I can’t believe yet another month is over. I’ll probably say that every time the month ends, so sorry if it gets a bit repetitive in these posts. The end of June means that the year is half over, which is absolutely ridiculous. I swear yesterday was March (where does all the time go??) Here’s my monthly update and plan for July! June is always a chaotic month for me, and July usually isn’t any better, so hopefully my reading stays about the same.
I only read 8 books this month, which is a little disappointing. However, I’m not getting worked up about it because I’m slowly learning to really take my time to appreciate the books I’m reading, rather than simply trying to read as many pages as I can (keep an eye out for a post on this later because it really is a game changer for me). Here are the books I did finish this month:
- Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox
- The Secret History by Donna Tartt
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
- Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young (review)
- Catching Stars by Cayla Keenan
- Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (review)
- Between You and Me by Mary Norris
- The World in the Evening by Christopher Isherwood
Of these, Tash Hearts Tolstoy was by far my favorite, while Catching Stars was my second favorite. Between You and Me and Swimming to Antarctica covered my non-fiction requirements for the month, although I, unfortunately, found the former to be a bit too boring. I think one of the reasons I didn’t get to as many books this month was because The Secret History was a really slow read for me. It required a lot of attention that I couldn’t always give. I’ve also just started Circeby Madeline Miller (FINALLY), after having it on my TBR for 2 months.
Still, because I’m learning to take my time with books thanks to The World in the Evening, I’m really not terribly concerned about the number. Would I like to read more often? Of course. But I’m busy with work and more often want to come home and sleep than come home and read (although it’s always a hard choice choosing between my two favorite activities).
Alright, I know I said I was going on a book buying ban this month. As it turns out, I’m not very good at those. However, in my defense, I didn’t buy that many, and none were bought at full price (2 from a used bookstore, 1 from Costco for less than retail, and 2 from a thrift store), so I think I’m justified.
- A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman: A good friend of mine loves Backman and is always trying to get me to read his books and have my heart torn out, so I picked this one up at the used bookstore along with the next one.
- The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson: I told myself I wanted to read all of Carson’s books this summer but didn’t want to start with Silent Spring because I’ve already read portions of it for class (and, let’s face it, it’s pretty depressing). I decided to get this one instead, which is the first book she wrote.
- A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to Tahir’s signing by my house, but I bought the book in case the opportunity presented itself. Also, I wanted to have it for when I was ready to read it (which is seeming like never).
- Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne: I remember seeing this when it was first released and thinking it looked interesting, so I grabbed it when I saw a brand-spanking new copy at the thrift store the other day.
- Uprooted by Noami Novik: One of my all-time favorite bookstagrammers just read an ARC of Novik’s Spinning Silver and absolutely raved about it, so I figured I’d give her other book in this style/series a go.
There are a number of books I want to buy in July, but I’m going to set a 10 book limit. The number of books I own but haven’t read yet and want to is getting a little out of hand (let alone ones I have waiting from my library), so I really need to learn to restrain myself. **Day of update: yesterday, I actually ordered 5 books, BUT 4 are books I’ve already read and just wanted a copy of and 1 is a pre-order, so we’ll see if I actually count those toward my total (let’s be real: I’ll probably find an excuse not to). Since this is mostly about tackling my TBR more so than saving money (although it’s definitely both), I think it’s justified since I’m not adding to my TBR.
I didn’t do quite as good of a job of reading other people’s posts as I would have liked too, but I’m determined to be better about that this month. Still, I have a handful of favorite posts. Most of them are amazing Pride Month, LGBTQ+ book recommendation posts that I highly suggest checking out and adding some of those to your TBR lists (I know I have; I made a whole LGBTQ+ reading list for myself).
- Malanie at Malanie Loves Fiction wrote an epic post about why book friendships are so, so important and often way more interesting than romantic pairings, and I am 110% here for it.
- Gerry from The Book Nook UK did a Top 5 Wednesday post of her favorite LGBTQ+ reads, and I really loved how it didn’t consist solely of contemporary novels. I need more rep in fantasy and classics and historical fiction.
- Lily from Sprinkles of Dreams had a list of her favorite LGBTQ+ books as well, and it added like 20 books to my TBR, which I’m more than okay with.
- I said this in my review for Tash Hearts Tolstoy, but Michelle at The Writing Hufflepuff did not one, but two lists of LGBTQIAP+ books she wants to see turned into movies. I agree with all of her choices, but as I mentioned in my last post, she also noted that a lot of the books were available for free from Riveted Lit, which was SUPER helpful and kind.
- Finally, Lia at Lost in a Story absolutely nailed her Pride Month posts, including two posts of LGBT+ book recs (one | two) and a discussion post on aphobia in media. The latter of these is super important to me, and I would really appreciate it if everyone could go give it a read. I think it’s really essential that everyone understands why thoughts and works that promote the supposed “healing” ability of romantic and sexual relationships needs to be contested.
I also wanted to give a quick update about what I did more personally this month, because I had some interesting stuff happen
First, as I mentioned briefly in my May/June post, I swam an open water race at the very beginning of the month. It was a 4.4-mile swim across the Chesapeake Bay, and it was… an adventure. The water was way rougher than they anticipated it would be, and, considering it was my first ever open water swim, it was completely unexpected. I’m still trying to decide if I want to do another one, but I think I’m leaning towards it. The bizarre thing that happened was that I was swimming for over 2 hours, but it only felt like 30 minutes. I read Swimming to Antarctica the week before the race in “preparation” to see if Lynne Cox, a famous marathon swimmer, had any advice to give. There wasn’t a whole lot that could be applied to this race, but I do remember thinking she was crazy because, at one point, she writes that, essentially, she meditates throughout her swims so that she doesn’t think about how long or how far she’s gone. And I honestly couldn’t fathom that, until I got in and started swimming. I just zoned out so much that I stopped thinking, that I just settled into a rhythm so that eventually I just ignored everything around me and every negative thought that was running through my head.
On another, more bookish note, I finally got to clean out my shelves. My sister and I have shared bookshelves for as long as I can remember. However, I have been the only one growing their collection, so my books were overflowing onto hers (and on the floor). She moved out permanently in the middle of May, and it wasn’t until this month that I got the okay to clear out her side. I am now one step closer to having the aesthetic bookshelves of my dreams. It’s not perfect, but it’s certainly closer than just having books jammed haphazardly onto the shelves. This is my favorites shelf, that has more decoration to it (the other is still pretty much “put things where they fit, who cares”):
I’m going to add one more thing to these posts from now on: my bullet journal spread for the month. I’m really trying to get into the swing of this again. At the beginning of the year, I worked super hard on these and I want to get even more artsy with my journal. I thought it might be fun and more motivating to me if I started sharing what I make, so here are my setups for July (mostly I’m just really proud of the last one and wanted to brag):
Like in June, I’m choosing my reads out of a jar. I am, however, giving myself a little more leniency than I did last month. I’ve learned that I’m more of a mood reader than I thought I was, so if I pick a book and really am not feeling it, I’ll just put it back and choose a new one. This wasn’t something I did often in June, but I think that was a mistake. In doing so, there are some books I didn’t enjoy as much because I didn’t read them at a time or in the mental space that worked for them. So, I’m still choosing my books randomly, but with a little leeway to account for my mood. And, again, I’m going to let myself relax a little bit. I’m not going to stress out about the number of books I’m reading but rather try to focus on actually enjoying them.
That is all for what I’ve done in June and what July looks like!
What was your favorite read of the month? What books are you most looking forward to reading in July?