Summer reading round up – everything that wasn’t 20 Books of Summer!

For some reason over the last few months I have been on a real reading roll.

Not only have I just about completed my 20 Books of Summer Challenge, but I read an additional THIRTEEN books! I’ve surprised myself with this amount of reading. I did make an effort to put my phone away in the evenings and watch less TV, so clearly that works for me and is something I hope to continue.

I could have these 746 books wrapped up a whole lot quicker if I would just keep up with this momentum!

The other books I read weren’t part of the 746 (unfortunately) – several were new purchases, some were Netgalley and others were lent by friends.

Orchid and the Wasp by Caoilinn Hughes

This is a fantastic debut – smart, funny with a brilliant female lead. Recommended

Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney by Denis O’Driscoll

I have dipped in and out of this fascinating book over the past two years for work research, but decided to finally sit down and read it cover to cover. It’s a really fascinating glimpse into the writing life of one of our greatest poets (I would say that, wouldn’t I?!).

Without You, There is No Us by Suki Kim

I heard Suki speak twice in June, at the Jaipur Literature Festival at the British Library and at the Dalkey Book Festival and her story of going undercover in North Korea is both fascinating and terrifying in equal measure.

What to Eat by Marion Nestle

I rifled this from my sister’s book shelves and it was an interesting, if overly long examination of how we buy, eat and are sold food. It hasn’t aged particularly well but is still worthwhile.

The Angry Chef: Bad Science and the Truth about Healthy Eating by Anthony Warner

I followed What to Eat with this slightly more impassioned plea for us to ditch fad diets, banish the idea of ‘clean eating’ and bring some joy back into our eating again. Highly entertaining, particularly if you are not a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow.

The Dry by Jane Harper

I came across The Dry in our Little Free Library at work and enjoyed this Australian set thriller over the course of a couple of days. I may read her new one – Force of Nature, would anyone recommend?

The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor

I received a copy of The Chalk Man from the publisher and very much enjoyed the thriller/ horror vibe of this entertaining book. Think Stephen King meets Stand By Me and you’ll get the idea.

Disclaimer by Renée Knight

On one of the summer trips to the library with the kids, I grabbed Disclaimer on a whim. It wasn’t exactly what I anticipated, but suspend your disbelief and it was an entertaining read. Although I do have a problem with plots that could be solved by people just talking to one another…

On Michael Jackson by Margo Jefferson

One of the downsides to having to call into my favourite bookshop No Alibis for work is the temptation to buy something. Still, this was well worth it – a fascinating exploration of a man who, love him or hate him, is a fascinating subject. I look forward to reading Negroland now.

So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

One of the downsides of having to call into my favourite bookshop No Alibis for work, is that they give you ARCs! Obviously I don’t have to accept them, but that would be rude, right?! This is a fun read. It will, however, make you think twice about what you post online. It’s a cautionary tale for our times.

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

John Boyne is coming to HomePlace on Sunday to talk about his new book A Ladder to the Sky, so I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of this very entertaining page-turner set in the world of publishing and featuring a truly horrible yet wonderful lead character, Maurice Swift.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Read

This was an odd, odd book. I liked it, I think, but I’m not sure if I understood it. A couple, on the verge of splitting up, go to visit in-laws. Weirdness ensues. Your feelings on this book will wholly depend on how you react to the ending. I have since read that Charlie Kaufman is making it into a movie and that is one movie I will be sure to watch.

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

I was drawn to Sunburn courtesy of a great review by Elle Thinks. This is a brilliant slice of noir – taking inspiration from Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice to create a really atmospheric page turner, with another fantastic lead character.

Have you read and enjoyed any of these? What hints do you have for reading more?

My plan is now to keep up the reading, but focus on the TBR and see if I can get it closer to the 400s before the end of the year!

The 746

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

49 Comments Leave a comment

  1. What a great reading list, congrats on doing so much reading this summer! It’s the same for me, if I can avoid the temptation to veg out in front of the TV in the evenings, I can do so much more reading.
    I really want to get to Without You, There is No Us, it sounds so intriguing and I’m fascinated by stories from North Korea. And I also read So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed this summer! This has been my year of reading through Jon Ronson, I really like his books and although that one was great, it made me so anxious. It’s such a bizarre world we live in, I really liked his explorations of this new kind of morality.


  2. After reading Seamus Heaney by Helen Vendler….I am definitely going
    to read Stepping Stones by Denis O’Driscoll.
    I think Heaney was a literary genius.
    I enjoyed The Dry by Jane Harper (Aussie thriller)
    …and want to read Without You, There is No Us by Suki Kim.
    Thanks for hosting yet another #20BooksOfSummer and
    I’m just going to keep on reading #20BooksofAutumn!


  3. WOW! My reading lately has been just the opposite – I seem to be in a slump. But your line “I did make an effort to put my phone away in the evenings and watch less TV…” really hits home. It’s just so easy to get home from work and plop on the couch in front of the TV. I need to take a page out of your book (hahaha – see what I did there?). I’m also really intrigued by a lot of the books that your picture here, and I did just get a copy of Sunburn, so I think I may pick that one up first when I’m on vacation next week. Great post! You encouraged me (if even by embarrassing me a bit cause I’ve read so little this summer) 🙂


    • Aw, thank you! I really have to make an effort to leave the phone down – I could easily lose an hour playing Candy Crush! I’ve also found it helpful to read an actual book, rather than read on my phone or ipad, because then I’m not so tempted to just pop on to Facebook! Sunburn is really entertaining – hope it gives you a kick start reading-wise!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I also really enjoyed Orchid & the Wasp and Without You, There Is No Us. I’m looking forward to John Boyne’s new book, and I have a copy of that Jon Ronson book on the shelf. I have my eye on The Angry Chef and Sunburn at the library.


  5. I’ve read several of these titles and enjoyed them. One that stands out for me is “I’m thinking of ending things”. I cannot forget it. It is my guess that there never was a ‘girlfriend’. It was all in his mind…? That is one book that you almost have to re-read right away to get a more thorough understanding. Maybe I’m WAY off base… See my review:


  6. Well done – what a summer! I slowed down a little at the start of the summer, but reading has picked up in August – I just keep sneaking off to quiet parts of the house with a book in hand and disappearing for an hour or two. Plus cutting down on TV and the distractions of the Internet has really helped! 🙂


  7. I’ve heard very good things about Sunburn, so it’s encouraging to hear that you enjoyed it too. I don’t tend to read very many newly published crime novels these days, but you never know…


  8. I’m all for bringing back the joy in our eating! (Actually, for me, I don’t think I ever abandoned it. Although, I sometimes felt guilty about not abandoning it.)
    I’m glad to hear you liked John Boyne’s new book – I can’t believe he has another one out already.
    Suddenly you have me curious about I’m thinking of ending things!
    Hooray for all the reading this summer! 🙂


  9. Hi Cathy – happy end of summer! I think I mentioned in another of your posts how I read The Dry and really liked it. I will eventually read her next book and I’m told it’s good, I also definitely want to read So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – such a great topic!


  10. I’d recommend Harper’s second book. It may not have been as good as The Dry, but it was still a great read. I’ve read several of Marion Nestle’s books, but haven’t yet read ‘What to Eat’. Anything in particular about it that hasn’t aged well?


  11. Loved the Ronson – really gave food for thought about how hasty and harsh we are in making judgements. I thought the chapters that looked at shame and the legal system were fascinating.
    Looking forward to the new John Boyne as well.


  12. Congrats on all that reading. I read the Ronson book and think it should be required reading for anyone with a social media account. I also read Harper’s second book and I liked it just as well as the first. Great series! Good luck with your reading streak.


  13. Wow – that’s good going! I read an extra ten on top of my 20 Books, which made the months about standard. I’ve cut down on the amount of work I say yes to so have more time for great slabs of reading at the weekends, which really helps.


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