Back to Reality…

It’s been three weeks since I posted about heading off on holiday, which I think may be the longest break I’ve ever had from this blog!

We had an incredible time in Crete – our sixth visit in total and second with the kids – and did little more than relax, swim, read, eat, drink and soak up the sun. After all the stresses of the last few years, it was just what was needed – to be with my favourite people in my favourite place – and to be honest, I’m finding it a little hard to get back into the swing of things now that I’m home.

We had two lovely weeks in Crete, starting with two nights in the capital city of Iraklion. This was marred slightly by the fact that we left a backpack on the shuttle bus from airport to terminal and didn’t know if we’d get it back for 24 hours, but once resolved we had a great time mooching round the city.

We then hired a car and headed to the much quieter south coast of the island to our favourite spot – Frangokastello. Myself and Mr 746 Books first visited here on honeymoon 17 years ago and this was our fifth visit since then, so it’s safe to say we’re a bit fond of the spot.

Going to somewhere we knew well also meant there was no pressure to fill our days with sightseeing and plans, we simply relxed at our villa, swam in the pool, dandered down to the beach and ate at our favourite taverna. Bliss!

For the last two days of the holiday we headed to another Cretan city – Hania – where we enjoyed some souvenier shopping in the old town, some lovely beachfront dining and the kids discovered a funfair a short walk from our apartment, which meant that any remaining holiday money disappeared faster than you can say ‘bumper cars’!

In terms of my summer reading, I did OK, but not as well as I thought I might. From my twenty books of summer, I read American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld, Case Study by Graeme Mcrae Burnet, Elena Knows by Claudia Piniero and I’ve almost finished the whopper that is Lonesome Dove by Laddy McMurtry. I very much enjoyed them all.

American Wife was a great holiday read, an absorbing, epic and well-written character study with a relatable protagonist and beleivable narrative. Case Study, the story of an infamous physchiatrist set in the 1960s was another fascinating piece of fiction from Mcrae Burnet, which was so well put together that I found myself looking up characters on the internet to double check that they weren’t real.

Elena Knows took me a while to get into. it is the story of a mother convinced that her daughter’s suicide is something more sinister, but rather than being the crime novel I expected, it morphed into an intelligent exploration of disability, the societal expectations on women and the right to choose the life you want, or don’t want to live.

Lonesome Dove is exactly as I expected, a page-turning epic western, but is also a lot more thoughtful than I anticipated. I’m not finished yet so will talk more about it next week. I’m really going to have to knuckle down if I want to complete my challenge this summer, I’ve read 8 of the original 15 I chose and 2 of my additional 5 so still some way to go.

How are you all enjoying your summers? Is the summer reading going to plan? Look forward to getting back into a routine next week and catching up on all your blogs.

20 Books of Summer

Cathy746books View All →

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

48 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Your holiday sounds like bliss! My now-husband and I had a fab holiday in Crete in 2001, pre-kids and it was bliss – though we memorably flew back on 9/11 into all the awful news from the USA

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  2. It looks absolutely idyllic Cathy. Sooooooo jealous (as I sit here writing on a rainy Melbourne night!).
    I had a similar experience with Case Study (did a lot of internet searches, which only confirmed how clever the book was).

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  3. Looks like a lovely vacation. As always you did a much better job reading than I ever do. I spent a month in France and started 3 French books. I’m half way through each. Been home for a week. 😀

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  4. We were in Crete last week too! Just Heraklion though (neither of us can drive yet) – except for one taxi excursion out to Lyrarakis vineyard. Would love to go back with a car and more mobility. It’s such a gorgeous place!

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  5. This has taken me down memory lane to a holiday in Crete in 1984. Caught the bus to Hania where I bought a honey and nut pastry. Stupidly put it in my bag to eat on the bus – the honey had leaked all over my passport…..

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  6. What a beautiful vacation. I know it wasn’t as many books as you expected but for me it seems a lot. I don’t know why I read so slow but I could only finish Watership Down during my two week vacation.

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  7. Hi Cathy – welcome back! The pictures you shared look great – sounds like you had a wonderful time, even with the temporarily lost backpack. I’m sure it’s hard to get back in the swing of things, but you did manage to read quite a bit while you were away! And some big books too 🙂

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      • I adored Lonesome Dove when I read it; I always mean to read it again but there are so many books I’ve yet to read for the first time.
        I love Graeme Macrae Burnet (His Bloody Project is a favourite of mine!) and am looking forward to starting Case Study.
        Claudia Piñeiro is new to me, but her latest, Betty Boo, arrived today so I’m looking forward to reading that.
        Apologies I’ve not visited the blog for ages – I’ve had a bit of a rotten few years after an attack by a burglar left me disabled and affected my memory, but after a lot of work on the memory bit I’m studying through the OU – I started from scratch, but thought I’d spend the summer blogging and catching up on some of my favourite bloggers – glad to see a good few are still around! Your holiday looked heavenly, btw! X

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      • Oh Linda, I’m so sorry to hear that – I did wonder if you’d stopped blogging. That must have been so traumatic for you, but I’m glad to hear that you are getting back into blogging again, I look forward to reading tour posts. Stay well cxx

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  8. Your holiday sounds perfect! I used to go to Rhodes every year by myself to swim and read and eat good food and unwind from the stresses of London life. I miss those holidays but my new life in Oz is much less stressful so don’t feel the need for an island getaway just yet (it helps that I live by the beach)! My summer/winter reading challenge is going a bit slow… have only read 7 out of 20 so doubt I’ll get them all read in time unless I pull out all the stops, throw my distracting mobile phone away and keep the TV turned off. 😆

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  9. Wow, such a beautiful place to spend a quiet holiday. It sounds like you had a much needed rest, Cathy. I am doing well with the challenge. I have read 12 of my Summer books and posted all the reviews. I am well on my way.

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  10. How lovely – and welcome back! I just had a week off at home and didn’t read as much as I’d hoped but did OK. I am a bit stuck in McMurtry’s Moving On at the moment, at p. 560-odd of 800-odd so getting there and it is really good but it’s sort of squatting on my Books of Summer, if you know what i mean! I look forward to your thoughts on Dove, of course!

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  11. I haven’t read Case Study yet, but I did the same with His Bloody Project. I believe that the local archive where HBP is set has had to put the message out that it’s all made up and they don’t have any historical records about it!

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  12. Is there a jealous face emoji? Imagine one here…
    You’re doing great on the challenge considering the chunkiness of some of the books! I haven’t quite reached the halfway point yet, which is a little worrying!

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  13. Welcome back! Your holiday sounds blissful – glad you had such a good time! I’m now counting down the days until my own holiday starts, and I’m hoping it will be a good chance to get a couple of the chunkier books on my 15 Books of Summer read. (At the moment, I’ve read six and reviewed five, but they are mostly the quicker ones!)

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