To read, perchance to read more

After an abysmal third trimester reading challenge (it was not only blogging that was abandoned to the dustbin of my brain), I have decided not to post a new reading challenge to start off the new year. But I still love those quirky reading goals, so look for the reading challenge to return in the future.

According to Goodreads, my book-a-week reading goal for 2012 fell woefully short as I logged 36 books last year. Interestingly enough, Girlboss set a challenge to all the bookstore employees to read and send her reviews of 52 books in 2013. She is even offering a (tbd) prize! More incentive for me? Not really, as I’m still not confident I can read at the book-a-week pace. But that’s where I’m setting the Goodreads goal meter again this year, so we’ll see.

In my ongoing effort to spread the good word about books, here’s what I read in December:

hokeyHokey-Pokey by Jerry Spinelli is not a coming of age novel. This is a book about     growing up.  Specifically, the one day when you grow up and leave childhood behind. More specifically, the last  day that Jack will reside in Hokey Pokey, the land of his childhood and the only land he has ever known. Spinelli has imagined an amazing world populated by the likes of Snotsippers, Gappergums, Sillynillys, the HokeyPokey Man, Snuggler and, best of all, the herd of wild mustang bicycles. Gloriously inventive language reveals a story both heartbreaking and heartwarming. Heartwarming because I want to read this book to my children (who are in their twenties) and my grandchildren (who do not exist). Heartbreaking because I want to be a child again, yet we all know that you can never go back to Hokey Pokey. Definitely a family book that can be enjoyed on many levels, suitable for all ages, but not an easy read. I tend to be a sucker for all things Spinelli, but, really, I loved this book.

hattieThe Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis reads more like a book of connected short stories. Hattie comes to Philadelphia from Georgia as a teenager in the 1920s. The tribes of Hattie are her children and each chapter in the book tells of one or two of her children. The chapters are essentially about a defining moment or time in each of the character’s lives and take place from 1925 to 1980. Of course, they all have the family and especially Hattie in common, but as one of the daughters says, “Though it was also true that, when assembled, the family put her in mind of a group of roaming, solitary creatures rounded up and caged together like captured leopards.” The chapters of this novel also felt like solitary stories. Because the chapters are in chronological order, the book also vaguely follows the changes in culture and country thru the 19th century.Yes, this book was selected by Oprah for her book club, but don’t hold that against it. I really liked this book, but there is not a driving plot, so if you need that to enjoy a book, you might steer clear.

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