It’s that time of year when Cathy announces her #20BooksOfSummer challenge. It’s quite simply the chance to get 20 books off your TBR list and/or shelves over the months of June/July/August. I have participated in the past but not quite succeeded, because I got sidetracked with other reading projects or shiny new things coming in. However, this year I have a double incentive: I need to get some of my bulkier, heavier books off the shelves as I start thinking about moving abroad in 2024/25 and the task of packing endless boxes of books. Read them and then decide whether to keep or donate.
However, I’m going to be busy with the Bristol Translates Summer School in early July and travelling to Japan at the end of August, so I have to take that in consideration and not get overly ambitious. I also want to take part in #WomenInTranslation month in August, but it may be a bridge too far to try and take part in the Spanish and Portuguese Language Challenge.
So, after an enjoyable rummage through my bookshelves, here are the things I’m proposing (slightly more than 20, so that I can choose according to mood).
This is a country I tend to ignore on the whole, but each one of these books was acquired in a sudden fit of greed following a recommendation on Twitter or on a blog or podcast.
- M.L.Rio: If We Were Villains – theatre, friendships, murder
- Mona Awad: Bunny – MFA, rivalry, horror
- Katya Apekina: The Deeper the Water the Uglier the Fish – dysfunctional families
- Robert Jackson Bennett: City of Stairs – murder in a sci-fi world
- Ling Ma: Severance – immigration, apocalyptic, zombies
- Stephanie Gayle: Idyll Hands – murder in small-town America
- Hilma Wolitzer: An Available Man – a widower starts dating again
- Lidia Yuknavitch: The Book of Joan – a dystopian Joan of Arc
- Chandler Baker: The Husbands – the Stepford husbands?
Books Lingering for Far Too Long on My Shelves
Once again, all of these have been recommended by people on Twitter or else I’ve been following the authors on Twitter – this is why it’s such a shame that bookish community is being destroyed by the current owner, who couldn’t give a monkeys about books (other than so-called business improvement ones, I bet).
- Luke Brown: Theft – Brexit Britain and class differences
- Ali Thurm: One Scheme of Happiness – love triangle and beaches
- Helon Habila: Travellers – a mosaic of migrant experiences across Europe
- Tom Cox: 21st-Century Yokel – mix of nature writing, memoir, humour and social history
All of the previous books are older books too, but these ones were recommended to me not as ‘newly published’, but as ‘modern classics’, while two I acquired a while back in preparation for my Japan trip.
- Margaret Grant: Three Eleven – how 5 women experienced the 2011 tsunami in Japan
- Michael Booth: Super Sushi Ramen Express – a family journey through Japanese cuisine
- Mal Peet: The Murdstone Trilogy – has-been writer makes a Faustian pact
- Charles Palliser: Rustication – faux Victorian Gothic and murder mystery
- Maggie O’Farrell: Instructions for a Heatwave – many people assure me this is her best novel
For travelling ease, and because I don’t have any books in the lists above for #WomeninTranslation, I’ve also selected a few of my Netgalley/e-book reads, which have really been lurking for far too long on my Kindle.
- Yana Vagner: To the Lake, transl. Maria Wiltshire – I actually have the French edition of this in print, but it will be quicker and easier to read it in English on Kindle – a Russian post-apocalyptic novel
- Shion Miura: Kamusari Tales Told at Night, transl. Juliet Winters Carpenter – collection of (ghost?) stories, perfect for my Japan trip
- Asa Larsson: The Sins of Our Fathers, transl. Laurie Thompson – a Swedish crime novel set in the Arctic circle
- Cheon Myeong-kwan: Whale, transl. Chi-Young Kim – Korean novel shortlisted for the International Booker Prize
- Ines Pedrosa: In Your Hands, transl. Andrea Rosenberg – Portuguese family saga from the perspective of three women
- Marie NDiaye: The Cheffe, trans. Jordan Stump – a culinary life story
- Arwa Salih: The Stillborn, transl. Samah Selim – notebooks of a woman from the student-movement in Egypt
25 books to choose from, plus any pitches for Corylus which might come my way, so I think I’ll be pretty busy!
Are you planning to take part, however loosely, in the #20Books challenge and lighten your TBR piles?