20 Books of Summer

…aka Sheer Folly…

In the middle of the biggest reading slump of my life, it would be sheer folly to take part in Cathy’s 20 Books of Summer challenge, wouldn’t it? I’m determined not to do it. I’ve told Cathy I’m not doing it. I’m not doing it, OK?

But… if I was going to do it… which I’m not… then it would probably make sense to pick 20 short books. And it wouldn’t do any harm or commit me to anything (other than, perhaps, an asylum) to look and see what the twenty shortest books on my TBR are, would it? It wouldn’t mean I’d have to do it, and probably they’d all sound awful and that would bolster my determination not to do it…

Hmm! 15 might be more doable…

Well, just for interest’s sake, let’s see what the list would look like…

    1. The African Queen by CS Forester
    2. Maigret and the Ghost by Georges Simenon
    3. Thirst by Ken Kalfus
    4. The Killer and the Slain by Hugh Walpole
    5. Lady Susan by Jane Austen
    6. The Spoilt Kill by Mary Kelly
    7. Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne
    8. The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo
    9. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
    10. The Case of the Late Pig by Margery Allingham
    11. The Abbess of Crewe by Muriel Spark
    12. Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville
    13. Up the Junction by Nell Dunn
    14. Maigret and Monsieur Charles by Georges Simenon
    15. A Month in the Country by JL Carr
    16. The White Bird Passes by Jessie Kesson
    17. Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi by Jorge Luis Borges
    18. All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan
    19. Crossed Skis by Carol Carnac
    20. Sula by Toni Morrison

Oh, dear, oh dear! They don’t look awful at all! They look great! Much more fun than all the heavyweight tomes on my existing reading list! And if I did do it, which I’m NOT going to, that would be…

2 from my Classics Club list

1 for my Around the World challenge

3 for the Murder, Mystery, Mayhem challenge

5 review books, including a couple of long overdue ones

15 that have been on my TBR since before this year

…and it would help me catch up with this year’s Goodreads challenge, on which I’ve fallen woefully behind. It’s almost a pity that I’m so determined NOT to do it.

Surely I could manage 10??

Maybe it wouldn’t do any harm to try… 😉

67 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer

    • I’m looking forward to both 9 & 15, and Up the Junction is one I added to the TBR as a result of your review a couple of years ago! Haha – if I don’t get back to reading soon, I’ll need to take up a new hobby – knitting masks, maybe? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, making lists is always fatal – as soon as I press Publish I start thinking about all the other books I want to read too! But we can do this – it just takes chocolate and willpower! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve never read Lady Susan and given my love for Jane Austen it seems a terrible omission! I’m looking forward to some shorter reads – I’m struggling to get into longer books at all at the moment.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Quite a recommendation! I must say I’ve seen a few reviews of it over the years and every single one has been praising it to the skies, so I’m happy it’s finally made It onto my reading list!

      Like

    • Thank you! I’ve loved the little Hemingway I’ve read so far, so I’m looking forward to The Old Man and the Sea. I’ve not read anything by Hugh Walpole before either, so I’m intrigued to see how that one turn out… 😀

      Like

    • Haha, thank you! But imagine what reading twenty books will do to my TBR! Mind you, I might have to go on a spree to put more short ones on – I can’t have a TBR made up only of long books, can I? 😉

      Like

  1. This is the best bad idea I’ve ever seen 🤣🤣
    Remember, if it doesn’t go well, I’ll make you a 5 Books of Summer badge and we’ll pretend that was the plan all along 😊 It does look like a great list though…xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hahaha, at the rate I’m abandoning books I might have to haggle you down to three… 😉 But I just couldn’t resist when I started reading everyone else’s lists! FOMO! 😂

      Like

  2. I’m sure you can do it, choosing the shortest titles from your TBR is a good plan. Many of these look fun anyway, so you will probably surprise yourself.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I actually thought they might all end up being vintage crime, but it turned out to be quite an interesting mix! I’m almost feeling enthusiastic about them, which is more than I have done about reading for the last couple of months! Fingers crossed… 😀

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  3. Well, FictionFan, if you were going to do the 20 books of summer, you’ve chosen some good ‘uns. The Maigret series is excellent (must confess I haven’t read them all!), and I think you might like the Allingham, too. The Borges is quite different to the others, but I’ll be really interested in what you think of it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, but of course I’m NOT! 😉 I actually thought there might be even more vintage crime in the twenty shortest list but it turned out to be quite an interesting mix. I keep acquiring Maigrets randomly and then not reading them, so I’m glad a couple of them turned up, and the Allingham should be good, I hope. I’m not so sure about the Borges, but it’s one of Martin Edward’s 100 Books, so we’ll see how it goes… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – they do look good, don’t they? And actually the thought of some short reads is making me feel slightly more enthusiastic about reading than I have done for weeks now! Fingers crossed… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think you should go for it!! Of course, ’tis easy to give advice when I’m not the one having to do the task, right?? Still, look at how many “two birds with one stone” you could kill, and besides, it’s not like any of us have much of anything else to do but read right now. So, yeah, I’m cheering for you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, thank, Debbie! Yes, it’s most annoying that my reading enthusiasm has switched off just at the very point when I don’t have many other options – typical! But these shorties do make me feel a bit more enthusiastic, so fingers crossed! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think this is exactly what you need to do!! It will be good for you AND for your TBR.

    So, are you going to read the Borges in the original? That name rang a bell and, sure enough, I still have a couple of Spanish literature books from college that include some of his work (but not this). Before I sound too self-important… I would no longer be able to read them in Spanish, though I did at the time. All that knowledge had to be deleted from my brain to make room for other stuff. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do feel a small twinge of enthusiasm for the first time in ages, and the thought of reducing my TBR is a major incentive… 😉

      Sadly I don’t speak or read Spanish so no, I’ll be reading it in translation. Ha! Once upon a time I could read in French to a reasonable level, but I fear that has also been deleted. I wonder what we both put in the cleared out space… I fear in my case it’s probably too much Star Trek… 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I squealed when I saw this in my inbox. (Well, not out loud of course. That would be most improper.
    But it was a very loud inner squeal.) Go on, you can do it! 👏😂 And I spotted A Month in the Country… Lovely and short. Maybe you could commit to that one and we could agree a date to review on? Like we did with The Go-Between which, I notice, was the last book I reviewed! 😯 See what a positive influence you are, FF? 😂

    (Seriously, no pressure obviously, but if you fancy it please say. There may be others who haven’t yet read it too. I have been thinking I must be the only person who hasn’t, so even if you don’t feel up to commiting to this one, at least I know there’s someone else out there who’s not got there before me!)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, yes, that sounds like a great idea – let’s do it! Maybe plan for the end of August sometime, if that suits you? The 31st is a Monday? Haha, surely we should both be able to read one novella by then, eve during a slump… 😂 But let me know if a different date would work better for you. I always feel it’s one of those books everyone else has already read, but I could mention it on next week’s TBR post and see if anybody bites…

      The idea of some short books has made me feel a bit more enthusiastic, so fingers crossed this will help beat the slump!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yay! You’re on! I was going to suggest the end of August too. Monday 31st it is! Perhaps we can persuade Rose… Though I think she she’s probably beaten us both to this one 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hurrah! We’ll see if we can twist her arm… and maybe either Alyson or Christine will join in too, if they haven’t read it before. If not, you and I will have our own private party! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

          • I just noticed this comment, and checked up on the book. I’ve seldom seen a book so often lovingly reviewed, so yes I’ll have to read this too: 31 August 🙂 Thanks for drawing it to my attention.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Oh good! It does seem to get universal praise, so I’m intrigued to find out why!
              Some of us are also thinking about a review-along of Tender is the Night – probably towards the end of October. Can you be tempted? 😀 Todays’ TBR post has all the info re who’s in, etc…

              Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, nothing might be exactly what I end up achieving, but fingers crossed! 😀

      The Donal Ryan keeps getting added to various reading lists and then for some reason I never get around to it – this time! And I’m almost certain to enjoy Lady Susan. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m exhausted just reading your list. I find that I’ll be adding a lot of nonfiction to my reading list this summer, including Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, and the following:

    When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Asha Bandele.
    Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter by Tehama Lopez Bunyasi & Candis Watts Smith.
    Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
    On Account of Race: The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of African American Voting Rights by Lawrence Goldstone
    How To Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
    Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi.
    How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance by Akiba Solomon & Kenrya Rankin.
    Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You: A Remix of the National Book Award–Winning Stamped from the Beginning by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi.
    The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein.
    Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F Saad.
    I Can’t Breathe: A Killing on Bay Street by Matt Taibbi.

    This is an ambitious list. We’ll see how I do.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Haha, I think your list looks far more exhausting than mine! The problem is that it’s never the people who most need to read these books who do. Anyone who adds them to their list is already likely to be reasonably aware of the issues. I’ll add one to your list that I read a few years ago – I didn’t love it, too polemical, but I felt the premise had considerable, though not complete, validity – namely, that the main reason for the Revolution was that the Brits wanted to abolish slavery and the colonists didn’t. In my review I said, “So, Horne argues, the Revolution was as much about maintaining the institution of the enslavement of Africans as achieving ‘liberty’ for ‘white’ colonists.”

      The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America by Gerald Horne

      I don’t know if I’m right, but I feel as if there’s been a sea-change in the last couple of days? With Mattis and Esper both speaking out, I think a loud message might be being sent that the military aren’t going to be willing to go along with Trump’s ambitions to be a dictator? Hope so…

      Liked by 2 people

        • Reversed his decision in what way? I’m not seeing it on the news? Just liberals calling for his resignation which makes no sense since it gives Trump the opening to stick in someone who’ll happily send in the military, surely. At this moment, anyone who doesn’t want a dictatorship should stay as firmly in their posts as they can…

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, while you are busy not reading, I hope you manage to enjoy one or two of these along the way 🙂 I have read Sula, many years back when I read all Toni Morrison’s books because I loved her writing, a kind of immersive trauma but uplifting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Haha, I must admit this list of short books looks much more appealing and I almost feel a little bubble of enthusiasm forming! 😉 I’ve still only read three, I think, of Morrison’s books and would like to gradually read them all. This one has been on my TBR for too long already, so I’m looking forward to getting to it – fingers crossed for that bubble!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Lady Susan is a scream the more you go into it. The recent-ish period film (retitled Love and Friendship even though that’s actually another bit of juvenilia) captures the mood brilliantly, yet I can’t help thinking it would work as well if transposed to our our times. (Here’s my take on it from a few years ago: https://wp.me/p2oNj1-rK)

    Liked by 3 people

    • I really intended to read it and then watch the film but never got around to either – maybe I’ll finally get to the film after I read it! Thanks for the link – I’ll pop over for a look shortly! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A Month in the Country woo hoo, my current favourite! I can’t begin to imagine reading Around the World as part of a summer challenge it would take me all summer just to read that, and I just noticed Up The Junction, wow, I read that as a very impressionable teen, all fired up. . . careful, have fun!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I’m really looking forward to A Month in the Country – everyone who’s read it seemed to have been blown away by it! I was actually surprised at how short Around the World is – my memory made me think it was quite a tome. Haha, now I can’t wait to get to Up the Junction – I shall warn my inner teenager to be on alert… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Short books only – brilliant strategy for reducing the TBR. I’ve only part-read book #9 on your list. Love Hemingway’s short stories, but this one didn’t do it for me. Will be curious to see what you think, FF.

    Liked by 3 people

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