20 Books of Summer for 2020

20 Books of Summer
Oh wow, it’s here again:  The 20 Books of Summer hosted by 746 Books.  And I laugh!  Ha, ha!  And two questions spring to mind:

  1.  Do I really think I can finish 20 books this summer? and;
  2.  Knowing me, do I really think I can stick to a list?

Then I saw Ruth’s post pop up which is labelled: The 10 Books of Summer.  And I came up with a brilliant idea.  Why not choose 20 Books but only expect to read 10 of them?  That way I’ ll have flexibility with my list and perhaps finish the challenge.  Just call me Einstein!

20 Books of Summer

© Cleo @ Classical Carousel

20 Books of Summer ~ 2020

The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot: I’ve just started this so I believe I can count it and a bonus is that it’s on my Classics Club list. Normally I love Eliot’s writing but I’m not so sure about this one ….

The Seven Dials Mystery – Agatha Christie: After a disappointing The Big Four, I’m back in my Christie groove after reading The Mystery of the Blue Train. Looking forward to this one!

Partners in Crime – Agatha Christie: The next book in my chronological Christie project. I loved the first Tommy and Tuppence book, The Secret Adversary, and I hope this one is just as good!

The Mysteries of Udolpho – Ann Radcliffe: A buddy read with Kim, Jean, Cath, and possibly Amanda.  I can’t wait for this one!  Oh, the drama!

Ajax – Sophocles:  Keely has reminded me in her last post of how much I love the ancient Greeks.  I’ve already covered most of Aeschylus’ plays so Sophocles is up next.

Electra – Sophocles: And why read one play by Sophocles when you can read two?!

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch – Alexandr Solzhenitsyn: This book has been on many of my lists including my Classics Club.  Boy oh boy, I’d better finish it this time!

Dead Souls – Nikolai Gogol: One for my Russian Literature challenge.  I’ve started it once, God willing, I’ll finish it now!

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee: This is on my spring list and now my summer.  Absolutely LOVE this book!  A perennial favourite!

Reveries of a Solitary Walker – Jean Jacques Rousseau:  I had The Social Contract on my spring list but I don’t really feel like reading it.  I went for a lovely hike the other day and now feel like reading about one of my favourite solitary walkers, Rousseau.

Meno – Plato:  Ah, Plato.  I loved his Apology but got stuck up on The Republic.  This is a short one which will perhaps make me feel like I’m getting somewhere with him.  I hope …

How The Irish Saved Civilization – Thomas Cahill: Again, a book on my spring list and I REALLY do want to read this one, so I’m moving it over.

The Last Chronicle of Barset – Anthony Trollope:  I have started this, but the book is huge enough that most of it will be read in summer.  I’m enjoying it so far.  I think Trollope really shows his aptitude for crafting a story with this one.

Tartuffe – Molière: In honor of Fariba’s read-along of Molière’s plays which I was invited to but am missing because I simply cannot fit another thing in. I am desolate to have to pass.  Sigh!  Just not enough time in the day!

Second Thoughts of an Idle Fellow – Jerome K. Jerome:  This will be a perfect book for summer and hopefully a good follow-up to Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow.  Jerome makes me laugh ……. and laugh and laugh and laugh …. so looking forward to it.

The Solitary Summer – Elizabeth von Arnim: I finally read a book by von Arnim last year, Elizabeth and her German Garden, and I fell in love with von Arnim’s writing.  Seems like another perfect read for summer.

The Lord of the Flies – William Golding: My Classic Club spin book which I thought I didn’t own and therefore wouldn’t finish by June 1st but I found a copy of it today!  Technically if I finish it for the spin date it won’t count as a book for summer but whatever!

Diogenes, Sayings and Anecdotes – Diogenes the Cynic:  Another ancient Greek and a book I’ve been meaning to get to for ages.  Dear Diogenes who went around in the daytime with a lighted lantern looking for an honest man.  His sayings and anecdotes will certainly be enlightening!

World War Z – Max Brooks:  Zombies?  This summer, yes!  I’ve always been curious about this book.  Sadly I saw the movie first and liked it but the book must be better, right?

Les Malheurs de Sophie – Comtesse de Ségur: I always want to improve my French and always try to read one French book per year …. and rarely succeed.  But perhaps one day.  And I’ve always wanted to read this one ….

Cafe Greece

So there is my list!  Fear not, oh Golden Bough friends!  In spite of it not being on this list, I am still reading it while being bored senseless. 😴  I will persevere though!

Have you read any of these books and, if so, did I choose well?  Also, please let me know what books you have planned for the summer months!

10 Book of Summer


Photo #2 courtesy of Katrina_S on Pixabay

Photo #3 courtesy of Bru-nO on Pixabay

Photo #4 courtesy of Myriams-Fotos on Pixabay

Photo #5 courtesy of Analogicus on Pixabay

55 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer for 2020

  1. What an interesting, eclectic selection. I’ll salute you, wish you happy reading, keep to my commitment with The Mysteries of Udolpho, and look forward to some interesting reviews.

    • Great list! yeah, the hardest thing about picking a shorter list would be deciding which books to leave out. I might join you for the two Sophocles plays, because those are on my list too! The Meno is really interesting; I think you will like it. I will make my list later.

      • Thanks, Beth! I can’t wait to see what you have on your list. A buddy read of the Sophocles plays would be great! I must get back to reading those Greeks!

    • I’m going to look at this list at the end of summer. And then probably laugh again! 🤣

      I’m going to put a post up for Udolpho in the next few days. So excited about it!

  2. i’ve read half of them but not the others (haha)… i read Mill twice; the second time because i’d forgotten that i disliked it the first time and it wasn’t any better. i didn’t know these Jerome titles: i must get them; love his attitude… Lord was a waste of paper it thought; his other books are better; my favorite of his was Pincher Martin, for some reason: most people wouldn’t like it i think… somehow i missed out on reading Rousseau; must remedy that, i even have a copy… i think… i’m always impressed by the classics you read; i never read them that much, lately anyway… good luck: a superb list!

    • HA! I’m not quite sure what to make of The Mill yet. I’ve said before “Hardy vibes” and I haven’t shaken them yet! 😝

      I was surprised to learn that Jerome was such a prolific writer. I should read Three Men on the Bummel but I loved Three Men in a Boat so much and I have to prepare myself to be disappointed with the sequel.

      Now you’ve made me curious about Pincher Martin. I’ll see if I can get it free somewhere.

      Rousseau is fun, even a laugh sometimes although it can be at his own expense. I really have a soft spot for him.

      I quite like this list too! The only book I had trouble choosing was the last one and I will be shocked if I get to read it. Thanks for the comment!

  3. You must enjoy lists a lot. You’re always making them.
    Now, perhaps we can discuss the making of lists versus the using and sticking to of lists?

    • Okay, but wouldn’t it be worse if I hated making lists AND hated following them? Doesn’t the fact that I like making them mean that I’m halfway there? One might ask “halfway where?”, and I’d have no idea ….. 😜

    • It should be a quick read at least. It was on a list I had when I was reading through some dystopian stuff like A Canticle for Leibowitz. Now there’s a book that I should have added to the list! It was great! But 20 is really MORE than enough!

  4. Love your photograph of the bookstack!
    Dead Souls was very good, and I loved The Mill on the Floss. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is a great short novel as introduction to Solzhenitsyn. I could go on. I hear The Mysteries of Udolpho is over 740 pages. I need to borrow a copy to see if I could try this one out. I would like to, because it’s the basis of a genre that is of utmost importance to me. Very interesting shelf!!

    • Thanks for the compliment and for the information on some of my stack! It’s nice to know I have some good ones to look forward to.

      Oh yes, please join us in our The Mysteries of Udolpho read! It will be fun! I’m going to put a post up in the next couple of days with a very loose schedule just to keep us on track for finishing by the end of August. I think we’re all just going to add our progress thoughts into monthly posts but of course, that’s not necessary. We’re leaving it very open. Again, I really hope that you’ll join us!

    • I had to take a moment and look up Studs Terkel. Interesting guy! I’m so happy to hear that I’m in for a treat with World War Z! Welcome to my blog, Marc!

  5. Fabulous list, I have read many here or other titles by the same authors, except by von Arnim who pops up everywhere for me lately, Rousseau, the French title and the zombies book.

    I think I am going to reread Moliere. I love Moliere, and I read him in Spanish, in rhymed translation respecting the original rhyme.

    Like you, I didn’t finish The Republic but love The Apologia. I adore Sophocles, and I need to get back to Aristophanes. I bet you will enjoy Diogenes. I think I have a book like yours at home in Spanish. I must check.

    I didn’t know Jerome K Jerome had those titles. He is very funny.

    And your idea of list 20 and read 10 (or less) is genius.

    • You’re such a well-read reader! I’m so sad to be missing the Molière read-along on Goodreads but perhaps when I read each play I can go back and add to the comments. I do wish that I could read him in French. Well, I probably could but it would take me a couple of months!

      I can’t wait to read Diogenes. Oh, the sarcasm! 😂

      Jerome is a prolific writer. There are so many of his books that I’ve yet to discover.

      So Bookstooge thinks I’m nuts and you think I’m a genuis, lol! Hopefully I fall somewhere in between.🙄

  6. Fun list! I’ve in the process of making one up myself. A lot of serious stuff! Though your Christies reminds me I’d better put in a few lighter things myself.

    Don’t give up on The Mill On The Floss! Hardy vibes is about right–it’s probably the darkest of her novels. Still I quite liked it.

    Ajax is a good one, I think. I read it in Greek as an undergraduate. I’ve read the Elektra (though not in Greek) and I remember it less well.

    And I should put a Russian on my list! Get started with that project, too…

    • Oh great! I can’t wait to see your list. Although …… once I see it I’m sure I’ll see titles that I wish I put on mine … sigh!

      I am enjoying The Mill on the Floss but not in the same Eliot-expected-way. I’ll just have to make the adjustment.

      You studied both Latin and Greek, didn’t you? I started learning Greek a few years ago but then fell of my bike and gave myself a concussion so I had to drop out of the class and I just haven’t had the time to pick it up again. And I started to teach myself Latin but only made it so far. I have the means to teach both to myself at home but again …. time …. Oh, to have tons more time! I’ve heard that Xenophon is *relatively* easy to read in Greek.

      I’ll be on the lookout for your post!

  7. Yeah, I don’t know about Mill on the Floss either. I left it on my shelves in case I decide to commit to it again. Good luck!

    • I think The Mill on the Floss is definitely worth reading. Whether you’ll LOVE it or not, is another question entirely ….

  8. What a great list! I’ve been debating joining in on this event (knowing that at best I’ll probably only read 10 books), and I really like your idea for list making…hmm…

    I’m a few books away from Partners in Crime, but looking forward to it also – Tommy and Tuppence are so much fun! I think the only book on your list I’ve read is To Kill a Mockingbird, but many of them are books on my TBR list. Maybe I should rethink all the rereads! 🙂

    Good luck and have fun!

    • I’ve heard that it’s okay to change up your list too, so that works for me. When will I see your post, lol?!

      I re-read a lot of books last year and while they were all wonderful, I kind of regret it. Perhaps it will work better for me when I have moved a few more classics from my TBR to “read” pile. Now I just need to stop having so much fun with other things and start reading (which of course is fun too)!

      • Still dithering over which books I want to read this summer, lol. (And hoping to see The Mysteries of Udolpho arrive so I can include it in my book pile photo.)

        I’m trying to actively move more books from TBR to ‘read’ as well – I’ve made some decent progress (for me, at least) so far this year. But it’s always a balance; I found that a Sense and Sensibility reread was completely necessary this spring. 🙂

        • My curiosity is reaching its boiling point. Which books will you choose?

          In spite of my promise to myself not to re-read books this year, I’m having an Austen-re-read feeling coming on. The Decameron in September might just stop that though, lol!

          • I’m letting myself continue to include a mix of rereads, though I’m trying to at least also work through some of the books I have around that I want to just read and then get rid of. I do have a feeling Udolpho will prompt the desire for a Northanger Abbey reread, though… (but I am interested in Decameron too–maybe we have to finish Udolpho early so we can do both?)

  9. Love the stack@ and your plan of attack!

    I am glad you got your mojo back for Christie! One bad apple doesn’t spoil the barrel, right?

    The only von Arnim I’ve read is The Enchanted April which was lovely. I must read more from her too.

    • And you’re a poet and you don’t even know it! 😂

      I so wanted to read The Enchanted April this April and I forgot! So I chose another one, but I’m sure it will be excellent as well.

      Happy reading!

  10. Hi Cleo, are you going to be reading the Undset book. I loved all three. I was going to read How the Irish saved Civilisation last year but didn’t. One Day in the life of …I didn’t like this as much as Cancer Ward which was so good. It is very short so maybe that was why 🙂. I’ve surprised myself recently by tackling some biggies. Enjoy your reading.

    • Hi Carol! You’re the only one to catch my blooper. I included the Undset book in my photo but not my list. I do plan to read it though. At least, I think, ha, ha! I’d like to read Cancer Ward one day. Right now I’m stuck on the Gulag which is making me mentally resist other Solzhenitsyn’s. Perhaps One Day will get me started again. Good luck with those tomes!

  11. Hmm I like that strategy too Cleo, although it’s coming onto winter here (what am I saying, we’ve just had a week of proper winter weather with rain, wind off snow etc even though we still have an official calendar week of autumn to go) which means it’s easier to stay in and read.

    It wont matter what the weather though; nothing will make the Golden Bough an easy, enjoyable read 😀

    • That sounds like unusual weather for your part of the world but if it gives you more reading time, it must be good, right?

      Oh, The Golden Bough! You know, I can appreciate it because I can tell it came from Frazer’s heart and he feels strongly about it. And I like that he never tried to present it as a “bible” to anthropology. He admitted his ideas were suppositions. But as for enjoying it, it’s never going to happen. I’m yawning my way through it and am finding I’m being distracted by other more palatable books. But persevere, I will! I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it!

  12. Well, I made myself a goal of 300 books in an effort to reduce my TBR pile, but I keep reading on my kindle and books from the library, so good luck!

    • Don’t you consider reading books on your Kindle, reducing your books? Just trying to make you feel better, ha, ha! I’m jealous every year of the number of books you manage to read so I can only say, congratulations!!

    • Well, I haven’t listed any of my kindle books on my TBR pile. I have 800 books on Mt. TBR, not including books on Kindle. Ah well…Love your photos, by the way.

  13. Gulped my coffee when I saw your books…
    once for shame: I’ve let the ancients slip by the wayside for a long time
    …you have inspired me to add ONE to my reading TBR
    once for excitement: I HAVE to read about the Irish in any shape or form, thanks for bringing this New York Times Bestseller to my attention.
    Book….never going to be on my bookshelf: …WW Z (M.Brooks)….zombies…not my thing
    Book…must be on my bookshelf soon: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich….this classic slipped through my ‘reading cracks’. I hope you fulfill both unknowns…read 20 books…and don’t change the list! 🙂

    • Woo hoo, Nancy! You’ll probably read the Irish book before I will. Investigate more of Thomas Cahill’s books. I’ve heard that his writing and subject matter is excellent and fascinating! No Zombies? Well, I’ll let you know if you’re missing anything. One Day is so small, I’m sure that it can be read in a day or two.

      I’m going to TRY to read at least more than 10. I feel very hopeful. With everything reopening here life has suddenly become too busy again. Got to slow it down! Take care of yourself!

  14. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer – Simpler Pastimes

  15. So, of these, I’ve only read To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, and Solzhenitsyn. I’ve had Mill on the Floss on my TBR, but I told you how I watched the film version and it was a big mistake. Nonetheless, I’m open to changing my mind. I will be interested in this one by Rousseau. I’ll have to look it up. I like how a hike changed your mind.

    • Well, now I’m starting to rethink Rousseau because I’ve read that this book was written at the end of his life, so now I’m thinking that I should read The Social Contract first. I will let you know about The Mill. As I said, I think it will be worth reading but I’m not expecting to be blown away by it. Have a great reading summer!

    • Thanks! Ah yes, Dead Souls. I really need to get to this one as I’ve begun it once already. Thanks for dropping by! I will check out your list!

  16. What a wonderful list of books that I would love to read or, in many cases, reread. I find that for myself prospective lists of books to read get tossed aside by other books that catch my attention. I will probably read twenty books this summer, but Don Quixote and The Crossing by Cormac McCarthy are the only ones that I’ve committed to read.

    • This list is definitely a fluid one but hopefully it will keep me focussed. Have fun with Don Quixote; it’s a favourite of mine but I haven’t read The Crossing. I’ll be interested in hearing your thoughts on it. Thanks for you comment, Jim, and have a wonderful summer!

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