Weekly Update for January 7, 2024

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Weekly Update at Introverted Reader

Welcome to my weekly update for January 7, 2024!

Last week was fairly quiet as I was just trying to catch up on things after the holidays. We’re currently near Asheville, NC, my hometown, for a few months with my husband’s job. We’re not finished traveling but we decided that he could work closer to home this winter so we could have more meaningful time with our friends and family. It’s been nice to see everyone without being in the rush we usually are when we just come home for a week or so.

I found out last week that the mom of one of my friends from high school passed away. My friend and I were drum majors of the marching band together. I spent a lot of time practicing with him at his house so I knew his parents well. I haven’t seen him in about 25 years but since I’m home, I wanted to go pay my respects. When I saw him, it was like those decades of time had never intervened. We shared the longest hug while we muttered about how we couldn’t believe how long it had been. There’s really no friend like an old friend, is there? Several of us from our marching band days showed up, so it was a little mini reunion. There’s also no friend like a marching band friend.

My husband and I tend to hibernate in the winter months here in the mountains of North Carolina so I don’t have many pictures to share. We did visit the Carl Sandburg Home National Historical Site back in November. I can’t believe it’s just over an hour from where I grew up and I’d never been before. If you’re unfamiliar with the name, Carl Sandburg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning author/poet who may have been most famous for his biographies of Abraham Lincoln and his collections of stories for children, Rootabaga Stories. His home is beautiful (he and his family named it Connemara) but best of all, there are so many books, it practically feels like the house was built from them when you’re inside! There are currently over 11,000 books still on the property. Can you imagine? The view from the front porch is spectacular. Mrs. Sandburg wrote, “We didn’t just buy two-hundred and forty-five acres when we bought Connemara, we bought a million acres of sky!” She was a world-famous goat breeder and the site still has a small goat herd. We wandered out to the barn after we finished touring the home and combed the goats and petted the barn cats. There are hiking trails on the property but we weren’t prepared for that so we’ll go back when the weather warms up. At the end of the day, we drove to a nearby park called Jump Off Rock and watched the sunset.

This is the poem from Sandburg’s work that I’m most familiar with.


by Carl Sandburg

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


  • A view of the Carl Sandburg home, a 2-story white house on a hilltop with trees behind it
  • View of the sky, trees , and mountains, and an empty cement pond
  • An armchair in a corner of a room with full bookshelves filling the corner behind it
  • The orange sun is sinking behind mountains, giving them a golden glow

All images © Jennifer G. at Introverted Reader 2023

  1. Connemara, the Carl Sandburg home, sitting on the hill
  2. View from the front porch of Connemara
  3. A study in Connemara. Every wall was lined with overflowing bookshelves like this. Most shelves actually reached the ceiling.
  4. Sunset from Jump Off Rock


My Top Ten Books of 2023 (with my husband’s top three as a special bonus)


Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe, read by Caitlin Kelly–4 Stars

Currently Reading:

Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

American Christmas Stories, edited by Connie Willis

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, written and read by Issa Rae

Up Next:

I’ve been trying to finish up a post that summarizes my reading year and points out my favorite books in various genres that might not have been highlighted in my top ten. Hopefully I can finally get that finished up and posted this week.

What did your week look like?


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz hosts The Sunday Salon and Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer hosts Sunday Post. Kathryn at Book Date hosts It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. Glad you’re getting some mountain time! In the spring, you guys need to to hike to the top at the Sandburg home. It’s lovely! I hiked up and read a few poems while I was there one day. Also….LOVED This Tender Land. Soak up all the Appalachian you can, while you can!

  2. When Women Were Dragons is way up there on my TBR.

    I am so behind on my comments I just decided to pop by and say Happy New Year and I’m so glad we are blog friends. Have a wonderful week!

  3. Happy New Year! I haven’t read any of the Top Ten books you’ve listed! Thanks for sharing the slideshow, and the idea of winter hibernation sounds wonderful! May I join you? 😉

  4. It’s so nice you are getting to spend some time around home for a bit. I was in marching band 5-12 and also in college. 🙂 I was closer to my jazz band musicians since that was all year not just fall. I knew Sandberg was a poet but not a biographer.

    Anne – Books of My Heart This is my Sunday Post

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s mom but happy you were able to reunite and be there for him.

      I would love to visit Sandburg’s home one day! I remember some of his writings from when I was in high school.

      Looks like you had an amazing reading year! I read How to Be a Good Creature a couple of years ago and loved it. A few of those other books are on my list.

      I hope you enjoy your time closer to home this winter and get in all the good reads!

  5. How great you were able to be there to support your friend. I agree, band kids have a special bond. I was in the marching band for 7 years and stage band for 3 and although there were times I hated it, mainly in 100 degree temps and endless practices, it was a great experience.

  6. I’m glad you were able to reconnect with an old friend even if it was for a sad reason. It must be nice to be able to spend more time in your home area and not just have a few rushed visits. Carl Sandburg’s home looks amazing. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  7. Friends like that are people to be treasured!! Glad you were able to be closer to home at this time.
    I need to do my stats post soon.

  8. My husband and I hibernate in the winter as well – definitely relate!

    Also, I think I must have missed When Women Were Dragons on your Top Ten list earlier in the week, but I definitely need to read that book! It looks incredible!
    My Sunday Post!

  9. I don’t know much about Carl Sandberg but it was really interesting to hear about his property and house and see some photographs. We live about two hours from where Mark Twain wrote some of his books but we used to live a half an hour away so we did go to the college campus where his small writing gazebo sits now and visited it. It was such a cool feeling to sit inside it and think about him in there writing alone. Of course it would have been on a hill overlooking a view back when he wrote and not surrounded by college buildings.
    I hope you have a good reading week. I am looking forward to delving into some cozy mysteries sometime this month.

  10. That’s nice that you’re close to home! And there really is nothing like an old friend. Nice that you had that reunion but so sorry to hear that.

    Connemara sounds wonderful as well.

  11. I am so glad you were home and could connect with an old friend. To me, there is nothing better! I agree that it feels like no time has passed, I think a shared childhood/teenhood solidfies a bond that never goes away.

  12. It’s wonderful to get together with an old friend. I wasn’t in band, but most of my friends were and I agree: Band friends are special.

    I really want to know more about that Brandon Sanderson book.

    Thank you for sharing photos of the Sandburg home.

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