Reading roundup! June 2018

June was a busy month for me! Between Comic Con, Pride, and the release of a couple games I’ve been anticipating for a long time: Jurassic World Evolution, and The Sims 4: Seasons. Neither of these games are kind to one’s freetime, and I was all too happy to give each of them every bit of it I had.

On top of that, we had some kitty cat emergencies with my poor old lady Shade. Lots of back and forth to the vet, nursing at home, and VERY STRESSFUL MEDICATION ADMINISTRATION. It’s a wonder I read anything at all.

It ended up being a great month in reading despite this. One of my resolutions this year was to read new titles that interest me as they’re released. I’m pleased to report that 3/4 of my titles this month fit the bill! Damn, guys. I’m so current!

 

The Gone Away Place

Christopher Barzak

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Christopher Barzak is, by far, my favorite gay author and a huge influence on my own work. His stories are quiet and haunting, stories that pack the plot punch but focus instead on what it actually means for the people dealing with it. They have me written all over them, so it was a delight to start Pride month with a new novel from him.

While this one touches on queer lives, they’re not necessarily the topic here nor even a point of view. This is a tragic tale about a town that’s wrecked by a series of freak tornadoes, and how they move on after losing almost everyone they love. Those looking for a thrilling climax or stunning twist may walk away disappointed. The Gone Away Place is a strict meditation on grief and loss; a character study of those who endure it and the changes it demands. Barzak continues to write some of the most haunting and thoughtful YA out there. I loved every word of it.

GoodreadsAmazon

Calypso

David Sedaris

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Can you believe this is my first David Sedaris book? I haven’t even watched the guy speak.

My boss, who is a huge fan, always caps her occasional spastic rants insisting, “You absolutely have to listen to him on audio. You have to! Don’t even bother with the paper.” So, when my Audible credit came in for the month and I saw a new Sedaris at the top of the page, I finally gave in.

She’s right. You have to listen to it on audio. David’s dry observations are made exponentially more hilarious through his shy, old gay inflection. (I hope he never reads this, because that description would surely become an aghast chapter in an upcoming book)

Goodreads | Audible

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed

Jon Ronson

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

R  E  L ? E ? V  A  N  T ?

No, seriously. I’m not sure that I’ve ever read a more relevant book in my life. Say what you will about the steaming pile of shit that is American politics today – social media outrage and public shamings rank high among things that worry me.

Published in 2015, this book profiles some of the greatest victims of public shaming. This has only escalated since then, and my greatest complaint is that it was written too soon. It’s more relevant now than it was three years ago, and this books is on the top of any pile of important reads I’ll recommend to anyone.

(Ronson is like Sedaris in that he’s best enjoyed on audio – is it obvious how much I’ve been taken away by audiobooks?)

Goodreads | Amazon | Audible

The Outsider

Stephen King

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

King is famously on a mystery/thriller kick, cranking out whodunnit pageturners since his first Bill Hodges book Mr. Mercedes. In his latest, The Outsider, King begins in the same spirit but slowly circles back to his old roots in horror. This could either piss off mystery fans, or bore horror fans so much that they never get to the stuff they like. Hardcore King fans will love it either way. Myself, I loved the ride. The mystery part kept me guessing, and the horror was among the scariest I’ve read (although the ending, I felt, was a little underwhelming).

It sort of reminded me of a procedural horror show, like The X-Files or Supernatural. If you like that sort of thing, this is right up your alley.

One thing I’ll tell you upfront, because I wish I’d known first: This book is tied to the Bill Hodges trilogy and contains SPOILERS for the ending of that series. I haven’t read them yet, so it was super disappointing to have the ending spoiled for me. If you care about that sort of thing, maybe look into reading Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch first.

Goodreads | Amazon

How was your month in reading? Anything good? Terrible? Didn’t get to what you wanted to? Let’s hear it!

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