Monday, November 21, 2022

It's Monday 11/21! What Are You Reading?

Hosted by The Book Date


I'm happy to report that I'm feeling better. I tried another short round of steroids (not something I can do often or for long), and it did the trick! By the end of the week, my energy was good, the constant flu-like aches were gone, and I was cautiously beginning to return to "normal" (for me). 

I enjoyed a nice weekend. For the first time in months, I was able to manage a short hike with my husband at our local nature center. It was COLD by Saturday, but the sun was shining, and it was wonderful to be out and moving. Some friends came over that evening to share our favorite New Orleans takeout (we all used to live there together)--good food and good friends! And I even managed to get some things done around the house this weekend, some tiny steps in the massive job we have of clearing out clutter--all my father-in-law's stuff, all my husband's work stuff after retiring recently, my son's stuff (can't touch that!), and all the stuff we just haven't had the time/energy to deal with this year! It felt good to make a small step forward and feel productive.

Our iconic covered bridge

My husband and I in the sunshine!


On the Blog

Two new posts last week:

TV Tuesday: So Help Me Todd -  a fun new crime show we're enjoying with a great cast & a great sense of humor! (review and trailer at the link)

Nonfiction Review: These Precious Days by Ann Patchett - I absolutely loved this warm, funny, moving collection of essays by the renowned novelist 


On Video

Friday Reads 11-18-22 - my brief weekly update of what I'm reading


What We're Reading 

I'm enjoying Nonfiction November:

I finally finished reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau. I was inspired to read it after enjoying Six Walks: In the Footsteps of Henry David Thoreau by Ben Shattuck, a Booktopia author, this spring. Walden is a dense book, so it took me a couple of weeks. As expected, I loved the nature writing, but I was surprised to find that Thoreau also rants a lot about "modern" life, how other people choose to live, etc., especially in the beginning of the book. Sometimes he makes a good point relevant to our lives today, like about how we buy so much that we don't need ("frippery" is my husband's new favorite word). Once he moves into the cabin at Walden Pond, he focuses in on nature, wildlife, the changing seasons, and detailed observations of the world around him, and I loved all of that. My copy is filled with dog-eared pages of quotes I want to go back to! (I read one short quote in my Friday Reads video.)


Now, I am reading Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand, a book that's been on my shelf for over a decade! Hillenbrand is my personal hero. Yes, she is an amazingly talented writer, but she also has the same immune disorder I have, ME/CFS, and has written remarkable books with horrible disabilities (great interview with her from Stanford Medicine). She wrote much of Seabiscuit while lying down on her back in bed, with her eyes closed because her vertigo was so bad, writing with a pencil on a pad of paper! My husband and I both loved Unbroken, and he loved reading Seabiscuit, but I kept thinking I just wasn't interested in horse racing. Well, of course, her in-depth research and incredible talent in story-telling shine through! I am enjoying it very much.


In between the cracks of my time, I also fit in a nonfiction graphic "novel" from one of my favorite middle-grade series, History Comics. This one also happens to be on a topic near and dear to my heart, The National Parks: Preserving America's Wild Places by Falynn Koch. I loved this fascinating history of the National Park System and learned a lot, in spite of my many visits to national parks over the decades. It begins in 1850, with Yosemite (soon to become a state park) and follows the designation of many of our familiar parks today, as well as the arguments over what deserves to be part of the NPS, the use and purpose of national parks and monuments, and more. The role of Native Americans is featured prominently, with notes for kids to understand why it's important to learn about and acknowledge the darker parts of history. It's beautifully drawn and completely immersive.


I finished reading These Precious Days by Ann Patchett, a collection of personal essays that I loved. You can read all about in my review and listen to a sample of the outstanding audio or watch my Friday Reads video, which includes some detailed gushing!


Now, I am listening to The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton on audio. I have lots of nonfiction audios to choose from, but this one popped to the top of my list after hearing rave reviews from Booktubers. This is the author's story of how he was wrongly accused of two murders, convicted and sentenced to death, and lived on death row for 30 years before finally getting his name cleared. I've listened to other true stories of innocent men wrongly accused, but the shear volume of horrors here is stunning. It took flawed or outright falsified evidence, lies on the stand, an inept public defender, and many people ignoring evidence of his innocence to land him on death row. It's very powerful and completely gripping.


My husband just started reading The Verifiers by Jane Pek, an author I met at Booktopia. Jane sat at our table at dinner one night, so I got to know her a bit--she's excellent at book trivia! This is a classic mystery in a modern setting with an awesome female protagonist, with a hefty dose of humor, plus family drama. I thoroughly enjoyed it (you can read my review at the link), and I think he will, too.


Our son, 28, has been reading Spellmonger by Terry Mancour, the first book in the Spellmonger series. I can't wait to see him tomorrow night for the holiday weekend!


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. Congratulations on finishing Walden! I've tried several times, but after taking it to an all day cross country meet and STILL not finishing it, I decided that I never would. Glad you're feeling better. I know so many people who are dealing with cleaning out parents' things; luckily, my father was in a small apartment, so my brother and I managed to move everything out in a couple of weeks. Makes me want to get rid of eveything I own sometimes! Have a happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I haven't read any of the History Comics books. I downloaded one from NetGalley - about Rosa Parks and Claudette Colvin - that I plan on reading soon.

  3. Just read your review for These Precious Days and enjoyed it. I can imagine that it is wonderful on audio. All of the essays have something to relish in them. Good to hear you have a little more energy, hope it continues. Interesting about Laura Hillenbrand. So courageous really.

  4. I am so glad you're feeling better. I took prednisone once for a few days and WOW did I have energy. And I peed a lot. And my face got that round steroid look. Sigh.

  5. I’m glad you had an enjoyable weekend!

    Wishing you a great reading week