of stardom would be the same had she not played the galactic princess, and perhaps that’s true. Perhaps not, though, considering she was the daughter of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, and a very skilled writer. But I feel strongly in that Carrie’s level of fame and success does not solely fall on her association with Star Wars. Carrie Fisher was a bright light, impossible not to be seen. Princess Leia may have made her a household name across the world, but her talent, her bluntness, her adoration for her fans, and her hilarious Twitter account are proof that it is Carrie herself that we love so much. So it goes without saying that I think you should read this book.

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I’m currently working on a reading list for February, and I’m open to suggestions! I’m thinking of starting on Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty before the adaption hits HBO in a few weeks. And I might break down and finally get a library card! πŸ™‚ Here’s to a never-ending reading list.

-Ciara

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