Hey nerds, how are you?
I AM AWARE THAT IT IS ESSENTIALLY THE END OF JULY BUT I STARTED WRITING THIS AT THE END OF JUNE SO LET’S PRETEND TIME DOESN’T MATTER.
I cannot believe I’m writing another blog post! I’m so happy. I have been in such a thesis bubble the past few months…who am I kidding, I still am. I am currently data collecting, which is a fancy way of saying I’m interviewing participants! I don’t know how to express how awesome it is to be able to interview people who want their stories to be heard. I just sit there and absord their experiences and feelings – and to be honest, it does drain you but you feel as if there is a purpose to the research that reading articles and trying to understand theoretical perspectives, don’t quite highlight, especially to a PhD student! We’re like…baby academics. Still trying to figure out our motorskills and learning how to speak the language.
That was a tangent. But that’s what I’ve been doing! I’m also currently at the beginning stages of organising a symposium for my university because I (alongside a friend of mine, Renee) are co-student representatives for our College. My university has ‘colleges’ which then have ‘schools’ – if that makes sense? For instance, I am in the School of Education, and the School of Education is within the College of Design and Social Context. So I am the college wide student rep! It’s been meeting after meeting!
𝓐𝓷𝔂𝔀𝓪𝔂, let’s actually get to the post that I’m meant to write! In the month of June, I actually read 17 books! Again, wow. I’m lowkey proud of myself, even though I promised myself that I would slow down and read the more bigger books on my shelf. Have I done that? Not really.
So, yes, 17 books. I wanted to finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt by the end of June, but it is so not happening. I only have one more day of June and 500 more pages of The Goldfinch so this time, the book wins!
I read mostly ‘LGTBQIA+’ fiction, according to my Storygraph, totalling to 5 books. Within that though, is a new adult contemporary/sci-fi romance, a memoir, a young adult fantasy and, a literary novel. I mostly read adult fiction this month also, either contemporary, literary, or short stories. I read only two classics, which is lowkey disappointing of me (remind me to do a classics check-in soon) and two historical romance novels. I also read a hard sci-fi novel in the beginning of the month – and I haven’t read a hard sci-fi in possibly years, so that was exciting.
If there are any books you want to see a full length review for, please let me know!
These are in no particular order by the way!
So the ‘literary’ novels that I read this month were 𝑳𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝒃𝒚 𝑨𝒏𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒘 𝑺𝒆𝒂𝒏 𝑮𝒓𝒆𝒆𝒓 and 𝑲𝒊𝒎 𝑱𝒊𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒏𝒈, 𝑩𝒐𝒓𝒏 1982 𝒃𝒚 𝑪𝒉𝒐 𝑵𝒂𝒎-𝑱𝒐𝒐, and both of these novels were fantastic in their own unique way. 𝑳𝒆𝒔𝒔 was an absolute surprise. It completely blindsided me – I am one of those people who think that books come into your life for a reason and this one definitely did because it hit me so emotionally. 𝑳𝒆𝒔𝒔 is the story about Arthur Less, written from the perspective of someone else (I won’t tell you who, because the unmasking of the narratar is one of the elements of this novel that I loved) who decides to go tour the world’s literary events that he was invited to, in order to have a justifiable reason to not go to his ex-lover’s wedding. The book itself is not plot-heavy at all, so don’t read this novel if that’s what you need in your books – it is essentially a character study. Nothing much happens, we are sitting alongside Aurther as he navigates this period of the aftermath of his relationship and the man that he loves, marrying another man. Absolutely fantastic.
𝑲𝒊𝒎 𝑱𝒊𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒏𝒈, 𝑩𝒐𝒓𝒏 1982 is similar in the sense that there is not really a plot, it is again, a character study from the perspective of someone else, an outsider looking in and reconstructing 𝑲𝒊𝒎 𝑱𝒊𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒏𝒏𝒈’s life. The exploration of sexism, misogyny and its almost insiduous nature in the way that it oppresses and suppresses a woman living in a patriarchal society, was exceptionally well written. I had to put the book down a few times because of how impactful it was in conveying these themes. Cho Nam-Joo writes with a simplicity that smacks you in the face with emotional poignancy – it is a skill.
Now, a 𝓓𝓸𝔀𝓻𝔂 𝓸𝓯 𝓑𝓵𝓸𝓸𝓭 𝓫𝔂 𝓢.𝓣. 𝓖𝓲𝓫𝓼𝓸𝓷 was one of the biggest surprises of June. I think this is technically categorised as a novella and it was stunning. The writing in this actually blew me away and I ended up annotating it because some of the lines were beautiful. Do you want an example? I’m going to give an example to you anyway. Here we go – non-spoiler, by the way:
𝒀𝒐𝒖 𝒅𝒊𝒅 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒍𝒆𝒕 𝒎𝒆 𝒌𝒆𝒆𝒑 𝒎𝒚 𝒏𝒂𝒎𝒆, 𝒔𝒐 𝑰 𝒘𝒊𝒍𝒍 𝒔𝒕𝒓𝒊𝒑 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒐𝒇 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓𝒔. 𝑰𝒏 𝒕𝒉𝒊𝒔 𝒘𝒐𝒓𝒍𝒅, 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒘𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑰 𝒔𝒂𝒚 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒂𝒓𝒆, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝑰 𝒔𝒂𝒚 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒂 𝒈𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒕, 𝒂 𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒈 𝒏𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕’𝒔 𝒇𝒆𝒗𝒆𝒓 𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒎 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝑰 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒇𝒊𝒏𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒘𝒐𝒌𝒆𝒏 𝒖𝒑 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎. 𝑰 𝒔𝒂𝒚 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒎𝒐𝒌𝒆-𝒘𝒊𝒔𝒑 𝒎𝒆𝒎𝒐𝒓𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒂 𝒇𝒍𝒂𝒎𝒆, 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒘𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒔𝒖𝒇𝒇𝒆𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒏 𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒍𝒚 𝒔𝒑𝒓𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒔𝒖𝒏, 𝒂 𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒌 𝒍𝒆𝒅𝒈𝒆𝒓 𝒐𝒇 𝒅𝒆𝒃𝒕𝒔 𝒃𝒆𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒘𝒊𝒑𝒆𝒅 𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒏.
𝑰 𝒔𝒂𝒚 𝒚𝒐𝒖 𝒅𝒐 𝒏𝒐𝒕 𝒉𝒂𝒗𝒆 𝒂 𝒏𝒂𝒎𝒆.
Like? I was blown away throughout reading this entire book. 𝓓𝓸𝔀𝓻𝔂 𝓸𝓯 𝓑𝓵𝓸𝓸𝓭 centres on the story of Constanta, one of the brides of Dracula. I think this novella can be thought of as both a confession and a love letter. It is written to ‘you’, which we as the reader figure out that it is Dracula himself in the beginning. We follow Constanta’s journey from human to vampire, to victim to survivor. We have a polyamorous relationship and queer characters. This was beautiful and I highly recommend reading it!
𝓢𝓱𝓪𝓻𝓭𝓼 𝓸𝓯 𝓔𝓪𝓻𝓽𝓱 𝓫𝔂 𝓐𝓭𝓻𝓲𝓪𝓷 𝓣𝓬𝓱𝓪𝓲𝓴𝓸𝓿𝓼𝓴𝔂 was also a suprise! I won’t say any more about this book because I have a full review here.
The adult romance I read in June was mostly immaculate. 𝓞𝓷𝓮 𝓛𝓪𝓼𝓽 𝓢𝓽𝓸𝓹 𝓫𝔂 𝓒𝓪𝓼𝓮𝔂 𝓜𝓬𝓠𝓾𝓲𝓼𝓽𝓸𝓷 was my favourite romance of June. It’s not without it’s flaws, but goddamn did it make me feel all the emotions. Jane Su is one of my favourite characters that I have read this year. August and Jane’s relationship is pure and wholesome and I still think about them. This book is super light sci-fi, with aspects of time travel set in the contemporary world albet slightly alternate (McQuiston bookish universe?) that is about two women falling in love on the train. One stuck in-between time, the other trying to save her. It was so beautiful. August is such a chaotic bisexual and I love it.
𝓣𝓸 𝓢𝓲𝓻 𝓟𝓱𝓲𝓵𝓵𝓲𝓹, 𝓦𝓲𝓽𝓱 𝓛𝓸𝓿𝓮 𝓫𝔂 𝓙𝓾𝓵𝓲𝓪 𝓠𝓾𝓲𝓷𝓷 and 𝓑𝓻𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓓𝓸𝔀𝓷 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓓𝓾𝓴𝓮 𝓫𝔂 𝓔𝓿𝓲𝓮 𝓓𝓾𝓷𝓶𝓸𝓻𝓮 were both historical romance fiction that I read in June and they were both really good. Historical romance fiction is a genre of romance that is typically hit and miss with me (hello toxic relationships) but 𝓔𝓿𝓲𝓮 𝓓𝓾𝓷𝓶𝓸𝓻𝓮’s novel 𝓑𝓻𝓲𝓷𝓰𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓓𝓸𝔀𝓷 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓓𝓾𝓴𝓮 was super fun and adorable. Again, not flawless – I do wish there was more actual attention paid to the historical context. This book is promoted as suffragettes meets romance – but the suffragette movement is mostly pushed to the side and the romance is emphasised. I wish there was more of a balance. 𝓣𝓸 𝓢𝓲𝓻 𝓟𝓱𝓲𝓵𝓵𝓲𝓹, 𝓦𝓲𝓽𝓱 𝓛𝓸𝓿𝓮 𝓫𝔂 𝓙𝓾𝓵𝓲𝓪 𝓠𝓾𝓲𝓷𝓷 is my favourite Bridgerton novel to date. Yes okay, Phillip is not the best male romance lead but in comparison to most, he is superior. I just really loved Eloise’s character so much and the inclusion of Phillip’s two children. It made me feel happy!
𝓘𝓷 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓓𝓻𝓮𝓪𝓶 𝓗𝓸𝓾𝓼𝓮 𝓫𝔂 𝓒𝓪𝓻𝓶𝓮𝓷 𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓲𝓪 𝓜𝓪𝓬𝓱𝓪𝓭𝓸 will have to be in the top ten of my favourite books of all time. It was transcendent. I honestly cannot believe it took me this long to get to reading this book. Classified as a memoir, 𝓘𝓷 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓓𝓻𝓮𝓪𝓶 𝓗𝓸𝓾𝓼𝓮 turns the genre on its head. It deconstructs and remakes what it means to be a memoir, with an interweaving of experience and story with queer theory. I loved it so much. Trigger warnings for mental and psychological abuse.
𝓔𝓿𝓮𝓷 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓢𝓽𝓪𝓻𝓼 𝓛𝓸𝓸𝓴 𝓛𝓸𝓷𝓮𝓼𝓸𝓶𝓮 𝓫𝔂 𝓜𝓪𝔂𝓪 𝓐𝓷𝓰𝓮𝓵𝓸𝓾 was my first Angelou and it was, again, beautiful. I really enjoyed the insight this essay collection offered into Angelou herself, and into her thoughts concerning love, racism and sensuality. I am quite excited to read more of her work in the future.
For some reason, in the month of June, I re-discovered my enjoyment of short story collections. I started with a short story collection that was on my tbr for a bit, and that was 𝓦𝓲𝓵𝓭𝓮𝓻𝓷𝓮𝓼𝓼 𝓣𝓲𝓹𝓼 𝓫𝔂 𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓰𝓪𝓻𝓮𝓽 𝓐𝓽𝔀𝓸𝓸𝓭. This was incredibly strange and ridiculous and I thoroughly liked it. There was mostly duds in this collection, but the ones I enjoyed, I loved. But it definitely fizzled out by the end. Here are my ratings for the individual stories:
- 𝑻𝒓𝒖𝒆 𝑻𝒓𝒂𝒔𝒉, 3 stars
- 𝑯𝒂𝒊𝒓𝒃𝒂𝒍𝒍, 5 stars (freaking weird and disgusting, I loved it)
- 𝑰𝒔𝒊𝒔 𝒊𝒏 𝑫𝒂𝒓𝒌𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔, 4.5 stars
- 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑩𝒐𝒈 𝑴𝒂𝒏, 3.5 stars
- 𝑫𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒉 𝒃𝒚 𝑳𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒔𝒄𝒂𝒑𝒆, 2 stars
- 𝑼𝒏𝒄𝒍𝒆𝒔, 4 stars
- 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑨𝒈𝒆 𝒐𝒇 𝑳𝒆𝒂𝒅, 2 stars
- 𝑾𝒆𝒊𝒈𝒉𝒕, 2 stars
- 𝑾𝒊𝒍𝒅𝒆𝒓𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝑻𝒊𝒑𝒔, 2.5 stars
- 𝑯𝒂𝒄𝒌 𝑾𝒆𝒅𝒏𝒆𝒔𝒅𝒂𝒚, 2 stars
𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓓𝓪𝓷𝓰𝓮𝓻𝓼 𝓸𝓯 𝓢𝓶𝓸𝓴𝓲𝓷𝓰 𝓲𝓷 𝓑𝓮𝓭 𝓫𝔂 𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓲𝓪𝓷𝓪 𝓔𝓷𝓻𝓲𝓺𝓾𝓮𝔃 was fantastic. Oh my god, were these fantastic. They were disturbing, messy, unsettling and slightly horrific. It centred on messy women doing messy things and I ate that up. I just had so much fun reading these stories. Here are my ratings for the individual stories:
- 𝑨𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒂 𝑼𝒏𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕𝒉𝒆𝒅: 3.5 stars. I found this one hilarious but I don’t think it was meant to be.
- 𝑶𝒖𝒓 𝑳𝒂𝒅𝒚 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑸𝒖𝒂𝒓𝒓𝒚: 5 stars. ICONIC. The way this one ended!?!?
- 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑪𝒂𝒓𝒕: 2.5 stars. Meh.
- 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑾𝒆𝒍𝒍: 5 stars. THIS WAS INCREDIBLE.
- 𝑹𝒂𝒎𝒃𝒍𝒂 𝑻𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒆: 3 stars
- 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑳𝒐𝒐𝒌𝒐𝒖𝒕: 3.5 stars.
- 𝑾𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒂𝒓𝒆 𝒚𝒐𝒖, 𝒅𝒆𝒂𝒓 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒕?: 4 stars. This was perverted and horrifying.
- 𝑴𝒆𝒂𝒕: 4.5 stars. I MEAN THE TWIST????? What the fuck
- 𝑵𝒐 𝑩𝒊𝒓𝒕𝒉𝒅𝒂𝒚𝒔 𝒐𝒓 𝑩𝒂𝒑𝒕𝒊𝒔𝒎𝒔: 2 stars
- 𝑲𝒊𝒅𝒔 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒆 𝒃𝒂𝒄𝒌: 4 stars. So weird!!!
- 𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝑫𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝑺𝒎𝒐𝒌𝒊𝒏𝒈 𝒊𝒏 𝒃𝒆𝒅: 3 stars.
- 𝑩𝒂𝒄𝒌 𝒘𝒉𝒆𝒏 𝒘𝒆 𝒕𝒂𝒍𝒌𝒆𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒅𝒆𝒂𝒅: 4 stars
I didn’t read many classics in the month of June, which I am disappointed about but I will just try to rectify that in the future. But the two classics I did read where more of in the meh category. 𝓢𝓾𝓶𝓶𝓮𝓻 𝓫𝔂 𝓔𝓭𝓲𝓽𝓱 𝓦𝓱𝓪𝓻𝓽𝓸𝓷 was my third Edith Wharton work I’ve read. Similar to Ethan Frome, this is a novella that leans more towards the tragic and bleak. I still have mixed feelings about this novella. On one hand I can appreciate it as a work of art – it explores issues surrounding womanhood, sexuality when being a woman, normative structures that limit and confine a woman’s sexual expression, etc. But on the other hand, I was bored. So. Bored. And I can’t really get past that. At least with Ethan Frome, you were engaged and almost enthralled by the tragedy and the writing was immersive! With Summer, I just wanted it to end.
𝓞𝓵𝓲𝓿𝓮𝓻 𝓣𝔀𝓲𝓼𝓽 𝓫𝔂 𝓒𝓱𝓪𝓻𝓵𝓮𝓼 𝓓𝓲𝓬𝓴𝓮𝓷𝓼 is my third Dickens novel that I have ever read. I did mostly enjoy it but I had some issues. It wasn’t until I reflected about the book that I decided to give it a three star rating. The ending was satisfying and great. I feel like I’ve tabbed and underlined entire pages because the portrayal of love and family was so beautiful and lifted off the page. So I adored the character of Oliver Twist. But, I still think that the pacing was a bit off – the last 60ish pages so many things happened and I wish we had more time to see the aftermath of certain events instead of it happening off page and referred to.
I also had a slight issue with the character of Fagin. I need to look into it a bit more, but the way that he was described, in terms of his physical appearance as well as his personality and nature, it seemed anti-Semitic. Like, in some scenes it was written as if he was the way he was because he was Jewish. I don’t know – maybe I was reading too much into it? I have to do a bit of research.
There was also an instance (I think only one?) of a character using the n word.
The two biggest disappoints of the month. 𝓜𝓪𝓵𝓲𝓬𝓮 𝓫𝔂 𝓗𝓮𝓪𝓽𝓱𝓮𝓻 𝓦𝓪𝓵𝓽𝓮𝓻 had so much potential but it was just not very good.
I had such high hopes for this. And I don’t quite know why I didn’t love it.
Actually, no that’s a lie. I do.
It started off strong, it really did, I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book. I thought the magic system and the history of the world were interesting, I was enjoying Alyce as a character most of the time. But then I couldn’t see last how idiotic Alyce was. I’m sorry but she lacked critical thinking so such a degree that she refused to see things that were right in front of her. I think that this must’ve been deliberate- maybe to showcase how much she longs to actually be loved. But we were reading from her first person perspective and she was seeing what we, as readers, were ‘seeing’, and she didn’t SEE THINGS THAT WERE SO OBVIOUS. Or she does recognise or acknowledge it and then forgets about it. But gets surprised when it bites her on the ass. She takes very little accountability. I guess I understand that everything was leading to the climax, her villain origin story of you will, but even that was ridiculously lacklustre. Don’t even get me started about Aurora. One of the most two dimensional dull characters I’ve read this year. She had no substance! Alyce and Aurora’s ‘relationship’, if you want to call it that, had no substance! This book really is placing hell of a lot of pressure on the sequel and final book in the duology to make us care for Aurora and tie up the loose ends.
Also, there were a few plot holes regarding literally everything. The magic, the history, the Graces and the Fae. Don’t get me wrong, it’s interesting, but again, there needed to be more. So much of the book was spent really doing nothing in terms of plot – it was mostly to get the reader sympathetic to Alyce and her situation (which was terrible!) but I think if more world building was woven through, it would’ve been great. And who saw Val and that ‘twist’ coming a mile away? Alyce just didn’t understand what it meant to THINK THINGS THROUGH. Honestly.
𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓜𝓪𝓻𝓿𝓮𝓵𝓸𝓾𝓼 𝓜𝓲𝓻𝔃𝓪 𝓖𝓲𝓻𝓵𝓼 𝓫𝔂 𝓢𝓱𝓮𝓫𝓪 𝓚𝓪𝓻𝓲𝓶, again, had so much potential. The first half of it was literally sitting on a 4.5 to 5 star rating. But the last half? It lost focus. The story became entirely too concentrated on the romance element and it was so lacklustre. If you’re going to promote a book with ‘gilmore girls with bollywood’, then give me the mother-daughter content, if you’re also going to promote it as the main character going through grief and mourning, well, I would also like to see more that too. It just became so boring towards the end; what made it incredible in the beginning, was completely lost by the end.
Oh my god, I completley forgot that I read these two books. They were very average. I don’t have much to say about either of them, they were just okay and I have definitely read better.
And that’s it for today, friends! I’ll see you all in a week or so with the july wrap up (whoops).
Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,