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For the Love of Reading: December 2023

Friends, I’m coming at you today with the shortest list of books I’ve read in a month. It’s only two!

The Bee Sting by Paul Murray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What an unbearable thing is a life
Ooof, this book. It’s long. Too long, really. And it’s laborious, with sections that ramble and are hard to follow because so little actually happens. It’s a story full of despair and hopelessness and futility, with characters who can’t seem to see the damage they are doing to themselves of their own volition. The ending is ambiguous in a truly unsatisfying and even confusing way. And yet, here I am giving it 4 stars. Because, as annoyed as I was with it, as tired as I got of it, I cannot stop thinking about it. And there’s certainly something to be said for that and I’m giving credit where credit is due.

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
All days are special days. Every day we should feel, I hope, a little grace. And we can use it to bring peace in everything we do, to reconcile and bear quiet witness to our common humanity.
A perfectly cozy book for the days leading up to Christmas, there is depth to the story I wasn’t really expecting. The city of Edinburgh feels like an additional character and the descriptions of the hills and buildings and shops made it truly come to life.

I clearly hit a reading slump and I’m pretty sure The Bee Sting was to blame. But I’m moving forward again, reading (for the first time!) The Shell Seekers and loving it and listening to Between Two Kingdoms on Kym’s recommendation. Here’s to better reading days ahead!

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. I tried The Bee Sting, but it was not a book for me…just could not get into it. Like you, I must have hit a reading slump over the holidays. I kept thinking I would get a lot of reading done and instead there was just about none!

  2. I have been in a reading slump for a while. I am reading, but I am not enjoying it much. It doesn’t sound as if The Bee Sting would get me out of it, so I will probably skip this one, at least for now. Here’s to lots of great reading in the future! Thanks again for all your book reviews, Carole.

  3. I also finished The Bee Sting, felt much the same as you did, but I wasn’t as generous as you were. It certainly didn’t feel like a Booker book to me!

  4. Bravo to you for tackling The Bee Sting… it is long (and I agree, too long!) It needed some good editing imo… but it absolutely is one that you think about after! Here is to a New Year… and the end to reading slumps! XO

  5. The Shell Seekers is my all time favorite book and one I enjoy re-reading often. The Christmas Bookshop sounds like an enjoyable read, thank you for sharing your thoughts about it.

  6. I have Shell Seekers on my to -read list, will have to move it higher up. I read one Jenny Colgan a while ago (not the one you read) and there was an uncomfortable amount of fat shaming in it so I haven’t read any more by her. Hopefully she is doing better with that in this book.

  7. I’ve been in a slump for a LONG time but turned hit play on an audio book on my way to work this morning… just gotta do it!

  8. The Bee Sting was definitely one of those books that felt like a slog while reading it but that I kept thinking about after. I’m not sorry I read it, but I’m also selective about who I recommend it to.

  9. I totally agree about The Bee Sting. Too l-o-n-g. I gave up after about 50 pages. So many books, so little time. Between Two Kingdoms is very, very good. After you read it, watch American Symphony on Netflix. It ties into the book.

  10. I just saw that you finished Shell Seekers – hope your slump is over now that you have a 5-star book to start the year!

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