What I Read in June

I love to read, but before I had my current job, I regularly worked 60 hour weeks and that didn’t leave a lot of time for reading anything that wasn’t work related. When I started the job I have now a year and a half ago, I made a promise to myself that I would read 3-4 books a month. It doesn’t always happen, but setting that intention from the outset has helped me create the time in my schedule to read. I don’t put any requirements on my goal – I can read anything that interests me, but I schedule time to read because it helps me recharge and reset. These monthly posts are a way of sharing what I’m reading with all of you. I’ll try to give my thoughts on each book without spoilers. Without further ado, here’s what I read in June:

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – I picked this up because I needed something light but entertaining to give my brain a break from a stressful time at work. While I don’t think this would ever be considered a literary masterpiece, it was an extremely entertaining read that kept me eagerly turning pages until the end. The final twist may be seen in advance by some, but it doesn’t make the book’s conclusion any less satisfying. This book isn’t mean to be a deep social commentary, but it does touch on the idea that, to a certain extent, we’re all living secret lives. The plot does play on the somewhat worn out theme of darkness lurking in suburbia and the characters are bit cliche, but the book is so much fun that I was able to overlook that and dive into the plot. If you’re looking for a good beach or vacation read this summer, I highly recommend this.

Lucifer’s Tears by James Thompson – This is the second book in the Inspector Vaara series (I think there are a total of four books revolving around this character). I loved Snow Angels, the first book in the series and picked up the second one with high expectations. I’m sad to say that the second book was a bit of a letdown. Lucifer’s Tears is, like Snow Angels, a well drawn Scandinavian noir and hits all of the expected high notes of the genre, but the plot – including the two mysteries that Kari Vaara spends the book trying to unravel – just isn’t as engaging as I was hoping. If you’re a fan of dark thrillers and you need something to pass the time, this book isn’t necessarily a bad choice, but I would recommend you pick up Snow Angels first and then continue on with the series if you like it.

Just Kids by Patti Smith – I picked up this book for one reason – Patti Smith. I’m a huge fan of poignant, well written memoirs and also a huge Patti Smith fan, so that was enough for me to add my name to this book’s waiting list at the library. Having not had any backstory on this book before I picked it up, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is a memoir of Smith’s first love and subsequent relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe. It is beautifully and movingly written. Anyone who is a fan of memoirs or of Patti Smith will likely enjoy this book.

Henry IV: The Righteous King by Ian Mortimer – I love to read historical non-fiction, especially if it’s a subject I don’t know much about. I picked this up from the Kindle store on a whim when I saw it listed for less than half price. I feel like the Tudors have gotten a lot of attention as of late and that the Lancasters have sort of faded from popular consciousness.The only thing I really knew about Henry IV before picking up this book is that he wrested England’s throne from Richard II. Mortimer refers to himself as a narrative historian and this book very much lives up to that description. He does a good job of not only sketching out the facts of Henry’s life, but also placing them in historical context. That said, narrative history, no matter how well told, is still a recounting of people and facts. The nerdiest of history buffs, those interested in the Lancastrian line, or those with reports to write will enjoy this book. If you fall into any of the aforementioned categories, I enthusiastically endorse this pick.

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