August and #20BooksofSummer Summary

I did really well with my August reading – perhaps a combination of less busy period at work and the boys spending the second half of August in Greece. So I did no cooking and the bare minimum of cleaning or gardening, and instead just read a lot and watched films.

So this month I read no less than 14 books, of which the majority (eight) were for #WITMonth, and seven of them also fell into the original #20BooksofSummer plan. Eleven of the books were by women writers, four were crime or crime-adjacent genres and three were non-fiction (this last is probably a record for me, as I tend to read very little non-fiction).

In case you missed any of the #WITMonth review posts, here they are again:

In addition to the #WITMonth reading, I also read and reviewed Stamboul Train by Graham Greene and a memoir of Eton College.

However, it was very disappointing to realise that although I did get to read all of my 20 Books of Summer (with a couple of last-minute swaps), all of them on Kindle (which I still see as very much a second-rate kind of reading experience) in an effort to bring down my formidable TBR amount on Netgalley… my feedback ratio has only gone up two percentage points – from 53% to 55%. So I would say it was definitely not worth it! I also made it more difficult on myself by sticking to a different theme each month: the latest releases for June, the oldest on my Netgalley pile for July, and Women in Translation for August.

This strictly regimented approach over the past three months had me very nearly losing my pleasure of reading. There were two books I abandoned, which is still a rare occurrence for me. Throughout this predominantly Kindly experience (22 out of the total of 34 books read since the start of June), I had to alternate with some physical books, either from my own bookshelves, or more frequently random ones picked up from the library, to ease my restlessness and mounting rebellion.

Therefore, September will be a month of rest and relaxation, reading whatever I please, at whim. If the library books I fancied when seeing them on the shelves there fail to grip my imagination once I get home, I will return them unread, without a guilty conscience. My beautiful new edition of the Cazalet Chronicles is winking at me from the bookshelf in the hallway, so I might plunge into that. But am I ready for six books in a row? There are a couple of books I want to read (in the original languages) for Corylus purposes, but other than that, I’ll be free to roam…

Well, I say that, but I will be reading Andrey Kurkov’s Grey Bees for the London Reads the World Book Club (@LdnReadstheWorld on Twitter) and Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River for the Virtual Crime Book Club run by @RebeccaJBradley, plus I want to read a lighter book set in Durham, as if in preparation for my older son going there to university… etc etc. Or, as the French would call it, et patati et patata!

11 thoughts on “August and #20BooksofSummer Summary”

  1. I’m so glad you had a less stressful August, Marina Sofia. We all need to slow down once in a while. And I couldn’t possibly agree more about not being overly rigid about reading plans. The main point of reading is the joy of it. Once it stops being a pleasure and starts to be just a chore, something has to change (at least for me). I’m glad you’re going where your fancy takes you in September. I’ll look forward to following the journey.

  2. It’s really good news about Pavlos settling Durham. I hope you can really take a deep breath and read as you need in this coming month. Always lovely to follow what you are up to!

  3. This is exactly why I don’t do reading challenges! Yes, I can see the benefits in challenging you to pick up books I otherwise might not read. But then, I rely on book bloggers like you to put such titles in my way. I hope your son enjoys his years at Durham. It’s my son and daughter-in-law’s Alma Mater and they both had special times there.

    1. That’s nice to hear, that they had a good time at Durham – although I am a bit nervous as I hear about the logistics of this year with remote learning, Covid restrictions etc. (I have behind the scenes access as well, since I work at a university in London).

  4. Well done. My netgalley feedback is atrocious, so I’m banning myself from requesting anything until at least 2022, particularly as I’ve developed the habit of starting a galley and then buying the physical book to finish. 😳

  5. you nudged me to check my own NetGalley feedback ratio. Not as low as yours but still not very good. I’ve read some of the books for 20booksofsummer – just forgotten to add the reviews to NetGalley.

    Yep I’m looking forward to a period without any challenges or reading projects.

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