As the clock strikes midnight, the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge will draw to a close. Those extra few hours won’t make a difference to my final tally. I read 21 books (but I’m a little behind on reviews…).
My final list was quite different to what I started with – unfortunately the McInerney, King, Groff and Cannon that were on my original list were swapped out for books by authors that I was seeing at the Melbourne Writers Festival. Never mind, those books are still waiting for me.
The challenge delivered my second five-star read of the year – Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – a breathtakingly clever book. I also thoroughly enjoyed Music & Silence by Rose Tremain and In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.
My list included five memoirs, the standouts being Staying by Jessie Cole and Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee – both were emotionally tough to read but very, very brave and important stories.
There were some disappointments – Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan and Albert Einstein Speaking by R.J. Gadney were both bland, and Educated by Tara Westover didn’t quite live up to all the hype for me. In contrast, there were some unexpected surprises – Clare Wright’s beautifully written tome, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka and Justin Cronin’s slim but emotionally complex novel, Mary & O’Neil.
And how did the weather compare in Belfast and Melbourne? I haven’t tallied the figures and worked out an average but I reckon this year, Belfast’s summer was consistently warmer than Melbourne’s winter – Melbourne has had a particularly cold winter and perhaps Belfast had an unusually warm summer?
Thank you again to Cathy for hosting this challenge.