20 Books of Summer 2023

After skipping last year, I’m back at it again, joining Cathy in creating an overly-ambitious, unrealistic plan to read and review twenty books this summer. Though perhaps I shouldn’t sell myself short. Reviewing my past record, there’s a decent chance I’ll get to these, eventually… of my 20 books of summer 2019, I’ve now read 19. This year’s list is a combination of carryovers from summers past, prize winners and longlisters, review copies, and the few remaining 1001 Books that are sitting unread on my shelf (or books by authors who appear on that list.) Guess I’ll have to visit a used bookstore soon to replenish!

  1. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon (1001 Books, previous on a 20 Books list)
  2. Hard Times by Charles Dickens (1001 Books, previous on a 20 Books list)
  3. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (1001 Books, previous on a 20 Books list)
  4. Howard’s End by E.M. Forster (1001 Books)
  5. The Ambassadors by Henry James (1001 Books)
  6. [Holding this space for another 1001 Books pick, pending a trip to Wee Book Inn]
  7. The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell (1001 Books adjacent)
  8. The Ladybird by D.H. Lawrence (1001 Books adjacent)
  9. Abigail by Magda Szabó, translated by Len Rix (on a previous 20 Books list)
  10. Green Darkness by Anya Seton (on a previous 20 Books list)
  11. Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden (on a previous 20 Books list)
  12. Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada, translated by Margaret Mitsutani (one of the books I bought in a Covid-induced haze last year)
  13. You Made a Fool of Death with Your Beauty by Akwakae Emezi (another Covid book)
  14. Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, translated by Daisy Rockwell (2022 International Booker Prize winner)
  15. Boulder by Eva Baltasar, translated by Julia Sanches (2023 International Booker Prize shortlister)
  16. [Holding this space for the 2023 International Booker Prize winner, in case I haven’t read it]
  17. I (Athena) by Ruth DyckFehderau (a review book from this year)
  18. The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt (just a plain old “been on my TBR forever”)
  19. Milkman by Anna Burns (Booker prize winner)
  20. Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon (cheating as I’m about to read this)

Join in at 746 Books and hold me accountable!

The stack (not pictured: a few on my Kobo)


  1. Laura

    Self-Portrait with Boy and Milkman are fantastic! I like the classics focus of your list, as well – I enjoyed Gaskell’s biography a lot. I’m also keen to read Boulder.

  2. louloureads

    Great list! The only one of these I’ve read is Howards End, which I enjoyed, though I didn’t love it. I do want to try some Henry James, though – I’ve never read anything by him – so I will be interested to hear what you think of The Ambassadors.

  3. bookbii

    Nice list. The Last Samurai is my favourite book of all time, I read it at least once a year. It’s my go to book, I never get bored of it. I hope you enjoy it but either way I’m looking forward to your thoughts. I suspect it’s one of those books people could find annoying but I adore it.
    Good luck with your reading.

  4. Pingback: Announcing 20 Books of Summer ’23: Add your links here!
  5. Liz Dexter

    Nice pile (hm, how come it’s so much shorter than mine, which is assuming epic proportions!). I really enjoyed the Akwakae Emezi so I will look forward to seeing what you think of that one: I hadn’t read any of their books before. Enjoy!

  6. Pingback: Hard Times by Charles Dickens | Reading in Bed

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