Happy almost-January, book friends! While I’ve been doing a lot of annual recapping over the past few weeks, I wanted to continue the tradition of rounding up my best books of the month, as well.
Between baking and small gatherings with family and friends, I’ve also squeezed in a good bit of reading this month to round out my reading year. I haven’t written reviews for many of the books I read this month, perhaps because I’ve been a bit busier and a bit lazier than usual.
It also just so happens that I’ve done a lot of nonfiction on audio this month. I always get a bit thinkier in the winter months, and these titles require a bit more reflection for me, making them harder to review, particularly when I listen rather than read them physically.
At the very least, though, I wanted to spotlight a few of the best books I read this month, so let’s get to it!
(Full disclosure: Book links are Bookshop.org affiliate links, which earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you.)
Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Tausig
Format: Audiobook (LibroFM)
Why I Read It: Recommended by a friend (and it ticks the “own voices book about disability” prompt for the Read Harder challenge)
Sitting Pretty is such a phenomenal essay collection (yes I know the description says it’s a memoir but those “chapters” are essays in my opinion. I said what I said). Tausig invites us into her reality as a person who lives in a disabled body, tackling the complexities and frustrations of life in a world that sees making space for her as “extra.”
At the opening of her memoir, Tausig reminds us that we are all really living in bodies that are only temporary able. That aging and life will likely bring us to one or another type of “disability” eventually, whether in our own bodies or those of the people we love. This really hit home for me in my freshly not-quite-able body (is two years of chronic illness fresh? It feels that way).
I appreciate this work so much. Tausig does a brilliant job of tackling a difficult topic and reminding us that inclusion isn’t inclusive unless it considers disabled bodies, too. A must-read, in my opinion.
Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
Format: Audiobook (Audible)
Why I Read It: Mentioned on the Book Riot podcast as a great read for winter, and my relationship to winter could always use a glow-up
I originally started reading Wintering a year ago, but then I didn’t quite finish it before spring and ended up returning the audiobook because I didn’t think I’d ever finish it. Then, winter came again, and I picked it up.
This is a reflective book about winter — the season and our own personal winters, those fallow periods in life from which we often emerge greatly changed. It was a melancholy sort of read for me, thinking back on my handful of personal winters — my first brush with grief, the onset of my chronic illness.
But there’s a great deal of hope in it, as May invites us to embrace the cold and isolation rather than fight it. To recognize and prepare for winter both inside and out. It’s a philosophy I’d like to live by, and I can see myself revisiting this book in future winters.
Yoke: My Yoga of Self-Acceptance by Jessamyn Stanley
Why I Read It: I’m a yoga person and a big fan of Stanley’s previous book. We don’t see eye-to-eye on everything (I can’t seem to uproot my ingrained anti-weed bias) and I like that she challenges me to reflect on the views I hold and where they come from
I’ve been working through Yoke for a few months now, picking it up and putting it down again as I float through lighter reads. It’s a deeply personal exploration of Stanley’s relationship to yoga, warts and all. This book delivers more of the best parts of her prior book, Everybody Yoga.
As someone who’s been doing westernized yoga for over 10 years, I really appreciated Stanley’s nuanced and personal take on yoga culture in the United States. It’s uncomfortable to examine the cultural appropriation and white consumerism of it all, but it’s important work.
Broken (In The Best Possible Way) by Jenny Lawson
Format: Audiobook (LibroFM)
Why I Read It: Um, Jenny Lawson? Duh?
I don’t even know what to say about Broken (In the Best Possible Way), because Jenny Lawson is (or should be) a household name by now. She writes hilarious essays about life as a unique and mentally ill human that have you laughing one minute and crying the next. I always listen on audio because hearing the essays in her voice is just… *chef’s kiss*
This one felt a bit deeper and more introspective than previous works, though perhaps it’s just because I’m in a different place now than I was. She tackles the frustrations of navigating the medical system in a way that had me shouting “F*ck yes!” in my car on the drive to work. Just do yourself a favor and read this book. And do it on audio, if you can.
With hard-hitters like these phenomenal works of nonfiction/memoir, the bar was set pretty high for the best-of this month. So, here are my honorable mentions of books I read and (mostly) enjoyed that didn’t quite make the cut:
- The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox— review in Coffee Time Reviews
- A Holly Jolly Diwali by Sonya Lalli — referenced in What We’re Reading Wednesday, December 29th
- The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews — review in Your Book Friend
That’s it for December and for the last best books monthly recap of the year! I’ll see you for the next one in January, book friends.
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One thought on “The Best Books I Read in December 2021”
I have not heard of any of these books, but I definitely want to check them out after reading this post. Thanks for sharing!