Thursday 28 May 2020

20 Books of Winter

There are almost as many individual ways of participating in Cathy's annual 20 Books of Summer Winter as there are participants!
Obviously, one of my points of difference is seasonal.

I usually have no difficulty reading 20 books in 3 months, but I am very fast and loose with the whole idea of a static list that I must stick to for the entire season.

Yes, I will give you 20 fabulous book options below, that I would love to read this winter, but chances are, by next month, another 20 books will have come into my possession, clamouring just as hard for my attention. So I will swap books in and out as the mood takes me.

20 books will be read.
The chances of them being the 20 book listed below is, however, rather slim.

For my own amusement, I will list each book with it's opening sentence.

3/20 - 12th July 2020

Shortlisted for this year's Women's Prize and my next book club read.

The first time our father brought Andrea to the Dutch House, Sandy, our housekeeper, came to my sister's room and told us to come downstairs. "Your father has a friend he wants you to meet," she said.

10/20 - 24th August 2020

Longlisted for this year's Miles Franklin Award & the book I plan to nominate to be our following month's book club read.

Odette Brown rose with the sun, as she did each morning.

7/20 - 13th August 2020

Will it live up to the hype?

This is a book about a radical idea.

11/20 - 26th August 2020

Comfort read the first.
I'm pretty sure that Maisie will not be bumped from this list.
One cold, miserable weekend in June or July, she will be the answer to all my woes.

Tonight I joined the women of the London Auxiliary Ambulance Service as they rushed to the aid of civilians caught in the relentless bombing of this brave city.

The Animals in that Country | Laura Jean McKay

Sadly this cover gets lost on the shelf on work. 
Up close it looks intriguing, but on a crowded shelf it simply doesn't pop. 
I will have to read this to help hand-sell it.

Everyone wants to see the wild ones.

The Dickens Boy | Tom Keneally

At some point in recent history, Thomas Keneally became Tom Keneally.
I usually find his novels a bit hit or miss.
I'm hopeful, however, since this one highlights the last book of his that I enjoyed on the cover.  That has to be a good sign right?

A long ocean voyage seems plentiful in small incidents when you are on it, but is remembered as a blur when it ends.

The Dictionary of Lost Words | Pip Williams

Good word-of-mouth bestseller at the moment at work.

Before the lost word, there was another. 

Friends and Rivals | Brenda Niall

I cannot tell you how excited I am about this one. Two of my favourite Australian women writers together with two more I'd like to get to know better.

'All over the country, brooding on squatters' verandahs, or mooning in selectors' huts', so A. G. Stephens wrote in the Bulletin in 1901, 'there are scattered here and there hundreds of lively, dreamy Australian girls whose queer uncomprehended ambitions are the despair of the household. they yearn, they aspire for they know not what...'

Fire Country | Victor Steffensen

After our horrendous fire season this past summer, I've been wanting to read more about the Indigenous approach to caring for country. The timing for publishing this book was perfect in March...until Covid-19 arrived, and pushed the urgent environmental story off the top shelf.

Through my childhood I was always interested in learning whatever I could about culture and the bush.

Latitudes of Longing | Shubhangi Swarup

Industry buzz around this one. Sounds promising...but I've been there before!

Silence on a tropical island is the relentless sound of water.

Sisters | Daisy Johnson 

I've been meaning to read one of Johnson's books for a while now...this could be it.

A house. Slices of it through the hedge, across the fields.

Perveen Mistry #2 The Satapur Moonstone | Sujata Massey

Comfort read the second.

Perveen Mistry sighed, adjusting her hat on her sweating brow.

The Porpoise | Mark Haddon

Wasn't going to read this...but then I heard it had an Ancient Greek myths and legends angle.

Maja is thirty-seven weeks pregnant.


Great opening line!

The first time I saw him, I thought he looked like a lion.

12/20 - 28 August 2020

Comfort read the third.

The doors which led out to the suite's balcony were open to the brewing storm outside.

Love | Roddy Doyle

Haven't read any Doyle for years. This looks lovely.

He knew it was her, he told me.

Hag-Seed | Margaret Atwood

I read Shakespeare's The Tempest earlier in the year, so that I could fully appreciate this book.
It's time I got to it.

The house lights dim. The audience quiets.

A Thousand Ships | Natalie Haynes

Shortlisted for this year's Women's Prize.

Sing, Muse, he says, and the edge in his voice makes it clear that this is not a request.

The Closed Circle | Jonathan Coe

I read book three of this trilogy at the beginning of the year, quickly followed by number one.
I felt like I was done with Benjamin Trotter and his family and friends, until Mr Books read them all recently, in correct chronological order, and insisted that I finish the series because book two was the best of the lot. In his opinion!

Sister Dearest, The view from up here is amazing, but it's too cold to write very much.

6/20 - 3 August 2020

Comfort read the fourth.
And one of my Paris in July options.

For the first time since they had been going for dinner with the Pardons once a month, Maigret had a memory of the evening at Boulevard Voltaire that was almost painful.


I guess part of the thrill now, is to see which of these twenty titles will make it all the way to September?
Which books will be bumped for something newer and shinier?
Let the games begin!



The Ring-Ins

1/20  - 11 June 2020

4/20 - 14 July 2020

5/20 - 20 July 2020

8/20 - 19th Aug 2020

9/20 - 22nd Aug 2020

13/29 - 30 August 2020


  1. The Dutch good!

    1. I'm looking forward to that one a lot too.

  2. I looked at all your selections today.
    Mysteries and Indian writers (..some of your favorites) don't appeal to me.
    Many of your books are going to be published in very new.
    I want to wait and see what you think about them.
    I DO like 3 Australian books:
    The White Girl
    Fire Country
    Friends & Rivals
    Putting these on my #AusReadingMonth2020 list.
    I don't know if you are hosting again this year
    ...but I read AUSSIE in November anyways!
    Have a great WINTER reading season!

    1. I will be prioritising these 3 Aussie books (plus the other Aussies on the list) & yes, I plan to host AusReadingMonth in Nov again :-)

  3. A great list and you included the opening lines (as in our TTT challenge this week.

    Lots of wonderful titles. Some of them are on my wishlist. I read Hag-Seed earlier this year but have never read "The Tempest".

    I must read "Rodham" since I read both Living History and What Happened by Hilary Clinton and I like dystopian literature. ;)

    1. Nice to be part of the TTT vibe without even realising it :-)
      I'm very keen to Rodham soon - I want to read it before the hype gets too much!

    2. I know exactly what you mean. I usually try to avoid those books that "everyone" reads at the same time as everyone reads it. LOL

  4. I can't wait to see what you read this summer.

    1. Summer sounds such a long way away to me Deb! I always find this meme messes with my seasonal brain :-)

  5. I loved The Dutch House, Ann Patchett is one of my favorite writers and this is one of her best. I listened to the audio version narrated by Tom Hanks, who is just as wonderful a reader as you would imagine.

    1. Wow, what a wonderful audio experience!
      I adored bel canto, so have high hopes for The Dutch House.

  6. Your plan follows pretty closely to what happens every year for me! I start out with a list of 20, but by the end that list looks very different! Happy Winter Reading!

    1. The real problem is, I really WANT to read all of these books, but I know what happens to me every year. Working in an Independent bookshop means I have to keep up with the new releases, so things will get bumped for the August new release *shrugs*

  7. So exciting! Thanks for sharing your proposed list. They all seem enticing. Do you think you'll read at least ONE from this list??? If so, which one? Who has the best chance of being read by the end of winter?

    1. I will at least read the 2 book club books, plus the Maigret.
      And Rodham is probably next cab off the rank.
      4 originals would be a great result :-)

  8. What a great looking list! And I love the way that you've corrected the badge to suit your circumstances. The only one of these I've read is the Atwood, which is good fun. And I'm reminded that I must find a way to source some of Tony Birch's books; I've heard his work praised so many times and it's not easy to find overseas. Good luck avoiding the new and shiny options that are angling for your attention, even now!

    1. Have you tried contacting University of Queensland Press directly? They may have ways to help an Aussie o/s access access their authors?

      I really hope to get to the Atwood - I would be disappointed if I got to the end of 2020 and hadn't followed through with my plans to read it with The Tempest still fresh in my mind.

  9. Have a fabulous winter of reading!


  10. I'm so curious about Humankind as well. So many on your list I hadn't heard of but you've piqued my interest. I do have to read a Maisie Dobbs sometime soon. Have a very cozy winter reading time, Brona!

    1. Maisie is the perfect holiday read - summer or winter :-)

  11. wow, great list! I have read several of these authors, but not the book you chose. I have recently been reading the first 8 Maigret books, as a French readalong with one of my online students. They are actually really good!

    1. How wonderful to be able to read Maigret in the original language! I've tried learning other languages at different times in my life, but I just don't have the ear for it, or at least what i hear cannot be reproduced by my lips! When we travel, Mr Books picks up basic phrases and greetings wherever we go very quickly, while I'm still just nodding my head and smiling at everyone.

  12. Yay comfort reads! I have made sure I've put some short and / or easy books in my pile this year! Happy WINTER reading!

    1. I'm hoping that most of my reads will also fit the short/easy category. About 90 pages into Rodham atm & it's quite wonderful and entertaining so far...and easy to read.

  13. Oooh Humankind! That's high on my radar too. I may be about to make my first swap!

    1. It's very easy to read as you would expect from a popular science book. As an optimist, it's an affirming read so far.

  14. I've got Roddy Doyle's Love in my pile as well :-)

    1. My last Doyle was a children's book; I really like his writing style at any age.

  15. Jacqueline Winspear fan here :-) and I'm keen to read Fire Country myself.


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