Can I keep up my winning streak and complete my 20 Books of Summer challenge this year?
From 1 June until 1 September I will be attempting to read my 20 Books of Summer. Why not join in with your own 20 (or 10, or 15!), read along with some of the books or just cheer me on as I try and get that dreaded 746 down by another few books over the next 3 months.
This year, all my reads are physical books and include 14 from the 746 and 6 newer books
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 biography , some non-fiction, a play, some short stories and a sneaky little novella in there, all to help move the challenge along.
So, without further ado, here are my 20 books!
A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Sampson
A Theatre for Dreamers is set amongst Leonard Cohen’s bohemian circle on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960. I can’t think of a more perfect summer read!
The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin
I’ve had this one for ages and have been putting off reading it as I don’t want this wonderful series to end. The Tales of the City books have brought me so much joy over the years, but it’s time now to see how it all ends.
Tuesday Nights in 1980 by Molly Prentiss
A novel set in the New York art scene in the 1980’s you say? I’m in!
What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman
I loved Sunburn by Laura Lippman so am looking forward to this thriller exploring the disappearance of two sisters and the return of one of them over twenty years later.
Exquisite Cadavers by Meena Kandasamy
Meena Kandasamy is such an exciting writer and this structurally innovative novella about a relationship at a critical turning point promises to be something special.
In Persuasion Nation by George Saunders
Well come on, you can’t go far wrong with a collection of short stories by George Saunders now, can you?
Ghost Light by Joseph O’Connor
I was so impressed with Shadowplay when I read it this year that I couldn’t wait to get back to some more theatrical, historical fiction by O’Connor. In Ghost Light, he explores the story of Molly Allgood, lover of playwright JM Synge.
The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm
The Journalist and the Murderer explores the ethics of journalism and in particular, the ethics of true crime writing, from one of the world’s leading non-fiction writers.
Larry’s Party by Carol Shields
Like George Saunders, Carol Shields never disappoints and this tale of an ordinary man and his ordinary life promises to be anything but ordinary.
The Trip to Echo Spring by Olivia Laing
In The Trip to Echo Spring, Olivia Laing examines the link between creativity and alcohol through the work and lives of six extraordinary men: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, John Berryman, John Cheever and Raymond Carver.
Fred & Edie by Jill Dawson
I was going to put Jill Dawson’s most recent book The Language of Birds on my list, but remembered I had this older work lurking in the 746. Fred & Edie is a fictionalised account of Edith Thompson and Freddy Bywater who were hanged in the 1920’s for murdering Edith’s husband.
Cooked by Michael Pollan
I love reading factual books about food and cooking and Pollan’s Cooked explores the mysteries and traditions of how and what we eat, through the use of earth, air, fire and water. I have seen the Netflix show but am still looking forward to reading the book.
Palladin by Elizabeth Taylor
It seems like a lot of the great bloggers I follow have been talking about Elizabeth Taylor for so long, so I thought I’d join them and see what all the fuss is about!
Espedair Street by Iain Banks
Imagine my surprise when I discovered two copies of Espedair Street in the 746! It’s been a long time since I’ve read any Banks, so I’m looking forward to this tale of a washed up rock star. I only plan to read it once though…
Horses by Keith Ridgway
I’m not gonna lie. I had the choice of two Ridgway’s and chose Horses because it’s short. Hey, we all have to have a strategy, right? I’ve loved Keith Ridgway’s work since I was blown away by Hawthorn and Child, and this tale, set on one wils night in south Dublin promises more of his unique outlook.
Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
A story cycle exploring music, love and the passing of time from Nobel Laureate Ishiguro. Sounds pretty wonderful to me!
The Prince of West End Avenue by Alan Isler
I’m a sucker for anything related to Shakespeare so am very much looking forward to this novel about the residents of a Jewish retirement home in Uptown Manhattan who put on a production of Hamlet.
Portia Coughlan by Marina Carr
I was lucky enough to see the original production of Portia Coughlan in Dublin over twenty years ago, but have never read the play itself. Portia Coughlan is the dark and twisted tale of a woman and her dead twin brother and Marina Carr never disappoints.
Turbulence by David Szalay
I do love a series of connected short stories and these are all set on planes and explore the lives of twelve people in moments of crisis and how their experiences touch each other without them even knowing.
Hotel by Arthur Hailey
I have a bit of a tradition now of including a good old page turner from the 1970’s in my 20 Books! I’m pretty sure this copy originally belonged to my Dad, but I think the story of the guests and staff of a New Orleans hotel told over five days is the perfect summer read!
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 am really enjoying all the lists that have been posted so far this month.
I will be creating a Master post at the end of the week to share links to all your sighn up posts.
If you are joining in, grab the image for your blog and don’t forget to tweet along at #20booksofsummer20 – here’s to a great summer of reading!
I am a 40 something book buying addict trying to reduce the backlog one book at a time!