Best reads of June 2020

It’s a little bit early, but here are my favorite things that I read in June 2020. Most of them had been released before this month. It was a month marked by trying to focus on primarily reading work from Black creators. It was also a month marked by having difficulty focusing on reading, spending a good deal of time doomscrolling instead. Nonetheless, I still managed to read quite a bit and discovered some great works from authors old and new to me.

The March trilogy by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell

This trilogy of graphic novels is a memoir of the contributions of Rep. John Lewis to the Civil Rights movement in the US in the 1960’s. It’s a marvel of both comics and memoir and I can’t recommend it highly enough. You can read my deeper reflections on the trilogy here.

The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin

The latest release from SFF all-star N.K. Jemisin, The City We Became was a trippy fantasy set in and about New York City. A protector from each borough must fight off a threat to the city. It’s a direct challenge to the idea that H.P. Lovecraft is the king of the hill when it comes to cross-dimension horror and fantasy. You can read my full review here.

Bitter Root, Vol. 1 by David F. Walker, Chuck Brown, and Sanford Greene

This was one of the best first volumes of a comic I’ve read in a while! It covers the exploits of a family of Black monster hunters in 1930’s Harlem. It’s action packed, but serves on a commentary on racism and Black history. It also has some of the best back matter around. I also wrote a full review for this one.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehesi Coates

This one was a re-read, but it’s one of my favorite books of all-time. It re-shaped what I thought I knew about the world when I first read it and it’s commentary on the state of racism, police brutality, and social and economic injustice that comes with being Black in America has never felt more essential.

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Paying the Land by Joe Sacco

This graphic novel is the latest from comics journalism legend Joe Sacco. It’s a history of the indigenous Dene people of Northwest Canada. Sacco spent time embedded with and interviewing members of the community to tell a history of the subjugation of a people in their own words. It also focuses on the challenges the Dene face from increasing industrialization. You can read my full review here.

Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler

Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler is a fantasy that follows two supernatural entities. The book takes place in Africa during the early colonial years and stretches across the Atlantic to colonial America. Doro has the ability to take over the body of anyone he meets. Anyanwu is a shapeshifter that changes her age, appearance, gender, and even species to survive. Both of these beings are hundreds of years old, and discover in each other a near equal for the first time.

A few more honorable mentions:

Grand Union by Zadie Smith

My Love Story! by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko

LaGuardia by Nnedi Okorafor

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Valkyrie: Jane Foster, Vol. 1 by Jason Aaron, Al Ewing, and Cafu

What were some of your favorites from this month?

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