Somehow, apparently, the year is half over. I’m not even sure what to say about that, so we’ll just move on.
Here’s what I read in June:
- The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. 3 stars. This was a quick, fun romance that didn’t quite impress me the way that Hoang’s debut, The Kiss Quotient, did. I loved the autism rep, but the plot and characterization didn’t win me over. Still, I finished this sequel in just two days and had a good time with it, which seemed like a good start to the month.
- Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin. 4 stars. A delightfully eerie novella that I loved both in plot and theme. This was atmospheric and impactful and so short that I read it in a single evening. The only aspect I didn’t like was the child’s dialogue, which I found a bit repetitive and intrusive. Still, highly recommend if you like a good literary puzzle.
- The Last by Hanna Jameson. 5 stars. This genre-crossing apocalyptic murder mystery was not without its flaws, but never failed for an instant to engage and entertain me. I found it so thought-provoking and unique, and untraditional thrillers like this seem to be doing wonders for me lately.
- The Killer Across the Table by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker. 3 stars. Here was one of my nonfiction choices for this month, a true crime book about former FBI agent Douglas and the insight he gained from interviewing serial killers. I appreciated the approach that the writers took with the topic, and found the content fascinating. The emotionless tone of the writing did not work for me as well, and some sections of the book seemed stronger than others. A worthwhile read, but I think I would’ve had a better experience starting with the author duo’s first book rather than this most recent title.
- Little Darlings by Melanie Golding. 3 stars. Review coming in the next day or two. I loved the visceral, evocative writing of this book and the premise was off to a great start. But ultimately, I felt that the ending took a bit of a left turn from the themes the book seemed to be tackling up to that point, and I had a lot of issues with characterization. Even so, this was entertaining and I would probably take another chance on this author in the future.
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. 4 stars. Another nonfiction work. Mini-review probably coming soon. I actually read the titular piece, “A Room of One’s Own,” back in December in another edition, which I rated 4 stars on its own. I bought this copy because I liked that essay enough to want to own it, without realizing that this edition also contained a second piece, “Three Guineas.” So this month I only read “Three Guineas,” which I also appreciated. Ultimately, I think these two pieces are better read for historical background than modern perspective; the points being made are still relevant, but not as problematic as they were in the 1920s and 30s, when these pieces were written. Even so, no one makes an argument quite like Woolf, and I’m glad to have read both of these pieces.
I believe 6 books in a month is the lowest amount of completed books I’ve had to show for any month this year, but the main reason June looks slow for me is that I’ve been reading Stephen King’s The Stand all month, on the side. (The book turned backwards in my photo- I’ve read to the point where the tabs stop.) I could have read around three other books in the time I spent on those thousand pages, which does put me right on track with my average monthly reading for the year, so I’m actually not any farther behind than usual. It just looks/feels that way.
I returned my three library books earlier in the month, so they’re not pictured.
June has been the first month all year that I haven’t read any short stories. Reading short stories was one of my goals for 2019, so that’s a bit disappointing to have missed this month, but I’ve done well enough so far that I don’t mind having taken one month off. Hopefully I’ll manage to pick up some short stories in July- I have plenty to choose from!
Additionally, a goal I set for myself this summer is to incorporate more nonfiction into my regular reading. I was hoping to complete 3 titles this month, but managed only 2, one of which was a single essay. But even so, 2/6 titles is an increase in nonfiction reading for me, so not a total loss. I would say I’m more interested in nonfiction than ever, and I do have more titles lined up for July, so… success?
- Average rating – 3.67
- Best of month – It’s a tie between The Last and Fever Dream. I know I rated them differently, based on immediate enjoyability, but both left strong impressions and I know they will stick with me for a long time, each in their own way.
- Worst of month – The Bride Test. This wasn’t a truly awful book, but I was really hoping it would be a step up from Hoang’s last novel and for me it wasn’t. Also I just don’t get along with romance novels very often, so I’d like to clarify that this was my least favorite read of the month, not the worst in any objective way.
- Books hauled – 8.
- Owned books read for the first time – Only 3. The rest were library checkouts. Once again, I added more books to my owned-unread TBR than I managed to clear off.
- Year Total – 68. My Goodreads goal for the year is set at 100, which feels comfortably manageable at this halfway point.
- June TBR tally – Below I’ve posted the photo of my May book haul / “official” June TBR stack. From the stack of 7, I read only 3. But unofficially, the other three books I read were also planned for the month, so I’m happy with what I read and didn’t deviate by picking up anything completely irrelevant to my goals.
And that’s June, wrapped. I was thrilled to find a 5-star read this month, and think my reading is finally (slowly) starting to turn around for the better! I’m currently reading Joanne Ramos’s The Farm, which I’m finding fascinating so far, as well as The Stand.
I hope everyone has a great July ahead!
The Literary Elephant