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June was a funny reading month for me. I didn’t finish a lot of books this month (although one of the books I finished was almost 500 pages), but I started quite a few that didn’t make the cut. And it’s a bummer because I was really looking forward to a couple of those books. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

JUNE 2024 BOOKS

The books I finished are quite a cross-section of genres. In this list, you will find a romance, a literary mystery, a futuristic sci-fi novel, and a philosophical non-fiction book. And two of the four books were five star reads for me.

These are the books I finished in June 2024. I would love to hear if you’ve read any of these and what your thoughts are. (Share in the comments below!)

Also, would you like to hear about the books I DNF each month? I’m debating adding that info, but I know that it can be helpful to know what didn’t work and why.

What I Read in June 2024

Funny story by Emily Henry

Funny Story by Emily Henry

This book has been named one of the most anticipated books of the summer, and since I have read almost all of Emily Henry’s adult novels, I was excited to read it. This is a forced-proximity, opposites attract romance novel. Daphne and Miles are recovering from recent breakups. Daphne was engaged to Peter, and Miles was dating Peter’s childhood best friend, Petra. All is going according to plan until the night of Peter’s bachelor party when Peter and Petra confess their love to each other. The story takes place in Peter’s home town in Michigan where Daphne’s only friends are Peter’s friends, that is until the breakup. Because she needs a place to live in very short notice, she ends up renting a room in Miles’ apartment. Daphne is planning to move at the end of the summer, but she’s committed to staying until the read-a-thon she planned at the local library where she works is over. Her friendship with Miles slowly grows into more after the two take a picture they post on Instagram one night after they had been drinking, giving the impression they are dating. I agree with another reader who said that Miles is the best book boyfriend. (He really is.) There’s a lot more going on in this story as both Miles and Daphne are still figuring out how to navigate their relationships with their families. This is a book about identity, self-discovery, friendship, and surviving narcissistic parents.

Reading Note 1: I listened to this one on audio, and I wish I would have read a physical copy. While I love audiobooks, something to remember is that the narrator is aiding in the interpretation of the novel and characters. While I typically like Julia Whelan’s narrations, the thing that bugged me about this one is that she would sometimes make the characters sound like they were whispering when I don’t think they were whispering. If you listened to this one or read it, I would love to get your take on the book.

Read Note 2: This book is open door.

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

There is so much going on in this book. This book was a solid 5 star read for me. If I were to pick a season for this book, this book definitely has more fall and winter vibes for me, but I wanted to read it in anticipation of Liz Moore’s new novel: The God of the Woods, which just came out July 2. The summaries of Long Bright River will lead you to believe that this book is about two sisters, but that’s not exactly true. Yes, there are two sisters: Mickey and Kacey, but the focus of the story is really on Mickey (Michaela) for at least 80 percent of the novel. Mickey and Kacey were raised by their grandmother in Philadelphia after their mother died of a drug overdose. When the story opens, the two are adults. Mickey is a cop and Kacey is a drug addict living on the streets in the neighborhood where Mickey patrols. But Kacey has gone missing, and Mickey is trying to determine her whereabouts. There are girls showing up dead in the area, not from an overdose, but from murder, and Mickey is afraid for Kacey’s life. As the story unfolds, it alternates between the past and the present where we get to learn about the people and events that shaped both Mickey and Kacey, and how they ended up following such different paths. This book explores a lot of heavy topics such as the opioid crisis, police brutality, and the vulnerable position of kids who grow up in a home like Mickey and Kacey and how it makes them a target for abuse.

My Take: I have a hard time with novels where the author takes their protagonist through hell without any sort of redemption. This book does NOT do that. Mickey and Kacey both live hard lives, but there is a beautiful story of redemption at the end that I personally loved.

Reading Note: This book is almost 500 pages, but it did not seem like it was dragging at any point. I think it kept a nice pace.

Reading Note 2: If you are in a book club that isn’t afraid of long books, I think this would make an excellent book club picks. I’m working on putting together discussion questions, which I will publish soon.

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

The Ministry of Time by Kaliane Bradley

This book made my 2024 summer reading list, so I was pretty excited to read it. Have you ever wondered what certain historical characters would think if they were all of a sudden plopped into our modern world? For example, what would George Washington think if he saw all of our cars, highways, and technology? Would he be fascinated or horrified? That’s exactly the experiment The Ministry of Time is trying to entertain, but with a twist. If you’ve ever read a time travel novel or watched a time-travel movie (think Back to the Future), you know that one of the problems is that if you go back to the past, you risk changing the future. To avoid this problem, the Ministry, which is part of the British government, decides to snag people from the past who are about to die. They do this with five historical characters from different time periods. What they want to see is if they are able to acclimate them to our modern world and if there are any negative physical side effects for them. Each historical character is assigned a “bridge” to live with and help acclimate the character. Our protagonist, whose name is never revealed, is assigned to a polar explorer from 1847 by the name of Graham Gore. The novel primarily focuses on these two characters. I personally found watching how the characters acclimated or refused to acclimate very interesting.

Reading Notes: There is a surprising romance in this book, and it is open door.

Fun Fact: This book is being made into a TV series by the BBC. I can see this book translating very well to the screen.

Is this book for you? If you like time-travel mind-bending novels (think a tempered Blake Crouch), I think you will like this novel. Readers have also compared it to Outlander. I also think if you tend to like sci-fi novels, you will enjoy this one.

Low Anthropology by David Zahl

Low Anthropology by David Zahl

I think this is one of those books that everyone should read. (And despite it’s philosophical nature, it is very approachable). But I’m going to warn you that I think the case that Zahl is making for “low anthropology” is going to sound controversial in some circles. If you’re like me, you’ve probably never heard of the term “low anthropology” before, and that’s because it was coined by David Zahl’s father, Paul Zahl. Anthropology from a philosophical standpoint comes down to what we believe about human nature, and our personal anthropology determines our expectations for our relationships, ourselves, and even political leaders. Low anthropology has to do with seeing things for how they really are, not how we want them to be. And Zahl makes the case that this is key to “generating authentic compassion and lasting love.” On the flip side, Zahl also makes the case that having a high anthropology, or high view of human nature, can actually be destructive. For example, someone with a high anthropology may have a tendency to be self-righteous and therefore have unrealistic expectations of others. To quote Zahl: “If you are focused on your own rightness, the other person in the relationship will inevitably appear wrong. You will wonder why they cannot change to be more like you.” This ends up being that person in your life who is always right and always disappointed in you. The problem is that high anthropology sounds better on paper, but it doesn’t take into account the true picture of who we really are. I think this is a really important book. Let me know if you pick it up.

Here is my favorite quote from the book, which is actually from author Anne Lamott:

“Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe, so try not to compare your insides to their outsides.”

What have you been reading lately? Have you ready any of these books? I would love to hear about it.

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2 Comments

  1. I love the sound of Long Bright River, especially since it keeps a nice pace throughout. I’d be very interested in reading about your DNF titles, I think it’ll be super helpful. Thank you for sharing!

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