Happy New Year gang – welcome to my final monthly wrap-up post relating to 2023! In today’s post, I recap the reading progress I made over the month of December. Tomorrow, I will be publishing an overarching review of 2023 as a whole, so if you’re looking for that content keep your eyes peeled!
With festive plans and lots of catch ups, reading progress naturally slowed down a little in December. However, as I had already met my official reading goal of the year, I wasn’t too bothered about this. I did set myself an unofficial goal, however, to try and get to books before the end of the year. Did I achieve that? Find out more below!
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
I started the month of December carrying forward The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins. At the end of November’s monthly wrap-up, I was just over 25% into the book.
It was refreshing to pick up a mood read for a change. If you recall that post, I picked up The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes after DNFing another read on November’s TBR. I had just been to watch the film at the cinema, and I loved it.
It’s fair to say that I enjoyed the book every bit as much as the film, even if there did turn out to be those usual minuscule differences between the two. I also think knowing the ending impacted the speed of which I read this book… combined with the festive period, of course. That’s not to take away from my experience of the book though! I really enjoyed this prequel, and following on from this, I will be looking to re-read The Hunger Games trilogy this year.
The Success Code
With my non-fiction reading goal in mind, I picked up two non-fiction books in December. The first of those was a physical read of The Success Code by John Lees.
This book is great as it is made up of multiple short chapters. It outlines small steps we can take in order to represent ourselves as best we can, put our best foot forward and promote positive image of ourselves to others.
It’s content should be worked through sequentially, as some of the latter chapters build upon framework outlined earlier. I think that’s useful though, as this framework gives you a model to work around, rather than giving you some generic advice and expecting you to be able to implement it without any guidance. The baby step nature of it as well, stop you from getting intimidated and falling over at the first hurdle.
I’ll definitely be looking to take away some of the points brought up in this book, so it was definitely a worthwhile read!
Order and Chaos
My next physical read, was picking up Order and Chaos, a short story anthology. I read another anthology, contributed to by the same author that approached me, earlier this year. Having enjoyed the experience of reading that first book, it was easy to say yes to the second.
I’m not going to go too much into the details of why I enjoyed the anthology, because I have a review live on my blog that you can check out instead. In summary, though, the anthology is a fun and diverse collection of stories that all revolve around the themes of order and chaos. But, from there, are vastly different from each other! It was a nice short read that fit in perfectly around the busy Christmas period.
The last book I picked up physically in the month of December is Gemina. As of the end of 2023 and this monthly wrap-up post, I have read 266 pages of Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman.
Yesterday, I was under no illusion that I wasn’t going to get through this book before the end of the year. I had read just over 200 pages at the start of the night. There was no way I was going to get through the final 450… even with the best of intentions! It doesn’t matter though. Through my reading to date, I did indeed meet my unofficial (larger) goal of reading 60 books by the end of the year. There wasn’t a massive push to get this finished. I’m also happy to take this through into January and set my reading year off right!
I read the first book of the trilogy, Illuminae, earlier this year and I fell in love with it. I love the way in which the books are written, the characters (different between both books, but that doesn’t matter one iota) and the overarching story. It’s a different format to what I usually pick up, but it’s working really well for me!
November Insta Poll Pick – The Minders
I left off my November monthly wrap-up post having listened to half of The Minders by John Marrs.
I listened to the second half of this audio when making gifts for Christmas. Although not a festive read, I found it compelling to follow along with whilst doing something mindless. The narrative of this story is interesting. As it’s a conspiracy thriller, we’re always pondering what we don’t know or what is going to happen next.
I liked how this audio was cast. We had a couple of different narrators (one for each gender), and the characters were differentiated well enough that we could easily follow who was who.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Minders, and for sure, it won’t be my last John Marrs book!
How to Win Friends and Influence People
The second non-fiction book that made it onto December’s reading list was How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
I confess I went into this book with a preconception that it was going to be a little trickier compared to The Success Code. In comparison, the second book is more modern and considerably shorter. How to Win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1936 and the audio was around seven hours long.
In reality, How to Win Friends and Influence People was a very easy listen. Despite the age of the book, I still find a lot of the points raised in it to be relevant today. Well, some people may resent being told to smile more. But, there is definitely argument for why this can help you. Don’t worry ladies, this isn’t targeted at just us!
December Insta Poll Pick – My Sister’s Keeper
I ended the month of December having listened to just less than a third of My Sister’s Keeper. I wanted to pick up this book for the moral debate that makes up the vast majority of the story. Now and then I will read out of my comfort zone for a specific reason. For example, I read Me Before You in 2019 as it deals with the topic of euthanasia.
My Sister’s Keeper is about a 13-year-old girl, Anna, who was conceived as a donor match for her sister. Kate was diagnosed from a young age with an aggressive form of leukaemia. Throughout her childhood, Anna has undergone multiple procedures and surgeries in order to donate to her sister. However, the nature of her illness means more invasive treatment is required each time.
At the opening of My Sister’s Keeper, Kate is suffering from kidney failure and is in need of a transplant to save her life. Anna‘s parents expect her to undergo the surgery and give her a kidney, but she has ideas of her own.
I enjoy reading stories that take a look at some of the more difficult topics in life. It’s more than just a story to enjoy, but one to think about as well. Although I am only a third of the way through the book so far, the set up is giving me everything I was hoping this book would be, and more! It’s a nice easy listen and I hope the narrative going forward explores the issue in as much depth as it can.
I trust you can tell from this monthly wrap-up post that I enjoyed each and every read I picked up in December, whether I finished it or not. I’m taking forward some great books into 2024!
I have briefly mentioned that I met my unofficial goal of reading 60 books. If you want to see what other reading goals I set myself, and how I did with those, check out tomorrow’s blog post in which I take a look at my 2023 year in review.
I hope to see you in that post. But until then, thanks for checking out today’s monthly wrap-up… and happy reading!