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  • Olivia Swindler

June Reading Roundup

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

June marked the start of beach reads! As I am melting away in my house, I love to read books that feel like summer. (See Four Winds). This was also a month filled with short, I can't put this down audiobooks, thank goodness for Libby!





12 Rules For Life - 2/5

I know that people either love this book or they hate it. I really wanted to like it, but honestly, after the first “rule,” I felt like it really went downhill. It was way too long, and I felt like Peterson really only advocated for one type of lifestyle.

Intimations - 4/5

I would love to read more by Zadie Smith. I really enjoyed this collection of essays Smith wrote during the lockdown. They are beautiful, profound, and insightful into the human condition.


Talking Back to Purity Culture - 5/5

As someone who grew up in the midst of purity culture, this book really hit home for me. Honestly, it was really healing. It was an excellent summary of the movement, how we can move forward, and how we can respond to help and grow the next generation.

Open Book - 4/5

I remember listening to Jessica and Ashlee Simpson when I was a kid and dreaming of what my life would be like if I was a pop star. I love celebrity memoirs, and this one is just lovely. Jessica Simpon’s story is so profound, and she approaches life with such grace and humor. I loved listening to it on audio!

We Are Displaced - 5/5

This book is fantastic. It is a powerful collection of refugee stories collected by Malala Yousafzai. This book broke my heart. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn more about the refugee crisis.


The Partly Cloudy Patriot - 3/5

I loved Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, and I was so excited to read this book. But, unfortunately, it fell flat for me. It was written in the early 2000s, and many of the political references and jokes just fall flat. I love Vowell’s writing style, but I might skip this one.


The Four Winds - 5/5

I LOVE Kristin Hannah. This book lives up to the hype. I read it in the middle of a heatwave which added to the overall tone of this book. Before reading this book, my reading on the dust bowl had been limited to John Steinbeck. This really gave me a whole new perspective, and the themes carry on to today. Highly recommend. Read with tissues.


Whisper Network - 4/5

I could not put this book down. The characters are so deep, and the story is so fast-paced. This is a must-read. It is timely and powerful. If you liked Big Little Lies, pick this one up. A great read for the summer!


The Tipping Point - 4/5

I love Malcolm Gladwell, and this was the last book on his backlist that I hadn’t read yet. I love the way ideas are reframed, and I always leave his books thinking more deeply about the world I live in.


Luster - 2/5

I did not like this book. It had so much hype surrounding it, and I really thought I would love it. It is similar to Queenie, but the writing style was just not for me. The book focuses on only the main character, and the others feel blurred in the background. This book is very cold and detached, which was intended, but I just am not the right reader for this book.


Dear Martin - 4/5

Read this book. This book sits up there with The Hate U Give in required YA Social Justice reading. The story is so original -- a high schooler writes letters to Martin Luther King to process a racist encounter with the police. Harrowing and heartbreaking to read, but so important.


One Two Three - 5/5

This might be my favorite audiobook of the year. Three narrators tell the story of triplets living in a town that has been deeply impacted by a chemical plant. This is a masterclass on character development. If you prefer a character-driven to a plot-driven novel, this book is for you. I loved it!


Conditional Citizens - 5/5

I had read Laila Lalami’s novel The Other Americans and LOVED it. Born in Morocco, she tells, through a collection of essays, the story of becoming an American and the experience of immigrants of color. Highly recommend. This book is short by very impactful and challenges what it means to be an American.


Malibu Rising - 5/5

I would follow Taylor Jenkins Reid anywhere. I absolutely could not put this book down. It is in the same universe as her books Daisy Jones and the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. This is the perfect book for the summer!


Northern Spy - 4/5

This book is sold as a thriller, and though I don’t think I would call it a thriller, it was very page turn-y! This was the first book I have read set in Northern Ireland. The story is so interesting and has inspired so much googling. It is a great case study on family dynamics amid conflict. If you like a family saga or would like to read a fictional book about the Troubles, this one is very good.


Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? - 4/5

This book is really insightful and offers some practical advice on how we should have constructive conversations about race. I would recommend this book! There is an updated version (from 2017) which feels very relevant.


The Night Circus - 4/5

This book is so easy to get lost in. I love the world-building and descriptions. This is a good book for people who want to read more fantasy but don’t want to commit to reading a 900-page book. I really enjoyed it!



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