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

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Book By Book

Hosted by The Book Date


Happy New Year!!

I love the start of a new year, with all its potential. My focus for the next few months will be on my health, since the past three years have been rough for me, with one relapse of my immune disorder after another. I spent most of the past few months lying on the couch, but with some extreme changes to my diet recently, I started to feel better on Christmas Eve and was able to enjoy the holidays with my family. It was just my husband, me, and our younger son for Christmas Eve, and we enjoyed a seafood feast with filet mignon on the side! Then we watched The Polar Express.


On Christmas morning, the three of us opened presents. Of course, I got a fabulous stack of books, plus some polka dot sneakers that make me smile.

Our older son and his girlfriend arrived in time for lunch and our traditional watching of The Snowman, and my mom and her husband arrived a couple of hours later. We had a nice dinner together and opened more presents.

Two nights later, we enjoyed a wonderful tradition with our oldest friends, our Cookie/Grinch Party. The “kids” are all grown up now and with partners, but we still enjoy gathering together to decorate cookies and watch The Grinch (the original, of course). Unfortunately, our older son got sick–just a cold but always a worry since he has the same immune disorder that I have–so they had to leave early and missed the cookie party.

And my husband and I enjoyed our usual New Year’s Eve traditions last night: a delicious steak dinner, two movies at home (reviews to come), and joining in the countdown from NY at midnight. I was thrilled to be able to make it till midnight! And now I am ready to start the new year.



On the Blog

Fiction Review: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin – I loved this warm, moving story of a lifelong friendship. 

Fiction Review: How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu – an excellent, unique novel told in interrelated stories over generations, about the creativity and resiliency of humans in the face of disaster.

Books for Christmas! – photos and video of the books we gave and received in our family this holiday season.


On Video

A to Z Hot or Not Book Tag – my quick review of an alphabetical list of bookish topics and whether I am “hot” or “not” on each one. This was fun!

Friday Reads 12-22-23 – my pre-Christmas update of what I was currently reading.

Christmas 2023 Book Haul – a quick overview of books given & received in our family.

Friday Reads 12-29-23 – my last reading update of the year (though I squeezed in one more book after this).


 What We’re Reading

 After I finished Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin, I read my last full-length adult novel of the year, Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett. I read her newer novel, Unlikely Animals, in April for Booktopia and got to meet the author and talk to her at the annual book event in May in Vermont. I loved that novel so much that I wanted to read her backlist. Rabbit Cake is another outstanding novel! It’s about 10-year-old Elvis, named after that Elvis, who loses her mom in a freak drowning accident (she was sleep-swimming, as was her habit). Elvis, her fifteen-year-old sister, Lizzie, and their father are each grieving in their own way. Lizzie is trying to set a world record for baking rabbit cakes (something their mother did on special occasions), but Elvis worries because Lizzie has inherited their mother’s extreme sleepwalking and is doing some really strange, dangerous things in her sleep (though not swimming, thank goodness). This is a story about grief, loss, and family but told with a hefty dose of humor and warmth. Elvis is a fabulous narrator, and I absolutely loved this novel.

I finished that on December 30 and managed to squeeze in one more book for 2023! I looked for my shortest middle-grade graphic novel and read Saving Sunshine by Saadia Faruqi. Zara and Zeeshan are twins (about 12 years old) who constantly fight with each other. Zara loves animals and the animal protection club at school, while Zeesh is into anything to do with space and NASA. Their parents immigrated from Pakistan years ago as students. Zara recently chose to begin wearing the hijab. The one thing the twins agree on is that they are sick of people being cruel and judgmental because of their names, their skin color, or how they dress. On a trip to the Florida Keys with their parents, the twins are forced to spend time together, and their parents hope they can regain the closeness they once had. This was a wonderful middle-grade graphic novel.


My last audio book for the year was one more classic slipped in under the wire, Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs. My only knowledge of Tarzan came from Hollywood TV shows and movies, so I really enjoyed hearing the original source material. Written in 1912, there are, of course, some cringey bits, especially about the Black natives of Africa. Overall, though, it’s a fast-paced adventure story that kept me riveted. The book’s history (told in the foreward and afterword) was fascinating; it had a major impact on pop culture, at the time and still continuing today. This was the first of 24 books that Burroughs wrote in this series, and it left me wanting more!

My husband, Ken, is still reading The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, a book I read for the Big Book Summer Challenge that is on my Top 10 list this year! He’s enjoying it so far, and it’s nice to be able to talk to him about it. 

Our son, 29, is feeling much better now and finished reading Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson (one of his older standalone novels). Now, he is rereading The Written by Ben Galley in preparation for reading book 2, Pale Kings (a birthday gift).

I will be finishing my 2023 reviews and beginning my year-end wrap-up posts this week!


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 pag

What are you and your family reading this week? 


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