Tuesday 31 May 2016

20 Books of Summer (or Winter as the case may be)!

Cathy @746 Books is once again hosting her #20booksofsummer reading challenge.

It's actually winter here in Australia which is the perfect weather for curling up with a good book or two (although I'm sure my European and American readers will scoff heartily at my definition of winter and feeling cold!)

I always love the idea of this challenge but I struggle to stay motivated during the third month.

So I'm going to mess with Cathy's rules a little and only list 15 books so that the last five can be spontaneous, flexible picks to get me through my August angst!

1. The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke   (reviewed 17/8/16)

(replaced All My Januaries on my list)

2. Ruins by Rajith Savanadasa   (reviewed 30/6/16)

Another ARC with a BIG rap from my Hachette rep; another July release; another Australian author.
I also adore Indian literature, so this one has the best of both worlds for me - a Sri Lankan born Australian with his debut novel set in Colombo.
Great cover too!

3. Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift (reviewed 9/6/16)

I've been hoping to get into this well-reviewed story sooner rather than later (and I can't wait to read JoAnn @Lakeside Musing's review when she writes it as her social media raves this weekend have been very tantalising :-)
This book has been languishing on my TBR for long enough now.

4. Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty  (reviewed 6/8/2016)

I love my reps!
My Pan Mac rep came through a week ago with an ARC of Liane's latest book.
Mr Books snaffled it straight away since I had just started The Story of a Lost Child.
He raced through it with great pleasure and is now eagerly awaiting our discussion when I finally read it.

5. Everywhere I Look by Helen Garner  (reviewed 27/7/2016)

Most Aussie readers will know (& most likely adore) Helen Garner.
I have her latest non-fiction personal essays tempting me from my bedside chair.

I'm up to the fourth book in this gentle crime series set in Sydney in the 1930's.
I love Rowland Sinclair and his Bohemian friends.
This series has become my comfort read. As the days get colder and darker, I can safely say that a comfort read will be required at some point!

7. Joan of Arc by Lili Wilkinson (reviewed 8/8/2016)

I've had Lili's fictional bio for teens on my bedside chair ever since I read Green Valentine last year & discovered that she had written a much earlier story based on the life of Joan.
Louise @A Strong Belief in Wicker has a review of the book here.
I'm a BIG fan of Wilkinson and always intrigued by Joan.

Carol @Journey and Destination first put me onto this beautiful looking book.
You may have already spotted the other theme developing with this list....
No chunksters to bog me down this winter!!

9. The Santiago Pilgrimage by Jean-Christophe Rufin   (reviewed 22/8/16)

Spotted at this year's Sydney Writer's Festival - sounds intriguing.

10. On the Beach by Nevil Shute  (reviewed 13/6/16)

Nancy @Ipsofactdotme reminded me of this Australian classic about the end of the world, when she read it for AusReadingMonth three years ago. 
I've been meaning to read it ever since.

11. The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore    (reviewed 3/9/16)

August readalong with Cirtnecce.
(replaced The Bell Jar on my list)

12. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner   reviewed 22/7/2016

I read and loved, loved, loved Crossing to Safety four years ago.
I've been meaning to read another Stegner ever since.

13. I'm Supposed to Protect You From All of This by Nadja Spiegleman  (reviewed 4/9/16)

(replaced Our Man in Havana on my list)

14. The Last Painting by Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith  (reviewed 31/8/16)

(replaced Villette on my list)

15. Every Man For Himself by Beryl Bainbridge  (reviewed 18/6/16)

This is how it happens.

Barely one day after compiling my list of 14 and leaving a space for 6 books in August, I have discovered that Annabel's House of Books is hosting a Beryl Bainbridge reading week from 13th-19th June.

The Bainbridge ended up on my TBR when Lisa @Bookshelf Fantasies told me about this other Titanic story after we both shared our love for The Midnight Watch.

16. The Course of Love by Alain de Botton  (reviewed 2/8/2016)

(replaced The Bone Sparrow on my list)

17. The Catherine Wheel by Elizabeth Harrower is my #CCSpin 13 choice.
(reviewed 31/7/2016)

18. The Ladies of Lyndon by Margaret Kennedy    (reviewed 20/6/16)
so that I can join in Jane @Beyond Eden Rock's readalong.

19. Gentlemen Formally Dressed by Sulari Gentill   (reviewed 27/6/16)

My lingering winter cold saw me dive into another cosy, comfort read.


Auggie and Me: Three Wonder Stories by R J Palacio   (reviewed 13/7/2016)

After a drama at work, I needed something light and easy to dip into. Something that I knew would be heart-warming and uplifting.
The companion book to Wonder was an obvious choice.

I should finish The Story of the Lost Child tonight, so which book would be a good one to move on to next?


  1. Anonymous31/5/16

    Impressive list....I'm tempted to join, but will think about it today. I have to see if I can find 20 book that really will keep me going all summer. 20 reviews? Not going to happen....just the books that inspire.
    You'll hear from me via twitter.
    ps thanks for 'shout-out'

    1. So glad you've decided to join us Nancy :-)

      I look forward to all the tweeting.

  2. I love your list,so many authors I've never heard of! I do love Nevil Shute,though I've not read On the Beach,and Vilette is on my Classics Club list as well but I'm going to stick to my Middlemarch read along this time I think! The Bell Jar is fantastic!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Bec.

      Middlemarch is a tremendous read - it would be great to do it as part of a readalong too.

  3. A very interesting list.

    I have only read On the Beach. It was a long time ago. I remember it being very powerful and very much worth the read, I look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

    I really want to get to both The Bell Jar and Villette myself sooner rather then later.

    Happy reading!

    1. I read (& watched) A Town Like Alice many many years ago, so I'm looking forward to having another go at Neville Shute after all these years.

  4. Great reading ahead Brona. I heard about The Bone Sparrow, on twitter I think, and it does sound intriguing. I'm not getting all that much reading done at the moment, but my ambitions remain unchanged. I'll look forward to seeing your progress.

  5. Great list! I've been re-reading a bit of Graham Greene recently and remembering how much I enjoy his writing. And I've also got Truly, Madly, Guilty in my list - can't wait for that one! Have a great winter's reading!

  6. Anonymous1/6/16

    Ah so, yes, we in the northern hemisphere tend to forget. Hard to say which is the better season for heavy reading. Winter is good for curling up inside, but at times summer can be too hot to leave the air conditioning. Any excuse to read, lol.

    I read The Bell Jar ever so many years ago, but still remember it.

    1. We've just had a few days of fairly cold weather, but today has been a lovely 19 degrees C (for about an hour in the middle of the day!)

  7. Anonymous1/6/16

    You can't go wrong with On the Beach. And I'm curious to hear about the Helen Garner you picked. Enjoy your reading!

    1. The Helen Garner is magnificent so far!

  8. I'm so curious about The Bell Jar. There's a used copy for sale at my library, and it's been there for weeks. Should I get it? Hmmm. I won't get to it for years, probably. Anyway, I want to do this challenge b/c I need more reasons to stay awake and finish my reading challenge commitments when I'd really like to go right to bed and pass out. And it would be reasonable if I did 15, too, b/c school begins August 15 for us. : (

  9. Angle of Repose. I keep meaning to read that one! Thanks for the reminder! Looks like an eclectic and enjoyable list! :)

  10. Excellent strategy and choice of books! So glad you are in as well!
    Vilette is my favourite Charlotte Bronte novel - if that's not a heresy to admit. And Our Man in Havana may not reflect present-day Cuba, but it's a corking read.

    1. Certainly not heresy - but very, very intriguing. You've given me much hope and a great deal of anticipation now about Villette - thank you.

  11. That's a great list and I'll look forward to reading your reviews, some very interesting-sounding stuff on there. I have a couple of slim volumes on mine but some MASSIVE ones, too - oops! Happy reading!

    1. I have erred on the side of slimness for the most part but when I took the photo of my stack I realised a few of them were bigger than i first thought!

  12. Anonymous3/6/16

    There are quite a few classics on here that I want to read - Villette and Angle of Repose, The Bell Jar, and any of Graham Greene's books. And, of course, many that I haven't heard of (until now). Great quote for your blog - right now I can identify!

  13. Anonymous3/6/16

    What's the first book you are reading?

    1. I've started Mothering Sunday as our local TV bookclub are reading it for their next show on Monday. It's probably also the briefest book on my list :-)

    2. And now finished in just 24 hrs! I was tempted to reread it straight away. But it was 1am and my eyes were struggling to stay open!
      There will be more Swift on my horizon if this is anything to go by.

      What are you reading now?

  14. I've picked up a couple of Sulari Gentil's books 2nd hand for my daughter and a friend who are both collecting them; Listened to the audio of The Third Man by G Greene & it was really good so I'd like to try another of his - have heard Man in Havana is good. Love anything by Nevil Shute! Crossing to Safety - read that with a book club -not something I would have chosen for myself (I'd never heard of it before) but it was lovely. Hope you're not getting flooded out with all the rain here but isn't it ideal reading conditions!!

  15. You have some really good ones on this list: ON THE BEACH; THE BELL JAR; ANGLE OF REPOSE (I started the Wallace Stegner stage after reading this book.) Thanks for dropping by my blog the other day. I always enjoy hearing from you. My 20+Summer2016Challenge

  16. Vilette is a wonderful book, great selections


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