Monday, November 11, 2019

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

Happy Veteran's Day and Remembrance Day. Many of my family members served in the military, and I am remembering their service today.

I know my Monday updates are starting to sound repetitive, but I had another busy week, working on editing my book. We ended up doing six rounds of editing between me and the editor I hired, but moments ago, I received back the final FINAL version. Yay! Unfortunately, I realized last week that if I go ahead and start the self-publishing process this week, that will put the release of the print book squarely in Thanksgiving week, when I'll be away and unable to promote it. So, I will focus on some preparations this week and try to get everything ready to publish in early December - that's at least six months later than I'd hoped, but I do think all that hard work paid off with a stronger book. I'll let you know when I have a release date! The book is titled Finding a New Normal: Living with Chronic Illness.

I was pretty stressed by the end of last week, but I spent Friday afternoon and evening cancelling, postponing, and otherwise offloading the things that were making me feel so much pressure. Then, my husband and I had a nice weekend together, relaxing at home Friday night, meeting friends for dinner Saturday night, and having a nice family dinner here Sunday.

Of course, books are always a big part of our lives! Here's what we've all been reading this past week:

To kick off Nonfiction November, I am reading a book that has been on my TBR shelf for a very long time, In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson. My husband and I enjoy the way Larson takes real-life historical subjects and tells their stories in a compelling, fiction-like way. We both loved his Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America (award-winning and highly recommended), and I think I bought my husband the Berlin book many years ago. It's been sitting on my side of the TBR bookcase ever since he read it! It's the real-life story of William E. Dodd, who was appointed Ambassador to Germany in 1933, just as Hitler's power was growing. The book focuses on the experiences of Dodd and his family (especially his adult daughter who had worked in journalism) in the odd environment of a rapidly changing Berlin that could appear fun and entertaining one day and horrifying the next. It's engrossing so far and fascinating (and chilling) to know what's coming historically, when the main characters do not.

For my first nonfiction audio for November, I just finished listening to Lost Child: The True Story of a Girl That Couldn't Ask for Help by Torey Hayden, after reading an interesting review of it at Helen's Book Blog (one of my favorites blogs - check it out!). The author is an American therapist who ends up working with a little girl, Jesse, in Wales who was unwanted by her parents. The young child is unpredictable, unable to trust others, and sometimes even violent. She was brought up with no rules or boundaries, pretty much left to run wild, and is now in a home for troubled children. Hayden begins working with Jesse, which is quite difficult, since she lies a lot and behaves inappropriately. The book chronicles their time together as Hayden tries to unravel Jesse's past, as well as Jesse's journey, and the power of patience and love. It was thoroughly engrossing. Next, I am planning to listen to Becoming by Michelle Obama, something I have been greatly looking forward to! But first, I need to transfer 16 CDs from the library onto my laptop so I can download the audio book to my iPod - not very efficient but the audio CDs were available first!

Finally, for Nonfiction November, I also read a new middle-grade graphic memoir, Guts by Raina Telgemeier, one of my favorite graphic authors! I loved her memoirs, Smile and Sisters, and her graphic novel, Drama. She is a talented writer and illustrator, and her memoirs, based on her own childhood, are warm, funny, realistic, and thoughtful. In this one, pre-teen Raina is struggling with stomach pains and increasingly disruptive anxiety and fears. Her loving parents get her started with therapy, and she begins to dig down to the roots of her issues, while events in her family, at school, and with her friends continue to evolve. It was wonderful, just like Telgemeier's other books, and very insightful regarding a child's view of living with anxiety. I think that reading about kid-Raina's issues and how she coped with them will help a lot of today's kids.

My husband, Ken, is still reading The Infinite Blacktop by Sara Gran. It's Gran's third novel featuring detective Claire DeWitt. This is the first novel he's read in the series, but I heard lots of accolades about this particular book, so I gave it to him for his birthday. In this novel, someone is trying to kill Claire, and in order to save herself, Claire will have to revisit two old, cold cases that she was involved in years ago, in Brooklyn and L.A. The three stories, from three different periods of Claire's life, are intertwined and gradually come together. Ken says it is a little disjointed at the beginning, as he's just starting to learn about these three different situations and timelines, but the story should start to coalesce soon. There are some things he doesn't like about the writing style, but I think I would probably love this one! I enjoy novels like that with disparate threads that gradually weave together, and I hope he ends up enjoying it.

Our son, 25, finished reading a book we gave him for Christmas, Defender by Robert J. Crane, book 1 of The Sanctuary Series. It's a shorter novel than the epic fantasies he usually reads, which is probably why he didn't read it sooner. The setting and plot, though, are right up his alley: "The world of Arkaria is a dangerous place, filled with dragons, titans, goblins and other dangers." He says he really liked it. That's great news because there are at least eight books in the series for him to continue with! In fact, he has the e-books for books two and three downloaded on his Kindle already. In fact, he's already started book two - glad we found a new series for him to enjoy!







Last week's blog posts:
Nonfiction November - some of the books I might read for this annual challenge  

Teen/YA Review: Threatened by Eliot Schrefer - another powerful, captivating novel in his Ape Quartet - a must-read!

Fiction Review: Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson - super-twisty suburban thriller

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.

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

What are you and your family reading this week?

16 comments:

  1. Congratulations on arriving at the final FINAL version of your book, Sue! What an amazing accomplishment!! I was unable to find and tag it on Goodreads for my TBR pile, so if you have a direct link then let me know. I'm happy to hear you enjoyed Guts. I just checked out Smile and Sisters about 3 weeks ago and I'm hoping to squeeze them in between now and the Thanksgiving holidays. I'm only hearing great things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you are enjoying Raina's wonderful books! She's very talented, both artistically and in her ability to tell a story.

      My book isn't published yet, so not yet available anywhere. I am new to self-publishing (my first book was traditionally published), so I'm just figuring this out as I go. I hope to publish in early December, in time for both the holidays and the January self-help season! Thanks for the kind words -

      Sue

      Delete
  2. Nice assortment of books. I think I've read Smile but that is the only one of the graphic novels I've read. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All of Raina Telgemeier's graphic novels and memoirs are wonderful, Kathy!

      Delete
  3. I recently read and reviewed Guts too. I like that series. My weekly update

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congratulations on the 'finish'! Guts is a favorite already & my older granddaughter got to meet Raina Telgemeier, a big deal! I've bookmarked the Erik Larson book, know I will love it! Thanks for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Linda! So cool that your granddaughter for to meet Raina!! Hope you enjoy the Larson book.

      Delete
  5. Congrats -- look forward to reading your book.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations on finally reaching a final copy! Hurrah! I enjoyed Guts, but am not even sure if I read the first few of her books. I have two stalled nonfiction books. Maybe I can shake things up by telling myself I need to read them for Nonfiction November?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cheriee!

      Hope you get your reading mojo back :) Maybe it's time to try something else?

      Delete
  7. Yep I put in an order for Guts at our local library! I liked her Smile one too when I was teaching I bought it for the class. All the best for the book, while all that editing was tedious as you say, now you have a strong book.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Guts looks like good one for young readers to come to terms with anxiety and its physical manifestations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely, Helen - I know a lot of young people struggling with anxiety now.

      Delete