20 Books of Summer – coming to a blog near you soon!

Oh I’m a glutton for punishment….

The temperature is rising, the kids will be getting out of school soon and the annual trip to Donegal is booked so it must be nearly summer time, which means another attempt at completing my 20 Books of Summer Challenge.

20 books

I have to admit, I don’t have the greatest track record with this one.

2014 – 16.5 books

2015 – 18 books

2016 – 20 books

2017 – 12 books

I’ve only managed to complete my own challenge ONCE! And even then I didn’t manage to review all 20, which is always the stumbling block for me.

I wasn’t going to bother with it this year, but you have all been so supportive and telling me to go for it, so why not? This could be my year. I could finally manage to do my own challenge after five years!

From 1 June to 3 September, I’m going to attempt to read my 20 Books of Summer. That’s 7 books a month, which is pretty daunting, but I think I can do it. This year, as always, I’ve tried to go for a broad range of genres, eras and styles so that there is always something I’m going to want to read! You’ll see there is a collection of poetry, a play, some short stories and a sneaky little novella in there, all to help move the challenge along.

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I’m still doing my 2018 In Translation Challenge too, so there are three translated works in there along with a Muriel Spark for Heaven Ali’s #ReadingMuriel18

You can click on the titles to get through to their description on Goodreads.

The Red Parts by Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson’s The Red Parts documents how the murder case of the author’s aunt was reopened more than three decades later upon the discovery of new DNA findings and explores the effect this had on herself and her family.

The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty

This is the first in Adrian McKinty’s critically acclaimed Sean Duffy series – a taut thriller set in Northern Ireland in the 1980s, with an outsider detective investigating a possible serial killer at the height of the Troubles

Inside the Dream Palace by Sheryl Tippins

Sheryl Tippins tells the story and history of the iconic Chelsea Hotel in New York, a home for artists and musicians that has entered into entertainment folklore.

Life: A User Manual by Georges Perec

Continuing my 2018 In Translation Challenge, I’ve included Georges Perec’s classic work of postmodern fiction which creates an entire microcosm in a Paris apartment block.

Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

My husband has been urging me to read Dandelion Wine, a 1957 novel by Ray Bradbury, for years now. Set in the summer of 1928 in the fictional town of Green Town, Illinois, the novel is based upon Bradbury’s childhood home of Waukegan, Illinois.

The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark

I hoped to participate a lot more that I have in Heaven Ali’s Muriel Spark challenge so I’m including another of her novels which I’m very much looking forward to reading.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

I adored The Interpreter of Maladies when I read it a few years back, so I’m looking forward to this novel set in India and America.

The Search by Geoff Dyer

This is my first experience with Geoff Dyer and I don’t think I can go wrong with a short novel that is described as a cross between Raymond Chandler and Italo Calvino!

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

As I’m a big fan of her journalism, I’ve been meaning to read Rebecca Solnit for a while now and I have heard great things about this meditation on walking, wandering and venturing into the unknown.

A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

Is a poetry collection a cop-out? Or maybe just a little cheat?

Bad Behaviour by Mary Gaitskill

This is the third year that Bad Behaviour has appeared in my 20 Books of Summer list and I’ve yet to read it. My plan this year is to read it early….

Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty

I’ve heard such great things about Midwinter Break and am a massive MacLaverty fan so this should be a no brainer for me.

Seeing Red by Lina Meruane

The second of my novels in translation for the summer is Seeing Red, a fascinating account of what happens when a woman’s eye haemorrhages and she has to adjust to a very different kind of life.

People Who Eat Darkness by Richard Lloyd Parry

I’m a big fan of true crime and was intrigued by the Lucie Blackman case. I’m also interested in this as I think it will be an interesting dissection of the Japanese justice system.

Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris

Including a play might seem like another cheat, but I was drawn to this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winning play due to its timely themes of racism and community.

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

This is another collection that was on last year’s list but didn’t get read. I’ve yet to read Munro’s short stories but have heard great things about this collection.

Don’t Skip Out On Me by Willie Vlautin

What is not to love about a book that comes with its own soundtrack CD? Willie Vlautin, lead singer with Richmond Fontaine writes a moving tale of ranch hand who wants to become a professional boxer. I’ve been warned to bring tissues….

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman by Denis Thériault

My final novel in translation is The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman which sees a postman steaming open the letters of a woman writing haikus to a master poet.

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil

I had the pleasure of meeting Jeet Thayil and hearing him read when I was at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India earlier in the year and am intrigued by this novel about the opium dens of Bombay.

When I Hit You or Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy

You know when everyone whose opinion you rate is talking about how amazing a book is? That.

I’m going to keep a Master post at the start of the blog so you can follow my progress as books get crossed off the list and if anyone feels their reading needs a bit of oomph then why not join me?


Just take the Books of Summer image, pick your own 10, 15 or 20 books you’d like to read and link back to my Master post from 1 June so I know that you are taking part.  I’d love your support and as anyone who has taken part before will know, I am wonderfully slack with my rules!

Want to swap a book? Go for it.

Fancy changing your list half way through? No problem.

Deciding to drop your goal from 20 to 15? I’m fine with that.

I’m sure I’ll be using one or two of those tricks myself to try and read all 20.

I’ll be tweeting my way through the challenge as well using the hashtag #20booksofsummer.

So, any thoughts on my choices? Have you read any of my 20? Any I should start with straight away, or save for later? Any I’m going to regret putting on the list? I’d love to hear what you think and I can’t wait to see your lists.

20 Books of Summer novels in translation Reading Challenge The 746

Cathy746books View All →

I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!

177 Comments Leave a comment

  1. I’m in again this year after failing miserably in 2016 (only 13 books)!
    Just working on the post.
    Thanks for running it again this year, Cathy and good luck everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Cathy! I’ll join in again this summer; it was fun last year and I was able to read my 20 (after alternating a few books along the way, lol)! I just need to make my list 🙂 I’m also doing the 2018 Popsugar Challenge this year and have 17 books left to complete the challenge by the end of the year so maybe I can incorporate some of those into my summer reading as well! We’ll see since I have so many review books to read this summer that they might make up most of my 20 books, ha! I’ll start making my list up and get it posted/linked back to you! Good luck to you this year and everyone else!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m going to join in on this. Sounds like a good challenge and should encourage me to stop watching so much tat on TV (which is sadly becoming more and more regular these days) There are over 150 books in my “to read” pile. I stacked them into piles of 15 and asked my Nephew to choose 20 numbers between 1 & 150. Following his choices, it’s been randomly selected that the following will be my summer reads. I’m not convinced that I’ll hit the 20, but will give it my best shot. Being indecisive, I figured that the best way for me to read them would be alphabetically. Sooooooooo:

    Elizabeth Taylor – Angel
    A.S. Byatt – Babel Tower
    Alfred Doblin – Berlin Alexanderplatz
    Meir Shalev – The Blue Mountain
    John Updike – Centaur
    Nadine Gordimer – The Conservationist
    Rachel Cusk – The Country Life
    Alain Robbe-Grillet – The Erasers
    Herta Muller – The Fox Was Ever the Hunter
    James Kelman – Greyhound For Breakfast
    Stella Gibbons – Here Be Dragons
    Robertson Davies – High Spirits
    Bernard Schlink – Homecoming
    Noel Virtue – Lady Jean
    Walker Percy – The Moviegoer
    Clarice Lispector – Near To The Wild Heart
    Charles Frazier – Nightwoods
    Juan Gabriel Vasquez – The Secret History of Costaguana
    Kenzaburo Oe – The Silent Cry
    Elizabeth Hardwick – Sleepless Nights

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve decided to join in again this year so here is my post: https://rathertoofondofbooks.com/2018/05/31/my-tbr-for-the-20-books-of-summer-challenge/ I’m trying to read only physical books in an attempt to make space on my TBR bookcases over the summer! You have a great selection of books, I hope you manage to read them all. I read The Red Parts last year and it was an incredible read so I definitely recommend that one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Some splendid books you have before ye, lass. I do have to remind you that gluttony is one of the seven deadly no-nos. So please repent and enjoy. You will be a much happier lass, I promise.


  6. Pingback: JOTS & JAUNTS

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