In May I finally got out of the quarantine fog enough to enjoy a lot of fun reading. By then George Floyd was murdered and I changed my viewpoint. I spent a lot of time trying to immerse myself in some deeper learning about antiracism, finding new-to-me Black leaders to follow on Twitter and Instagram, and seeking out more books by Black authors.
- The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – Wow! I loved this thriller! I love when a writer can keep tricking me with different twists and turns throughout a story. As Theo, a psychotherapist, gets too close to Alicia, a patient who has been silent since being accused of killing her husband, we learn more about both of them. From rough childhoods to beautiful love stories, they have a lot in common. This was a great story from beginning to end!
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi – I had this book on my to-be-read list before the national uprising after the murder of George Floyd. As I began to expand my perspectives in that time, I knew it was time to read this book. This was incredible. While I’ve read other books that enlightened me about the way history has swept over key elements to make our nation seem better, without a racist past, I’ve never read a book that got to the heart of our issues and the need for immediate policy changes. Kendi explains that “I’m not racist” is not the opposite of being racist; the opposite is being antiracist. He cites examples in a variety of ways to be antiracist from power racism or antiracism, to biology, culture, behavior, and more. As I was reading, I felt more empowered to challenge the racist policies that we have in education, in city government, and across our nation. White people so often get offended when they are accused of being racist. We need to move into explaining how policies are racist and we need to become activists making impactful changes to said policies. I highly recommend this book for every American to read, especially in the times we are experiencing right now. I wrote an entire blog post just about this book!
- I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown – What a beautiful book! This book is an important read for anyone who is ready to glimpse into what daily life in America is like for a Black woman. Austin, whose parents gave her the name not just for family reasons but also as an advantage later in life, when people screening resumes might assume she was a White man and not a Black woman, shares segments of and stories from her life growing up in a very white world. She shares microaggressions committed against her by teachers, strangers, colleagues, subordinates, and more. She shares her sadness and her loss of hope. She shares her truth. If you don’t believe that there is still racism in America, you aren’t paying attention; you aren’t listening to the right voices. Racism is real and it is up to all of us to do better. Knowing that Reese Witherspoon picked this as her book club selection gives me hope that many White women will read this, and gain a greater understanding, ready to take action.
- The Gone Dead by Chanelle Benz – This author was recommended to me in a discussion about Black authors, and specifically in the mystery genre. As I continue to expand what I read, I wanted to find some fiction authors to enjoy as well. In this story, Billie, a woman born to a White woman and a Black man, returns to her father’s home in Mississippi, seeking answers about his death. With both parents gone, and no close relationships with her only living relatives, she enters into a world still separated by color and race. As she digs deeper to discover the truth, the ugliness of racism get closer and closer.
- Beach Read by Emily Henry – I read about this fun summer book on a recommended list at least a month ago, and it just became available from my library (e-book edition). Of course, I had 3 library books all come up as available from my hold list at the same time. I hate when that happens! Anyway, this is a cute story about a romance novelist with writer’s block who re-meets a literary fiction writer from her past. As they work their own issues, they find humor in trading genres for their summer writing projects. I only wish I had been reading this on a beach vacation!
- The Boy From the Woods by Harlan Coben – When I had multiple books on hold at the library all come available at the same time, I knew I could finish these last two quickly! I love a good Coben mystery and this one did not disappoint. Wilde is the boy from the woods, now a grown man, who is brought in to find two teenagers who seem to have run away. As he gets closer to finding the truth, politicians, lies, and the past all come together. This was a fun read!
This year I’m also keeping track of the stats of the books I read. Here are June’s stats:
Young Adolescent: (Have one started but not yet finished this month!)
Audiobooks: (Have one started but not yet finished this month!)
Author is of or plot addresses a different race/ethnicity, orientation, religion than me: 3
Female author: 3
Male Author: 3
Nonbinary Author: 0 (Looking for author recommendations)