Reading Summary for September

It’s always a bit of a surprise when I sit down at the end of the month to do a proper count of the number and types of books I’ve read. This month, I only managed to read 8 books, which might in part be explained by the fact that it has been a month full of travelling and other cultural events, as well as the back to school rigmarole.

More surprising and disappointing, by far, is the fact that of those 8, only 2 were in translation, both from Spanish, both winners of the biggest literary prize in Spain, the Planeta Prize. These were Alicia Gimenez-Bartlett’s subversive Naked Men and Dolores Redondo’s gripping (although at times long-winded) psychological thriller All This I Will Give to You

So perhaps NOT the best month in terms of diversity. I found myself reaching for authors where I know what to expect, such as Rachel Cusk, Tana French or Sarah Moss, whose Night Waking brings back many, many memories of failed attempts at being a good scholar and a good mother simultaneously. And, if the author wasn’t known to me, I stuck to situations that would be familiar, such as expat life (Singapore is only slightly more of a police state than Switzerland) in Jo Furniss’ The Trailing Spouse. I cannot stop myself from reading these sort of books, but I do wonder why in so many books about expats, the main female character is often annoyingly self-absorbed, entitled and thoughtless (even when the writers are women, such as Janice Y.K. Lee, Nell Zink, Jill Alexander Essbaum, or more recently Louise Mangos with Strangers on a Bridge.) Nice cover, though!

The only two male authors I read this month were Michael Redhill: Bellevue Square, which left me somewhat perplexed, and Leye Adenle’s When Trouble Sleeps, which left me depressed about corruption, politics and vote rigging, although it takes place in Nigeria rather than in the UK. I’ll be reviewing the book and interviewing the author for Crime Fiction Lover very soon.

12 thoughts on “Reading Summary for September”

  1. I’d never thought of Switzerland as a police state but I suspect you mean that in the sense that it is a very controlled place to live. In Singapore you have those rules about chewing gum (wish all countries had the same restriction!) – what rules are there in Switzerland that might be unusual?

    1. Letting the police know if you have foreign visitors (which might mean ‘outside the canton’) staying at your property, even if you are in it yourself. Not washing your car or mowing the lawn on a Sunday, so as not to disturb the public peace. Restrictions on residence and working, especially for family members, just like in Singapore. That’s why I preferred to live across the border in France!

  2. Interesting how we have those months where we don’t read as much, or read mostly a certain kind of book. I do the same thing at times. And then at other times, I’m quite adventurous. I think it really does depend on what’s going on in life at the time.

  3. What a relief to find that in some months you fall short of your intimidating 46-book usual, MS!

    I’ve never tried Dolores Redondo, so have put one of her books on hold at the library (they don’t have the one you mention). Thanks for the tip, so to speak.

    1. Ha ha, not quite 46 this month, no! I suppose the Dolores Redondo is going to be one of her Baztan trilogy. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. I thought they were very atmospheric, although I’m not a big fan of supernatural elements.

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