How can it be September already? It only seemed like the other day I was trying to work out which 20 books I was going to attempt to read this summer and now the time to complete that challenge is over.
It’s been a truly extraordinary summer here in London — the hottest I’ve experienced in my 20 years living in the UK — and I’ve (mostly) loved it, though the lack of air-conditioning, both at home and in the office, has been trying.
You would expect that kind of weather would be conducive to lolling about with book in hand, but I found it did the opposite: it just made me too tired to concentrate. Or maybe that’s because work has been pretty full on ALL SUMMER and since May I’ve been doing an additional gig co-ordinating six pages of copy for a weekly magazine. And, to top it all off, I spent three weeks of June studying in the evenings and weekends for my WSET Level 2 Award in wine and spirits, a professional qualification that was a fun commitment but hard work!
Still, I can’t complain too much: I also got to go on an amazing week-long trip to San Sebastian in Northern Spain and ATE ALL THE PINXOS AND DRANK ALL THE SPARKLING WINE! And now I’m looking forward to going back to Basque country in early October on a work trip to Rioja — I know, I have a truly awful job 🙂
But what about the books, I hear you say. Well, all up I managed to read 19 books from my TBR pile over the summer — just one shy of my goal to read 20! Of course, I haven’t had time to review them all (there’s four to come, which I’ll try to publish over the next week), but here’s what I did read (in alphabetical order by author’s surname):
- ‘The Lone Woman’ by Bernardo Atxaga
- ‘Wimmera’ by Mark Brandi
- ‘A Long Way from Home’ by Peter Carey
- ‘No More Boats’ by Felicity Castagna
- ‘Lie With Me’ by Sabine Durrant
- ‘The Catherine Wheel’ by Elizabeth Harrower
- ‘The Last Garden’ by Eva Hornung
- ‘This is Not a Novel’ by Jennifer Johnston
- ‘The Well’ by Elizabeth Jolley
- ‘Mr Phillips’ by John Lanchester
- ‘The Girl with Seven Names: Escape from North Korea’ by Hyeonseo Lee (with David John)
- ‘Fairyland’ by Sumner Locke Elliott
- ‘Border Districts: A Fiction’ by Gerald Murnane
- ‘Joyride to Jupiter’ by Nuala O’Connor (review to come)
- ‘Echoland’ by Per Petterson
- ‘Taboo’ by Kim Scott
- ‘Nights at the Alexandra’ by William Trevor
- ‘The Secrets in Silence’ by Nicole Trope
- ‘Resurrection Bay’ by Emma Viskic
If I could hand out prizes, I’d give one to John Lanchester’s Mr Phillips for being the WORST book, while I’d give Sumner Locke Elliott’s Fairyland a prize for the BEST book (closely followed by Jennifer Johnston’s This is Not a Novel).
The prize for “romp of the summer” would have to go to Sabine Durrant’s Lie With Me, which was such a fun (if crazy) read, while the prize for the most thought-provoking read would have to be shared between Gerald Murnane’s Border Districts and Elizabeth Jolley’s The Well.
I hope you’ve had a fun summer (or winter, if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere) of reading. Did you do the 20 books of summer challenge? Did you read anything good? Who would you give your prizes to?
PS> Thanks, once again, to Cathy, who blogs at 746 Books for running and championing this challenge.