Alright, time for January’s book roundup! I read 8 books this month! I’ll break down which is audio, kindle, and paper. Audiobooks did a lot of heavy lifting as per usual and I think you want to add in more reading to your life, an audiobook is the way to go.
I enjoyed this book but was frustrated with the author at several points along the way. The author and her husband have bought a property in Vermont and in front of their house is a huge former apple orchard that has fallen into disrepair due to disease. The book chronicles their removal of the orchard and how they worked to establish a ‘meadow’ in that same place. There’s a lot of talk about invasive species and how to manage them (or not) and the work involved in habitat restoration, especially on the home landscape. I wasn’t overly fond of the invasive species/xenophobia comparisons. It’s something I’ve seen other pro-invasive species people use and it drives me bonkers. I wouldn’t say the author was pro-invasives but she definitely questioned whey she put in so much effort to remove one invasive when another would come in to take its place.
2: At the Drop of a Hat by Jenn McKinlay – Audio
I found this author through one of her audiobook novellas late last year and have been devouring this series. I only have one more book left and am kind of waiting a few weeks so I can savor the end of that line. I really like her writing and I also like the narrator. This is book 3 in the series. The premise is an American woman Scarlett leaves the US for England after a big brouhaha with her cheating boyfriend that was caught on video and plastered to social media. She escapes to Notting Hill where her cousin Viv runs their grandmother’s millinery shop (the grandmother died several years prior). So, it’s all murder-mystery and cozy. Every book has a different murder and whodunit situation and usually the main characters are implicated for at least a short bit. Oh, there’s also romance. It’s filling the niche that the Maisie Dobbs series did for me a few years ago. I had to put that series down as it was getting a little overdone but I may pick it back up at some point. Anyway, I recommend this series if you need a cozy mystery to read!
3: The One Ann Only by Sarah Bird/Ann Richards – Paper
This is a short book filled with quotes and photos of Ann. It’s based on a public art project that displays banners with her quotes displayed throughout several Texas cities to commemorate the anniversary of her inauguration 30 years ago. I think I’m going to have to see if I can find a biography of hers to read.
4: Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design by Benjamin Vogt – Paper
I’ve been excited for this book since I saw that Benjamin was writing the book as it is something that’s been sorely needed for a long while in the gardening world. I’ve read enough garden design books from others to know that it can be overly complicated for the average gardener. But this book simplifies it into something manageable and has a ton of information that is hard to find unless you know where to look or the right person to ask. I appreciated the Resources section the most, I think, because many of those resources I use often. There’s still a divide between gardening and the ecological world and I was glad to see this merged together a bit in the book.
5: Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl – Audio
This book is one I had seen many people recommend over the last few years so I finally queued it up to listen. I knew nothing about Ruth Reichl or really anything about Gourmet magazine other than it was a magazine about food. I’m not a foodie–I love to eat but I don’t follow the food world at all! That said, if you know nothing about any of that you can still read this book! Ruth does a great job putting in enough background information so you can see her history and how she came into the position of editor for the magazine. It’s a glimpse into two worlds that are so very far from mine: the food world and the magazine publishing world. It’s really great, definitely add it to your list!
6: The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev – Kindle
Every month Amazon sends out their Prime First Reads email and if you are the primary Prime account holder you can usually read the book for free. I’m the secondary holder so I end up having to pay the $1.99 and if you aren’t a Prime member the books are still only $1.99. Most months I don’t find anything interesting but sometimes I do and a few months ago this book was on the list. It’s the story about an Indian-American family told from three different generational viewpoints, as the grandmother in the story inherits a large sum of money and ends up moving out of her daughter-in-law’s house and into a retirement complex in Naples, FL. It’s a story about love for all of the generations, some intrigue and mystery, and a dash of culture thrown in. I really enjoyed it and once I dedicated my time to reading it the pages flew by. If you are looking for fiction to read, add this one!
I’m not going to summarize the last two since they are part of that series. 8 books…no Netflix! I’m hoping for 5 books for February. What are you reading?