Monday, August 01, 2022

It's Monday 8/1! What Are You Reading?

Hosted by The Book Date

I had a busy week last week, without much writing time, but I do finally feel like I am starting to catch up a bit, after all the flurry of activity related to my father-in-law's funeral. We finished our thank you notes yesterday, and I submitted the travel insurance claim for my son's cancelled flight. Making progress!

We had a very nice weekend. The temperature and humidity finally dropped so that we could get outside! My husband and I took a lovely walk at our local nature center Saturday morning. Their butterfly garden is in full bloom ... wow! It seemed like there was a butterfly on every single blossom, but they were all in constant motion, so it was hard to capture in photos.

Saturday afternoon, our oldest son came for a visit. Since he had to miss the funeral, it had been a while since we'd all been together. We spent a very relaxed weekend together; it was so nice to have him here! All four of us were together for Saturday dinner, and I made one of our family summertime favorites, Adobo Flank Steak with Summer Corn-Tomato Relish. The beef gets a 24-hour marinade, so it's super flavorful, and all the fresh summer produce (watermelon, too) was delicious!

I got some eye rolls, but I insisted we all sit down together for a photo because we're so rarely all together now.

I finally finished my last book review for books read in June ... before August! Like I said, catching up. You can hear my overview of the four Big Books I finished last month in my June Reading Wrap-Up video.

Here is my 2022 Reading Challenge Update, as of the end of June (click the link to see the details of my challenges):

Mount TBR Challenge - I read two more books from my own shelves (I don't count audio books), but I've still only read 13 books from my own shelves this year ... and my goal is 48!

Monthly Motif Challenge - June was Supporting Pride Through Books, and one of my books fit ... but I'm not going to tell you which one because it's a spoiler!

Back to the Classics 2022 - I read another classic, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, which I put under the 19th century classic category. That's 5 already, and my goal is 6.

Alphabet Soup Challenge - Still just 17 letters filled in so far (of 26). It gets harder once the common letters are used! Where are the book titles that start with Q, X, and Z?

Nonfiction Reader Challenge - No nonfiction in June.

Diversity Challenge - Two of the four books I read in June were diverse, bringing my total up to 27 so far (with a goal of 40).

Travel the World in Books - I added France in June, so I've been to ten countries so far in my books this year.

Literary Escapes Challenge - I added Nevada in June, so I've filled in 16 of the 51 states (including DC) so far. Too many books set in California!

Big Book Summer Challenge - Doing well on my own challenge so far, with all four books read in June 400 or more pages!

And I added two new videos to my YouTube channel last week:

Little Free Library Vlog - a quick tour of four Little Free Libraries in my area!
Birthday Books and Friday Reads 7-29-22 - my weekly reading update, plus the books I got for my birthday 

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

I'm still 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 but connected stories about people and families. In each story, there is a tree or trees that grow and develop along with the people or otherwise deeply affect their lives. It all comes together beautifully in the second half of the book, which I am really loving! It's wholly original and so far, excellent.
On audio, I finished 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 was completely engrossing, right from the first chapter, and it kept surprising me with new twists and turns. 

Now, I have just started listening to Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazemian. I'm not too far into this YA novel yet, but it's set in 1989 in New York City in the midst of the AIDS crisis and follows several teens. Art is a very out gay boy who is flamboyant and open. Reza is a recent immigrant from Iran, by way of Canada, who is very closeted, in part due to his family's culture and religion. Judy is a teen girl who is Art's best friend, is very close to her gay uncle, Stephen, and has a crush on Reza (not knowing, of course, that he's gay). I'm enjoying it so far!

My husband, Ken, is reading 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 and is enjoying this one, too. After reading two Big Books that were fairly complex, Ken says this is easy reading!

I got to catch up with our son, 27, this weekend. He's been reading a lot! He finally finished everything Michael G. Manning has written (so far) and thoroughly enjoyed each series and trilogy. Next, he read The White Tower by Michael Wiseheart, book one in The Aldoran Chronicles, a series that caught his eye. He enjoyed that and is now reading Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe, book one of the Arcane Ascension series.

Last week's blog posts:

Movie Monday: Where the Crawdads Sing - excellent adaptation with gorgeous cinematography

Teen/YA Review: Gone by Michael Grant - exciting sci fi thriller about kids on their own

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. Wow, you're doing awesome with your reading, honestly. I can't do big books at all. Like a Love Story sounds like an interesting book.

    1. For the challenge, a Big Book is anything with 400 or more pages, so some aren't all that big :) And I'm not bothered if it takes me a couple of weeks (or more) to finish, as long as it's good! Like a Love Story is great so far (also a big book, on audio).

  2. Lovely to all be together. You needed that after all that has been going on for you. Is it me, or does one of your sons look very much like his Dad and one very much like yourself! Enjoy your reading and more rest and recovery and hopefully continued better temperatures.

    1. ha ha No you have that exactly right, Kathryn! Our older son looks a lot like his dad, and our younger son and I share the same face! Though he loves when people tell him that lol. You can't tell sitting down, but all three of them are a foot taller than me!

  3. Anonymous6:49 PM

    Lots of great reading and the updates about the butterflies and the eye rolls just made me smile. Capturing the little things in life are huge!

  4. I'm glad you're starting to feel caught up with everything after the funeral, Sue—I imagine that was a really chaotic time! It's wonderful that you got to head to the nature center and spend time with family too. I've had Like a Love Story on my reading list for a while—it sounds really beautiful, but I suspect it will also be heart-wrenching, so I keep avoiding it! I'll have to see how it turns out for you. Thanks so much for the wonderful post!

    1. It HAS been a really chaotic time! Still trying to work out all the estate/will stuff. I am really enjoying Like a Love Story so far - can't wait to see where it goes.

  5. I am sorry about your father-in-law.
    I am impressed by all the reading challenges you are in.

    1. Thanks for the condolences. Don't be too impressed y the challenges - I mostly just read what I want to read and use them to track stuff. It's fun for me with no pressure!

  6. That family portrait is delightful! Some day your boys will be really happy to have it. I'm so happy that you are enjoying The Overstory!

    1. Thanks, Cheriee! LOVING Overstory! So unique.

  7. I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad you were able to get the family together. Like a Love Story sounds very interesting. I will have to check that out.

    1. Thank you. I'm really enjoying Like a Love Story so far!

  8. Lovely photo of your family; I am glad you insisted they all sit down for it! I really enjoyed Like A Love Story so hope you continue to like it.