Monday, September 12, 2022

It's Monday 9/2! What Are You Reading?

Hosted by The Book Date

I don't like to focus too much here on my chronic illness (my book blog is my happy place!), but I just wanted to mention that things have been bad for me the past few weeks. I've spent a lot of days in rough shape (what we call a "crash"), including the past two weekends. It's getting old. So, I apologize for not getting around to visit as many blogs as I wanted last week. I used my limited energy to wrap up Big Book Summer!

Back to book talk--the good stuff!

I posted two new book videos last week:

Friday Reads 9-9-22 - my brief weekly recap of what I'm reading

Big Book Summer 2022 Wrap-Up - I review the Big Books I read for this summer's challenge - so many outstanding books this year!

Since last week's Monday update was focused on the end of Big Book Summer and the start of the R.I.P. Challenge for fall, I didn't include my usual end-of-month challenge stats. I also forgot to do it last month and was away the previous month, so here's where my 2022 Reading Challenges stand, as of the end of August (click the link to see the details of my challenges):

Mount TBR Challenge - This summer, I read 7 more books from my own shelves, bringing me to 18 for the year so far--still a far cry from my goal of 48!

Monthly Motif Challenge - June was Pride month, and I read a book that fit, but it's a spoiler so I won't tell you which one. July was Summer Lovin' for love stories, so Lucky Turtle by Bill Roorbach fit. And August was Quick Lit - since I had been reading entirely big books, I squeezed in a graphic memoir, Button Pusher by Tyler Page .

Back to the Classics 2022 - I added one classic this summer, The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, for a total of 5 so far this year--my goal is 6!

Alphabet Soup Challenge - I added just two letters this summer, O and P, for a total of 19 so far (of 26). It gets harder once the common letters are used!

Nonfiction Reader Challenge - I added just one nonfiction book this summer, Button Pusher by Tyler Page--that counted under the category Medical Memoir.

Diversity Challenge - I'm now up to 34 diverse books this year! My goal is 40, so I'm doing well with this one.

Travel the World in Books - I added France (The Count of Monte Cristo) for a total of 9 countries so far this year.

Literary Escapes Challenge - I added 3 more states for a total of 18 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.
Big Book Summer Challenge - I read 11 Big Books in June, July, and August (and another 2 in September).

And here's what we are all reading this week:

I wanted to jump right into the R.I.P. Challenge (I love fall!), but I needed to read a book for my book group. Luckily, it's a perfect fit! The Butterfly Cabinet by Bernie McGill has a creepy-looking cover and a Gothic setting, in a castle in Ireland between 1870's and 1960's. It's all about long-held family secrets, a mother sent to prison, and the how characters' actions affect later generations. I'm enjoying it so far; it's dark and intriguing.

I finally set up my new iPod and chose an audiobook that fits with the R.I.P. Challenge. I hadn't read a middle-grade book all summer, so I picked Mysteries of Trash and Treasure: The Secret Letters by Margaret Peterson Haddix, one of my favorite middle-grade authors. This is the start of a new series for her, being released on September 20. It's about two kids whose parents each own their own businesses clearing out people's houses ... but with very different approaches. Colin's mom takes a Marie Kondo-type approach to curating possessions, while Nevaeh's dad's business is The Junk King, and all her siblings work for him. Their parents are fierce rivals, but when Colin finds a mysterious shoebox of letters from the 1970's, the two kids team up. Each book in the series will examine people's relationship to their stuff and focus on a different era of history. It's great so far!

My husband, Ken, is still reading The Survivors by Jane Harper, one of the many books I gave him recently as gifts! He and I both enjoy this series of mysteries/thrillers set in Australia (I have a Jane Harper in my R.I.P. stack also). This one, like her first, The Dry, is about a man returning home, where a terrible tragedy occurred years earlier. It's a seaside town, and while his family is vacationing there, a dead body washes ashore that stirs up old secrets. Sounds like another good one!

Our son, 28, has also been home sick this weekend, so he's enjoying some extra reading time! He finished three books in the Spellslinger series by Sebastien de Castell last week: book 3, Charmcaster, book 4, Soulbinder, and book 5, Queenslayer. And he just finished reading The Torch That Ignites the Stars, book 3 in the Arcane Acsension by Andrew Rowe.

Blog posts from last week (all caught up!):

Movie Monday: The Lost City - action, romance, humor, and a whole lot of fun!

Fiction Review: The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny - another intriguing and thoughtful mystery with Inspector Gamache

Fiction Review: Sycamore Row by John Grisham - suspenseful, twisty legal drama

2022 Big Book Summer Wrap-Up - a great season of reading for me and 50 other people!

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 am so sorry you are suffering; it must get really old.

    I am trying to read from my TBR shelf as well even though I am not keeping track of how I'm doing. Since my move, I have been particularly motivated so we'll see how that goes.

    1. Thanks, Helen. I can see how a move would motivate you to read more from your shelves!

  2. Well done on your challenges!
    I see Weir's book on your picture, I enjoyed it a lot.
    And of course Gamache. Can't wait for next book, to come out on November 29.
    Enjoy your week!

    1. Thanks, Emma! Project Hail Mary was AMAZING!!!

  3. Sorry you've been at a low ebb, healthwise. You're so productive even when you're not at your best, you're still ahead of most of us! Jane Harper has been on my TBR for a while now. I just got a promotion at work and that has eaten away at my break time, so I haven't been reading as much as I used to on breaks at work. Just finished listening to Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh on audio, which was excellent. Even though some of the characters were repellent, she really made them almost sympathetic characters the way she got into their heads and showed why they thought and felt the way they did.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Laurie. Did you see my comment on your blog? You won the Big Book Summer giveaway! I just need your e-mail address so I can send you the gift card

      Mercy Street was very good on audio, but I'm a longtime Jennifer Haigh fan, and my favorite of hers is Bakers Towers. I agree she did an amazing job in Mercy Street in providing all perspectives without bias.

  4. I'm sorry it's been such a rough week. Congratulations on completing your challenges. The Secret Letters sounds really interesting. I always love Margaret Peterson Haddix.

    1. I do, too! MPH always writes great novels!

  5. I hope you are feeling stronger soon.
    Congrats on your challenge achievements, and enjoy RIP

    Wishing you a great reading week

  6. Hope that crash will eventually lessen. I guess part of it is you just have to wait it out and rest. I have given up on my iPod as too hard to sync with my computer. I listen now on my iPad.

    1. Yes, that's the part it's hard to be patient with, Kathryn - just resting and waiting :) My iPod still synchs easily with my laptop/iTunes, and it fits in my pocket. I usually listen to audios while doing other things around the house.