Home > Challenges > 20 Books of Summer, it’s a wrap! And I’ve made it! :-)

20 Books of Summer, it’s a wrap! And I’ve made it! :-)

Congratulations to me, I completed the 20 Books of Summer challenge. I’ve read 21 books from June 1st to August 31st. OK, I abandoned two of them but only after reading at least 120 pages of each. Out of the 21 books read, 17 come from the TBR, so that’s good.

I didn’t have time to write a billet about the 21 books, I’m only at billet 14 but I did seven Literary Escapades billets from June to August. I guess it makes up for the missing “book review” billets. Since September is going to be very busy at work and slow on reading, I’ll catch up and 20 Books of Summer will turn into 20 Books of Indian Summer. Is that OK with you? 😊

In my billet introducing the 20 Books of Summer challenge, I explained that I’d read books for my book club, books I’m reading along with my sister-in-law, books that represent the Ghosts of Trips Past, the Ghost of the Missed Trip –I was supposed to visit Wyoming, Montana and Colorado this summer—and the Ghost of the Backup Trip to Brittany, France.

So, here’s a wrap-up of my last reading months.

My first readalong was our Book Club’s choices.

 1 – Expiration Date by Duane Swierczynski.

 2 – Snow by Orhan Pamuk

 3 – La Horde du Contrevent by Alain Damasio

While I had a lot of fun taking a walk on the wild timeline of Expiration Date –I think I could read anything by Duane Swierszynski— I couldn’t finish Snow or La Horde du Contrevent, the two books I abandoned. They are well-written and well-constructed books but they didn’t work for me.

My second readalong was Read-the-West-With-Sister-In-Law. We had picked three excellent books.

4 – The Lost Get-Back Boogie by James Lee Burke. If you’ve never read anything by Burke, just add him to your TBR.

5 – Cathedral by Raymond Carver. Beautifully written short stories.

6 – Death and the Good Life by Richard Hugo. The billet is yet to come but I’m so sorry that Richard Hugo didn’t have time to write other crime fiction books. How could he die on us before writing other books? I hope he’s trout fishing with WG Tapply in the great rivers in the sky.

I enjoyed all the books from the Ghost of Trips Past

7 – Québec: Therese, Pierrette and the Little Hanging Angel by Michel Tremblay. The billet is upcoming and I loved visiting with Thérèse, Pierrette and Simone in Montreal in the 1940s. The language is a delight and Tremblay doesn’t write a classic childhood book.

8 – Sicily: Equal Danger by Leonardo Sciascia. A chilling parody that unveils the absurdity of Italian politics and the deep roots of dishonesty in public life.

9 – Spain: Nada by Carmen Laforêt. I read it along with Vishy for Spanish Lit Month and we both found it stunning. Laforêt was so young to write such a powerful and novel. Barcelona in the 1940s is trying to recover from the Civil War and it left wounds.

10 – Australia: Blood by Tony Birch. I read it for Lisa’s Indigenous Lit Week. Two children stick together to have a better life and escape from their absentee mother’s claws.

11 – Portugal: Lisbon’s Poets. This was my first introduction to Portuguese poetry and a nice souvenir to bring back from a lovely trip to Portugal.

12 – UK: Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood. Berlin in the early 1930s and how the Nazis take over the city and its inhabitants’ lives.

13 – Denmark: The Elephant Keepers’ Children by Peter Høeg. Honestly, I still can’t make up my ind about this one. I found it charming and irritating, refreshing and fake, funny and profound.

14 – Hungary: The Charmed Life of Kázmér Rezeda by Gyula Krúdy. The billet is yet to come. A true Krúdy book that I read in English because there’s no French translation. In true Krúdy fashion, it’s funny and melancholic with a scatterbrained womanizer.

15 – USA: Wait Until Spring, Bandini by John Fante. Another upcoming billet. I’ve read several Fante (and will read another soon) and I loved them all. This one belongs to the Bandini Quartet and reuniting with Arturo was as delightful as ever.

There’s the Ghost of the Missed Trip and its two books, although Death and the Good Life qualifies for this as well.

16 –The Overstory by Richard Powers. This is a book tree, powerful but a bit cold. Powers was on a mission and it’s a clever book, I thought I lacked passion for the characters.

17 – The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson. I read it during a long car drive and I was happy to go back to Wyoming and see Sheriff Longmire again. Upcoming billet about a great Beach & Public Transport book.

Ghost of the Backup Trip to Brittany, France. For this, I switched books and ended up reading books set in Brittany:

18 – Last Concert in Vannes by Hervé Huguen. I discovered a Breton publisher of crime fiction novels. I bought two and read this one. The billet will come in September and it was a decent polar.

19 – Fisherman of Iceland by Pierre Loti. A surprise and accompanied by a great literary escapade in Ploubazlanec, or how to mix literature, books and tourism.

And, last but not least, a bridge between the three Ghost Trips, between France and the USA and both in line with the news.

20 – Letter to Jimmy by Alain Mabanckou, written in 2007 for the 20th anniversary of Baldwin’s death. Upcoming billet.

21 – Slavery Explained to My Daughter by Christiane Taubira. It was very educational and I would recommend it to French readers.

On the list and not read:

  • Who You Think I Am by Camille Laurens
  • An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg.
  • A Job You Mostly Won’t Know How To Do by Pete Fromm

I’ll catch up on those because I still intend to read them. I’m looking forward to the Fromm, I keep hearing that he’s an outstanding novelist.

Many thanks to Cathy at 746 Books for organizing this fun event. I’ll do it again if you’re up for it next year.

And what about you? Did you take part to 20 Books of Summer challenge? If yes, please leave a link to your wrap-up post in the comments. I’ll enjoy reading what you’ve been up to.

Categories: Challenges Tags:
  1. September 1, 2020 at 12:56 am

    No I didn’t take part as time is short atm . I like the sounds of The Charmed Life of Kázmér rezeda.

    Like

    • September 1, 2020 at 9:29 pm

      Krudy is a wonderful writer. A lot of his books haven’t been translated into French (or English) yet.

      Like

  2. September 1, 2020 at 5:14 am

    Well done! I fell a bit short, only managing to read 17 books, but I did read some great books.

    Like

    • September 1, 2020 at 9:30 pm

      To be honest, I’m surprised I made it. I guess I had the right list, with books easy to read, if you except the two I abandoned.

      Liked by 1 person

      • September 2, 2020 at 3:34 am

        Oh, I abandoned loads… I found it difficult to find things to suit my mood.

        Like

        • September 8, 2020 at 9:54 pm

          I don’t feel guilty anymore when I abandon books. I don’t have enough time to read things i don’t like.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. September 1, 2020 at 6:14 am

    Do you take some days off to practice trout fishing in the Rhône? I’m not sure I read – as distinct from listen to – 20 books a year, let alone summer, when I generally have January off but still don’t do much reading. I looked up Craig Johnson. Goodreads linked him to CJ Box who I have read. I’ll keep an eye out.

    Like

    • September 1, 2020 at 9:40 pm

      With the pollution, I wouldn’t dare fishing in the Rhône. In the Saône maybe?

      You do listen to a lot of audio books. I don’t get along with them, my mind wanders rapidly and I lose the story. But you have a job well-suited for audio books.

      I really like Craig Johnson’s series. There’s a wonderful sense of place and it’s playful despite the murders.

      Like

  4. September 1, 2020 at 10:31 am

    I love the variety of your reading and the way you grouped them into themes. I managed 15 though have still to review 3 of them.

    Like

    • September 1, 2020 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks, Karen. I enjoyed my selection and I was happy to revisit former trips through the books I bought there.

      Like

  5. September 1, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Congratulations on completing the challenge and thanks so much for taking part x

    Like

    • September 1, 2020 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks for organizing it! I was fun and I read books from the TBR.

      Like

  6. September 1, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    Well done! I didn’t take part but I’ve read 39 books since 1st June so I think I did well!!

    Like

    • September 1, 2020 at 9:42 pm

      39 books. I don’t know how Marina Sofia and you manage to read so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. September 1, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Congratulations Emma! Such an interesting selection too.

    Like

  8. September 1, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks. I’m happy with my list and the virtual trips I took with my reading.

    Like

  9. September 7, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    Congratulations, and for reviewing them. I so need to read your #16. And I’m actually curious for #3

    Like

    • September 8, 2020 at 9:52 pm

      Thanks! The Damasio is good but not for me and the Powers is well-worth reading.

      Like

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