The 2021 Reading List: June

Since one of my writing goals was to read more, I thought it would help to keep track of what I knocked off Mount Tsundoku. Here’s as good a place as any to post what I’ve read to keep me honest, and what I thought of each book immediately after finishing.

Back in 2020 I decided to be a little more systematic about my reading plans. I started putting an actual to-read pile to stack on the nightstand and limited the stack to five books, which seemed doable for the month. Occasionally comics and graphic novels or roleplaying games jump the queue, but I typically tried to get through the pile in the order I stacked them. I also used this strategy to try and diversify my reading. The goal was for each to-read pile to contain at least one book by a BIPOC or LGBTQ2S+ author, one book by a woman, one non-fiction book, and one book by an author I know personally.

Creating the piles is getting a little trickier, as I’m having a bit of trouble filling all if my criteria from stack to stack, and I’m never sure when a library book will arrive. Despite all of the library reading I’ve been doing I still plan on trying to read through the books on my own shelves as much as possible.

The second May reading stack: Calculated Risks by Seanan McGuire, White Trash Apocalypse by Diana Rowland, Flight of Aquavit by Anthony Bidulka, Five Quarts by Bill Hayes, and Unnatural History by Chris Rutkowski

Five Quarts A Personal and Natural History of Blood by Bill Hayes: A very interesting read, if not quite what I was expecting. Obviously, the chapter on vampires was my favourite.

Unnatural History by Chris Rutkowski: A collection of Manitoba paranormal phenomena. Quite a few stories I hadn’t heard, and more new stories from some locations I thought I’d read a lot about. Particularly intriguing was Charlie Redstar, as the sightings started around my birthday and near my old stomping grounds.

Tapas on the Ramblas by Anthony Bidulka: The third Russell Quant mystery. A fun murder mystery on a cruise ship.

The June reading stack: Death on Tap by Ellie Alexander, Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood, Robbing the Bees by Holly Bishop, The Mummy by Anne Rice, Dungeons & Dragons Mythic Odyssey of Theros.

The Mummy by Anne Rice: A reread of an old favourite. I’ve probably read The Mummy more times than I have any of Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. It still held up pretty well for me, although as I vaguely remembered, once Cleopatra entered the story, I began to lose interest but I still finished the reread.

Death on Tap by Ellie Alexander: The first Sloan Krause mystery, recommended to me by my writing friend, Sierra Dean. A beer themed cozy mystery. I really enjoyed it! Absolutely devoured, in fact. Can’t wait to read more.

The 13th Fleet by Nathan Town: A Kickstarter campaign written by a friend of mine and edited by another friend during February’s ‘Zinequest. The game looks like a lot of fun, if not entirely my natural jam as a player (I tend to avoid adversarial style roleplay). It’s based around Blades in the Dark, Tiny D6, and a fun read, and I think would be a blast with the right group.

Dungeons & Dragons: Mythic Odysseys of Theros: I enjoyed reading this a lot more than Guildmasters’ Guide to Ravnica. A Greek mythology inspired campaign setting. It has lots of rules and monsters I’d snag for other use, but I’d probably never use the actual setting.

Earthly Delights by Kerry Greenwood: The first in Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman mystery series. I definitely prefer the Miss Fisher mysteries, but I did warm up to this one before the end. I might read more, but not immediately.

The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp: I’ve been meaning to read this for a while. A fantastically creepy little gothic novella. Looking forward to reading more by Shipp.

Drawn and Buttered by Shari Randall: The third in a series, but it was very accessible for someone who hasn’t read the earlier volumes. Typically, I hate the sea and everything in it, but I found this cozy mystery very charming. I’ll probably track down the earlier volumes at some point.

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire: A reread of the first October Daye novel. I enjoyed it more than I remembered from my first read. This series really got rolling for me around book three. Glad I went back to it after getting caught up.

The Pint of No Return by Ellie Alexander: The second Sloane Krause mystery. I’m still really enjoying this series.

Robbing the Bees by Holley Bishop: A biography of honey. Fascinating look at honey and its makers throughout the years.

Beyond a Reasonable Stout by Ellie Alexander: The third Sloane Krause mystery. Local politics heating up cause Sloane and the town a lot of drama. I really enjoy Alexander’s style, and am liking the entire cast of characters and the town, so I’m really looking forward to book four.

Doppelgangster by Laura Resnick: A fun urban fantasy series starring an aspiring actress as protagonist. I’ll definitely be reading more. I enjoyed a lot of the side characters and can’t wait to see some of the series level mysteries develop.

Captain America Vol. 1: Winter in America by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Francis Yu:

Captain America Vol. 2: Captain of Nothing by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Andy Kubert:

An excellent take on Captain America. This is the first writing I’ve read by Coates other than an odd essay here and there. Looking forward to reading more of his work.

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru: A fun, light hearted take on Superman, despite the serious theme and topic. Inspired by a real 40s radio serial. I loved the art, and love Yang’s version of Superman and his supporting cast.

Bedfellow by Jeremy C. Shipp: An incredibly creepy and insidious story. I think The Atrocities was more to my personal tastes, but this was really good.

Once & Future Volume 1 by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain: I’m a sucker for a good take on King Arthur, and this is one of my recent favourites. Fantastic art and gorgeous colours. Can’t wait to read more of the series.

The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht: Lush and violent, and fantastic. This novella ended too soon, and perfectly. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more of Giesbrecht’s work.

Unsympathetic Magic by Laura Resnick: Another Esther Diamond urban fantasy. This one with a voodoo antagonist. I enjoyed it, but not as much as Doppelgangster. I think the next book might be more up my alley.

Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones: Stephen Graham Jones is becoming one of my favourite horror writers. This creepy novella about a teenager’s father’s ghost is a great read.

Stain of the Berry by Anthony Bidulka: Book four in the Russell Quant mystery series. Some answers to some old mysteries as well as Russell’s latest case. Content warnings for suicide, child abuse, and attempted rape.

A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire: A reread of the second October Daye novel. I remember long thinking this one was my least favourite in the series. It held up better on second read then on my initial read. I’m enjoying my reread of the series.

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Utterly beautiful. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time. Every time I read one of Silvia’s books it ends up being my favourite book of the year. A gothic haunted house book set in 50’s Mexico with a dose of cosmic horror, highly recommend it.

Scene of the Crime by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, and Sean Phillips: I love Brubaker’s crime comics, this one was no different. Reminds me how much I miss Brubaker and Lark’s collaboration on Gotham Central. Might be due for a reread of that series soon.

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire: An interesting novella. Some cool worldbuilding done in a short span. Not sure how or if it connects to any of McGuire’s other works, but a tight contained read.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec: As much as I love Norse mythology, I don’t read a lot of books inspired by it these days. A friend recommended this one though and it looked fun. Absolutely adored this book! The Norse myth cycle retold through the point of view of Angrboda, the mother of Jormungandur, Fenrir, and Hel. A great take on Loki too.

Here’s what I read in January.

Here’s what I read in February

Here’s what I read in March.

Here’s what I read in April.

Here’s what I read in May.

Also, check out the roundup of my 2020 reading here.