Lo and behold, I turned around, and it was December. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving, those who celebrated, and just an all around wonderful weekend to everyone, in the States or not. This is such a fun time of year because the “best books of the year” posts are starting to crop up, and in December, it finally makes sense to see them. They’re like Christmas decorations: there is such a thing as too early.
The “best of” lists are great for helping beef up that “to be read” list, and during this, the time of gifting and shopping, having a solid TBR list in your back pocket is a good idea. As of yesterday, The Millions started their Year in Reading (starting off with Anthony Doerr). My very own family of Rioters over at Book Riot has released its list of Best Books of 2014 (including my pick for my favorite book of 2014). And here at Whisks & Words, I can tell you what I read in November.
At Time of Publication
Currently reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. I cannot WAIT to talk more about this book in January, after I’ve finished it. (I may not even be able to wait that long. There’s a lot of underlining happening here. A lot.)
- On Immunity: An Inoculation by Eula Biss: This book dives into the world of immunity, taking up the question of why we immunize, how it started, and why (and how) it has come under question. It was funny to be reading this at the time that I was getting my flu shot. But the great thing about Ms. Biss’s writing is that she presents information and anecdotal moments that could very well stir us up into total freak-out, but at the right moment, she pulls back and takes a cool-headed approach. Her style goes back and forth between hard data, carefully researched, and her own experiences as a new mother. Also, and this was probably my favorite aspect of this book, she ties in the novel Dracula in a way that is brilliant – the ways that our imagining of Dracula has informed our ideas of immunization is just amazing. I want to read the book again just for that logical maneuver.
- Yes Please by Amy Poehler. You guys! The Amy Poehler memoir! I’ve been waiting for this little treasure for months, and when it got here, I was like, okay, Eula Biss, enough with immunizations. AMY POEHLER IS HERE. And the book was a delight to read. She takes an honest and open approach to matters like love, work, writing, divorce, and motherhood. She treats her subjects with care and humor. The book itself is beautifully done, and I felt inspired the whole time I was reading it.
- French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters by Karen Le Billon. Amanda and I got married in a French restaurant. There’s a reason for that. We ❤ French food. And I’m always intrigued by other cultures and their approaches to food. The French have a very regimented approach but they also wrap so much into food: in timing meals, in eating as a family, etc., you are also crafting character. There were several aspects of this book that spoke to me, as an adult, and the ways that I approach food. I think this book leaves some major questions unanswered (she notes, for example, the difference between the way American mothers and French mothers approach nursing, but does not go further into that – but then, her daughters were both well past nursing, so perhaps it was a moot point in the space of her book), but alas, it cannot be an ultimate guide to everything.
- Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners by Josephine Ross. I read this book for a post I recently did at Book Riot on etiquette books (and how they just might be the ticket to getting through awkward holiday gatherings), and this was a delightful little read. More novelty book than anything else, I was happy to find that it did illuminate some of the trickier social moments in some of Austen’s novels, which will come in handy the next time I re-watch Pride & Prejudice.
Read anything good this month?