Tuesday, June 30, 2020

June Reads

I'm pretty far ahead on my yearly reading challenge now. I aim at 52 books a year: one a week. As I write this, I've finished 37 books, which Goodreads tells me is 12 books ahead of schedule. 

I read seven books in June and only two of them were novellas, so I think I may finally be past my reading slump. Maybe it's because school ended, alleviating some of my stress and anxiety, at least in the short term. 

I still don't know what teaching will look like come fall, and I'm still worried about my students--especially the ones I didn't hear from often enough during our weird quarantine school-from-home situation--but I *usually* don't hear from them in June, so that doesn't constantly bump against my consciousness like it did in March, April and May. 

Or maybe I've adjusted to the low-level anxiety all the time now, enough to be able to read through it. 

I read quite a variety this month: 

We've got comedy, cyberpunk science fiction, magical fantasy, nonfiction supernatural study, and my own superhero novels. (I'm re-reading my own books because it's been two years since I wrote new material in this series and I'm refreshing my feel for the world before I dive back into writing book four). 

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey is a book I'd heard a bit of buzz about and when a friend proposed we discuss it as part of a book club he was starting, I jumped in. If you're a fan of distinct narrative voice, then you'll love this one, about a non-magical woman working to solve a crime in a magical school, where her magical twin sister teaches. So much relationship healing and moving forward through pain, along with romance and a fabulous setting. 

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Someone once describe the Shingles series to me as "if Goosebumps had been written for adults." That seems spot on to me. Slow Ride was written by my publisher, John Hartness, and others in the series are written by his friends from Authors and Dragons. This is the first of these comedy-horror novellas I've read, but I have a feeling it won't be the last. I giggle-snorted my way through it.  

Altered Carbon has been on my list for a while. I watched the first season of the TV show with my husband, which spoiled the book for me a little (much of the plot is similar), but I still really enjoyed the world. I loved the intermixing of cyberpunk and noir tropes, even if I was also annoyed by the adolescent casual misogyny. 

Like Mulder of X-Files fame, I want to believe. Though in my case, it's ghosts more than aliens I want
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to believe in. For that reason, I found Alex Matsuo's book about her paranormal investigation of a purportedly haunted theater intriguing. Really interesting for learning how such investigations are done without the sheen of hysteria and exaggeration that often surrounds "ghosthunter" books and programming. 

I won't comment here on my own books other than to say that I am happy to report that these works by past-Samantha do not embarrass me. I still think they're solid--entertaining, thought-provoking, and fun all in one package. Can't wait to see where the next book in the Menopausal Superhero series takes me!

How did your reading month go? What kinds of books are you seeking out during these strange times? I'd love to hear you thoughts in the comments!


  1. That's great that you're reading so much. I'm reading more too--mostly YA and MG, but some adult. I'm just going to start Masked Prey, John Sanford's newest release.

  2. Hooray for getting past a reading slump! I'm still working on getting out of mine.

    I've seen Magic For Liars around a lot lately. Sounds like a great read—I love a distinct narrative voice.

  3. Teaching during the pandemic was really tough, wasn't it? At first I thought it would be easier, without the commute and with a more relaxed schedule, but that wasn't the case at all. I missed interacting with the students in person, being able to "read the room," and being able to easily engage the quieter students. I, too, am welcoming this much-needed break.

    Congrats on your GR Challenge! I actually decided not to take part this year, because--no matter how low I set the bar and even though I naturally read a lot--I found it really stressful. I have stacks of magazines I haven't looked at because all my reading time had to "count." It's a bit of a relief, though I'm still adding the books I read to the site.