Well, okay, so back in June I joined Cathy’s #20BooksofSummer, except that I only signed up to read ten books. Here was my list, which indicates also what I actually read:
Unfamiliar Fishes, Sarah Vowell (read)
Astonish Me, Maggie Shipstead (read)
My Antonia, Willa Cather (read)
My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante (read)
Mind of Winter, Laura Kasischke
Annihilation, Jeff Vandermeer (read)
After I’m Gone, Laura Lippman
Cleopatra, Stacy Schiff
Black Water Rising, Attica Locke (DNF)
Dirty Love: Stories, Andre Dubus III
False Mermaid, Erin Hart (This was my replacement for Black Water Rising)
So yes, you’re seeing that right. I read five books from the list. In addition to those, though, I also read Phillip Meyer’s The Son and A.S. Byatt’s Possession. Both of those are longer works and took some time to get through but were both absolutely wonderful in their own respective ways. So seven books. And only one review, for Annihilation. That’s a shame because even if I didn’t read a lot this summer, I read several other amazing books the aforementioned Annihilation, My Brilliant Friend, and My Antonia. The biggest disappointments for me? Well, I didn’t love Astonish Me the way I thought I would. While I loved everything about the world of dance and I enjoyed Shipstead’s writing, it just fell a bit flat for me. Joan was two-dimensional, Jacob starts off interesting but becomes a cliché (maybe the point, but it felt like it was handled clumsily), the more interesting characters are offstage for much of the book, and the whole thing sort of turned into a Lifetime movie there at the end.
The other disappointment? I was surprised to find I couldn’t get into After I’m Gone or False Mermaid. Typically in summer I love to read these lighter books, especially mysteries, but this year I just felt bored. That said, I didn’t get through Cleopatra, either. I wanted something bigger, something denser, but I also wanted fiction. I kept trying to force myself into the books on my list, and finally I just gave up.
I probably read less this summer than I have in many, many years—maybe ever. Work was steadily busy, and I’ve been very committed about going to the gym, but somehow I just felt like I had less time in general. I think we all feel that way occasionally, but I need to do a better job of getting in some quality reading time (as in, not only before bed, where I am often so sleepy as I read that the next day I have to go back a few pages and re-read them).
And so there we have it. #10BooksofSummer fail. Womp womp. How about you? Was your summer reading better than mine? I hope so!