Cathy at 746 Books is hosting the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge again this year. In previous years I have not become involved but having investigated Cathy’s blog she appears to have a very relaxed approach to this “challenge” so I have succumbed. Although I seriously doubt I will manage twenty books between 3rd June and 3rd September, particularly as I’m starting late, I thought it may prompt me to tackle my toppling to be read book mountains. According to Cathy I can reduce the number if I wish to and may alter the list if I fancy too. This sounds appealing! Many thanks to Paula Bardell-Hadley, Book Jotter for making me aware of the challenge.
With my various reviewing commitments, chiefly for children’s books, the time available for reading simply for fun has diminished. Although I greatly enjoy the children’s books I review it will be refreshing to have complete freedom of choice. My list of twenty titles does include some children’s titles, nonfiction and some old classics in addition to presents that I have not had time to read plus one or two I have been sent by publishers to review. So here goes…my #20BooksofSummer list. Perhaps you would like to read some of these too?
1. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit – Judith Kerr – When I noticed that a shared reading of this book was to take place on Twitter throughout June in tribute to this loved and respected author I knew I wanted to get involved. I was due to hear this remarkable woman speak at the Barnes Children’s Literature Festival last month and have used my ticket refund to buy a new copy of this classic. You can get involved by following the #PinkRabbitReadalong organised by Lorraine Gregory and Annalise Avery
2. The Bookworm – Lucy Mangan – watching the 63Up documentary has prompted me, like many others I imagine, to look back on my life in 7 year chunks. Some of the chunks would be linked to favourite books so I’m sure that this memoir of childhood reading will be fascinating.
3. Cousins – Salley Vickers – I’ve enjoyed several of this author’s books, in particular Mr Golightly’s Holiday. Family sagas have always featured in my favourite books lists and I am intrigued by this story across the generations.
4. When We Were Warriors – Emma Carroll – a children’s author whose novels always make me feel 10 years old again. I should have read this collection earlier and am determined to put that right.
5. The Writer’s Map – Hugh Lewis Jones – a beautiful Christmas present that I want to make time to savour. I love the imaginary worlds that authors create and am looking forward to finding out more about the process.
6. The Salt Path – Raynor Winn – I came across this memoir when browsing in Waterstones and was struck by a lovely review by Jackie Morris so bought it on impulse. It may be moved up the list…
7. The Old Ways – Robert MacFarlane – I loved The Lost Words created by this author and Jackie Morris and enjoy his word of the day on Twitter. However it is the idea of history hidden in our footpaths and lanes that makes me want to read this one.
8. Singled Out – Virginia Nicholson – a second hand book fair buy, this book about the generation of women who were left alone after the First World War should, I hope be an interesting read.
9. The Silk Roads (Illustrated edition) – Peter Frankopan & Neil Packer – an introduction to world history for children, this beautifully illustrated book is appealing to this adult too.
10. & 11. Little Men & Jo’s Boys – Louisa M Alcott – two childhood favourites. Over the last eighteen months I have reread Little Women and Good Wives and would like to complete the series. I have happy memories of these books.
12. Straw into Gold – Hilary McKay – a retelling of fairy tales by a children’s author I respect.
13. Children’s Hour Folk Stories and Fables – another second hand book fair find I think it will be interesting to dip into this one alongside Hilary McKay’s recent book
14. La Belle Sauvage Volume 1 The Book of Dust – Philip Pullman – a signed copy bought at a British Library event. I have heard so much about this book and want to form my own opinion.
15. Cranford- Elizabeth Gaskell – this was hiding on a shelf in a wonderful secondhand bookshop in a converted chapel in Suffolk and has hidden on my bookshelf ever since. How shaming…
16. The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Andersen – a children’s book award winner that I have kept intending to read and don’t know why I haven’t done so.
17. Year of Wonder – Clemency Burton-Hill – this is cheating a little. I have had this fascinating book for some time and dip in occasionally. I hope that adding it to the list will mean that I will check the recommended piece of classical music each day.
18. Anna at War – Helen Peters – this is a proof copy sent to me by the publishers, Nosy Crow. I am very impressed with the fiction they have produced for children this year and this sounds like my sort of book so I am looking forward to reading and reviewing this one.
19. Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy – “Hardy’s most bright, confident and optimistic novel” it says on the back cover. I will let you know!
20. The Library Book a collection published by The Reading Agency – as we lose our libraries and librarians around the country this tribute feels like a timely read.
Well, these are my twenty books. Will I change some, quite possibly but I intend to try and keep to the original choices if possible. Even if I only manage five books over the period it will be a valuable exercise in focusing on books I already own. The problem is going to be resisting the pull of the local library and bookshops. There are so many fabulous books being published at the moment but I am aware that this results in some older and just as fabulous books being neglected. #20BooksofSummer is a great idea and I am looking forward to taking part. I hope to post regular updates on my progress.