This Year, I Will Make It…

Cathy, over at, is once again hosting her 20 Books of Summer challenge. I have yet to complete 20 books between June 1 and September 3, but I won’t let that stop me from trying once again. Here’s what I would like to read:

For my Back to the Classics challenge:

  1. Fanny Hill, John Cleland
  2. Travels with Charley
  3. La Vagabonde, Colette
  4. Cranford, Elizabeth Gaskell

For my reemerging Nonfiction hankering:

  1. Earning the Rockies or Gateway to Freedom
  2. Coming of Age in Mississippi
  3. Chernobyl 01:23:40
  4. The Great Dissent
  5. Great Speeches by American Women


  1. The Poetry of Amy Lowell or Poems of Phillis Wheatley
  2. The BreakBeat Poets
  3. Hard Times Require Furious Dancing
  4. Bright Dead Things or The Big Book of Exit Strategies


  1. Mama Flora’s Family, Alex Haley and David Stevens
  2. On Beauty, Zadie Smith

To Be Determined

  1. The Ice Queen, Nele Neuhaus
  2. Frontier Grit, Marianne Monson
  3. The Hating Game, Sally Thorne
  4. The Widow’s War, Sally Gunning
  5. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy


  1. I look forward to your reviews of the poetry books. I have only read one book on this list (Candide) but I don’t remember much about it, to be honest. Happy summer reading.

  2. Oh I like those open spots! I was hesitant to commit to 20 but then I figured what the heck, if I want to switch out books nobody will really care! I read Travels with Charley and liked it. That’s the only one from your list I’ve read – I like the diversity of choices!

  3. I haven’t read any of the books on your list, but it looks like you’ve picked some ambitious works to read. I try to sprinkle a few fun (and short) reads in my list so it doesn’t feel so daunting. I hope you enjoy your summer reads!

    • I was trying to think of some uplifting NF to recommend, but I can’t think of anything. :/ I started reading Frontier Grit, which promises to be very good, but I am not sure if you are interested in reading this kind of book. (It’s all about remarkable frontier women.)

  4. Good luck! I’ve only read On Beauty which I enjoyed (and I’m not the biggest Smith fan). I’m sure your reviews of the ones I haven’t read will be adding to my TBR πŸ™‚

  5. It’s been a long time since I read Travels With Charley; I should reread it. You also have me interested in the Anne Moody autobiography which I’ve never read. It seems a must-read, I will look for it at the library. Good luck with your challenge this summer, enjoy!

  6. Ambitious list with all those classics and non-fiction – good luck! I think you should fill your empty slots with short comfort reads… πŸ˜‰ I haven’t decided whether to take part this year – it conflicts with the big tennis tournaments when my reading always drops dramatically, and I tend to find it makes me get even further behind with the groaning pile of review books every year. Maybe I should think about reading twenty review books…!

    • You can always do just 10 Books of Summer… I’m sure you’ll read 10, and if you go over that number, you will feel very accomplished. That’s what I did for the last 2 years. πŸ™‚

    • I read a Colette earlier this year, but my head wasn’t in the right place, and I should have read it much faster than I did, without interruptions. I don’t think I appreciated her enough, so I want to give her another try.

  7. Of the books on your list, I’ve only read Zadie Smith’s On Beauty which I really enjoyed. I think it’s underrated as far as her fiction is concerned, so I’ll be particularly interested to see what you make of it. Have you read any of her others or will this be your first?

    • Oh, good to know you enjoyed On Beauty. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it as well then. I have yet to read anything by her, although a number of her books are on my TBR. I’ll be reading it with the Literary Wives book club, so I’m hoping for a good discussion.

  8. Great list! I’m reading Zadie Smith’s White Teeth this summer but almost picked up On Beauty instead because I’ve heard so much about it. I look forward to hearing what you think of it. Happy Reading! πŸ™‚

  9. I haven’t read any of these. Your classic selections sound especially intriguing – they’re not ones I hear a lot about (except for the Steinbeck).
    I love Alex Haley’s Roots, so I’ll be interested to hear more about that one. And I think I would like to read Alice Walker’s poetry collection just based on the title!

  10. I’ve only read one of your selecitons: La Vagabonde (Colette)
    If you are open to suggestions…
    Two non-fiction I read this year and loved them both!
    Biography of Australian writer Thea Astley – Lamb, K. – Thea Astley: Inventing Her Own Weather She is not on many reading lists (T. Astley) but her books are worth the time an effort. I’m reading all her books and have finished the first 2 of 12!
    Now this one was just delightful NYT bestseller !
    This year I’m challenging myself to read books I DO NOT want to read…just pushing myself to the limit!
    Great list….and I’ll be following your progress #20BooksOfSummer hashtag!

    • You are so disciplined with your reading! I get so easily distracted at the moment that I would never be able to focus on books that I don’t want to read. Thank you for your reading suggestions. I know how much you enjoy Australian literature, so I will definitely look for the Thea Astley biography and her books. The Shepherd’s Life is new to me as well.

      • This disicipline is being tested today…trying to finish ‘Pale Fire’ (V. Nabokov). So complex…Nabokov is more than just Lolita!

  11. You’ve got some great choices here. Thanks for including one of my recommendations! I think you will like the Phyllis Wheatly, and On Beauty is a re-imagining of Howard’s End, so it’s unusual but excellent. Alex Haley is a powerhouse and a gorgeous writer, so you can’t go wrong there, either. Last year I did all 20 books, but I only made it because I took all the books I wanted to read, added up there page numbers, and divided that by the number of days for the challenge. I had to read a LOT more each day that I would have thought had I just winged it. Adding in poetry is definitely smart, and I don’t think of it has cheating because that’s saying that poetry doesn’t really “matter.”

    • That’s a smart way to get the reading done! I will keep that in mind, although I do think that including speeches and poetry will help me reach my goal. Will you participate again this year?

      • I want to…but I took the challenge so seriously last year–my first time–that I made myself anxious! Maybe I’ll try it without doing all the math and simply see where I end up. I do know I have to do some training in the fall to prepare me for a new job in August, and I’m not sure how much time that will take up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s