The 20 Books of Summer 22 reading challenge, instigated by Cathy at 746books.com, has come to a close for another year and, while I didn’t read all 20 from my original list, this was the most I have read in years and I enjoyed it so much that I have every intention of keeping it up. Below is a little summary of what I did read, what I managed to review, what remains to be reviewed and/or read, and the spontaneous e-book reads that I also got through.
Read and reviewed from the original list of 20
Intimacies by Lucy Caldwell
Wunderland by Caitríona Lally
Dance Move by Wendy Erskine
The Raptures by Jan Carson
Blue Ticket by Sophie Mackintosh
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
Savage Her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan
Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
How to Gut a Fish by Sheila Armstrong
Read from the original list of 20 but not yet reviewed
South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami
The Inugami Curse by Seishi Yokomizo
I, Antigone by Carlo Gébler
Unread form the original list of 20
Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison (have started this)
A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume
Cocktail Bar by Nora Hoult
Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford
The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney
The Rules of Revelation by Lisa McInerney
The Long Gaze Back edited by Sinéad Gleeson
Follow Me to Ground and The Blood Miracles have unfortunately been pending for months from the local library, so I’ve given up on them for now, which effectively then also cancels out The Rules of Revelation (book 2 and 3 in a kind of trilogy) but I will keep going and read (and review) the rest outside the challenge.
Reviewed outside the original list
The Queen of Dirt Island by Donal Ryan – I was lucky enough to get this delightful one as a NetGalley ARC, so got a sneak preview to a book which has deservedly been getting rave reviews since its release.
E-books read outside the original list
I have finally succumbed to e-books and now find myself addicted to the ease of reading more widely at the touch of a button. Below are the e-books I read this summer, without worrying about trying to get reviews done too, and the plan going forward is to use this excellent library facility to start reading more widely from around the world, in translation, and also going back to some classics that I haven’t yet read.
The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandel – A new favourite author for sure, her atmospheric world building and timeline switching is enthralling.
Hearts and Bones by Niamh Mulvey – I loved this collection. I’ve developed a real love of short story collections, and this one is up with the best (I think we have some truly fantastic short story writers, emerging and established, on this little island).
Our Wives Under the Sea by Julia Armfield – It lived up to the hype for sure; strange, haunting, unsettling, slow moving but charged, with a beautiful love story at the heart of it.
Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson – Just beautiful. Poetry, passion, pain, art, and identity.
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh – Jarring and unsettling, an investigation into the influence and damage of corrupt power in isolation, toxic family, resilience and the skewed bond of sisters.
Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel – As above, I now want to read everything by this author. An enthralling look at a pre and post pandemic world, woven with the characters’ connections and intersecting story lines.
Finding myself in the car a lot, I also made it through some fantastic audiobooks.
Normal People by Sally Rooney – I loved the TV series, really enjoyed listening to this tumultuous, frustrating but moving love story, and will no doubt have to pick up the book at some point too.
Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli – I really enjoyed this story about a family’s profound journey, external and internal, although the audiobook dipped a bit for me during the young boy’s narration, so I would be interested to see if reading it myself might change that.
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan – An affecting and topical story with a humble and heart-warming hero at its centre.
To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara – What a fantastic, mammoth work. A finely crafted alternate vision of North America – far past, recent past and future – woven with recurrent and binding elements.
Thank you Cathy for such an enjoyable reading challenge. It was a great incentive to create more reading time, and I also especially enjoyed that so many of the other books reviewed were not books already all over Instagram – it was refreshing to read about books I mightn’t otherwise have come across. Already looking forward to next year…