Monday, December 18, 2017

It's Monday 12/18! What Are You Reading?

Busy, busy, busy! 'Tis the season, right? I spent much of last week trying to finish up my writing work for the year AND getting ready for the holidays. You should see my to-do list from last week! I kept adding to it until it was about three times longer than normal. But I managed to knock a lot of things off it this weekend. Our college sons came home Friday (temporarily) to help put up the Christmas tree and decorate it. It's one of our favorite parts of the holiday season, going through all our old ornaments - from vacations, childhood, and other memories - with the requisite complaining from our younger son that his brother has about 10 "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments, and he doesn't have any! I fixed that last year with a custom ornament, with a photo of him as a baby and 1998 on it! Always lots of fun and laughs.

This week's list looks more reasonable (so far!) though there are some BIG holiday prep items on it that I have barely started yet.

No matter what is going on, we always find time to read. Here's what we've been reading this past week:
  • I just finished The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers for a read-along hosted by the Book Cougars podcast, created by two women who've been to the same two Booktopias that I went to! I enjoyed this 1940 classic novel about a small town in Georgia in the late 1930's. It focuses in on several characters, and - you guessed it - they are all very lonely! A pretty sad story but very well-written and engrossing.
  • I have just started Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, one of my favorite authors. My son gave me this novel for my birthday this summer. Her books always focus in on a big issue, and this one is all about race. Some chapters are from the perspective of a white supremacist, and those are REALLY difficult to read - just horrifying. But I guess that's the point. There are kind and relatable characters, too.
  • I also read a teen/YA graphic novel last week, Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani, about a teen girl who is Indian-American and struggling to understand her family history. A magic pashmina (large scarf/shawl) allows her to get glimpses of India and better understand her mother. I enjoyed it.
  • For my next audiobook, I chose a great one: American Street by Ibi Zoboi, a YA novel that was a finalist for the National Book Award...and with good reason. I was immediately pulled into this story of a teen girl who immigrates to the U.S. from Haiti, while her mother is detained by authorities. Her story of trying to adjust to life with her American cousins in cold Detroit, while also trying to get her mother released, is powerful and moving so far. I am loving it.
  • My husband, Ken, finished The Farm by Tom Rob Smith, a thriller set in Sweden that sounds really good and was highly acclaimed. I gave it to him for his birthday. He enjoyed it and moved it to my side of the overflowing TBR bookcase!
  • Now Ken is reading another birthday gift, from our son: Cephrael's Hand by Melissa McPhail, book 1 in A Pattern of Shadow and Light series. This is one of our son's favorite fantasy series, so he wanted to share it with his dad. It's 780 pages long so a good one to start now, with the holidays coming up!
  • Our son, Jamie, 23, is re-reading a favorite trilogy, The Night Angel series by Brent Weeks. He is on book 3, Beyond the Shadows. He's finished with final exams now, so I see lots of reading in his near future!
Last week's blog posts:
Movie Monday: The Fundamentals of Caring - a funny, moving story

Memoir Review: Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen - warm, funny memoir

Nonfiction Review: Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi - an inspiring and entertaining book

Saturday Snapshot: Winter Is Coming! - from fall pics last week to three snowfalls this week!

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.    

Our tree is up!
 

28 comments:

  1. I really liked Small Great Things so look forward to seeing what you think of it. And American Street is on my wish list for Christmas so I hope my parents pay attention to that :-) Your tree looks wonderful! We have been evacuated due to the fires in Santa Barbara so haven't done anything holiday-like yet. I really hope we'll be back in the house by the end of the week so it can begin to feel like Christmas!

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    1. Oh, wow, Helen - I hadn't realized you guys were located that close to where the fires were! I hope you are back in your home by now...and that all your Christmas bookish wishes come true!

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  2. Beautiful tree! I haven't Read Small Great Things yet. HOpe you like it.

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    1. It's an excellent book...but very disturbing so far.

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  3. I just finished American Street today. Gosh, it's wonderful. I feel like I went on a roller coaster! I am so excited to hear what you think about it after you finish!

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    1. Wasn't it great?? I finished the audio this week - excellent! I can see why it got so much attention and was nominated for the National Book Award.

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  4. Small Great Things is a book I want to get around to reading. I have not read a Jodi Picoult book in ages!

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    1. I always enjoy her books - though maybe "enjoy" isn't the right word because some, like this one, delve into very difficult topics.

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  5. no books right now,but some photo magazines :)

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    1. I love magazines as well as books! Enjoy!

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  6. Your tree is looking great and lovely tradition of all decorating it. I sort of have a list in my head but need to get more active on it. I loved Small Great Things, on of my favs for 2017 reading. Have a great family Christmas.

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    1. I'm buried under lists, Kathryn! ha ha Luckily, I am getting to the end of it now - we just need to finish wrapping.

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  7. I love how your entire family reads. Thanks for sharing what everyone is reading right now.

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    1. Thanks, Deb - not quite everyone...our youngest son claims to hate reading and never read a book! I did get him 2 books for Christmas, but they are fun books, like a cookbook :)

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  8. I should get the audiobook of American Street. I started the print edition and didn't care for it and the thought went through my head that it is a book I could listen to to help me with the slang.

    You said you have been watching Outlander, too. We checked out the DVDs from our library and had good luck getting them that way. That will work for Season 2, but we will have to figure out something else for Season 3. Check your local library and see if they have it.

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    1. Interesting about American Street, Anne - yes, I loved it on audio and the narrator's accent and the Creole words definitely added to it.

      Of course! Thanks for reminding me of the option to just get the Outlander DVDs from the library! We used to always get DVDs from the library and have kind of gotten out of the habit since streaming and On Demand came along. I will definitely do that once school starts up again and I have my lunches to myself!

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  9. I have American Street on my TBR shelf. It will be part of my 2018 reading. Come see what I'm reading

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    1. It's excellent - hope you like it as much as I did.

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  10. Pashmina sounds really interesting! I've always felt that I can connect with books about immigrants- because for a brief period (not in US)I was one!

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    1. It was very good! I think you'd like it. I love hearing about your travels all over the world!

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  11. Your tree is lovely...colored lights are always festive. I have not heard of one book that you and your family are reading...I can only handle light books this week although my true love is anything dysfunctional.

    It’s so funny that we are neighbors!

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    1. Hi, Patty! I know - I couldn't believe it when I saw Kennett on your blog :)

      I understand the need for something light - after listening to American Street and now reading Small Great Things, I chose a nice light middle-grade novel for my next audio!

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  12. I read American Street too and absolutely loved it!

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    1. Amazing novel, right? I can see why it was nominated for awards!

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  13. I was blown away by how good The Heart is a Lonely Hunter when I read it a few years ago. Powerful story and incredible writing. I do like Southern lit.

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    1. Yes, it was excellent, Jane. I'm not a huge fan of southern lit but do enjoy some. Great discussion on the Book Cougars podcast last week, if you are interested! I included the link above.

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  14. I own a copy of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter - and been meaning to read it for our current reading theme. We shall see! :)

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    1. Hope you enjoy it, Myra!

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