Goodbye June & hello July!
I cannot believe we are officially in the second half of 2019! Where did the first half of the year go? I’m going to need time to slow down a bit because I am thoroughly enjoying my summer and am not ready for the craziness of the fall yet.
Let’s see what I read in June…
June was a decent reading month for me. I managed to finish 11 books, which sounds like a lot, but 3 of these books were shorter children’s chapter books I listened to via audiobook with my daughter… I also didn’t accomplish much on the blog front, but I did take 2 weeks off during my vacation & the aftermath of getting back to reality. I hope to get more accomplished both reading & blogging wise this month.
» Matilda by Roald Dahl
This was actually my first time reading Matilda and I loved every moment! I grew up watching the film adaptation, so I was familiar with the storyline. I can now really appreciate how well done the movie adaptation really is. Reading this definitely gave me all the nostalgia feels.
» My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
This book was listed in The Read-Aloud Handbook as a good book to read-aloud with younger children, so I gave it a go via audiobook with my 5-year-old. This was a cute story that was simple enough for younger children to understand. If your children enjoy picture books like The Gruffalo with lots of clever trickery by the main character, and want to attempt simple chapter books, this is a good place to start!
» With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
I adored Elizabeth Acevedo’s debut novel, The Poet X, so I was very excited to read her next book. I listened to her first book via audiobook, and fell in love with the author’s narration. I chose to listen to Fire on High via audiobook as well. I loved this one just as much as her first! Elizabeth Acevedo has a beautiful way with words & I adore her characters & plotlines. I typically stray away from YA contemporary, but I’ll read anything Acevedo writes!
» Deconstructing Penguins: Parents, Kids, and and the Bond of Reading by Lawrence & Nancy Goldstone
This was a very interesting little book about a husband & wife team that run book clubs for parents & their children. The Goldstone team breaks down books into their elements: characters (protagonist vs antagonist), setting, themes, etc. to really dig into what the author was trying to convey with the books. The authors talk about a few of the books they frequently utilize in their bookclubs in detail, so if you do not want to be spoiled for these books, you might not want to pick this up.
» Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
I know this book has very mixed reviews due to its format, but I LOVED this book. Since Daisy Jones and the Six is told in interview format from many different characters, many people were turned off. Since I knew this was the format going into the book, this read like a classic rock band documentary playing out in my mind. This book was meant for TV or film adaptation.
» Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Dark Matter blew my mind. I think Blake Crouch did a wonderful job taking such a complex theory and constructing a story accessible to all different kinds of readers. Dark Matter would appeal to a wide variety of readers: science fiction, thriller, romance etc. I read this book with one of my book clubs and it made for an excellent discussion.
» Amelia Bedelia (Audio Collection) by Peggy Parish
I listened to this audiobook collection with my 5-year-old daughter. We really enjoyed listening to this collection of stories about Amelia Bedelia. Actually, Amelia reminded me a bit of Anne from Anne of Green Gables. Since these stories were first published in the 60’s and 70’s, it was a bit dated, which made it a bit more challenging for my daughter to totally understand all of Amelia’s misunderstandings, but it was a great opportunity to talk to her about words & phrases with multiple meanings.
» The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
I picked up The Night Tiger after discovering that it was set in Malaya in the 1930. I love historical fiction, especially one with a touch of magic realism. I think the author nailed the setting here, which was the best part of the book for me. It really felt authentic and I also liked that the author really showcased what it was like for a woman in Malaya in the 30s. I also enjoyed the magic realism elements and the Malayan folklore & superstitions. On the flip side, the length of the book was far too long and the pacing was too slow, particularly in the middle, so it took me a long time to trudge through this story. I also did not care for the romance… to be honest, it was off-putting. In my opinion, the book would have been much stronger without it.
» A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
A Spark of Light was classic Jodi Picoult. I respect that Jodi tackled such a hot button issue like abortion, despite the fact that it must have had an impact on her career. Is there a topic she won’t address? Unfortunately when you are dealing with the abortion debate, most people are firmly pro-life or pro-choice. There isn’t much of a gray area. I think Picoult did a wonderful job of showing the perspective of women that choose to have an abortion and that it isn’t typically an easy decision for most. Picoult addresses many issues in the abortion debate that are very relevant right now.
I had a hunch about one of the twists, but the other took me completely by surprise.
» The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This book will definitely be one of my top reads of 2019! What bookworm doesn’t love a story about books, bookstores, and the people that love books? The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry was heartwarming, funny, and emotional. I’d recommend this book to fans of quirky characters & fans of books like A Man Called Ove.
This made for an excellent book club discussion with the moral dilemmas in the story.
» Beezus and Ramona (Ramona #1) by Beverly Cleary
I remember a teacher reading us this series as a kid, so I decided to give the audiobook a go with my daughter. Despite the fact that this was originally published in 1955, I was surprised how timeless it felt. Sure, there were definitely some parts that dated it, but overall it still felt relevant. Beezus and Ramona captures the complexities of sibling relationships perfectly, especially siblings with a significant age gap.
Goodreads Challenge Update:
#YARC2019 Update: 13 books!
I read 1 book in June for #YARC2019, bringing my total up to 13 books for the year. This month I read The Night Tiger.
2019 Goals Update:
» 80% NetGalley feedback ratio = 15 backlist ARCs ⇒ 7/15 ARCs
So technically I did “read” one NetGalley ARC in June. I ended up DNFing it at 30%, but it totally counts because I wrote my review on NetGalley explaining why I wasn’t going to finish it. My NetGalley feedback ratio is now up to 68%.
» 30 physical TBR books ⇒ 13/30 books
I read 2 books off my physical TBR in June. I read Dark Matter & A Spark of Light.
» No buying new books ⇒ Fail!
Yeah I bought a few books… BUT only 9… ((facepalm))
» Read long books I’ve been putting off ⇒ 0/3
Still no progress on this goal HOWEVER one of these books is actually on my July TBR, so that is progress right?
» Normal People by Sally Rooney
At school Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, star of the school soccer team while she is lonely, proud, and intensely private. But when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange and indelible connection grows between the two teenagers—one they are determined to conceal.
A year later, they’re both studying at Trinity College in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet in a new social world while Connell hangs at the sidelines, shy and uncertain. Throughout their years in college, Marianne and Connell circle one another, straying toward other people and possibilities but always magnetically, irresistibly drawn back together. Then, as she veers into self-destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.
Sally Rooney brings her brilliant psychological acuity and perfectly spare prose to a story that explores the subtleties of class, the electricity of first love, and the complex entanglements of family and friendship.
» Keeper of the Lost Cities Collection (#1-5) by Shannon Messenger
Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.
Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.
Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.”
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.
In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first.
» Educated by Tara Westover
Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.
Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.
Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.
» The Read-Aloud Handbook (7th Edition) by Jim Trelease
Recommended by “Dear Abby”, The New York Times and The Washington Post, for three decades, millions of parents and educators have turned to Jim Trelease’s beloved classic to help countless children become avid readers through awakening their imaginations and improving their language skills. Now this new edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook imparts the benefits, rewards, and importance of reading aloud to children of a new generation. Supported by delightful anecdotes as well as the latest research, The Read-Aloud Handbook offers proven techniques and strategies—and the reasoning behind them—for helping children discover the pleasures of reading and setting them on the road to becoming lifelong readers.
» Creating Room to Read by John Wood
The inspirational story of a former Microsoft executive’s quest to build libraries around the world and share the love of books
What’s happened since John Wood left Microsoft to change the world? Just ask six million kids in the poorest regions of Asia and Africa. In 1999, at the age of thirty-five, Wood quit a lucrative career to found the nonprofit Room to Read. Described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “the Andrew Carnegie of the developing world,” he strived to bring the lessons of the corporate world to the nonprofit sector—and succeeded spectacularly.
In his acclaimed first book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, Wood explained his vision and the story of his start-up. Now, he tackles the organization’s next steps and its latest challenges—from managing expansion to raising money in a collapsing economy to publishing books for children who literally have no books in their native language. At its heart, Creating Room to Read shares moving stories of the people Room to Read works to help: impoverished children whose schools and villages have been swept away by war or natural disaster and girls whose educations would otherwise be ignored.
People at the highest levels of finance, government, and philanthropy will embrace the opportunity to learn Wood’s inspiring business model and blueprint for doing good. And general readers will love Creating Room to Read for its spellbinding story of one man’s mission to put books within every child’s reach.
» Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee
*ARC sent for review – Available October 2019*
Barbara Dee explores the subject of #MeToo for the middle grade audience in this heart-wrenching—and ultimately uplifting—novel about experiencing harassment and unwanted attention from classmates.
For seventh grader Mila, it starts with an unwanted hug on the school blacktop.
The next day, it’s another hug. A smirk. Comments. It all feels…weird. According to her friend Zara, Mila is being immature, overreacting. Doesn’t she know what flirting looks like?
But it keeps happening, despite Mila’s protests. On the bus, in the halls. Even during band practice-the one time Mila could always escape to her “blue-sky” feeling. It seems like the boys are EVERYWHERE. And it doesn’t feel like flirting–so what is it?
Mila starts to gain confidence when she enrolls in karate class. But her friends still don’t understand why Mila is making such a big deal about the boys’ attention. When Mila is finally pushed too far, she realizes she can’t battle this on her own–and finds help in some unexpected places.
From the author of STAR-CROSSED, HALFWAY NORMAL and EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT YOU comes this timely story of a middle school girl standing up and finding her voice.
Which books did you read in June?
Have you read any of the books I read or hauled this month? If so, what did you think?
Did you buy any books? If so, which ones?
Comment below & let me know 🙂