Book Reviews

Farewell to #20booksofsummer

Covers of five novels that made perfect summer reading

This year’s #20booksofsummer reading event hosted by Cathy @746books, has come to an end. I’ve had a wonderful time travelling the world through the books I listed back in June but now it’s time to unpack my suitcase and put the passport away.

I knew there was no way I would read 20 books — in all the years I’ve joined in this event, I’ve never managed more than 15. So I deliberately set my sights at the low end, thinking that anything over 10 would be a bonus.

I’m feeling rather smug that I actually read 9 from the 15 on my original list plus two that were substitutes for titles I abandoned. So 11 in total (even I can manage that level of arithmetic !!).

Now if I were to also count books I read that were not on my 20booksofsummer list, I could push my total up to 17 but I’ve decided that might be pushing the “rules” too far. Anyway a tally of 11 is not to be sniffed at, particularly given my usual inability to stick to any reading lists.

More important than the numbers however is the level of enjoyment. I got to travel around some Celtic nations, paid a fleeting visit to continental Europe before heading further afield to Africa and even further afield to New Zealand.

And I read some superb novels. It’s impossible to choose an overall favourite so I’ll mention three that were particularly memorable: This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman, The Cone Gatherers by Robin Jenkins and The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi.

Books Read

Links take you to my reviews — I still have two that I need to write.

EnglandA Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale — read

Belgium: Maigret Goes To School by Georges Simenon

Ireland: The Rising Tide by Molly Keane

New ZealandThe New Ships by Kate Duigan 

New Zealand: This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman

NigeriaDele Weds Destiny by Tomi Obaro

PolandChasing The King Of Hearts by Hanna Krall

ScotlandThe Cone Gatherers by Robin Jenkins

Uganda: Kololo Hill by Neema Shah

WalesThe Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi 

ZimbabweThe Book Of Memory by Pettina Gappah

Books Abandoned

Australia: Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton. I wasn’t in the right mood for a coming of age tale of a boy growing up with a drug dealing, user mother .

Brazil: I Didn’t Talk by Beatriz Bracher. The recollections of a man arrested and tortured by a military dictatorship proved too relentlessly dark.

France: Revenge Of The Translator by Brice Matthiessent. My brain failed to cope with a novel written entirely from the footnoted annotations of a French translator who is translating a fictional work back into its original language.

Postponed Until Another Time

Germany: The Vanishing Sky by Annette Binder

Israel: About The Night by Abat Talshir

Japan: A Man by Keiichiro Hirano

So that’s it for 2022. See you all again same time next year.


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

34 thoughts on “Farewell to #20booksofsummer

  • Pingback: August 2022 Reading Wrap Up : BookerTalk

  • Pingback: This Mortal Boy by Fiona Kidman — a failure of justice : BookerTalk

  • I only skim read Boy Swallows Universe in the end, although Mr Books loved it. He was able to get past the drug using mother to see that it was a book about what it means to be a good man.

    • Good for him. I wonder how many readers were able to do that.

  • Do you feel like having a theme increased reader engagement on your blog? I constantly think about doing monthly themes, which would take some planning, but is doable. But is it worth it?

    • I do get a reasonable engagement though it varies. If you want, send me a direct message on Twitter and we can chat more about it

  • I love how you describe this challenge like going on a summer holiday around the world! It looks like you had a wonderful and successful time. 😊

    p.s. I would totally count those books not off your list too! 😅

  • Revenge of the Translator sounds altogether Too Much! Well done for some enjoyable reading, that’s the point of it all, isn’t it!

    • It was made far too complicated and meta to be enjoyable

    • I’m amazed I managed to stick to the list. That must be a first

  • Well done! I think the point is to read, so I would also count the books not originally on your list.
    And it’s really cool that you combined it with “traveling”.
    Hmm, I was planning to read Revenge Of The Translator, so I see I’ll have to give it a closer look before diving or not into it

    • If you lived in the UK I would have been happy to pass on my copy of the “Revenge” but the cost of overseas postage is now horrendous

  • That looks like a great summer of travelling, with lots of different countries visited! I find it difficult to abandon books, but sometimes it’s the right thing to do.

    • I’ve got more comfortable giving up on a book as the years have progressed Helen. I keep thinking that there are so many other books I want to read then it’s a waste of time to read ones I don’t like

      • I’m with you on this. The older I get, the more likely I am to give up on one book and move on to another.

        • I know it’s depressing to think of this but I look at all the unread books and wonder how many of them I will be able to read in my lifetime

  • Well done – a lovely summer of travelling! Hope you didn’t come home to too much post-vacation laundry… 😉

    • That’s one advantage of virtual travel! I hate having to unpack suitcases and find homes for all that stuff

  • Admire your virtual globetrotting, Karen, it’s a lot more than my desultory forays abroad – and sadly there’s no overlap either with titles or even authors between your summer reading or mine…

    • No, that’s not true, zut alors, we share Simenon at least!

    • I was determined to read some of the books I’ve been accumulating for years

  • My goodness, there are a lot of books out there. I haven’t read a single one of these.

    • I have that feeling so often when I look at other blog posts Margaret. No matter how much I read there always seem to be authors I’ve never heard of

  • I think you had a busy time with all that virtual travelling. Also interesting to hear about the book that you abandoned, thanks for including them.

    • I’ve become more decisive over the years and more willing to give up on a book at the early stages – years ago I would have ploughed on until at least half way through

  • Congrats on a great summer of reading! 🎉

  • Hello, it is nice that you kept to your reading goals and did it. Kudos to your satisfying work!


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