Set a new personal best time in the marathon distance at the Jacob Wells 3 Bridges Marathon, which met my big, scary running goal for the year of finishing a marathon in under four hours for the first time
Ran 126 miles this month and finished out the year with 1,623 miles of running, 565 miles of cycling and 9.6 miles of swimming; bring on summer triathlon-ing!
Read/listened to 12 books during the month, bringing my yearly total to 125; this is the most books I’ve ever consumed in a year and it’s definitely due to the number of audiobooks I listened to during my long runs and daily commute
Winter Street, Winter Stroll, Winter Storms and Winter Solstice by Elin Hilderbrand (all borrowed from the library) - These four complete the Winter Series, which was published between 2014-2017; the series has been recommended to me by several reading friends and I finally decided to do it this year. What a delight! These are the perfect cozy, fluffy reads for the busy, hectic holiday season; I’m really going to miss these characters.
One Day in December by Josie Silver (borrowed from the library) - My level of enjoyment led me to give this one a 5-star rating; perfect for those of you who, like me, live for holiday romances like Love Actually, The Holiday and all that the Hallmark Channel has to offer.
Christmas on the Island by Jenny Colgan (borrowed from the library) - Another light, holiday delight, this is my first Colgan read and I enjoyed the setting as much as the story; she creates a vivid background and I loved “traveling” to Scotland for Christmas.
Master of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford (provided by publisher) - Somehow, I have managed to miss out on all of Bradford’s previous work; thanks to the free book from St. Martin’s Press, I am delighted to continue with this new series that gives me all the Downton Abbey feels and soothes my occasional need for a well-written historical British drama.
Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield (purchased)- I likely would not have picked up this book, had it not shown up in the mail from The Bookshelf as my monthly Shelf Subscription selection. After reading several great comments about it from readers I trust, like Andrea at Born and Read in Chicago, I was encouraged and excited to give it a try. It’s a little outside my usual fare and I loved it!
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (gift) - This novel has been sitting on my shelf since July; I was a little intimidated by its length (430 pages), and I’d heard it would be a fairly heavy read. I’m so glad that I made time for it before the end of the year; this is a powerful story. There were sections that I enjoyed less than others but, overall, I stayed hooked thanks to the story line that takes place in mid-80s Chicago, in the midst of the AIDS crisis; my heart ached for these characters.
Christmas at Carol’s by Nicola Yeager (purchased) - A funny, quick holiday read that was recommended to me by a bookish friend; read this in a single sitting and laughed almost continuously.
The Noel Stranger by Richard Paul Evans (purchased via libro.fm) - This was so much better than I’d expected and it’s narrated by one of my favorite voices; I actually looked forward to getting in the car each morning so that I could continue the story and there were a few surprising twists, as well.
The Wondering Years by Knox McCoy (purchased via libro.fm) - Since I’m already a fan of The Popcast with Knox and Jamie, I’ve been excited to read/listen to his new book; this was a delight, for me. If you’re familiar with his work and enjoy it, you should definitely give this one a try!