Hi bookish friends,
June was a pretty good reading month actually. I feel like I am slowly getting back to a pace that I had last year. My closest circle of girlfriends from my college times recently started our own covid-19 book club toward the very end of May and we have been flying through books! This has certainly helped me 1) work toward my own book quota and 2) branch out into other genres. We’ve been purposely selecting books we expect to lead to engaging conversations. Plus the wine during our zoom meetings helps tremendously. But we also constantly text in our group mentioning thoughts we had while reading, suggesting new novels to read, and selecting the next drink special to go with the current book.
Books read: 11
Books listened to: 2
Total pages read (includes “pages” from audiobooks): 3349
Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs (Caitlin Doughty) ♠♠♠♠
This was a fun and entertaining listen that was a perfect companion during work. I hope to find similar audiobooks in the future. This one is like a Q&A style and I found that extremely effective. The facts and tidbits kept me curious the whole time.
I recommend this book to anyone a little morbid like myself.
Sorry I Missed You (Suzy Krause) ♠♠♠
This novel was a book club pick and I liked that it was about women and their relationships, insecurities, and struggles. In that sense the cast was diverse. Sadly, I found myself not really relating to anyone of them. Each one had a little something that felt familiar and in the end that is what kept me engaged. But I can’t say that this story went beyond cute, which is really something I was expecting.
I recommend this book as a book club read as it allows for a lively discussion.
Fledgling (Octavia Butler) ♠♠♠♠♠
If I haven’t said it in the past (and I am sure I have), I adore Octavia Butler. Kindred is in my top all-time books list, The Earthseed Series is genius, and this current novel is no exception. Fledgling was deliciously strange, but also uncomfortable and confrontational in the best way possible. Butler always makes me think. Here, she cleverly and seamlessly weaves together topics of otherness with a vampire story. She points fingers without pointing fingers. She makes me introspective and challenges me to look into my own biases and believes all while I am deeply enjoying a story. I devour her books and this one went down quickly. Yet it stuck with me. I keep thinking about it here and there and I am sure I will re-read it in the future.
I recommend this book if you’re looking for fiction, specifically paranormal horror, that deals with social injustice.
The Tradition (Jericho Brown) ♠♠♠♠♠
I had been on the waitlist with my library for so long that I almost gave up hope that I could read this collection this century. This is a good thing. I love when poetry books are in high demand! Anyway, Jericho Brown did not disappoint. The poems ranged from emotionally-devastating to hopeful. I experienced a spectrum of feelings and cherished every moment of it. And I know, I know …. don’t judge a book by its cover …. but isn’t this cover art just extraordinarily beautiful????
I highly recommend this collection.
The Honest Truth (Dan Gemeinhart) ♠♠♠♠♠
Um, this is middle grade ….. middle grade that wrecked me. This is one of the summer readings a friend’s daughter has on her list. We often read books together and I love chatting with her about her thoughts. We’ll see how this conversation will go. This story has so much heart and so much conflict – conflict that is especially real in young kids’ lives. Should I tell on my friend because he might be in danger even though I promised him I would keep a secret? Do adults understand what I am going through? Am I alone in this? These are just a few of the themes Dan Gemeinhart tackles in this coming-of-age novel where a young sick boy wants to have one adventure that is all his own.
I highly recommend this novel to any parent with a middle grade child. This book would be a great starting point to have some of the discussions that preoccupy children at that age.
Du Hättest Gehen Sollen (Daniel Kehlmann) ♠♠♠
Fun read with a House of Leaves feel. I wish it would’ve been a full novel. I really felt like I needed more. English title: You Should Have Left.
I recommend reading this novella before watching the movie.
The Bog Girl (Karen Russell) ♠♠♠♠♠
This story originally appeared in The New Yorker and it was just plain delightful, super imaginative, and weird. I loved every minute of it. This could totally be developed into a book and I would be here for it!
Midnight Robber (Nalo Hopkinson) ♠♠♠♠
The cover art perfectly mimics what awaits you when you open the book: a vibrant and unusual world. Nalo Hopkinson pulled me into the story like I was on a carnival ride: fast and sudden. The imagery was amazing. I mean I could see the town, the forests, the characters. I could feel the textures. I could hear the music. I loved that she wrote an imperfect heroine. I loved that she interleaved folktales (or what were meant to read like folktales) with hard-hitting science fiction. She paired the adventure/the plot with poetic symbolism, allegories, and metaphors. Her words forced me to feel things and to stay engaged no matter what. She touched on difficult topics but yet made you feel empowered and hopeful. This novel made me super curious to read any of her other works.
I recommend this book if you love speculative fiction with a healthy dose of scifi.
Beach Read (Emily Henry) ♠♠♠ and 1/2♠
Another group read with the book club. I don’t have much to say about this novel. I loved the story until a certain point when something was revealed that I felt was essential to the background and motivations of the characters that just left me disappointed. After that I started feeling meh about the book. Good thing it was closer to the end but that really damped my enthusiasm for the overall value of this novel.
I do’t recommend this book because it just didn’t feel special.
1984 (George Orwell) ♠♠
Bucket list item! I really liked Animal Farm and have been meaning to read 1984. I don’t know what happened here but I was just so bored with it. I ended up switching to the audiobook version otherwise I would’ve DNF’ed it. It kept me a bit more engaged but ultimately this book was not for me. I understand its historical value and that is the only reason why the rating isn’t worse.
I earnestly don’t want to recommend this book.
The Boyfriend Project (Farrah Rochon) ♠♠♠♠
5 spades on friendship and 3 or so on the love interest. This was super cute and another breezy read. The setting is modern, the trope is not but I didn’t mind that at all. The characters are all unique and own-voices in a way making this a valuable romcom to me.
I recommend this book as a great summer read.
The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas) ♠♠♠♠♠
So, I read On The Come Up prior to this and loved it. Based on that and the fact that The Hate U Give has gotten so much hype that I had pretty high expectations. Oh boy, did it live up to them. I honestly am glad I waited to read this book until now. I don’t think I was quite in the mindset to truly get it even just a few months ago. Angie Thomas has a unique gift – she can make us see and feel things, question ourselves, look deep within ourselves with what should be a simple coming-of-age tale. The lessons in this novel are in abundance. Just allow yourself to really take them in.
This is required reading for everyone.
Find Me (Anne Frasier) ♠♠♠♠
My Amazon Prime First Read pick for June was a fun and fast book. I was engaged right from the beginning and thoroughly enjoyed the premise. I figured things out about halfway through but getting to the resolution at the end was still full of curveballs. A few questions remain unanswered and I presume we get to learn about those things in book #2, which unfortunately is still like a year away. My book club loved this novel.
I recommend this book for anyone interested in mysteries and thriller without a huge amount of gore or violence.
HOW WAS YOUR JUNE? DID YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOK? MY FAVORITE WAS DEFINITELY FLEDGLING, CLOSELY FOLLOWED BY THE TRADITION AND THE HATE U GIVE.