Summer round up and season changes…..

20 books of summer - master image

This post could alternatively have been titled ‘Where Did That Summer Go?’ or, if you live in Northern Ireland, ‘Summer? What Fecking Summer??’

The last three months have flashed by in a flurry of work, kids, work and more work and generally ended up much, much busier than I anticipated. One minute I was watching Wimbledon and the next my twins were starting school.

These kids......

These kids……

Add to that the fact that the weather was just miserable and I feel like I didn’t really get much of a summer at all. (Word of advice to anyone thinking of holidaying in Donegal on three of the wettest days of the year – DON’T.)

Irish Café Life....

Irish Café Life….

And yet, I managed to read 18 of my 20 Books of Summer. Two more than last year and two less than hoped for, but at least not an abject failure. I really enjoyed reading real books for a change and found that I made more time for reading than I normally would if I was just reading on my iPad or my phone.

Despite managing to read, I didn’t find a lot of time to blog and my posts have been sporadic and my reviews a bit piecemeal. In fact, I haven’t even managed to review my final two summer reads – The Tiger’s Wife and The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet – both of which I enjoyed very much but both of which I felt suffered at times from style over substance. I may write reviews of them over the coming days, but I have a bit of a new term feeling at the moment and am ready to move on with my reading.

Of my 20 Books, my favourite was definitely the weird, woozy and wonderful Hawthorn & Child by Keith Ridgway, closely followed by The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. My least favourite is probably pretty easy to guess and there were two I didn’t get to – Motel Chronicles & Hawk Moon by Sam Shepard and Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy, both of which I will try to read over the coming months. I also need to give special mention to Jon McGregor’s short story We Wave and Call which is one of the most beautifully formed short stories I have read and is still lingering in my mind weeks after reading it.

I’d like to thank all the fantastic bloggers who took part along with me this summer, I was delighted by the response and feel bad that I couldn’t keep up with all your reading as much as I would have liked to. You’ve all been brilliant and I have loved reading your posts.

I’ve never really been one for New Year resolutions, but the start of the school year always makes me re-evaluate and make plans. This year is no different.

If you are a regular reader, you may notice a few changes coming on 746 Books. The inaugural Reading Ireland Month held back in March has reignited my love of Irish literature, and has also brought about opportunities I could never have imagined when I started my wee blog. I am being offered books to preview and events to chair and it would be silly of me not to see where this leads.

However, I still want to stick to the spirit of 746 Books and my original plan not to buy any new books until the 746 are read. So, if you start to see reviews of old, new or forthcoming Irish books pop up on the blog, rest assured that the books have either been sent to me for review or have been borrowed from the library. The 746 will still be my main priority, my book buying ban will continue and I’ll keep counting down those hundreds of books still mocking me from my shelves!

Although this shelf is definitely a little more roomy……

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20 Books of Summer 2015!

20 books of summer - master image

It’s hard to believe a year has passed, but there are hints of a change in the weather here in Ireland and I’ve decided to challenge myself again this year to read my 20 Books of Summer!

Last year I managed a mere 16 ½ books, so hopefully I can beat that record this time round.

When I started trying to decide on my 20 Books, I had an idea. At the start of 746 Books, the aim was to read what I had, save some money by not buying books and clear some space by reading what was in the house. And I have managed to read what I have and save some money but over the last 18 months though, I’ve come to realise that I mostly read on my iPad, so the piles in the house are still there, mocking me.

So, this summer, I will only read physical books. It’s a bit daunting, because it removes the opportunity to read on my phone, but it will be nice to spend some time reconnecting with some real, actual books for a change! Plus, I might have a clear shelf by September!

So, starting from 1 June and running until 4 September, I’m hoping to read 20 actual books. 7 a month, I can do that, right? Like last year I’ve gone for as broad a range of genres and books as I can and like last year I have included a rock star memoir, a trashy 70s classic, and some sneaky short plays, poetry collections and short stories!

Photo: drbimages

Photo: drbimages

I won’t be reading in any particular order and be warned, reviews may be shorter than usual – I’ve still a job and a couple of twins to look after you know!

So, here are my 20 Books of Summer, click on the titles for a link to their Goodreads description:

I’m going to keep a Master post at the start of the blog so you can follow my progress as books get crossed off the list and if anyone feels their reading needs a bit of oomph then why not join me? Just take the Books of Summer image, pick your own 10 or 20 books you’d like to read and link below.  I’d love your support and I’ve provided a 10 Books image in case 20 seems too daunting! I’ll be tweeting my way through the challenge as well using the hastag #20booksofsummer.

10 books

So, any thoughts on my choices? Have you read any of my 20? Any I should start with straight away, or save for later? Any I’m going to regret putting on the list? I’d love to hear what you think.