Clearing the decks and caveats: 20 Books of Summer 2019

Clearing the decks

We are less than a week out from the start of 20 Books of Summer, so of course I’m in the middle of a bunch of books. I’m trying to clear the decks so I can start my first book, Paul Auster’s Winter Journal, with a clear schedule (see my full TBR here). Here’s what I have to deal with first:

Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson

For Mel’s Read Around the World Book Club, which I am taking part in for the first time. Reading an author I’m familiar with, and who lives in my hometown, seems a little contrary to the spirit of “reading around the world”, but I’m glad to finally take part. Mel is a favourite on Booktube, and recently made a video just for me, after I publicly announced my incompetence when it comes to video editing. The book itself is a tricky one: I DNF’d it a few years ago, and this time around, I was well past 100 pages by the time the story started to click. I would recommend Son of a Trickster over this one.

Zucked by Roger McNamee

After reading several in-depth reviews, and listening to McNamee interviewed on Making Sense with Sam Harris, I don’t know if I’ll learn anything new in this book. So far, there’s a lot about his Grateful Dead obsession and dealing with Bono… did you know Bono was actually kind of instrumental in Facebook’s rise? I guess I learned that…

Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely by Andrew S. Curran

It seems like I’ve been reading this forever. It’s not particularly dense, but not gripping enough, maybe? I need to commit a few hours and finish this one off!

 The Ukrainian and Russian Notebooks by Igort

This is an extremely bleak graphic novel. I finished the Ukrainian part, which was about the Holodomor, also known as The Ukrainian Genocide, and I’m not sure what I’m in for in the Russian part, but it can’t possibly be as bad? The style is a little confusing, so I’m not particularly looking forward to this… I might just take it back to the library.


Cathy is a benevolent 20 Books of Summer host; she encourages us to swap and change up our list as needed. That’s good, because there are a number of books that could really fuck things up for me!

Tell Them of Battles, Kings, and Elephants by Mathis Enard

I’m #2 in line at the library and have been for a long time, as the book’s still on order. I considered cancelling my hold, but then Rachel made me reconsider with a five-star review.

Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss

Another long-standing library hold, I’m #10 in line and don’t want to lose my spot! The hype is strong with this one, but I have a good feeling about it. Something about it puts me in mind of The Wake.

How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

Another social media(ish) book, and I’m so excited to find one written by a woman! I’m #13 in line and the book’s not in yet, so it’s hard to say when it’ll roll in, but I’ll make room if it does.

The Empress of Idaho by Todd Babiak

The last and most distant of my library holds, I’m #35 in line, but with 18 copies, that will move quickly. Babiak is a popular local author, and I’m still mourning the premature end of his Christopher Krauss thriller series, and I’m not usually one for thrillers. I was basically in love with the main character… another thing I don’t usually do or “get”. This one’s about a teenage boy so it will be a bit of a different experience, I assume…

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I bought this “for my husband” but obviously I should read it first, because I can knock it out in a few days, and then we can talk about it, right? My husband is obsessed with music documentaries, so this seemed like a good fit. He usually lets me pick one book a year for him so hopefully I haven’t steered him wrong!

Are you clearing the decks for 20 Books of Summer?



  1. priscilla

    I have Daisy Jones and Ghost Wall on my list to read. I read Bodies of Light last summer and loved Moss’s writing. I’m intrigued by the Babiak, both the one you have here and the series. I’ll be watching for that one.

    • lauratfrey

      Oo let me know if you try any of Babiak’s books! I fully recommend the thrillers, if you’re usually not a thriller kind of person/more inclined to literary fiction.

  2. Rachel

    Yessss hang in there with Tell Them of Battles! It’s a really quick read too so at least there’s that. Ghost Wall is another quick read and SO worth the hype. And ditto Daisy Jones actually but I could see you going either way with that one – I’ll be very curious to hear your verdict.

  3. annelogan17

    I’m excited about the Babiak book too! I’ve got Daisy on my shelf but haven’t cracked it yet-I’m doing a little public event on it for the Calgary Public Library in July so I have to read it carefully and think of vaguely intelligent things to say about it (yikes)

  4. Hannah

    I am really looking forward to your thoughts on Ghost Wall. I feel like the only person in the world who didn’t love it (it was ok, but not brilliant I thought) and I am so rarely the unpopular opinion that it’s weird it should happen with a book this popular in our little twitter corner.

  5. Pingback: 15 Books of Summer | The Paperback Princess
  6. Kelsey @ There's Something About KM

    Fortunately – in terms of getting ready for this challenge – my May reading was abysmal (because, life), so my decks are clear and so are the skies – onward I go! 😉😆
    (I hope the people in front of you on those hold lists are speedy readers!)

  7. Pingback: Winter Journal by Paul Auster | Reading in Bed

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