10 Books of Summer, 2021


I’m having a go at Cathy’s (746 Books) 20 Books of Summer challenge for the fifth year running! However, this time I’m making it a 10 Books of Summer challenge instead. I feel like I’ve had a lot of booklists to get through recently, and I wanted to leave some space for more free reading – so this is a way of clearing my current TBR, which is composed of the two Women’s Prize shortlisted titles I haven’t yet read, my NetGalley ARCs for June, and some proofs that Rebecca of Bookish Beck kindly sent on to me.

So, here’s a quick summary of my ten books:

  • Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller – shortlisted for the Women’s Prize – hope to get from library.
  • How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones – shortlisted for the Women’s Prize – hope to get from library.
  • The Wild Laughter by Caoilinn Hughes – on my 2021 TBR – Rebecca’s proof copy.
  • The Sleeping Beauties by Suzanne O’Sullivan – as regular readers of this blog will know, I love non-fiction on medical themes, and after reading O’Sullivan’s article in the Guardian, I knew I wanted to read this exploration of psychosomatic illness. Rebecca’s proof copy.
  • Milk Fed by Melissa Broder – Broder’s debut, The Pisces, was a surprise hit for me, because the blurb made it sound like it would be about all sorts of things I normally hate in fiction. The same is true for Milk Fed, so let’s see if she can do it again! Rebecca’s proof copy.
  • True Story by Kate Reed Perry. I have to admit I hadn’t heard of this before Rebecca offered me her proof, but I’m intrigued by the idea of a genre-hopping narrative that integrates a range of documents. (The cover is very weird – it’s a bit clever for its own good. I’d have preferred it just to have the ’80s horror novel’ cover, which I think is brilliant).
  • Animal by Lisa Taddeo. This has had SO much hype that it needs no introduction. I loved Three Women and I’m keen to see where Taddeo will go with her fiction debut. NetGalley ARC.
  • Easy Meat by Rachel Trezise. I’ve had a run of weird luck with novels about the meat industry/slaughterhouses (both Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats and Ruth Gilligan’s The Butchers were in my top ten books of 2020) so I had to see if I’d like this one as well. NetGalley ARC.
  • The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam. I liked the sound of this one when I requested it, but now I’ve read more reviews, I fear it might be yet another sub-Black Mirror story about how Tech Is Bad. NetGalley ARC.
  • Holding Her Breath by Eimear Ryan. I don’t normally pick out coming of age stories, but I liked the fact that the university-age protagonist has a past as a competitive swimmer, and the cover is gorgeous. NetGalley ARC.

Are you taking part in the Books of Summer challenge this year? Have you read, or do you want to read, any of my picks?

17 thoughts on “10 Books of Summer, 2021

  1. I just finished True Story, and maybe because I had the audiobook (I’m not sure what the text version looks like), but I found it a bit disjointed. It reads more like a short story collection.

    I’d be up for any book Roddy Doyle recommends, so cheers to Wild Laughter! The one Irish book I have to get to this year is Did Ye Hear Mammy Died?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m reading True Story at the moment and I imagine it would be a very weird experience on audiobook. When there are annotations on the text, for example, I’m not sure how they could convey that out loud?


  2. I’m pleased that the proofs I sent fit right into your summer reading plans. I enjoyed Milk Fed but couldn’t get into The Wild Laughter and True Story despite two tries each. The latter I won in a Twitter giveaway — I requested the beauty queen cover! I think the only review I remember seeing of it is Susan’s at A life in books. I’ll look out for what you think about the last two Women’s Prize books, too. Trezise’s book is new to me but sounds good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m already 100+ pages into True Story, finding it a really quick but so far not especially original read! Looking forward to the other proofs 🙂


  3. Nice to see Bookish Beck spreading her tantalising proof parcels far and wide!! That’s a good selection. I transcribed an interview with Tahmima Anam and I’m still not sure whether I want to read the book, so I will look out for your review with interest. Husband is sort of considering it too …

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great list! For just a moment I thought The Sleeping Beauties would be a fiction book in the vein of some authors like Italo Calvino or Alex Rose who came up with totally fantastical illnesses and their possible explanations in their short stories, but a non-fiction book is so much better! Kazakhstan’s sleeping sickness is well known, but there are also so many other strange conditions around the world that are based on rumours and local journalists trying to attract attention to the area. There was one strange mystery illness that was ruled to be due to radioactivity, but I can’t recall where.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021: Unsettled Ground | Laura Tisdall

  6. Pingback: Women’s Prize for Fiction, 2021: How The One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House | Laura Tisdall

  7. Pingback: 10 Books of Summer 2021: A Retrospective | Laura Tisdall

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