This sounded like a fun challenge, hosted by Cathy746books, and since my social life has shrunk so much recently due to COVID-19 it seems feasible!
Basically, I need to select 20 books to read between 1 June and 1 September 2020.
My list was a mixture of “improving” classics that I keep meaning to read, literature in translation/by foreign writers (to me! I’m in the UK) and a few works of non-fiction and contemporary British/US fiction that I’ve had on my TBR shelf for a while.
I’ve swapped a few as I’ve gone on and recycled books I’ve realised I’m just never going to read.
- Thirteen Months of Sunrise – published by Comma Press, this is a short (70 pages), recently translated collection of work by Sudanese author Rania Mamoun (completed 01/06/2020 – it’s short!).
- Another Country by Anjali Joseph – swapped for Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (completed 7/7/20)
- Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis – supposedly “preposterously funny”, this book has been recommended to me many times. I work with academics, and often wish I’d gone into academia, so this story about a scatty, love-crossed academic seems like a suitable distraction for these “strange times” (as everyone seems to be calling them).
- Pale Rider by Laura Spinney – a non-fiction account of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918. Could be grim, could even be dull, but I’m hoping for informative and enlightening. (Finished reading 20.06.20.)
- Paradise by Abdulrazak Gurnah – shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize, a coming of age tale by a Tanzanian author.
- Les Années by Annie Ernaux – trying to keep up my French with this acclaimed autobiographical novel by the well-regarded French author.
- Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy – this looks like a fun, escapist novel about the opulent life of oligarch-types in London, by this Serbian-born author.
- Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys – nice and short, I’ve been meaning to read this for a long time – about a young woman seeking to escape a personal tragedy and seek independence in hard-drinking 1930s Paris.
- The Western Wind by Samantha Harvey – an oft-recommended mystery novel set in the 15th century, which is also “a profound meditation on faith and existence”.
- Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett – I’ve never read any Beckett and I feel I should. This is a dual language French/English version of the play. (Finished 02/07/20.)
- Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata – a short Japanese novel which is often recommended as a quirky, funny, very modern read and as one of the best works of fiction by a Japanese woman writer in translation. (Finished 04/06/20.)
- The Past by Tessa Hadley – from the back cover “four siblings meet up in their grandparents’ old house for three long, hot summer weeks. But under the idyllic surface lie simmering tensions.” I love a country house, summery novel. One for chilling in the garden with.
- The Collected Stories by Katherine Mansfield – I’ve dipped into Katherine Mansfield on several occasions, but I want to take the opportunity to immerse myself in her stories.
- My Katherine Mansfield Project by Kirsty Gunn – a memoir by someone who returned to her native Wellington in New Zealand, which discusses the influence of Katherine Mansfield on her own work.
- Whistle in the Dark by Emma Healey – swapped for Tove Jansson’s “The Summer Book”, completed 13/07/20.
- Lost Art by Jennifer Mundy – a work of non-fiction about various works of lost art, which appeared in the Tate’s Gallery of Lost Art project.
- Golden Child by Claire Adam – a prize-winning novel by a Trinidadian writer who has been compared with V. S. Naipaul. (Finished reading 11/06/2020.)
- Harald Sohlberg: Infinite Landscapes – a richly illustrated catalogue that accompanied a recent exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery that I attended (twice!) last year. (Finished reading 06/07/20.)
- The Wandering by Intan Paramaditha – billed as an Indonesian ‘choose your own adventure’ novel, I have been meaning to read this for a couple of months now.
- Outside Looking In by T. C. Boyle – a fun (I hope) novel based around experiments by Dr Timothy Leary with transcendence-seeking PhD students.
Have you read any of these? Anyone reading any of the same titles over the next few months?