Monday, November 27, 2017

It's Monday 11/27! What Are You Reading?

I'm back! Did you miss me? We were traveling most of the past 10 days, first on a mini vacation in West Palm Beach, Florida, and then up to my hometown of Rochester, NY, for Thanksgiving weekend with different family gatherings each day. The first part was super relaxing with perfect weather, and the second part was exhausting with typical Rochester weather...but of course, it was good to see everyone. We only wish we could have done the trips the other way around, with the relaxing part last! It was nice to see all our family and to spend a full ten days with our two grown college-aged sons, whom we rarely get to spend time with anymore. I'll post some pics from Florida for Saturday Snapshot this weekend.

And now, it's Cyber Monday and the official start of Christmas season! Yikes, how did that happen so fast? Rude awakening to come home to an even fuller to-do list than usual, with all the extra holiday stuff. The nice part, though, is that we are not traveling again until January, so we have a full month at home to enjoy a relaxed holiday season - this is pretty rare for us. Today, though, I have to get cracking on the holiday shopping!

We were so busy that we didn't have a lot of time for reading (except for my son, as you'll see). Here's what we've been reading for the past two weeks:
  • I finished the memoir Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen. It's about a woman who was brought up in a strict Mennonite household and leaves her modern life temporarily to go back home after several life-changing events. It was moving, interesting, and absolutely hilarious; I enjoyed it very much.
  • I also finished - and enjoyed - a graphic memoir, Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham, a real-life middle-grade story of a cliquish group of girls and the author's struggles with making and keeping friends amidst all kinds of mean girl behavior. It was excellent.
  • I am now (slowly) reading Hap and Hazard and the End of the World by Diane DeSanders, my next review book for Shelf Awareness. It's told from the point of view of a little girl growing up in Texas in the 1950's, and the author does a great job of describing things from a child's perspective.
  • On audio, I am still listening to Where the Past Begins: A Writer's Memoir by Amy Tan. Her lyrical writing is here, along with fascinating stories from her childhood and beyond. Wow, she and her family have a fascinating history! I had hoped to get through several nonfiction audio books this month, but this is a long one.
  • My husband, Ken, is reading To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis, a time travel farce, combining historical fiction (set in Victorian England), time travel, and plenty of humor. I enjoyed it (review at the link), and now he is, too.
  • Our son, Jamie, 23, took full advantage of his Thanksgiving break and is on his 8th book now! He can read in the car, so he plowed through one book after another - to say he is an avid reader is an understatement. He started with Dusk by Tim Lebbon, a dark fantasy novel he recently bought at our local used bookstore.
  • Next, Jamie read Uprooted by Naomi Novik, a fantasy novel that swept the awards two years ago and had everyone talking. I gave it to him for his birthday, and he wasn't sure he'd like it, but he ended up loving it - he said it is a very unique story. 
  • A colleague at work asked Jamie last week what fantasy novels he'd recommend for his teen son, and Jamie got so excited telling him about his favorite middle-grade fantasy series, Beyonders by Brandon Mull, that he re-read all three books while we were on vacation! He still loves it. If you have kids or teens that enjoy fantasy, my son the expert says this is the best.
  • When it got too dark for him to read his book in the car on the way up to Rochester, he switched to a Kindle novel and read all 300+ pages before bed that night! I don't know the title of that one. And now, he is onto another re-read of a favorite trilogy, The Night Angel series by Brent Weeks. He finished book 1, The Way of Shadows, last night on the way home, and started on book 2, Shadow's Edge. Now, he has to go back to school today and focus on finishing his classes this semester. But in three weeks, he'll be back home for winter break - I better get shopping to resupply him with books!
Posts in the past two weeks:
TV Tuesday: Friends from College - dramedy on Netflix with an all-star cast

Fiction Review: The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom - magical realism about a musician

Fiction Review: Before the Fall by Noah Hawley - thoughtful literary suspense

What Are You Reading Monday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date, so head over and check out her blog and join the Monday fun! You can also participate in a kid/teen/YA version hosted by Unleashing Readers.


What are you and your family reading this week?  

You can follow me on Twitter at @SueBookByBook or on Facebook on my blog's page.    

With my husband, sons, and step-mother this weekend

14 comments:

  1. I am reading The Atlas of Forgotten Places and it has started out well.

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    1. Yay! So glad you decided to give it a try - one of my favorites this year!

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  2. We read A Mennonite in a Little Black Dress for book club and didn't have a very good discussion. My memory is failing me about the details but was there not that much info on Mennonitism? Something felt amiss about the title compared to the actual book.

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    1. Hmmm, I thought it was very informative about Mennonites. I was shocked to learn Mennonites had occupied the Ukraine for 300 years! My family is Ukrainian & we live near Lancaster County, PA (big-time Amish country & Mennonites, too) and even have Mennonite friends but I had never heard that before!

      And I loved her details about her Mom!

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  3. The Amy Tan audio is really good. I've been thinking of Beyonders ... I'll have to be sure to get to it.

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    1. It was excellent - fascinating. This was probably my son's 3rd or 4th time reading the whole series of Beyonders - #1 on his list!

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  4. Sounds like you are ready to relax at home for a bit! Holidays can be challenging.

    For some reason, I found To Say Nothing of the Dog very difficult to follow. I loved the premise, and am a hardcore time travel fan, but I just never really warmed to the story. I know others adore this book/writer, but not for me. Maybe it was my mood at the time!

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    1. My husband found the beginning of the novel VERY confusing, but that's in part because the main character is suffering from "time lag" and is himself confused! Now that he's about halfway through the novel, he's enjoying it much more - also takes some time to get into the Bristishisms.

      I'm a hardcore time travel fan, too!

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  5. Really great to go visiting and nice to be home! All those memoirs sound excellent, and so interesting. Don't get too busy!

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    1. I always enjoy memoirs, Kathryn!

      Your warning came too late...it's now Thursday and I'm just finding time to visit Monday blogs! ha ha On the plus side, I am almost finished with my Christmas shopping!

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  6. I've read and enjoyed both Real Friends and To Say Nothing of the Dog. Come see what I'm reading this last week of November.

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    1. Glad you liked them, too!

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  7. I've just picked up Mennonite in a Little Black Dress and am hoping to listen to it while sewing and knitting Christmas gifts. I love the message behind Real Friends the kind of popularity that is important.

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    1. Oh, I bet it will be great on audio, Cheriee! Hope you enjoy it...and SO impressed that you are hand-making Christmas gifts!

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