Sunday, January 1, 2023

The Sunday Post #319

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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 #319

On The Blog Recently

In My Reading Life

I finished 3 books last week, but don't be too proud of me because two of them were tiny. The first tiny book was The Deal Of A Lifetime by Fredrik Backman. I knew I'd love this one because I have a thing for books where death is a character (or a profession, in this case). It's about a man with regrets. He's spent his whole life working instead of having fun or caring for his family. Now he's dying from cancer. He makes a deal with death to do something meaningful with his final days.

Like all of Backman's books, this one is super sad. Actually, that's one of my complaints with Backman. He really wants to make sure you're sad while you're reading his stuff. Since I'm dead inside and don't have emotions, it seems heavy handed to me, but whatever. I like the plot enough that it didn't matter.

This story is full of warmth and humor. It'll make you question how you're living your life and what legacy you want to leave behind. It's a perfect book to read on Christmas Eve because the Christmas Carol vibes are strong.

Then I read another tiny Backman book. This one was And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer. It's about a grandfather who is losing his memory. As life becomes more difficult, he retreats deeper and deeper into his shrinking mind.

This novella is more abstract than the average Backman book because most of it takes place inside the main character's brain. He explores crumbling landscapes and has conversations with dead people. If you have someone with dementia or Alzheimer's in your life, it'll probably freak you out. I've seen family members die from those diseases, and it's my worst nightmare.

I liked this book, but I liked it less than The Deal Of A Lifetime. This one feels more repetitive. The repetition makes sense because the grandfather's world is shrinking. He doesn't have many memories left. I wish the book was either shorter and less repetitive or longer and expanded to show more of the grandfather's life before dementia.

Like all of Backman's books, this one will make you think. It's a reminder to slow down and appreciate what you have before you lose it.

I finished 2022 with a 5-star chunkster! My wrists are still sore from trying to hold The Toll by Neal Shusterman. It's massive. It's also the third book in the Arc Of A Scythe series, so I'm not sure how to talk about it without spoiling the first two books.

The best part of this series is how Neal Shusterman thinks of everything. The books take place in a world where people have conquered death. How would immortality change art, technology, politics, religion, and even daily life? A series like this could easily become preachy, but Shusterman doesn't do that. He acknowledges that philosophical questions can have multiple correct answers and allows his characters to make mistakes and change their minds.

This novel didn't have quite as many plot twists as the previous ones, but I guess that's logical because the series has to wrap up eventually. We can't keep throwing new problems into the mix. The ending still had enough twists to keep me happy.

Arc Of A Scythe is one of my all-time-favorite series. If you love science fiction, you should give it a try.

In The Rest Of My Life

Five goals for 2023:

  1. Be less of a weenie. This was also my resolution in 2022. I want to keep trying new things, even if they're hard and scary and I'm bad at them.
  2. Control my eating. I actually exercise a lot, but no one can tell because I have the same diet as Buddy the Elf.
  3. #0By24. I want to read all the books on my to-be-read shelf. That's 78 books. I can do it.
  4. Clean the closet before a junk avalanche kills me.
  5. Get better at using Instagram and Facebook and (maybe) TikTok.

Happy New Year

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


  1. Backman's books have sad parts, but I ultimately find them so feel-good. He is an expect at zoning in on elements of human nature and connection that never fail to make me ponder things. Lifetime was amazing and really hit me hard. You are so right about Every Morning. That made me think about my grandmother towards the end of her life. Heartbreaking, but as always, he found the beauty in it. I think applying for the park ranger job and making it through the season was very un-weenie of you. I have confidence you can read those 78 books! I am sure you have some big ones in there, but I have faith in you.

  2. Happy New Year. I just posted my reading summary for 2022 and was surprised but only read 4 books of fiction (out of 54)! Blackman sounds like an author I should explore.

  3. My first book of 2023 will be Backman's Us Against You and I agree: depression, darkness, and sad. But, we'll done story building.

    Neal Shusterman is the king of details and thinking of everything for the worlds he builds. Arc of the Scythe is such a great series.

  4. Be less of a weenie!!!!! I love that!!!!! I need to work on that as well.

    Happy New Year!

  5. I, too, want to keep trying new things even if they are hard and scary and I'm bad at them. (ka-chink!) I promise.

    I also hope to talk less and listen more. We'll see about that one.

    Hmmm...Neal Schusterman? Maybe in 2023.

    And to celebrate the new year…
    Here’s a bit from a lovely old (1850!) poem:

    “Ring out the old, ring in the new,
    Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
    The year is going, let him go;
    Ring out the false, ring in the true…

    Ring out a slowly dying cause,
    And ancient forms of party strife;
    Ring in the nobler modes of life,
    With sweeter manners, purer laws…

    Ring out false pride in place and blood,
    The civic slander and the spite;
    Ring in the love of truth and right,
    Ring in the common love of good.”

    And a toast: Here’s to a year of wonderful reads and small joys!

  6. Read all the books on your tbr shelf -yay!! I'm going to concentrate on that this year, too. Happy New Year!

  7. Happy New year AJ!! I hope it will be a good one for you and you are not a weenie. Really.

    Elza Reads

  8. I have got to start that Shusterman series! Maybe I should make sure to do that in 2023. I love your comment on your diet being like Buddy the Elf, lol. I often think of myself that way too. Although mine mostly includes cheese and chicken tenders, lol. Hope you have a good new year!
    Lisa Loves Literature

  9. I love the Arc of the Scythe and really enjoyed the latest addition Gleanings with additional details and more depth on some supporting characters. Happy New Year and happy reading!

    Anne - Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

  10. Love the be less of a weenie resolution! I could use that too - or have less inertia. Both are my issues. Good luck with reading off your shelf! Have a wonderful week and a happy New Year!

  11. Happy New Year, AJ!
    On of my goals is Instagram and TikTok too... I'm not looking forward to it, lol.

  12. Ugh! The closet resolution should be one of mine as well! I have no clue what is in there...

    Happy New Year! - Melinda @ A Web of Stories

  13. Happy New Year, AJ! I hope your 2023 is amazing!

  14. Happy new year!!! I need to get better about posting on social media, too. I've been so preoccupied with other things that I'm just never on them.

    1. Whoops. I had forgotten to log in before sending the comment. :)

  15. Reading my TBR mountain range? Cleaning out my junk? Both things I should be doing this year, too. But they sound like so much work....

    Happy New Year!

  16. I still need to read the Deal of a Lifetime. It's been sitting on my shelf for years, but I never got around to reading it.

    Here’s my Sunday Post!

    Ronyell @ Rabbit Ears Book Blog

  17. I love your goals - I also need to be less of a weenie. Now that I have a kid, I have to show him that you can't be scared or nervous about every little thing.

  18. Love that meme. Confused, full of cheese... sounds about right. lol And having the same diet as Buddy the Elf. While delicious, I can see where that would be a problem. :)

  19. I should probably get back to reading the Backman books I have on my shelves! I only read one, and started another...maybe the sadness overtook me? Enjoy your week! Here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

  20. Happy new year! Love the stick figure image. Good luck with your goals.

  21. Good luck with your 2023 goals! I don't set any myself. I don't need to set myself up for failure. Life provides enough of that. Bachman sounds like an author I will continue to skip. I want happy books! Come see my week here. Happy reading and Happy New Year!

  22. I haven't read a Backman book yet. But death as a character sounds quite intriguing. Thanks for sharing, and happy new year!

  23. Ha ha! I love what you said about your diet being the same as Buddy the Elf. I'm totally the same. Sugar runs my life. After I get my other health issues figured out, I want to start doing better with my eating too. Good luck with your goals!

    My Sunday News

  24. Happy New Year! I like all of your goals. :)

  25. Hope you have a happy new year.
    I have an impending junk avalanche too, so I’m with you on cleaning out the closet as a goal.