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It's Monday 12/11! What Are You Reading?

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Book By Book

Hosted by The Book Date


Last week was Christmas crunch week, as I scrambled to finish ordering gifts and creating photo gifts online, to give everything plenty of time to arrive before the holiday. Just a few more last-minute gift cards to order online, and I am finished! I even started writing our cards yesterday (probably the earliest I ever started). My husband and I finally took down the Thanksgiving decorations and got out and put up some of our Christmas decorations. We’re going to get a tree later today. So, it’s looking more festive around here!

My chronic illness is still flared up, so I am mostly living life horizontal, from the couch. Thank goodness for online shopping! I did get out once last week, for a quick trip to our local indie bookstore, to order all my book gifts and chat with the bookseller–an essential part of the holiday season. And I had a phone appointment with my NY specialist last week and am trying a treatment that has helped in the past when a relapse goes on like this one, so fingers crossed!

I continued to enjoy our deck, on any day when the temperatures hit 45 or higher! I just bundle up. When I’m mostly stuck in the house like this, lying out there looking at the sky and listening to the birds is so peaceful and mentally rejuvenating. The weather kept me inside a few times, though. We actually got a bit of snow last week, which is very early for Delaware, and we got 24 hours of rain yesterday. 



On the Blog

With all the holiday stuff to do, my reviews are suffering, but I did write one last week:

Nonfiction Review: The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman – stunning true story of Warsaw’s husband and wife zookeepers and how they saved hundreds of Jews during WWII. Outstanding book!


On Video

November Reading Wrap-Up – my overview of the books I read last month – mostly nonfiction but a wide variety and all excellent!

Friday Reads 12-8-23 – my quick weekly update, as I was cramming for book group


 What We’re Reading

I read Homecoming by Kate Morton, 540 pages, in record time! I doubled up and got both the print book and the audio from the library to help me read faster for book group. I hadn’t read a Morton novel since The Forgotten Garden in 2011, and this novel has a similar structure, alternating between different characters and timelines to weave together a full story. Here, on Christmas Eve 1959 in Australia, a mother and her four children are found dead at a riverside picnic, and in 2018, a woman in London rushes home to Australia when her beloved grandmother is hospitalized. Family secrets and mysteries are slowly revealed. I was a bit confused at the beginning, but I loved the way all the pieces came together in the end, with plenty of surprising twists (more about the book in my Friday Reads video). I wasn’t able to go to book group, but it got an average rating of 7.2 (out of 10), and I gave it an 8.


And now, as is my tradition in December, I am turning my attention to some of my most highly anticipated books, trying to catch up on my previous book gifts before I get more for Christmas! First up is my #1 book I’ve been wanting to read, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, which my husband gave me for my birthday. I absolutely loved The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Zevin (read it twice, laughed, and cried), and I’ve heard all the rave reviews of this one. I’m not very far into it, but it was immersive and engrossing from the first pages, and I fell in love with Sam and Sadie immediately. They are childhood friends who end up designing video games together, but the writing and the characters are what make this novel special so far.


I similarly chose an audio book I’ve been meaning to get to all year: How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, which was on lots of Best Of lists and an award finalist. I’m not sure how to describe this very unique book. It starts with an apocalyptic plague, unleashed by melting permafrost in the Arctic in 2030. Like Cloud Atlas, which I loved, this is a novel told in different stories, each featuring different (though sometimes intricately linked) characters, spanning generations. But this one also has a science fiction focus, as this ancient virus changes life on Earth. That might sound depressing, but the focus seems to be on the resilience and creativity of humanity, rather than on its demise. It’s excellent so far.


My husband, Ken, is still reading Holly by Stephen King, a new novel featuring the character Holly Gibney. She’s working for the Finders Keepers detective agency that she and Bill Hodges started and working on a strange case of multiple disappearances in a small midwestern town. I love what King said about Holly, that she was supposed to be a minor walk-on character in Mr. Mercedes, but he couldn’t get her out of his mind. She also appeared in Finders Keepers and End of Watch (the Bill Hodges trilogy), plus The Outsider, and now she has her own book. I can’t wait to read it myself!


Our son, 29, finished The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson, which was the second of the “secret project” Kickstarter books that he wrote during the pandemic. I signed my son up for the project for his birthday last year, so he’s been receiving packages of Sanderson books and swag each month. I think those new books reminded him of Sanderson’s talent because now he’s reading one of his older standalone novels, Warbreaker.


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 pag

What are you and your family reading this week? 


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