20 Books of Summer 2021!

I begin each year with renewed passion for reading and reviewing, but this energy usually craters by summer. For years now, the 20 Books of Summer challenge hosted by Cathy at 746books has been a lifeline back to regular blogging. While I can occasionally read 20 books in a summer, I’ve never succeeded in reviewing 20. So let’s try it again. The seventh time is the charm!

Taking lessons from past years, I’ve pulled books from a variety of lists: Pulitzer winners, Booker nominees, and a few stops on my Reading World Tour. There are also a few from my Classics Club list, which is new this year. In past challenges, I included titles that I wasn’t thrilled about as a way to cross them off my TBR, but found that adding a deadline doesn’t necessarily make a book more appealing.

  1. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  2. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
  3. Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  4. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
  5. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
  6. Death with Interruptions by José Saramago
  7. Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
  8. A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
  9. Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
  10. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  11. Human Acts by Han King
  12. King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard
  13. The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. LeGuin
  14. The Lodger by Marie Belloc Lowndes
  15. The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side by Agatha Christie
  16. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  17. Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  18. Super Cannes by J.G. Ballard
  19. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  20. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

The total page count is quite high—6,841 according to Goodreads. I gave consideration to length, and waffled on the two longest (The Once and Future King and The Crimson Petal and the White). I read the former as a kid and remember it as quick and entertaining; as for the latter, I’ve read other books by Michel Faber in a single sitting.

I’m continuing the tradition of reading a Miss Marple every summer. And Guards! Guards! made the list because I’ve never read a book by Terry Pratchett, despite everyone telling me to.

I was going to hold a spot for the winner of the International Booker, but decided to wait when I saw The Dangers of Smoking in Bed was shortlisted because there’s a chance I’ve already read the winner. I want a good book to win after last year’s The Discomfort of Evening, which was so awful as to be low-key traumatic.

Happy Reading, and I hope you all have a wonderful summer!

Image credit: Goodreads