June Reads

Ten books! I am pleased that I was able to meet my June goal this month, finishing my last two books on my last day (all of these are physical books read). I have gotten in the habit of reading two books at once, a fiction and a nonfiction usually, and that has proven to be a good method for me. Before I start, one of the nonfiction books I read this month I won't be discussing, just because it's on a topic that I don't feel like talking about here. 

I plan to write a post on this book soon, but I read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which is about how the criminal justice system in the US unfairly treats black people and perpetuates a cycle of poverty and crime. It's very dense, so I found that reading 10-12 pages a day for a month was a really great way to absorb and digest the content. 

Two of the books I read this month were for separate book clubs I belong to, Isabel Allende's A Long Petal of the Sea and Emma Straub's All Adults Here. I enjoyed them both! Allende's was a sweeping look at two families that were influenced by the Spanish Civil War and then the regime changes in Chile. Like always, her books really focus on family, love, and identity. Straub's is also family-centric, but in a much different way. I have made the comment several times that it reminded me a little of The Gilmore Girls, which is a definite compliment. It's a quirky look at a family going through lots of changes in a small town, navigating their place in the world and their love for each other.

I have to admit that I was a little hesitant to read Elizabeth Gilbert's City of Girls, since I really haven't loved the other two books I read of hers. This one was much more enjoyable! I don't think she's necessarily a super literary writer, but, still, the story line was interesting and the main characters a delight. 

On the flip side, Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half  was stunning. She's a fantastic writer and her book explored race in such a unique way (two black twins are born in a black town that celebrates light skin; one twin identifies as black while the other passes as white). I learned a lot and just really appreciated Bennett's ability to craft a story.   

Pizza Girl by Jean Kyoung Frazier  and The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai were both quick, quirky, stories that I enjoyed. Pizza Girl  felt akin to reading an indie movie, the narrator a recent high school graduate that finds herself pregnant and employed as a pizza delivery girl. She befriends a mom she drops off a pizza to, while also figuring out what to do with the father of her baby. The Makkai book told the story of a librarian who ends up sort of kidnapping a young kid, but also vice versa. It's complicated and while it wasn't as good as her most recent novel, it was still super enjoyable.

Modern Love, a collection of essays about love, ended up being super charming and was sweet without being sappy. I ended up enjoying the non-romantic love stories more than those about marriage, but as a whole it was just a great read that made me hate people less.

Speaking of hate... don't get mad at me. I read Paolo Coelho's The Alchemist for the first time and I really, really did not like it. I appreciated the message and writing, but I just did not enjoy the actual story. I can see how it could be really meaningful for people, but it just wasn't my thing. It happens!

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