I’m still persevering with my #20BooksofSummer, but have only read five of them this month (I would have needed to read at least eight this month to have a good chance of finishing them before the end of August). The plan was to read the oldest books on my Netgalley shelves, so it’s somewhat disappointing that, despite them all being quite easy reads, I got distracted by other books, either from the library or my own shelves. The main reason, I think, is because I find it really difficult to read exclusively on Kindle. I don’t enjoy the experience very much at all, especially after I’ve been staring at screens all day, so I feel the need to switch to paper books every now and then.
To be fair, Herve Le Corre’s massive book took me most of the month of June, but I finished it in July. Although it was not on my #20BooksofSummer list, I did review it together with one that was, Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller. The four other books in the #20Books pile I have not yet reviewed. Three of them were entertaining but perhaps not extremely memorable – ideal holiday reads: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon, The Tears of Angels by Caro Ramsay and The White Shepherd by Annie Dalton, while I have to admit I was not quite in the mood for Only the Brave by Mel Sherratt so I didn’t finish it. So that takes me through Books 8-12 of the 20 Books of Summer, although I don’t think I can count the one I abandoned.
I did enjoy The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard, which we read for the Virtual Crime Book Club this month. I also read one other crime fiction book: Sophie Hannah used to be a reliable writer for me, who always starts out with impossible situations and manages to find convincing explanations for them – but this one, Haven’t They Grown, was a bit implausible and silly towards the end. The Start-Up Wife by Tahmima Anam was probably a shade too predictable, but I did enjoy the sarcastic portrayal of the over-enthusiastic, self-indulgent, macho start-up and venture capital culture in the US.
Only two books in translation this month, eight by women authors, and very few reviews. There are reasons for this, as I will perhaps explain in a future post.
So it’s easy to pick the favourite for this month: Javier Marias’ The Infatuations, transl. by Margaret Jull Costa and which I read in an attempt to fit into the Spanish and Portuguese Literature Month hosted by Stu Jallen (luckily he has extended this to August, as I still hope to write a review). Not my favourite Marias to date, but he does have a fascinating meandering style which can become really addictive if you are in the right mood.
For Women in Translation Month, I have to read 9 of my 20 Books of Summer, so I hope I have enough in my Netgalley queue that fit into this category: Minae Mizumura, Mieko Kawakami, Daniela Krien, Dulce Maria Cardoso, Valerie Perrin, Lorenza Pieri, Marie NDiaye, Şebnem İşigüzel, Delphine de Vigan and Niviaq Korneliussen. So seven languages and countries will be represented, including my first author from Greenland! I am also keen to read a physical book, namely Forty Lost Years by Rosa Maria Arquimbau, translated by Peter Bush, and published by the brand-new Fum d’Estampa Press, which has the mission to acquaint the English-speaking world with Catalan literature.