I’m a bit late with this summer reads list, but better late than never! This review of books I read in summer 2022 also isn’t as long as I would expect it to be. I tend to read more in summer because I have holiday time. But, for all good reasons including gardening and spending time with family, I didn’t read as much this summer. Moreover, three of these books were beasts! I give myself a huge pat on the back for making in through One Hundred Years of Solitude in particular! If you’re looking for suggestions on what book to pick up next, keep reading!
The Midnight Library – by Matt Haig
The Midnight Library was exactly as I expected it to be. To explain, Matt Haig writes about mental health and always has helpful messaging of hope and perseverance. I therefore knew what the end or moral of this story would be before even reading it. Nonetheless, Haig’s creative metaphor of the mind’s journey through limbo between life and death as a library was brilliant! I loved the book’s concept and writing style, and generally enjoyed reading this novel as part of our work book club. My advice is to persevere beyond the first 50 pages because the first part of Nora’s story is very depressing!
The Sanatorium – By Sarah Pearse
The Sanatorium was a good-ol’ supermarket thriller. Sometimes all I want in a book is easy writing and an entertaining plot. I want predictability and large font! If you are a thriller reader and haven’t read this book yet, I do recommend it, mainly for the setting and character descriptions.
Pachinko – by Min Jin Lee
This was my main summer read. Pachinko is a bit of a tome, at over 500 pages, and it is a historical fiction family saga set in Korea and Japan from around the 1930s, through to the 1980s. As the name implies, a large part of the narrative is set surrounding the Pachinko gaming business. However, what I enjoyed most about this novel was the tense depiction of the mistreatment of Koreans in Japan and the general conflict during and after the second world war. Pachinko was beautiful, heart-breaking, and enthralling – a must read for lovers of historical fiction!
One Hundred Years of Solitude – by Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude… more like one hundred years of my life I’m never getting back! Although it’s a classic, it’s very divisive; I unfortunately fall into the camp of those who did not enjoy the reading experience. I think this book was just too complicated. Too many characters, and too many characters called the same thing. The magical realism was interesting, and certainly ahead of it’s time, but I found it distracting from the rest of the narrative.
I would best describe this book as an epic or a written version of oral folklore, where family and place history are embellished and woven with fairy tales and superstition. Moreover, I found the section on the civil war hard to understand, and perhaps I would have appreciated the book more if I had a better background in Latin American history. Lastly, I found the theme of men sleeping with young girls (children) distasteful and distracting. In my opinion, this is one to skip!
Wool – by Hugh Howey
I picked up this sci fi/dystopian novel for Lucy’s dad as part of his retirement gift. We both enjoy reading sci fi and I had seen good reviews. We both absolutely loved Wool, and I can’t wait to read the other two installments in the trilogy. The premise of Wool is straightforward, the community of people live in a massive underground silo which is heavily structured based on class and profession. It’s a work of genius centered on rebellion and worker’s pride. I would describe this book as similar to 1984, Hunger Games, or The Giver.
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