Reading plans

June 2022 Reading Wrap Up

It is a truth universally recognised that time speeds up with every year I spend on this planet. Which is a long-winded way of saying that we’ve passed the half way mark of this year before I’ve even got used to writing 2022 on forms, documents etc.

Unbelievably, I saw a promotion yesterday for school uniforms — the kids haven’t even been released from this academic year and already they’re getting the new one pushed at them. I loathe the way retailers hurry us towards the next season instead of letting us enjoy the current one.

I’m sticking with the summer in my look back at the the reading month that was June.

June Reading in Brief

My attempt to read 10 books for #20booksofsummer 2022 (hosted by Cathy at 746books) got off to a reasonably good start. My list of books was designed to take me around the world in lieu of an actual holiday.

Starting from Wales with the bleak but engrossing The Hiding Place by Trezza Azzopardi, I then hopped over the border to Cornwall, where my experience of A Perfectly Good Man cemented my interest in Patrick Gale’s fiction.

The plan was then to head to France but that was a short-lived visit because I didn’t get further than page 10 of the book I’d chosen — Revenge of the Translator by Brice Matthiessent.

It follows Trad, a translator whose latest project is translating The Translator’s Revenge, from English to French. The book opens as a series of Trad’s footnotes which explain and justify changes he makes. I’ve seen Matthiessent’s book described as “visionary and hilarious” but I found it baffling. So I diverted to Belgium for a catch up with the wine-loving, pipe-smoking Inspector Jules Maigret in Maigret Goes To School by Georges Simenon.

Our book club choice in June was the dystopian classic Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury which most people enjoyed but somewhat dated. I was interested in the way the book examined the issue of the value of books within society, but didn’t care much for Bradbury’s writing style. Far too many metaphors and similies.

My final read was The Golden Age by Tahmima Anam, one of the 70 books selected to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Queen’s Jubilee Reading list. I really enjoyed this book which takes place against a background of the war for Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, looking at this from the way the conflict affects one mother and her two children. This was the 49th book in my World of Literature Project — just one more to go!

On The August Horizon

I’m in the final pages of another title from my #20booksofsummer 2022, The Cone Gatherers by Robin Jenkins. It’s an intense tale, set on an estate in Scotland, about a gamekeeper’s descent into madness amid his hatred for two men sent to gather pine-cones from the forest.

On the horizon is the book club choice for July: Red Clocks by Leni Zumas. The recent Supreme Court ruling on Roe v Wade, has made this novel highly topical because it imagines a future world where abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilisation is banned, and the law gives rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. This should make for a very lively discussion.

I’m also hoping to make a start on my newest adventure— The Classics Project: a list of 100 classics from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Beyond that I have no plans.

Bookshelves Ins and Outs

My stack of owned-but-unread books totalled 282 by the end of June, down six from the previous month. It would have been even lower if my I hadn’t got tempted once more.

Newcomers to the bookshelves included:

Ministry For The Future by Stanley Robinson: this rare incursion into science fiction is the result of a question I put to Bill at The Australian Legend. I gave him a challenge: “Give me a few recommendations of SF that tackles serious issues that people care about.” Here are his recommendations.

The Newspaper of Claremont Street by Elizabeth Jolley: I’ve enjoyed the two Elizabeth Jolley novels I’ve already read, thanks to Lisa at ANZLitLovers who alerted me to Jolley. The synopsis of this one was enticing. It’s about an old cleaning woman—known as “Weekly” or “The Newspaper” to the residents of Claremont Street for whom she works—who dreams of escape from the parasitic demands of both her past and her present.

Quicksand by  Jun’ichirō Tanizaki: bought for no reason other than I’ve been developing an interest in Japanese literature in recent years and hadn’t heard of this author.

Sea of Ink by Richard Weihe: It’s so rare to find a Pereine Press edition in a second hand book shop so of course I had to have this novella about a Chinese artist in the seventeenth century.

I do need to reign back on purchases over the next few months and make more of an effort to read the books I already have.

How was your June reading? Were there any stand out novels that you would recommend? I would love to know what you’ve been reading, and what you plan to read over the rest of the summer.


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

20 thoughts on “June 2022 Reading Wrap Up

  • I’ve read Red Clocks but I don’t really remember all that much about it now. It does seem like it will be very good for book club discussions.

    • Oh dear, that doesn’t augur well that you don’t recall much of it 🙂

  • I haven’t been feeling like reading for the last few months. I got some graphics novels read and one book for June.
    Have a great July reading month.

    • I suspect a lot of us have dips periodically. The enthusiasm will come eventually

  • My June reading has included a fair bit of non-fiction. But my ‘discovery’ this month is the work of Georgina Harding whom I’d never come across. I like her painterly eye which observes landscape and people with such a clear gaze. I’ll read more. Damon Galgut, Kamila Shamsie and Madeline Miller were my only other ventures into fiction – and successful ones – this month. Plans? I have none. Serendipity rules, as ever.

    • I have one of Harding’s novel – Painter of Silence I think it’s called. Another blogger I follow also rates her work so I shall have to move her up my reading list

    • I would offer to send you my copy of the Revenge of the Translator but I suspect the shipping costs would be prohibitive.

  • Have you read the Japanese-American novel No-No Boy by John Okada? I found it quite interesting, and I also taught it one semester.

    I also felt meh about Fahrenheit 451. Even in the beginning the writing is rather obtuse, so I didn’t finish it when I tried to re-read it four or so years ago. No wonder I struggled with it in 9th grade.

    I’m excited that Rebecca is on your Classics list, as that is one of my favorite books. The first chapter feels a bit slow, given how much time the author spends describing the driveway up to Manderlay, but I think it’s important, too. I’ve read a few of the books in your 20th Century section, and I’d like to make a recommendation: when you get to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, get the audio. On page, that novel is rather flat. When read by Michael York, it completely comes alive, rich with meaning.

    • Never heard of John Okada sorry but I’m really drawn to that book now I’ve read a little about it.
      Thanks for the recommendation re Huxley. I read it decades ago but recall nothing about it so thought I’d give it another whirl

      • Yes, Okada’s story is amazing and quite meaningful as the characters you meet represent different positions Japanese-Americans took during WWII.

        • Sadly this isn’t in our library system so I’ll put on the list for later in the year when I am allowing myself to buy books again

  • Ha! Why is time speeding up every year? It’s a weird phenomenon—I’m glad I’m not the only one experiencing it!

    RED CLOCKS really should make for a lively discussion. The Supreme Court decision has been hotly discussed and debated here in the U.S. ever since it came out. I don’t know if I would touch that topic for book club. Feelings about it are VERY raw right now. I’ll be interested to see what happens with your group.


    • I think I know what all the book club members feel about the Supreme Court decision. I hope though that we talk about how the book deals with the topic, rather than just the issue itself

  • When I was a teacher I loathed seeing all the “Back to School” adverts in clothes retailers, W H Smith and the like, even before the summer term had ended for me, and doubtless the same thing was going on when I was myself a school student (though I can’t remember). The clothes thing especially – it’s well known that kids, and boys especially, put on a growth spurt over the summer, meaning that any new uniform bought in July will have mysteriously ‘shrunk’ by September. Crackers.

    Well done with your reading, and though I am looking forward to rereading the Bradbury I’m unsurprised that you found it dated. I’ve read three of my 10 Books of Summer, am simultaneously pottering through three more (Gogol, Peake and Eliot) and have completed four more not on my list. I even hope to whizz through a Maigret in time for le quatorze juillet

    • It was the writing style we struggled with, that made us feel it was of its time. It was lacking in details to make us get a real sense of the world his creatures inhabited.
      I struggle to read books simultaneously unless they are very different genres – fiction/non fiction for example or literary/crime.

  • Thanks for linking to my post. It was my (40ish school teacher) son, who reads far more SF than I have time for, who recommended Kim Stanley Robinson, but he’s generally right on the money.
    I’m looking forward to your Classics Project. They don’t make writers like that anymore – more’s the pity.

    • In part my project is a reaction to my increasing level of disappointment with contemporary fiction. There are some really good writers around but so many seem to follow a formula (dual or triple time frame, lots of historical fact, using the discovery of a document, painting etc to uncover a past secret).

  • I always laugh when book posts mention how the author needs to stop buying books and read the ones he/she already has. A universal bookish problem. lol. I look forward to your classics challenge. I’m trying to think up something to get me motivated into a project of sorts but the ups and downs of my vision at the moment need to be overcome. I’m determined though. Well done on the upcoming completion of the World of Literature project. I’ve enjoyed following that. Stay well.

    • we all say it but it’s so hard to do isn’t it!! I’ve seen many ways of trying to tackle the issue – from complete book buying bans (yikes) to a one in, one out system or a limit on the number of books that can be bought. Not sure I am disciplined enough for any of those! I’m not surprised you are struggling to get motivated, you’ve obviously had a time of stress when you didn’t know what if any sight you would have in the one eye. A very worrying time


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