10 Books of Summer Challenge

10Well, hello there! Nothing like getting back into the swing of things like joining a challenge. I’ve been itching to get back to the blog, so when Cathy at 746 Books announced her annual 20 Books of Summer challenge, I decided this might be a prime opportunity. Now, I’ve failed to complete this challenge before, so I decided to go easy on myself and commit to 10 books. You’ll notice, however, that I have 15 in my picture. I got a little carried away before I realized that I needed to consider that I’ll have at least three additional books to read for book club, plus I’m bound to go off script and read at least one or two unplanned books, probably re-reads. I average about five books a month, so this should be doable, even though I have a few chunksters there. Let’s get to the list, shall we?

The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin. I don’t read a lot of Sci Fi, but I’ve always felt like this was a standard must-read for any person who considers themselves well-read. (For the record, I do not consider myself well-read because my reading has always been all over the place, so I have a lot of gaps.) But this is #4 in a series? Oof. Well. Anyone read it? Do I have to read the other three first? That’s a lot of Sci Fi for this reader, ya’ll, even if I am trying to better myself.

The Dog of the South, Charles Portis. True Grit is one of my favorite books of all time, and I’ve had this one sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for several years.

The Power of the Dog, Thomas Savage. Ha, I should have listed this and The Dog of the South first in an attempt to make you all believe I was only going to read books with dog in the title! Anyway, I just added this dark, modern Western about two brothers vying for the same woman to my list after seeing a review of it on Goodreads a few weeks ago from someone with very similar tastes. Plus, I’m a total sucker for a Western.

Truly Devious, Maureen Johnson. I don’t read a lot of YA, but I’m familiar with Johnson because I used to follow her on Twitter. Her exchanges with the Brothers Green (John and Hank) were always so amusing. Larry from It’s Either Sadness or Euphoria (honestly this guy cannot be human—he reads and reads and then produces the most incredible reviews of everything) reviewed this on Goodreads a few weeks ago and it looked so cute I thought this boarding school mystery (the first in a series) would be a fun summer read.

The Immortalists, Chloe Benjamin. Honestly, I have been on the fence about this one, but my book group picked it to read for our next meeting, so the decision was made for me. Let’s hope it’s worth it. It does have a gorgeous cover.

The Guest Book, Sarah Blake. An East Coast multi-generational family saga.                 Sorry, did you need more explanation than that?

A Brightness Long Ago, Guy Gavriel Kay. I’m not sure if it’s just Game of Thrones ending or what, but I got the itch to read some Fantasy, and apparently this guy (see what I did there) is amazing. My MIL really enjoys his books and the description sounded fun, so I thought, why not try it?

Oral History, Lee Smith. Ever since reading Fair and Tender Ladies (oh, how that title makes me cringe, but it is such a wonderful book), I’ve wanted to read all of Lee Smith’s books. But since I have the attention span of a……..what was I saying?

Florida, Lauren Groff. I used to read short stories almost exclusively. Now I can’t remember the last time I picked up a collection, other than to re-read something. I’m not a huge fan of Groff’s novels, but I did love her collection Delicate Edible Birds, which was one of the first books I reviewed here. I’m a little worried about the hype, but we’ll see.

Red Clocks, Leni Zumas. Honestly of all the books on the stack this is the one I am least likely to read. I got it as part of a first editions/new releases subscription through Powell’s last year. I had just read The Power, which was alright, and was not in the mood to read another feminist dystopian novel. I’m still not, truth be told (and I already have Le Guin!), because we’re all just living the dream…er, nightmare…right now, aren’t we?

Less, Andrew Sean Greer. I bought this right before we moved to Amsterdam, so it was on a boat and then in storage and then it went on the shelf and I forgot about it until I went hunting for books to read for this challenge. It’s supposed to be laugh-out-loud funny, so sign me up.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies, John Boyne. There was so much hype around this one I tried to resist it, but then I read the first few pages at the bookstore and thought, yes. Then we moved and see Less by Greer, Andrew Sean above.

Marlena, Julie Buntin. If I remember correctly, this came out right around the same time as Emma Cline’s The Girls (which I thought was fantastic), so I bought and I’ve tried several times to read it and…meh. But maybe there will be some sort of cosmic convergence and I’ll not only actually finish this 10 Books of Summer challenge but I will do so by reading this book! I love it when things just work out, don’t you?

The Italian Teacher, Tom Rachmann. I wholeheartedly enjoyed both The Imperfectionists and The Rise & Fall of Great Powers, so when I saw this on sale at the book store I bought it. And then I went on to read something else. Not that it’s a pattern or anything.

The Gunners, Rebecca Kauffman. Honestly, I think it was on sale? Like The Immortalists, this is one that got a lot of hype and I felt sort of wary about but obviously I had a brain fart and now look at me, proud owner of this book.

So there you have it. Is anybody still out there? Have you read any of the books on my list? Please share in the comments…and stay tuned to see if this will be my year!

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18 thoughts on “10 Books of Summer Challenge

  1. Nice to see you back at your blog!

    Here’s what I know:
    Less is less…maybe you’ll like it. Did zilch for me.

    The Immotalists was meh…left it at 50 pages or so.

    The only book by Blake I’ve read was The Grange House. It was spooky in an ordinary way.

    Oral History is the first Lee Smith I read. It’s a masterpiece of Appalachian writing. She’s so poetic! I guess she got the title for Fair and Tender Ladies from the first stanza of an old folk song…

    Happy reading!

  2. I have not read a one of these, but I think this might be my favourite 20 Books of Summer (or 10) list so far. Love the variety! And two Canadian authors, too! I have a Guy Gavriel Kay on my shelf that I’ve been meaning to get to for years.

  3. I also don’t read a lot of YA, but like you I picked up Truly Devious because I was aware of Maureen Johnson through Twitter. I loved it (and also the sequel The Vanishing Stair).

  4. Thanks for hosting the challenge again, Cathy! I’m excited about it. I’ll be reading The Immortals first because it’s for my June book club, so stay tuned for my thoughts on that one soon!

  5. Mom, I’m looking forward to that Lee Smith. The only other thing by Blake I’ve read is The Postmistress, which I really enjoyed. I’ll let you know how The Guest Book is. You know we like those sagas!

  6. Thanks, Laura! I am really pushing myself on this one. I tend to read something I like and then go down the rabbit hole of similar books. That’s what has derailed me every time I’ve joined this challenge. Not this year! (I hope) I didn’t realize Kay and Rachman were Canadian, but that’s good news, because I have yet to read anything by a Canadian that I haven’t enjoyed. There’s something magic in the water there…

  7. I had to have a look at our list!
    All the authors are NEW to me with the exception of John Boyne I read: “A Ladder to the Sky “(see list #ReadIreland 2019 on blog sidebar) and I plan to read Le Guin (…also not a sc-fi fan) “The Lathe of Heaven”. She is a great author. “Less” has been getting a lot of buzz lately. Have fun reading this summer!

  8. I can heartily recommend the Ursula Le Guin, Priscilla, and, no, you don’t have to have read any of the other titles in her Ekumen collection—all you have to know is that this is some future human male being an envoy to a planet yet to establish links with a planetary confederation. The back cover blurb will have told you as much, I expect. I read it decades ago and found it beautifully thought-provoking, and hope to embark on a third read for review in the not too distant future.

    I’ve yet to read any Kay but he’s been recommended to me a lot recently and I follow him on Twitter. Soon, I hope!

    As for the others, the Savage appeals, I haven’t read read any Westerns since my teens in, er, the last century.

  9. Calmgrove, thank you for commenting, and especially for letting me know that I can dive into Le Guin without having read the other books first. That’s what I get for not doing my homework and simply choosing a title that’s the most familiar and recommended.

    I’m excited about the Kay, as it’s also not my usual fare but sounds like a terrific escape. I’ll be sure to post thoughts on that one, as I think several people are curious about that one. I’m likely to get to the Savage as well because unlike the Kay it sounds right up my alley, so I will post thoughts on that as well, maybe with recommendations for others to read? It’s such a broad category! (And I was also a teen in the last century, which was probably why I was allowed to read du Maurier at 12!) 🙂

  10. Interesting choices! I really enjoyed The Heart’s Invisible Furies when I read it in March – Boyne’s style is so engaging. The Left Hand of Darkness sounds fascinating, too. Le Guin’s an author I need to read more of.

  11. Michael, thanks for dropping by! I have heard wonderful things about The Heart’s Invisible Furies…really looking forward to it. I’m a bit nervous about Le Guin because Sci Fi isn’t my thing, but I hope for the best!

  12. Lots of interesting sounding books on your list! I haven’t read any of them – too many books in the world! 😉 – but there are several I’d like to get to one day – The Power of the Dog, The Heart’s Invisible Furies (which I think is lingering somewhere on my Kindle) and like you I’ve been undecided whether to try The Immortalists. Maybe I’ll wait and see what you think of it… 😀 Enjoy your reading, and remember… failure is the new success! 😉

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