Sunday, May 14, 2023

A Summer Challenge: 20 Books of Summer 2023


This is my eighth year of participating in the 20 Books of Summer reading challenge. The event is hosted by Cathy at 746 Books

This year, 20 Books of Summer starts June 1st and ends September 1st. I completed my list of 20 books in 2018 and 2019, but in other years I had mixed results. 

I always have a problem with reviewing all the books, but this year I am putting my priority on reviewing the books rather than finishing the list. We will see how that goes.

The event is very flexible. You can go for 15 Books of Summer or 10 Books of Summer if 20 is more than you want to commit to. Books can be substituted along the way. And that is fine. See this link for a description of the event. 

Coming up with the list is the best part. Here is my list of books.


Mindful of Murder by Susan Juby

A Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

A Man's Head by Georges Simenon

Murder Most Fowl by Bill Crider

The Nature of the Beast by Louise Penny 

Disco for the Departed by Colin Cotterill

Sleep and His Brother by Peter Dickinson

The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes

Spy Fiction

Our Man in Camelot by Anthony Price

SS-GB by Len Deighton (alternative history)

The Mulberry Bush by Charles McCarry

The Doomsday Carrier by Victor Canning

Science Fiction 

The Last Colony by John Scalzi


The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and Frank Doel

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullars


Jane Austen Cover to Cover by Margaret Sullivan

Number One Is Walking: My Life in the Movies and Other Diversions by Steve Martin, illus. by Harry Bliss (graphic novel)

A Fire Story by Brian Fies (graphic novel)


Lark said...

Good luck with your 20 Books of Summer! I've read a few of the books on your list: Sworn to Silence and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society are two favorites of mine, as is 84 Charing Cross Road. Happy reading. :D

Judith said...

I am so gosh darn HAPPY!** that you are doing The 20 Books of Summer!! Yay!
I'm doing it, too, though I'm not quite ready to post the list. I just posted about all my news. I wish you the very best!

Cath said...

That's a very nice list, Tracy! I love 84 Charing Cross Road. I'll be interested to see if you get to the non-fiction about Jane Austen, I must look that one up to see what it is. Good luck!

FictionFan said...

It's the reviewing I always fall down on too. You've got a nice mix here, so I hope you enjoy your summer of reading whether you get through them all or not!

TracyK said...

Lark, I think I will like all of the books on my list. I avoided Sworn to Silence for years because the description convinced me that it was too grim and violent for me. But other bloggers have convinced me to try it.

TracyK said...

Judith, I am happy that you are doing 20 books of Summer too. I will stop by your blog to read all your news later this evening. I have missed your posts.

TracyK said...

Cath, I should have no problem reading the nonfiction book about Jane Austen and I expect to love it. It has lots of illustrations so it should be a relatively easy read.

TracyK said...

FictionFan, For the last few years I haven't been able to keep up with reviewing as many books as I would like to. I am working on some balance of reading vs reviews that works for me. However, I am happy with the variety of types of books in my list.

Kathy's Corner said...

Hi Tracy, I have read Sworn To Silence and 84 Charing Cross Rd and I recommend both. Also the movies of these books are really fine. Anne Bancroft gives a wonderful performance in 84 Charing Cross Rd and Neve Campbell is great in the film version of Sworn To Silence.

NancyElin said...

Is it summer again?
The months fly by and time to enjoy
your great list of books. I see you added
2 genres this year "Spy Fiction" and Non-fiction"
I haven't read any of your selected books!

Love this challenge b/c Cathy @746Books makes it so
flexible. I've already removed 2 Pulitzer Prize book from 1950s
to books written in 2010s. I could not manage a 700+ page
1956: Andersonville – MacKinlay Kantor...just too long for a summer read.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Do they have to be summer-themed?

TracyK said...

Kathy, Glad to hear that you liked Sworn to Silence, I am beginning to look forward to reading a book about an Amish community in Ohio. (My husband is from Ohio originally.) I am sure I would also enjoy the film; I have liked Neve Campbell in several films.

I had forgotten that 84 Charing Cross Rd was adapted to film. I will have to see if I can find it anywhere to watch.

TracyK said...

Nancy, the months go by very fast for me too, now. I was surprised to see the announcement for 20 Books of Summer. It doesn't feel like summer is very close here, we had overcast and coolish temperatures today, but it was great for a walk in the morning.

I may have included Spy Fiction with Mysteries in the past, but I felt like keeping track of how many of that type were on the list. I may not have ever included nonfiction on my summer list, but the ones on this list all relatively short.

TracyK said...

No, no need for a summer theme, Patti, although I would not be surprised if some people leaned that way. I think the summer more refers to the more time to read in the summer, or something like that.

TracyK said...

MI6, Thanks for your thoughts on spy fiction. I have enjoyed books by Deighton, le Carre, and Fleming, but of the three, Deighton is my favorite.

Emma at Words And Peace / France Book Tours said...

Great list! I have only read 3, but The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers is my favorite here. I have read it 3 times along the years.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Emma. Now I am even more eager to read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

Todd Mason said...

M16, novels are fiction. Historical and other novels might refer to facts, but they are not nonfiction. Alas, so, too, is entirely too much military/espionage "intelligence" also fiction, convenient or otherwise.

Tracy, it so happens the only one I've read so far is the sf novel (as all "alternate histories" are science fiction) SS-GB, and I liked that one. I picked up 84 CHARING CROSS RD some years (or even decades) ago, but it was almost immediately swept into a moving/storage box, and hasn't made its way back out. A very good reading experience for your summer, I hope!

MI6 said...

Fact based is probably a better description than nonfiction as all nonfiction is laced with poetic license anyway.

Todd Mason said...

Well, nothing gets to be purely true, particularly when there's any analysis necessary. Objective truth and immutable fact require knowledge of everything that's involved, and no shading or omission...and that requires an ability beyond a human capability...while always striving for it is worthwhile! Narrative nonfiction or factual narrative is what I took you to be referring to as a nonfiction novel...histories and biographies look to do that job, frequently, among others (such as most "true crime" narratives).

MI6 said...

Wait for AI !!!!!!!!!!!

CLM said...

Good luck! I've read six of these. I am formulating my list and have a McCarry on it, based on your recommendation.

TracyK said...

Todd, I do consider alternate histories science fiction, but as it is also espionage, I decided to stick SS-GB there. Deighton is one of my favorite authors, but for some reason I always put off reading alternate histories... even though I usually enjoy them once I get into them.

TracyK said...

Thanks, Constance. I do hope I do well with this list. And I hope that you enjoy reading a book by McCarry. The Mulberry Bush is a standalone and the last book he published. After that I will have to start over if I want to read his books.

Judith said...

Hi Tracy,
I'm really excited about The Twenty Books of Summer and I love your list!
I have just ordered a copy of the Mitford book by Jessica Fellowes. Ordered the paperback for just $10. I've just read lots of reviews of the mystery and it sounds like it will be perfect for me this summer. So I'll be reading this one with you.
I read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter way, way too young. She is a great writer, though, but I read a lot of her work in my early teens--just too young, and I knew it at the time I read it and told myself I should go back later.
I'll be looking forward to your experiences with these books!
Best wishes,

TracyK said...

Judith, I hope we both enjoy The Mitford Murders by Fellowes. I think it will be fun. I reqret that I haven't read anything by McCullars before now, but I guess it is never to late. I am still excited about the books on my list, I hope that continues through the summer.

I look forward to seeing your list for 20 Books of Summer.

CLM said...

The McCarry I found *is* The Mulberry Bush! Maybe that is why I picked it up at the book sale.

Yesterday I got a call from a friend in Ohio who was driving to Amish country to pick something up that he had ordered (I think he was trying to while away the time). Although he is not a reader, I did recommend Sworn to Silence and even looked up his local library to show him he could download it from Libby as an audiobook. Somehow I suspect you will get to it first!

TracyK said...

Constance, I am glad we will both be reading The Mulberry Bush this summer. I am having a hard time waiting until then to start reading my books. I am looking forward to reading Sworn to Silence and getting to learn about what a contemporary Amish community is like.

thecuecard said...

Good list! I particularly like your three fiction picks. And I enjoyed the movies as well to 84 Charing Cross Road and The Guernsey potato peel society. So good. I hope you enjoy your books.

TracyK said...

Cuecard, I am looking forward to reading my three fiction picks. I just recently realized where the island of Guernsey is (in relation to the UK and France) when I was checking out another location in the UK. Now I am looking forward to The Guernsey Potato Peel Society even more.

Neeru said...

I have not read any of these though I have a couple on the shelves. Looking forward to your revfiews.

TracyK said...

Neeru, I have enjoyed all the books I have read from this list so far. I am reading more slowly this month, but that will be fine if I manage to review all the books.