I was quietly resisting joining the 20 Books of Summer challenge, which I’ve seen recently on the sites of some of my favourite bloggers: Cleopatra, Jose Ignacio, Fiction Fan, Margaret and, of course, Cathy, who started the whole madness. [My heroics are somewhat undermined by the fact that I was barely able to keep up with blog posts over the past three internetless weeks.] The reason I was hesitant was because I’ll be moving over the summer and that would mean ensuring that all the 20 books are in one easily accessible box plus eReader plus charger, preferably to be transported by car rather than removal companies. One additional thing to organise which may be the proverbial straw to break my back!
And yet… the prospect of making a bit of an indent into my TBR pile is too tempting! And, for once, I’ll be cutting down on the ‘official’ reviewing, so won’t be constantly disturbed in my reading selections by ’emergency’ (i.e. quick turnaround) reviews. So, yes, Cathy, I’ve come over to the dark summery side!
For June and July, I’m aiming to read some books which are unsigned by authors, which I’m unsure of whether I will want to keep on my shelves, so that I don’t have to lug them back to the UK and can donate them to local libraries instead. In August, however, it will be the turn of well-loved books which will stay at the very top of any suitcase I pack. Of course, I’ll also use my eReader (so many Netgalley requests making me feel guilty every time I look), but its battery seems to run out every day, so I don’t want more than 1/3 of my books to be ebooks.
I also took the summer theme a little further and have tried to make it run like a thread through my reading – so it’s all about travel, new places, events which happened in summer or sunny climes. I mean, why make life easy if it can be hard?
- Christina Stead: The Man Who Loved Children – well, the US is an exotic holiday location for me
- Mircea Cărtărescu: Fata de la marginea vieţii (The Girl from the Edge of Life) – short story collection
- Wolf Haas: Komm, süßer Tod (Come, Sweet Death) – Austrian crime fiction
- Ariel Gore: Atlas of the Human Heart – searching for self and meaning abroad
- Valérie Gilliard: Le Canal (The Canal) – short Swiss Rashomon-style novella set in spa town Yverdon
- Chico Buarque: Budapest – the Brazilian singer and songwriter’s novel about being stranded in Hungary
- Isabel Costello: Paris Mon Amour – because Paris and because I’ve been following Isabel online for quite some time
- Michelle Paver: Thin Air – not very summery, but it sure has become a holiday destination – mountain-climbing in the Himalayas.
- Ingrid Desjours: Les Fauves (The Beasts) – OK, the holiday premise stretches thin here, but there are connections to Afghanistan
- Milton Hatoum: Ashes of the Amazon – trying to escape one’s heritage, taking in the Amazon, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin and London.
- Laurent Guillaume: White Leopard – running away from a dark past in France to the ‘peacefulness’ of Mali
- Sarah Jasmon: The Summer of Secrets
- Eleanor Wasserberg: Foxlowe – a closed community celebrating summer solstice ‘properly’
- Colin Niel: Ce qui reste en forêt – exciting new series and writer I met in Lyon, the setting is French Guyana
- Charlotte Otter: Balthasar’s Gift – set in South Africa and on my TBR list far too long
- Tim Lott: Under the Same Stars – an American road trip to find a missing father
- Grazya Plebanek: Illegal Liaisons – Polish and other nationalities engaging in politics and much more in Brussels
- John Burdett: Bangkok Haunts – because it’s been far too long since my last meeting with Sonchai Jitpleecheep
- Gaito Gazdanov: The Flight – summering on the French Riviera
- Stav Sherez: The Devil’s Playground – set in Amsterdam and I believe it was Stav’s debut novel
And, by complete chance, a perfect 50/50 split of men and women, translated/foreign and English-language fiction. The hardest thing, of course, will be sticking to the list and not allowing distractions to lead me astray… is that a butterfly I see in my garden?