Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Sunday Post #248


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The Sunday Post is a chance to recap the past week, talk about next week, tell you what I’m reading, and share news. It’s hosted by The Caffeinated Book ReviewerReaderbuzz, and Book Date.




The Sunday Post #248





Public Service Announcement


Halloween is over! According to TV advertisers, that means it’s now Christmas. (I know it’s too early for Christmas, but I don’t make the rules. TV does.) If you need holiday gifts for bookworms, check out Book Depository’s Gift Guide. It has brand new discounted books for the whole family. I see bestsellers, nonfiction, cookbooks, and children’s books. Also, a few beautiful editions of classics that I’ll probably buy for myself, let’s be honest. Click here to see the guide.



On The Blog Last Week






On The Blog This Week


  • On Monday I talk about the best nonfiction books I’ve read in 2020 (so far).
  • On Tuesday I wrap up October (hopefully).
  • On Wednesday I talk about new November book releases.
  • On Thursday there’s a giveaway.





In My Reading Life


Last week, I finished the Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad Of Songbirds And Snakes by Suzanne Collins. Unpopular opinion, but I kind of loved it. I only have two complaints. First, it’s too long and the pace really drags in places, especially toward the end. Second, the main character’s name is Coriolanus, which my brain autocorrected to Coronavirus because it’s 2020, and I’m tired.


The novel follows Coronavirus Coriolanus Snow when he’s a teenager at an elite school. If you’ve read The Hunger Games, then you know he grows up to be the vicious dictator president of a dystopian country called Panem. A lot of people were worried this book would make Coronavirus Snow a sympathetic character. It doesn't. I hated him on page 1, and I hated him on page 500-something. He’s just not a good dude. I like the book because the reader gets to see the origin of the games and the culture of the Capitol and District 12. It adds depth and world-building to Panem. For me, the plot was entertaining, and the world-building made the story worth reading. I enjoyed it.


Then I read The Residence: Inside The Private World Of The White House by Kate Andersen Brower. I enjoyed this book, too! It’s nonfiction that combines archival research and interviews with retired White House staff to show readers what goes on behind the scenes at the White House. How does the staff keep that mansion running smoothly? Who are those ushers and maids who scramble out of the way when journalists with cameras enter the room? It’s a fascinating look at recent American history with bits of gossip and a few scandals thrown in. If you love Downton Abbey, this is a must-read.


My only complaint is that it glorifies working yourself to death. The author never misses an opportunity to remind readers that the staff is thrilled/grateful/happy/lucky to work thousands of overtime hours while getting verbally abused by their bosses. I rolled my eyes a few times, but mostly it’s a short, captivating book. Please pick it up if you get the chance.


Right now, I’m reading In The Shadow Of Blackbirds by Cat Winters. It’s young adult historical horror. I like it so far. Even though it’s set during the 1918 flu pandemic, I’m not finding it stressful to read. I actually like seeing characters wearing masks. It makes me feel less alone. The other book I’m reading is Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created The World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump. The author is Donald Trump’s niece and a clinical psychologist. I have mixed feelings about it so far. It is not completely what I expected. I’ll see if my opinions change when I finish it.


In The Rest Of My Life


Five things that made me happy last week:


  1. Halloween! I hope everyone who celebrated had an awesome spooky night.
  2. I made snickerdoodle bread. It was excellent.
  3. Baby Brooklyn has suddenly become more talkative. It’s bizarre how toddlers seem to change overnight. She went from saying a few words to repeating everything I say. Now I have to watch my language.
  4. I finished watching The Haunting Of Bly Manor and The Haunting Of Hill House. I am distraught! I know they’re horror shows, but why do the writers have to hurt my favorite characters like that! They’re pretty good shows, though. Watch them if you enjoy seeing your favorites suffer.
  5. Dancing to the radio while writing blog posts. I’m planning on posting a lot in the next few days because I think we could all use a distraction. Quit doom scrolling on Twitter and come here for some book nonsense. If I can get the post done, there will be a giveaway. That’s always fun.





Let’s Be Friends. (But I'm Not Sharing My Halloween Snacks.)


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Wait. One More Thing!

Take care of yourselves and be kind to each other. See you around the blogosphere!


  1. Christmas adverts have been on our TV for weeks already. As soon as the 'back to school' signs are being taken down in August, the Christmas selling starts here! And nobody should ever share their Halloween snacks!

  2. I was startled to see the Christmas decorations up in the middle of Littlehampton the other day - and that was still in October, which seems ridiculous. And worse, it sort of demeans that magic that is Christmas... And yes - it always gets so interesting when some of that babble turns into words and then on a daily basis that vocabulary grows and becomes clearer. Have a great week, AJ.

  3. I enjoyed both Hill House and Bly Manor. The stories in those shows are emotional and in-depth. I love the character build. I can't wait to see if they do another one.

    Toddlers do change a lot overnight. Repeating is always my favorite part. Even the bad words lol

    Have a great week, AJ Happy Reading!

  4. Thanks for the book reviews. I'm thinking about looking into the Donald Trump book. Even though it is Halloween, I just can't get into horror books or movies. I was in the dollar store the other day to buy balloons and there are 4 rows of Christmas good already!

  5. I actually enjoyed the Hunger Games prequel too. It was interesting. Like you said, not the best in terms of pacing always, but just fascinating. And now I'm going to call him Coronavirus Snow forever...
    We had a lovely Halloween that included exactly 2 trick-or-treaters and Hocus Pocus. Stay safe, and have a great week!

  6. Snickerdoodle bread! I need pictures and it sounds amazing. I love the Brooklyn updates. It's so fun hearing about how she's growing and changing.

  7. Golly Molly! Halloween...and then...Christmas? No, say it ain't so.

    I'm eager to see your list of your favorite nonfiction reads of the year. I need to go ahead and get my last post, additions to my TBR, set up on my blog.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the prequel to Hunger Games and The Residence.

    Have a good week!

  8. We started getting Christmas themed catalogues in the mail last week, it’s still too early!

    Looking forward to your nonfiction themed posts

    Wishing you a great reading week

  9. Definitely agree about children seem to change overnight. One of our nephews was slightly delayed in speaking; at the beginning of the year, he really couldn't talk at all, and now he's talking all the time and understandable!

    It's never too early to start thinking about Christmas for me, I already have a bunch of shopping done!

  10. You are right babies change so much! And dancing while blogging is a very good idea! On a side note, every time that I am doing yoga online I think about you AJ!

  11. I've been curious about both of the Haunting of... shows. :-) Sounds like I need to watch them! Right now we've been bingeing Supernatural, though, and there are approximately 40 million seasons, so we'll be occupied for a while.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  12. I love Thanksgiving and am always bummed that it just gets passed over. I definitely wish Christmas ads would only run in December. I need to get on The Hauntings. The first season has been on my list for ages. Happy reading!


  13. I cracked up every time I read Coronavirus Snow. It kinda suits the character too. I read the Hunger Games trilogy but not really interested in this prequel.

  14. I thought The Residence was a great read... enjoyed her book about the First Ladies, too. Mary Trump's book was interesting on audio. There was more about her father than I expected, but that's part of her story and a lens through which to view her uncle. Overall, it would probably have been better as an extended article (maybe for The New Yorker) but it seems like everyone is cashing in with a Trump book...

  15. I am so not ready for Christmas stuff - good thing I don't watch tv. Don't worry about sharing Halloween candy I already ate the 4 pieces I got. Happy reading and stay well. At least any ads will end after this week.

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  16. Haha right? So true about Christmas. I imagine I'll start hearing christmas songs tomorrow. I've been pretty curious about the HG prequel...

    I love Halloween and was kinda bummed how coronavirus ruined it this year, but it was still fun. :)

  17. Snickerdoodle Bread just sounds amazing. I loved The Residence though what some of those people put up with is crazy. That poor plumber and LBJ just had me shaking my head. I really liked First Ladies too and felt like I knew all the women a lot better - lots of sympathy for Betty Ford and I ugly cried through some of the parts about Jackie Kennedy and Barbara Bush. It's not as well organized but I found it just as interesting. Have a good week.

  18. Even though I am not from the USA I'd still like to read The Residence and I've heard Mary Trump's book is a great explanation of how a family produced a autocratic dictator.

  19. I read The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes too this week, and I enjoyed it more than I thought considering it was about Snow. I felt the pacing was off too though, as it dragged so much at the start and then went at breakneck speed towards the end!

  20. My husband read the Mary Trump book, but I passed. I like Ballad of Songbirds (listened to it) better than I thought I would, but it did drag. I've been curious about the The Residence; I still have it on my list.

  21. NO! I'm not ready for Christmas season!

    I liked The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, too. My only reservations were the same as yours. It will be interesting to see where she goes with this series now.

  22. Sounds like you had a good week. I am not a fan of Christmas being celebrated for two months! Christmas music gets old really fast for me. While I enjoyed The Hunger Games, I have been at all tempted to read the prequel I'm glad you more or less enjoyed it. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  23. I actually hate that TV networks start showing Christmas movies so early! Not the kind of early we see after Halloween, but the July Christmas movies on Hallmark. Very annoying.

    I enjoyed Mary Trump's book, although I was not really surprised by what she wrote. I guess I have been observing things regularly and coming to my own conclusions.

    Let's read more to distract ourselves!

  24. Don't worry cute cat - I voted today! But yeah, I need to focus on things OTHER than the news this week or I'm going to lose it.

    It's crazy how quick kids grow - that's too fun Brooklyn is talking more!


  25. Bly Manor depressed me sooo much. ALL OF MY EMOTIONS!

    I do not look forward to having to watch my language when Aria becomes a parrot. Right now she's all, "bahbahbahmahmahmah."

  26. I need the recipe for snickerdoodle bread! 😯