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January Book Review (yes, with one day to spare)

How is everyone's January going? I'm (and this is Bustle speaking here) moving back into my home, so I haven't even come up with 2018 Resolutions because I'm kind of busy already, and I don't have the mental/emotional capacity for self improvement just at the moment. Perhaps Spring, when new life is in bloom, I, too, will rise and become the more glorious version of myself, blah, blah, blah. Or maybe I'll just find some inner reserve and lose this Christmas Cookie weight gain. Whatever, it can wait.

Here's something you might not know about me and Vim. No matter how busy or stressed out we are, we always find time to read books. Sometimes all I can manage is reading in the carpool lane, or while I'm waiting for water to boil, but if there's 5 minutes, I'll spend it reading my book.

And so, we present you with the Books Read Over Christmas Break Recommendations:

For Christmas this year, my husband started researching Best Books of 2017, and these various lists sent him to purchase Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing. Only after holding the physical book in his hands and reading the blurb on the inner flap, did Husband think, "Hmm, mayhap I ought to buy another book to go with this one." Don't misunderstand me: this book is AMAZING. It has won Ms. Ward an unprecedented 2nd National Book Award. Her characters and their tragic, tragic choices haunted me for days. Here's the thing: when I was younger, I watched every movie, read every good book. Because I had so much time to read and watch the sad as well as the happy. Now, I have about this much time:

so I kind of focus my Entertainment Budget on Smart/Quirky+Tidy Endings. Sing, Unburied, Sing is a family saga of racism, resilience, weakness, grace, and, again, tragedy. It is told through multiple characters' point of view, which makes one's feelings and reactions all the more complicated - surely the mark of an excellent book. It is a hard read; it does not fit into my Required Happy Reading, but it is worth your time.

Have you read A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman? Delightful! Funny, quirky, bittersweet. I adored this book, so I was super excited to read Backman's latest, Beartown for book club. Oh, Gentle Reader, imagine my surprise to realize that this novel was more on the Sing, Unburied, Sing side, only instead of Black Deep South Tragedy, it was Scandinavian Awful. Like Friday Night Lights, only this little dying town revolves around its Junior Hockey League, all their hopes for newer and better heaped on these teenage boys on skates. And then an act of violence forces the town to take sides, to confront what they truly value. Gah! More tragedy. And, like, Sing, worth your time. Two weeks after reading this book, I'm still wondering about the characters, their futures, and the ending Epilogue absolutely slayed me.

I returned to work to discuss Holiday Reading with my co-worker, Cool Girl Juli. While I read, maybe 4 books over the holiday, Juli read 14. I had told her about this Icelandic tradition called Jolabokaflod (go ahead and Google it) whereupon you give books to each other so you can stay up all night on Christmas Eve in bed, reading and eating chocolate. Replace the chocolate with a glass of wine, and that may sum up my co-worker's holiday. After hearing my reading adventures of Calamity and Adversity, Juli brought me 6 books of Sweet Endings with Giant Bows and Inspiration. Nice. So, I'm taking a very quick break from unpacking and reading Erica Bauermeister's The School of Essential Ingredients, which is about love lost and found and cooking. So, so good.

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