December’s Book and Bike Break Down

Catch up on what Mandi’s reading and how many miles she’s riding!

Booking and biking my way through 2020.


48. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle (Chick Lit, Contemporary)
The moment I started this book, I thought, “Hmm… have I read this before?” knowing full well that I hadn’t, but it was definitely reminding me of something. I eventually placed it. This story, for the first half or so, is so closely paralleled to One Day in December that I felt like I was figuring out what was going to happen before it even happened. In the end, I liked this one better than One Day in December, it was maybe a little deeper, but that really threw me off in the beginning. 4 STARS

49. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (Middle Grade)
My neighbor told me about this book/movie, so I nabbed a copy at a garage sale and read it in two days so my husband and I could watch the movie. Based on a story of animals held captive, it naturally pulls at the heart strings. It had a similar feel to Charlotte’s Web, and this is definitely another story I will share with my kids to delicately teach them about the topic of animal respect/use. (This author also wrote Wishtree, another one I’ve saved for my kids to read one day.) (4 STARS)

50. Crimes Against a Book Club by Kathy Cooperman (Chick Lit, Contemporary)
This book had some serious laugh out loud moments and was overall cute, but I struggled to enjoy the high-society aspect of it. I generally prefer to read books about every-day, common people or the underprivileged — people I can empathize with or sympathize for. Reading about rich people doesn’t all that often interest me… unless they’re famous. (3 STARS)

51. Comfort and Joy by Kristin Hannah (Chick Lit, Christmas)
Every Christmas I like to read one Christmas/winter themed book. This year, I chose some early Kristin Hannah (author of The Great Alone, which I loved), hoping it would be decent. Christmas books always seem a little cheesey to me, and, well, this one fell right in line with that. At times I could not handle the level of cheese, and I was struggling to get excited to pick it up, it felt unrealistic and stupid for the first 80% and then bam, things changed. I was at a solid 1 star rating, but bumped it up when things changed because all of a sudden, elements were thrown in that could have kept me even more intrigued had they been introduced sooner. (2.5 STARS)

52. The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (Historical Fiction)
I guess December was the month of repeat authors for me, as I’d previously read Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees. I found The Invention of Wings to be even better, which was perfect because I love ending the year on a good book. Perfect for the current cultural climate, this book dove into the story of early abolitionist, Sarah Grimke, her family and their relationship with slavery in the 19th century. The story is inspirational, if not for the anti-slavery aspect, then for the female empowerment aspect. I’m grateful to learn of people like Sarah Grimke, who stood out as movers and shakers even in a time when women were not encouraged to be movers and shakers. (5 STARS)

My goal for the year was 40 books. Having read 54 last year, I knew 52 was possible, but these days I just don’t know what my life will look like as my kids change so rapidly. I found that COVID-19 actually made it more possible for me to read (and bike) more once we got in a groove, cancelling more and more plans and spending the bulk of our time at home, alone. Apparently I picked rather COVID-friendly goals for the year.


Well, my year of biking is complete. After setting out to ride 2020 miles in 2020, I crushed my goal and added another 480 to it, ending the year on a high note, getting a brand new, fancy, big girl bike for Christmas. I got it out for a grand total of 2 miles for a test ride in the 32* weather, but I cannot wait to get riding on it in the spring! I am expecting this predominantly rode bike to ride much easier than my 13 year old, cross, technically men’s bike. In fact, I’ll bet this year would have been much easier on my knees had I got the new bike in the beginning and not the end…

Final total: 2500

700 of those miles having been outside (366 of them pulling a kid).

Hope you had a great December! Happy New Year! Stay safe everyone.

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