Summer Reading Book Bingo Recap

Pirate Hunters on the Outer Banks this summer.

Was this the fastest summer on record or what?  I didn’t feel like I read all that much between Memorial Day (May 25th) and Labor Day (September 7), but I managed to read twelve books. Not too shabby!

Here’s what I read in chronological order and why I chose it:

  1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (subject matter, all the chatter about it)
  2. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (mystery book club selection)
  3. The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall (TLC Book Tour host)
  4. Hiroshima by John Hersey (on my Classics Club list)
  5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (on my Classics Club list)
  6. Ms. Marvel Vol 1 by G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona (I want to read more graphic novels)
  7. The Diary of Anne Frank (on my Classics Club list)
  8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (on my Classics Club list and also Austen in August)
  9. Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Hagashino (mystery book club selection)
  10. Persuasion by Jane Austen (Austen in August)
  11. The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny (I adore Louise Penny)
  12. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (bingo card square)
Revolutionary Road Audio

Revolutionary Road was chosen to fill square one on my bingo card, “Hated by someone you know.” I asked my friends to name a book they hated and was expecting a few responses. I ended up with a deluge of replies and put them into a spreadsheet and used to pick which book to read. Revolutionary Road got picked. 

I’ve been listening to the audiobook and still have a few hours to listen as I write this. It is a stunning story. I think this will be one I re-read because Yates’s writing is just breathtaking. I don’t listen to many novels as audiobooks (I prefer nonfiction audio) but I like the way Mark Bramhall reads this. I get the feeling that he does the supporting characters’s voices the way the main character hears them, if that makes sense. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but look forward to seeing how it was adapted.

Jane on the treadmill

I also started but have not finished Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson. I’m also listening to With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge, a book I first read about thirty years ago.

I’m most pleased to have finally fully read two Jane Austen novels, thanks to the motivation provided by Roof Beam Reader’s Austen in August. Austen is brilliant and I will definitely read more of her novels. I was pleasantly surprised by all the naval talk in Persuasion.

Of the above, I was least enthusiastic about All the Light We Cannot See. I’m one of those readers who shies away from the mega best-sellers that everyone is talking about, but this one was set in the late WWII France and Germany which made it hard to resist. While I enjoyed it for the most part, it didn’t blow my mind. It actually bothered me a bit. Thomas of Hogglestock wrote an excellent summation that resonates with me and I’ll quote him here because I couldn’t say it better:

At first I was thinking I would like the book as it begins in the coastal town of St. Malo in the final throes of WWII. Then, rather too quickly it all started to feel a little too magical for my taste. Not necessarily in the literal, supernatural, sense, but in the sense that every detail was clearly going to be some illuminating, magical metaphor that would, no doubt, be extremely profound and moving. Magic rocks and special keys and secret compartments and…ugh. And then magic orphans in Germany who would most certainly have some sort of meaningful encounter with the magical blind girl in St. Malo. And it was all going to be deep, very deep. And I was going to learn something about human nature, and loss, and most importantly about myself. I couldn’t wait.

And there you have it. It is a touching story with a few scenes that’ll stick with me for some time to come, but…what Thomas said.

Did I manage to score a bingo with these books read? Kinda of. Here’s how my card turned out:

My Bingo Card

Without the free space in the middle and a quick & easy re-reading of a childhood favorite (The Story About Ping) I wouldn’t have completed a row. I think I initially planned to read in order to fill at least a row, but seeing as how I always rebel against even my own reading agendas it didn’t turn out that way. Anyway, having fun was the point and I enjoyed my BOTNS Book Bingo experience and will probably do it again next summer. We adults should have our own summer reading treats.

As much as I end up loathing a reading agenda, I can’t help but make them. My first few books this “fall” will be:

Even my dog likes Louise Penny

  • The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Warren Adams for my mystery book group. With apologies to Wilkie Collins, this is now considered the first mystery novel, published in serial form, 1862-63.
  • Gods & Generals by Jeff Shaara for an upcoming visit to Gettysburg (I read The Killer Angels by Jeff’s dad Michael last summer).
  • The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sarah Orne Jewett which is my Classics Club spin book and one I’ve long wanted to read. Jewett was a mentor to Willa Cather.
How did your summer reading go? Did you have a reading agenda or did you go with the flow? What are you looking forward to reading this fall?


    1. I have paid almost no attention to my Bingo card so I don't think I fared very well. Maybe I will surprise myself. I've heard a lot about Louise Penny lately but I don't know anything about her.

    2. Louise Penny's mystery series is a delight. Her characters develop in interesting ways, both in individual books and within the arc of the series. She has the ability to write about the nasty side of human nature while also leaving the reader with a sense of the beauty of life. The first book in the series was hard for me to get into, but once I got going I devoured what was already published.

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