What I Read in May & June

Friday, July 2, 2021




Two months down, seven more books under my belt! 

OK, actually, it's nine more books under my belt, but I've been relistening to the Harry Potter audiobooks, & I'm not reviewing those here. We all know how I feel about Harry Potter by now, right?

My last two months have included some pretty good books covering a diversity of topics & voices. The lowest score I gave any of them was three stars, & even then, it was still a really enjoyable read. Here's what I finished & how I felt about them.

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Truth be told, I'm not a huge fan of Ali Wong's stand-up comedy – which is to say that I find her unwatchable. I really enjoyed this audiobook, though, which she narrates. Some of the comedy is similarly painful for me to listen to, in terms of topics & language (why am I 85?), but it's tempered by stories of her family, thoughtful advice for her daughters, & cultural pride. ★★★★☆

Sitting Pretty by Rebekah Taussig

I've long followed Dr. Taussig on Instagram, though she rarely posts anymore. She's used a wheelchair since childhood, & she holds a PhD in creative nonfiction and disability studies. This book is equal parts personal memoir & a nonfiction look at disability in society, a topic I've been interested in since my first post-college job in 2007. It's fascinating, joyful, heartbreaking, beautiful, infuriating, educational... a must-read, in my opinion. ★★★★★

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban

When six very different high school seniors (think Breakfast Club) end up in a restaurant basement together, they think they've been invited to a scholarship dinner – but when the door locks & a bomb is uncovered, it becomes clear that they're being held hostage. The note says they have to choose one person to kill, or else they'll all die. Can they do it? And who would make them do it, anyway?! The ending went a little bit off the rails for me, but otherwise I really enjoyed this one. ★★★☆☆

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

I've been reading (err, listening to) this book for a long time because I wanted to be able to process it, to really internalize it. I know it's been the subject of some criticism for catering too much to white people's feelings & understandings, & maybe that's true. But I thought it was an extremely valuable look at a fraction of the history of race in America & of the many facets of systemic racism that continues to impact Black people in the U.S. today. ★★★★★

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender 

This one had been on my to-read list seemingly forever, about a young, Black, trans artist in New York City. When an anonymous "art installation" outs Felix as trans – including deadnaming him & sharing photos of him before he transitioned – he sets out to ruin the person he thinks did it... & ends up in a little bit of a love triangle. Err... rectangle? I loved the characters in this one & that we got to experience Felix's thoughts on his own gender alongside him. ★★★★★

A Special Place for Women by Laura Hankin

I loved Hankin's last book, Happy and You Know It, so I was thrilled to get my hands on this one. Its protagonist is Jillian, an out-of-work journalist who finagles her way into an all-women club/coworking space hybrid for NYC elites. Are they just woo-woo girl-power gals, or did they also help take down New York City's first female mayor? When Jillian infiltrates to get the scoop, things head in a direction she (& I) did not expect. ★★★★☆

The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson 

Stevie Bell is back! My favorite intrepid student detective has left her boarding school for the year & has been invited to spend the summer at a sleepaway camp with a history of homicide – a quadruple homicide, in fact. In the '70s, four students were murdered in the woods, & there have never been any real leads. Under the guise of being employed as a counselor, Stevie is there to solve the crime & bring some peace to the town. ★★★★☆

Tell me what you're reading, then add me on Goodreads to keep in touch & see what I've read in months past. You can also follow my bookstagram account.

My "What I Read in..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to the titles I discuss. If you buy a book using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, it will help me buy more books.

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