Summer’s here! Yes, it’s finally time to put on that sunscreen and dust the picnic quilt. For me summer is synonymous with ice scream, bright summer nights, swimming in the lake and, of course, summer reading. Last summer I participated in both the Books on the Nightstand Summer Bingo as well as 20 Books of Summer, and read far far more than I expected. I had so much fun planning my TBR and trying to come up with books for different bingo categories that I knew I had to do it again this summer. Moreover, thanks to the challenges I discovered some absolutely wonderful books that I probably wouldn’t otherwise have taken time to read. I’m not deluding myself in thinking I could improve upon last year’s success, but because I’m crazy for lists and reading challenges (and because I’m kinda failing my other resolutions for the year), I want to try my best.
20 Books of Summer is hosted by Cathy from 746 Books, and the aim of the reading challenge is to set yourself a summer TBR – and stick to it! You can go with either 10, 15 or 20 books, or as many as you think you can manage during the summer months. Last year I completed 17 out of 20 books, so I’m setting the goal again to 20 books. My list of books consists of both library books and of books I’ve been meaning to read or have owned for a long time. In addition, I’ve included the two books that I didn’t get round to reading last year: A Tenant of Wilderfell Hall & A Storm of Swords. One of my summer reading traditions is also to try and tackle a big classics – last year it was The Egyptian and the year before that Moby Dick – and this summer I’m tackling Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, which I’ve already started reading.
Introducing my very ambitious, realistic-only-in-an-alternative-universe 20 Books of Summer TBR:
- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë
- 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
- ISO by Pekka Hiltunen ✓
- Room by Emma Donoghue ✓
- Brave New World by Aldos Huxley
- Sonja O. kävi täällä by Anja Kauranen ✓
- Is That a Fish in Your Ear? by David Bellos (currently-reading)
- Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg
- A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
- When I Forgot by Elina Hirvonen ✓
- Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee
- Pollomuhku ja Posityyhtynen by Jaana Kapari-Jatta ✓
- Musta satu by Aki Ollikainen ✓
- Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens
- Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (currently-reading)
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr ✓
- Silent House by Orhan Pamuk ✓
- Manillaköysi by Veijo Meri ✓
- Essays by George Orwell
- My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (currently-reading)
I picked up books for the challenge based on what I was interested in reading right now as well as books that I’ve been putting off because of subject matter or the length of the book. I own way too many “I’ll read this some day” books, which is why I’m using this challenge as test to see if I really want to read those books or if I should just give them away – yes, I’m looking at you A Song of Ice and Fire box set. But in order not to bury myself under a pile of heavy books, I’ve also included some rather short books, that I can easily carry with me to the beach. A few non-fiction books and a collection of essays will be perfect for travels and for the cold rainy days I can armchair travel to Italy, France, Istanbul or Westeros.
Book on the Nightstand is one of my favourite literary podcasts – gutted to hear that it’s ending this summer – and they host an annual summer reading bingo that runs from May 28th to September 1st. The bingo charts are generated from a large variety of categories HERE (note: refreshing the page will automatically create a new bingo card), and the BONTS Goodreads group offers plenty of solid recommendations for books in different categories. I’m rather pleased with the card that I got and have already spent a wee while dreaming about the books I will read. However, if you have any recommendations as to books with main characters over the age of 50 or 60, I’d love to hear them (I can only think of Etta, Otto, Russel and James or Elisabeth is Missing).
My BONTS Summer Bingo Card:
I’ve intentionally matched some of the bingo squares with the 20 Books of Summer TBR – such as Barnaby Rudge for “Obscure novel by a famous author” or Is that a Fish in Your Ear for “Has been on your TBR for longer than two years” or Silent House for “Any book by a Nobel Prize winner” – in order to motivate myself to actually read the books I say I would love to read. However, I’m well aware that I have two books over 1,000 pages on the list (A Storm of Swords and 1Q84), so it’s quite possible that I will only get to one of them. I’ve also left some room to fill in books that are not on my TBR, because I am essentially a mood reader and will want to veer from my TBR every once in a while.
So, I guess now that that’s all set, I’ll just have to get started on the actual reading. I’ll try my best to review books as soon as I finish them, but if that doesn’t happen, there’ll at least be a wrap-up post coming in September. What are you reading this summer? x
Tenant of Wildfell Hall is one of my favourite Victorian novels, I really hope you enjoy it! All the Light We Cannot See and Miss Smilla are on my TBR too – hopefully your reviews will inspire me to get a move on!
I don’t know why I have been putting Tenant of Wilderfell Hall off for so long, because the more I hear about it, the more I really do want to read it. I hope this summer will the time when I finally do. Thanks for your encouraging comment!
Those sound like some good tbr picks! I’m thinking of joining 20 books of summer too, it’ll push me to read certain books that have been collecting dust on my bookshelf (like Infinite Jest).
Thanks! And oh wow, Infinite Jest is definitely a hefty book! I’ve got a copy of it on my Kindle, but because of its daunting size and reputation I feel like I _really_ have to be in the mood to get round to it. Good luck with your TBR if you do end up joining in on the fun! 🙂
Your 20 books list has some i loved (Disgrace, Room, Anna Karenina) and one I didnt get on with at all (All the Light we Cannot See). The bingo card threw up some horrid categories for me so I think i will skip it
I’m about 200 pages into Anna Karenina and so far I’m really liking it. It’s a bit different from what I’m used to reading, but the story is so engaging that I end up thinking about the characters also when I’m not reading. As for All the Light We Cannot See, I read the beginning scenes soon after I had bought my copy, but put it aside because I was in the middle of another book. I’m pretty sure I’ll get round to it simply because it seems like it’ll be an “easy summer read” compared to some of the more “serious” books on my list.
I’m going to be doing this challenge too! Well, try to at least. I have serious commitment issues. My brilliant Friend is on my list too as is All The Light we Cannot See. Good luck to us both 🙂
Woo! Go for it, I know you can 🙂 Plus if you feel like 20 might be too much to commit to, you could begin by choosing 10 books now and then choosing 5 more next month and 5 more the month after that? Anyways, I look forward to seeing what books you pick up for your TBR 🙂
I love your list! Some biggies on there but some really great ones. I loved Disgrace, Room and Anna Karenina.
Thanks! I look forward to reading them all 🙂
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Yikes! 1Q84 – you could actually count that as three books if you wanted to though !
It’s a fascinating read, but it took me ages (I gave myself a rest between each book though).
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is wonderful too. I want to read more Anne Bronte thanks to this.
Good luck with your mission impossible 😛
Haha, it truly seems like a mission impossible 😀 I think having stops between the books in 1Q84 might actually discourage me to finish it, which is why I’m counting it as one. Thank you for your well-wishes!
Looking forward to your reviews! I really hope you’ll like Room & All the Light We Cannot See because I have given them both 5 stars ( I don’t know I have this weird thing about wanting people to like same books as me 🙈 (which is quite impossible in the end))
My Brilliant Friend is on my TBR as well.
Brave New World…should probably re-read it because I feel like I didn’t quite get it the first time.
Ummm… Sonja. O kävi täällä is one of the very few books I have rated 1 star on Goodreads. I know she’s a really popular author here in Finland I don’t like it. It feels like she uses erotica/sex too much just to make them popular 🙈 Of course everyone has different opinions.
Hoping everyone else loves the same books as you do is not weird at all! In fact, hearing someone is reading a book I recommended is both exhilarating and terrifying as there’s always the chance that the person will hate it.
I’m looking forward to all of them, also Brave New World and Sonja O. kävi täällä, although the later was a bit of an impulse checkout from the library. I read a sample from the beginning about a month ago, and it seemed fairly good, but I think I’ll need to read a bit further to be able to form a coherent opinion. I haven’t read her books before, but if I enjoy this one I’ll probably also check out the rest.
Oh, you have some nice books here!
Anna Karenina: One of my favourite books of all time.
Disgrace: An important read that has left a lasting impression on me. (I’m eager to see what you think of it)
Brave New World: Unforgettable read that gave me a different outlook on dystopia.
Ellena Ferrante is someone my friend told me about. I just know that she uses a pseudonym when publishing her books. Apparently she is highly respected, given that Waterstones in London dedicated a whole shelf and table to her books alone. I also found her books in other bookshops. (I say ‘she’, when it could be a ‘he’ as well.)
1Q84 and Room are both books I will definitely read in the future!