Home > ABOUT READING, Challenges, Personal Posts > 20 Books of Summer Episode ’21: I’m in!

20 Books of Summer Episode ’21: I’m in!

It’s that time of year again! We’re planning for Cathy’s 20 Books of Summer. The aim is to read 20 books from June 1st to August 31st. For most of you, it’s no big deal. It’s going to be a challenge for me, especially after starting a new job a month ago. But I’ll still try and, in any case, I had fun making my list, with a constraint: pick books that are already on the TBR.

Last year I did several categories, i.e. Book Club Choices, Read-the-West-With-Sister-In-Law, Ghosts of Trips Past, Ghost of the Missed Trip, Ghost of the Upcoming Trip to France. This year, I’ve decided upon categories as well.

*Drum roll*


Book Club choices.

This category remains as I’m still reading a book per month with my Book Club girlfriends. We’ve already picked:

  • L’Arche de Noé by Khaled Al Khamissi (Egypt) –– Not available in English
  • The Twelve Tribes of Hattie By Ayana Matthis (USA)

There’s another book TBD since at the moment, I don’t know what our choice for August will be.

With-Sister-In-Law Readalong choices

I’m on a monthly readalong with my sister-in-law too and our summer books are:

  • Keep the Change by Thomas McGuane (USA)
  • The Lonely Witness by William Boyle (USA)
  • Money Shot by Christa Faust (USA)

Upcoming bookish events

If these events are organized as usual, I plan on reading a book for Lisa’s Indigenous Lit Week in June, two for Spanish & Portuguese Lit Month.

  • A Most Peculiar Act by Marie Munkara (Australia)
  • Ballad of Dogs’ Beach by José Cardoso Pires (Portugal)
  • Perdre est une question de méthode by Santiago Gamboa (Colombia) – Not available in English. The title means Losing Is a Question of Methodology and it intrigued me when I saw it in a bookstore.

Cut the Kube TBR

Kube is my monthly blind date with a book chosen by a libraire. So far so good, they sent books I would have bought myself and I’d heard of only one of the books they sent my way. I haven’t read two of them:

  • The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury (USA) It’s a Gallmeister book, I should be OK.
  • Rosa Candida by Auđur Ava Ólafsdóttir (Iceland) I’m curious about this one, published by Zulma, an excellent publisher.

Of course, I’ll get new ones in June, July and August.

Old TBR members

Some books have been on the TBR for a looong time. I thought it was high time to read…

  • Terre des affranchis by Liliana Lazar (France/Romania) – Not available in English. Liliana Lazar was born in Romania, emigrated in France and writes in French.
  • Sundborn ou les jours de lumière by Philippe Delerm (France) – Not available in English. Delerm’s book is about the community of Scandinavian painters who lived in Grez-sur-Loing in France.

Cheating with the 2€ Folio collection

The 2€ Folio collection is made of short books (around 100 pages), often short stories by well-known writers and it’s a good way to sample a writer’s style and see if it’s worth trying a longer work. These three will help me reach the 20 books count.

  • Nouvelles de l’au-delà by Ji Yun (China) – Tales From the Otherworld (18th C)
  • The Man Who Saw the Flood and Down by the River Side by Richard Wright (1961 & 1938), from the collection of short stories Eight Men (1961) and Uncle Tom’s Children (1938) It was published in this collection after Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans.
  • On Monday Last Week and The Shivering by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Crime fest

On top of Boyle and Faust, already mentioned in my readalong picks, I love to read crime books while I’m on holiday or at home by the pool. I may switch some books later, after Quais du Polar, the crime festival in Lyon, scheduled for the first weekend of July. But at the moment, my choices are:

  • Colin-Maillard à Ouessant by Françoise Le Mer (France) – Not available in English. Set in Brittany, it will be a great reminder of last year’s holidays in this beautiful region.
  • Vintage by Grégoire Hervier (France) – Not available in English. This is a rock-blues thriller that should take me on a road trip to Scotland, Paris, Sydney and The Blues Highway, a trip I’ll definitely make as soon as my children are 21 and allowed in bars.
  • Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett, USA, 2019.

Kindle Books to read while Mr Emma is driving.

I get car sick if I read a paper book but I don’t have this problem with Kindle books! 😊 So, I’ve added two books from the Kindle TBR for the long drives to our vacation spots.

  • Above the Waterfall by Ron Rash (USA)
  • Call Mr Fortune by H.C Bailey (UK)

And that’s it. 19 books, plus the unknown Book Club choice for August. 20 opportunities to cut into the TBR. The good news is that I’m still interested in reading the books that are on the TBR, even if some have been there for a long time.

What about you? Will you take part in 20 Books of Summer too? Have you read any book on my list?

  1. May 8, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    Brilliant list Emma! I love how you’ve incorporated your other challenges, which is what I plan to do too!


    • May 8, 2021 at 9:42 pm

      Way to kill two (or three) birds in one stone. I see I forgot to mention that the Marie Munkara will also count for the Australian Women Writers challenge!


      • May 8, 2021 at 9:44 pm



        • May 8, 2021 at 10:01 pm

          To which events do you plan on participating?


          • May 9, 2021 at 12:24 pm

            I’ll be including three books for my Brian Moore Readalong, one for the Anne Tyler Reread Project, something for Spanish Lit Month and something for Women in Translation Month in August!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. May 8, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    I read the Cardoso Pires and enjoyed it a lot. There is a post about it in the archives of my newsletter.

    I love the 2€ Folio series. So useful. American publishers try such things once in a while but they never seem to survive.

    The Gallmeister selections are always so interesting. I would never learn about these American books if you did not read them in French.


    • May 8, 2021 at 9:44 pm

      Good to know about the Cardoso Pires, I’ll have a look at your review.

      The 2€ Folio series is great and excellent for foreigners too since the books are short.

      More Gallmeister coming in May : The Signal by Ron Carlson & The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart. Have you heard of them?


      • May 8, 2021 at 10:47 pm

        No, neither writer. I should pick one of them you are reading this summer, if I can find a copy, and read it myself. I don’t know which. I’ll wait for your reviews.


        • May 9, 2021 at 8:14 am

          I don’t think there are other writers like Benjamin Whitmer whose last book has only been published in French translation.
          We’ll see which one you choose in the coming month, then.
          It’d be fun to read a post about the American writers you discovered through a French publisher.


  3. May 8, 2021 at 8:47 pm

    I’ve not ready any of these but it looks such an interesting list. I’ll look forward to your reviews and no doubt my TBR will expand!


    • May 8, 2021 at 9:46 pm

      Lucky you: your TBR shouldn’t suffer that much since several books on my list aren’t available in English. 🙂
      We’ll see if they are Translation Tragedies or not.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. May 8, 2021 at 9:57 pm

    Good luck! I will definitely read 20 books in the period, but I can’t stick to a list. Will look forward to seeing what you think of your choices!


    • May 8, 2021 at 10:00 pm

      We’ll see if I can make it.
      Switches are authorised, so I may change one book for another.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. May 8, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    Love the way you’re picked your list and look forward to hearing more about them. I wasn’t going to join in this one, but am now getting quite tempted by the 20 Books of Summer.


    • May 9, 2021 at 8:16 am

      Picking the book is already fun. As I said, I’m not sure I’ll manage to read them all (and write the billets!) but I’ll have fun trying.
      I’m looking forward to your list, if you decide to join the challenge. (It can be 10 or 15 books too)

      Liked by 1 person

      • May 9, 2021 at 9:48 pm

        Between you and Cathy I think I’ve been talked into it – I’ve started putting together a list…


        • May 9, 2021 at 10:19 pm

          Great news! Looking forward to your list.


  6. May 9, 2021 at 2:01 am

    A challenge for me and I’m retired, Emma! So, I’ll be watching from the sidelines, and just reading the books that I would have been reading anyhow. (Plus, it’s winter, though I know Cathy covers that too!)

    Enjoy your reading, and your new job!


    • May 9, 2021 at 8:28 am

      Glad to know I’m not the only one who finds that reading 20 books in 3 months is a challenge. (Winter or Summer!) Anyway, I’ll have fun trying!

      Thanks for your good wishes.


  7. May 9, 2021 at 3:29 am

    wow, you already have your list up! I will post mine late May, and will also focus on my TBR. Looking forward to your posts on these, as I haven’t read any. And good luck with your new job


    • May 9, 2021 at 8:34 am

      I had fun browsing through the TBR and making my selection.
      Looking forward to seeing yours!

      Thanks for the good wishes.


  8. May 9, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    I’ve just spent a very pleasant Sunday morning trying to decide my 20 books (giving myself a list of 30 to choose from, 10 each month). You will be surprised what I decided to do in the end… in a vain attempt to control my e-reader.


    • May 9, 2021 at 10:18 pm

      Looking forward to seeing your list! Hunting down the books that will be on the list is fun.


  9. May 9, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    I was wondering whether that makes 20; it seemed like more! I’m curious what you’ll make of the Liliana Lazar. That’s the only book I’ve read and, with a couple of exceptions, the only author I’m familiar with from your list.Enjoy!


    • May 9, 2021 at 10:19 pm

      Did you write about the Liliana Lazar? I’ll have a look at your blog.
      20 is a long list, actually. Not sure I’ll make it but I’ll try.


      • May 10, 2021 at 7:21 pm

        Yes, I did! But don’t read my billet until you’ve read the book!


        • May 10, 2021 at 11:13 pm

          Ok I’ll wait, then. 🙂


  10. Vishy
    May 10, 2021 at 12:19 am

    Wonderful reading project, Emma! I have a book by Olafsdottir. I think it is called Butterflies in November. I loved Philippe Delerm’s The Small Pleasures of Life. It was so beautiful! I want to participate in Lisa’s Indigenous Week this year. Happy reading!


    • May 10, 2021 at 11:11 pm

      Thanks Vichy!
      Have you read Butterflies in November or is it still on the TBR?


      • Vishy
        May 13, 2021 at 8:52 pm

        I haven’t read it yet, Emma. Still on TBR. Hoping to read it sometime in the near future 😊


  11. May 10, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    I don’t know any of these books but it seems you have a wide range of genres/topics which is a good idea because then you have something to suit your mood at the time.
    I’m still debating whether to join in this year – it will never be 20 books though, I just can’t read at that speed!


    • May 10, 2021 at 11:13 pm

      I tried to pick a good variety of books from the TBR. We’ll see how it goes. I will not put myself under pressure for it, reading has to remain a pleasure.


  12. May 11, 2021 at 11:13 am

    The Marie Munkara is a fierce and heart rending satire. I await with bated breath your review. Love the breadth of your selections. I expect that after your reviews I’ll be adding the Adichie and the Olafsdottir to my own TBR. ditto Vintage if only I remembered my school boy French.


    • May 12, 2021 at 6:36 am

      I’m looking forward to the Munkara. I’ve read her autobiographical work.
      Let’s see which ones still tempt you after I write about them.


  13. buriedinprint
    May 11, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    It’s not a challenge I’ve ever participated in, but I do understand the appeal. This summer I’ll be reading on in my various reading projects and trying to talk myself out of inventing new projects…nice problems to have. You’ve got a clear plan and only that one wild card remaining.

    This week in my French studies, I am learning about the different usage of the infinitive between English and French,m so your title with Perdre fit perfectly with that lesson. I could work out that translation into English, but if I’d had to work from the English into French, i’m sure I’d’ve missed that it should be an infinitive. Oh, well, it wouldn’t be fun, if it was easy. *snorty laugh*


    • May 13, 2021 at 8:57 am

      We’ll see if I manage to stick to the plan. There’s another wild card : I’m going to the Quais du Polar festival early in July and usually come back with an armload of crime fiction books. Some I’ll want to read right away.

      I didn’t know you were taking French lessons! Congrats! Maybe you can compare notes with Lisa from ANZ LitLovers.

      About the infinitive.
      I have my own question. I’ve translated Perdre est une question de méthode (isn’t that an intriguing title, btw?) into Losing Is a Question of Methodology (note the difference in capitals between French and English book titles. I had to learn that). It sounded right to me but should have I said To Lose Is a Question of Methodology?


      • May 13, 2021 at 3:22 pm

        I think « Losing » Is better. You could use « Method » instead of « Methodology, » but they both seem good to me. « Methodology » sounds more technical.


        • May 15, 2021 at 7:41 am

          I hesitated between method and methodology. I’m looking forward to discovering if the writer meant a technical method or not.


  14. May 13, 2021 at 9:47 pm

    Nice, varied list, Emma! Mostly they’re books I don’t know, so I’ll be interested to hear about them. I won’t be participating because I don’t really like to plan my reading that far ahead. Well, to be more accurate, I’d enjoy making the list, but I’d hate sticking to it 😉

    Hope the new job is going well!


    • May 15, 2021 at 7:01 am

      I hope I’ll stick to the list but if I don’t, I don’t. It’s supposed to be a fun event (and Cathy authorises the book switches anyway)
      Thanks for your good wishes about the new job.


  15. May 14, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Enjoy your reading Emma 🙂 I’m curious about Delerm. Everytime I want to try him something happens and he gets pushed away. I read Rosa Candida, didn’t much see the hype about it. I tried Cette Nuit by Joachim Schnerff in the Éditions Zulma, but didn’t it make it for me either. So I’ll look forward as well to your review of Rosa Candida


    • May 15, 2021 at 6:47 am

      You need to read La première gorgée de bière et autres plaisirs minuscules. It’s an excellent feel good book about enjoying little things in life.
      I’m curious about Rosa Candida. It seems to be in the same vein as Les nuits de laitue by Vanessa Barbara, also published by Zulma.


      • May 15, 2021 at 6:50 am

        Ah yes! Apparently he didn’t write more worthy to be read books after this one? But thank you, definitely adding it. Les nuits de laitue… I’m intrigued by this title. I’ll check the book out.


        • May 15, 2021 at 7:37 am

          I’ve read Autumn too and I discovered the Preraphaelites. I liked it.


  16. May 20, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    You have your challenge nicely mapped out.

    I’m hoping to read twenty of my 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up.


    • May 22, 2021 at 6:54 pm

      What a great idea to catch up on children books!


  1. June 12, 2021 at 7:39 am
  2. January 8, 2022 at 7:39 pm

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