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It's Monday 8/7! What Are You Reading?

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Book By Book

Hosted by The Book Date


After our very hectic few weeks of visitors and travel, I was looking forward to a quiet week at home last week, with plenty of time to catch up and maybe see a friend. But my chronic illness had other ideas! I “crashed” (i.e. a bad flare-up) and was on the couch or in bed for most of the week. It took me awhile to figure it out, but I finally realized I was probably exposed to some virus at the wedding last weekend. Just being exposed to even a mild cold can trigger my immune system to go into overdrive, which is probably what happened. I did wear a mask for the wedding and reception, but I took it off to eat (at a table with seven other family members), and I didn’t wear a K-N95 (instead, just a surgical mask) because they’re too big for my face and keep sliding up over my eyes!

So, it was an even quieter week than I’d planned with lots of old Grey’s Anatomy episodes … and, of course, reading. I did manage a short walk on Tuesday, before I crashed, and by yesterday, I was feeling much better (once I realized what was going on, I piled on the antiviral supplements) and enjoyed a nice catch-up day to myself, while my husband and son golfed together.

Pretty view at our local park


On the Blog

Just one new post last week:

TV Tuesday: The Diplomat – this is our new favorite! Outstanding, suspenseful, and very funny. 


On Video

Birthday Book Haul – the books I got for my birthday this month

Friday Reads 8-4-23 - my brief weekly update of what I am reading and listening to   


 What We’re Reading

We are still enjoying Big Book Summer here, with all Big Books!


 I finished The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, and it blew me away (no pun intended). I last read it in 10th grade (my 40th high school reunion is this fall, so … yeah, a long time ago!). Tom Joad comes home from prison to his family’s small sharecropper cabin in Oklahoma to find the house empty and knocked off its foundation. The Joad family–along with hundreds of thousands of other farming families during the Dust Bowl in the 1930′s–has been kicked off their land and forced to pack all of their possessions (plus twelve people!) into a homemade truck and head west. They’ve heard there is farm work in California, so they and the rest of the new migrant class follow the rumors. Steinbeck has written the novel so cleverly: it is both the intimate portrait of this one family, that you get to know well, and also the story of an entire population in this place and time. It’s a gripping, emotionally complex, and even funny novel, and I loved reading it. I definitely want to read more Steinbeck.


I am now–finally–reading The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles. His previous novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, tied for my #1 book of the year in 2021, and so far, this one is 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. So far, I am loving all of the characters (even the ones who get in the way of their journey) and am fully immersed in their world. Besides, I love a road trip … and a book with a map at the front!


I am still listening to The Secrets Between Us by Thrity Umrigar, a sequel to The Space Between Us, which I read back in 2009 (review at the link) and my entire book group enjoyed. This second book picks up right where the first book left off, and the focus here is on Bhima, the servant from the first book. Bhima is no longer working for Sera but is determined to find a way to support her granddaughter, Maya, so that she can graduate from college, have a better life, and escape the slums. A new character is introduced in this novel, Parvati, an older woman who is struggling with serious medical issues and homelessness. Bhima is making some real friends for the first time in her life. Just as with the first book, the narrative immediately pulled me in, and I am completely engrossed. It’s excellent on audio.

My husband, Ken, finished reading Scythe by Neal Schusterman (my review at the link). He and I and our son all loved Schusterman’s Unwind dystology, and Scythe creates a wholly different future world, where life is ideal and humans are immortal. There is no more disease; injuries are healed by nanites in the bloodstream; even middle seats on airplanes have been abolished! But, in a world where everyone is immortal, there must be a way to control population, so certain people are chosen to be scythes who will glean (i.e. kill) enough people to balance things out and keep population steady. The focus in this first of three novels is on two teens chosen to be scythe apprentices. It’s a suspenseful page-turner with Schusterman’s usual thought-provoking insights into human nature and “perfect” societies. Ken enjoyed it.


Ken is now reading another Big Book, the much-anticipated new novel from Justin Cronin (author of The Passage and its sequels), The Ferryman. Coincidentally, Ken says the plot shares some things with Scythe. This new novel is about a utopian island in the midst of a deteriorating world. Island residents live a long life, but when their health drops to a certain point, they board a ferry to a separate island known as the Nursery, where their bodies are renewed, memories wiped clean, and they start life fresh (there is a similar renewal process in Scythe). The focus here is on one ferryman who is himself beginning to decline and must accompany his own father to the Nursery. It sounds fascinating, and I know what a great writer Cronin is.


Our son has been very busy with work, but reading is how he relaxes. He finished reading book 10, Necromancer, of the Spellmonger series by Terry Mancour. And he immediately moved onto book 11, Thaumaturge!


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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