When I signed up for the 20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge I figured on two things. One, as much as I’d like to read 20 books over the course of summer I probably wasn’t going to read that many. While I fell short of my goal of 20 books at least I read 16 and really, that’s nothing to complain about. Two, I knew I wouldn’t stick to my original selection of 20 books and four alternates and holy cow, I sure didn’t. Of those books I read only six. The other 10 I either borrowed from the library, downloaded from Overdrive, or in the case of one book (Roger Scruton’s Kant: A Very Short Introduction) I bought for my Kindle off Amazon.
- Read globally, drink locally – Typical of me, roughly two-thirds of the books I read this summer dealt with or were set in countries outside the United States. If you saw the pictures from one of my earlier posts you know I like to read in pubs and bars. Therefore, in summer just like during the rest of the year I enjoy a good beer that’s been brewed close to home alongside my favorite reading.
- Stranger in a strange land – Seven of the books, including all three novels were about or written by either immigrants, expats or refugees. Nationalities ranged from Iranian to Romanian to Brazilian.
- World-wide authorship– Six books were written by non-American authors residing outside the United States. Specifically, three of these authors are from the UK, and one each from Brazil and Denmark. The co-authors of Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline, Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson are both Canadians.
- War is hell- My interest in World War II undoubtedly influenced my choice in summer. The Wild Blue: The Men and Boys Who Flew the B-24s Over Germany was the last book I read before summer’s end. In the Ruins of Empire: The Japanese Surrender and the Battle for Postwar Asia looked at political developments and military engagements in East Asia and South East Asia immediately after WWII. The Exiles Return was set in Austria in the early 50s during the waning days of the Allied Occupation. Portions of Their Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War recalled life during WWII as did The Prince’s Boy. In her memoir North of Ithaka Eleni Gage discusses the horrors her family endured during the Greek Civil War which occurred in the late 40s.
- Diversity– Two of the novels, The Prince’s Boy and (possible spoiler alert!) The Exiles Return touched on LGBTQ issues.
- Lifestyles of the rich and (not so) famous– In differing ways both Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich and The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap looked at the widening gap between America’s rich (especially super rich) and poor.