Monday, May 28, 2018

20 Books of Summer 2018

A few days ago I was wondering if the 20 Books of Summer challenge would return in 2018. Then I saw Jean's list at Howling Frog Books, and I immediately started thinking about my list for this summer. The originator of the challenge is Cathy at 746 Books. Check out Cathy's list for more information.

This is a challenge of sorts but it is very flexible and I have enjoyed it for the last two years. For this event, summer starts June 1st and ends September 3rd. You can go for 15 Books of Summer or 10 Books of Summer if 20 is too much to commit to. Both years I participated I did not finish my list in the Summer, omitting 2 or 3 books, and I read others that appealed to me at the time. And that is fine.

And the absolute best part is making the list, even if it means narrowing down a list of 40 books to 20. So here is what I chose.

A Study in Scarlet (1887) by Arthur Conan Doyle
This brief book, barely over 100 pages, introduced Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and it will be the first novel in this series that I have read.
Death in the Clouds (1935) by Agatha Christie
A woman is murdered with the venom-dipped dart of a South African blow-gun on a routine flight over the English Channel. A Hercule Poirot mystery.
The Bigger They Come (1939) by A.A. Fair (Erle Stanley Gardner)
The first book in the Donald Lam and Bertha Cool series.
Murder with Mirrors (1952) by Agatha Christie
Jane Marple visits Carrie Louise at her Victorian mansion, Stoneygates, at the request of an old friend. UK title is They Do It with Mirrors.
Auntie Mame (1955) by Patrick Dennis
A story about a young boy raised by his aunt. It has been adapted for film and as a Broadway play.
Thunderball (1961) by Ian Fleming
The 9th James Bond book, set in the Bahamas. Ernst Stavro Blofeld, head of the criminal organization SPECTRE, makes his first appearance.
The Limbo Line (1963) by Victor Canning
Starring British Secret Service agent Richard Manston, who shows up later in Canning's Rex Carver books.
Death in the Garden (1995) by Elizabeth Ironside
A historical novel, with story lines in two different time periods. In 1925, Diana Pollexfen was accused of killing her husband, but found innocent. Sixty years later, her grandniece decides to find out what really happened.
The Terra-Cotta Dog (1996) by Andrea Camilleri
The 2nd Inspector Montalbano mystery, set in Italy, part of a long-running series. Montalbano finds a cave filled with artifacts and the bodies of two young lovers who have been dead for 50 years.
Starting Out in the Evening (1998) by Brian Morton
A novel about an aging author whose books are now generally forgotten, and a young female grad student who wants to a write her thesis about him. There is a movie based on the book starring Frank Langella.
Night Rounds (1999) by Helene Tursten
The second book in Helene Tursten's series featuring Inspector Irene Huss, set in Sweden. Her husband is a chef, and they have twin daughters and a dog. 
White Sky, Black Ice (1999) by Stan Jones
Starring Nathan Active, an Alaska state trooper assigned to the remote village of Chukchi. This will be my first experience reading this author.
Murder is Academic (2002) by Christine Poulson
This is the first book in Poulson's Cambridge Mystery series, starring Cassandra James. The UK title is Dead Letters
The Bone Garden (2003) by Kate Ellis
This is the 5th book in a series that has an archaeological theme and has two mysteries in each novel, one past, one in the present. I read the first one years ago but wasn't encouraged to continue with the series. Yet I have heard good things about the series and it now has a total of 22 books.
Gasa-Gasa Girl (2005) by Naomi Hirahara
The sleuth in this book is Mas Arai, a Japanese-American gardener in Los Angeles. This story takes him to New York, where his daughter lives. The 2nd book in the series.
The Night Watch (2006) by Sarah Waters
I was attracted to this book by the subject matter (World War II, London, 1941-1947)  but put off by the length. Now I am going to give it a try.
An Expert in Murder (2008) by Nicola Upson
Mystery novelist Josephine Tey is the sleuth in this one. I was dubious of the premise but I have heard good things about the books so why not see if I like it?
The Diggers Rest Hotel (2010) by Geoffrey McGeachin
Set in post-World War II Australia, the hero is Charlie Berlin, who rejoins the Melbourne police force after the war. This book won the 2011 Ned Kelly Award.
The Cold Cold Ground (2012) by Adrian McKinty
Set in Northern Ireland in 1981, at the height of the Troubles. Starring Detective Sean Duffy, a Catholic policeman.
Follow Her Home (2013) by Steph Cha
Juniper Song is a young female Korean American amateur detective in LA, who is an admirer of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe. The series sounds like it could be fun.
Moskva (2016) by Jack Grimwood
I have read two of this author's books published as John Courtenay Grimwood and I was very impressed with them, so when I heard he had written a cold war spy thriller set in Russia, I had to read it.

Since this list is so long I won't even comment on its makeup, but since I have added dates you can see what decades I am reading from.


neer said...

You have some wonderful reading time ahead of you, Tracy. Ironside's book has been on my wishlist for a very long time.

Shalet Jimmy said...

Going to save this list....Decided to read Agatha Christie's all the books and now in the process. Thanks for such a good list..

Kay said...

This is a great list! Both of the Christie books are good, but Death in the Clouds is one of my favorites. I also have An Expert in Murder and Follow Her Home on my long, long TBR. And I didn't know that Christine Poulson had another series. I can see I need to investigate a bit. Good luck with your summer!

joan.kyler said...

What a great list of books! You're going to have a terrific reading summer.

Anonymous said...

You're in for some excellent reading this summer, Tracy. Camilleri, Christie, Canning, McKinty, Jones... Yes, I think you'll really enjoy these books. I look forward to your thoughts on them.

TracyK said...

I am looking forward to reading all of these books, neer. I have had a couple of Ironside's books for years and now I am finally going to read one.

TracyK said...

Glad you like the list, Shalet Jimmy. I also want to read all of Christie's books but I have a lot of them left to read.

TracyK said...

I just finally got a copy of Death in the Clouds last year, Kay. An Expert in Murder and Follow Her Home have been sitting on the shelves for a while now and I am glad that I going to read them soon. I am looking forward to Christine Poulson's book also.

TracyK said...

I agree, Joan, I expect to have fun reading this summer.

TracyK said...

Margot, I think I first read about the Stan Jones book at your blog, and probably others on this list, too. The only problem I will have is keeping up with reviewing what I read.

NancyElin said...

Oh, Tracy a great list of books....but I've not read ONE of these authors, oh, wait I did read Agatha Christie. It is still 31 May where I live and have not decied whether to joing #20BooksOf Summer....yet. Still musing... :)

TracyK said...

Since I was already wanting to do it before it was announced, it was not a hard decision for me to join in, Nancy. For some reason summer works well for me to use a list. Middle of the year sort of. But I spent too much time coming up with the list.

Clothes In Books said...

Great collection there, Tracy, should be fun to read.

TracyK said...

I do think it will be fun reading them all, Moira. Often I come up with a list and once I have committed to it, it is less appealing. But I don't think I will have any problems with this one.

col2910 said...

Some great reading ahead of you here, Tracy. We've a few in common - Jones, McGeachin and McKinty, though I might have read that one. Some other authors I've been meaning to try as well, Fleming and Canning.

Christine said...

Very flattered to find myself in such august company, Tracy!

TracyK said...

I know, Col, I think it is a great list also. I often have problems sticking with a plan, but I think this one will be easy.

TracyK said...

I am looking forward to reading your Cambridge series, Christine. I am very happy with the list.

NancyElin said...

It took me 2 weeks to decide....finally I made the list today. I have 2 CF lined up!

NancyElin said...

Tracy, I just finished my first CF of the summer. F. D├╝rrenmatt's The Judge and the Hangman. It was terrific!
Reading a non-ficton book about Irish crime fiction 18th-21th C. I'm discovering more 'to like' in CF !

TracyK said...

I definitely want to try some by D├╝rrenmatt someday, Nancy. And I am glad you liked it so much. The book about Irish crime fiction sounds good; I am currently reading a crime fiction book by Tana French, an Irish author, set in Dublin.

NancyElin said...

Congratulations with the completion of #20BooksOfSummer +1 !!
What was the best read?
What was the worst read?

TracyK said...

Thanks, Nancy. I was lucky, I picked a lot of books I really enjoyed. Three favorites were: Starting Out in the Evening / White Sky, Black Ice / Murder is Academic. I liked everything on this list but I still don't enjoy Kate Ellis's Wesley Peterson series as much as most readers.

NancyElin said...

Thanks for the feedback...I'm going to have a look at these books!