20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge hosted by Cathy at 746 Books
I look forward to the 20 Books of Summer challenge every year, so much so that I ended my unscheduled hiatus from blogging last week for a scrap of credibility when pledging to read (and possibly review) 20 books by September 1. My “book” has undergone a heavy rewrite and I need a nice long break from writing.
As in past years, I’m attempting to tick books from my various lists. I’ve included Pulitzer winners, Booker nominees, and some places on my Reading World Tour. I’ve also included a number of authors I’ve never read to keep things new/interesting.
I’ve picked more short story collections than in past years: Groff, Barrett, and Sapkowski. Raymond Chandler’s Where I’m Calling From may surface too… I moved it on/off the list a couple times. My Brilliant Friend is NOT on 2020’s list since I didn’t read it in 2018 or 2019. Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude was thiiiiis close to making it, but I thought about You Don’t Love Me Yet and picked something else.
Normal People earned its spot because I saw someone read it cover-to-cover on a plane. It was a 90-minute flight that was delayed two hours due to terrible weather. He was the only person on board who didn’t seem to mind the delay or unspecified “mechanical issues.” I can’t think of a stronger endorsement for a book.
- 4:50 from Paddington (A Miss Marple mystery) by Agatha Christie
- After Dark by Haruki Murakami
- The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak
- The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Circe by Madeline Miller
- Florida by Lauren Groff
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
- Half-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
- The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
- Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier
- The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
- Less by Andrew Sean Greer
- Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
- Normal People by Sally Rooney
- The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
- Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett
- The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
- There There by Tommy Orange
- Tyll by Daniel Kehlmann
The total page count is quite high—7,037 according to Goodreads. I did consider page counts when picking books this year. East of Eden did not make the list, for example. Also, while two other Murakami books sounded more interesting, I picked After Dark due to its length. At 244 pages, it’s the shortest here. The Crying of Lot 49 is extremely short so I consider it every year, but after three or four attempts to read it, I think it’s one of the densest books on my shelf. Hungry Hill is the longest at 528 pages, but I’m a fan of Daphne du Maurier so it’s a calculated risk.
[Note: I edited my Summer 20 to replace Sword of Destiny with The Last Wish. I mixed up which book came first.]
I hope everyone is healthy and somewhere safe. I hope you all have a wonderful summer!