#20booksofsummer: It’s A Wrap For 2021

Drum roll please. Stand my for an important announcement!

This year has seen my best ever performance in 20 booksofsummer. I didn’t reach the heights of 20 books but i was so, so close. If there’d been just one extra week in summer I’d have made it.

As it is I’m dead chuffed to have read 18 books.

It required a bit of jiggery pokery because, despite starting with a list of 30 books instead of the usual 20, I still felt the need to go off piste for four books, partly to accommodate Women in Translation month.

Even so I did cross off 14 titles from my original list. They took me around the world from Africa (four times) to India (four visits), France. (twice) and South Korea. They also introduced me to many authors: 11 of the books were by authors i’ve not read before.

The stand out reads for me were Lean, Stand Fall by Jon McGregor (why oh why is this missing from the Booker Prize longlist???) and A Burning by Megha Majumdar , a deeply affecting tale of a young Muslim woman accused of helping terrorists attack a train in Kolkata. 

Unfortunately I was so busy reading that I fell way behind with the reviews. They’ll all get written in due course but until then, here’s the list of books I read,  in alphabetical order by author’s surname. Links will take you to my reviews where they exist.

From original list

Stone in A Landslide by Muriel Barbal — review to follow 

Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor

The Mission House by Carys Davies — review to follow

The Hill Station  by J G Farrell

The Spire by William Golding

Sunlight On A Broken Column by Attia Hossain — review to follow

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

His Only Wifeby Ado Medie

Lean Stand Fall by Jon McGregor  

Family Album by Penelope Lively — review to follow

The Madness of Crowds by Louise Penny

Breach-by Olumide Popoola and Annie Holmes

Pot Luck by Emile Zola

The Happy Family by Jackie Kapler — review to follow

Substitutes

The Disaster Tourist by Yon Ko-eun

A Burning by Megha Majumdar — review to follow

in The Company of Men by Véronique Tadjo — review to follow

We Are All Birds of Uganda by Hafsa Zayyan — review to follow

Abandoned

The Long Journey of Poppie Nongena by Elsa Joubert : his novel has  been voted as one of the hundred most important books published in Africa during the last millennium. Importance doesn’t necessarily mean enjoyment however. The sudden jumps between third person and first person narration were irritating but there was also too much reliance on “telling” a story.

The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu: This was far too much of a YA novel for my tastes.

What’s Next?

The summer project is officially over but there are still a few books from my original list that are calling to me. But I’m going to take a breath before I embark on any of them and just read whatever takes my fancy. I’m feeling the need for a long immersive read.

BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

29 thoughts on “#20booksofsummer: It’s A Wrap For 2021

  • September 5, 2021 at 8:03 pm
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    Well done on reading 18 books for your 20 Books of Summer list! I was also pleased with my holiday reading, as I managed to read 9 books off my 10 Books of Summer list! Success all round it seems! 😎

    Reply
    • September 6, 2021 at 9:14 am
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      Just caught up with the post you did on your 10booksofsummer. With the amount you read of Count of Monte Cristo you could also claim that couldn’t you and get to the 10 – a quarter of that novel is equal to most novels 🙂

      Reply
  • September 5, 2021 at 6:30 pm
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    Well done! I had two substitutions and only managed it because of them, as they were non-fiction to a memoir and a novel!

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  • September 2, 2021 at 11:25 am
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    What a journey!! You’ve actually inspired me to read a little more in accordance with my mood/preference, with your 30-options tactic – I’ve got a list of books that I want to read or I’ve committed to reviewing by the end of the year, but rather than forcing myself to read them “in order” (according to deadline), I’ve just put them in one big stack and I’m picking whichever one calls to me at the time. It’s working well!

    Reply
  • September 2, 2021 at 9:44 am
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    An achievement is an achievement, but it’s clear from your list (and I recognise so many of the titles like the Farrell and the Yon Ko-eun from those you reviewed) that it’s quality more than quantity that matters. And I’d be interested in what you have to say about the Lively as I’m toying with reading that myself soon.

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    • September 3, 2021 at 5:28 pm
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      So very true, if my list was just crime fiction I could probably have completed the whole 20 with time to spare – I read these very quickly whereas the more literary novels I like to spend more time with.
      Almost finished the Lively – it’s good fun, a lot lighter than I expected.

      Reply
  • September 2, 2021 at 9:29 am
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    Well done! I think I scraped in, if I count audios (which I haven’t done in past years). Lockdown should mean more reading time, but really, I haven’t had the headspace!

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    • September 3, 2021 at 5:35 pm
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      Honestly I don’t think it’s a problem to include audio versions. I know there are some purists who don’t class them as reading but I don’t understand why not

      Reply
  • September 1, 2021 at 6:05 pm
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    Congrats! 🎉🙌 I just finished Cloud Cuckoo Land which is a very long read if you’re looking for long!

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    • September 1, 2021 at 6:28 pm
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      I have plenty of long reads on my shelves. They are the ones that often get pushed to the back …

      Reply
  • September 1, 2021 at 5:08 pm
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    Well Done you – You did everything so much better than me!

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    • September 1, 2021 at 6:29 pm
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      I wasn’t even sure that this year I would join in but I took the pressure off by choosing a very long long list of books. I’ve learned that if I have just 20 on the list, I lose interest

      Reply
  • September 1, 2021 at 4:17 pm
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    ell done! I also read Louise Penny’s last book, finished it on August 30! So loved it

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    • September 1, 2021 at 6:31 pm
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      I didn’t love it as much as some of her other books – the pandemic connection felt a bit artificial to me.

      Reply
  • September 1, 2021 at 4:14 pm
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    So technically the official end of summer isn’t until September 21, so really you have four more weeks. 😉

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    • September 1, 2021 at 6:32 pm
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      If only Cathy who runs the 20booksofsummer project would let us go until 21st but sadly she says its just for June, July and August. sigh

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    • September 1, 2021 at 6:33 pm
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      Considering I wasn’t sure until the last moment whether to take part, I’m amazed I got this far

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    • September 1, 2021 at 6:33 pm
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      Thanks Rosie. This was the first year when I didn’t get stressed about whether I was going to complete the project

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    • September 1, 2021 at 6:33 pm
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      I thought you’d be pleased to see him mentioned 🙂

      Reply
    • September 1, 2021 at 6:34 pm
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      Some of the books were much better than others. But I now have a little more space on the bookshelves

      Reply
    • September 1, 2021 at 6:34 pm
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      It’s such a powerful book Liliane. Going to be one of my favourites of the year

      Reply

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