Book Reviews: What I Read in December 2017

Based on my list of book reviews, December seemed to be the month of motherhood (4 books) and the month of memoirs (2 for sure, another 2 probably count).  I’ve noticed that when I am into reading about a topic, I tend to read a lot of it (Dystopian November, for example).  Do you also read in “flights”?

I finished the year out with 76 books read!  Of those 76 books, 49 were fiction and 27 were nonfiction.  The split between male authors and female authors was 31 to 45, which was a lot closer than I expected considering the amount my husband ribs me about only reading books by female authors.  I read 19 books in audiobook format and 57 physical books.  A good year of reading!

I’m not setting any concrete reading goals this year but would like to make a conscious effort to spend less time on my phone and more time with a book in my hand.

My thoughts on each of this month’s reads are below, listed in order of when I finished each book (no spoilers, I promise).

Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty – Ramona Ausubel

book reviews

I heard about this book on one of my favorite podcasts that I mentioned awhile back, From the Front Porch.  This fabulous dysfunctional family saga tells the story of a wealthy New England couple in the 1960s and 1970s that finds out one day that their money is gone.  The unhappy couple part ways on journeys of self-discovery, unintentionally leaving their children at home alone to fend for themselves.  This story touched on deeper themes of privilege, motherhood, and the female role in society.  Parts of this story reminded me of Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff and Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy (which I reviewed here).

And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready – Meaghan O’Connell

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Through Book of the Month Club, I was given the opportunity to read the manuscript for And Now We Have Everything, a memoir they are considering as one of their future selections.  This memoir about pregnancy, birth, and early motherhood is raw, honest, and oh so relateable.  Some parts had me laughing out loud and others had me on the verge of tears.   This is a quick and wonderful read that comes out in April.  To me, this story is a cross between Confessions of a Domestic Failure by Bunmi Laditan (reviewed here) and The Blue Jay’s Dance by Louise Erdrich (reviewed below).

The Blue Jay’s Dance – Louise Erdrich

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The Blue Jay’s Dance is a beautiful memoir on early motherhood.  The book is composed of poetic descriptions of all of the emotions you experience during your child’s first year interspersed with gorgeous nature vignettes.  My mom got this for me when I was pregnant but I couldn’t get through it back then.  I am so glad I picked it back up , because I totally understand the magic of this book now.  Reading this gives me a better understanding of Erdrich’s recent dystopian fiction about motherhood, Future Home of the Living God (reviewed here).

A Simplifed Life – Emily Ley

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This book was a great read to prepare for the new year.  Emily Ley, of Simplified Planner fame, shares tactical tips to simplify your life in order to focus on the things that are most important.  This book is chock full of the author’s personal anecdotes, worksheets, and gorgeous photographs of Emily, her family, and her home organization systems.  I came away from this book with a list full of great ideas to reorganize my home and simplify my life.

South and West – Joan Didion

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In the 1970s, Joan Didion took a road trip with her husband through the South with plans to write a piece that never came to fruition.  This book is a collection of her notes and observations from that trip.  Didion’s writing evokes such a sense of place and feeling, and it was fascinating to me how her depictions still ring true almost fifty years later.  I really enjoy Southern literature and nonfiction accounts of the South, and this one did not disappoint.  It also made me want to read more from this iconic author.

Fitness Junkie – Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza

book reviews

I received this book in a giveaway over the summer sponsored by Sundog Bookstore and Doubleday Books and finally got around to reading it this month.  This book follows the story of Janey Sweet, CEO of a couture wedding dress company and divorcee, who has a falling out with her business partner and lifetime best friend over her recent weight gain.  Fitness Junkie is a campy novel that shines a light on the fitness and wellness industry, reflecting that much of the hype is more likely about image than health.  While this book isn’t high literature by any means, it is certainly high fun and a good, light read to finish out 2017.

Have you read any of these books? What was the best book you read this month?

Let me know in the comments below!


What have you been reading lately?  Check out Modern Mrs. Darcy for more book reviews.

FYI: If you decide to purchase any books from this post, I recommend you buy them from a locally owned bookstore if that is an available option for you.  If you decide to purchase from Amazon by clicking on any of the book covers from these book reviews, I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you).  Also, if you sign up for the Book of the Month Club (which I highly recommend) by clicking on any of the links in the book reviews, I get a free book. Thank you!


  1. Interesting- I never thought about reading in flights but it totally makes sense! If that’s the case, I just finished a serial killer flight and am going through a wrongfully accused of a crime set.

  2. I love the idea of reading in flights. I do that unintentionally. If you really like one book, why not read another one that reminds you of it? The Blue Jay’s Dance looks interesting. I enjoy memoirs that I can relate to.

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