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Reading Wrap Up — August 2023

My attempt to read more of the books already on my shelves came unstuck spectacularly in August. Until then I’d been chipping away at the TBR and exercising restraint over purchases of any new books. The prospect of ending the year at least 10% down on the previous year seemed doable..

But it’s now highly unlikely that will happen. My TBR at the end of August stands at 294 — only three lower than at the end of 2022 . Unless I have a run of DNFs in the last quarter of this year and decide to give away a load of books unread , I can’t see that situation improving markedly.

So how did things get out of control?

First of all my husband “donated” these books from his TBR.

I say donated but really what happened was he put them to one side for donation to a charity and I decided they couldn’t leave the house until I’d given them the once over.

Then a fellow blogger from Wales, Kath at NutPress, made a donation from her TBR — yes there’s a bit of a theme there.

I can’t put all the blame on other people however because I also contributed to my own downfall with a few purchases. The photo shows just the physical books, I haven’t even counted the digital versions that I’ve added to my e-reader. Because they’re not physically in my line of sight, I always forget I have them.

You know how some people hoard tins of food to protect them against the day when supplies are scarce? I think I’m hoarding books just in case the price of paper rockets to astronomical levels, forcing publishers to cease printing anything new. It could happen you know — the cost of everything else has gone up markedly and there are more gaps on the supermarket shelves than I’ve seen in decades.

But that’s enough doom and gloom stuff. Can I find something positive to share with you from my reading journey this year so far?

Of course I can!

Twenty Books of Summer

August was the end of #20booksofsummer23, hosted once more by Cathy at 746books.com. I opted for the entry level of ten books, knowing that I’d never manage twenty. In the past six years that I’ve taken part in Cathy’s project, I’ve never read more than 15 and this year I’ve been a particularly slow reader.

In the circumstances I’m happy I reached the target of ten. My strategy of choosing ten titles and five back ups worked out well — usually I develop an aversion to everything I put on my original list and end up doing lots of substitutions. But this year I read seven titles from my primary list and two from the back up list. I used only one substitution because I never made it to the book club meeting which discussed Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo. So I switched it out for Days At the Moriaski Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa.

My two favourites were If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor (I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him so far) and Mr Mac and Me   by Emma Freud  favourites. So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell was the most disappointing, elegantly written but lacking the emotional pull of his earlier novella, They Came Like Swallows.

Now all I have to do is write six reviews (yes I’m that far behind) and #20booksofsummer will be done for another year.

Explore the World

Two more squares have now been ticked off on my Wanderlust Bingo card though this did require a little creative manouevering of previously completed squares.

SouthEast Asia won’t be a problem because I have a copy of First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung, a memoir of a girl whose family lived through the Cambodian genocide. For Europe I have some novels from Germany, Italy and Portugal. But I’m going to struggle with the Middle East so if you have any suggestions please let me know otherwise I’ll have to rely on the Trip Fiction site.

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