20 Books of Summer for 2019

20 Books of Summer

Well, well, this is the first time I’ve participated in the 20 Books of Summer challenge, only because the number 20 has intimidated me.  How on earth could I finish 20 books during the summer?  Thankfully, Cathy at 746Books gives some leeway with her challenge, so I can breath a little easier.  But ten ….???  Could I even manage ten?

Well, I have a plan.  I’m going to list 20 books and if anyone has any suggestions in the comments about ones I should definitely read, I’ll take the advice to heart and focus on those.  The challenge is from June 3rd to September 3rd and my goal will be 10 books.  We’ll see how I do.

20 Books of Summer

Where is The Professor and Moby Dick? I’d better find them quick! (and that was an unintentional rhyme ….. 😀 )

The Four Loves ~ no surprise here!  I’ll be reading it for my The Four Loves Read-Along beginning June 1st

The Return of the Native ~ So far I really don’t care for Thomas Hardy’s novels but I’m keeping an open mind.  Of course, I was influenced by a Goodreads group read.

The Professor ~ Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books but I didn’t particularly like Villette.  What will I think of this Charlotte Brontë novel?  Stay tuned.

The Communist Manifesto ~ I’m going to try to jump back into The Well-Educated Mind reads at Ruth’s pace.  I hope I can do it.  I was doing so well during the biographies until that darn Soltzhenitsyn!

Measure for Measure ~ I think I’m going to buddy read this with Marcelle at Lesser Known Gems

20 Books of Summer

Moby Dick ~ Ah ha!  Finally Brona’s much anticipated read-along.  No, I won’t be done by the end of summer but if I keep on schedule, I’m going to count it.

The Mill on the Floss ~ I’m determined to read this book this year and another to knock off my Classics Club List.  Does anyone want to join me?

New York ~ I borrowed this book ages ago and need to return it.  So read it, huh? 😉

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy ~ the next Well-Educated Mind book.  It will be nice to read some non-fiction for a change.  I miss it.

Roughing It In The Bush ~ I’ve read her sister’s book, The Backwoods of Canada, which I really enjoyed. They are very different personalities and I’m looking forward to this book.  Also, it hits my Christian Greats challenge.

20 Books of Summer

City of God ~ a confession ….. I’ve been trying to finish this read for ages.  I’m about halfway through and I really need a push to finish.  Besides, half this book should count for about three books because of the size!!

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd ~ for my unofficial Agatha Christie Perpetual Reading challenge.  I’ve enjoyed all the books so far, with my least favourite being Murder on the Links.

A Short History of Nearly Everything ~ another borrowed book.  I’m looking forward to this one.

The White Stag ~ one for my Newbery challenge

The Last Chronicle of Barset ~ embarrassingly, I started this series years ago.  It’s the last book.  And I need to finish!

20 Books of Summer

Diogenes, Sayings & Anecdotes ~ I’ve always loved the stories I’ve heard about Diogenes and wanted to learn more.  So now I will!

The Vindication of the Rights of Women ~ sorry, Ruth!  I fell off the read-along.  But I’m going to read this, really I will!

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich ~ I failed (so far!) with the Gulag.  This one is much shorter and I think will be excellent!

Mr. Midshipman Hornblower ~ the first in the Horatio Hornblower series.  For fun!

Ajax ~ and to end off, a play by Sophocles.  I’ve really missed my Greeks.  Can’t wait for this one!

So which ones would you pick?!

10 Book of Summer

Photo #1 © Cleo @ Classical Carousel; Photo #2 courtesy of Bib BornemPhoto #3 courtesy of Stock Snap; Photo #4 Courtesy of Kristine Lejniece







55 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer for 2019

  1. i liked Denisovitch a lot: it’s got a valuable lesson on how to live… and the Hornblower of course is wonderful, imo…

    • I’m looking forward to the Solzhenitsyn; it’s short. 😉 I love the Hornblower T.V. series and I assumed that the books are just as good, if not better. Have you read Patrick O’Brien’s sea novels? I’ve always wondered how he measures up to Forester ….

  2. Wow! No slacking off this summer for you. Half of the City of God is three books by length, and another six by difficulty. You finish that and you should be halfway there!

    The Return of the Native is another super-grim Hardy. That ought to count for three, because it’s so unhappy.

    I should be there for Moby Dick!

    • Wow, I like the way you calculate, lol!! 😀 20 books should be a breeze by that method!

      Hardy = grim. I don’t mind grim but when the characters are foolish and there’s no type of hope or redemption, I really can’t see the value in the book. However I will persevere!

      I’m so glad you’re joining in for Moby Dick. It sure will be fun! And I mean that! 😉

  3. I’m thinking “yes” to Return of the Native. This one doesn’t get as much attention, but it should.
    Of course, “yes” to Moby Dick (but that’s in August).
    Sure it would be great to finish City of God and Vindication and to get to those other WEM books. (I’m WAAAAAY behind in this current one by Tocqueville.) But you look like you have some other interesting reads on your list, too, that may be more intriguing to get to.
    Good luck!

    • Moby Dick I’m looking forward to, especially at the nice measured pace that Brona’s set. I know you like Hardy, which surprises me. I’m counting on you to increase my appreciation of him. 😀 I wanted to skip Democracy in America, only because I’m not American. I’d like to read it some day, but I have soooo many other books I’m eager to read that I wanted to target my time wisely. How are you enjoying it? Are you slow because it’s not keeping your interest or just busy with life things?

      • About Hardy….he is not easy to love. So do not feel any pressure about finding something to like about him. It’s like Don Quixote: I LOVE it, but it is soooooooooooo long; I do NOT blame anyone for grumbling about it at all. It’s such good writing, and so lighthearted, but it is unbearable in length. With Hardy, I click w/ his crisis-laden plots, which unstable individuals tend to relate. So do not feel compelled to find out what it is about Hardy, if he doesn’t work for you. I’m sure you are in good company.

        As for Democracy in America…I am slow going (in all of my reading) b/c the last two weeks have been crazy w/ the end of our school year stuff, my girls’ four spring dance shows, my son’s piano recital (all within the same three days!!), and all the rehearsals and extra practices leading up to them, followed by an unexpected funeral in Missouri, the ridiculous travel days and mishaps, and being emotionally and mentally drained of it all, that I could barely finish the last chapters of DQ…a day after we got home. Long story short…I lost two good weeks of precious reading.

        But, so glad to be home and getting back into the swing of things…starting today!!! (Sorry, that was really long!) 😀

        • I find most of Hardy’s characters unstable which is why I view them with more than some apprehension. To live in such instability is disturbing.

          Wow, you have been busy! I’ve had two weddings and three funerals this past few months which has been somewhat of a whirlwind but not as busy a time as yours. Hopefully you can catch up some of your reading time in the summer when school is finished!

          And you know me, I love long comments!! 🙂

  4. You realize all the books your lagging, are the ones I am also falling behind – City of Gods, New York etc etc. Hardy? No, that will not be my recommendation, He is not one of your or my kind, is my take! Short History of Everything is a MUST; I thoroughly loved it and I think you will too! I recommend, Trollope too, but then I have a blind spot! You should read Moby Dick if you have not done so!

    • Ha, ha! They’re all our read-alongs that have somehow fallen by the wayside. I should have added Dead Souls too, lol! How does your reading summer look? You just seem to keep getting busier. Poor, Cirtnecce! I’m so excited about Short History now. Trollope should be a must, because I’ll have forgotten the other 5 books before I get to this one. 😆 I hope you’re able to clean up some of your reading soon as well!

      • Hahahhaa…I was thinking that she should have added Dead Souls! Lifer is indeed busier and possibly crazier and all of that! I am hoping to do a better job reading and blogging soon enough though! Hope you have a fantastic summer!

  5. My suggestions are more avoidance than positive. Avoid Hardy (his books reflect his empty philosophy) and Moby Dick (because who wants to read a national geographic magazine in the middle of an adventure story?)

    • I have a tendency to love digressions if they’re interesting. Hugo …. Tolstoy ….. I love their meanderings. I kind of agree with you with regard to Hardy. I find his books not only empty but weird. I hope nobody close to his characters populate the earth.

  6. Yay for Moby Dick – having your company will make this tricky (by all accounts) classic more do-able.
    I agree with the Hardy pass – the only one I’ve really loved to hate was Tess. The rest have just annoyed me.

    And hornblower – yes, yes, yes!! I’ve only seen the tv series and read all the Patrick O’Brian books & really want to do these one days. So yes, read the first one for me & tell me if i should commit to another nautical book series.

    • Thanks, Brona; we’ll all need to support each other with this massive read! Annoy is a good word with regard to Hardy; Far From the Madding Crowd still bothers me. That’s wonderful to know that the O’Brian books are good. I’ll let you know about the Hornblower series. I have a good feeling about them.

    • Thanks for hosting this challenge, Cathy! I’m glad I finally decided to jump into the fray! And Ajax would be right up my alley.

  7. Well, a lot of those books aren’t exactly light reading! LOL.

    I would mix it up and make sure you include your plays and shorter fiction because the satisfaction you have in crossing them of the list will motivate you to stay on track.

    Also, I would be sure to include the Bill Bryson. I’ve not read A Short History of Everything, but I’ve read a few of his other books and find him laugh-out-loud funny much of the time.

    • Ya, my reading has been even lighter than normal so I guess I thought I should start to get serious again. But not too serious … 😉

      That’s good advice. I have a few shorter reads on there so perhaps I should schedule them early to see some books come off the list quickly.

      Well, that’s two votes for Bill so I must make sure I read his book!

  8. Oooh do read The Professor… I’m *supposed* to be reading it, and it would be comforting to know someone else is also supposed to be reading it. 😛 For such a short novel (and written by Charlotte), this is the 2nd or 3rd time I’ve started it and can’t seem to make any progress!!

    I read Mr. Midshipman Hornblower about ten years ago… it’s quite different from the TV series. I’ll be curious to hear your thoughts on it!

    The Communist Manifesto is a pretty quick read, so I recommend it for that reason. 😀

    The Mill on the Floss – Haven’t read it, but I saw the TV adaptation with Emily Watson. The plot is very Hardy-esque, so you might want to give yourself some space between that and The Return of the Native.

    Happy summer reading!!

    • Oh yes, let’s read The Professor together. I have plans to start it July 1st. Does that work for you?

      That’s good to know. It will be a little weird to see Eliot go the way of Hardy. Hopefully she does a better job at “depressing”.

      Thanks for the wishes, Marian!

    • Welcome, Michael! I was on a Greek play binge but haven’t read one in awhile. I’m looking forward to Ajax and it’s seems that you like Lattimore too! Have a great summer and happy reading!

  9. No slacking off for you this summer, I see! 🙂 Actually, although I haven’t read any of those titles, some of them should be good summer reads – Christie, a Newbery winner, a play or two – all good. I feel much the same about Jane Eyre and Villette, but know almost nothing about The Professor, so I’m interested to see what you’ll make of it.

    I’m not sure where I am with Hardy – my recollection of The Mayor of Casterbridge from high school is that it wasn’t all that difficult (though perhaps a bit of a downer!), but I sure struggled through Tess of the D’Urbervilles last year–made me start to feel like I can’t read anything difficult anymore. But by the time I finished, I could see why we still read it.

    Good luck with all your choices!

    • I plan to read but life has a habit of getting in the way which can be both a good and bad thing. 🙂 I’m surprised that you haven’t read any of the titles. I’m definitely going to read The Professor and The Return of the Native. I’m not going to expect much from Hardy and then at least I won’t be disappointed. Tess was difficult? Well, it might be awhile until I get to it but I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks for the wishes, Amanda!

      • I’m not sure it’s fair to say Tess is difficult just based on my opinion–mostly, actually, I just found it slow. And depressing, because it’s Hardy.

  10. Wow, that is an ambitious list! I love Kate Seredy and Trollope, so I vote for those. Mill on the Floss is good. I’m not so wild about Return of the Native (I voted it an Unreadable Book). GOOD LUCK!

    • Oh phew! I’m glad to hear that The Mill on the Floss is good. I was getting somewhat apprehensive about it. It does sound like a different Eliot. An Unreadable book! Well, at least now I’m intrigued. It wouldn’t surprise me though. I still have a slight hope that someday I’ll find something to appreciate about Hardy but the hope might be futile. 😉 Thanks, Jean!

  11. Aren’t summer books more of a light-hearted afffair? Maybe that’s only during college!

    Anyway, beside Moby Dick which I am looking forward to myself, I hope you will choose The Professor. Also a Jane Eye fan, I did like Villette even though it is a little odd. But I hope to read The Professor at some point, so I would love to get your take on it.

    Happy reading!

    • Well, summer books used to be light until my time outside summer became distracted with other things and now summer is really the only time I hope to have some extended reading time. We’ll see. I’m so glad that you’re joining the Moby Dick Read-Along. I felt anger from Brontë in Villette and it almost felt like she was playing with the reader so it was a little odd, definitely. Thanks for the wishes, Laurie! 🙂

  12. I love your list! I’m trying to read for all I am worth this summer. 20 books though is a bit steep for me though. I just got The Four Loves on Audible. I’m excited to start listening!

    • I know. I used to read so much but time is being taken up with other pursuits lately. I really miss it. That’s a great idea to listen to it. I’ve read the first chapter and it’s pretty dense. I hope it will ease up as we get deeper in.

    • Welcome, Jules, and thanks so much for the compliments! I was so eager to start and here we go! All the best for completing your challenge!!

  13. I will try to join you for _The Communist Manifesto_. I still need to review Woolstonecraft though.

    I might be joining this, but I would be a few days late, probably. I was going to make a list anyway, but for the challenge I guess I am supposed to make a post like this one? I will try to have one soon.

    • At least The Communist Manifesto is short; what a relief! I’d love to see your list, Beth, when you get around to it.

  14. It’s winter over here so I’m not tempted to join, which is just as well…
    The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a cracker – has such a great twist towards the end.
    I’m reading A Short History of Nearly Everything to my 14 yr old & it’s very interesting & enjoyable. We’ve had some great conversations arise from it.

    • Brona is doing the 20 Books of Winter! 😀 But not to tempt you ….. I’m sure you have enough on your plate.

      I’m really looking forward to reading A Short History. I have a couple of weeks at the end of June where I think I’ll be able to get some reading done so perhaps then. Oh, I miss homeschooling …. Sigh!

  15. I would really like to read The City of God one of these days. It always seemed more intimidating than the Confessions though. I’ve read the Confesions a few years back, although I unfortunately didn’t write a post for it when I did.

    Glad to see you stopped by my blog the other day! Sorry I didn’t get back to you sooner. We just had a baby so that’s taken up a lot of internet time.

    • City of God is MUCH more difficult than Confessions. I do hope I get through it!

      No problem! I know you have a small child so I assumed much of your time was taken up parenting, which, as rewardng as reading and writing is, is much more important. But it was encouraging to see you posting again! 🙂

  16. I’d recommend Measure for Measure, Moby Dick, and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich especially! I recently finished reading Measure for Measure with a friend; it was very rewarding. Moby Dick is one of my top 20 books; it is so rich and flavorful, gruff and salty. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich remained in my mind like an actual memory for years and two decades later I haven’t forgotten it. . .

    • I like your recommendations, two because they’re short and one because I’m going to be reading it in any case. 😀 I’m so happy to hear the stellar recommendation of Moby Dick! I can see One Day staying with the reader ….. I felt very much the same about Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Thanks for stopping by … I appreciate the comment! 🙂

    • You’re going to skip it?! That’s the one I’m most looking forward to. I’m going to have such a haphazard summer I’m not sure what I’ll finish. It will be interesting to review at the end of it. I hope you have a great summer of reading!

  17. Hi Cleo,
    I loved The Mill on the Floss when I read it. I devoured it within a week or two of devouring Middlemarch. I’m due for a reread of both novels.
    I’ve read all the novels by Charlotte Bronte, and loved them all. This for a project during my senior year in college, which was terribly long ago, but which left an indelible impression on me.
    I wish you the very best with your summer reading and will look forward to your thoughts and comments about it all!

    • We’ll see how I do with Brontë. I may need to re-read Villette but in it I felt an anger that I think came from her personal circumstances and it made me uncomfortable. I would like to learn how to appreciate it more though. I’m so glad to hear from another The Mill on the Floss fan! You have a wonderful reading summer yourself, Judith! 🙂

  18. Wow! That’s an ambitious list for the summer. But, I hibernate during the summer so I mostly read. I wish you good luck with all your reads and look forward to seeing how much you like – or dislike – The Professor. Like you I loved Jane Eyre, but didn’t like Villette. Again, good luck!

    • It seems that I have to be ambitious to read anything at all, lol! You’re fortunate to be able to hibernate. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that for part of this summer but we’ll see. Thanks for the wishes! I do hope The Professor is good but I don’t expect another Jane Eyre. If I manage my expectations, perhaps I’ll find it enjoyable. I’ll let you know!

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