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:
- Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula LeGuin
- Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
- My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (audio/ebook)
- Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
- After the Wedding by Courtney Milan
- Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
- The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantu (audio/ebook)
- Severance by Ling Ma
- Storm Cursed by Patricia Briggs
Favorite read: A 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?