Welp, fully two posts made in June, and one was a tbr and the other was this one.
Is this winning?
Maybe July will be the month I get back to blogging. Maybe. Mayyyyyybe. I dunno. I have lots of bookish things I want to talk about, but I don’t know. Right now I am happy being a reader (and procrastinator) of stories, not a reviewer of stories.
Anywho, I read 21 books this month: 10 books, 9 audiobooks and two graphic novels, for 7421 pages. Inadvertently, I completed my annual Goodreads challenge (lowballed to 120), which I have never finished so early before.
June was the month of uninteded rereads! I had meant to only reread A Psalm for the Wild-Built, but then I wanted something cute and adorable (and that ticked off a reading challenge prompt) and so I read Check, Please! And you just cannot stop with one volume of Bitty and friends, so I read the second. And I needed one. final. prompt. to read all 30 prompts for a full sweep of the challenge, so I read All Systems Red and then realized shit, this isn’t set in space not really and then read Artificial Conditions. And now I’m probably going to go on a Murderbot binge instead of reading my July tbr and I’m not sad about that?
So it’s a bit of a a cheat (but not really) to have so many five-star reads, and books read, particularly since a lot were very very short, but whatever. I had fun reading them and also read some tomes so it evens out. A Psalm for the Wild-Built is an ultimate comfort read when I’m feeling insecure or like I’m not doing enough, and A Prayer for the Crown-Shy built upon that and made me feel…content. That it was okay to change plans, to listen to my mental health and just sit with life and feelings for minute. That not every second of non-paid work time has to be devoted to content creating or writing or doing, but that it is enough to just be.
I read Secret City (which is a chonky boi) because it was Pride Month and also because I live in the DC area right now and I wanted to know more about the riveting LGBT history—particularly since I read Pulp by Robin Talley. It is excellent by the way, and I highly recommend it (although note that it does focus on white gay men). I also finally, finally read The Great Believers, which I would probably have procrastinated on because emotions except it fit a niche prompt for this reading challenge. It was incredible—sad and heartfelt and so well done.
I can’t think of a better book to have read during the overturning of Roe v Wade, but When Women Were Dragons so eloquently captured my mood. Rage. Nothing but rage. This is a book that so perfectly hits that bundle of rage and anger broiling inside the breasts of midwestern white women. While it’s very white (there are women of color present), the book is intrinsically queer, and very trans.
I’m gonna go ahead and kinda comp The Dead Romantics to Book Lovers meets Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by way of Sixth Sense (but make it straight). Stick with me here. Despite the main characters being completely different, there is the small southern town vibe, and the love interest is a snarky book editor. Florence has a past in her small town and hasn’t returned in ten years after she was horribly bullied throughout high school for solving a murder at thirteen…because a ghost told her. Anywho, there’s a lot going on, but it’s really, really good.
The last two I’m lumping together for a number of reasons: closeted first generation teens working on creating small businesses while figuring out their shit and working out how to balance their identities with their parents’ beliefs. I loved both Café con Lychee and The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School: they were a coming out and coming of age story all about family and friends and finding yourself. The gorgeous writing of Café and the way Lee seamlessly wove both POVs was *chef’s kiss* perfection, and I adored Yamilet’s sense of humor and snark, and her determination to survive and succeed.
I read three gothic novels this month! What!
And all three were super duper queer. What Moves the Dead is a retelling of a Edgar Allen Poe story set in a mythical European country that was used in a lot of nineteenth century literature, and has a very similar vibe to Mexican Gothic (the books were written around the same time, but separately). The Cherry Robbers was a gorgeously told book about a 1950s family with six daughters and how they die after getting married…all except one. It’s really, really good if you’re feeling literary and in the kind of mood for a moody book.
And The Picture of Dorian Gray is a classic that I thought I’d read but maybe I haven’t? Anyhow, read it for a prompt (note the trend here) for a book challenge and I can definitely see why it has become a Booktok darling although I was not prepared for the unexpected and casual antisemitism.
Also, I read The Bhagavad Gita, also for a prompt in the book challenge, and it was really good but one of those books where you should probably devote your entire life to studying and understanding and sinking into enlightenment.
Rounding out the nonfiction/nineteenth century vibes was Federick Douglass, a biography of the Great Man himself and another tome. This was a very detailed and incredibly researched book on Douglass’ life, and would have been a five star read except I was highly annoyed (and because I am petty and ratings are only my own opinion) by how much Blight mentioned Douglass’ use of sarcasm. I get It already. Seriously though: this is a book that should be a must read, right up there with Chernow’s Hamilton.
The Romantic Agenda was a really cute contemporary romance that I enjoyed immensely. I love that Claire Kann writes ace leads, and that she shows the full spectrum of asexuality with such care and devotion, and that she gives Black women happily ever afters. Anywho, this has very 27 Dresses vibes with a love quandrangle, and I was there for the mess!
Now for the three stars. I’ll try to make it quick.
I only read Murder by Page One because (you can probably guess by now) I needed a book to match a prompt and this was a quick and easy listen. I enjoyed how authentic the librarianship was, but did not like the way the mystery ended (too quickly!).
A Strange and Stubborn Endurance had all the makings of a five-star epic fantasy, but missed the mark in several areas. I liked the politics, I liked the queerness of the world, but holy fuck did this book draaaaaag on. It needed a solid pruning.
The Bodyguard was an enjoyable read. I liked it and it was fun, but fuck this book would just not end. I swear it was like The Sound of Music, where it had a solid three stopping points where you think you’re done but it just. kept. going. Some books benefit from an epilogue. Rarely do books need three (it didn’t have three, just the one, but fuck it felt like there were three).