It’s the final wrap up of the year. I seriously cannot believe 2022 is less than forty-eight hours away. I am glad to see the end of 2021, but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a little but uneasy about what 2022 will bring. Trying to be cautiously optimistic. But 2021 isn’t over yet, and I still have two posts to go, including this one.
Keep reading to see what I read, watched. and posted this month.
What I Read
Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjoin-Brenyah – ★★★★☆
I picked this up as the final book to complete the 2021 Buzzword Reading Challenge. I was honestly just looking for something short to meet this month’s prompt, because I everything else I had to get to was pretty intimidating. I hadn’t heard of this one before I picked it up, but I am really glad I decided to give it a shot. This is a collection of short stories with a sci-fi/horror edge that address race. If you liked Get Out, this is definitely one to check out.
The rest of the books on this list I read for this month’s reading experiment, so I’ll keep my thoughts short. But if you want to read more in depth, click here to check out my thoughts on every one of Obama’s favorite books of 2020.
The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson – ★★★★★
This honestly wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I obviously really enjoyed it. It’s about Winston Churchill, but specifically during the Blitz of WWII. It was pretty dense and did take me a while to get through, though.
Missionaries by Phil Klay – ★★★☆☆
I knew this one probably wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, but I read it for the post. And while I didn’t love it – war stories, especially contemporary ones, are not something I particularly enjoy – I thought it was pretty good. Not a favorite, but I didn’t hate it.
Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker– ★★★★★
This book was fascinating. It’s about a family of twelve, and the aftermath of six of their children being diagnosed with schizophrenia. Definitely not an easy story to read, but it was so interesting.
Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar – ★★★★☆
I kind of thought I would like this one more than I did, but I just didn’t connect with it as much as I wanted to. It’s about a Muslim American family in the aftermath of 9/11 and then the 2016 election. Not the easiest read, but this did troll a certain orange someone quite a bit, so that was fun.
Deacon King Kong by James McBride – ★★★★☆
I’m honestly a little annoyed I didn’t like this more. I absolutely loved the writing, but struggled a bit with the story. Still, I can recognize this story wasn’t for me, even though I did appreciate it. Just one of those books that was really great, but didn’t work for me quite as well as I’d hoped. Still, definitely keeping James McBride on my radar, because I need more of his writing.
The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett – ★★★★☆
This book was so hyped last year, and I kept putting it off – as evidenced by the fact that out of all of Obama’s seventeen favorite books of 2020, I saved this one for last. This was the third book this year with intersecting narratives, and none of them did it for me. Out of the bunch, this one was probably my favorite. But I just don’t think that’s a story structure that works well for my brain, and that’s okay. I was hoping to love it, but I still enjoyed it.
A Promised Land by Barack Obama – ★★★★★
I think this was a great book to finish off 2021. I wasn’t expecting to like this one quite as much as I did, but it was just super nostalgic. It’s been a while since my very first election, but it was so nice to remember what it felt like when the process was just fun, and not, you know, terrifying. I wish I didn’t have to rush though it for a blog post, but I still enjoyed it a lot.
What I’m Currently Reading
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
I’ve spent the last week or so reading a chapter of many different books, and nothing was sticking. I’m honestly feeling kind of over it, but I had like five days left in my goal to read every single day of 2021, and I refuse to come that close only to give up. Fortunately, I think this one stuck. Because Backman totally gets what it is like to be extremely anxious and I think it’s making me feel better. So I’ll be pretty happy with this being the first book I finish in 2022. (I’m also really glad that I’m not going into the new year with a bunch of partially-read books.)
What I Watched
The Hating Game
The Hating Game was one of the very first romance novels I read after I stopped reading them in college. So I was very excited to watch the adaptation (because I also love a good rom com). And I think maybe my expectations were a tiny bit too high, because this didn’t quite live up to what I had in my head. To be fair, it’s been a while since I’ve read the books, so I don’t quite know what I was expecting from this. Basically, I should have reread the book before watching this to better form my opinion, so I have no idea. But it was still pretty cute! Just maybe not one I’ll choose to put on in the background when I’m working like I do with my favorite rom coms.
Don’t Look Up
I can definitely see why not everyone likes this movie, but I thought it was great. Just a really great satire that pokes fun at how some people can just completely ignore a deadly threat when it is staring them right in the face. I definitely laughed out loud several times, and just thoroughly enjoyed it.
This took me all year, but I did it! It’s a pretty long post because it required me to read nineteen books to complete it. And while I didn’t like every single book, I enjoyed most of them, and even got two unexpected favorites out of it. So, overall, I’m pretty glad I did it.
Alright, that’s it for December 2021! Sorry this was a short post, but I’m feeling a tiny bit burnt out from posting every day for the last week, and I’ve been working on my reading stats post for tomorrow (which always takes forever to put together and makes me regret all of my decisions). But I hope you enjoyed this anyway!
What was your favorite book this month?
Check out my bookshop, where you can go and buy books and also shop my curated collections of my personal favorites AND all of the books I’ve read for my reading experiments.Or you can just buy whatever books you want to. I get a small commission at no extra cost to you, and you get to support your choice of indie bookstores – it’s a win all around!