What I've Been Reading in June

I am feeling kinda keen on myself for having slayed June's TBR pile - both with the 22 in '22 Reading Challenge (Get your free printable bookmark for the 22 in '22 Reading Challenge here.) and a couple of bonus awesome adventures, as well!

If you're looking for your next great read, I invite you to check out What I've Been Reading in June.

A book that's intimidating to read

I started June with a book that is intimidating to me, one that has taken up a good portion of the month, and one that I am so thankful that I settled down to {finally!} read. It's one that's been on my shelves for quite some time and it's sheer girth has made me pass it by time and time again. I think the reason I included an intimidating book on June's Reading Challenge was because I needed a good reason to conquer this giant. 

Maybe you can relate?

I'm talking about Margaret Mitchell's Pulitzer Prize winning novel Gone With the Wind. Let me first confess that other than the famous line -

Frankly, Scarlett, I don't give a d---.

- I was a complete blank slate. I've never seen the movie. I've never had a discussion with anyone about the book. Heck, I didn't even know the setting was the Civil War - something my friend, Mirah, will undoubtedly roll her eyes about due to our ongoing back-and-forth about me never reading dust jackets. 

If you love a book that pulls you into it's pages from the very start, engages all the feels, then spits you out at the end like a plug of plantation tobacco, you will absolutely LOVE Gone With the Wind. Reading Margaret Mitchell's classic felt akin to traveling not only to Georgia (which isn't a far stretch from where I was born and raised in Alabama), but back in time - living and breathing the rising tensions in the deep south around the Civil War. It is a trip you will not soon forget.

My reading friend, if you have not yet experienced Gone With the Wind, let this be the sign you're waiting for.  

A book you've seen someone reading in public

When I came up with the 22 in '22 Reading Challenge, I thought this one would be fun and easy and effortless. What I soon discovered was that, quite frankly, I was wrong! (Sorry, y'all!)

When Lynda (a Founding Member of our Monthly Book Box) messaged me at the beginning of the month that she never saw people reading in public, I almost scorned her. I flippantly replied that she basically need only look at these few places and she'd easily run into someone reading.

I could not have been more wrong. (Sorry, Lynda!)

Thankfully, I allow myself a steady diet of "learning opportunities" and this was one. After spending several days driving around my metropolitan city, prowling for people settled into a good public read, I found an impressive three - yes, 3! - people who apparently enjoying reading in public places rather than spending their precious time on their phones. (Irony, I know, considering you are likely reading this on your phone.)

In order to check the second reading challenge off my list, I had to choose one of the following:

I ran into this random stranger at Alamo Drafthouse when the hubs and I went to see Top Gun earlier this month. I had literally just finished complaining to my husband about the fact that I cannot seem to find anyone reading actual books in public when he nodded his head in the direction of this guy enjoying a craft beer and A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes.

Thanks, Random Stranger, for allowing me to intrude upon your solitude and share your current read.

This was another place I figured would give me a lot of public readers when in actuality I found one. This lady was 11 pages into The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway and, thankfully, took a moment out of her time to talk to me about it. Thanks, Random Stranger.

By the time I saw this man publicly reading The Winner's Bible by Dr. Kerry Spackman at the local hot spot for exercise as well as outdoor chill time, I had lost all inhibitions in asking random strangers what they were reading.

Of these three titles, which would you have chosen as your Reading Challenge book?

I was intrigued by all, each for a different reason. The one I landed on I chose for three simple reasons: 

  1. It was the shortest in length. Since I was committed to Gone With the Wind, I needed a book the total opposite in time commitment.
  2. I had just read another by the same author and, having enjoyed it, thought it would be repeated with this new title.
  3. It was a classic and classics are kind of my jam.

If you guessed The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, you are correct! Full disclosure, I experienced The Sun Also Rises (circa 1926) via audiobook since I was knee deep in my intimidating read and my eyes needed a break, but I must confess that I am at a crossroads with what to say about it.


Simply put, I disliked it. A LOT. I could not connect with a single character. The book seemed to be an ode to fast living and I struggled with the want to finish it. No one seemed to want to make something of their life. Instead of investing their time, they gambled it away on booze, sex, and bullfighting. I concede that the narration may have caused my hearty dislike of this novel (by one of my husband's favorite fiction writers, no less!), but I just don't get the appeal. Because of that, I welcome anyone that loves this classic to give their two cents in the comments. We all connect with literature differently, after all, and I would rather err on the side of caution when I do not connect with an author or title than dissuade someone from experiencing it for themselves. 

A book from June's Monthly Book Box 

Not only was this title a no-brainer, but it was a joy to reread alongside the other members of our Monthly Book Box. Several times through 2021, a particular author whom I'd never read was brought to my attention. (I get a lot of book recs, as you can imagine, so when an author continues to get recommended, I perk up. I listen.)

That was the case with Georgette Heyer when I finally gave in and read The Grand Sophy. Not only did I absolutely love reading it myself, I gifted it to my Pride and Prejudice-loving mother-in-law for Christmas before buying a case of them for our Monthly Book Box members as our featured novel for June's book box.

I may be a new Georgette Heyer fan, but I wholeheartedly throw my lot in with them in spreading the word far and wide in praise of The Grand Sophy. Not only is Sophy basically everything Elizabeth Bennet wished she could be, the writing is top notch, clever, witty, and full of laugh-out-loud exchanges that make this particular Heyer novel (in my opinion) a first rate summer read.

If you've yet to experience Georgette Heyer, or The Grand Sophy, I invite you to check out one of few remaining The Grand Sophy Book Boxes complete with an equally clever novel treasure (handmade by an American artist). You also get a handful of connecting points and insider information from our Monthly Book Box members which make this a truly unique experience.

Looking for a grand summer read? Check out The Grand Sophy Book Box.

A book featured in our new Seasonal Book Box

My last book this month is also another reread and one of my favorites, at that. 

It is a book that transports the reader from the familiar, homey domestic scene at 221B Baker Street as the book begins to an eerie ancestral home in the beautiful wilderness of Devonshire, England.

Through it's pages, the reader walks the moors, enjoys a stay in the fancy English estate of the Baskervilles, gets to know the neighbors, and in her free time sleuths alongside the World's Greatest Detective - Sherlock Holmes himself - and his faithful companion, Dr. Watson.

After long days at work, it has been fun to treat myself to this nighttime adventure around the mysteriously strange Devonshire moors from the comfort of my pj's and favorite reading spot. 

Plus, who doesn't love dogs? 🐾

Experience the Sherlock Holmes Book Box as a summer staycation, complete with six clever souvenirs, while these limited edition book boxes are still available.


That's What I've Been Reading in June. What about you? Share your titles in the comments.


  • This month, I have sporadically been reading a series about dragons and mages on my iPad (at home but mostly at restaurants when by myself), The ABC Murders and Death on the Nile (both Hercule Poirot mysteries), and finished The Grand Sophy. Eagerly awaiting The Hound of the Baskervilles! I have seen the GWTW movie, but have never read the book. Cudos to you!

  • As usual, Ericka, you have been very busy! This month I have read The Grand Sophy (a reread) which I LOVE and enjoy so much every time. For the 22 in ‘22 challenge I read All the Light We Cannot See (the closest I could get to seeing a random stranger reading it as I saw it posted in several different columns/lists last year) and am still reading the second and most intimidating The Winds of War by Herman Wouk, which begins in 1939 just pre-WW2. I also read the next 2 books in Krueger’s Cork O’Connor series, Trickster’s Point and Tamarack County and I always enjoy these very much.
    I read A Thousand Ships last year, The Sun Also Rises several years ago and they were both pretty “meh”, IMO. ATS had an interesting retelling of Greek/Roman myths from a feminine POV and parts were very interesting and parts fell flat. Hemingway’s novel mostly left me with a bad taste in my mouth concerning bull fighting but I didn’t hate the book itself.
    I am fortunately at the beach this weekend and I hope to make huge inroads into the 888 page TWOW as I still have one more book I’d like to read before June is over- a collection of stories about crimes notorious in Oklahoma (vol. 1) which was recommended by our hometown librarian.
    Happy reading, all!

    Lynda A.
  • June was busy for me, too. I read:
    The Grand Sophy
    The Maid (22 in ’22 Challenge)
    Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
    A Court of Thorns and Roses (22 in ’22 Challenge)
    The Girl from the Channel Islands (currently reading)

  • Hi, Erika. First of all, I’m beyond excited for my Sherlock Holmes book box! This is the first one I’ve ordered, and I can’t wait to get it. I watched the TV adaption of The Hound of the Baskervilles with the incomparable Jeremy Brett but had never read the novel. The adaptation was spooky enough so I imagine the book form will be more so. I also finished the “Harmony” series by Philip Gulley. These books, about a Quaker minister in a small Indiana town, are hilarious. The fact that the author himself is a Quaker minister makes me wonder how much of it all is true. It is laugh-outloud funny. I’m about to enbark on a companion book to the Hercule Poirot series by Anne Hart. How is Gone With the Wind coming?


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