Monday, June 20, 2022

It's Monday 6/20! What Are You Reading?

Hosted by The Book Date

I'm back! I skipped last week's Monday post because we were able to get away for a quick camping trip! Our son was working from home so could take over Grandad duties, so my husband and I drove about an hour north for a brief respite. It turned out to be a nice little relaxing break, though it was over much too soon!

Large, shady campsite in the woods

Best part of camping: extra reading time!

We camped at French Creek State Park in southeastern Pennsylvania and enjoyed a short hike on Monday from the larger Hopewell Lake, along Scott's Run Creek to the smaller Scott's Run Lake (both created by dams). It was quiet and beautiful!

Hopewell Lake was FULL of water lilies in bloom!

Beautiful day at Hopewell Lake

Smaller Scott's Run Lake

My husband on the Lenape trail

Back home, things quickly got hectic again, including a completely unnecessary 6-hour trip to the ER for my 97-year-old father-in-law. But we enjoyed a nice Father's Day weekend. Unfortunately, our boys couldn't be home yesterday, but our younger son got back today and is playing golf with his dad. And our older son will visit next weekend instead. So, my husband and I enjoyed a quiet day together. We took a hike at the local nature center, then spent some time with his dad. When we found out our older son couldn't make the trip, we postponed dinner plans until today and instead, ordered Chinese and watched the Ozark finale (hated the ending!).

My husband and I hiking Sunday

Visiting my FIL for Father's Day

Big Book Summer Challenge is now in full swing! It's simple and easy-going: you set your own goals, to read just one or two or however many Big Books you want this summer. And a Big Book is any book (any type, any genre) with 400 or more pages. We're having some great discussions in the Goodreads group. And it's only June, so there's still plenty of time to join the fun!


I posted three new videos since my last Monday post:

May Reading Wrap-Up - an excellent reading month!

Friday Reads 6-10-22 - my weekly reading update

Friday Reads 6-17-22 and Camping! - my reading update, both peaceful nature videos from our trip.

Since I did my May Wrap-Up video, here is my 2022 Reading Challenge Update, as of the end of May (including both April and May) (click the link to see the details of my challenges):

Mount TBR Challenge - I've still only read 11 books from my own shelves this year ... and my goal is 48! This happens with Booktopia because all of the featured books are new releases, so my April and May reading included many of those new books (unusual for me). Big Book Summer will help, though!

Monthly Motif Challenge - April was Books to Screen, and I discovered that The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle had been made into a TV series in 1999 (but, wow, this one looks so bad, complete with cheesy special effects and a busty, semi-clad woman). May was an easy one, Book Lovers Unite, any book about books or libraries, as The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michelle Richardson fit perfectly.

Back to the Classics 2022 - My goal is to read 6 classics this year, and I've already read four, adding The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle in April.

Alphabet Soup Challenge - I have 17 letters filled in so far (of 26). It gets harder once the common letters are used!

Nonfiction Reader Challenge - I have read five nonfiction books so far this year (my goal is twelve), adding The Year of the Horses by Courtney Maum in May, in the category of Published in 2022.

Diversity Challenge - I've already read 25 diverse books this year! My goal is 40, so I'm doing well with this one. And I got May's mini-challenge, Asian or Pacific Islander, with The Verifiers by Jane Pek.

Travel the World in Books - I've added Russia (twice) and Brazil in the last two months, so I've been to nine countries so far in my books this year.

Literary Escapes Challenge - I've filled in 15 of the 51 states (including DC) so far. This one also gets more difficult once you get the more common states, like NY and California.

And here's what we've all been reading in the past two weeks, mostly for Big Book Summer:

I have been engrossed in The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, my Big Book classic for this summer! I've been hearing great things about it for years, from friends and my husband. It is a very readable, fast-paced novel, full of action that can be summed up as: the greatest revenge story of all time! For more details on the set-up (no spoilers), check out my latest Friday Reads video. I'm enjoying it and am down to less than 100 pages left. I'm hoping for a happy ending, but that's very doubtful in this case!

On audio, I have been listening to another Big Book, Gone by Michael Grant. This is YA science fiction, about a coastal town in California where all of the adults (in fact, everyone 15 or older) suddenly disappear one day in an instant. Young teens are left on their own to take care of themselves--and of the younger kids--while trying to figure out what caused this inexplicable disaster. It's actually the beginning of a long series that's been called Lord of the Flies for the 21st century! I'm enjoying it so far, though I don't love the audio narrator. It's a gripping, intriguing story.

My husband, Ken, is reading his first Big Book of the summer. He chose a chunkster I loved, All Clear by Connie Willis. This is part 2 of the duology that began with Blackout, which I read for Big Book Summer 2021. Both books are outstanding and among my very favorites. The premise is that, in 2060, a group of Oxford historians have all gone back in time to different places and times within England during WWII. Their goal (as in all of this Oxford time travel series) is to study history by witnessing it first-hand. But this time, something goes wrong with the technology and some of them get stuck back in the 1940's in the midst of war-torn England, with three of them in London during the Blitz. These books are both so great! They're a mix of fascinating historical detail, nail-biting suspense, and the kind of twisty time travel problems that I love, plus humor, too. My husband is loving it, and I'm trying hard not to give anything away! You can read my reviews of both books (no spoilers) at the links above.

Our son, 27, loves epic fantasies and was recently hooked on the series Art of the Adept by Michael G. Manning. Last I heard, he was reading book 4, Disciple of War, but when I checked in today, he said he finished that one and book 5,  The Wizard's Crown! Since book 6 isn't out yet, he switched over to one of Manning's other series (and another favorite of his), Mageborn. He hasn't yet read the last two books of this series, so he's starting back at book one, The Blacksmith's Son, re-reading to get ready for books four and five. Clearly, he loves this author!

Blog posts from the past two weeks:

Teen/YA Review: The Final Six by Alexandra Monir - Post-apocalyptic story of teens training to establish a colony on another world

TV Tuesday: The Flight Attendant - a darkly humorous thriller starring Kaley Cuoco

Fiction Review: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu - a quirky yet warm and funny sci fi novel about a time travel machine repairman searching for his father

What Are You Reading Monday is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date, so head over and check out her blog and join the Monday fun! You can also participate in a kid/teen/YA version hosted by Unleashing Readers.

You can follow me on Twitter at @SueBookByBook or on Facebook on my blog's page.  

What are you and your family reading this week?


  1. I'm really glad you and your husband got to get away on a camping trip, Sue! Especially since it sounds like things have been a little chaotic—an unnecessary 6-hour ER trip does not sound great! It looks like you're making great progress on your challenges, including the one you're hosting! And all of these books look great, especially The Count of Monte Cristo. Thanks so much for the wonderful post!

    1. Thanks, Max - it was a much-needed break!

  2. Your camping trip looks so relaxing and the perfect getaway. I wish we had leafy green areas near to us, but we don't. I am sorry about the long efforts in the ER with your FIL; that is probably tiring for both you two and him.

    1. Really? I love all our leafy green areas in this region! Especially this time of year when it gets so hot, and we need lots of shade. But you get those lovely ocean breezes!

  3. What a wonderful relaxing weekend you had. I am starting to get my mojo back after Covid. So far I have been focusing on listening to audiobooks while I try and get the garden and house under control. It only takes two weeks for chaos to take hold. I've got my next two big books ready to go, (one audio and one with my eyes) but have to finish some shorter ones first.

    1. So glad to hear that Cheriee. And I hear you on the garden - it was too hot to work outdoors the past two weeks, and ours are a jungle! Enjoy your books this week. Glad you are feeling better.

  4. So good you got away for a short camp and respite from home. I don't think I will ever read The Count of Monte Cristo but I do know its the favourite book of Meredith of the Currently Reading Podcast!

    1. I have to admit that a revenge story is not something I'd normally be attracted to, but it's well-written and an interesting, twisty plot.