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My Progress:

12 / 30 books. 40% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (2)
- Indiana (1)
- Iowa
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- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
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- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire
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- New York (4)
- North Carolina (4)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (2)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin (1)
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (10)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (4)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

48 / 50 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

40 / 52 books. 77% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

27 / 40 books. 68% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

10 / 25 books. 40% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

12 / 26.2 miles. 46% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

26 / 100 books. 26% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

64 / 104 books. 62% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

43 / 52 books. 83% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

69 / 165 books. 42% done!
Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Top Ten Tuesday: I'm My Own Santa Claus!

Christmas is on Sunday? What?? It still feels surreal, just like every year. I'm feeling much more prepared today than I was last Tuesday, so I'm hoping I'll be able to enjoy a nice, calm, peaceful weekend holiday celebration with family and friends. I wish the same for you and yours!

I mentioned last week that my reading goal for 2022 is 200 books. How am I doing? Not TOO badly. I'm at 188 read and I should finish both my paper read and my audiobook today. That gives me ten days to read ten more books. Can I do it? Like Bob the Builder says, "YES, I can!" Well, we'll see about that, Bob, but like the Little Red Engine chants, "I THINK I can." 

Anyway, it's Tuesday and that means it's time for TTT. Today's topic is, naturally, Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings/Bookish Wishes (Link up those wishlists and grant some wishes for the holidays!). I'm going to ignore the second part since I can't imagine asking you all to buy me books and just do the first one. Now, I don't know about you, but I always get what I want from Santa because, you know, I am him. Plus, my birthday is a few days before Christmas, so I just load myself up with whatever I want to get for myself. It always works out super well for me. Ha ha. 

If you want to share your bookish holiday wishes, join in the TTT fun. All the details are at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Ten Bookish Gifts Santa Is Going to Bring Me (if he gets "his" act together, of course)

1. A Little Free Library—I've been wanting one of these babies for forever and since we just moved into a neighborhood with a much lax-er HOA than our last one, I bought myself one for my birthday. Squee! We haven't put it together yet (and by "we" I mean my husband because I have no DIY skills whatsoever), but it's the one in the picture above.

Beautiful, isn't it? I can't wait to get it up and running. Anyone else have one? Do you have any tips for me on how to be a good LFL librarian?

2. Children's Books—I have plenty of adult books to stock my library, but I don't have a lot of kids' books. For my birthday on Thursday, I'm going to hit up my favorite indie bookstore, Changing Hands, and use my birthday discount to get some good ones. It's a new and used bookstore, so the stock is always changing. We'll see what I can find. Which titles would you buy?

3. My Favorite Mug—My husband bought me this mug, which I love, a number of years ago at Changing Hands. I don't drink coffee or tea (Mormon, natch), but I do down a lot of cocoa during the (too few) cold months here. My old mug has an annoying chip in it, so I'm going to grab myself a new one while I'm in the store.

4. Changing Hands T-shirt—Speaking of my favorite indie, my two Changing Hands t-shirts are bleach-stained and full of holes, respectively. I might pick up a new one on Thursday.

5. Read in Peace Cross-Stitch Pattern—This is more Halloween than Christmas, but I love this fun little pattern from LolaCrowCrossStitch. Plus, considering how slow I am to actually finish my cross-stitch projects, I need to start now in order to finish by October!

As for actual books, these five are definite possibilities:

6. Hester by Laurie Lico Albanese—I've been on the library waiting list for this buzzy hist-fic novel for forever. I might just go ahead and buy it.

7. The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean—This very unique-sounding novel has been all over the book blogosphere. It's one of the titles I'm planning to read for my Bookish Books Reading Challenge.

8. Beneath the Veil of Smoke and Ash by Tammy Pasterick—I'm intrigued by this family drama set in 1910 Pennsylvania. 

9. Atomic Habits by James Clear—I love this motivating book, which I already own, but I'm thinking about buying it on audio so I can listen to it whenever I need a little goal-getting inspo. 

10. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling—When these books originally came out, I bought every one in hardcover. In the years since, they've been read to death by me and my daughter. The first volume has also gone missing (except for the dust jacket, weirdly). I've been wanting to buy a shiny new set, probably in (super expensive) hardcover, but I do like the paperback set above.

There you are, ten books and bookish items "Santa" will likely bring me for Christmas and my birthday. What bookish treats are you hoping to find under your tree this year? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!


  1. Love the Harry Potter set!!

    1. It's lovely, isn't it? One of these days I'm going to buy it for myself.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  2. I have had my Little Free Library since---oh my!---2012! No wonder we are looking for something, maybe an old cabinet or box, to replace it. I hope you love yours, too.

    1. Wow! That's a long time. I'm super excited to get mine up and running.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deb!

  3. Being your own Santa can be pretty great - you're to get the right thing (and no returns!). Love the little free library. we have a couple in our neighborhood that i add to periodically. I read Hester this year and liked it a lot and I have Book Eaters on my TBR so may get to it.

    I saw your post about your new challenge. I'll be back to sign up. I'm doing one "sign up" post for all the challenges I'm joining (and it may be too many, we'll see).
    Happy Holidays
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

    1. Yay! I'm thrilled that you'll be joining me for the challenge. I'm going to be making one sign up post as well, just as soon as I decide which ones I'm going to do. There are too many good ones to choose from this year!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Terrie!

  4. I totally relate to being Santa. I am, too. BUT my husband does a great job for me. But if it's books, I tell him which ones to get me. This is a fun list! We have a free little library in the neighborhood. It's so fun!

    1. Smart! When my husband does get me bookish gifts, it's usually a bookstore gift card, which is what I prefer. Bookish shopping sprees are always fun :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deanna!

  5. I love this list, Susan. I would love to have a Little Free Library, but I am on a main street, very busy and there isn't much foot traffic. I take my read books to Florida and put them in the lending library at my resort. There are some great ideas here. I used to be my own Santa, so I know how that works. Merry Christmas!

    1. I think my house is perfectly placed for a LFL. I live on a cul-de-sac in a family neighborhood, between a community park and an elementary school. There's also a community mailbox right next to my house. There's a fair amount of foot traffic, so hopefully it will get well used but not abused.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carla!

  6. That new Little Free Library of yours is the cutest one ever! I'm a little jealous. Can't wait to see pics of it when you get it all set up. :D

    1. It is darling, isn't it? At the moment, it's still in boxes in my living room. One of these days, we'll get it set up...

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lark!

  7. A little free library would be such fun! I always look for them around my neighbourhood to put books into that I don't need on my shelves anymore but I can't have one where I live unfortunately. Maybe one day!

    1. There aren't any LFLs in my neighborhood. My HOA is pretty lax, so I don't *think* it will put up a fuss. Plenty of my neighbors have much more *interesting* lawn ornaments! Ha ha.

      Thanks for stopping in, Bree!

  8. Great post, I love your Little Free Library! For a children's book I would buy The Vanderbeekers of 141st. Street by Karina Yan Glaser, set in New York city. I read this a week or so ago as a Christmas read and it's delightful. Merry Christmas, Susan!

    1. Great suggestion! I haven't read the Vanderbeeker books yet, but I've heard lots of good things about them. I'm headed to the bookstore today finally, so I'll see what I can find.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cath!

  9. These are some great gifts! I hope you love them all. :) I don't have a Little Free Library myself, but there is one nearby in my new neighborhood. I need to make the time to go visit it (with some books) and see what kind of selection they have there.

    1. I always love checking out LFLs when I see them. There aren't many close to me, so mine is definitely needed!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  10. Yay for a free little library! Definitely get on their email address and enter the giveaways, I won three in a 6-month time frame :) Some publishers will send you free books for your library if you ask (thinking kids books), thrift finds are awesome, and so is exchanging books with other little free libraries! I left mine in our old neighborhood and in NC, and don't think our HOA here would allow it, they are very strict. Have a great birthday and Merry Christmas!

    1. Good idea! I'll definitely enter giveaways. I think I've got enough books otherwise to keep it stocked, but who knows? We'll see how it goes.

      Thanks for the tips and thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Cindy!

  11. The book 'Hester', with the letter A - is it a hisfic novel inspired by A Scarlet Letter? That would be fantastic! I'll have to check on that. Anyway, being your own Santa is a great idea! Have a Merry Christmas! :)

    1. It is! It's a popular book. I've been on the waiting list at the library since before it came out and I'm still waiting! Crazy.

      Thanks for popping in, Fanda!

  12. I'm excited you're getting a Little Free Library. We live in a too rural area for one. I hope you get everything you want for Christmas.

    1. I'm in the suburbs, so it's perfect! The LFL should be lots of fun. I can't wait to get it all set up.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Wendy!

  13. I'm seriously tempted to learn cross-stitch just for the Read in Peace pattern! Enjoy your book shopping and I hope you enjoy these books when you get them!

    1. You should! It's easy to learn, especially these days with YouTube tutorials. The pattern is so fun, isn't it?

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

  14. ooo great post! Coming to your blog always makes me smile! :) So firstly, thank you.

    The Harry Potter collection sounds like a good idea, especially since you and your daughter read them so much. I'm sure you'll find the missing copy in the new free library when it appears ;) he he. I've loved the idea of the free libraries for ages. They did one at my old university in an old phone box, but the door wouldn't open so no one could borrow anything!

    Your reference to the Little Red Engine made me smile, I remember that and singing along to it when I was a kid!

    The first three books on your list look right up my alley, so I'm going to look into them. I love historical fiction but the more I read, the harder it is to find good ones.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    1. Ha ha. I really thought HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE would show up when we moved, but it didn't. Just its cover. Very mysterious! Someone must have borrowed it and never returned it. Maybe my daughter smuggled it off to college with her...

      I'm always on the lookout for great hist-fic, too. It's not easy to find. Most of the ones I read are just so-so, so it's always awesome when I find a truly great one.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Amy!

  15. Oh! I forgot my recommendation! Roald Dahl of course! He's my favourite kids author!

  16. Wow! Some real, lovely goodies there. Hope Santa grants you all these gifts. Merry Christmas.

    1. Well, the only thing off the list I actually got myself was the Little Free Library. I went to the bookstore today, but ended up buying completely different books that I had planned to. Ha ha.

      Thanks for stopping by, Neeru!

  17. Brilliant list, Susan. And what a good idea to be your own Santa. I think that is the best because you definitely get what you want.

    LFL sounds great. I must think about it whether I can do one over here. We have those shelves in town but I guess one in the neighbourhood would be good.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT which only has five books this week.

    1. I love Little Free Libraries. They're so fun! There aren't any very close to me, so I'm excited to get mine going. Hopefully, it will be a great resource for my community.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Marianne!

    2. We have mainly large free library shelves around here but they are not in our area and I hardly ever get to where they are, so I guess a LFL might be welcome. However, I read mainly books in the original and they are more foreign than German, so I couldn't contribute too much for others.

  18. Love your list! I'm in the same boat with my reading goal. We can do this!!

    1. We got this! I have 50 pages left in my paper book and a few hours left in my audio. I'll finish both today and that will be my goal achieved. Yay! Hope you're closing in on yours as well.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Kami!

  19. This is a fun way to curate your list! I love that a free little library is your list too :)

    1. The LFL is the only thing on the list I actually bought myself. Ha ha. It's still in its boxes in my living room. Hopefully, my husband and I can get it set up soon.

      Thanks for stopping in, Jaime!

  20. Yay for the Little Free Library! That's so exciting! I've always wanted to do one but haven't had the chance. Merry Christmas! :)

    1. Same! My last HOA was really strict, so I couldn't do it in that neighborhood. Now that I've moved, I'm going for it :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Ashley!

  21. A Little Free Library is a dream! A friend had one, but her Minister husband was transferred and she had to leave it behind. She briefed the new pastor's wife on it though. I'd love one, but like you the HOA may not like it. A local church as a Little Free Pantry--just like that but with canned goods, a couple of diapers, a purse bag of wipes--like that.

    1. I love the idea of a Little Free Pantry! We have some extreme weather here in the Phoenix area, so I don't know how well canned food would do here. Books, though? Should be grand!

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  22. Replies
    1. Thank you! I can't wait to get it up and running.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Alicia!

  23. Replies
    1. Isn't it cute? I love it!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Louise!

  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  25. Looove the little library!!! I’ve been playing around with asking the HOA. Hester was a really good book & Book Eaters is on my list too. I’ve heard good things! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!

    1. We've decided not to offically ask the HOA for permission. It seems really lax, so I don't think it's going to matter much to them. We'll see. Ha ha.

      Thanks for popping in!

  26. Last comment for the day as I finish catching up on your blog/my happy bookish place...

    All of those look like amazing presents. Local bookstore support? Hearteyes. And funnily enough, a friend of mine got a book of Halloween-themed cross stitch patterns for Christmas that she's been loving; I'm going to show her this one.

    But best of all... awesome about the Little Free Library! Truly think they are the best invention of the last decade, one of my most coveted elements of home ownership. Honestly, I don't think you can do anything wrong with one, but I will mention that used book sales and thrift stores are a great place to pick up stock if the books go fast, or if you experience the opposite and want to change it up (seems like every location has different experiences on which genres are most popular).


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