Reading in June

Longest days, shortest nights of the year, so plenty of time for reading in June –  not much time for anything else in fact! It’s the kind of month where I can’t hear myself think, let alone write, we were all so busy with end-of-year stuff. So reading it is, to feed that relentlessly hungry gawp in myself.

#TBR20 Challenge is going well:

#TBR3 Murasaki Shikibu: The Tale of Genji (also re-reading challenge)

#TBR4 Stefanie de Velasco: Tigermilch

#TBR5 Wendy Cope (ed.): The Funny Side

#TBR6 Kishwar Desai: Witness the Night

#TBR7 Liad Shoham: Tel Aviv Suspects

#TBR8 Ever Yours: Essential Van Gogh Letters

#TBR9: Alex Capus: Mein Nachbar Urs

#TBR10: Sergei Dovlatov: Pushkin Hills

#TBR11: Jeremie Guez: Paris La Nuit

#TBR12: Muriel Spark: Loitering with Intent (also a rereading challenge)

#TBR13: Friederike Schmoe: Fliehganzleis

#TBR14: Fouad Laroui: L’étrange affaire du pantalon de Dassoukine

These last two will be reviewed shortly, or as soon as holidays and children allow.

Review copies:

Cath Staincliffe: Half the World Away

Hakan Nesser: The Summer of Kim Novak

Ruth Ware: In a Dark, Dark Wood

Maggie Mitchell: Pretty Is

Pascal Garnier: Boxes

The One That Got Away:

Etienne Davodeau: Les Ignorants

Some other facts and figures:

18 books read in total, of which 7 can be legitimately classified as crime fiction/psychological thriller. My Crime Fiction Pick of the month (a meme initiated by Mysteries in Paradise) is Witness the Night, although I was also very impressed with Tel Aviv Suspects and Paris la Nuit.

3 books in German, 4 in French, 7 translations (from French, Swedish, Russian, Dutch, Hebrew and Japanese). I haven’t done so well in my Global Reading Challenge, with only Kishwar Desai bringing me to a new country, India. I still have to read books set in Africa, Oceania and South America, and find something for the 7th continent. 9 by women authors, 9 by men. And I am only 3 reviews behind!

1 poetry, 1 graphic non-fiction book, 2 rereading challenges, 1 auto-biography/letters.

Doing the #TBR20 challenge is having a very calming effect on me. Although I’ve still been doing a fair share of reviewing, it has felt much more within my control. I’ve felt much more freedom in the selection of my next book, plus there is such satisfaction to be had when you make a dent in your messy book pile!

Having said that, though, I must admit that I’ve cheated slightly and borrowed some books from the library. I haven’t actually started reading them yet, as they are for the duration of the summer holidays. So I will start them once I’ve completed my #TBR20 – that’s still within the rules, right?

Coming up for the #TBR20? A female French writer, for a change – Sylvie Granotier’s latest. One of my favourite German crime writers, Jakob Arjouni, and The Neck of the Giraffe by Judith Schalansky. Blood Jungle Ballet, set in American Samoa. I may have a change of heart for the remaining two books of the challenge, so I’ll allow myself (and you) to be surprised.

And those library books? The latest Vargas Temps Glaciares, a fictionalised biography of Isadora Duncan (one of my childhood heroines) by Caroline Deyns and Carrère’s L’Adversaire (couldn’t resist, after hearing the neighbours’ story of the real-life event which it’s based upon).

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19 thoughts on “Reading in June”

  1. Reading your post makes me a little ashamed: I’m psyching myself up now to sit down and write my June recap, which will involve admitting just how far I’ve strayed from my #TBR20 challenge. Well done!

    1. But my previous Double Dare Challenge was abysmal, plus I’m not sure that 6 additional books (even if 5 of them were for review purposes) can be considered a resounding success!

  2. You’ve had a great reading month, Marina Sofia! And I’m so glad you thought Witness the Night was a good read. I found it so powerful – I really did. What I love about your reads, too, is their variety.

    1. I have months with 5 too, you know… but it did surprise me just how many I read this month. (Some of them had been started well before June, like Genji)

  3. I’m amazed at just how many books you managed to read in June, Marina. (My total was five, and a couple of those were under 200 pages.)

    Btw, it’s fine to read library books alongside those from your TBR20. There’s nothing to stop you doing this, it’s just that they don’t count towards your total of twenty. 🙂

  4. Great job! Must look up Witness the Night Between you and Margot praising it, I’m sure I have nothing to worry about 😉

  5. I read Witness the Night about three years ago and thought it was an excellent expose of not only infanticide but the overall oppression of women and girls in rural India that embeds and casts a pall over the society.
    It was a very painful read.
    This reader kept on wishing for a strong women’s movement to appear to champion the lives of all born female.
    I hope there are changes going on. I think there have been and women are organizing against these horrors.
    I read Origins of Love, but thought that more of a humorous, soap-operaish type of book with some serious issues related to surrogacy and the deep contrasts between the wealthy Europeans who contract it and the poor women in India who do it for desperately-needed money, but then must surrender their civil rights.
    I may read the third book, but after reading an excerpt I didn’t think I could after reading of the real gang rapes that have taken place in India, some resulting in death of the victims

    1. I heard Kishwar Desai speak about her novels at the Quais du Polar in Lyon and she said she didn’t set out to write crime novels, but social novels to highlight the problems she can see in modern Indian society. So she is very politically engaged and vocal – which has caused her some problems back home in India. But you are right, it can make for some very painful reading…

  6. I have read though that Kishwar Desai’s books are best-sellers in India. So people are paying attention to what she says.
    I believe that she wanted to highlight social problems. She is very conscious about the oppression of women and girls. Her position on surrogacy is very enlightened, in my view, and her conclusion that people who want children should adopt the millions of abandoned children in India sounds absolutely right to me. That takes quite a consciousness, at least here, where surrogacy is idealized, yet it creates multiple problems for women in poor countries. I’m so glad she raises these.
    Thanks for your reply.
    If I grit my teeth, maybe I can read the third book.

  7. I have had my copy of Witness the Night for ages – why haven’t I actually read it yet? Everyone says it’s fantastic but it never seems to speak to me from the TBR mountain.

    1. I have some books like that, smouldering and glaring at me in the TBR pile. I tell myself (and them) I am saving them for when I need a fail-proof good read…

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