I really like the 20 Books of Summer challenge, hosted by 746 Books, because it keeps me focused on a specific list of books rather than reading whatever comes my way. This summer, I wanted to read more books I owned. I always feel pressured to read library books, because I have to give them back in 3 weeks, and sometimes the time pressure and juggling multiple deadlines gets to be too much.
This summer I read a total of 31 books, which is more than usual, thanks to audio-books and a whole lot of walking. I only read 12 from my actual list though (and of those I only reviewed four):
- Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
- My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li
- The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
- Freshwater by Awaeke Emezi
- How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana
- The Weight of Ink by Rachel Kadish
- Watership Down by Richard Adams
- Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
- Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
- See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Of the 12 books I read, I got five from the library. Another was an audio book from Scribd. The rest were books I owned. I didn’t bring my TBR list down by a lot, but I read a few books I might not have otherwise.
I listened to Freshwater (read by the author) and How Dare the Sun Rise (also read by the author). I partially listened to Watership Down, which was quite good by audio.
My favorite reads from the list? I loved The Weight of Ink for its strong main character and rich historical detail. I found Henrietta Lacks fascinating. Watership Down, a re-read, was even better than I remembered it. I found Lucky Broken Girl particularly moving, because it reminded me of a similar experience I had as a teen.
On the lighter side, The Calculating Stars was excellent science fiction, and The Gods of Jade and Shadow equally good fantasy.
Surprisingly, my Women’s Prize reads didn’t fare so well: Freshwater, See What I Have Done, My Sister the Serial Killer and Number One Chinese Restaurant were all interesting but none will be on my best-of lists and none are books I will rave about to others. I liked Ghost Wall, American Marriage, and Circe much more.
I started four more on the list, but didn’t finish them. Radical Candor and House of Broken Angels had to go back to the library, and I thought I’d get them again before the end of the summer but I didn’t.
I started two books that I don’t think I’ll go back to. One is The Devourers – the story should have been exciting but the writing didn’t grab me. The other was Inland, an ARC that I just couldn’t get into.
The remaining four are books I mean to read: The Warden by Anthony Trollope, Human Acts by Han Kang, Crooked Letter Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin, and Little Deaths by Emma Flint.
So until next summer, thanks to Cathy for hosting! If you participated, I hope you enjoyed the challenge. And if not, how was your summer reading?