Episode 33: Literary Life Lately – Fall 2023

It has been awhile since we have checked in on what’s happening in your literary life lately! Did you know reading books has been scientifically proven to lengthen the number of years you live? Talk about a sustainable way to live! If you or your loved one is a reluctant reader, you will get tips to address this so you too can live a longer life.

Here is what you can expect in this episode:

  1. Why readers live longer and what you can do to join the ranks.
  2. Fun, quirky books Susan completed since the last Literary Life Lately episode.
  3. Two books that were meh, plus one that you need to borrow or buy TODAY.

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.

PS: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

By |2023-09-19T18:52:41-04:00September 18th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Bonus Episode: Three 5-star Reads This Month!

This bonus episode is to bring you a few 5-star reads that I came across in July. Yes – THREE OF THEM in one month! All books mentioned in this bonus episode are linked below in the show notes.

Podcast listeners are the second group to get this list. Earlier this week subscribers to the Sustainable Sue Bookmobile were the first to hear about about them. If you want to be in the early recipient group, sign up to join the bookmobile at SustainableSue.com/bookmobile.

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 |2023-08-03T12:48:30-04:00August 4th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Episode 21: Special Guest for Literary Life Lately!

Special guest alert! It’s that magical time of the season – time for a reading round up and all thing literary life lately. This installment is extra special since Susan’s sister will be joining her on the microphone. Before they offer up thoughts on who and what they have been reading lately, Elli and Susan chat about literary life NOT lately.

Here is what you can expect in this special guest episode:

  1. What memories around reading exist for the Edwards girls.
  2. How books and reading shaped their parenting.
  3. Differences between reading as a kid and reading as a parent.

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 |2023-06-26T09:22:06-04:00June 26th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Everyone Else Is Doing It….

We just passed the midway point to the year, and you cannot swing a dead cat without hitting a “Best Books of the Year (so far)” article. Or is that just a bookwork problem?

I regularly send out my 5-star reads via the Sustainable Sue Bookmobile so the cat is already sort of out of the bag there. Not the aforementioned dead cat being swung. This is a different, literary secret keeping very much alive cat.

But I want to share some of my 2022 reading adventures thus far.

Book Sale

I have started volunteering for a local book sale and it is GLORIOUS. Talking books, shelving books, cleaning books, pricing and selling books – DOES IT GET ANY BETTER?!

YES! I got to shop too! Here is my haul.

“It’s always better to have too much to read than not enough.” Ann Patchett

A few of these were actually on my To Be Read list! Toughness by Jay Bilas was the first book I put on Goodreads when I first started my account. And listen, I don’t need anyone naysayers. Don’t come at me with that nonsense about all the books already piled on my nightstand, in Bixby’s nightstand (shhhhh, don’t tell him), on hold at the library, etc.

I could be collecting weirder, unhealthier things. Just watch Hoarders to find that out.

Book Stats

My goal for 2022 was to read 100 books. I have started 89 books and completed 75 so far. Yes, I have quit 14 books – almost 20%. Life is too short to read books that you don’t connect with. I have no shame in my DNF game.

Here are the books I am currently reading:

  • Audiobook: Hidden One by Linda Castillo
  • Physical book: Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly (I already watched both TV adaptations, but its great for the pool)
  • Non-fiction: The Force of Kindness: Change Your Life with Love & Compassion by Sharon Salzberg
  • Kindle: Out of the Ashes by Samantha Grosser

I am not linking to any of these yet since I have not finished I am not sure I can recommend them.

Book Fashion

In related news, I want to be able to read no matter WHAT and my aging eyeballs were not cooperating. I was losing easy readers all over the house, forgetting which easy readers were the right prescription for laptop, work computer, car, crafting, and physical books, and generally hating having to put contacts in to see distance only to need to put glasses back on to read.

So I bit the bullet and shelled out mad cash for some bifocals. Or progressives as is said now. I am not sad about it.

What are you reading these days? Come find me on social media or wherever you got this post and let me know!

Until then… Read on!

By |2022-07-12T09:55:36-04:00July 12th, 2022|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Reading Relapse

Remember how I said I was going to read less? I reduced my reading goal so I could free up time to create more of my own content?

Welp, you are only as sick as your secrets so I am here to tell you I relapsed this weekend. I finished three books I had going, and started and finished 3 more. Over a span of 4 days. It is a disease. I am powerless.

In my defense, this was not all my fault.

  1. I was traveling so I just had to do the Read and Return thing. It is not a flight without a R&R book.
  2. The reason for the trip was to help my dad and sister pack up my mother’s things, which I knew would be emotional so I wanted more books to comfort me instead of forcing productivity on the plane.
  3. When I arrived I saw my sister was finishing a book that I had requested from the library MONTHS ago. She finished it shortly after we arrived so I had an opportunity to snatch it and read before she flew home.
  4. We finished early and had time for about an hour at the pool on the last day. I can’t go to the pool without a book – I am not a monster!

But alas, I am here to come clean with a recap of what took me off the clean and narrow path.

Books I Finished

I had three books in progress that I knocked out over the weekend.

Keep Sharp by Sanjay Gupta

My dad bought this, and we are passing it around the family. It is a mix of neuroscience that bounced off my brain at times and practical advice that you can incorporate into your life. Much of his advice is part of the Sustainable You program as well!

The Janson Directive by Robert Ludlum

I really want to be a Robert Ludlum fan, but this is strike 2. And it took 650 pages to get to strike 2 (I cannot even remember what strike 1 was). His books are massive deep dives into foreign policy, weapons, overlapping timelines that don’t need to be there, and poorly written romance scenes. I can’t believe I carried this around the airport. I should have thrown it in the pool when I finished.

Three Girls from Bronzeville: A Uniquely American Memoir of Race, Fate, and Sisterhood by Dawn Turner

This was a book I read on my Kindle after getting an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from Netgalley. This was gut wrenching at times, eye opening all throughout. You cannot understand what privilege means unless you hear – and listen to – what others walk through to know their story.

Books I Started and Finished

Next there were three books that I started and finished over the course of the 4 days.

The Book of Lost Names by Kristen Harmel

While I will always pick up a book about World War II, I loved this point of view and combination of stories – forgers, book lovers, resisters. All from an airport Read and Return! What is not to like?

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Super quick read from multiple narrators. I called the twists but really enjoyed getting there. It was extra fun because my sister finished reading it the day before so I was commenting as I read and we were able to have our own little book club discussion during our visit.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson

OK, not the best choice for a trip spent cleaning out my late Mother’s things, but when the hold comes up at the library you roll with it, right?! This was a super fast read (only 137 pages), filled with frank, practical advice, encouragement, and anecdotes about getting rid of crap now. Between this book and the weekend spent purging 154 reusable shopping bags and 77 bath towels, I came home and scheduled an appointment with a local consignment store.


Your Turn

What are you reading right now?

Note: I am an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

By |2021-06-22T08:03:34-04:00June 22nd, 2021|Mental Well-being|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

2 Quick Tips for Fellow Bookworms

I am a bookworm for sure. I wear this moniker proudly and love to give quick reading tips to fellow bookworms. A friend of mine gave me a sticker that declares this, and I have proudly posted this on my monitor in my office. I recently came across a Tweet with names for bookworms in other countries and it is FANTASTIC.

Quick tips for bookworms

One of my favorite questions to ask when making small talk is, “What are you reading right now?” Yes, this is what happens when you invite an Enneagram 1 Introvert to a party. We’re a barrel of laughs.

I met Bixby on Match.com and one of the questions that is on the profile is, “What is the last book you read?” Bixby’s response was, “Practical C++ Programming: Programming Style Guidelines.” I winked at him anyway thinking it was a joke. Alas, Dear Reader, it was not. But at least he reads SOMETHING.

If you don’t feel like you have time to read, check out how one of my favorite podcasters, Laura Tremaine, finds time to read. Also, you may have to adjust expectations in different seasons of life.

Quick tips for bookworms

Here is the stack of books I brought with me to read while in Indiana taking care of my dad. My brain is generally not in the space to read most of these. Luckily my mom was a voracious reader so I am rolling through all the books she has squirreled away all over the house and reading what the library sends my way via Kindle.

Many of you already do find time and ask for reading recommendations. Generally I get 2 different questions from readers that I wanted to answer today and help provide two quick tips for fellow bookworms.

Where do you get your book recommendations from?

I get book recommendations from all kinds of places – books, magazines, podcasts, blogs, newsletters, word of mouth, and in non-pandemic times, wandering around garage sales and used book sales. Here are a few tips.


My 2 favorite podcasts to get recommendations from are The Popcast with Knox and Jamie and 10 Things to Tell You. The Popcast gives green lights at the end of each episode and often includes a book recommendation. You can see a summary of their green lights on their website here.  Laura Tremaine is an avid reader and regularly brings book recommendations to her podcast, 10 Things to Tell You.


I used to listen to the podcast What Should I Read Next, but something about Anne Bogel’s voice does not agree with me. I struggled through it for awhile because I have the same reading taste she does so I generally love her recommendations. But alas, that was not sustainable. So I changed to subscribing to the blog. Now her recommendations arrive in my inbox, and I read them in my head with my own grating voice.


Just as important as recognizing a recommendation source is having an anti-recommendation source. There was a reading podcast that I listened to for about 6 months, but I noticed every time I read a book they recommended, I HATED it. Although I have no shame quitting a book (more on DNFing here), it sure saves time in virtual line at the library when I can just skip the ones I don’t like. What this looks like today is that I no longer listen to the podcast, but if I am on the fence about reading a book, I will check this podcast’s website. If they recommend it, I do not read it. This is nothing against the podcast. There are no bad books, just books that are not for me.

What books do you recommend I read?

The other quick tip for fellow bookworms is what books I recommend for you.


Goodreads is a website with a mobile app where you can keep track of what you want to read, have read, and are currently reading. You can see more about how to use Goodreads on this post. You can see all of my Goodreads shelves here and follow me to get a weekly notice from Goodreads about what I have added.

5-Star Reads

Some of you don’t want to sift through the 900+ books that I have reviewed on Goodreads. To make it easy to get 5-star recommendations delivered to your mailbox, click here. When I read a book that I give 5 stars, I will send you an email about it, including links to purchase the book if you want. I am an aggressive user of my local library and encourage you to do the same, but sometimes you don’t want to wait 6 months for the best book ever (I’m looking at you, City of Girls). Also, there is value to supporting the arts and part of that is buying books.

Your turn, fellow Ink Drinkers! Reply back to this email and tell me what you are reading or where you get your recommendations!

By |2020-08-17T09:29:45-04:00August 18th, 2020|Mental Well-being|0 Comments
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