20 Books of Summer

…aka Why Do I Do This to Myself?

Actually, that title’s not quite true – it’s not me who does this to me, it’s the tyrannical taskmistress Cathy at 746 Books! Every year she tempts me. Every year I excitedly make a list. Every year I fail. Every year I swear I’ll never do it again. Every year she tempts me…

So the idea is to make a list of 20 books you commit to reading and reviewing between 3rd June and 3rd September. Cathy kindly allows us the option of going for 15 books, or even 10, but that’s for wusses. When I fail, I like to fail big!!

It’s not that twenty books in three months should be hard really – generally speaking I’d average about thirty in that time. It’s sticking to the list and avoiding distractions! What about all the shiny new books that will arrive during the period? What if Andy limps back on court at Wimbledon?? What if Rafa wins the French again in a tense five-setter???

And most importantly, how am I to pick a new young tennis hero to replace all my old creaky-kneed ones if I can’t concentrate????

(Here’s a sneak preview of the current shortlist for my new hero, by the way. Which do you think deserves that accolade? Of course, I’m anticipating you will be basing your judgement purely on their tennis skills, like me.)

…………   Dominic Thiem                            Alexander Zverev                           Stefanos Tsitsipas

* * * * *

Anyway, back to the books.

Here’s my list in pictorial form…

Don’t they all look great? If it actually happens, that would be…

5 from my Classics Club list

6 for my Around the World challenge

2 for the Murder, Mystery, Mayhem challenge

2 for my Five Times Five challenge

9 review books

7 that have been on my TBR for more than a year

Making a total of 31.

Eh? 31??? See, no wonder I fail! Clearly there are mysterious supernatural forces at work, or else I’ve been sucked through a rift in the space-time continuum to an alternative reality where the normal laws of mathematics no longer apply!

Psychedelic, man!

Wish me luck!

95 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer

  1. Tyrannical Taskmaster? Moi? Never 😁 Do you want me to do you a 31 Books of Summer image instead though?! I know that this year will be game, set and match for you, you are going to serve it and court successs. See what I did there? 🤣🤣

    • Aha – good choice! He’s in an early lead with me too… 😀

      Hahaha – only because some of them fall into several of the categories. 20 is more than enough!! I think I’ll make it to the final this year for sure, though I may need extra physio at the halfway mark…

  2. Haha good luck!
    I’d already decided not to give it a go this year especially as I’m not going on holiday during June which is the only time I read books from the list! Now I’ve seen your list though… I’m so easily swayed – I have God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson that I’m longing to read.

    • Oh, go on! You must! You can’t leave me to fail alone!! 😉

      I’m so pleased about the Kate Atkinsons – I’ve been meaning to read that series for ages and they suddenly all turned up on NetGalley as a kind of booster for the new one coming out in the summer… 😀

    • It is a great list – hope I can stick to it! I’m so pleased about the Kate Atkinsons – I’ve been meaning to read that series for ages and they suddenly all turned up on NetGalley as a kind of booster for the new one coming out in the summer… 😀 I shall have to spend more time examining the three contenders in detail before picking my new hero… it’s going to be a tough summer! 😀 🎾📚

  3. Great list with some enticing looking books.I’m still thinking about my list but I’ll probably follow your approach and include some books from other reading challenges. Good luck!

    • It does look good – I hope I can stick to it! I had to include stuff for other challenges – that’s where I usually go wrong. I add twenty extra books instead of listing twenty I should be reading anyway. This year I’ve got it all sorted, I’m sure… 😉 Looking forward to seeing your list!

  4. You do have some great reads there, FictionFan, even if you don’t get to them all. I noticed you have several Kate Atkinsons, and I’m hoping you’ll enjoy them. I think she develops characters very well, and her plotting is unusual (and I mean that as a compliment). Ooh, and a Denise Mina, too. I do think you have some good ‘uns there. *Psst – Domenic – just sayin’*

    • It’s a great looking list, isn’t it? I hope I can stick to it for once! I’m so pleased about the Kate Atkinsons – I’ve been meaning to read that series for years and then they suddenly all turned up on NG as a kind of booster for the new book coming out later in the summer – just the incentive I needed! The Denise Mina sounds great too – fingers crossed. Hahaha – yes, he’s very talented, isn’t he? 😉

  5. I say go for it and if you get distracted by a bit of tennis eye-candy – well, so be it. I haven’t read those Atkinson books and I’m also interested in the book by Denise Mina. That’s a new character/series for her, right? Good luck with your 30/31 books (where’s the extra book – does one qualify for two challenges?). Ha!

    • Hahaha, yes – it’s really only twenty – it’s just that some of the books will fall into several categories… 😉 Yes, I think this is a new character for Denise Mina, and I’m so looking forward to finally reading the Atkinson series – been meaning to for ages! I hope I can stick to the list… but those pesky tennis players always distract me… 🎾😍

  6. I’m pulling for you, FF! Looks like an interesting selection of reading material — and how cool that you can kill two birds with one stone (or something like that??!). As for the tennis, sigh. Our darlings’ bodies are showing the strain, and we’re having to substitute for a younger (healthier) roster. But the young’uns are lookin’ good, don’t you think?!

    • I must admit I love the look of this list – hope I can stick to it! I know – Rafa and the rest of the Big Four are still my heroes but realistically they can’t go on for too much longer so I feel I have to start getting to know some of the younger players – a few of them seem to be on the point of maybe breaking through this year… 🎾🎾🎾

  7. I’m in for the first time this year. I have a list of books that I missed the first time round that I really want to read and this is a perfect excuse to do so. Mr Pip is on my list as well.

    • Oh good luck – I look forward to seeing your list! I always start out full of good intentions but end up reading all sorts of other stuff and watching far too much tennis… it’s a hard life! 😉 🎾

    • Thank you! 😀 But I feel it’s my duty to watch all these talented young tennis players – someone has to work out who deserves hero status… 🎾😍

  8. Fantastic list! I fail hard — not in reading the 20 books – but in reading the 20 books from the LIST I create each year. So many new, shiny distracting books pull my attention away from the original list. Loved reading your post! Hilarious! I hope to have my list up soon!

    • Hahaha – that’s exactly my problem too! I start out full of good intentions and then suddenly I find there’s two weeks and ten books left to go… 😀 I’ll keep an eye out for your list – this’ll be the year we both succeed, I’m sure… 😉

  9. Great list, FF. I’ve got a couple of those Kate Atkinson books on my shelves as well that I haven’t had a chance to read yet so I can wait to see what you think.

    I’m going to give the 20 books of summer challenge another go this year as well, even though I have yet to accomplish my goal of 20 books I physically own that are not ARCs from publishers, but this is our year. We got this! 😜

    Good luck!!

    • I must say I love this list – I really want to read them all! Bet I still fail though… 😉 I’m delighted to finally be getting to Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series – I’ve been meaning to read them for years. Maybe I’ll be caught up by the time the new one comes out… maybe!

      Hahaha – I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who fails, but this will definitely be the year we finally do it! Definitely… 😉

  10. Content aside, there are some gorgeous covers amongst that group of books! I think I read Case Histories awhile back. (I know I read Life After Life) I don’t think I knew she had so many books out there.

    Good luck! Other than my obligatory book club selection each month (which actually isn’t obligatory, but I always want to join in), I don’t like setting myself up for failure by making book goals anymore. (says the woman who use to love annual book challenges!)

    • I think covers have improved so much over the last few years! I always think it’s a response to e-books – publishers have to try a bit harder to tempt people into buying paper copies. I used to read Atkinson way back when she started but somehow I lost touch with her, so now she has a huge back catalogue I haven’t read. The Jackson Brodie ones really appeal… 😀

      Hahaha – I keep saying no more challenges, but I can never resist making a list! And this year I’ve been more sensible by listing books I intended to read anyway rather than picking out twenty extra ones. Bet I still fail though… 😉

  11. Well, thank you for costing me the price of Mr. Pip today. Unbelievably, that was the only one that wasn’t on at least one of my lists. Anything by Kate Atkinson is a favorite of mine but her plotting exhausts me. It also amazes me. I am so looking forward to the new Jackson Brodie release. I read my first Denise Mina earlier this year and added everything by her to my buy/borrow list.

    • Gosh, that’s amazing – we must be book-twins!! It’s years since I read any Kate Atkinson – I was a fan back in her early days but then kinda lost touch with her for no particular reason. So I’m really looking forward to trying the Jackson Brodie books. And I also only “met” Denise Mina recently, in her book about Peter Manuel which I thought was brilliant. Some of her back catalogue doesn’t appeal to me much – as a Glaswegian I get fed up with grim and gritty portrayals of the city – but this one sounds good… And I hope we both enjoy Mister Pip – an author I’ve never read before, but again I love the blurb and remember seeing lots of glowing reviews for this when it came out. 😀

  12. You are nuts. 31 books. If anyone can do it, though, it’s you, FF!! 🙂 I believe in you!

    Also, I say Stefanos should definitely be your new tennis hero. Purely based on his tennis play, of course. 😉

    • Hahahaha! Well, it’s really only 20 – it’s just that several of them fall into several different categories, so I’m cheating… 😉

      Yes, Stefanos does look very… talented, doesn’t he? Mind you, so do Dominic and Alexander. It will be a tough job watching them endlessly to see which deserves hero-status, but I’m up for it… 😀

  13. Love Rafa, not even thinking of a replacement yet! I’ve read some books on your list, that’s a first – the Kate Atkinson’s and loved them, hope you do and best of luck!

    • Rafa will always be my hero and he’ll still be the one I’m supporting till he retires. But selecting a new hero is a serious business, so I’m starting now… it’ll be a tough job watching all these talented young men, but I’m up for it… 😉

      Oh, good, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the Atkinsons – I’m really looking forward to finally reading the series! I’m sure this will be the year I stick to my list. I’m sure… 😉

  14. I’m talking myself into 20 Books of Summer. It could help me read some on the books I own… But, we’ll see.

    I’m kind of excited to see how the season goes for Zverev. I keep expecting him to make a solid jump into the middle of the Fed/Rafa/Djokovic triad.

    • Oh, do join in! It’s fun making the list even if you don’t end up sticking to it – and Cathy doesn’t punish us too badly when we fail… 😉

      Yes, I’ve been waiting for some of the younger ones to break through for the last few years, but this is the first year I’ve felt they might actually be about to do it. So I’m going to make a real effort to watch more of the younger players this year – I have a tendency to stick to all the matches from old favourites…

  15. What a great list! I loved The Observations and the three Kate Atkinsons (although I still haven’t read the fourth one in that series). I’m planning to take part again too, but I’m never very successful – I always get tempted by other books that weren’t on my list. Good luck!

    • I think this is my favourite list ever – so many books on it that I really want to read, especially the Atkinsons! I’m kinda hoping to get up to date with the series more or less by the time the new one comes out or soon after. Hahaha – I have failed every year so far! But this will be the year we both succeed, I’m convinced… 😉 I’m looking forward to seeing your list!

  16. I thought you were already in a rift in the space-time continuum to an alternative reality where the normal laws of mathematics no longer apply, every time you claim your TBR has gone down? 😀 (You know I’m just jealous!)

    • Hahaha! Certainly when I look at my spreadsheet I do think that a basic understanding of quantum physics might help! It does resemble a black hole – every book in the universe seems to be getting sucked into it… 😉

  17. Nice list, if a bit, um, 31ish. Instead of 20. But whatevs.

    I’m leaving making my list until the end of the month because I’m going to have read most of my TBR by then and I will be able to see what’s on the back shelf – right? Right?? Um, see today’s post. Two out, three in. Hm.

    • Hahaha! Well, it’s only 20 books really – it’s just that several of them will fit into more than one of my on-going challenges, so they’ll tick 31 boxes!

      We’re all hopeless, really. 😀 I’m sure this will be the year we all succeed though – I’m sure!! Looking forward to seeing what ends up on your list…

    • I think a nice smile is one of the most important skills in tennis – it’s largely Rafa’s smile that’s kept him as my top hero all these years! (And his biceps!) Stefanos is definitely in the lead on the popular vote… 😀

        • Me too – that’s why I love Rafa so much. I used to like the temperamental bad lads when I was young – McEnroe was my hero then – but now they have to be mostly well behaved too. I’ve tried to like Kyrgios but he just seems like a brat – it’s an age thing! 😉

  18. I think you can do it! I know you can do it! You’ll just have to make sure you are reading during those tennis blogging hiatuses! I thought of you because I received a book for review that involves tennis and some sort of fantasy! I’ll keep you posted! Good luck, FF! ♥️

    • D’you know, I’ve hardly read any books that involve tennis! Hope it’s a goodie! Hahaha – yes, that’s the theory – that I’ll read between matches and so on – but somehow I get very easily distracted by listening to endless hours of tennis pundits talking nonsense and so on… 😉 Still, making list is always fun, and failure keeps me humble… 😀 🎾

  19. I used to make seasonal reading lists but it got too depressing to get to the end of the season and only cross off two. 31 is quite a bit more than 20 but I believe in you!

    • I must admit the making of the list is always my favourite part – the failure bit not so much!! 😀 But this year I’ve been sensible and included lots of books I really have to read for review purposes so I’m confident of victory. Well, slightly confident… maybe… Hahaha – well, it is 20 really, but because several of them will fit more than one challenge, a bit of creative accounting will make it *feel* like 31… 😉

    • Naturally their skills are the most important factor, and the fact that I’ve never actually watched either of them play a full match doesn’t in any way lessen my appreciation of those skills… 😂🎾😂

      Ooh, a trophy! I think it should be a chocolate trophy… 😀

  20. And now I’m tempted too 😖 But – to the most important things first. It seems that most people are eying up Stefanos. Which is a pity cos I’m rather taken by him too, but perhaps that just confirms my exquisite taste 😀 Besides, we mustn’t turn away from the old favourites just yet – not that they’re old of course 😖

    Having made myself perfectly clear there 🤦‍♀️ I’ll try to remember what the rest of the post was about. Oh yes, arithmetic 😂

    Seriously, I am very tempted this year. I’m always stymied in challenges by my inability to post about what I’ve said I’ll read, even when I have read it. But I could manage a sentence or two, surely. Plus, I want to do what you’ve done with that clever calculator of yours. I reckon I could read 5 books and make it come out as at least 15… 🤔

    • Hahaha – yes, Stefanos does seem to have won the popular vote and I must say he’s in the lead with me too at the moment. But I need to watch them all to get an impression of their personalities – to be an FF hero, he must also be good-natured, sporting and capable of actually winning occasionally! But Rafa will still be top hero – and Andy and Novak – till they all retire… I’m just doing advance preparatory research on the young’uns… 😉 🎾😍

      Oh, do join in! Making lists is always fun and you’re much better at sticking to them than I am! Yes, in the summer months it’s the reviewing that often does for me too – I still tend to read as much, but I don’t seem to find the time for writing and blogging about them. But short reviews or even summary posts would do! Hahaha – yes, I’m rather proud of my creative accounting skills with this batch… 😂

  21. Oh all those tennis guys look *ahem* very good at their jobs. Can I vote for all of them at once?

    That looks like a great book list too-why so much Kate Atkinson? I liked Transcription, but still that’s alot of books to commit to one author!

    • They do all look rather… talented, don’t they? Ha! Yes, I suspect more than one of them might achieve hero status. After all, I have to replace, Rafa, Andy and Novak… 😉

      I’ve meant to read the Atkinsons for ages, and then suddenly the first three in the series turned up on NetGalley, clearly to drive up publicity before the new one comes out later in the summer. And I couldn’t resist… 😀

    • They’ve hardly shown any of Thiem so far on my sports channel, so Tsitsipas is in the lead at the moment. But there will never be another Rafa! 😀 It’s a great looking list, isn’t it? Here’s hoping they all live up to my high expectations!

    • Oh, that’s good to hear – I’ve never read any Le Carré and I feel it’s a real omission in my reading. I’m hoping In the Heat of the Night will be great, and it will be a perfect excuse to rewatch the film which I love… 😀

  22. There are a couple of books on your list that I’d never heard of but now feel that I must read immediately (this is the problem with challenges like this – other people’s lists immediately derail my own plans). I absolutely loved The Spy who Came in from the Cold – I listened to it as an audiobook, and made myself very late to an event wandering up and down outside, trying to finish it before I went in. It’s brilliant and chilling.

    • Haha – I know! Other people’s book lists are always fatal to the TBR! Oh, that’s good to hear – for some reason I’ve never read any Le Carré and I was worried it might be a bit dry. But I’m really looking forward to it now… 😀

  23. I’ve attempted this twice and failed twice, so maybe third time’s a charm? I’ll commit to a list and then get distracted by so many new and more interesting books. I loved Case Histories and have been wanting to re-read it forever so I could move on to the rest of the series. Good luck this year!

    • Ha! I’ve done it every year except last year and failed every time! But I still missed being part of it last year so decided to go for it again. Failure keeps me humble! 😉 Glad to hear you loved Case Histories – I’ve just started it but it’s looking great so far…

  24. Fascinating choices! I’ve heard really positive things about A Mercy, Morrison has such a strong grasp on storytelling. Interested to see your thoughts on Elif Shafak and Kate Atkinson.

    • I’m looking forward to A Mercy. I loved Beloved and wasn’t quite so impressed by Song of Solomon so I’m trying to keep my expectations in check a bit, but I have my fingers crossed! I’ve enjoyed Atkinson before so hopefully will love the Jackson Brodie books, but Shafak will be new to me…

  25. Great list! I have an Elif Shafak on mine too. I read Three Daughters of Eve recently and was curious about her others. Every time I visit your blog, I realize I need to read more and also watch more tennis. 🙂

    • Hahaha – the problem is that reading and tennis watching are incompatible hobbies! Hence my annual failure with the 20 Books challenge. 😀 I’ve never read any Shafak before so I’m intrigued to see how I get on with it – should be starting it soonish (If I ever finish Middlemarch). Now I’m back in action I’ll be popping over to see your list later… 😀

    • Hahaha! Don’t get sucked in to the tennis! It’s seriously interfering with my reading… 😉 🎾 Dominic Thiem has moved into a slight lead in the heroes’ stakes…

  26. Good luck! All these books look amazing. I also have Elif Shafak to read this summer, but I will be reading The Architect’s Apprentice. I should also dig into Kate Atkinson books. I have heard nothing but praise for them.

    • Thank you! I haven’t read any of Elif Shafak’s earlier books so this will be my introduction. I’ve enjoyed other Kate Atkinson’s in the past but haven’t read this series before – fingers crossed!

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