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Articles written by Sunday Dutro


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  • Sunda's Snapshots: What is strength?

    Sunday Dutro|Jul 11, 2024

    There are so many times where I feel like I’m just barely hanging on. The demands are so intense, the needs are so many, and I’m just hanging there, hoping I have the strength to outlast the weight of it all. “You do so many fun things,” a friend tells me, and I’m stopped short. We do? We sometimes do. Mostly our lives are spent at home because the world is so expensive, and crowded, and loud. We do the weekly free craft from the library when we’re lucky enough to get them. We go to local, kid-friendly events as often as we’re able. We take adv...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Jul 4, 2024

    We are officially halfway through the year, and thanks to the Thompson Falls Public Library book sale last weekend, my shelves are back to overflowing. Unfortunately, I’m not keeping up with my personal goal of reading 175 books this year. I’m currently at 80, which my tracking app tells me means I’m eight books behind; eep! Despite being behind, I managed to read 13 books in June, nine of which were four stars or better. Here they are in no particular order: Funny Story by Emily Henry is a contemporary romance that’s hilarious, hopeful...

  • Sunday's Snapshots: The last best tourist place

    Sunday Dutro|Jun 13, 2024

    Recently I had the good fortune to travel to Maine, a state I’d never been to and wanted to visit since I was a teenager and became obsessed with Stephen King and later Elizabeth Strout. When our local librarian, Jennifer Z., moved there, I hounded her for updates until she admitted, (and I paraphrase) “it’s a lot like Montana but with more people and an ocean.” I still wanted to go see it for myself, but it reinforced a belief I hold that Montana truly is the last best place because of the lack of population (there are other reasons of cour...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Jun 6, 2024

    Do you ever feel like a book finds you when you need it? Like the Universe or God or the interconnectedness of all things is working together to ensure you read a book when you need it most? May was one of those months. Nearly every book that found its way to me came when I needed it most. Now, I’m hoping all the summer books find me: the books that are light, quick, and full of love, humor, and easily resolved problems. Recommendations wanted. In May I read 14 books, 10 of which were four stars or better. Here they are, in no particular o...

  • Sunday's Snapshots: Spring cleaning, selling and saving

    Sunday Dutro|May 16, 2024

    It’s the last few days of spring and we’re heading so quickly into summer my head is spinning, although that may be the pollen. Already, we’re looking at pool hours and swimming lessons, at camping trips and vacations, at summer reading lists and summer camps. It’s also the time when everyone scurries to finish cleaning and decluttering, gearing up for the annual Sanders Saleing event next month. The other day at the library, another mom and I were discussing the clutter in our homes, the need to really get in there and clean everyth...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|May 9, 2024

    There ought to be at least two more books on this list, but I got distracted by the photos on Montana History Portal and their meme contest (it’s not too late to enter!). It’s been loads of fun creating funny memes related to reading, writing, and Montana life. Even with the beautiful distraction, I managed to read twelve books in April, and all of them were four stars or better. Here they are, in no particular order: Part of Your World and Yours Truly by Abby Jimenez are books one and two in a new contemporary romance series that’s funny...

  • Sunday's Snapshots

    Sunday Dutro|Apr 18, 2024

    Recently, I read two opposing books on time. One told me time is a construct and I can therefore make more of it by focusing on what I want to accomplish. Another book said time is finite, I can never have more of it, but I can learn to use it better by focusing on what I want to accomplish. While both books had opposite views of time itself, both books believed time is a thing we can harness through focus. It’s a fascinating contrast, to come at something from two opposed ways and yet obtain the same result. Perhaps that’s why core math works,...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Apr 4, 2024

    This phenomenal weather is demanding that I put my books down and go outside. I don’t know how I’m going to read anything in the next five to six months, not when the crocuses are popping up and the daffodils and the iris’ (swoon). The books that cross my path are going to require five stars if they don’t want to end up in my Did Not Finish pile (yes, I have one). Why are DNF piles such a debate? There were tons of books throughout my life I was forced to read by school or work and books I forced myself to read because I thought they were im...

  • Sunday's Snapshots

    Sunday Dutro|Mar 21, 2024

    Before moving here, we lived in a tourist trap of a town at an elevation of 4200’ in the mountains outside of San Diego, California. We’d get more snow there in one night than we’ve ever gotten in an entire season here in Thompson Falls, but the trouble was as soon as it snowed you couldn’t leave your house. The citiots, as we called them, appeared in droves blocking traffic for 20 miles in both directions and turning the hour-long commute into a three-hour crawl. The problem was our sweet little town with zero traffic lights and two stop si...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Mar 7, 2024

    Apologies readers, but somehow February was a month of memoir; I’ve been drowning in them (and it’s been wonderful; what a way to go). Unfortunately, that means I only had a couple works of fiction for you this month. If fiction is your jam, I will hopefully have many more recommendations for you next month as I just found three books I’ve been looking for at the Thompson Falls Public Library (libraries for the win!). Also, I get a lot of requests for more middle grade book recommendations and sadly, my kids are currently obsessed with Pokémon...

  • Sunday's Snapshots

    Sunday Dutro|Feb 22, 2024

    The woman everyone called Nana was my stepdad’s mom, with white perfectly coiffed hair, makeup always in place, and ironed slacks with blouse and cardigan ensemble. She was hardly the sort of woman you’d think would inspire anything beyond a fleeting feeling that fun needs to be left outside. But her formal Catholic looks were at odds with her quiet sense of adventure, her ready smile and laugh, and her deep and far-reaching kindness. Nana was always up for a good time, whether a play, travel, or a beer tasting. We’d all become so sick of heari...

  • Whatcha Readin'? Free day for more readin

    Sunday Dutro|Feb 8, 2024

    Welcome to a leap year! I recently asked an artist friend what she planned to do with her “free day.” I expected to hear something funny but true like “sleep!” or something inspiring but exhausting like “try a new technique.” Instead, she said, “it’s a Thursday: I’m going to work out and then work.” Wha-wha-wha. How terribly disappointing. Still, she’s not wrong…there’s this meme going around, you’ve probably seen it: “You can’t read all day if you don’t start in the morning.” This is something I haven’t done in years. Possibly because I hav...

  • Sunday's Snapshots

    Sunday Dutro|Jan 25, 2024

    Earlier this month, Annie Wooden wrote an editorial about trying new things, about surprising ourselves with what we can accomplish when we step out of our comfort zones and do things we could fail at. Perhaps you’ve heard the encouragement to “fail spectacularly,” a quote that seems to be attributable to multiple sources, none of which are familiar to me and all before I was born. Still, I love this bit of advice and try to live my life with it in mind. When I watch my children try something new, going all in, I’m reminded to be fearles...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Jan 4, 2024

    My husband and I recently debated the definition of “reading,” and whether or not audio books count. I say they absolutely do. The audio book is exactly the same as the written book and requires roughly the same investment of time, the listener learns the same information as the person who uses their eyes or fingertips to read it…why wouldn’t it count? I wish I had the attention required to listen to books, but sadly, I’ll be twenty minutes in and realize I have no idea what’s happening cause I’ve been in my head. What do you think? Do aud...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Dec 7, 2023

    Have you heard about how Iceland is known as a country where people give one another a book on Christmas Eve? They then sit around eating, drinking, and reading together. It’s called Book Flood, or Jolabokaflod, and I’m seriously thinking I was actually adopted from Iceland and my mother’s never had the heart to tell me. If the weather the last few days has you feeling Icelandic, here are some titles you can add to your gift/wish list. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed is a collection of Dear Sugar letters and their responses with a few...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Nov 9, 2023

    Do you have any candy left from Halloween? My neighbor made my kids freeze dried candy and I can’t.stop.eating.it. There are these malted chocolate ones that are just unreal. Thank goodness each holiday only comes once a year…. These below freezing temperatures have made for excellent reading weather, and I hope you’ve been able to take advantage of it. I was able to read 11 books in October, of which eight were four stars or better. Here they are, in no particular order: The Last Green Valley and Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark T Sullivan are h...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Oct 5, 2023

    Do y’all realize this is the twelfth Whatcha Readin’ article? Crazy! That means one full year of you sitting down with me once a month to email me a picture of your bookshelf (yes, I really do get those emails and I LOVE them!) or what you just finished that you couldn’t put down. That’s so exciting! I sincerely hope you’ve gotten some good recommendations from this column, and that you keep expanding my to be read (TBR) pile. Still, in September I read 11 books, five of which were four stars or better. Here they are, in no particula...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Sep 7, 2023

    Fall is in the air and so are soccer balls. I don’t know about your house, but ours is currently overrun with shin guards, socks and jerseys. The temperatures have finally cooled enough to make life outdoors tolerable again and if I’m not on a writing deadline inside, I want to be outside bucking wood with my husband or practicing soccer with my kiddos. In August I read 15 books, of which 11 were four stars or better. Here they are, in no particular order: Signal Fires by Dani Shapiro is medium-paced literary fiction that’s emotional and refle...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Aug 10, 2023

    Anytime we go anywhere my husband laughs at me and asks how many books I’m bringing. It doesn’t matter where we’re going, I always have a minimum of two physical books and one e-book with me. Always. The one time I forgot a book I ended up taking a much needed and very unexpected nap…but I’d rather be reading. People always talk about their summer vacations and all I want to know is if they read any good books. I may have a problem…. I read nine books in July, six of which were four stars or better, and (sadly?) none of which I’d consider a “su...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Jul 6, 2023

    It can be hard to read in summer with all the visitors, vacations, and the phenomenal weather begging you to be out enjoying it. Thank goodness for these amazing summer storms we’ve been having that force a brief break and encourage a bit of reading. Montana booksellers have started a new program called The Montana Bookstore Trail where you stop into any participating bookstore, pick up your passport and get stamps at each bookstore you visit. It’s a great way to combine your summer trips with reading and pick up some fantastic new reads. The...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Jun 8, 2023

    It’s officially summer! Who’s excited for beach reads on the river and library summer reading programs? Count my kiddos in. They saw the door o’ prizes pictures at the library and are beyond excited about winning a Kindle Fire or a slime kit or (oh, please no) a karaoke microphone. I was amazed at how many awesome prizes they have for older kids, too: remote control cars, artist kits, wireless earphones and speakers! It’s all so exciting, which gets them even more eager to read, and it’s free, which is a win-win for all. I slacked off in my...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|May 4, 2023

    Have you ever had to stop reading for an extended period of time? Have you ever read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron? I started this book in April and it’s one where you read a chapter a week and there are all sorts of tasks for you to complete and challenges. Last week was Reading Deprivation Week and I thought I was going to die. Life went into a massive tail spin in general with a new puppy in the house and all was calamity. Despite not being able to read for an entire week, I managed to read 15 books in April and I thought 11 of tho...

  • Whatcha Readin?

    Sunday Dutro|Apr 6, 2023

    I’m writing this on April 1 which is difficult in a house of young boys who think April Fool’s Day is an excuse to be extremely loud, place whoopee cushions under everyone the moment they turn around, and generally make it impossible to do any reading. Bless their beautiful hearts. In March I read 25 books, 16 of which were four stars or better: Someone Else’s Shoes by Jodi Moyes is a medium-paced contemporary fiction that’s not as romance-y (it’s a word) as many of her books but just as funny and emotional as she’s known for being. This...

  • Whatcha Readin'?

    Sunday Dutro|Jan 5, 2023

    Whatcha Readin’? Reading resolutions Every year my husband and I set our reading goals and then track them using apps like StoryGraph or Goodreads. And thanks to apps like Libby where I can read library books for free from anywhere, I’ve been able to keep to or even exceed my goals. For 2023 I’m aiming to read 150 books, but then I count everything: poetry, young adult, self-help… everything. Of the 17books I read in December, seven were four stars or better. Here they are in no particular order: My favorite book this month is an older book by...

  • Whatcha Readin'? Book Weather

    Sunday Dutro|Dec 8, 2022

    How much are we loving this cold and snow?!?! If you’re not a reader, you probably hate it. This is my happy weather: grab a mug of tea and a book, huzzah! Thanks to the weather I was able to read three more books than last month. Of the 16 books I read in November, 10 were four stars or better, which is a fantastically high ratio and definitely not the norm. Here are those 10, in no particular order: It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok: Meeting Grief and Loss in a Culture That Doesn’t Understand by Megan Devine is a non-fiction, very emotion...

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