20 Books of Summer: My Reading Wrap-up

I’m always sad when summer ends, but this has been a really strange summer. 2020 can’t end soon enough for me. What a truly horrible week.

On the personal side, I actually have some positive news. I applied for a promotion at work and will now be managing a group of programs and a staff of 8. I’ve been avoiding management for a while, but I’m excited about this opportunity. The challenge feels good, and I’m older and wiser — I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I can do better as a supervisor this time around.

This summer I participated in the 20 Books of Summer challenge by 746books.com, and I also read a lot of books from Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Summer Reading List.

I read 33 books this summer (lots of reading time). For the 20 Books of Summer challenge, I completed these books from my original list:

  1. The Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips 
  2. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia 
  3. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern 
  4. The Only Plane in the Sky by Garret M. Graff 
  5. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See 
  6. Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 
  7. Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo 
  8. Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson
  9. The Blackbird Girls by Anne Blankman
  10. Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell 
  11. Simon the Fiddler by Paulette Jiles 
  12. The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez 
  13. The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
  14. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

I’m happy to have completed 14 of the 20 books on my list; in fact I’m surprised I stuck to my list as much as I did. I’m halfway through the 15th book, and the other five were books I started but decided not to finish.

My favorite books of the summer so far? I loved Queenie, Utopia Avenue, Clap When You Land, and The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane. Mexican Gothic provided dreamy, vivid horror and The Only Plane in the Sky provided horror of an entirely different kind.

I was less enthused by Simon the Fiddler, Where the Dead Sit Talking, and Disappearing Earth, and I found myself surprisingly annoyed by The Happy Ever Playlist.

And then there’s the books I didn’t finish: Weather by Jenny Offil, Vox by Christina Dalcher, The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, and Craigslist Confessional by Helena Dea Bala. I tried, really, but I’m just not as patient with books as I have been in the past.

Still it was a great summer of reading. Favorite books that weren’t on my 20 Books of Summer list included Code Name Helene, The House in the Cerulean Sea, The Pull of the Stars, and Hamnet (which was absolutely fantastic). I also recommend So You Want to Talk About Race, and on the lighter side I quite enjoyed The Flatshare, The Wedding Date, and Take a Hint, Dani Brown.

I hope you had a good summer, and you and family are healthy and safe. Please — stay informed, make a plan to vote, and support candidates who care about things that matter. Author John Scalzi says it better than I can. November 3 is coming soon, but it can’t come soon enough.

5 Comments on “20 Books of Summer: My Reading Wrap-up

  1. Congratulations on your promotion! I loved Queenie too – and I want to read The City We Became – so its a bummer to see that you didn’t care that much for it.

    • Thanks Tanya – I think I’m in the minority on City We Became. It’s a very interesting concept but it didn’t grab me. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. What a good reading summer you have had. I am eager to read Mexican Gothic–slated for October, of course! I was eager to read The City We Became, but then started reading negative reviews, and your abandonment of it confirms that I made the right choice.

    I want to read Code Name Helene this fall too.

    Congrats on the promotion – stretching oneself is always a good idea, and older/wiser does make a difference. Best wishes!

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