20 Books of Summer: A Retrospective



20 Books of Summer 2018 is over! I read 19 of my 20 books, with two planned substitutions, and reviewed all 19 of them. This compares favourably to my previous attempts:

In 2016, I managed to read 18 of my 20 books, but only reviewed 11 of them. (Apologies to A Brief History of Seven Killings, The Eustace Diamonds, The Prime Minister, Closure, J, Eligible and Go Set a Watchman!)

In 2017, I also managed to read 18 of my 20 books, and reviewed 17 of them (Mrs Dalloway was the one that missed out, and I doubt I’d have had anything new to say about it anyway!).

What did I think of the books I read? [Links are to my reviews]. There were some absolute stand-outs. The Heart’s Invisible Furies, Asymmetry, The Growing Season and Let Go My Hand will all be strong contenders for my books of the year.

In the second tier, Forward, Educated, An American Marriage and Heads of the Colored People didn’t absolutely blow me away, but they’re still very good books that I’d strongly recommend.

There were a number of books that I enjoyed but about which I had reservations, ranging from more to less serious. These were Sick, The Trauma CleanerEverything I Never Told You, Negroland, How to Survive A Plague, Exit Westand Built.

Finally, there were the outright disappointments: American War, Places I Stopped On The Way Home, Painter to the King and Rosewater – although, of these, I would argue that only Places I Stopped… is genuinely bad.

(I also read 22 other books between June and September, with a similar-ish hit rate of good and bad!)

I’m not sure I’ve yet cracked 20 Books of Summer. The first year I did it I tried to demolish my TBR pile, only to discover there was a reason many of those books had been there so long. In the second year, I tried a mix between old and new, but didn’t put enough thought into choosing the new titles. This year has probably been the best in terms of quality – but as I picked titles that were almost all recently published or not actually out yet, I had difficulty getting hold of the books, which is probably why I didn’t complete the challenge.

I’ll have to do it again, though – if only to get all twenty.

7 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer: A Retrospective

  1. 19 out of 20 is bloody great, especially with all the books you’ve read reviewed! I reckon your hit rate of successes to duds is probably fairly representative, and also probably about as good as it gets – out of 20 books, no matter how carefully one selects, there are bound to be a few disappointments, if only by the law of averages.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! The hit rate was actually better than I expected – the challenge felt like more of a slog when I was doing it. I think I just don’t like having all my books chosen beforehand…


  2. I’ve not managed it yet either. Love your comment “The first year I did it I tried to demolish my TBR pile, only to discover there was a reason many of those books had been there so long.” That’s probably the case with me too – but I’ve now put the ones I didn’t get to back in it!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Three Things… September 2018 | Laura Tisdall

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