20 Books of Summer Challenge

The 20 Books of Summer reading challenge is hosted by Cathy at 746 Books blog. The goal is to read 20 books between June 1st and September 3rd. Even though I don’t think I’ll be able to read quite that many, I thought this would be a fun challenge to attempt. I’ve been meaning to set a summer TBR list anyways and so I might as well aim high!

My list of 20 books is a mix of literary fiction, modern classics, galleys, nonfiction, and historical fiction. These are all books I own- either as physical or ebook versions.

Here’s hoping I can make a big dent in my #20booksofsummer list. Wish me luck!



1. Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

I’m currently reading and loving this brilliantly written story of a blended family. The cover is very summer-y too!





2. The Wilding Sisters by Eve Chase 

I’ve started an ARC of this atmospheric, dual-timeline novel that is reminiscent of Daphne du Maurier and Kate Morton. This is exactly the type of book I love getting lost in this time of year, and much of the plot is set during an English summer.





3. The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn 

This Jane Austen time travel novel sounds like a delightful escape. After reading an excerpt, I definitely think this one will be right up my alley.





4. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry 

I have been dying to read The Essex Serpent for months. My copy has finally arrived and I can’t wait to start this hugely popular read.





5. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome

This humorous Victorian novel- about three friends who go on a boating excursion on the Thames- looks like a charming read. I also added it to my list because of its connection with the next book…





6. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

I’ve heard wonderful things about this historical Sci-fi novel- mostly from fellow Toastie’s  whose opinions I trust. I can’t wait to time travel to Victorian England with a cast of mid-twenty-first century Oxford historians.





7. Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher

This WWII era coming of age novel seems like the perfect comfort read. I acquired my grandmother’s copy of Coming Home over Christmas and have been saving it to read this summer.





8.  Continental Crimes from the British Library Crime Classics Series 

This will be my first book from the British Library Crime Classics series- a series I’ve been excited to try. Summer seems like the ideal season in which to read golden age  mysteries set in Europe.





9. Madam, Will You Talk? by Mary Stewart

My summer reading list would be incomplete without the addition of a romantic suspense novel from one of my favorites. I think Madam, Will You Talk? will be the one i reach for, but I may end up switching it out for a different Mary Stewart.





10. Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak

I’ve received an ARC from NetGalley of this intriguing novel from popular Turkish writer Elif Shafak. This seems like a beautiful- if heartbreaking- story of female friendship. I look forward to exploring its themes of religion, feminism, and higher education.





11. See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Another NetGalley ARC, this one is a fictionalization of the infamous Lizzie Borden murder case. This looks like a chilling and engrossing read written in beautiful prose.





12. Mariana by Monica Dickens

I had to include a Persephone Classic in my #20booksofsummer list. This 1930’s novel sounds charming and reminds me a little of I Capture the Castle– one of my favorite reads from last summer.





13. The Austen Escape by Katherine Reay

Another Austen related novel, this one revolves around two friends who spend a holiday getaway in Bath. I wish I could go on my own Bath excursion this summer, but will have to settle for some armchair travel instead!





14. Jane Austen at Home by Lucy Worsley 

I can’t wait to read this nonfiction companion to the BBC documentary I loved- and wrote about here.





15. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows  

My Lady Jane sounds like a fun, slightly quirky novel. It’s described as being in the tradition of the Princess Bride and looks like a good “beach read.”





16. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters 

I’ve been wanting to dive into a Sarah Waters lately, and The Paying Guests is one that has been languishing on my shelf. I believe some of the plot even takes place during a London summer.





17. August Folly by Angela Thirkell

I really enjoy reading Angela Thirkell during the spring and summer. Her novels are cheerful and relaxing reads. I’m saving this one for- surprise surprise- the month of August.





18. The Lark by E. Nesbit 

This charming-sounding story from the Furrowed Middlebrow and Dean Street Press collaboration involves an English cottage, a flower-selling business, and a man named Rochester. Yes, please!





19. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

I’ve fallen hard for the ITV/PBS miniseries The Durrell’s in Corfu. I can’t wait to spend time with the real life family within the pages of Gerald’s memoirs.





20. Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter 

Beautiful Ruins has been on my summer reading list for the past couple of years. I think this finally may be the summer I pick it up. It will make for perfect outdoor reading while I pretend that I’m vacationing on the Italian coast.



What books are on your summer list? 



19 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer Challenge

Add yours

  1. This is a great list, I’ll be adding some of these to my TBR list. A good summer book is J.L. Carr’s ‘A month in the country’, especially if you like the English countryside

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So many books here are my favourites! I have reviewed some and enjoyed a talk by Sarah Perry on “The Essex Serpent” at Derby Book Festival recently. To my shame I have not read it yet, but definitely intend to now. Enjoy your summer reading!


  3. Hallo, Hallo > swinging through the #20BooksOfSummer linky! I noticed you have quite a few lovelies on your list revolving round Austen; as I personally love seeking out re-tells / sequels myself. I’ll have to keep my eye on your reading progress to see which one these struck a chord and were the ones you’d consider a #mustread as quite a few of them I’ve heard readers are either on the fence and/or loved it dearly! lol I love how we each can approach a story from a different perspective and thereby, giving us all a lot of food for thought! 🙂

    Speaking of Beautiful Ruins – it’s one book we keep talking about via #HistoricalFix (quarterly chat) and one I have meant to read but never do. Irony, that! lol

    I joined the challenge a bit late in the game, as you’ll see my list only materialised this past week on both my blog and Riffle. I will be returning as I start to post my own impressions.

    * My #20BooksOfSummer List


  4. I haven’t read Commonwealth, but Patchett’s good. I’m just finishing October, by China Mieville–nonfiction about the Russian revolution. Mieville’s primarily a fiction writer and he does an amazing job of making a complex situation comprehensible.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Three Men in Boat/To Say Nothing of the Dog is a charming and can’t miss combination. And thanks for including my book! I am proud to be in such illustrious company, and I hope you will like it.


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