It's time for a look back over the last couple of months. I decided, some time in June, to spend my summer reading authors I've never read before. And I coined it, somewhat pointlessly, Summer Of Strangers.
The general idea of the challenge was to widen (or 'enbroadanize') my reading habits, with the possible bonus of discovering a new favourite. And the possible pitfall of reading crotch.
Here are the stats:
Books Read: 12
Non-Fiction:Can't you work it out? Jeez.
Did Not Finish: 1
Any new favourites, out of those? Well, it's hard to call someone a favourite after one book, but there's a fair few possibles. Roddy Doyle, Patrick Neate, David Mitchell and the flawless Christopher Brookmyre are all guarnateed a follow up read. (In truth, I just finished my second Brookmyre. It was the first book I dived for, salivating, as soon as I was allowed. He's definitely a new favourite.)
And then there's a few I enjoyed, without being desperate to read more. If I come across another Marie Phillips or Sean Dixon, I will certainly have a good look, and see if there's room on my To Be Read shelf. I enjoyed Malcolm Pryce also, but probably won't follow that up. Things can be good while also being not for me.
The non-fick: while both good, neither Nick Lane nor Rob Bell set light to my imagination like a Dennett or early Dawkins, so I can safely say a return to my non-fick obssession days is not on the cards.
The bottom line is that I managed to avoid reading any crotch; which is either testament to my skill in acquiring books that suit my own taste, the overall excellence of literature, or my ability to enjoy almost anything. I'm hoping it's all three. I couldn't bring myself to finish my Jeremy Dyson, but that was largely due to me, not the book.
And there was Alan Bennett, who I have read before, but not as fiction. His book snuck up on me while I was waiting for a parcel to arrive, and I finished it in one sitting.
It's that sort of thing that I liked about this summer's reading. Avoiding my favourite authors meant my reads often came from odd places. The Nick Lane book was given to my Dad by my Sister's Boss, so of course it was handed to me to read, while Neate and Bell were both book swaps.
Prize for best serendipity goes to Peter Stafford, for being one of the only English language books on the shelf of second hand books in a small shop on a campsite in Denmark. Even then, I only bought it for the front cover.