This summer I read 21 books for the 20 Books of Summer, hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. From my original list, I read 11 books, which isn’t bad since I rarely stick too closely to my TBR lists. I reviewed 14 of these books (though some in mini-reviews).
- Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell
- South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
- Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
- Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
- Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
- In the Shadow of Statues by Mitch Landrieu
- A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua
- The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
- Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston
- Educated by Tara Westover
- The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
- When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
- What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
- Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey
- Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey
- March, Book 1 by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (ill.)
- Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
- Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann
- What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah
- The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
I definitely jumped around a lot in terms of format and genre. Eight of these books were nonfiction, two were graphic novels, and two were short story collections. Two were part of series I’m reading. Two were science fiction, one fantasy, one mystery, one romance (and the two short story collections were quite a mix of genres). I read seven of these books because of Read Harder 2018. Two were ARCs.
Ten books of these books were by writers of color, and five were set in countries other than the U.S. or the U.K. (India, Japan, China, and Iran)
Some of my favorite books on this list were Lafayette, Killers of the Flower Moon, What it Means when a Man Falls from the Sky, The Girl in the Tower, Elizabeth is Missing and Eleanor Oliphant. Persepolis and March were also excellent but difficult to compare to the others.
I was less enthused about A River of Stars and South of the Border, West of the Sun. My only did-not-finish was Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss. I just felt like I was forcing myself to read it, and I do think summer should be a time that we read things we enjoy (actually, I think that all year round).
One thing I’ve noticed about myself lately is that I’m reaching for shorter books than I used to. Cibola Burn and Fingersmith were the longest, and March and When Breath Becomes Air were the shortest. This is why I don’t love counting the number of books I read, because you start to put quantity over quality. There’s a sense of accomplishment when you read a book and finish it, which is maybe why I keep reading shorter books. There’s so much I want to read, I want to move through books quickly. Or maybe I have less concentration power than I have in the past. This year I haven’t really read anything challenging like War and Peace or Middlemarch, although I have read a lot more nonfiction and graphic novels. I’m not saying all long books are challenging or worth reading – for example, nonfiction is often shorter than novels, and I find nonfiction can be more challenging to read. Still, I want to make sure I’m not steering myself away from longer books.
Thanks to Cathy at 746 Books for hosting this event! I love summer reading, especially when it involves travel, because you get long hours of reading time, and I often remember where I was when I read something good. My summer reading isn’t really any different from the rest of the year, I just have more hours to sit outside.
Hope you had a great summer and discovered some great books!