June Wrap-Up: Books by Black authors

I want to begin this post by calling myself out.

When it comes to reading diversely, I have failed. My privilege has allowed me to read from a homogenous group of authors without noticing, because again and again I find myself, a cis white woman, represented in those pages.

I need to improve in this, not only for me, but for what I owe the people who follow my reviews. So while my month of reading solely Black authors has ended, I am more committed than ever to righting this wrong. Going forward I promise that my reading will be more reflective of my beliefs.

Now let’s get into one of the more qualitatively excellent reading months I’ve had in recent memory. (Read: ever.)

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So…lately I have been Freelancing. This is a grown up word meaning “I can work in my pajamas and often do so on Saturday nights at 2 a.m. due to my wild rock and roll lifestyle.”

I also have taken on many clients, and due to my workaholic and perfectionist tendencies (see above mention of my rock and roll lifestyle), I have been spending most of my time doing that.

This is a downer when it comes to things like “having time to read 2 books a day” or “being able to play Animal Crossing until my eyes feel like raisins,” but a huge upside for my book-buying budget and my ability to donate to as many GoFundMes as my little heart desires. (Which is very many.)

Anyway. I’m depressed but what else is new!

Oh! There’s a new HAIM album! Manually producing serotonin by watching 3 HAIM videos per day.

Oh oh! I hit 1,000 total books read AND 100 books read this year in June. I love a milestone, don’t you?

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I could include my goals from literally MARCH (lol) here, but I am not going to do that.

Instead: new goals!

GOALS FOR AUGUST

READ 18+ BOOKS

POST APPROX ONE REVIEW / DAY ON GOODREADS

AT LEAST KIND OF BLOG (THIS ONE IS STOLEN VERBATIM FROM MARCH, WHICH IS STOLEN VERBATIM FROM NOVEMBER)

KEEP UP WITH HABIT TRACKER

STAY ACTIVE ON TWITTER

REDUCE OWNED TBR (AS I WRITE THIS, IT’S AT 159!!!)

READ ARCS, EVEN THE ONES FROM 2+ YEARS AGO

DONATE!

Anyone else having a really hard time caring about anything besides what’s going on at a national or global level? Ah, we have fun.

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At some point in the next couple months, I am planning on moving. To a new state. In a new region of the country.

I am so excited about it I could throw up. But I won’t. Because I refuse to do gross things as a rule.

Otherwise I will keep on truckin!

Now it’s finally time for the good part.

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1. The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

Read: June 3-7 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars

The Stars and the Blackness Between ThemHow I feel is this: The world should have magic in it. And anything can happen in books. So every book should therefore have magic in it.

Duh.

Anyway. The last few pages of this book are some of the most beautiful pages ever.

Thanks to the publisher for the finished copy.



2. Let’s Talk about Love by Claire Kann

Read: June 8 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars

Let's Talk About LoveHow to ruin a whole book for me in two words:

Quirky. Protagonist.

This book tried to save me from itself with fun side characters and lots of representation, but it could not rescue me from the manic pixie dream girl archetype. So here we are.

Thanks to the publisher for the finished copy.



3. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Read: June 7-8 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 5 stars

Homegoing by Yaa GyasiYou all know I can write a rant review like the day is long. Like, genuinely. As in, my one star reviews have a word for every minute of the day. Those bois are LONG.

But when it comes to five star reviews…I forget how to write. I am Wylan, 16.

So just trust me on this one: Homegoing is a perfect book.



4. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Read: June 9 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars

Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About RaceI do not know why I forced myself to read this book, which is extremely dense and information-heavy, in one day, beyond the fact that I am obsessed with finishing a book a day whenever I can and my brain is dumb.

But even though I did not give this a proper chance, it went ahead with giving me a powerful, important, impactful reading experience anyway.



5. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Read: June 11 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3 stars

QueenieProtagonists are my children. All of them. I’ve read over 1,000 books, which means I have over 1,000 children, not counting multiple perspectives.

So I have a hard time reading about my babies going through it. Bare minimum, at the end of the book, everyone who’s ever wronged them should line up to look them in the eyes, apologize, and give them a lil kiss on the forehead. I did not get any such conclusion from this.



6. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Read: June 11-12 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars

Red at the BoneSpeaking of reading 1,000 books…this was my thousandth one!! Can you believe it! How literary am I.

And someone in the comments on Goodreads thought I’d read this specific book a thousand times, so. Lots of fun to be had here.

Anyway, this is a short and glorious book. If that were a genre it would be my very favorite one.



7. The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

Read: June 12-14 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars

The Weight of the Stars by K. AncrumMe for the first third of this: YESSSSS.

Me for the middle third: …

Me for the last third: YES AGAIN!

(In other words this dragged a bit but is still YESSS-worthy.)

Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.



8. The Sellout by Paul Beatty

Read: June 10-15 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars

The SelloutI loved this book a lot, and therefore I keep finding myself in situations in which I have to explain why I loved it, when I would much rather come into the possession of hundreds of thousands of copies of it and just start pressing it into people’s hands and yelling READ IT!!!!

But in a nice way. And also somehow at a six foot distance. While I’m wearing a mask.



9. Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Read: June 18 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars

Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen SuggestionsI have not read that much by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, but already at this point I am ready to propose marriage / write her love letters / sign a binding agreement to read her work and her work only.

If even her letters are this good, I am not looking back!!!

(In lieu of doing any of these mildly to severely creepy things, I bought all her books. But it’s the thought that counts.)



10. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Read: June 17-19 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 3.5 stars

An American MarriageIf you’re in the market for a reminder that life is complicated and imperfect and there’s no such thing as “the right thing” and we are doomed to hurt everyone we love…

May I recommend this book?

Also, a nice warm hug. It sounds like you need one. Or you will after this.



11. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Read: June 21-24 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars

Sing, Unburied, SingI might seem like I rate books harshly or I’m easily a critical reader, but let me tell you every time I have an imperfect reading experience with a perfect ending it takes everything in me not to smash that 5 star button.

My memory is 5 pages long when it comes to an ending I really truly love. Which, as it turns out, is not ideal when I write my reviews approx. 3 years after finishing the book.



12. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Read: June 25 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars

All Boys Aren't BlueWho told the publishing industry that I’m a sucker for a pretty cover with flowers on it? I can’t keep living like this.

Just kidding. If every one of those covers contains a book as excellent, as honest, as unique and well-written and impactful as this, then I want to do this FOREVER.

Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.



13. Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson

Read: June 24-26 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 1.5 stars

Real Men KnitI don’t know what the hell happened to me, but I can no longer go a month without reading romance.

Yes. Rom coms. Of the non-YA variety. A genre I used to abhor and pretend I was better than. (I am not.)

There was no romance on my June TBR, so I strayed. This was my punishment.



14. Piecing Me Together by Renee Johnson

Read: June 27 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4 stars

Piecing Me TogetherCALLING ALL UNSATISFACTORY “FEMINIST” YA CONTEMPORARIES ABOUT STRAIGHT WHITE GIRLS DOING A PROJECT AT SCHOOL.

THIS book is the way to convincingly weave social issues into a contemporary narrative in a way that feels meaningful and real. Take notes.

Thanks to the publisher for the finished copy.



15. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Read: June 28 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 2.5 stars

My Sister, the Serial KillerWhy is it always the books that should never be boring that are the most boring?

I can be entertained by 300 pages of dense literary fiction about a small town but this book about a girl whose sister kills all her boyfriends is almost too dry to get through?

It’s an unjust world.



16. So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Read: June 29 🌷🌿🌷 Rating: 4.5 stars

So You Want to Talk About RaceIt’s very fitting that I finished out my reading for the month on the one book that I would recommend EVERYONE read, if I could only pick one.

This is such a hard-hitting and masterfully done summation of race and racism in such a short amount of time. The writing is accessible and compulsively readable. In short, this is and should be required reading.



So the average rating for my month of reading is

3.75!

I don’t think…no, I’m SURE it’s never been that high.

I’m freaking out.

WOOHOO!!!

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Well, in a completely non-shocking move, I’ve barely posted this entire year.

But I’ll just link to my two most recent posts and we’ll all be on our merry way.

1. Black Lives Matter: Books by Black authors I’m reading this month

2.  New Year, New Me: January, February, and March Wrap-up

Just…so classic.

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So! There’s June.

As if I needed more of a punch in the face to tell me YES, YOU NEED TO READ MORE DIVERSELY, this was of course my most successful reading month in terms of me liking books in global history.

I promise, promise, promise I will be better.

Thanks for sticking with me.

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HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THEM?

WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE READ IN JUNE?

DO YOU HAVE ANY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ME?

22 thoughts on “June Wrap-Up: Books by Black authors

  1. ilsa says:

    Omg good luck with your move that sounds so exciting!!! I’m so glad you enjoyed (most of) your reads this June!! I’ve been meaning to read The Weight of The Stars forever…but I haven’t had the opportunity to do so </3 and also, Emma, 159…unread books…that is a lot. I have about 17 unread books on my shelf. And also I am glad you are reading more diversely. I feel like I definitely need to read more diversely too! UKYA is pretty like,,, not diverse (in terms of authors of colour) so my library really ain't great for trying to read more diversely and consequently I read a lot on my kindle but I still need to be better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      thank you!!! and truly i had an ARC of the weight of stars and only just got to it this past month…idk what’s wrong w me

      Like

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      ahhh thank you fav!!! let me know what you think when you get to All Boys Aren’t Blue 😀 hope your july is fantastic for both reading and everything else!!! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. May @ Forever and Everly says:

    seeing you in my reader 🥺🥺🥺 very happy for all these wonderful books that you read in july!! and i am very happy that you loved the weight of the stars and the stars and the blackness between them, my two faves 💖 good luck with your move, and i am sending all the good vibes your way to fight off the Depression 💓

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ruby Rae Reads says:

    Good luck with the move Emma! Hope it goes well.

    And love the list of books you read, seems like you had a great month. I NEED to get my hands of K Ancrum’s books and also The Stars & Blackness Between Them!! I’ve only read All Boys Aren’t Blue off this list and ugh yes SO GOOD. Literally also so obsessed with that cover too. FLOWERS FLOWERS FLOWERS!!

    Good luck with the rest of your goals xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      YESSS All Boys Aren’t Blue!!! i had high expectations and somehow they were exceeded???

      thank you thank you thank you ❤ i hope your july is completely excellent!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ali says:

    So many of these books are on my TBR, too. Homegoing has been one of my favorites of the year- five stars but I also can’t eloquently explain why. I also understand your love of Chimamanda Ngozi! Purple Hibiscus is my absolute favorite of hers that I’ve read so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kay @ Hammock of Books says:

    1000 total books read and 100 this year is so amazing yay!! It looks like you read some amazing books, and it’s great that you’re aware of your privilege and trying to improve ❤ ❤ I definitely need to try to read more diversely too, particularly books by Black authors. Good luck with the move and I hope you're having a great July ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sean, @bookbloggingbooks.wordpress.com says:

    Love the accountability you took..I need to read WAY more diversely as well!! Great post

    Like

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