Bookish Chatter | Late June Reading Update

I woke up this morning with a start when I realized it was already Wednesday. I’m shocked by how quickly this week has moved. But I’m here this morning and am ambitiously hoping to update you on my stack of books and the state of my reading journal. Wish me luck!


Four Souls was the third bonus book that we squeezed in for the Erdrich-Along. Out of these three (The Beet Queen, Tracks, and this one), it was my favorite. This describes the period when Fleur lived in Minneapolis and was married to John Mauser – the rich man who stole her family’s land. The story is told by two narrators: 1) Polly Elizabeth, the sister of John’s first wife, who tells us what life is like for Fleur; 2) Nanapush, who keeps us up to date with what happened on the Reservation while Fleur was away. This book is full of redemption and humor; I simply adored it.

We finished another read aloud this week, Comet in Moominland. This is my first Moomin book and I really enjoyed it. The illustrations are lovely and it’s full of the coziest details. In this one, young Moomintroll and his friend Sniff learn that a comet is on its way to Moominvalley. They go on a daring adventure to the Observatory high in the mountains to learn more about when it will arrive and what to expect. This was such a fun little book and I’m looking forward to starting the next in this series this morning.


There’s not much change from last week.

  • The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish – I was hoping to curl up and spend big chunks of time with The Weight of Ink this week, but my concentration left me (again!) after Friday’s ruling. I’m finding that I really need to pay attention to this book, so I’m reading in tiny bites and am enjoying it very much. I’m so close to finishing and am anxious to learn what happened to Ester!
  • Bunny by Mona Awad – I’m still listening to this on audio! I’m struggling to find audiobook time, so I’m making very small amounts of progress. And still – this book is SO entertaining. I can’t wait to learn what is actually happening to these characters.
  • The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry – still reading through this lovely book of poetry, just one or two poems a day. And just like when I read my previous book of poetry by Wendell Berry, nearly every poem feels relevant and scratches at something that’s going on in my own life. I’m not sure how he does it.
  • Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg – still reading just a chapter or two a week for a little inspiration.


Thank you all for your comments about keeping a reading journal last week. I love how varied the responses were — it shows how much work and how difficult this process can be. Reading is so personal and I love learning from you all. Mary posted some pictures of her most recently finished notebook on Friday and that inspired me to sit down and get to work on mine.

The first two pictures include books I’d prepared covers for earlier this year. I didn’t really write anything earth shattering on those pages, just quickly scribbled the impressions that I still felt from them. (And I mean scribbled, my handwriting is atrocious in this notebook and that’s probably okay.)

The third picture includes a little printout I made from the Fiction Matters Paperback Summer Reading Guide (not sure if everyone can view that link? I think it’s free for everyone because it’s from the FM newsletter, which isn’t just for Patreons). I pasted that in along with my TBR lists for the rest of the year. I’ve been trying to sort my TBR monthly because then I can decide which books to carry forward each month and which were whims that I can leave behind. It’s been working pretty well the last several months, but we’ll see how it goes in the future.

The fourth picture is the layout I prepped for Saturday’s Zoom session for the Erdrich-Along. This was handy because we discussed all three books and I loved having my notes right in front of me. And I think it’s my favorite page in the journal – I love that it’s FULL and how the books are part of one big family.

I skipped lots of books as I was playing catch up — I’m telling myself it’s okay to have an incomplete record here because I have another notebook that includes a very complete record. I’m not sure how devoted I’ll be to keeping this up to date in the future, but I love how it forces me to sit and think about what I’m reading. And it was really interesting to write about books that I’d read several months ago — it’s funny what stuck with me and what I couldn’t remember.

Okay – I think I got everything onto the screen that I hoped to say, however imperfectly. This week (month, year, decade?) has been hard, hasn’t it? I feel so lucky to have good books and good friends to help me through it, so thank you all!

I’m planning to be back on Friday with a few joyful moments, until then – take good care.


17 thoughts on “Bookish Chatter | Late June Reading Update

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  1. ooohhh, the glimpses into your journal – squeal!! (and can I say how much I love the WordPress gallery to allow me to zoom in and really study the images? also, your handwriting is SO much more legible than mine πŸ˜‰

    love that you included the FM summer reading guide and a TBR … I keep those lists in another place because they tend to be more … fluid … than what I keep in my book journal.


    1. Thanks Mary! And thanks for inspiring me to get to work on my own πŸ™‚ I can see why the book journal might not work for book lists… I’m giving this a shot for a while and will abandon it if it’s not working anymore!


  2. You have nearly inspired me to do better than my posts and pages about books on my blog, and my tbr lists are just all over the place, but then they suit me….


  3. The pictures you’ve shared of your book notebook make me understand better why you feel a bit stressed about keeping it up. I have been using Anne Bogel’s reading journal this year, and most of the time all I do is put in the title, author, dates I read, and ratings. I’d like to add more thoughts and write more for all of them, but often I find myself without the time or mental energy. So I give you a pass if you feel that trying to keep up with it is too much!


  4. I do love seeing how others document reading and life. Very fun. My reading is all over the place right now but I am jotting down current titles in my planner so I don’t completely lose track.


  5. lovely, Katie. Just so lovely! (and thank you for the reminder of the Wendell Berry book… I was sad to see my library does not have it! Boo!)


    1. Oh darn. Maybe an inter-library loan? And I think poetry books are always worth purchasing πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for your kind words! Enjoy the rest of your week.


    1. Ahhh!! That one looks like so much fun. I love how it includes a star rating. I was looking for a self-inking stamp that had 5 blank stars that I could just fill in. No luck yet! Happy journaling πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. The glimpses of your reading journal are so fun Katie. I’m like Sarah – I keep a list of what I’ve read (title and author) and when and my rating. That’s it. I agree that good books and good friends are crucial – always, but particularly now.


  7. The glimpses into your reading journal are so nice and inspire me to take a little more time and care with my journal. Wendell Berry is one of my favorite authors and you’ve reminded me how important his writing is during these difficult times.


  8. I really do need to read some of Wendell Berry’s poetry! I’ve read one of his novels so far, Jayber Crow, and really enjoyed it.


    1. Jayber Crow is one of my favorite books of all time. I’ve also read Hannah Coulter, which was very good as well. I wish Wendell Berry was my friend and I could write him an email and he’d respond. He’s such an interesting person!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the idea of pictures of the book in your journal, but where do you find the pics. I keep a list of my books, authors and the dates read. I often cannot remember what the book is about. I think the pics would help jog my memory. I enjoy your blog Carolyn


    1. Hi Carolyn! I get the pictures from Goodreads. Are you a member there? If you’re on a book’s page, you can just click on the cover and it will take you to another page that is just the cover. From there, you can right click on the image and save it to your computer. Once I save the images I want to print, I open a word document, insert the pictures, and resize them, usually to a height of about 2″. And then I print out the page, cut out the pictures, and glue them in my book!


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