20 Books of Summer 2019: A Retrospective


20 Books of Summer 2019 is over, and for the first time, I read all of my 20 books!

What did I think of the books I read? [Links are to my reviews]. I’ll group them in the same way as I did in 2018. This time, the absolute standouts were Self-Portrait With BoyThe Nickel Boysand ExhalationAll will be strong contenders for my books of the year.

In the second tier are The Island of Sea Women, Happiness, Inland, Friday Black, The Chalk Artist, Queenie and The Good Immigrant USANone of these absolutely blew me away, but they’re still very good books that I’d strongly recommend.

As before, there were a number of books that I enjoyed but about which I had reservations, ranging from more to less serious. These were A People’s Future of the United States, The Untelling, Free Food for Millionaires, Fruit of the Drunken Tree, Memories of the Future and Chemistry.

Finally, there were the outright disappointments: All Is Song, Pulp, Starling Days and Winter Sisters.

Interestingly, I have fewer absolute stand-outs than in 2018, but more books in the second tier and fewer in the third, and I would say that this correlates to my reading experience: I enjoyed the challenge more this year. It continues to present the same conundrums for me, though; the first two times I did it, I concentrated on getting through my TBR pile, but the last two times, I’ve deliberately picked books I don’t already have lined up. This has made the challenge easier (because I have more enthusiasm to read these books!) and more fun, but also more expensive… I’ve spent a LOT on books this summer.

Will I do 20 Books of Summer again next year? Yes, but with a twist; now I’ve FINALLY completed it in its original form, next year, I’ll be restyling it as a re-read challenge, and reading whatever twenty books I like as long as I have read them before! This should save me a lot of money and allow me to fit in time for re-reading, which I always wish that I did more of.

Did you do 20 Books of Summer this year? How did it go?


17 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer 2019: A Retrospective

  1. Congratulations on finishing! I’m going to finish reading my last two books today, and write the last three up for tomorrow. I’ve done a ton of substituting, so I’ll have to count up how many from my initial list I actually ended up reading. I’ve also had a few DNFs that I’m not going to count towards the 20, but I might mention them in my final post.

    Setting a rereading challenge sounds like a great idea — and less expensive, as you say! (Both years I’ve done this I’ve limited myself to books I already owned.) For my birthday week this year I’m going to treat myself to some rereads, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice idea to do a re-read! I used to do two Months of Re-Reading a year – I used them to get through lovely volumes I adore, and also to check if I still liked authors whose books I was hanging onto. But then I keep acquiring too many!

    I made the double mistakes of picking 20 books that didn’t include review copies or books for my ongoing challenges and then having a nervous breakdown in August and not being able to read AT ALL for a few days (I know) and then getting back into easy reads. So, ten books of summer done and I’ll be back next year. All good. I always do it from my TBR and include All Virago / All August with a nice green-spined pile – not so high this time!

    I loved your choices and have saved a few of your reviews for when I’ve got hold of copies of the books.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I had added Pulp earlier this year, but after I read your review, I reconsidered. The clincher was the fact that it’s over 400 pages, which I always find to be too long for YA. Characters tend to talk more than think, and if the book is first-person point of view, that’s a looooong time to spend in any teen’s head.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer, 2020 | Laura Tisdall

  5. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer 2020: A Retrospective | Laura Tisdall

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