#20books of summerBookendsTBR list

#20booksofsummer: story so far

20booksof summerI don’t have a great track record with completing challenges. It seems the minute I commit to a list of books, my interest in them wanes and it begins to feel like a chore.  So when Cathy at 746books.com launched the # 20booksofsummer  challenge I wasn’t convinced I could achieve even the smaller target of 10 nothing ventured nothing gained eh?  To make success more likely I went for a list longer than 10 titles so if one didn’t fit my mood at the time I had other options.

I’ve done way better than expected  – with just over a month to go I’ve read seven and a half (the half is The Female Detective which I simply couldn’t be bothered to finish). I’m confident I’ll get to 10 by the cunning expedient of doubling up on some of these titles with two other reading projects running in August. Tree of Life by Maryse Conde is going to count for the Women in Translation project while A Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford was chosen deliberately with one eye to the AllVirago/AllAugust challenge (hop over to heavenali’s blog to find out more about this) . Now if you are struggling with the arithmetic, let me help you out – this means all I need is to read one more and I’ll claim victory. If I manage to bring this off, it will be the first challenge I have ever managed to complete.

Here’s how things stand at the moment.

  1. This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell – Read –review posted here 
  2. The Female Detective by Andrew Forrester. did not finish
  3. NW by Zadie Smith Read
  4. High Rising by Angela Thirkell Read – review posted here 
  5. A Favourite of the Gods by Sybille Bedford
  6. Frost in May by Antonia White
  7. Last Orders by Graham Swift. Read
  8. The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis.
  9. Life & Times of Michael K  by J M Coetzee. Read
  10. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimanda Adichie Read
  11. An Elergy for Easterly by Petina Gappah
  12. Fear and Trembling by Amelie Northomb Read – review posted here 
  13. Tree of Life by Maryse Conde

Of the ones I’ve read the stand out has been The Thing Around Your Neck,  a collection of short stories  by Chimanda Adichie. Maggie O’Farrell’s This Must be the Place was as enjoyable and readable as everything I’ve read by her previously. Of the two Booker prize winners, Last Orders was fine if not that memorable while Life & Times of Michael K  by J M Coetzee was a beautifully written portrait of a man’s passive resistance to the civil disturbances in his native South Africa.

Onwards now to Maryse Conde I think.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

30 thoughts on “#20booksofsummer: story so far

  • Pingback: The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis: A book to divide a nation | BookerTalk

  • Pingback: NW by Zadie Smith: portrait of a divided city | BookerTalk

  • Watch out, you’ll become addicted to reading challenges 😉

    I’m on target to reach 20 although have swapped two books out in exchange for ARCs I’ve received since beginning the challenge (but that’s okay- not breaking the rules!).

  • Standing by with congrats at the ready when you close that last cover. I really only like challenges that involve books I want to read anyway; the helpful part for me is having a clear deadline. It sounds like variety is the key for you (in which case, double congrats for having discovered that!).

  • I tried High Rising following your review and didn’t get very far with it. Like you (if I recall correctly) I was hoping for something along the lines of Barbara Pym, but it didn’t catch fire for me. Still, I have another Thirkell to try at some point. Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer reading.

    • I’m not sure I want to try another Thirkell after that experience – would far rather spend my time with Pym. But if you do give her a go again and get a totally different experience then I might have to change my mind

  • Good for you, Karen! You prompted me to check. I have read 15 of the 20 and reviewed 9 of the 15 thus far. Better than I expected… Fun! 🙂

    • Thats really good going – especially on the review side where I am lagging way way behind.

      • I’m only bragging because it is one of the few times I can do so! 🙂 Meanwhile I am woefully behind in my Middlemarch Read-Along I’m doing with Bex! 🙂

  • Are you going to review all of them? That’s been the hardest part of the challenge because it throws off any reading schedule I might create!

    • I was hoping no-one would notice how far behind I am with reviews… I do plan to write about all of them but it could well be winter before I’m done. So much more fun to read…..

  • Good going on your Challenge. I went for the full 20, but switched one out in the first week! Possibly as early as Day 1 or 2 – I’ve blanked it out, lol.

    • Ha. I’ve been tempted to switch one of mine even at this late stage when I came across another Virago on the shelf last night.

  • Congrats on your progress. I recently downloaded This Must Be the Place, as I love Maggie O’Farrell. Enjoy the rest of your list.

  • Hey. I just found your blog from a comment on another site. Great to meet you.
    I am also doing a couple summer reading challenges. The first round is 10 books and the bonus round is another 10. We’ll see how I do.
    If you’re a fan of short stories, maybe you’d like to check out the collection I published. It’s on Amazon and you can read for free if you have kindle unlimited.

    • Good to ‘meet’ you too. I am not a great fan of short stories – I put the two collections on my list deliberately to push me to try and get into them. Will take a look at your book

      • Thanks so much for checking it out. I appreciate it greatly since that’s not your favorite genre. That’s so nice of you 😀

  • Well done on your progress in this challenge and I am pleased you’ve enjoyed your books, bar one. I made slow progress at the start but I am now reading the 6th of my 10 books 🙂

  • Don’t bother with The Old Devils—it’s crap.

    • Oh dear, thats not good news since I have to get to it at some time otherwise I wont have read/attempted to read all the Booker winners. Shall make sure I read it along with a sturdy glass of ale

      • Well it’s an ‘easy’ read at least. You never know, you may like it; after all, the Booker judges liked it. 🙂

    • If I pull this off it will be the first challenge I have ever completed

  • Whoo hoo – well done! I usually manage challenges that involve reading all of someone’s books over a long period of time (I usually have one of those on the go in the background) but I failed 20books last year, even though I read over 20 books in the time period. Just not the ones on my list. Gah! Doing OK this year, well, 11 down, 9 to go, but half-way through one, and two of them count for AV/AA and one of them for WIT, so we’re in company there.

    • I’m planning one of those projects for next year – mine will be Zola. I’ve been collecting the 20 books in his Rougon-Marquet series gradually in preparation.


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