Monday, July 25, 2022

It's Monday 7/25! What Are You Reading?

Hosted by The Book Date

I am still not quite (or even close to!) caught up from our trip, so apologies up front for not being able to visit as many blogs last week as I wanted to. I signed up for an online course that began the day we returned from our two-week trip to Oklahoma, so that took ALL of my time last week! Not the best timing, but hopefully, it was worth it.

I had hoped to catch up a bit on the weekend, but Saturday was my birthday, and I had the best birthday surprise ever! My husband and I enjoyed a morning matinee of Where the Crawdads Sing, our first time in a theater in over a year. The movie was a wonderful adaptation of the novel, with gorgeous cinematography. We were also planning to go out to dinner, but I was wishing I could spend time with our sons or some friends, too. To be honest, I was feeling a little lonely and sorry for myself.

I got up from my afternoon nap (chronic illness necessity), came downstairs, and ... my best friend from childhood was sitting on our couch! She had planned the trip to surprise me, and my husband did a great job keeping it a secret. We've been friends since we were 4 and 5 years old, and we hadn't seen each other in over 10 years. As you can imagine, we talked nonstop for hours! She came out to dinner with us, spent the night, and had breakfast with us the next morning. It was so wonderful to reconnect with her and catch up. Lots of hugs and laughter!

We loved to play dress-up!

First Day of School 1971?


In book news, I posted two new book-related videos last week:

June Reading Wrap-Up - my summary of the 4 Big Books I enjoyed last month.

Friday Reads 7-22-22 - an update on the outstanding books I'm currently reading.


And here's what we've all been reading this past week:

I finished Lucky Turtle by Bill Roorbach, a Booktopia pick this year and a Big Book, of course! I loved this unique novel. It's a love story covering decades but so much more, about friendship, found family, and motherhood. Nature plays a large role in the story and setting. It's beautifully written and so compelling that I stayed up much too late each night finishing it! Highly recommended.


Now, I am finally reading The Overstory by Richard Powers. This one was in my stack for #BigBookSummer 2021! It won the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, and was on many Top 10 lists in 2018. It's a series of separate stories about people and families, all over the world and at different times. In each story, there is a tree or trees that grow and develop along with the people or otherwise deeply affect their lives. It's wholly original and so far, excellent. I'm really enjoying it.


On audio, I'm still listening to The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd, another Big Book (audios count, too!). In this unique, magical mystery, a woman finds a mysterious map after her father dies. She and her father--and many other characters here--are cartographers who have devoted their lives to working with maps, but none of them have ever seen a map like this one! The audio has been been completely engrossing, right from the first chapter, and it keeps surprising me with new twists and turns.


My husband, Ken, finished his second Big Book, The Kingdom by Jo Nesbo. He always enjoys Nesbo's dark Scandanavian thrillers. This one is a stand-alone novel, not about Harry Hole. Ken enjoyed it, but when I said I was missing the characters from Lucky Turtle (it's that good), he said the characters in his book were all pretty scary!


Now, Ken has picked up one of his Father's Day gifts, Trespasser by Paul Doiron. This is book two in a mystery/thriller series about Maine game warden Mike Bowditch. Ken enjoyed the first book in the series, so I'm hoping he likes this one, too!


Our son, 27, has been on a Michael G. Manning binge lately! After reading the Mageborn series and a follow-up trilogy, he's now onto The Riven Gates trilogy, set in the same world. He finished Mordecai, and The Severed Realm, and is now reading the last book of the trilogy, Transcendence and Rebellion. He really enjoys this author and this fantasy world. I'm happy to report he is much improved from COVID at the start of July and was able to go back to work on Friday. 

Blog posts from last week - again, struggling to catch up!

Fiction Review: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas - Big Book classic

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. Birthday wishes and blessings a little late. Oh what a delightful surprise, just perfect. What gorgeous girls and amazing you have kept that friendship alive all these years. Yes The Cartographers does have lots of twists along the way, quite an unusual one. Lucky Turtle sounds really good too.

    1. Thanks, Kathryn! Yes, that friendship is truly precious! Loved Lucky Turtle :)

  2. Happy belated 🎉. Thanks for sharing the adorable photos of you and your friend during childhood.
    I'm reading 'The Passing Storm'. I randomly selected it while I was searching Kindle reads. I'm loving all the elaboration and detail the author provides.

    1. Thanks, Anna! Oooh, how fun that a random choice turned out good for you! Enjoy!

  3. What a fantastic birthday surprise! I am always cautious about movie adaptations of books I loved. It's good to know that it worked for you, although I am still cautious.

  4. Love the pictures of you and your BFF, and belated happy birthday!

  5. First of all, happy birthday, and second of all, oh my gosh—a surprise reunion with your childhood best friend is such a wonderful way to spend the day!! I'm so glad you both had fun together. All of these books look wonderful—I made note of The Overstory, which I've been seeing in so many places, it's so acclaimed. Thanks so much for the wonderful post, Sue!

    1. Thanks. Max! It was great to catch up :) Overstory just gets better and better as the connections between the stories/people grow - I'm loving it!

  6. I love that your friend surprised you for your birthday! That's so much fun.

  7. How fun that you had a surprise visit from your childhood friend! And it sounds like it came at just the right time. I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying The Cartographers. That seems to be a book that people love or hate. I haven't read it yet, but I have it because my brother recommended it to me and it is the only book he has EVER recommended to me! The pressure is on to enjoy it! - Melinda @ A Web of Stories

    1. Thanks, Melinda! It was great to catch up with her :) Almost to the end of The Cartographers and can see why it's got mixed reviews - still mostly like it overall though. Definitely read it since it's such a rare recommendation for you!