I don’t have a great track record with completing challenges. It seems the minute I commit to a list of books, my interest in them wanes and it begins to feel like a chore. So when Cathy at 746books.com launched the # 20booksofsummer challenge I wasn’t convinced I could achieve even the smaller target of 10 nothing ventured nothing gained eh? To make success more likely I went for a list longer than 10 titles so if one didn’t fit my mood at the time I had other options.
I’ve done way better than expected – with just over a month to go I’ve read seven and a half (the half is The Female Detective which I simply couldn’t be bothered to finish). I’m confident I’ll get to 10 by the cunning expedient of doubling up on some of these titles with two other reading projects running in August. Tree of Life by Maryse Conde is going to count for the Women in Translation project while A Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford was chosen deliberately with one eye to the AllVirago/AllAugust challenge (hop over to heavenali’s blog to find out more about this) . Now if you are struggling with the arithmetic, let me help you out – this means all I need is to read one more and I’ll claim victory. If I manage to bring this off, it will be the first challenge I have ever managed to complete.
Here’s how things stand at the moment.
- This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell – Read –review posted here
- The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester. did not finish
- NW by Zadie Smith Read
- High Rising by Angela Thirkell Read – review posted here
- A Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford
- Frost in May by Antonia White
- Last Orders by Graham Swift. Read
- The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis.
- Life & Times of Michael K by J M Coetzee. Read
- The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimanda Adichie Read
- An Elergy for Easterly by Petina Gappah
- Fear and Trembling by Amelie Northomb Read – review posted here
- Tree of Life by Maryse Conde
Of the ones I’ve read the stand out has been The Thing Around Your Neck, a collection of short stories by Chimanda Adichie. Maggie O’Farrell’s This Must be the Place was as enjoyable and readable as everything I’ve read by her previously. Of the two Booker prize winners, Last Orders was fine if not that memorable while Life & Times of Michael K by J M Coetzee was a beautifully written portrait of a man’s passive resistance to the civil disturbances in his native South Africa.
Onwards now to Maryse Conde I think.