June was a blurry and barely-there month for me. I don’t remember what I did, what I read or what books I bought. I think this year is going by extremely fast, which is a good thing but also, when I look back to 2021 so far, I can’t remember anything worth mentioning.
But anyway, let’s talk about books. I have a library app now, and I’m also a bit broke at the moment, the joys of being in your twenties, which means some of the books I read this month were as a free Kindle from the library. But, unfortunately, the app doesn’t download covers which is annoying if you have a blog where most of the content is taking pictures of the books you’ve read.
Favourite reads of June
Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton
Dolly Alderton has become one of my favourite writers. I read Ghosts last month, and I knew I had to read her memoir about past relationships, friendships, family and jobs.
I love this book and how messy and funny some of the stories are. It might seem a bit early to write a memoir when you’re only 30, but Alderton has lived a lot. Way more than I have in my 26 years of being here. And her perspective on love changes a lot throughout the book, which follows her life from being a teen to turning 30.
I am always half in life, half in a fantastical version of it in my head.
To lower your heart rate and drift off on nights when sleep feels impossible, dream of all the adventures that lie ahead of you and the distances you’ve travelled so far. Wrap your arms tightly round your body and, as you hold yourself, hold this one thought in your head: I’ve got you.
“Maybe you just have an unfillable void”, he said with a gentle sigh. “Maybe no man will ever be able to fill it.”
The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth
I needed to read this book because I felt I saw the Nordic countries as these perfect places where people are so different and better than the rest of the world, especially after reading all these Scandinavian lifestyle books. And I wanted to know if it was true.
Michael Booth decided to investigate Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland, to learn about their culture, history and politics to see if they’re really this perfect. I like this book, I learned a lot and my rose-coloured glasses definitely shattered a bit. I’m still planning my trip to Denmark for next year though.
Perhaps Danish happiness is not really happiness at all, but something much more valuable and durable: contentedness, being satisfied with your lot, low-level needs being met, higher expectations being kept in check.
Men Who Hate Women – From Incels to Pickup Artists: The Truth about Extreme Misogyny and How It Affects Us All by Laura Bates
I have to go to London once a month to go to this extremely posh dentist, which is the main reason why I’m so broke at the moment. And I hate having to go there because the trip takes me three hours, three trains and one tube ride for just one way. But I love London, and I have this ritual that even if I pay £1k every time I see my dentist, I allow myself to buy a hot chocolate and a book from Hatchards while I wait for my train.
And this time, I chose the most depressing book I could find, but it had a review from Gloria Steinem on the cover, so I had to get it.
This book explores all the subcategories of the manosphere, “a collection of websites, blogs, and online forums promoting masculinity, strong opposition to feminism, and misogyny”. Laura Bates did a great job with this book, and even though I was aware the world is full of men who hate women, I was shocked, disgusted and scared to see how many there are, and to read their ideas and beliefs. There are too many paragraphs with the word r*** in them, and it’s certainly a challenging read. It took me three weeks to finish it because I had to put it down every fifteen minutes or so.
Live Green: 52 Steps for a More Sustainable Life by Jen Chillingsworth
You might recognise this book from my Summer Craftpod review.
I bought this little guide months ago and finally decided to read it. It’s a cute book, full of beautiful illustrations, and it has a long list of handy tips and advice on how to live a greener life, changing your actions to be more sustainable and becoming more aware of how and what you buy and how you use what you already own.
Sisu by Joanna Nylund
Sisu is one of those untranslatable words like hygge and lagom. Sisu “refers to a mix of courage, resilience, grit, tenacity and perseverance.” I also like to think it’s similar to having gumption, a word I learned while watching The Holiday.
This book was a combination of self-help, mental health awareness and Finnish culture with cute illustrations and a few Finnish recipes.
Comfort zones are healthy, but we need challenges in order to flourish. Sisu is rarely needed within the comfort zone, but comes into play as we venture outside of it.
Päntsdrunk: The Finnish Art of Drinking at Home. Alone. In Your Underwear. by Miska Rantanen
Päntsdrunk, or kalsarikänni in Finnish, means “imbibing alcohol in one’s underwear at home without any intention of going out”.
This book is a parody of all those Scandinavian lifestyle books I’ve been reading this year. It followed the same structure as all the other books, using illustrations and graphs to add “relevant” information about Finland, and it also included a few cocktail recipes.
It was a weird read, I didn’t laugh much, but it was entertaining.
The difference between Päntsdrunk and partying is the front door, and we will do our best to keep it shut.
Finland has four seasons: rainy autumn, dark winter, slushy spring, and summer. The shortest of these is summer, which usually takes place during the last two weeks of July. According to the old joke, the Finnish summer is short but relatively snow-free.
One by One by Ruth Ware
One by One was very similar to An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena that I read in May. It’s so similar that I thought it was going to end the same way.
This book follows a company retreat in a cosy mountain chalet that gets stranded by an avalanche. Soon after, people start to die, and it’s up to the protagonist, the chalet girl, to figure out who is the murderer. This was a fast-paced read, and I liked it more than Lapena’s one, even though I couldn’t ignore how alike they were.
Meet Cute: Some People Are Destined to Meet by multiple authors
I got this book from the library because I needed something happy and easy while reading Men Who Hate Women. I’ve read YA books like this one before. They’re a collection of love stories written by some of the most popular YA writers of that time. They usually follow a theme like Christmas stories or supernatural romance. This one was about two people destined to meet, but the stories are so short that when the two people get together, it feels forced as they barely know each other. This collection was too YA for me, and the stories felt very unrealistic.
I’m starting July reading Daisy Jones & The Six, a bestseller from a few years ago, but so far, I’m not impressed.