Episode 17: Sustainable Sue, the Book Bully

One of the frequent questions that comes into the Sustainable Sue inbox is about where to find book recommendations. Susan does not mind being a bit of a book bully, pressing books into people’s hands and sending unsolicited recommendations at random. But her tastes may not line up with yours. Or you might be in a book rut and need to find a new book bully to tell you what to read.

Here is what you can expect in today’s episode:

  1. The Sustainably Productive adjustment that took Susan 48 years to start and only took 60 seconds to complete
  2. Where Susan finds her recommendations
  3. Why anti-recommendations have value and how to use them to your advantage

As always, even if you are not a book lover, this guidance applies to whatever your hobby is. If you love to lift weights, where do you get inspiration and recommendations for exercises and routines? Travelers don’t know where to go before they actually travel – if this is you, how do you learn the best places to hit in a new city? Maybe instead of a book bully, you wish you had a foodie bully – someone to recommend recipes, restaurants, and techniques to improve your food experience. Listen at the link below or search for “Sustainable Productivity with Susan Sanders” everywhere podcasts are available.

Links to Learn More

Links mentioned in this episode of the Sustainable Productivity podcast:

We would love to hear from you. Send your feedback on the episode, suggestions for future show topics or guests, and anything else to Susan@SustainableSue.com or in a DM on Instagram.

By |2023-05-29T08:21:30-04:00May 29th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Top 10 Favorite Books

Let me tell you about my 10 favorite books! Reading is one of my favorite hobbies and hobbies are component of the Mental Well-being pillar of Sustainable Productivity. As the holidays approach, maybe you will find some pockets of time to pick up one of these to relax. I encourage you now to plan for those pockets of time. Add it to your calendar. Leave the house if you need to – park the car somewhere and read for 20 minutes. Small changes like this add up!

One of my favorite podcasters is also a book fiend. After listening to her for a few years, I know Laura and I have similar reading preferences so when she does a reading episode on her podcast, I make sure to take notes. Laura also does a monthly “10 on the 10th” social media challenge. On Nov 10, she called for us to share our 10 favorite books. I am a smidge late to the party because it has taken a week to murder my darlings and only pick 10.

I am embracing “done is better than perfect” these days. As demonstrated by posting my 10 things on the 10th on the 17th. Whatevs…

What Didn’t Make the Cut

The list I am going to share with you is books I have read in the last few years (with the exception of Poisonwood Bible). What this list leaves out are books I loved growing up like Encyclopedia Brown, The Boxcar Children, Little House on the Prairie, and the Cherry Ames series. As an adult I have favorite authors like Fredrik Backman and Jodi Picoult that I read everything they write (sometimes to my dismay). Although I am basically an anti-fan of the author, I return to the Harry Potter series as one of the few where I actually reread. Generally I feel like there are too many books in the world for me to spend time re-reading. But each time I read (or listen, or follow along to a podcast), I have a slightly different experience.

Without further ado, here is my list of my 10 favorite books – in alphabetical order by genre.


  • A Dog’s Purpose. I read this book on a road trip with My People. Here is what I know – I was crying so hard while reading this that my teenage daughter actually noticed – AND COMMENTED ON IT. When I watched the movie – same response. Shocker.
  • Beartown. As mentioned before, I would read the farm report if Fredrik Backman wrote it. But this book was devastating and unputdownable at the same time. I listened to Beartown on audiobook, and the narration was impeccable. If you read this you will know: BAM. BAM. BAM
  • City of Girls. When I finished this book I gently laid down my Kindle and was devastated because I could never read this book again for the first time. While I enjoyed other books by Elizabeth Gilbert, this one is something special.
  • Defending Jacob. My sister in law warned me about a big plot twist to this one. I was still not prepared. When I got to it, I shouted out in a room full of my in laws at the beach. My sister in law looked up from the puzzle, “You got to the plot twist, huh?!” The Apple TV mini-series is entertaining, but they mess up the plot twist.
  • Poisonwood Bible. I read this book in my early 30s. Probably because Oprah told me to. It was the first multiple narrator novel I remember reading. I remember being confused at first, but once I got the voice of the characters, seeing the same events from different eyes was a game changer in my reading life. Multiple perspectives is one of my favorite types of reads.
  • The Martian. I was skeptical of such a science-ladened book, but it was SO DANG FUNNY. I encouraged my Enneagram 5 non-reader spouse to pick this one up and he LOVED it. The movie was a let down.
  • Verity. This is the only book where after I read it I joined a Facebook group to discuss it. Plot twists and unreliable narrators abound.


  • Code Name Helene. OK so the book itself is historical fiction, but Nancy Wake was a REAL PERSON. I wish she were alive so she could be my friend.
  • Sacred Rest. This should be a must read in all school curriculum at the high school and college level. Our driven society is killing us and this book gives us the blue print to change that.
  • Untamed. There were times when I was reading this book that I had to put it down because I felt like I could not breathe. It challenges current thinking – about ourselves and each other and what we are in this life to do.

Now You!

What are you reading these days? Have you read any of these? What are your top 10 books? Reply here or let’s connect on social media to talk books!

By |2020-11-13T11:21:42-05:00November 17th, 2020|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

What Should I Read?! Get Book Recommendations Sent to Your Inbox

The question I get asked most often is, “What should I read?” I always have a stack of books on my literal and digital To Be Read (TBR) list. Here is a peek at the stack on my desk:

Do you ask yourself what to read? I want to deliver the answer to your inbox.

If you sign up for Sustainable Sue’s Bookmobile, every time I finish a 5-star read I will send the review to you within 24 hours, including a link to purchase online from an indie book store local to you. It is so simple – just add your email address to this link, and you are all set!

This is a perfect time to jump start a reading habit – the weather is cooler so there is usually less to do outside. Holidays have not ramped up full force yet. Plus we are all staying home more because of Covid.

There are mental and physical health benefits to reading, which makes it a great hobby to pick up. Research shows that regular reading:

  • improves brain connectivity.
  • increases your vocabulary and comprehension.
  • empowers you to empathize with other people.
  • aids in sleep readiness.
  • reduces stress.
  • lowers blood pressure and heart rate.
  • fights depression symptoms.
  • prevents cognitive decline as you age.
Click here for original source.

Still not convinced? Let me sweeten the pot! Everyone who signs up for the Bookmobile is eligible to win a new copy of All Things Reconsidered by Knox McCoy. This is a drawing only open to Sustainable Sue blog followers – this offer will not be posted to social media.

But wait! There’s more! Do you know book lovers who might want 5-star reads in their inbox or a chance to win a free book? If you send them this post and they sign up for the Bookmobile, just have them comment on this post to let me know you referred them and you will get a second chance at winning All Things Reconsidered!

You really cannot go wrong! Enter now – I will draw the winner at 8:00 pm on Halloween.

Let’s read more this fall and winter!

By |2020-10-26T17:27:22-04:00October 27th, 2020|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

Alert! 5-star book! Alert!

Get out your library cards!

Alert! 5-start book you need to read right now!

Last summer I found The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin in a Free Little Library. While I love these stumbling across every one of these bookish delights, it is rare that I find a book from my TBR. Needless to say I was super excited to grab this ditty.

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I loved this book SO STINKING MUCH. I purposely slowed down so I could avoid finishing it. Now I cannot remove it from my nightstand because I cannot let it be over. 

I love a crusty curmudgeon (think Ove or Britt-Marie). I love books. I love book stores. I love a sad ending. I love dry wit. THEN THIS BOOK COMBINED ALL OF THEM. I swooned.

I mean listen to this description of AJ’s feelings of love:

“… slightly intolerable bubbling inside of him. He wants to laugh out loud or punch a wall. He feels drunk or at least carbonated. Insane. At first, he thinks this is happiness, but then he determines it’s love. ‘Fucking love,’ he thinks. ‘What a bother.’ It’s completely gotten in the way of his plan to drink himself to death, to drive his business to ruin. The most annoying thing about it is that once a person gives a shit about this, he finds he has to start going a shit about everything.”

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry, p. 76

How do you not love this?! You do? Great – go get it!

Bonus – I learned a new word. Moue. Which according to Dictionary.com means, “A pouting expression used to convey annoyance or distaste.” You better believe moue will be used in a stern parental manner within the week!

Wait… why are you still reading this? Read this in a moue tone: Go get this book!

By |2020-05-21T17:48:50-04:00May 21st, 2020|Mental Well-being|0 Comments
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