Reading Summary for July 2020

Posting this a little early, because I haven’t got the mental capacity to write reviews today (and I owe at least three).

I’ve read 10 books this month, despite being very busy at work once again. I’m alternating my #SpanishLitMonth (and anticipating #WomeninTranslation Month as well) with comfort (i.e. holiday) reading. My reading took me all over the world, and most of the books (80%) were written by women, half of the women writers were in translation. I’ve also read quite a few books from my #20BooksofSummer list – 18, but only reviewed 15 of them.

I discovered a new to me author that people on Twitter seem to be raving about: Sarah Waters (I slung down Fingersmith within 24 hours and have already reserved some other books by her from the library). I also discovered the Abir Mukherjee crime series set in 1920s India, which I want to read more of.  I was very happy to be reunited with Eva Dolan, whose crime fiction I adore. I finally got to read Olga Tokarczuk again and she did not disappoint, she is rapidly becoming a firm favourite. I was moved and surprised by The Home-Maker, which still feels remarkably contemporary. I reread Barbellion with less of a giggle and more sympathy for his predicament than I did in my brash teens. I was fascinated by the passionate, experimental fiction of the South American women writers, but disappointed by the ‘society pages/lifestyle magazine’ style of Fleishman Is in Trouble, although it contained some clever observations about marriage and divorce.

Holiday reading:

A Rising Man – set in India

Between Two Evils – set in Peterborough

Fingersmith – London and Marlow (near Maidenhead – surprisingly)

Fleishman Is in Trouble – New York City

Journal of a Disappointed Man – largely London

The Home-Maker – small-town America

Spanish Lit Month:

Liliana Colanzi – Bolivia

Margarita Garcia Robayo – Colombia

Lina Meruane – Chile

Women in Translation Month (anticipating):

Olga Tokarczuk – Poland (and Czech border)

Plans for the month of August – what else but Women in Translation? I am continuing with my Latin Americans – Ariana Harwicz awaits, plus Teffi, Tove Jansson’s Letters, Marlen Haushofer, Svetlana Alexievich and more. I’ve also ordered a few more books from the library for easy reading, so that should keep me out of mischief. Only two more books and I am free of any #20BooksofSummer constraints! Plus, I plan to dedicate a lot more time to writing.



21 thoughts on “Reading Summary for July 2020”

  1. Alternating your reading seems like a great idea. I have also started #WITMonth early so I can review at the start of August and read some books for #Spanishlitmonth. I must admit I needed a palate cleanser after Hurricane Season. So glad you enjoyed The Home Maker, I think it’s brilliant.

      1. Ha ha, yes why do I do it to myself. 1940s Middlebrow never really upsets me, sometimes I think I should stick to what I know I can trust.

    1. Ah, I never watched that – I remember I found Tipping the Velvet a bit Downton Abbeyish (sorry, not a big fan of that, controversial, I know), which might have put me off Sarah Waters.

  2. Couldn’t agree more about Mukharjee, Marina Sofia! He’s a very talented writer, and I get drawn into his settings. I like Sarah Waters’ work very much, too (Have you read The Paying Guests?). And as far as varying/alternating reading, I’ve found it’s a good way to keep the reading mojo…

    1. The Paying Guests is one I’ve ordered for Click and Collect at the library, as well as The Little Stranger. We’ll see if it was a one-off fluke or if I really like her!

    1. I don’t know why I’ve actively avoided her so far. I didn’t much like Tipping the Velvet TV adaptation, for some reason, so that put me off, I expect.

  3. A good range of reading, and I know what you mean about reviewing – sometimes I just can’t kick my brain into doing it. I definitely have to alternate styles of books too – I can’t read the same kind of thing over and over. I’ve managed to schedule a review for a #WIT book and a Spanish book – whether I shall fit in with any more challenges remains to be seen!!

    1. During the week, I don’t have much time for reviewing because I’m busy with work and my brain is fried in the evening. And at the weekend, I only seem able to think one review ahead, instead of several at once. I can’t believe I used to be so organised when I was reviewing for Crime Fiction Lover!

  4. I love Sarah Waters, she’s a must-buy author for me these days. I think The Paying Guests might be the only one of hers that I’ve not read yet, and I’m definitely over-due a re-read of her earlier books. I loved The Little Stranger and The Night Watch. Fingersmith is excellent too.

  5. 10 books in 30 days! That’s amazing. I am applauding you from a far. As I sit tonight, I have three books going at once. And I am tempted to start a fourth and fifth but I’m making myself finish the first three :-).

    1. I am a multiple books at once reader too – to suit my mood or alternate between more serious and something lighter. But yes, four or five might be a bit too much!

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