Time for what has become one of my favourite traditions of the blogging year – planning my 20 Books of Summer list (hosted once again by the wonderful Cathy @746 books)! Except that I am not even going to pretend that there’s a chance of me reading twenty books this summer – or, rather, reviewing them all – so I’m keeping my ambitions to the more modest 15. I’m still working hard on my allotment, and that will only get busier in June and July – plus I’m going to Peru for two weeks, which won’t exactly be the kind of gentle sitting-by-the-pool holiday that would lend itself to a lot of reading. Also, I’m organising a conference for work in late June, which is a new thing for me and one I’m very excited about (but also a tonne of work). Basically, this summer is going to be stuffed full to make up for the past two, and I don’t want to make myself stressed by biting off more than I can chew.
I’ve therefore focused on three categories of book: murder mysteries, which for the most part are fairly quick reads; my extensive Kindle backlog*, since I’ll be spending quite a lot of time on planes/boats/trains/coaches; and novellas, which can be read during any summer storms where I can’t get out into my plot.
The Girls of Slender Means – Muriel Spark
Madame de Treymes – Edith Wharton
Slow Boat – Hideo Furukawa
Passing – Nella Larsen
Bonjour Tristesse – Francoise Sagan
Postern of Fate – Agatha Christie
Miss Pym Disposes – Josephine Tey
The Conjure-Man Dies – Rudolph Fisher
The Widows of Malabar Hill – Sujata Massey
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
The Clockwork Girl – Anna Mazzola
Civilisations – Laurent Binet
Conversation in the Cathedral – Mario Vargas Llosa
To Cook a Bear – Mikael Niemi
Rose Nicholson – Andrew Grieg
I have an alternate for each category in case I need to make changes – The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway); Monk’s Hood (Ellis Peters); The Pasha of Cuisine (Saygin Ersin) – but hopefully I’ll be working my way through all fifteen of these this summer! Okay, yes, there are a few books on here that don’t completely fit the “quick and easy” theme I’ve gone with – The Name of the Rose may be a murder mystery, but I doubt I’ll finish it in one or two sittings, and there are a few books on my Kindle that may take some time. Still, I’m very excited about all these books. Is it time to start yet??
*For those who expressed concern for the ongoing welfare of my kindle: no I have not yet found it. This is why people used to believe in pixies. Anyway, if I haven’t found it by the end of the month, I will give in and get a replacement. I’m going away for the long weekend at the start of June, including a 4-hour ferry each way, and having to go without an ereader would be very distressing indeed.
I’ve only read one of these, The Name of the Rose, which I found far more straightforward than all the commentary at the time suggested (perhaps I missed something!). And I’ve read some other Eco’s since – he’s an interesting writer.
Good luck with the rest of your summer schedule. I hope we get at least one post from Peru.
There will most definitely be at least one post about Peru (probably not *from* Peru as most of the places we’re going won’t have wifi). I’m really looking forward to Name of the Rose. I’m surprised you like Eco though, as I only know him as a historical fiction writer!
I haven’t read any of these, but it looks like a great list. Good luck with your goal!
Thanks – I’m looking forward to it!
Wow – a trip to Peru sounds adventurous. Good idea to mix in some shorter reads – I think I’ve made that mistake in past years and loaded up my list with very long and complex books which seemed to take forever to get through.
Name of the Rose is a good choice, especially for the long flights.
I put a big military history book on my list last year that I still haven’t finished! I don’t know why I was so sure that I could get through it in just a couple of months. Name of the Rose is one of the books I’m most looking forward to it, I think.
Changelings — it’s those changelings we’re all worried about, except your creature wasn’t good enough to leave a replacement….unless, you’ve found an unexplained receipt or magazine or something else with words on it that would stand in as an ersatz Kindle. And yes, I have been thinking about your e-reader! How well you know us! Get on the phone with Miss Marple, cuz this mystery is killing me!
It really is a mystery. I don’t think I’ve found something that would stand in as an ersatz Kindle – and I’ve really torn my whole flat apart looking for it! Ten to one I’ll give in and buy a new one, then immediately find the one one somewhere I never thought to look…
Are you sure you didn’t take it to work or set it down on the bus/train etc.?
Definitely not – I didn’t go out of the house between when I had it and when I lost it! I’m sure it will turn up when I least expect it.
If I were a witch I would consult some runes.
Okay, last idea: I’ve definitely lost things under my pillow before, from a retainer to my favorite Barbie. Have you checked under your pillow/behind the bed?
Peru!! How wonderful! Take lots of photos so those of us stuck at home can have a vicarious trip with you! 😀 What a fantastic list of books, full of ones I’ve loved – The Conjure-Man Dies, Rose Nicolson, The Clockwork Girl, To Cook a Bear, to mention but a few! I do hope you get as much pleasure out of them all as I did… 😀
There will definitely be lots of Peru pictures! I’m looking forward to it so much!
Yes, I think quite a lot of books first made it onto my TBR after you reviewed them. On the first version of this list, I realised that *all* the Kindle books were ones you’ve reviewed and recommended. A couple ended up getting cut for being too long and complicated, but still – clearly you are very influential on my reading tastes!
Your summer sounds packed and exciting! It’s nice to plan out some reading ahead of time, even if you know you won’t read it all!
Yes, I think it should definitely be exciting! I’m so looking forward to all my bookish and other adventures 😊
Thanks for taking part Lou, I loved Slender Means. Enjoy your summer!
Thanks for hosting! The only one of Spark’s that I’ve read is Jean Brodie, which I absolutely loved, so I’m looking forward to Slender Means very much indeed.