What I Read This Month

What I Read This Month: December 2019

This month featured an eclectic list of books, even for me. I made progress in my re-read of a YA series I loved as a kid. I discovered some more incredibly poetry. And I read a couple of great memoirs about addiction and mental illness. Here is everything I read in December.

Let Me Clear My Throat by Elena Passarello
Doom Rolled In Glitter by Leena Norms
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
Them by Jon Ronson
Max by James Patterson
Fang by James Patterson
Angel by James Patterson
Nevermore by James Patterson
Bury It by sam sax
My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Nepantla by Christopher Soto
The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Blackout by Sarah Hepola

And here are my (spoiler-free!) reviews.

Let Me Clear My Throat by Elena Passarello

I read Animals Strike Curious Poses earlier in the year and I adored it. I fell in love with the way Elena Passarello structures essays, her subject matter, and her writing. I still prefer Animals Strike Curious Poses, I think because I connected more with the subject matter and themes. However, Let Me Clear My Throat was still beautifully written and engaging, and it centered around the voice. 4/5 stars.

Doom Rolled In Glitter by Leena Norms

Leena Norms is one of my absolute favorite Youtubers, so when she announced that she was releasing a poetry zine, I jumped at the chance to buy it. Some of the poems have been featured on Leena’s channel, others are completely new to the public. But they are all timely and beautifully capture the chaos of being in your 20’s. You can buy the zine here, on Etsy. 4/5 stars.

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

I’ve been dipping my toe back into fantasy and science fiction lately, and this short story collection was a great way to do that. I think the first two stories were my favorite, but Carmen Maria Machado’s writing is consistently lyrical and raw and poignant. I can’t wait to read her debut memoir, In the Dream House. 4/5 stars.

Them by Jon Ronson

I have previously read and enjoyed The Psychopath Test and So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, so I was eager to dive into Jon Ronson’s back list. This is one of his earlier books, and in it he profiles a variety of political extremists. It is both entertaining and educational, combining Ronson’s signature awkward wit with feature length character studies of people we often find it hard to sympathize with. 4/5 stars.

Max, Fang, Angel and Nevermore by James Patterson

I enjoy this series (clearly, as I was re-reading it) but I do think it goes downhill a bit as the series goes on. In my opinion, the first 3 or 4 books are my favorite. As the angst and climate change narrative continue on, they become more and more heavy handed. That said, it’s not unenjoyable. It just lacks some of the charm of the first few books. 3/5 stars.

Bury It by sam sax

What a stunning poetry collection. Sam is a queer, Jewish writer and his poetry explores queerness, bodies and faith. This is a gut-wrenching collection, but one you will fly through. 5/5 stars.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This book has an interesting premise (one sister has to help clean up after the other sister murders her lovers.) However, it is quite fast-paced. Worth a read, but a bit forgettable. 3.5/5 stars.

Nepantla by Christopher Soto

I adored this collection of queer poets of color. Some of my favorites were featured, such as Danez Smith, but I also discovered so many new, amazing poets. A great survey of brilliant work. 5/5 stars.

The Man Who Couldn’t Stop by David Adam

This is a memoir about David’s experiences with OCD. It explores some of the clinical history of the illness, as well as his personal experiences. It’s well written and honest, a great look inside the mind of someone struggling with OCD. 4.5/5 stars.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

This was another re-read for me. Bird by Bird is my favorite book on writing, and Anne is one of my favorite writers. Everything she says just brings me comfort. I needed a bit of comfort in December, so I turned to this, and it absolutely delivered. 5/5 stars.

Blackout by Sarah Hepola

Sarah Hepola’s brutally honest memoir about alcoholism and blackouts is hard to read at times, but worth the emotional energy. If you liked The Recovering by Leslie Jamison, I think you would like this. 4/5 stars.

That’s everything I read in December. What books have been getting you through the winter months?

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