June Reading Recap

A very busy month! I completed the Litsy A to Z and Book Riot Read Harder challenges this month, and passed my goal of 100 books for the Goodreads challenge. Up to 122 books for the year, 35 this month alone (36 less 1 DNF); 20 fiction/15 non-fiction. Our household also got a new Kindle this month, so my ebook numbers are on the rise.

Completed in June:

  1. Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth (hardcover, fiction). I was stuck for a while on the “book related to your ancestry” prompt for Pop Sugar, until I had the idea to look for Pennsylvania Dutch-themed books. I never expected to find a cozy mystery series that captures the stubborn, passive-aggressive nature of Dutchy cuture so very well. I laughed out loud from the very first page because so much of it hit very close to home. I’ll definitely read more in this series.
  2. The Vegetarian (hardcover, fiction). This book was weird in a way I can’t quite put my finger on. I enjoyed it, though.
  3. We Should All Be Feminists (hardcover, nonfiction). I was SO ANGRY reading this book. I’ve seen it hailed as such a great feminist work, but it was incredibly rooted in a binary, trans-exclusionary, heteronormative world. I originally planned this to fulfill a “read a book on intersectional feminism” challenge, and had to scrap that because it was hardly intersectional. ARGH.
  4. Beatrix Potter’s Giant Treasury (hardcover, fiction). I needed a book that was gifted to me for a challenge prompt, and thanks to my mom’s notes, I can tell you that this was gifted to me by my friend Marc in 1984. I love Beatrix Potter’s stories, and they never fail to make me smile, even at 40.
  5. Bedlam’s Bard (paperback, fiction). I chose this from my husband’s fantasy collection for an “ugly cover” challenge prompt, and it was an entertaining read! Horrible cover, though.
  6. Thinking, Fast and Slow (audio, nonfiction). Meh. It could have been an essay or a TED talk instead of a ten-hour audio book.
  7. Heart Berries (hardcover, nonfiction). Beautifully written, though a difficult read for me in some spots. Reading about other people’s experiences in mental hospitals always brings back memories of my own.
  8. Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone (hardcover, nonfiction). Wherein a guy who trains people how to negotiate in hostage situations tells you how to talk to people. I really enjoyed this book and took a lot of notes.
  9. The Day of the Duchess (paperback, fiction). I just wholeheartedly enjoy Sarah MacLean’s romances. And if I didn’t already, the “nevertheless, I persisted” line in this one would have sold me.
  10. Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between (audio, nonfiction). I am a huge Gilmore Girls fan, and I loved Lauren Graham in Parenthood, so this was total fan service for me. It was also hella entertaining.
  11. The Wedding (hardcover, fiction). Do you know what books were best-sellers in 1996? Twenty-some years on, they all seem pretty awful. So for the “best seller the year you graduated high school” challenge, I continued my “romance novels of the 90s” nostalgia streak. This was OK, in a very romance-cliches-of-the-1990s way.
  12. Bridge to Terabithia (hardcover, fiction). I know I loved this book when I was a kid, but I hadn’t read it in probably 30 years. And I think in those years, I somehow conflated this with A Wrinkle in Time? I certainly did NOT remember it being about two friends and then one of them DROWNS IN THE RIVER. Sigh.
  13. X Marks the Scot (paperback, fiction). Maybe my most embarrassing read of the year? I used this for the “X” title in my Litsy A to Z challenge. My local library system didn’t have it, so I ordered it from ILL, the service that is generally used for academic research and more stand-up things than romance novels. As luck would have it, this was also my 100th book for the year. The book was pretty terrible, and made The Wedding (#11 above) look like Pulitzer-Prize-winning literary fiction in comparison.
  14. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (hardcover, nonfiction). Wow. I wish that everyone could read this and Between the World and Me and The Color of Law. Everyone.
  15. How Did That Happen?: Holding People Accountable for Results the Positive, Principled Way (hardcover, nonfiction, DNF). Ugh. Clearly written for executives who are of a very specific management style and who think very highly of authors who think very highly of themselves.
  16. The French Art of Not Giving a Shit: Cut the Crap and Live your Life (audio, nonfiction). Mostly a book about meditation, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I think this is what I wanted The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck to be.
  17. Listening is an Act of Love: A Celebration of American Life from the StoryCorps Project (audio, nonfiction). Meh. I wanted it to be longer, I wanted them to be full stories instead of snippets.
  18. Agile Coaching: Wisdom from Practitioners (ebook, nonfiction). Like any collection of essays, this was a mixed bag – especially when some of them were unedited blog posts. Some good information, though.
  19. On the Banks of Plum Creek (audiobook, fiction). The older I get, and the more I revisit the Little House series, the more I know two things to be true: these stories are perfectly written, and CAROLINE IS A BADASS.
  20. Potions and Pastries (ebook, fiction). Cute, witchy, cozy mystery, full of food. Sad to have exhausted my library’s collection of this series.
  21. Do Better Scrum (ebook, fiction). A lot of basics, but some solid tidbits too.
  22. Amuse Bouche (paperback, fiction). Queer Canadian PI travels to France to track down his client’s boyfriend. First in a series. Adventurous and highly entertaining.
  23. Failing Up: How to Take Risks, Aim Higher, and Never Stop Learning (audiobook, nonfiction). A little more life-coachy than I expected, but fun.
  24. Nexus Guide (ebook, nonfiction). Short and to the point, not terribly different from the scrum of scrums methodology.
  25. The Kind Worth Killing (ebook, fiction). Not something I’d have picked up on my own (this was a book club read), but wow, what a ride, and a hell of an ending.
  26. The Roman Textile Industry and its Influence: A Birthday Tribute to John Peter Wild (hardcover, nonfiction). This was research for me, but a fascinating read.
  27. Dusk or Dawn or Dark or Day (paperback, fiction). This may be the first book by this author that I didn’t absolutely devour. It was a great read, but it didn’t grab me the way her other stuff tends to.
  28. Animal Farm (audiobook, fiction). This was my “classic by a man” book for Strategic, and also the “book I lied about reading” for Bookish. I don’t know that I’ve ever lied about reading something, but I do know I hated this when I read it in high school so I probably skimmed it. Turns out I still don’t like it.
  29. The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror (paperback, fiction). I really expected to love this and it kind of fell flat for me. Ah, well. Can’t win them all!
  30. Draft: The Unmooring of American Military Power (audiobook, nonfiction). This was a tough, necessary read. Interesting to see the change in American military outlook over time…I remember being SO OUTRAGED over Operation Desert Storm – there was a protest at my middle school! – that we were at war and yet not at war and how inappropriate it felt at the time, while now it seems…normal, I guess? Maddow was in the news the week I was reading this for breaking down in tears while reporting breaking news about the detention of children, and it killed me to see her apologize for it. We should all be crying.
  31. The Underground Railroad (hardcover, fiction). This book shook me. Beautifully written and absolutely haunting. Everyone should read this.
  32. Macbeth (audio, fiction). The audio production my library has of this is just bad. To recap what I said on Goodreads:  I love Macbeth in all its chaos and its passion, but this (the NAXOS audiobook) was a *terrible* production. The actors had all the passion of people reading the back of a shampoo bottle, and the audio had that lovely vintage “ten people standing around a cassette recorder but mostly speaking away from the mic” quality. The play is awesome, the production was crap.
  33. City of Light (ebook, fiction). The plot was okay, but the book gets a thumbs up from me for being such a beautiful love letter to my city.
  34. Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck (hardcover, fiction). Cute! This would be a great introduction to poetry for kids who like pirates and adventure, as long as they’re mature enough for the mentions of slavery.
  35. The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica (hardcover, nonfiction). Problematic in places but entertaining and a quick read.
  36. He Shall Thunder in the Sky (ebook, fiction). I adore the Amelia Peabody series – they rarely disappoint.

Started in June and Still Going:

  1. Alif the Unseen (paperback, fiction)
  2. The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love (paperback, nonfiction)
  3. How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About What, Where, and Why it Happens (audio, nonfiction)
  4. Of Bees and Mist (ebook, fiction)
  5. Shakespeare’s Wife (hardcover, nonfiction)
  6. The Supernaturalist (ebook, fiction)
  7. Tales of the City (ebook, fiction)
  8. This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America (ebook, nonfiction)
  9. Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (ebook, nonfiction)
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