Today, while I was browsing through my Instagram feed, I came across a reading challenge on my friend’s timeline for the month of June that they are partaking in. I felt startled for a moment because I could not properly recall the last time that I had taken part in any sort of reading challenge or readathon. I’ve mostly been spending my time looting and paroozing the local library shelves and doing my own thing. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve been enjoying myself quite thoroughly and my reading is at an all-time full-force. Yet, there is something very special and inclusive about joining in on reading shindigs that I didn’t realise I had missed so dearly until I saw my friend’s post. So, I decided in that moment that I wanted to participate, even if I end up not doing too well (I’m abysmal at sticking to TBRs, no matter the size).
The reading challenge is called the Book of the Month Summer Slam, or #BOTMSummerSlam as it is known over on Instagram. The challenge is hosted by Bookstagrammer, The Literary Mom, and here are her posts discussing the challenge: one and two. The basic gist of this challenge is to spend the month of June reading neglected Book of the Month (BOTM) titles that many people have probably amassed over the months or years. This is one of the very few book subscriptions that I believe is actually worth the money and here is why.
You pay fifteen bucks a month and get a beautiful hardcover novel of your choosing, which normally runs anywhere from $25 to $30 a piece. Two extra add-ons are allowed for ten bucks a pop, which is a huge fraction of the cost of a typical hardback. Plus, if you decide you don’t like that’s month’s pickings, you’ll have a credit associated to your account which you can use the following month. You won’t get charged again until you’ve used your credit. Not too bad, right? Especially if you’re on a budget like me. Nevertheless, the one downside to BOTM is how easy it is to get a hoard going, which I’m so beyond guilty of.
Don’t worry, I’m not being paid to talk about Book of the Month, I just really like their set-up. They also have a YA BOTM specific subscription that is currently in beta. So, if you prefer YA over adult literature, then that may be a better route for you. It follows the same exact protocol. They also tend to have a decently sized selection of #OwnVoices diverse titles.
Anyhoo, that is the entire objective for this challenge: to read as many of your BOTM novels as you can. Since I do have quite a hefty load of library books in my possession, I kept my TBR for this gig rather small. I have settled on one book for each week of the month (no order), plus an extra in case if I somehow manage to blow through the rest of my picks, bringing my total to five! If I surprise myself even more by finishing all five, don’t worry, I’ve approximately another six or seven BOTM titles to randomly choose from afterwads.
Check out my tentative TBR for the challenge below and let me know if these books sound interesting to you! I tried to keep a decent amount of variety where the genres are concerned.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty – an adult fantasy book taking place during the 18th century in Cairo, Egypt, following Nahri, who’s a sceptical and rebellious con artist with incredible healing abilities that may be the only individual that can save the future of a magic-infused Middle Eastern kingdom. There’s also alchemy and djinns in abundance.
Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan – a literary read that is set in a fictitious town outside of Tokyo, Japan, the story revolves around Ren Ishida who learns of his sister’s violet death shortly after completing his graduate degree. As he processes through this tragedy, he eventually finds himself taking his sister’s newly vacated teaching position at a local prestigious cram school so that he can learn about his sister’s mysterious life and the events that led to her devastating demise. This is authored by an Indonesian-born, Singaporean author.
The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo – an #OwnVoices Malaysian-Chinese fiction story with surrealistic elements, it tells the story of an apprentice dressmaker who is thrown into a dark adventure via a mirror world, and a small boy that is on a desperate mission to fulfil his master’s dying wish: to find the man’s finger which went missing years ago. Their separate journeys cause these two people to collide in mysterious yet fascinating ways.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik – an adult dark and haunting retelling of the Rumpelstiltskin fantasy fairy tale from the same author who wrote the beautiful novel, Uprooted.
The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager – a psychological thriller about a woman who returns to the summer camp she attended with her friends after many years in order to uncover the disturbing truth surrounding the tragedy that occurred there a decade and a half ago. One evening her friends snuck out of the cabin into the cover of darkness, leaving her behind, and were never heard from again.
If you’re a reader and if you find that you have a mile-high stack of untouched BOTM reads, consider joining in on the reading fun during this month of June! Feel free to follow me on IG for my updates, raves, rants, and overall bookish shenanigans! I’ll probably share some updates on Twitter as well!