State of the Stacks: Mid-Year Challenges Edition

With July quickly giving way to August, it’s the perfect time to check in on those reading challenges I signed up for last year. Ah, 2018! The early days of Plucked from the Stacks— back when I had some self-control over requesting ARCs. Read on to find out how those two challenges are going along with other bookish updates on this week’s State of the Stacks.

2019 Library Love Challenge

Hosted by Angel over at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures, the 2019 Library Love Challenge is all about showing support for your local library. In my original post, I signed up for the Library Card on Fire tier, meaning I intended to check out and read 60+ books during 2019. At the halfway point, my current total is 61/60.

Barely tipped over the finish line this week thanks to a hold finally becoming available! To be fair, a few of these are picture books. However, with months to go before 2019 is over, there’s plenty of time to check out more full-length works.

For a full list of titles I’ve read, see my shelf on Goodreads, though here are some of my favorites so far:

  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • One Witch by Laura Leuck, illustrated by S.D. Schindler
  • Them Bones by Carolyn Haines — My Review
  • What Goes Up by Wen Jane Baragrey — My Reivew

2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

The 2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, hosted by Passages to the Past, is all about diving into the rich stories set outside our contemporary time. While I enjoy the genre, it’s not something I regularly read a ton of, so I set a low goal in my original post. I’m on-track, but barely, with 02/05 reads. So if you have any great recommendations for historical fiction, feel free to drop them in the comments below.

My current reads so far:

  • Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts — My Review
  • Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok — My Review

Stack Chat

So that’s what I’ve read, but what am I reading next?

In a world where I have a shelf of books waiting, logically, I should read them before requesting anything else. And, to be fair, I’ve done that for the past few weeks. However, after seeing so many great reviews and recommendations, I broke my streak and slammed the request link for several books … and was promptly approved for eight.


What can I say? Fall and winter-themed reads are too tempting.

Here’s what I snagged from NetGalley and Edelweiss this week:

  • The Bakeshop of Pumpkin and Spice by Donna Kauffman, Kate Angell, & Allyson Charles
  • Christmas by the Lighthouse by Rebecca Boxall
  • Death by Jack-O’-Lantern by Alexis Morgan
  • Magic Under the Mistletoe by Lucy Coleman
  • Better Watch Out by Christina Freeburn
  • Christmas in Vermont by Anita Hughes
  • The Districts: Stories of American Justice from the Federal Courts by Johnny Dwyer
  • Plaintiff in Chief: A Portrait of Donald Trump in 3,500 Lawsuits by James D. Zirin

Publication Day

Only one book I previously reviewed was released this week, but it’s one from Debbie Macomber at her best:

  • Window on the Bay — July 16 2019 — My Review

Reading About Books

And of course, if you’re not reading a book, the next best thing is reading about books. Here’s a selection of bookish news and essays I enjoyed this week:

  • Professor Sarah Blackwood explores the feminist art to Amelia Bedelia’s passive aggression.
  • Writer Lila Shapiro investigates truth and fiction after author Sherrilyn Kenyon accused her husband of poisoning her.
  • Reporter Daniel Beekman writes about overdue library fines as the Seattle Public Library considers stopping the practice.

What about you? How are your challenges going so far? Did you request way too many books this week? Tell me about it in the comments below.

And that’s that— the State of the Stacks.


  1. Christopher, you’re doing great with your challenges even if (oops) your mouse clicks on the request button with some abandon. Don’t worry, it is a common problem among reviewers, an addiction few actually try to rein in.😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Plaintiff in Chief sounds so good! I mean, “good” but also horrifying. 3500 lawsuits? How is that even…? What an interesting way to frame a book about him. I absolutely cannot wait for your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Looks like you’re doing well with your challenges so congrats!

    As far as historical fiction goes, I think you’d enjoy the Gaslight Mystery series by Victoria Thompson. The first book is Murder on Astor Place. I also loved Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s