Home > Challenges > 20 Books of Summer – 20 Books Around the Corner

20 Books of Summer – 20 Books Around the Corner

Cathy at 746 Books launches her yearly challenge of 20 Books of Summer. The title is self-explanatory: Read 20 books in June, July and August.

Twenty books in three months is a lot for me. I usually manage to read a book per week but I’m willing to try this year since I’m working remotely until the end of August and will save the time and fatigue of commuting to work. I might make it. Now to the fun part: book picking!

I’m already committed to reading with my Book Club and to a Read The West readalong with my sister-in-law. That’s five books. How to choose the fifteen others?

Thanks to a pesky virus, my trip to Montana and Wyoming is cancelled and I’m still grieving this missed opportunity. (Rich white girl problem, I know) So I decided that 20 Books of Summer would be a celebration of the ghosts of trips past, the ghost of the missed trip and the ghost of the upcoming trip to France. I’ll read books related to these summers. If I know where I bought the book, I’ll mention it, as a friendly hello to independent bookstores who have to survive the tempest of this worldwide lockdown.

*Drum roll*

Here are my twenty choices

Book Club choices.

  1. Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski
  2. Snow by Orhan Pamuk

Read-the-West-With-Sister-In-Law choices

  1. Montana: The Lost Get-Back Boogie by James Lee Burke
  2. Cathedral by Raymond Carver
  3. Montana: Death and the Good Life by Richard Hugo

Ghost of Trips Past

  1. Québec: Therese, Pierrette and the Little Hanging Angel by Michel Tremblay (Québec City)
  2. Sicily: Equal Danger by Leonardo Sciascia
  3. Spain: Nada by Carmen Laforêt
  4. Australia: Blood by Tony Birch (Readings, Melbourne)
  5. Portugal: Lisbon’s Poets (Bertrand, Lisbon)
  6. UK: Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood (London)
  7. Denmark: The Elephant Keepers’ Children by Peter Høeg (Copenhagen)
  8. Hungary: The Charmed Life of Kázmér Rezeda by Gyula Krúdy (Budapest)
  9. USA: Wait Until Spring, Bandini (City Light Bookstore, San Francisco)

Ghost of the Missed Trip

  1. Wyoming: An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg
  2. The Overstory by Richard Powers
  3. Wyoming: The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson
  4. Montana: A Job You Mostly Won’t Know How To Do by Pete Fromm

Ghost of Upcoming Trip to France

  1. Who You Think I Am by Camille Laurens

And, last but not least, a bridge between the three Ghost Trips, between France and the USA

  1. Letter to Jimmy by Alain Mabanckou, a letter to James Baldwin.

I’m happy with my list: a mix of lit fiction, short-stories, poetry, non-fiction and crime. Some in English, some in French.

I’m not sure I’ll have time to read all these books but I had a lot of fun making up the list. It’s also a good way to push myself to read more from my TBR. I know I’ll buy new books anyway, we need to support our independent bookstores, and I’ve decided to reallocate to book buying all the toll money saved up with homeworking. A perfectly good excuse to indulge in a book buying spree.

Will you participate to Cathy’s challenge too?

Categories: Challenges Tags: ,
  1. May 17, 2020 at 11:42 am

    Thanks for taking part! I love your list. Always like to see Carver and I read Snow a goid few years back and really enjoyed it. Good luck – we can do this 😘


    • May 17, 2020 at 8:37 pm

      Good to know about Snow.
      I hope I’ll manage to read them all.


  2. May 17, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    Nice list! I don’t take part because I know myself well enough to know I’d fail to stick to any list, but I do love seeing what others do!


  3. May 17, 2020 at 8:43 pm


    We’ll see if I can read them all. 🙂


  4. May 17, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    Ghost of Trips Past is such a great idea! The only one I’ve read is Nada, which i enjoyed and I hope you do too. I have Goodbye to Berlin buried in the TBR so I’ll be interested to see how you find it.


    • May 17, 2020 at 10:21 pm

      I had a lot of fun drawing up the list. Nada has been on my TBR for a while and I’m glad this gives me the opportunity to get to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. May 17, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    What a lovely idea to go traveling like this and with such an interesting range and selection of books! I look forward to following your travels.


    • May 18, 2020 at 7:00 am

      Thanks. Let’s hope I’m up to the challenge. Some of these books are long.


  6. May 18, 2020 at 11:18 am

    I like the way you’ve structured your list around a particular theme, especially the nod to previous journeys to foreign climes. I’ve read a few of your Ghosts of Trips Past – the Sciascia, the Laforet and the Isherwood, all excellent. I hope you enjoy them too.


    • May 19, 2020 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks. I’m looking forward to reading them. I think I got the Sciascia after your recommendation.
      I’ve read good things about the Laforet and the Isherwood too.


  7. Vishy
    May 18, 2020 at 2:24 pm

    This is a wonderful challenge, Emma! I hope you have lots of fun participating! I want to read Nada by Carmen Laforet. I have a few Peter Høeg books, but not the one you are planning to read. I have heard a lot about Duane Swierczynski. Happy reading! Will look forward to hearing your thoughts 🙂


    • May 19, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      Thanks Vishy.
      We can read Nada together this summer if you want.
      Duane Swierczynski is awsome. I’ve read several books by him and all were unique and fun. I really recommend him. (Start with The Blonde)


      • Vishy
        May 20, 2020 at 1:07 pm

        This will be wonderful, Emma! Would love to read Nada with you 🙂 When would you like to read, in June or July?

        Glad to know that Duane Swierczynski is wonderful! I’ll add ‘The Blonde’ to my TBR. Thanks for recommending it.


        • May 20, 2020 at 9:57 pm

          Let’s kill two birds with one stone and read it in July for Spanish Lit Month. (provided that Stu and Richard organize it this year) 🙂 Is that Ok for you?

          I think you and I are definite book buddies: our literary tastes overlap a lot.


          • Vishy
            May 21, 2020 at 9:36 am

            That is a wonderful plan, Emma! Let us do that! Looking forward to reading Nada and discussing it with you in July 🙂 Yay, to book buddies 🙂


            • May 22, 2020 at 12:50 pm

              It’s a deal, then. Nada in July! 🙂


              • Vishy
                May 22, 2020 at 7:37 pm

                Wonderful! Looking forward to it 🙂


              • May 22, 2020 at 8:29 pm

                Me too!


  8. May 19, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Sounds like a great idea, but I won’t participate as I know I’d never complete it.


    • May 19, 2020 at 9:28 pm

      I’m not sure I’ll complete it either but I’ll try. (The Powers is daunting: 735 pages. I have the French translation, thankfully)


  9. May 26, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    I’ve not heard of any of these so I look forward to hearing more about them.


    • May 28, 2020 at 7:35 am

      Thank you and Welcome to Book Around the Corner.
      I hope I’ll manage to read them all!


  10. May 27, 2020 at 1:49 pm

    Nice list! Enjoy your summer reads 💚📚


  11. May 28, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    An excellent way to travel this summer.


    • May 28, 2020 at 11:17 pm

      Thank you and welcome to Book Around the Corner.


  12. May 29, 2020 at 10:32 am

    I have a Tony Birch on my 20 books list too – but mine is The White Girl (from Roaring Stories Bookshop, Sydney)


    • May 29, 2020 at 12:35 pm

      I’ve never read anything by him but I heard he’s good.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. June 6, 2020 at 6:30 pm

    What a wonderful theme to choose for your list. I love the idea of using 20 books of summer as a way to remind you of the pleasure of times past. One day you’ll get to Montana I’m sure !


  14. June 23, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Fascinating list! I need to read The Overstory. I’m participating. I did a list of 20 titles, but then, I keep reading other books!!: https://wordsandpeace.com/2020/05/29/20-books-of-summer-2020/


    • June 24, 2020 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks. I’ve already read one book out of the list.
      I’m currently reading Blood by Tony Birch and it’s excellent.
      Happy reading!


  1. June 13, 2020 at 3:39 pm
  2. July 19, 2020 at 11:56 am

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