June favorites and July hopefuls
Happy hump day, book friends!
Shoutout to Amanda for passing the mic over to me this week.
I know what you’re thinking. Who is this new chick? My name is Brina (it’s like SaBrina, sans the Sa-) and I’m a freelance writer from Northern California. When I’m not typing away at my Mac, I love traveling, painting, spoiling my Maltese, and of course… Reading!
2021 has been a very book-filled year for me. I discovered the Libby app and delving into the domain of audiobooks has been a game-changer. I also took the plunge and joined Bookstagram. And of course the book world on Medium has been nothing short of wonderful. My reading tastes and genre comfort zone have expanded, and it’s been awesome being part of bookish communities.
This month, my reading momentum was strong. I live in the Sacramento area, and we’ve had several 100-degree-plus days. So, books to the rescue! And now that libraries are open, I’ve been enjoying perusing the shelves for my next reads. (Much to my never-ending TBR pile’s chagrin, but I’m okay with that.)
Without further ado… Let’s dive right in!
Memoirs are the genre to which I gravitate, and there were a few this month that didn’t disappoint. Michelle Zauner’s Crying in H Mart made me crave allll the Korean food (and, of course, cry) while Samra Habib’s memoir had me think about queerness and Islam.
Stephen King’s On Writing is another brilliant memoir. I’ll confess that I’d never read anything by him before this book. But after finishing this one, I felt like he became a new pal! King shares his story of going from humble beginnings to becoming one of the biggest names in the book world. He gave a lot of no-nonsense advice on writing, too. His tone throughout was as if you were out to lunch with him — easy to follow with a healthy dose of self-deprecation.
In the realm of short stories, Dantiel W. Moniz’s Milk Blood Heat gave me goosebumps. It wasn’t the “scared for your life” kind of goosebumps, but more of an “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe she made the characters do that” kind. I like that her stories didn’t have a clear-cut resolution. They served as pleasant reminders that life doesn’t necessarily have all the answers.
And finally, Susan Abulhawa’s fictional (yet very realistic) story Against the Loveless World is one that will stay with me for a long time. It follows the story of a Palestinian woman grappling with displacement, grief, love, and above all — hope for a better future. Goodreads calls it “lyrical” and I can’t think of a better description.
I’m almost halfway through the The Death of Vivek Oji audiobook. Akwaeke Emezi creates a gripping tale of a Nigerian boy’s mysterious death, and how his family grapples with their lack of understanding of who he’d become. I’m sure this one will be full of plot twists.
As far as physical books go, I started The Pretty One over the weekend. It’s a collection of personal essays by disability activist and writer, Keah Brown. Brown, now nearing thirty, was born with cerebral palsy. Her pieces call out ableism and share her tumultuous journey on learning to accept her body. She pays a humorous homage to chairs, which have always been there for her, but also candidly talks about her personal relationships. I think there will be a lot to take away from Brown’s book.
As much as I’d like to think I’m a mood reader, I end up planning out a lot of what I read. (Shoutout to library due dates for holding me accountable to that.)
I have Haben Girma’s autobiography on hold, and can’t wait to read more about her experience graduating from Harvard Law as a deafblind individual.
A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza has been on my bookshelf forever. It’s one of those books that I’ve been holding out for, for a reason I can’t quite pinpoint. I have high hopes for this one, so we’ll see how those pan out! (Random fun fact: I attended university with one of Mirza’s younger brothers. It’s a small world after all, right?)
Today was my lucky day because People We Meet on Vacation — which wasn’t supposed to be available for 4 weeks — was ready to borrow. Score! I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about this book and Emily Henry’s writing style, so I’m eager to read this one.
And last but not least, Alka Joshi’s The Secret Keeper of Jaipur is out! I lucked out in this instance, too, and managed to snag an audio copy from the library. The Henna Artist swept me off my feet, so I can’t wait to read the sequel and see where the characters are over a decade later.
That’s all from me. This was a lot of fun, and I hope that you’ve all had a solid month of reading. I’d love to know what some of your favorite titles were, as well as what you’re hoping to read in July. And let me know if you’ve read any of the books I mentioned here!
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