Friday, May 26, 2023

#20BooksOfSummer + Summer Big Book Challenge


It's 20 Books of Summer time. Cathy hosts a challenge to pick twenty books & read them over the summer months (June, July, August). I'm good at piling up books, and I'm good at reading books. I've not been so good at reading the books I've piled up, however... My best year was the year I picked ten and accepted that any others would be just random. Hope springs eternal, though, and I've pulled 18 books off the shelf and into my backyard for their photo op. Will these be the books I read over the next three months? Hmm, maybe!


[Left stack, from top]

Andrew Greeley/Happy Are the Clean of Heart (Mystery)
Sara Paretsky/Indemnity Only (Mystery, Chicago)
Abdulrazak Gurnah/Afterlives (Nobel, Current)
Barbara Hamby/On The Street of Divine Love (Poetry)
Peter Hopkirk/The Great Game (Europe, Big Book)
Catherine Lacey/Biography of X (Current, Library)
Olga Tokarczuk/The Books of Jacob (Current, Europe, Big Book, Nobel, Women in Translation)

[In the Middle]

James Baldwin/Notes of a Native Son (Classics Club)

[Right stack, from top]

W. Somerset Maugham/Of Human Bondage (Classics Club)
W. Somerset Maugham/Cakes and Ale (Jazz Age June)
Anna Comnena/The Alexiad (Europe, Women in Translation)
Ngaio Marsh/Death of the Dancing Footman (Mystery)
Ivo Andriç/Omar Pasha Latas (Europe)
Erle Stanley Gardner/The Knife Slipped (Mystery)
Erle Stanley Gardner/Shills Can't Cash Chips (Mystery)
Guy Gavriel Kay/The Last Light of the Sun (Fantasy, Big Book)
Brian Dillon/Affinities (Europe, Current)
Boccaccio/Decameron (Europe, Classics Club)

Two of these would be rereads: I've been thinking about rereading Sara Paretsky's V. I. Warshawsky series, and I've been wanting to reread Peter Hopkirk's The Great Game since I reread Rudyard Kipling's Kim recently.

Classics Club for my ongoing Classics Club challenge; Europe for Gilion's European Reading Challenge; Jazz Age June for Fanda's challenge (is Cakes and Ale really a Jazz Age book? Well, at least chronologically...); Mystery for the challenge at My Reader's Block.

A couple of those are big, so I'm also hereby signing up for the Big Book of Summer challenge.

That leaves two. I have pretty high hopes that the library will produce Georgi Gospodinov's Time Shelter (which just won the Man Booker International) before the end of summer, but I don't have it now. I'm also likely to get Eleanor Catton's Birnam Wood before the end of summer. It wouldn't be surprising if a different or additional mystery--maybe another slender volume of poetry--slipped in. I'm quite sure there will be some substituting...

Which of these should I be sure not to miss?


  1. The only book on your list that I've read is The Decameron, and it's a book I highly recommend. I read it during the pandemic and it felt oddly contemporary.

    I have Of Human Bondage on my Classics Club list and I'd like to read Cakes and Ale, too.

    1. I was a little afraid of reading the Decameron during the pandemic, but now that were out of it...I hope!

  2. It's always tricky picking a stack of books for the whole summer, because if you're like me your mood changes and then you end up not wanting to read what you originally chose. But hopefully that won't happen to you this time. Happy summer reading!

    1. Oh, and if it does happen, I won't worry too much!

  3. I am so keen to read Biography of X - look forward to hearing what you think. Thanks for taking part again!

    1. That one could be the first...since I have it from the library & it's popular enough I won't be able to renew it.

  4. Wow, someone whose pile is bigger than mine! Enjoy!

    1. There are a couple of fat ones, though fat SFF volumes are easy enough generally.

  5. Welcome to the Big Book Summer Challenge, Reese! I'm so glad you decided to join the fun! Sorry it took me a while to come visit your post and check out your plans - life's just been a bit crazy here lately. Lots of people combine the 20 Books of Summer with Big Book Summer Challenge, so you're in good company. Looks like you've picked out some great books, including several that definitely qualify as Big Books! Hope you enjoy them. It's not required, but if you post updates or reviews of Big Books during the summer, just leave the post link in the second list on the challenge page so others can find your blog. Enjoy your summer reading!

    1. Thanks for hosting! Looking forward to seeing what everybody comes up with.