June 2021 reading wrap-up

I took a break from writing new posts throughout the month of June, but my reading didn’t slow down a bit. I finished ten books this month, bringing my half-year total to 60. This month I returned to Toni Morrison, read a couple of queer stories in honor of Pride Month, and enjoyed some nonfiction as well.

Check out my best of June below!

Best of the month

“Because I barely survived Shane Hall. I barely survived myself. It was a dark time. My home life was traumatic. I was a chaotic, angry kid. Why reminisce?

From Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

Seven Days in June / Tia Williams

Each summer, I try to treat myself to reading a romance novel. Romance isn’t really my genre, I’m sure partly because of some internal bias I have against the genre as a whole, but I still think it’s important for me to branch out in my reading. This month I picked up Seven Days in June by Tia Williams, and it turned out to be the perfect novel to kick off my summer reading.

In this novel, we follow two successful writers, Eva and Shane, who knew each other as teenagers and haven’t spoken since their whirlwind romance came to an end twenty years earlier. Over the course of the book, they reconnect in the present, while also unpacking their pain from the past.

One thing that I really appreciated about the novel was the specificity that Williams brought to the story. The cultural references and locations used in the story are all true to life, and it really grounds this story for the reader. You can tell that Williams did the research.

Seven Days in June is sexy and fun, but it also includes incredibly empathetic representations of chronic pain and recovery. There’s more than meets the eye with this romance, and I recommend it for your summer reading.

Other highlights

Unworthy Republic / Claudio Saunt

I’ve read a few histories of the United States’ relations with Native American tribes over the years, and I think that it’s incredibly important to understand the long history of oppression and genocide that our country has inflicted upon indigenous peoples. Unworthy Republic recounts the systematic way the United States expelled most Native American tribes from east of the Mississippi River, recounting how the policies of Indian Removal were developed and how they evolved, and the major role that slavery and the Southern states played in the creation of these policies. There are numerous books about the Indian Wars in the mid-to-late-1800s, but this book gives valuable insight into what came before.

Under the Whispering Door / TJ Klune

Last summer, I devoured TJ Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea, his first book from a major publisher. Under the Whispering Door is being marketed as a spiritual successor to that novel, with cover art and plot elements that are reminiscent of Cerulean Sea. This light fantasy novel tells the story of Wallace Price, who has recently died, and the time he spends at a tea shop in the woods that serves as a way station between the land of the living and the afterlife. The novel explores heavy themes like death and regret, but it never feels oppressively sad or dour. Like Cerulean Sea, the characters that populate this novel are its strong point, and each one is so well developed. Pick this book up when it’s released on September 21st, 2021.

Ring Shout / P. Djèlí Clark

I had been meaning to get around to Ring Shout for awhile now, and it lived up to my expectations and more. In this horror/fantasy novella, it’s 1922 and the Ku Klux Klan is on the rise, emboldened by D.W. Griffiths’ film The Birth of a Nation. But the film also summoned supernatural beings called Ku Kluxes to join the Klan and unleash hell upon the earth. Clark’s use of real events as a jumping off point for his imagination sets the reader up for an enjoyable, bloody ride. Amidst the action, Clark has written a powerful allegory for the history of racist violence in the United States, and through this lens is able to unpack the monstrosities of the Klan’s reign of terror through the literal monsters in the story.

Complete list of june reads

  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston
  • Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
  • The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson
  • Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune
  • From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty
  • Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
  • Unworthy Republic by Claudio Saunt
  • Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz
  • The Extraordinaries by TJ Klune

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