When I dedicated 2019 to sticking my nose in a book (read more about that here), I had no idea that I would become the world’s fastest reader. If you think that is an exaggeration, you are correct.

Devouring three (almost four!) books was not in my January plans, yet I somehow accomplished this unexpected goal. Take that New Year’s resolutions! I should give some credit to the books that I chose because without their captivating words, I may not have sped through them so damn quickly. This month I opted for two memoirs (my fav) and one novel; all of which were quite enjoyable. Rather than splitting them into individual blog posts, I figured I would give you a quick rundown on my thoughts for each book here.

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

“In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free. But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hinton was sentenced to death by electrocution.”

Hands down my favorite book of the month. If you don’t already question the judicial system within the United States (i.e. How to Make a Murder), then read this book. It details both the life and incarceration of Anthony Ray Hinton; a black man who served 30 years on death row for crimes that he did not commit. This book touches on some deep topics such as racism, poverty and how those two themes lead to injustice within the federal and state courts of the U.S. To say this book is moving is an understatement and if you read anything from this list, it should be this!

“A single mother turns up dead at the bottom of the river that runs through town. Earlier in the summer, a vulnerable teenage girl met the same fate. They are not the first women lost to these dark waters, but their deaths disturb the river and its history, dredging up secrets long submerged.”

Having not read (or watched) Girl On The Train, I was completely blind to the style of writing from Paula Hawkins. While a lot of reviews dragged the book for having too many characters and giving each character a point of view in the book, I actually enjoyed the approach. Each chapter is a look at the mystery of the ‘drowning pool’ from various character’s perspectives. This style kept me on my feet and pushed me to attach to each character that was introduced. The book did a good job of keeping me on my toes and while the end wasn’t too riveting, it tied the story together well enough.

“Maude Julien’s parents were fanatics who believed it was their sacred duty to turn her into the ultimate survivor–raising her in isolation, tyrannizing her childhood and subjecting her to endless drills designed to “eliminate weakness.” Maude learned to hold an electric fence for minutes without flinching, and to sit perfectly still in a rat-infested cellar all night long. She endured a life without heat, hot water, adequate food, friendship, or any kind of affectionate treatment.”

This book here…it gripped me up from page one and carried me to the very last word. In fact, have you ever read a memoir that is so deep you almost forget that it is real? This is one of those books. It was hard to believe that someone so young could endure so much and you root for Maude the entire time. Pretty sure I read this book in 3 or 4 sittings so it’s safe to say this is one of those ‘can’t put this book down’ type of reads and I honestly could not recommend it enough.

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