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Show Us Your Books, December edition: The one where I didn’t read a lot

I don’t know what happened this month. It’s been 5 weeks since the last Show Us Your Books and I read exactly 5 books. That’s one a week. WAY below my average. I mean, I know it’s not a competition and sometimes the pace slows and it’s all fine but when I’m trying to tackle a huge pile and the library keeps sending me more, it feels like a race. I suppose I could stop putting books on hold but let’s be honest, that’s not going to happen. So. We continue the epic battle of me vs. library. show-us-your-books-2016-300by300

As for what I read last month, I had 2 books I almost quit but in the end, I’m glad I didn’t. And of the 5, only 2 were strong; the others were good but not great. I wouldn’t say don’t read them but I wouldn’t say bump them to the top of your TBR, either. Let’s explore:

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty. Confession: I confuse her and Jojo Moyes all the time. I don’t know why. Anyway, this books is not my favorite of hers. It was meh. The storytelling annoyed the fuck out of me. She dragged out storylines for the sake of mystery and it fell flat. The characters were mostly irritating and unlikable yet not enough to make me stop reading so there’s that. I thoroughly enjoyed the last few chapters (though not the last one because Clementine sucks the most). The mostly strong finish offset a generally mediocre novel. Not the best but not the worst book I’ve ever read. 

The Mothers by Brit Bennett. This will be the topic of the newest episode of The Armchair Librarians when season 2 launches in January so I’m not going to give too much away. It’s an absolutely phenomenal book. Sad and engaging and heartbreaking and heartwarming. The writing is stellar. I loved the characters and the stories and everything about it. It’s like a perfectly finished puzzle: once you see how it all comes together, it just clicks and you understand. This is the kind of book that reminds me why I love reading. 

The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel. The struggle was REAL with this one. At first, it was a DNF but instead I just put it down and came back to it a couple of weeks later. I’m glad I did. I mean, this book is S-L-O-W for the first 250 pages but the last 60 make it worth the slog. Sad, powerful, explosive, heartwrenching. I’m not a huge fan of her writing but you get over the pretentiousness after awhile. I loved, eventually, all the characters and the narrative punches you in the gut at the end. Note: although this is labeled as a YA book, it most definitely is not. 

I’m Just a Person by Tig Notaro. I think Tig is awesome and hilarious and I was thrilled to find out she wrote a book. And it was enjoyable. She’s such a great writer and a badass survivor. However, having watched and read interviews and her Netflix special, I don’t feel like I learned a ton more about her. It was interesting to get a glimpse inside her head during that one year and how she dealt and survived and pushed through. She’s definitely inspiring but the book was average.

All is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker. This is the other book I’ll almost DNF. I wanted to quit because the narrator is condescending and arrogant and insufferable. But once you realizes he’s actually a sociopathic narcissist, it becomes a whole different book. He reminded me of an unlikable Joe (from YOU and Hidden Bodies) and that helped me get through. The plot was engaging enough and the twist at the end was both predictable and shocking and definitely worth finishing the book for. If you can get over the narrator’s tone, it’s a worthy read. 

TL;DR: The only one that’s a must read is The Mothers. Please, please read it. 

And FYI, there’s another SUYB on December 27, where we’re asking you to join us and talk favorite books of the year. And as a thank you for all the support, Steph and I are hosting our annual holiday giveaway. The winner gets an Amazon gift card and a donation to Dolly’s Imagination Library will be made in the winner’s name. So, linkup, enter, and let’s talk books! (Giveaway is below the linkup)

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  1. Olya @ The Siberian American

    I’ve read so many meh reviews of Truly Madly Guilty. Not sure if I’ll ever get to it. I liked All Is Not Forgotten because the narrator is a sociopathic narcissist. I thought it was an interesting angle.

  2. texerinsydney

    I always get amazon money for Christmas, and I always end up getting some books that are difficult to get at the library. I think I shall order The Mothers.
    texerinsydney recently posted…I show you my books, you show me yours… vol.23My Profile

  3. Tanya @ A Mindful Migration

    I’m on the waiting list for The Mothers, hopefully it will be my greedy little hands next month. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. Yes, the narrator is a major douche bag in All is Not Forgotten. I wanted to punch him in his smug, manipulative face so many times. And yet, I loved the book because it made me think about how we act when we have moral high ground and how we *really* act when our lives/loved ones are threatened. I also read my first Moriarty book and while it wasn’t terrible, I was also underwhelmed.
    Tanya @ A Mindful Migration recently posted…November Bookshelf: Where My Girls At?My Profile

  4. Linda Sheridan

    I took a screenshot of The Mother’s to file in my
    Books to read so I can access at the library!
    Love these reviews.
    ❤️ Steph’s Momma!

  5. kathy @ more coffee, less talky

    I’ve read ONE book since the last linkup…that’s nuts.

    I’m not a fan of liane m. – i’ve tried to read several of her books but they’re just not my cup of tea.

  6. kristen

    i have a huge pile of library books, after i got through the last pile (had to return a lot of them because yeah no 50 books is insane) i told myself i wouldn’t do it again and i have 45 books at home. oops. i mean, who am i kidding, seriously. i can’t read all of those. especially when my pace has slowed down so much recently. like you said, not a competition, but if it was, i’m losing against myself from earlier in the year lol.
    i still haven’t read truly madly guilty and honestly, i think i will skip it.
    added the mothers to my list!

  7. Heather H

    I’ve been on hold at the library for The Mothers for awhile; I can’t wait to read it!! I know what you mean about me vs. the library. My problem seems to be that all my exciting holds come in at once but it’s during a busy time in life & I can’t get to them all…ahh! Can’t complain about having good books to read though 😉 I liked Truly Madly Guilty but it wasn’t my favourite book by her.
    Heather H recently posted…SUYB Last-ish one of 2016!My Profile

  8. Kristin

    TMG was not my favorite of Moriarity’s and I’d probably never recommend that anyone start with that one. Big Little Lies hooked me and then I moved through the rest of her books.

    Also, totally spelled my own IG username wrong in that giveaway entry. Sigh.

  9. Rebecca Jo

    I’ve not heard of The Mothers… heading to Amazon right now to check it out.
    I do the same thing with Lianne Moriarty & Jojo Moyes. Its always the covers that put me back on track. They’re both Aussie’s though, right?

  10. Nancy @ NY Foodie Family

    I’m also a contender in the me vs. the library race. It’s a hard battle….too many books I want to read that all come in at the same time! I read Truly Madly Guilty this month, so it will be in January’s review. But I felt the same way….wasn’t a big fan. I love JoJo Moyes though! The Mothers is on my to read list but I’ll have to get to it sooner than later.

  11. lauren

    the mothers sounds interesting, your review is very captivating! love your new profile picture!

  12. Ericka @ A Quiet Girl's Musings...

    I had a “the struggle is real” kind of book last month (well… for a few days in November and the first 11 days of December). I love that phrase. Will have to remember it for the next time I have a book that leaves me… irritated.

    The only one I’m familiar with is Truly Madly Guilty. I think I have it on my TBR, but it’s hasn’t interested me enough to jump in to it yet.
    Ericka @ A Quiet Girl’s Musings… recently posted…Recently Read – Vol. 14 (Nov. ’16)My Profile

  13. Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders

    I’ve seriously heard so many great things about The Mothers! I need to move that one up on my TBR list. And I 100% agree with you about Truly Madly Guilty. It just really seemed to drag out and I didn’t connect with the characters because they were just so freaking annoying! I hope that her next one is better. I’m glad that you decided to power through those two books this month because it sounds like they were worth it!

  14. Jenn @ Optimization, Actually

    I finally started limiting myself on library books because I don’t like the feeling of racing the deadline. I’m trying to request 2 or 3 at a time and only when I’m getting close to finishing the previous pile. But some of my requests actually disappeared or never went through or something. Have you had any trouble with the DE library website?

  15. SMD @ Life According to Steph

    Okay so…I have a lot of books at home (including Bruce’s and Jodi’s newest and 50 trillion on my kindle and some I bought for myself for Christmas with giftcards)…so I am going to attempt to go cold turkey off the library until those are finished. I want to clear myself in January. Can I do it? I don’t know. I will still pick up what has already been requested (two books are waiting as we speak) but am trying not to request MORE. LOL

    I read one Lianne Moriarty. I think I don’t like her formula enough to read the rest.

  16. Nicole

    What a disappointing reading month! I always hesitate to pick up a Liane Moriarty book because they get such mixed reviews. I have read The Husband’s Secret and it was good but didn’t strike me to read more. I do have The Mothers on my TBR and feel more confident about that after reading your review. Thanks for hosting the link up!

  17. Carly

    I just got The Mothers from the library after being on hold forever and am excited to read it, and I just added The Summer That Melted Everything to my tbr list earlier this week. I’m not completely convinced from the synopsis that I’ll like it, but something about it made me at least put it on my list.
    Carly recently posted…Books to Bring Christmas CheerMy Profile

  18. Brittany Pines

    Definitely going to have to check out The Mothers!

  19. Kelly @ Noodle to the Rescue

    I’m adding The Mothers to my list right now! And looking forward to the podcast.
    I’m on the opposite end of the me vs the library spectrum in that WHY ARE NONE OF MY HOLDS COMING IN?!? I’m next in line for several and the people ahead of me have kept them overdue… GRR.
    Kelly @ Noodle to the Rescue recently posted…Reading Roundup – November 2016My Profile

  20. Jill K.

    I’m looking forward to reading The Mothers. And I hear you about the library holds situation!

  21. Jen

    I LOVED the Mothers so much! My favorite read of the month was Faithful by Alice Hoffman. I didn’t like Truly Madly Guilty, which made me sad because I am such a huge fan of her other books!

  22. Alexandra

    I tried to read one Moriarty and I just wasn’t into it. It was really kind of slow and not compelling for me. I’d like to give some others a try someday. In general I want to be reading more suspenseful, thriller, or mystery books. I always enjoy them, but rarely think to reach for them. I have the same library holds problem… the struggle is real. Dolly’s charity is so incredibly fantastic. Great giveaway! XO – Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  23. Karly

    I think it’s just me, but I’m not a big Liane Moriarty fan in general. I think most of her characters are annoying, and the story lines are just too drawn out. So, I’ll be skipping that one for sure!

  24. Anne

    Another great review for The Mothers – clearly I need to get my hands on this ASAP!

  25. ShootingStarsMag

    I read more than I put in my post, but I only posted the ones I had reviews for in the past month…which was not a whole lot, surprisingly. haha I am curious about The Mothers though. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Show Us Your Books Link Up: Last Month’s ReadsMy Profile

  26. Kerri

    I’m kind of glad that my library has very few English books, so I only pick the books up when I actually go, I feel like if I was to put books on hold, I’d have far too many. On the other hand, I’m quite partial to picking up ebooks and audiobooks on the cheap, so it’s pretty much the same thing… Oh well. At least books are fun.

    I always find, books that fall into the “not the best, but not the worst” category are the hardest to talk about and the most frustrating. It’s all just a big mess of meh with me.

    I picked up The Summer that Melted Everything in an Audible deal but haven’t get around to listening to it yet. I don’t mind slow books as much in audio format since they go by so much faster and never feel as slow as when I’m physically reading (since I’m such a slow reader). Although, I’ll definitely keep your thoughts in mind if I start listening to it, I know there’s something to look forward to at the end.

    Here’s to a great reading month in December!

  27. Micah @ Unabashedly Me

    I’m so looking forward to hearing what you and Steph have to say about “The Mothers.” I still think about that story a lot.

  28. Kristen

    I definitely liked Truly Madly Guilty much more than you did, though it wasn’t my favorite Moriarty book.

    I really want to read The Mothers, but will probably hold off on it for a little while. The waiting list at the library is really long, and I already have a bunch of books checked out (and a bunch more that I’m planning to get to in the next couple of months). I love books that give you that “THIS is why I love reading!” feeling, though. I’m hoping I feel the same.

    The Summer That Melted Everything and All is Not Forgotten are on my “To Read” list as well. I’m glad that both of them were worth finishing in the end. When I saw that you were finding The Summer That Melted Everything really hard to get into, I was disappointed because it sounds so interesting. It won’t be going to the top of my list, but at least I know it’s still worth my time.


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