20 books of summer, 20 books of summer (2021)

20 books of summer 2021 recap

Cue the clapping and the cheering! In the five years I have been participating in 20 books of summer, this year is the first time I’ve actually reached the magic milestone of 20 books!

Granted, they weren’t the ones I had originally planned to read (which you can see here), but they were all from my physical and digital TBR and included a mix of lit novels, crime novels and memoirs, mainly from Australia but with a handful from other countries, including England, the Netherlands, the US and Japan.

I think it helped that the weather this winter, my third since repatriating, has been rather conducive to staying indoors and reading. There has to be an upside to weeks of endless storm warnings and rain, right?

Anyway, here’s the 20 books I read, arranged in alphabetical order by author’s surname (hyperlinks, as ever, take you to my full review):

The highlights included my foray into the Greek islands of the 1950s thanks to a string of books, true and imagined, about Charmian Clift and George Johnston, the Australian ex-pat writers from the 1950s. These included Clift’s two memoirs, a novel by Polly Samson and another novel by Susan Johnson. (My Greek adventure also included Christos Tsiolksas’ bold and daring novel Dead Europe. )

I also loved, loved, loved Peter Goldsworthy’s Maestro, a masterpiece of a novella set in tropical Darwin, was rather mesmerized by Robbie Arnott’s wholly original The Rain Heron, enjoyed a spot of rural policing with Garry Disher’s Peace and Consolation, felt my heart break with the bittersweet loneliness depicted in Gerbrand Bakker’s The Twin, laughed (and cried) at Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie and nailed my colours to the mast by naming Like Mother my favourite book of the year… so far.

What a great winter of reading it has been!

Thanks again to Cathy for hosting.

Did you take part in #20BooksOfSummer? How did you do? Care to share your favourite read of the summer (or winter)?

26 thoughts on “20 books of summer 2021 recap”

  1. Oh, I’ve only read one of these – and that’s Hamnet, which was one of the first books I read during lockdown last year – and how I enjoyed it. Still, as you know, I’m now on the case with Garry Disher.

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      1. Ah, no, please don’t do that, not unless you really have to… there are authors all over Australia doing it really tough. (on Facebook today when I told her about your review, Susan Johnson among them with her new book From Where I Fell https://anzlitlovers.com/2021/03/06/from-where-i-fell-by-susan-johnson/) They need us to buy their books and read and review them so that other people will read them and spread the word too. If you can, save restraint till things recover for the Lit world.

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        1. Financially, I have to… for various reasons. I’ve done my fair share of supporting the Australian book industry this past year/18 months, buying at least 4 books a month from my local independent, which means I have a giant TBR I need to tackle.

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  2. Well done on completing the challenge. It’s been my best year ever also though didn’t quite make it to 20. Still I count 18 as a success. This year I gave myself a lot of flexibility and had an initial list of 30 books rather than 20. Even so i did a fair number of substitutions.

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    1. 18 is very good, Karen! I did a LOT of substitutions too… otherwise I would have fallen at the first hurdle. I tend to read by mood so it’s important to have some flexibility in what to read as part of this challenge.

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    1. Well, I can’t stick to a list either. I only read a handful from the books I originally thought I would read but I just swapped them out with all the other books in my TBR. My only real “rule” was not to read anything I had bought over the three months that this “challenge” ran.

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  3. I read 20 books over winter, but only read 8 of the books on my original list.
    Glad that The Rain Heron was one of your memorable reads and I really must get the Clift book onto my schedule soon – it sounds delightful.

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  4. I can honestly say I have never read an Australian crime fiction book before! I will definitely check out “Consolation” and “Peace” – thank you! My summer has consisted mostly of crime thrillers and I am looking for a few more before it starts getting cold here… I tend to be drawn towards family dramas and fantasy sagas in the winter (not sure why!). I am happy I found your blog! I don’t think I can list 20 books that I read and loved but my favorite read of the summer has been “West Texas Dead: A Kailey and Shinto Mystery” by Frances Hight (https://www.franceshight.com/). I. Could. Not. Stop. Reading. This. Book. I loved the back and forth of the dialogue, the gritty scenes, and how likable, relatable, flawed, and inspiring the main characters (female cops/partners) Kailey and Shinto are! This is not your run-of-the-mill cop versus criminal story! I don’t want to give anything away but I hope you will check out the first book of the series. I really look forward to the next Kailey and Shinto mystery!! Thanks again!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Sarah. You are seriously missing out if you haven’t read any Australian crime fiction (or what we tend to call “Southern Cross Crime”). I’m afraid I abandoned American crime fiction 20+ years ago. It was just peddling the same old tropes – who murdered the woman this time? I like my crime fiction to have a literary bent and to be telling me something about our society. Japanese crime fiction is particularly good at this.

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