I could start things off on a positive note, I suppose:
I finished school.
I now have a Certificate in Editing from the University of Washington.
After a year and a half of cramming assignments after work, I am finally free.
Now for the rest of the month:
The previous month’s news became a reality when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
They also sided with Joe Kennedy in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District, because WHY NOT.
I didn’t really feel like celebrating last month. Hard to have Pride when my country is moving backwards.
Since I was stressed about finishing school and everything else, I only read 10 books last month.
Let’s talk about them.
June Reading Stats
In June, I completed 10 books.
Of the books I read,
- 70% were fiction
- 20% were nonfiction
- 10% were poetry
- 40% were physical books
- 60% were audiobooks
- 10% were Young Adult
- 90% were Adult
- 70% were new books
- 30% were rereads
I read a lot of gay contemporaries and memoirs last month (many of which I ended up DNFing.)
I also picked up a bunch of memoirs and books of essays because I love them.
I was in my head a lot last month and needed a win, so I largely read funny, emotional, and reflective books.
My average rating for the month was 4.08, which seems positive considering all the mediocre shit I read.
You will notice some five-star ratings in there, though.
I read at least a few good books…and more than a few bad ones.
I should just stop reading horror.
After the Talking Cat Debacle of The House on Needless Street, I still decided to pick up Sundial.
(See that blurb on the cover from Alex Michaelides? That’s what we call foreshadowing and it proves I am not genre savvy.)
I got really into the mystery of it all. Then the book lost its own plot.
I’m still not sure what it was actually about. Pregnancy? Parenting? Dogs? Abuse? Nature vs. nurture? Nature itself?
Why do we keep praising books for doing the “unexpected” when the “unexpected” is…a pretty well-known horror/thriller trope?
I also didn’t think it was that scary.
I’m over horror. I’m OVER IT.
I tried to read Ariel Levy’s memoir The Rules Do Not Apply.
I’m bisexual. I love a grief memoir. I thought this book would be up my alley.
It in fact was NOOOOOOT.
I knew the book was controversial, as it’s about a bisexual woman being unfaithful.
Said woman cheats with a former lover who has transitioned since they were together.
The author repeatedly referred to her lover by his deadname, purposefully used the wrong pronouns, and even expressed disgust for his new body.
This book was published in 2017.
What the fuck, Ariel?
I hate it here!
While reading The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels, I came across this exchange:
“Don’t you think it would be astonishingly convenient if, given the entire Blackdown Hills region, we chanced to land half a mile from where Morvath is hiding?”
“Indeed. It’s the sort of thing that would happen in a badly written novel.”
So you agree? You think your book is badly written?
I hate this type of humor. Instead of making jokes about how bad your book is, you could try trying.
My experiences with queer romcoms recently have been very hit or miss.
I Kissed a Girl was a huge miss.
Noa and Lila meet on the set of horror movie; Lila is the talent and Noa is her makeup artist.
As soon as they meet, Noa starts negging Lila.
Noa drags Lila’s taste in books to her face, quipping, “I pegged you as an intellectual.”
When it finally occurs to Noa that this femme-presenting person might be queer, she muses, “Maybe she’s bi or gay and uses dates with men as a smokescreen.”
DO YOU? UNDERSTAND? HOW BISEXUALITY? WORKS?
People online love sharing biphobic takes. I don’t need my queer romcoms to do it, too.
I loved the first half of Her Majesty’s Royal Coven.
I was invested in the friendships and the worldbuilding. There was a conversation between two of the women that made me cry with how respectful it was. Later on, there was a betrayal that made me scream with rage on behalf of the betrayed.
Then the characters stopped acting like people and turned into cartoon characters.
I am totally fine with authors making TERFs their villains.
I think, though, that the author neglected to show the pain that comes with someone you care about adopting harmful views.
Also, painting your TERF villain as a lone wolf with fringe views? In ENGLAND?? That’s pure fantasy.
(Minor spoilers ahead)
When the TERF is finally brought to justice, she gives a speech that would not have seemed out of place in an episode of Scooby Doo; it was very, “And I would’ve gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling intersectional feminists!”
I’ve read critiques elsewhere that point out that the many “diverse” characters were largely Othered so the story could center white cis women.
The cliffhanger ending made me lose all interest in this book. I’m disappointed.
(End of spoilers)
I did find an unexpected Top Ten contender in Jen Winston’s Greedy.
This book made up for a lot of the biphobia I ran into earlier in the month.
Jen Winston’s assertions that confusion is part and parcel of bisexual identity validated my own experiences.
I felt very seen while reading this.
Winston’s book led me to Bettina Judd’s book of poems Patient.
If you needed more reasons to hate J. Marion Sims and P. T. Barnum, this book has plenty!
It also gives voice to Black women like Anarcha Westcott, Betsey Harris, Lucy Zimmerman, Joice Heth, Saartjie Baartman, and Henrietta Lacks, whose bodies and lives were co-opted for “scientific discovery.”
The past treatment of these women informs and impacts Black women today.
They deserve better.
I needed a banned book for Book Bingo, so I checked out The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
The book is perfectly structured.
I listened to the audiobook as read by the author and it was excellent.
As horrifying as much of the content was, some of the little girls’ lines were hilarious. I laughed much more than I expected to.
Morrison humanized even the most hateful characters.
I am rereading Good Omens for the third time this year, so that’s where I’m at mentally.
I’m working on finding a therapist so I can talk about everything that’s going on. I’ve already struck out a few times. I’m not happy about it.
I hope you’re finding pockets of joy and comfort during a difficult time.
Take care of yourselves and each other. Eat some cheese or something else delicious.
If you have the funds, donate to one of these organizations.
I’m (probably) getting my long-awaited Piranesi tattoo in a few weeks. I’ll update you all on that next month.