What I Read in June

My expectations were perfectly set for The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. Someone somewhere on the internet said it was basically like a really fun fan fiction: not a ton of historical accuracy or depth, but plenty of witty dialogue, intrigue, & gay romance. Plus pirates and alchemy! It was hard to put down, though it dragged a tiny bit toward the end for me. I appreciated the notes Lee included after the ending, explaining the historical inspiration for some elements of the story.

I know it’s not cool to like John Green, but Turtles All the Way Down was great and I loved it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ It’s very John Green, too: precocious teens with excellent vocabularies dealing with potent coming-of-age stuff. The protagonist suffers from a form of OCD and we experience her compulsions along with her through her first-person narration; I think it’s a pretty graceful and compassionate story of coping with mental illness (though I’d be curious to hear what others thought, especially folks with firsthand experience). Plus a lot of parts were funny enough to read aloud to my partner. Would definitely read a spin-off about main character’s BFF Daisy, or just Daisy’s Star Wars fanfic.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara was gripping. I don’t read a lot of true crime and I was a bit nervous about this one, but McNamara was pretty sparing with the grisly details. They were present when necessary, but there weren’t so many that reading the book completely terrified me. (Might’ve been different if I lived alone in a single-story home, though! Ditto if they hadn’t finally caught the guy.) McNamara was a very talented writer and I wish we could’ve had more books from her. I’ve heard that the paperback release will include some info on the killer’s apprehension, so I’ll have to track that down when it comes out.

A couple I didn’t finish in June: The Idiot by Elif Batuman and The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang. Both were library loans that still seem promising, but were just mismatched for the time I ended up getting them. I’ll try them again eventually. The news was extra awful and overwhelming (even by 2018 standards! which is saying something!), especially toward the end of the month, and it became quite difficult to focus on fiction.

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