Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Midyear Summary and all that is Summery



Where is this year going? I can't believe we are half-way through already.

In June I read fourteen books (including one play), six short stories, as well as reaching the midway point in another book and reading sixty five pages of Ulysses. That brings me to a total of sixty six books for the midyear, an average of eleven a month. As we are half-way through the year, I thought I would document my favourite books of the year so far, contenders for my favourite book of the year. I have narrowed it down to six books, since we have completed six months of the year.

Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary by Ruby Ferguson
Love Falls by Esther Freud (reviewed here)
Mort by Terry Pratchett (reviewed here)
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett (reviewed here)
If I Stay by Gayle Forman (reviewed here)
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice (reviewed here)

I have read a number of books that I adored and The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, The Enchanted April, and Nation by Terry Pratchett narrowly missed my favourites shortlist. If the ending of Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie hadn't been so contrived and disappointing then that would have featured and it is very likely that the book that I am savouring slowly at the moment, The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey (photographed above), will result in being one of my favourite books of the year.

Now that we have reached the first day of July and summer is suddenly upon us, I think it is about time that I lay out my summer reading plans.

Obviously the mountain of library books that I have (the link is only some of them) will feature as well as recent acquisitions and a few others on my immediate TBR pile. Below is the longlist (called a longlist because realistically I don't think I will manage to read every one of the twenty five titles on it over the coming months) and I will be reading these in a hot and humid London and two weeks home in Glasgow during August, during which I will be reading the Kelman book for definite (set in Glasgow).

In the Woods
by Tana French
The Group by Mary McCarthy
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Disgrace
by J.M. Coetzee
Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
The Bookshop
by Penelope Fitzgerald
Brooklyn
by Colm Tóibín
The Unicorn by Iris Murdoch
The Parasites by Daphne Du Maurier
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stroud
Kieron Smith, Boy by James Kelman
Journal by Katherine Mansfield
Saplings by Noel Streatfeild
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
Summer at Gaglow by Esther Freud
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Therese Raquin by Emile Zola
Of Human Bondage by William Somerset Maugham
Hideous Kinky by Esther Freud
Persuasion
by Jane Austen
Olivia by Olivia (Dorothy Strachey)
Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood
The Skin Chairs by Barbara Comyns
Beachcombing by Maggie Dana

Overly-ambitious, yes, but very exciting! Happy Summer, everyone! I'm off to hibernate with my books and will see you in winter...

17 comments:

Darlene said...

I'm feeling just a tad inadequate at the moment:)

Paperback Reader said...

Oh, Darlene, why?! I have some time on my hands just now and book eyes bigger than my book tummy.

farmlanebooks said...

I'm so pleased that you are enjoying Wilderness as much as I did. I think it will be my second favourite book of the year (after The Hunger Games - have you read that?)

I am going to try to read The Elegance of the Hedgehog soon too.

That is a great list of summer books - good luck!

Paperback Reader said...

Jackie, I haven't but I really should! After all of these...
I am conscious of having this huge TBR pile but, at the same time, I want to savour The Wilderness slowly, paying close attention to the words and images; I am loving it.

I hope that you enjoy The Elegance of the Hedgehog; it is quite philisophical in parts and even though most of it went over my head, I found myself not minding.

JoAnn said...

Love Falls sounds excellent! I hope to get to The Elegance of the Hedgehog soon, too. You've got some really good books lined up for the summer - Olive Kitteridge is one of the most memorable characters I've come across in quite some time. Enjoy!

Paperback Reader said...

JoAnn, I am so happy to have discovered Esther Freud this year, which is why I have another two of her books on my summer reading list. I have had a copy of Hideous Kinky for what seems like forever so it will be good to finally read her.
I hope you enjoy The Elegance of the Hedgehog; it is definitely one of my favourites this year, even if it didn't make the top cut, and I'm looking forward to her new book later this year.
I have heard a lot of good things about Olive Kitteridge.

verity said...

Excellent list! I love all of your top books so far (except the TP!). I just discovered Freud, and have a couple of hers.
I need to be disciplined too to get my mounds of books under control..

Nymeth said...

I loved a lot of your favourites and almost favourites too, so I have a feeling I should read the others! Actually, I went on a bit of a book buying spree today and ordered The Enchanted April. I'm so looking forward to it :)

Happy summer reading!

Paperback Reader said...

Verity, Freud is definitely the discovery of the year for me; I lover her writing. What did you read/have to read?
I really need to be disciplined with this pile and not deviate from it nor add to it...

Ana, there's a good chance you will like the others too!
The Enchanted April is such a charming novel and so evocative of Spring and Italy.

claire said...

Ambitious and exciting, indeed! A lot of those on your list I would love to read. Happy summer reading!

Paperback Reader said...

Thanks, Claire! Hopefully you'll have a chance to read them too or my enjoyment of them will prompt you to read them that much sooner than intended.

Vintage Reading said...

Gosh, I couldn't cope with the pressure of that pile! I highly recommend Saplings, although it is a sad story.

Paperback Reader said...

Vintage Reading, it is quite the daunting pile. I'm not sure how I am going to cope with it... book by book, probably!

StuckInABook said...

What a great set of books read. and books to be read. Of the tbr pile, I've loved The Bookshop, Katherine Mansfield's Journal, and Crow Lake. I also have The Skin Chairs and Saplings on my tbr pile for upcoming months, so perhaps we'll overlap.

Paperback Reader said...

Simon, the ones you mentioned are ones I am most looking forward to reading. Hopefully our readings of some will overlap, as it's great to compare impressions, especially with a fellow lover of Persephone and Virago books.

Samantha said...

You've got some great reads in your Summer reading pile!

I am very interested in If I Stay by Gayle Forman - have been reading some very good things about. I will go and read your review of it now :-)

Paperback Reader said...

Samantha, thanks. It's exciting but being so early on, quite daunting!
I read loved If I Stay. It's such a raw, poignant, but perfectly straightforward young adult story.