What I Read in June 2020

I can’t tell you how impressed I am with myself that I’ve been writing these “what I read” posts regularly all year! I mean, sure, it’s just a post once a month but keeping up with anything has felt impossible in 2020.

I help run a virtual book club for The Empowerment Studio Patreon Community. We read Untamed by Glennon Doyle and had such an incredible conversation over Zoom! I love a virtual book club more than I love an in-person one because I don’t have to psych myself up to leave the house. It’s a struggle to get me into a car in 100 degree heat. PS If you want to join our book club and have at least $1 a month to spare, you can sign up at the link above!

OH! Something so exciting happened at Twice Told Tales in June, too! We got set up with a shop page on Bookshop.org! Bookshop.org is such an incredible resource for small bookstores like ours–if there’s a book that you want to buy from us but we don’t have it in stock? You can now order it online, basically, from us! It works almost exactly how Libro.fm works. Only libro.fm is about audiobooks and Bookshop is about physical books! So, when I post links in this piece, I’ll include links to Libro.fm and Bookshop–they both benefit our shop when you buy from them. You don’t have to get them from us, but it’s an option I wanted you to know about.

Okay! What did I read? What did you read?

PS: Octavia Butler’s birthday was in June. This is one of the notes she used to leave for herself when she was writing. This one reads, “Tell stories filled with facts. Make people TOUCH, and TASTE, and KNOW! Make people FEEL! FEEL! FEEL!”

— — —

The Cover of The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd: 5-Stars
Get it on audiobook here.
Get a physical copy from here.

Okay, so here’s the blurb that’s going around about The Book of Longings: “An extraordinary story set in the first century about a woman who finds her voice and her destiny.” Okay–so, that does nothing for me. Which is why I was lucky that my first introduction was from Book of the Month where they basically described this book as, “The story of Jesus’ feminist wife.” HELL YES. Sign me up. And I loved it a lot. I don’t generally care for historical fiction–and especially not ancient historical fiction. No thank you. But I fell in love with Anna in the first paragraph and by the end (spoiler alert? But I sorta forgot that Jesus died?) I was weeping for her. I’ve never pulled for a character in a book so hard in my life.

The cover of Glennon Doyle’s “Untamed”

Untamed by Glennon Doyle: 5-Stars
Get the audiobook here.
Get the physical copy here.

Like I said, we read this for a book club. What I love the most about this book is the formatting. It’s really just a bunch of unconnected (and yet totally connected) essays of varying lengths. You can pick up this book at any point and just read and get something awesome out of it. You don’t HAVE to read it in order at all–unless you just want to make sure you don’t miss anything.

The cover of Wandering in Strange Lands by Morgan Jerkins

Wandering in Strange Lands: A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan Jerkins: 5-stars
Pre-order the audiobook here.
Pre-order the physical copy here.

I got an advanced copy from Libro.fm and I can not recommend pre-ordering this book enough. It’s going to be released in August. Right now, all the white people I know are filling their TBR lists with work by Black authors. And that’s important! And also, I hope that we keep this energy. That’s why I want you to preorder this book NOW. So that come August you’ll have something to read.
So, usually I really don’t like non-fiction (even though three of the books I read in June are non-fiction) and history doesn’t always grab my attention. But Morgan Jerkins kept me engaged through this whole book. Not only because learning about The Great Migration (which I previously knew 0% about) is fascinating as hell, but because Jerkins is telling the story of her own learning of her family on both sides.
If I start listing all the things I learned in this book, I’ll never stop. There’s so, so, so much about the history of The United States that I don’t know.
Also, I messaged with Morgan Jerkins a little bit on Instagram while I was raving about this book and she’s so sweet and down to earth and deserves so much.

The cover of Carmen Maria Machado’s In the Dream House

In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado: 5-Stars
Get the audiobook here.
Get the physical copy here.

Carmen Maria Machado writes in such… a… visceral… way. Which is wholly unique to her. I’ve never known anyone who’s writing can make me feel so fully, in my body, the way that she does (except for maybe my friend Audra).
This is a memoir of an abusive relationship. As someone who had been in a very similar relationship during my college years as well as a few years ago, this book was as validating as it was triggering. I finished it in less than 24 hours because I needed to finish it and also I needed to stop reading it.
Abuse in queer relationships is seldom, if ever, spoken about and that’s why In The Dream House is such a vital work. Every story is important.

The cover of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett: 5-Stars
Get the audiobook here.
Get the physical copy here.

The only other work of fiction that I read in June!! I’ve been looking forward to The Vanishing Half for months and I was so excited when it was available on audiobook for me. What a treasure.
The Vanishing Half tells the story of two identical twins who escape from their small, southern town together. Left to their own devices, one sister embraces her Blackness and the other rejects it entirely–failing to mention it even to her own husband. What follows is the way that each woman’s choices shape the future ahead of them. I don’t want to give anything away but I was glued to this book.

— — —

Eveything I read this month was 5-stars! Which is awesome. Books, right now, are incredible. I love reading so much.

What are you reading? Tell me all about it.

What do you think?

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