What I’ve Been Reading

I wrote my 2017 reading list about a year ago about trying to focus my 2017 reading on more serious political books & memoirs & mix in a few light-hearted books here & there to keep me sane.

So here’s what I’m reading now. A little light & funny. A little heavy. A little gory. & a little calm for the soul.

What’s on my end table: I’m finishing up Fire & Fury by Michael Wolff & also What Unites Us by Dan Rather.

What’s on my kindle: Clash of Kings (Game of Thrones book 2) & Present over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.

What I’ve read in last year:

  • Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (started 2017 with this one & it ended up being so appropriate with what happened in Charlottesville etc)
  • In The Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson (called my dad & made he & my mom listen to this pre-WWII book on the US ambassador to Germany)
  • Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson (such a great read on the Great Migration),
  • Our Kids by Robert Putnam (didn’t make it all the way through for book club but reminded me of sociology books),
  • I’m Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi (laughed til I cried),
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed (an adventure & come to find yourself story that had been on my want-to-read-list for years)
  • The Magnolia Story by Chip & Joanna Gaines
  • The Book Thief (everyone should read this WWII novel),
  • Democracy in Chains by Nancy MacLean (another one for book club that I didn’t make it through, reminded me of a college text that I’d have slept through),
  • Thank You for Your Service by David Finkel (didn’t finished by book club but I enjoyed reading the stories of these vets, want to watch the movie)
  • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (I didn’t know his back story & it was a fascinating read)
  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (loved this book then had to see the movie)
  • Game of Thrones by Martin (so much content on the characters I love from the series)
  • What Happened by HRC (just finished it this week. I didn’t make it through a chapter without crying over what could have been vs what our current reality is)

What’s on my To Read list:

  • 13 Reasons Why by Jay Ashley (I watched the show on Netflix, been meaning to read the book)
  • Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst
  • A Wrinkle in Time (not sure why I never read this one in HS, movie review coming soon!)
  • Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria (I requested this one at the library & it arrived at the same time as 3 others, so it’s back on my to read list)

Upcoming books I have my eye on:

  • Yes We (Still) Can by Dan Pfeiffer
  • The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes
  • & my old school BlogHer buddy Jill Krause’s 50 Things to Do Before You Deliver (not having more babies here but I love reading her words & so excited for her!)

I’ve also been on a podcast kick while traveling & at work. I’ve found I can best focus on work & tune out my co-workers/background noise while listening to Pod Save America & the other Crooked Media podcasts, Stay Tuned with Preet & I’m trying to figure out how to listen to Jen Hatmaker’s For the Love here at work too.

What am I missing? Any books you’ve loved recently? What’s your favorite podcast? As summer (ok, spring!) is almost in sight, we tend to be in the car more & I do love reading while traveling. 


Moxie Matters

Monday night of last week, I had the pleasure of spending a couple hours with my tribe seeing Jen Hatmaker & Nichole Nordeman (along with like a thousand others) at my church for their Moxie Matters tour.

Suz's Treats Moxie Matters

They shared their stories. Nichole slayed us with her beautiful music. Jen brought it home with her beautiful words & speaking God’s truth to us about pain, community & our tribe. We laughed, we cried & I know I left in a awesome state of mind knowing the beauty & power & Moxie of women together.

Suz's Treats tribe

I’m about 1/2 way through Jen’s Moxie Matters book after laughing through For the Love at lunchtime earlier this year. Follow her on social media. Pick up her latest books. Let her words bring laughter & God’s love in our crazy world. & I came home last week & added Nichole’s CDs & book to my amazon Christmas wish list. I know there are days when I need to hear her songs while driving or at work.

The Moxie Matters tour just announced spring dates FYI. If they’re coming near you, go!

Friday Night in Wake Forest

I spend most of my social media time sharing photos & antics about Lucy & Zach. This ol’ blog started almost 10 years ago as a way to share the treats in my life: books, food, travel, movies, TTS, & the kiddos. About me sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

So what have I been up to? Traveling, working, trying to wrap my mind around Kindergartners! & in the middle of that, last Friday night, even thought I didn’t know anyone else going, I decided to go some where I wanted to go!

I left the kids at home with Jason, called my aunt & talked her out of pjs & back into work clothes for an evening out. I merged three current passions of mine (reading, politics & religion) all together when I went to hear John Pavlovitz speak & met him & had him sign his new book, A Bigger Table at his book release party in Wake Forest.

SuzsTreats JohnPavlovitz A Bigger Table

I discovered him on twitter last fall & love reading his inspirational & thought provoking blog posts on Stuff that Needs to be Said & tweets. So cool that he lives & preaches pretty much in my same city. I started his book Sunday night & can’t wait to really have time to delve into the meat of it.

Suzstreats John Pavlovitz

After the book signing, my aunt & I went literally around the corner to White Street Brewery for another one of my favorite activities: craft beer drinking! (I owe y’all a post on husband &I’s recent Asheville weekend, I promise it’ll come.)

SuzsTreats White StI’d had White Street beers around Raleigh before but not been to their Wake Forest brewery & it was nice! It’s in the middle of a cute down town & they have a big space that was pretty full on Friday night. Their Double IPA Domillo was great, but I was driving so I tasted a few sips of my aunt’s while I drank their Belgian style Blonde ale Emmalyn.

Cheers to am impromptu fun Friday night!

Any weekend plans for this weekend?


2017 Reading List

As I (& millions of others) spent much of November & December 2016 reeling, I kept thinking that I needed to turn in, turn back to what helps me sort & process. & for me, that’s almost always been reading. I sunk myself into reading posts, articles, blogs from all types of media sources, but I was left wanting more.

Then when I saw a post in a FB group asking for book ideas, both fiction & nonfiction, historical & current to help a lady open up communications with a family member with opposite beliefs in the form of a joint book club, I grabbed the closest pad of paper (yep, I still write notes to myself ol’ school) & jotted down the titles as quick as I could.

So in case others wondered what I’ve been reading & what I’m hoping to tackle for 2017 (& so I’ll remember too), here’s the list. Most are ones people posted as ideas, but I’m also adding some I found myself & added to my list.

I have a few completed, I’m on the wait list for more at the library & a few longer books I’m waiting for a vacation car trip to get lost into them.

My hope is to bring back my old style of reviews after I complete a book of the list. And as I dive more into my list, I’ll add to it as well. And yes, I’m already learning I need to figure out some lighthearted novels to throw into the mix.

  • Deer Hunting with Jesus
  • It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (I tried & failed to get past first chapter, will try again)
  • White Trash by Nany Isenburg (just picked up from library)
  • The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Washington (just started today)
  • Great Small Things by Jodi Picoult (finished)
  • For the Love by Jen Hatmaker (finished)
  • Lies my Teacher Told Me
  • Game of Thrones (my current “light” reading)
  • The Magnolia Story
  • Present over Perfect
  • In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larsen (finished)
  • Feminsim is for Everybody by Bell Hooks
  • A People’s History of the US by Howard Zinn
  • And the Band Played on by Randy Shilts
  • Nickel & Dimed by Barbara Ehrenrach
  • Waking up White by Debbie Irving

I’d love to hear what others are reading? Anything you’ve loved recently? Anything that’s made you think or opened your mind on a subject?

Help! Book Recommendations Needed

::cough cough as I clear off the dust on this blog::

Just over a week ago, I finished Written on My Own Heart’s Blood for the second time. That’s the 8th book of my beloved Outlander series. When the TV series came out, I decided to re-read Outlander (book 1) & from there I ended up tackling the quest of 8 1000 page novels. It has taken me well over a year but I did it & loved every minute.

Claire & Jamie, Ian, Bree & Roger accompanied me through countless solo workday lunches, too many “Praise the Lord, they’re in bed” evenings & a few vacation car rides too. I already miss them.

But now my Kindle has sat unloved in my purse & on my nightstand for too long for this book nerd.

So help me friends, what are you reading or what have you read & loved over the last year or two? I’m open to pretty much any genre (I’ve read & liked teen, classics, smut, fantasy, thrillers, scary, light, heavy). Throw your favorites at me! And I might even bring back a few random book reviews here!

What is it about sunny, summer weather that has me itching to be deep in a good book?! Anyone else?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

I might’ve squealed when the invitation to see the latest in the Hunger Games series as a ‘media representative’. It’s so cool where this lil ‘ole blog has helped present me with opportunities.

I continued to be giddy as I left Jason at home to handle bedtime solo while I went to the movies alone. I ended up running into two other awesome local mom bloggers (hi Erin & Andrea!) & I crashed their party. Over shared candy, popcorn & caramel corn, we chatted about rewatching the prior movies & our love of Suzanne Collins’ novels. And how excited we were for this film!

And Mockingjay part 1 did not disappoint me in the least! The film follows along the book (as best I recall from reading it close to 3 year ago) taking you from Katniss waking post her second trip into the Hunger Games to a bit of a suspenseful cliff hanger stopping point.

I don’t always recall movie soundtracks, but this one was really good. A couple songs days later have been stuck in my head. After you watch the film, I think you’d agree.

The actors all lived up to hype. I’m ‘team Gale’! And I might’ve swooned a little at Liam Hemsworth as he did a great job, but Josh Hutchinson as Peeta was excellent as well. And Jennifer Lawrence playing Katniss helps her grow up in Mockingjay into a strong relucent hero role.

I’m so thankful to see Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Game Keeper & will be wondering how they’ll do the last one without him. Woody Harrelson as Haymitch comes a little late but provides funny one liners. As does Elizabeth Banks as the beloved Effie as she tries to get Katniss Panem audience ready. And Julieanne Moore joins the cast this time around brilliantly playing the District 13 president Coin.

My favorite scene was the two trips Katniss makes back to her destroyed District 12. I laughed at her discovery when she goes into her former home. And Katniss’ song, while she, Gale & her film crew eat lunch by the water during her second trip, is still so beauty & hauntingly memorable days later.

Did you go to the movies opening night? Weekend? What did you think about book turned movie adaptation? What was your favorite part?