I’m proud to report that I only finished four books in June (two were audiobooks), which brings my 2020 total to 63.
This has to be my lowest monthly total in years. I read the first two books in the first week of June, and the last two just in the past few days.
Why the low total? I spent three weeks with my sister Elissa in Richmond this month, and she has two delightful and rambunctious children. When I wasn’t working, I was hanging out with her and/or the kids. I don’t regret any of it. I’ve been saying for years that I need to read less (if I’m at home with nothing else to do, why not read? I prefer it over television), and this was a great reason.
These are the books I started reading in June but decided not to finish:
- The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, André Leon Talley
- Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman, Abby Stein
I rank my books with these categories: Highly Recommended, Recommended, Okay, and Not Recommended.
1) The Lost Family: How DNA Testing Is Upending Who We Are, Libby Copeland
Description: Journalist Libby Copeland investigates what happens when we embark on a vast social experiment with little understanding of the ramifications. She explores the culture of genealogy buffs, the science of DNA, and the business of companies like Ancestry, all while tracing the story of one woman, her unusual results, and a relentless methodical drive for answers that becomes a thoroughly modern genetic detective story.
I’ve never researched my ancestry, but I can see it being something I could get into. One thing that’s held me back: I don’t like spending money and Ancestry.com requires a subscription fee. (Yes, really, that’s part of it.) But I love doing research in general, and this type of research is monumentally easier in the computer age — the time and effort it used to take for someone to research their genealogy was astronomical compared to what it is today.
I’ve also never had my DNA tested, and reading this book piqued my interest. Read the New York Times review here.
2) White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, Robin DiAngelo
Description: DiAngelo explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.
I read this for a book club and I look forward to discussing it via Zoom in a few weeks.
3) No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram, Sarah Frier
Description: Frier reveals a behind-the-scenes look at how Instagram defied the odds to become one of the most culturally defining apps of the decade.
This was informative but not thrilling. I learned a lot about how Instagram started and the thought process that went into various decisions.
4) If Someone Says, “You Complete Me,” RUN!, Whoopi Goldberg
Description: Whoopi speaks openly about why marriage isn’t for everyone, how being alone can be satisfying, and how what’s most important is understanding who you are and what makes you happy.
Even though Whoopi has been married (and divorced) three times, her advice seems better suited for younger people or those who have never been married. I still enjoyed her words of empowerment though.