I’m playing again! Cathy at 746 Books hosts this (extremely chill) reading challenge; you’re allowed to do a 15-book or a 10-book version, swap out books as you go, etc. I’ve decided to aim for the 20-book goal. Most of the books on my list will come from my proof TBR; as the challenge runs from 3 June to 3 September, I’ve decided to try reading five proofs being released in each month (June, July, and August), plus a final five which are drawn from my stacks at home. With any luck, I’ll read many more than twenty books this summer, but these are the first priority!
- Rough Magic, by Lara Prior-Palmer [June, nonfiction]: The world’s youngest, and first female, winner of the Mongol Derby, on the mental and physical discipline of horse racing. She’s also the sister of a former colleague of mine. (review)
- 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World, by Elif Shafak [June, fiction]: An Istanbul sex worker is killed; in the ten minutes after her death, a series of flashbacks reveals her childhood and early life. (review)
- The Adventures of Maud West, Lady Detective by Susannah Stapleton [June, nonfiction]: The life and times of Maud West, who opened her private investigation agency in London in 1905. (review)
- Dressed: the Secret Life of Clothes, by Shahida Bari [June, nonfiction]: I’m an absolute sucker for fashion/style analysis, particularly as it relates to material culture. (DNF’d)
- Big Sky, by Kate Atkinson [June, fiction]: The next in the Jackson Brodie series, and long-awaited too. I need to read Case Histories first.
- Patsy, by Nicole Dennis-Benn [July, fiction]: An undocumented Jamaican woman in New York, and her daughter growing up without her on the island. Looks magnificent.
- Supper Club, by Lara Williams [July, fiction]: I know very little about this, except that it’s about female rage, and must involve food at some point. Sign me upppp.
- Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo [July, fiction]: Taddeo basically embedded, like a war reporter, into the lives of three women over eight years. These are the stories of their love lives over that time. Modern New Journalism + exploration of contemporary female sexuality = 100% my jam. (review)
- Exhalation: Stories, by Ted Chiang [July, fiction]: Chiang wrote “Story of Your Life”, which the movie “Arrival” is based on. I’m told he’s excellent, and this is his first collection in a decade.
- Rose, Interrupted, by Patrice Lawrence [July, YA]: Lawrence’s earlier YA novel, Orangeboy, really impressed me. Rose, Interrupted is about a girl who escapes a cult with her brother and has to learn to be a Normal Teenager while also Following Her Path. Sounds good. Cover’s adorable.
- Life For Sale, by Yukio Mishima [August, fiction]: According to the jacket copy: “When Hanio Yamada realizes the future holds nothing of worth to him, he puts his life for sale in a Tokyo newspaper, thus unleashing a series of unimaginable exploits. A world of revenge, murderous mobsters, hidden cameras, a vampire woman, poisonous carrots, espionage and code-breaking, a junkie heiress, home-made explosives and decoys reveals itself.” Need I say more?
- The Truants, by Kate Weinberg [August, fiction]: Sort of The Secret History, but on a campus in East Anglia instead of the woods of New England, and minus the classical references. Worth a punt.
- The Turn of the Key, by Ruth Ware [August, fiction]: Ware’s brand of contemporary Gothic thriller is eminently suited to a rewrite of The Turn of the Screw.
- Girl. Boy. Sea., by Chris Vick [August, YA]: A British boy and a Berber girl, both shipwrecked, must help each other to survive. This looks wonderful.
- The Offing, by Benjamin Myers [August, fiction]: Post-WWII, following an unlikely friendship between a sixteen-year-old miner’s son and an older woman in Robin Hood’s Bay. Myers has loads of critical acclaim and I’ve never read any of his work before; this seems like a good time to start, though his other stuff appears to be much darker than this sounds.
The final five are subject to change, but may look something like this:
- Pericles, by William Shakespeare (review)
- Daemon Voices: Essays On Storytelling, by Philip Pullman
- Wives and Daughters, by Elizabeth Gaskell
- A Place of Greater Safety, by Hilary Mantel
- The Blazing World, by Siri Hustvedt
Other possibilities for the final five include: The Summer Without Men, also by Siri Hustvedt; The Brotherhood of Book Hunters by Raphael Jerusalmy; Breathe by Dominick Donald; Lowborn by Kerry Hudson; Happy Fat by Sofie Hagen; If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho by Anne Carson.
Have you read any of my choices? Do you particularly recommend (or dis-recommend) any of them?
If you like what I write, why not buy me a coffee?