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It's Monday 8/21! What Are You Reading?

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Book By Book

Hosted by The Book Date


Last week had some major ups and downs, but I will focus on the good things here. Our son had his 29th birthday on Wednesday, and his wonderful girlfriend surprised him this weekend by inviting his brother and two of his closest childhood friends to come visit. And he was definitely surprised! She told him they had to pick up a friend of hers at the train station Saturday morning, and instead of her 5′ tall friend walking out, it was his 6’3″ old buddy! I was so excited for him, and it sounds like the reunion weekend was just great. He needed that after a rough week. My husband and I missed seeing him for his birthday, but we were thrilled he got to spend it with his brother and old friends.

Nothing like old friends!

We also had a nice weekend here. We invited our oldest friends over for dinner Saturday and enjoyed catching up with them, after more than a month of various trips for both of us. Delicious food and good conversation. I’ve been pretty wiped out yesterday and today (a combination of easing up on my very restricted diet this weekend, plus too-early mornings), so I enjoyed a little reading time on our screened porch yesterday, before the heat and humidity returned today!

Reading on the porch


On the Blog

Fiction Review: The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar – this sequel to her best-selling novel The Space Between Us was just as immersive and compelling, providing a wonderful conclusion for Bhima. 


On Video

Friday Reads 8-18-23 – my brief weekly update on what I am reading and listening to


 What We’re Reading
We’re still enjoying the #BigBookSummer Challenge, which wraps up on September 4.


I finished The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles and absolutely loved it! His previous novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, tied for my #1 book of the year in 2021, and this one is entirely different but also excellent. It’s the story of two brothers in Nebraska in 1954: 18-year-old Emmett and eight-year-old Billy. Emmett was just released from a juvenile work farm after accidentally killing someone, and their father has just died. Their mother left when Billy was just a baby, so they are on their own now. Since their small town has a long memory and many still blame Emmett for the death of the other boy, they decide to take Emmett’s Studebaker and drive to California. Billy is a precocious kid who reads a lot, and he wants to drive the Lincoln Highway. As you might expect, things don’t go quite according to plan. It is patterned after hero’s journeys from classic myths and stories. I was fully immersed in their world, and the characters all felt so real. This is my very first Buddy Read with a Booktube friend, Nikki of Red Dot Reads, and I loved this approach! We left voicemail messages for each other after each of the ten sections, and we both agree this enhanced our experience and enjoyment of the novel. It’s like a book group for two … with a friend who lives on the opposite side of the globe!


With time running out for #BigBookSummer, I chose the smallest of the Big Books left on my stack, Afterland by Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls, which I loved. I bought this one for my husband last year. It’s both post-apocalyptic and dystopian, chillingly set in 2023, about a pandemic that kills of 99% of the males in the world. Those who are left, many of them just boys, are in high demand, especially for reproductive purposes on the black market (in defiance of Reprohibition laws). A South African mom named Cole is stuck in the U.S. after her American husband dies. She is on the run with her twelve-year-old son, Milo (now in disguise as a girl named Mila), trying desperately to keep him safe from both government research and black market criminals. There is plenty of tension and suspense, and the world-building of this horrifying post-pandemic world is detailed and immersive. It’s great so far.


This weekend, I just finished listening to an excellent middle-grade historical novel, Lines of Courage by Jennifer Nielsen. I also enjoyed Nielsen’s excellent novel, A Night Divided, about the Berlin Wall. Lines of Courage takes place in Europe during WWI and focuses on five young people, ages 12-15, each struggling with different aspects of the war in different countries, whose lives cross in unexpected ways. It was very good on audio, and I learned so much! I’ve read so many books–fiction and nonfiction–about WWII but almost nothing about WWI. Each of the five main characters was fully fleshed out, their experiences were suspenseful and interesting, and I loved the unexpected ways their lives intersected.


My husband, Ken, finished reading the much-anticipated new novel from Justin Cronin (author of The Passage and its sequels), The Ferryman, and enjoyed it very much. He said it was unique and compelling. Now, he is reading Breathless by Amy McCulloch, another book I gave him for Father’s Day. This one is an outdoor adventure thriller, about  series of murders that occur on a remote mountaintop during a record-breaking climb of a series of summits. It sounds like a gripping and original story.


Our son is reading book 12, Arcanistof the Spellmonger series by Terry Mancour. This one is a mere 845 pages! He’s loving this series and has been reading nothing else for months. 


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?



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