Monday, October 11, 2021

It's Monday 10/11! What Are You Reading?

Happy Indigenous People's Day! I like this transition to honoring the original inhabitants of this continent. Goodness knows, they deserve some celebration and recognition after the ravages of history and the effects that continue today. If you would like to celebrate with a book, I recommend the following outstanding books that provide insight into past and present lives of Native Americans:

  • The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich - all of Louise's novels focus on Native American life and all are excellent, but this one is particularly great and provides a glimpse into a little-known aspect of history. And it won the Pulitzer! 
  • Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver - this author also often writes about present-day Native Americans, and this novel, that I loved on audio, weaves Indigenous culture, traditions, and stories into its modern tale. I also highly recommend The Bean Trees and its sequel, Pigs in Heaven, which feature a Native American girl adopted by a white woman and the challenges that brings. Those two also happen to be among my favorite books of all time!
  • The Roanoke Colony: America's First Mystery by Chris Schweizer is an excellent nonfiction graphic "novel" for middle-grade readers that includes details about the first European settlers but is told from the point of view of two Native American teens alive at the time. It's part of the History Comics series.
  • An Indigenous People's History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. I had both versions of this book out of the library--the adult one and this YA one--and I preferred the YA version because it included many illuminating graphics, photos, maps, etc. Both provide an eye-opening perspective on history that should be read by every American.
  • Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann focuses on yet another horrifying chapter in American history. It reads like a fast-paced mystery/thriller and is fascinating; my book group unanimously loved it. A movie adaptation is currently in post-production. 
  • Up Heartbreak Hill - if you're more in the mood for a movie, this documentary about modern Native American teens living on a reservation and striving for a better future for themselves is excellent.

Here at home, we had a nice celebration for my husband's birthday. As I mentioned last Monday, both sons were home on Sunday for an early celebration, and my husband and I enjoyed a quiet celebration on Monday on our own. We ended up eating left-overs from our BBQ dinner for three days!! I always order too much, and my father-in-law and one of my son's girlfriends couldn't make it.

I posted two new videos last week on my YouTube channel:

And here's what we've all been reading this week!

I finished another book for the R.I.P. Readers Imbibing Peril Challenge, Broken Harbor by Tana French, the fourth book in her Dublin Murder Squad series (though they don't have to be read in order; each is a stand-alone). In this novel, the head detective who is the focus of the story is Mick "Scorcher" Kennedy, who last appeared in Faithful Place. This time, Kennedy's been assigned a big case--and a rough one: an entire family attacked in their home. Husband Pat and their two young children were murdered, and wife Jenny barely escaped the same fate and is in the hospital. It's a grisly scene, especially for the young rookie, Richie, who's been assigned as his new partner. The case is complicated, with several weird, unexplained details. This is a twisty one! As with all Tana French books, it is compelling, gripping, hard to out down, and quite dark. Despite the darkness, I enjoy getting immersed in a good mystery!

Now, I am reading another book from my R.I.P. stack, The House on Tradd Street by Karen White. My younger son bought this for me for my birthday. This is especially significant because he is our non-reader, and he went to a bookstore and picked this out for me! I was quite touched by his effort. It's also a perfect fit for October, as it is a mystery with ghosts! As in The Sense of Reckoning, which I loved and just reviewed, the main character can sense spirits. In this case, Melanie Middleton is a real estate agent in Charleston, SC, who sees ghosts all around her. Charleston, with its rich history, is a tough place to live for someone like that! An elderly man Melanie barely knows leaves her his large historic house when he dies and now Melanie can see him and his mother playing in the garden. Despite her specialty selling historic homes, Melanie doesn't really like them and certainly doesn't want to live in one. It's an interesting set-up, and I'm looking forward to see what happens!

On audio, I am still listening to another R.I.P. Challenge book, Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty, a new release. I have only read one other novel from this very popular author, Truly Madly Guilty, for Big Book Summer 2020, and I enjoyed it. In this new book, a mother named Joy in her 60's disappears, and her four adult children are trying to figure out what happened. They're not sure whether she just left on her own for a break or whether something more sinister happened to her. The police immediately suspect Joy's husband, Stan, because they can tell he's lying about something. And there is  a mysterious stranger who could be involved. As the novel moves forward, the reader gradually gets to know each member of the family better, with parallel narratives following the months leading up to Joy's disappearance and the investigation afterward. I'm enjoying it very much, especially as secrets are beginning to be revealed.

My husband, Ken, has moved onto one of the new books I just bought him for his birthday (of course, there was a stack of books among his gifts!). I kept hearing rave reviews and enthusiasm for A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson, the first book in an exciting new thriller series. For a nice change of pace, the main character here is a wildlife biologist named Alex Carter who is passionate about saving endangered species. In this novel, she is up in Montana, studying wolverines, when she stumbles onto another kind of predator, a man wandering in the wild. The police soon drop the investigation, and Alex unwittingly finds herself in the position of knowing too much about a vast, illegal operation in the region. Soon, she herself becomes the prey. We both love thrillers in a wilderness setting, so this sounds great!

I texted with my son, 27, last night. He says he finished re-reading The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham, book 1 of The Dagger and the Coin series last week. He was happy to find he enjoyed it just as much the second time as he remembered. Now, he has moved onto book 2, The King's Blood, which his girlfriend gave him for his birthday this summer. It's great so far, he says!



Plenty of blog posts last week:

TV Tuesday: Big Sky - one of our favorite TV thrillers is back for a second season!

Fiction Review: The Lying Game by Ruth Ware - as twisty, suspenseful, and unpredictable as always!

Middle-Grade/Teen Review: A Corner of White by Jacalyn Moriarty - excellent fantasy mystery

Fiction Review: The Sense of Reckoning by Matty Dalrymple - I LOVED this ghostly mystery/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?


  1. I've been meaning to read An Indigenous People's History of the United States for Young People, so I appreciate the reminder, Sue! I'm glad to hear your husband had a nice birthday celebration and I hope you have a fantastic reading week!

  2. I'm trying to read some horror for the RIP challenge this month. I'm never ready to start in September, so I'm always down to the wire and usually only fit a couple in! My husband has been reading the same library book (a Dewey Lambdin naval adventure) for months! He only reads before bed and keeps falling asleep after just a page or two. Luckily, it's not new and I'm able to keep renewing the loan.
    I like your list for Indigenous Peoples' Day. I'm going to mention Up Heartbreak Hill to my daughter who might like to show it to her alternative high school class.

  3. Interesting to see you have started the Tradd St book. I am on the second to last one, I think I am tiring of them a bit but will plug on to the last one! Great list of indigenous books. I think the YA one I read earlier in the year FireKeepers Daughter.

  4. I hope you all enjoyed celebrating your husband's birthday—with barbecue leftovers for 3 days, I suspect you did! And I love all the picks for Indigenous People's Day—those are wonderful! Also, good luck persevering through the continued relapse—I'm so sorry that's going on. The House on Tradd Street sounds like an excellent read! Thank you so much for the great post!

  5. I loved both Animal Dreams and Killers of the Flower Moon and agree that it's about time we did something to honor and acknowledge Native Americans. And, hey, getting rid of Columbus Day at the same time is a major bonus.