My 20 Books of Summer ’20!

20 books

One summer.

Three months.

13 weeks.

93 days.

5091 pages.

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!

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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.

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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!

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20 Books of Summer Reading Roulette The 746

Cathy746books View All →

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

76 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Some wonderful titles here! I loved Prince of West End Avenue, Larry’s Party, A Theatre for Dreamers and Nocturnes. Also enjoyed The Days of Anna Madrigal, Tuesday Nights in 1980, Espedair Street, Turbulence and Fred & Edie. Looking forward to seeing what you make of Exquiste Cadavers which has been sitting on my shelves for far too long. Good luck, Cathy, and happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes!!! I wait for this every year and I’m so excited to see this post now. I haven’t blogged in a hundred years but I may have to it back on public mode to complete this challenge again. 😁

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  3. I’ve read five of your picks and particularly enjoyed the Ishiguro, Laing and Shields. You’re right about the Samson — a perfect summer book for armchair travelling. Enjoy! I’m reading the first Tales of the City book now.

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  4. I just grab and with no set plan as I keep plugging along to hit my Goodreads challenge of 101. The Shakespeare title is now on my list and I will sift through your list more thoroughly later.

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  5. I’m posting my ten choices on the 30th, along with my round-up of May reads. But I intend to stick in other random titles over the three months and the Ishiguro you’ve listed is on my shelves too, soooo…

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  6. Thanks so much for running this again, Cathy. My list will be up soon. I haven’t read any of yours except Nocturnes which (despite being a huge Ishiguro fan) I didn’t get on with, but I also struggle with fiction where music is a very prominent theme, so that’s probably why. I’m excited to read the new Meena Kandasamy.

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  7. I love Espedair Street! it’s one of my favourite non-scifi Banks’ novels and not just because it’s partly set in my home town of Paisley – the titular Espedair St is real. Larry’s Party is also excellent but as you say, Carol Shield never lets a reader down. You’ve seen my list on Instagram but my post will go up shortly and I’ll make sure to link!

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  8. What a lovely pile! I particularly like the look of The Prince of West End Avenue by Alan Isler and of course hooray Elizabeth Taylor. Sensible looking lengths of books there, too! Enjoy!!

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  9. It’s a good idea to mix up the genres so you have something to suit different moods.
    I’ve never read anything by Armistead Maupin – where would you recommend I begin?

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  10. What an eclectic selection . Have read Fred and Edie which I really enjoyed and the Banks many years ago. Also Hotel which Iread as a teenager and had completely forgotten. Thank you for sharing and happy reading

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  11. Ooh – some great ones there. I loved The Prince of West End Ave too, and Espedair St is one of Banks’s fun novels, loved it. Exquisite Cadavers was interesting rather than great for me, but definitely worth reading. I’m looking forward to the Polly Samson too, but it’s not in my 20/85 books! Have to see how it goes. Good luck with this interesting pile.

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  12. Seeing your stuck of books makes me so happy 😀 This will be my second summer participating and hopefully I’ll be able to read more than 20 books, as my ARCs list is getting too long. Lol
    Happy Reading!

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  13. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer
  14. Great list! I keep meaning to read some Laura Lippman books since she’s a local author and her books take place around town for the most part. I don’t know why I haven’t gotten around to her stuff yet. Hope you enjoy!

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  15. Hotel brings back memories! And Larry’s Party. Several authors here that I’ve read even if not the particular book in the stache. I’m particularly interested in Nocturnes. And Fred & Edie seems to be stalking me – I’m coming across it all sorts of places. Think it’s trying to tell me something! 🤔😀

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  16. Awesome idea! I found you and this post thanks to Fictionophile’s post about participating in this challenge. This is an awesome idea and while I’m not so sure I can finish 20 (including audio books of course 😉 ) I like the sound of 20 of 20 so I’m signing up! Thanks for sharing this great idea. 🙂 And good luck with your challenge!

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  17. Such an interesting list. I haven’t read any of these authors, though I have some of them on my shelves. Can’t wait to hear what you think of these!

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  18. This is such a great selection of books, something for every kind of mood to keep you engaged over the summer. I have a few on my TBR but haven’t read any of them, so I’ll be watching and waiting for your reviews with anticipation. Happy Summer of Reading, Cathy!

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  19. Some very interesting books that have immediately gone on my wishlist. The only one that I have read is Hotel and remember enjoying it a lot. Suddenly I also feel like picking up a Hailey. 😀

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