June 2022 Reading Recap

I finished 8 books in June, including 1 children’s book. 

The best book that I finished in June was Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman. I read this poetry collection on and off for about ten weeks. Amanda Gorman is truly an amazing poet. She is incredibly creative, I was amazed by the variety of poem formats in the collection. If you enjoyed her spoken word poem at the Inauguration in 2021 and are interested in reading more poetry, I highly recommend this collection. Not only are the poems captivating, but the book itself is also high quality. It would be an excellent graduation gift or gift for a special occasion.

A book that surprised me

My Losing Season by Pat Conroy

My Losing Season was our book club pick for this month. I was apprehensive going into this book because it is all about sports and basketball. This was my first time reading any of Pat Conroy’s writing and I was amazed by his skills and craft as a writer. Even though I wasn’t invested in how Conroy’s basketball team performed, I was engaged with his story and enjoyed the book overall. Thank you Mark M. for your book club pick!

A book with a simple formula

The 2-Hour Cocktail Party: How to Build Big Relationships with Small Gatherings by Nick Gray

Published in June 2022, I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book, courtesy of the author, Nick Gray. I connected with Nick several years ago through Museum Hack, a tour company he founded in New York City. Nick is a prolific networker and has perfected a formula for a 2-hour cocktail party. This was a quick, easy read and the formula seems easy to follow. I thought a lot about this book over the summer. While reading the book, I was convinced that I should give his formula a try, however after more thought, I realized that I prefer smaller dinner party style gatherings. When I was living in Washington DC I was a big fan of networking events. But when I think about evenings that had a more significant impact, dinner parties are my personal preference. If someone is curious about hosting friends, I think this book is a good intro to help build confidence.

A book to consider

Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR by Lisa Napoli

This book was included with my Audible membership and I probably would have been frustrated if I had used a credit to listen/read it. I certainly learned a lot about the women in the title: Susan, Linda, Nina and Cokie. I went into this book with very limited knowledge of each woman and not a lot of awareness around NPR’s founding. I enjoyed the history aspect. My critique is it felt like the author kept her topic at arm’s length distance, the writing lacked passion and was missing a strong narrative thread to weave together the different profiles. If you are a big NPR nerd, you may enjoy this book.

A book for those who like a series

Anna K.: Away by Jenny Lee

Every so often I enjoy a good Young Adult (YA) book! The first book in the Anna K. series was published March 3, 2020 and I think it was my Book of the Month selection in March 2020. I quickly devoured the book in the early days of the pandemic and it provided a great distraction. I was excited in 2021 when the second book in the series was released. The series is Gossip Girl meets Crazy Rich Asians. I enjoyed reading about the glitz and glam of the ultra rich characters. I think it is necessary to read the first book in order to appreciate Anna K. Away. Since it had been over 2 years since I read the first book, I was a little confused trying to remember the characters. I had to look up recaps for book 1 so I could remember what had happened. If you enjoy YA, start with Anna K. and then follow up with Anna K. Away!

A book that disappointed

The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

Goodreads doesn’t usually steer me wrong, but this book did not live up to my expectations. It currently has a Goodreads rating of 4.22 stars (out of 5). But it was barely a 2 star read for me! The main character, Emilia, annoyed me from the beginning and she was intended to be fairly likable. The author gave her a scar and kept writing about her rubbing her scar, it felt silly. The title was a little misleading too because I thought that the story was going to be sort of mystical/fantasy. Instead, most of the characters were whiny and boring.

Some books are better than others

Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir by Joan Chittister

Overall, I am a big fan of Sister Joan Chittister. She is an inspiring social activist. Her 2019 book, The Time is Now, was one of my favorite reads of 2020. But as I said in the heading for this book “some books are better than others.” Called to Question was a compilation of journal entries with expanded reflections. Chittister expresses a lot of frustration about the role of women in the Catholic church. As an ordained female pastor in the UCC, it was difficult to read about her struggles. I had a hard time connecting with her writing in Called to Question, but I’m still a big fan of her work and look forward to reading some of her other books (she has published over a dozen books of spiritual writing).

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