Ah, December. There was a lot of finishing in December, and though I didn’t get Brothers Karamazov done (it ended up being my first book of January), I did buckle down into it during December.

The four books I picked to highlight are those I enjoyed the most and the ones I most want to share. If there’s an honorable mention category (and hey, it’s my list so yes! there is!), I’d include:

  • Thunderhead, by Neal Shusterman. It’s the second in his Arc of the Scythe series and I so enjoyed it.
  • A Far Cry from Kensington, by Muriel Sparks. Laugh-out-loud in some parts, this is both character-driven and delightful.
  • Christmas with Anne, by L.M. Montgomery. Let’s just call Montgomery one of my favorite authors and leave it at that. 😉

Thus Sayeth the Lord: A Fresh Take on the Prophets, by Julie Davis

This book isn’t due out until March, but I had a sneak peek opportunity to read it. And read it I did, with great enjoyment. Davis goes through the Old Testament prophets one by one, unpacking them and the scripture(s) where they appear.

Davis has a way of weaving in pop culture references (and I don’t pretend to get them all) and common sense that I just love. You won’t read scripture the same way again…and hey! Maybe you’ll pick up those OT books that had you wincing before!

The Saint Monica Club: How to Wait, Hope, and Pray for Your Fallen-Away Loved Ones, by Maggie Green

This book might be one of the most important I read all year. Maggie Green (not her real name) is a wife and mom, a daughter and sister, a friend and colleague. She’s tackling the issue that has so many women I know in pain: that of loved ones who leave the Faith.

It’s an issue that’s hard to talk about for many reasons. And to give advice on it? Nearly impossible, at least from a “writing a book” perspective. And yet, Green not only does just that, but she does it well.

I had no sooner finished this book than a friend of mine came over. I hadn’t seen her in a while and we got to talking about kids…and wouldn’t you know it, one of her kids is rather stridently away from the Church. “Oh, but I have a book you have to read!” I exclaimed, interrupting myself.

This is that kind of book. The kind you read and absorb and share. The kind that touches you, wherever you are on the journey. The kind that guides you in your prayer and leads you quietly to support those you love, whether they’re mourning someone who’s away or are journeying that way themselves.

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems, by Randall Munroe

This book is a treat. Period. I laughed. I tried to quote it. I left my husband annoyed and maybe even speechless. It’s too bad I had to return it to the library, because I should have gotten pictures of the inside. For a taste of the beauty of it, read xkcd. And Munroe’s other books. And keep this on your gift list for engineers, avid readers, people who like to laugh, and anyone you love.

Jane of Lantern Hill, by L.M. Montgomery

And with this book, inspired by an Instagram mention by my longtime friend Ginny Kubitz Moyer back around Thanksgiving, I will just say that I am a fan of L.M. Montgomery. I read all of the Anne books in 2018, and the three Emily books earlier in 2019, so I think, now, I shall commit to finding and finishing all of her other books. I so love her writing, from her heroines to her settings. And while Mexico City and Lourdes top my bucket list destinations, I can’t help but put P.E. Island up there with them.