My June Reading Wrap-up

June was a busy month — I saw my niece graduate high school, I went to Harry Potter World in Orlando, I joined a new book club, I presented at a national conference, I saw two of my sisters, and I turned 48.  Okay, that last thing isn’t all that noteworthy, but the older I get the more I feel it’s important to be comfortable with the age I am. I’m trying, at least.  We’ll see how I do in two years when I’m 50.

I traveled a lot in June so I had extra time for reading.  I liked what I read, but there wasn’t much that I loved. Mostly my June reads were interesting books that I’m glad I read, but none I’m raving about.   Here’s what I read this month:

  1. Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin
  2. Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
  3. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
  4. Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (audio/ebook)
  5. Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
  6. After the Wedding by Courtney Milan
  7. Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
  8. The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu (audio/ebook)
  9. Severance by Ling Ma
  10. Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs

Favorite readA standout was Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree, which is told from the perspective of a girl in Nigeria kidnapped by Boko Haram.  It’s a beautifully written and intense read. I also really enjoyed Daisy Jones and the Six.  There’s nothing terribly new in this story about a successful but conflicted band, but the book had strong character development and I really liked reading about the process of writing and recording songs.  

Disappointing read or DNF: I struggled this month with audiobooks.  I didn’t care for the audiobook for Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman (or maybe I’m just not loving the book).  I started a few nonfiction titles only to find I can’t really concentrate on complicated nonfiction by listening to it.  Same with Daisy Jones and the Six, and people say that one’s perfect as an audiobook, with a great cast of voice actors.  I still preferred to read it.  On the other hand, I’m loving The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware.  A lot of you said that mysteries and thrillers tend to work best by audiobook, and maybe that’s true for me too.

Books for challenges:

  • 20 Books of Summer: I read a lot this month, but only three books from my 20 Books List.  I’m still spending too much time on whatever comes my way from the library.
  • TBR Pile Challenge: Left Hand of Darkness
  • Read Harder/Reading Women: After the Wedding (a self-published book)
  • Hugo Nominees: Beneath the Sugar Sky
  • Women’s Prize: My Sister the Serial Killer, Number One Chinese Restaurant
  • Nonfiction: The Line Becomes a River

What I’m reading now: I’m in the middle of quite a few books, including The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle and The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea.

What’s coming up: I’ll be working on my 20 Books of Summer list, including The Calculating Stars and The Weight of Ink.  Plus I just got Katherine Arden’s Winter of the Witch from the library wait list.

Things that made me happy this month:

  • Seeing the Wizarding World with my nieces was pretty amazing!  It really lived up to expectations… the rides were fun but it was the attention to every little Harry Potter detail that made it worthwhile.  We had a great time taking the Sorting Hat quiz, picking out wands, and trying butterbeer.  The high point was the light show at Hogwarts Castle after dark.  And the rest of Universal Studios was fun too, especially The Simpsons, Marvel, and Dr. Seuss areas.
  • My new favorite podcast, What Should I Read Next, has a summer reading guide and episode that is packed with reading suggestions.  For better or worse, I’ve added a lot to my TBR list.

That’s my June!  I’m looking forward to a much mellower July.  We’ve got a few concerts and outdoor movies on the calendar, but otherwise July will be about grilling and sipping wine on the deck.

How’s your summer going, and what are you reading?

  11 comments for “My June Reading Wrap-up

  1. July 2, 2019 at 5:49 am

    The What Should I Read Next podcast is on my playlist but i haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet. Enjoy your deck time!

  2. July 2, 2019 at 7:10 am

    You’ve read a lot! My June was pretty mellow, but I expect July to be more fast-paced.

  3. July 3, 2019 at 8:29 am

    Is Ursula LeGuin a good novelist to try for someone who hasn’t got into science fiction/fantasy but wants to dip a toe in the water? I’ve seen her name mentioned many times and she seems to be one writer who is highly respected.

    • July 3, 2019 at 9:42 am

      Good question! I’d say yes based on Left Hand of Darkness. Her writing has a very literary quality and the story was much more about personal interaction than science fiction

      • July 3, 2019 at 9:48 am

        I will say though, I found this book rather difficult to get into at first. I would recommend Margaret Atwood and Ray Bradbury more generally. Also I loved Maria Doria Russell’s The Sparrow.

      • July 4, 2019 at 3:38 pm

        thanks for the advice and guidance. Left Hand of Darkness has just been added to my wishlist

  4. July 3, 2019 at 5:22 pm

    I loved Daisy Jones & SIx on audio, but still glad you read it. I’m checking out a few of these for my TBR.

  5. July 10, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Congrats on a milestone July, packed with good things. We went to HP World in Orlando a couple of Christmases ago and it was packed but so much fun–the new ride looks really fun. Glad you got to experience it 🙂

    I’m reading my first Ursula Le Guin in August, Lavinia, which is a big deal as I am not a sci-fi fan but occasionally like fantasy. We’ll see how I like it. Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree sounds interesting–I need to get out of my comfort zone a bit more and that would do it.

    I’m bookmarking the podcast–I am always interested in finding new authors to love.

    • July 10, 2019 at 11:12 am

      Make that June..this is July 🙂

      • July 11, 2019 at 9:11 pm

        Thanks Jane! I hope you like the podcast.

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