Reading Challenge

20 Books of Summer 2021

Hosted by Cathy at 746books, 20 Books of Summer is an annual challenge to read and review 20 books from your TBR.  This year, the challenge runs from 1 June to 1 September.

I love Cathy’s relaxed approach to the rules, which are definitely more guidelines rather than anything more formal. You start with a list of 20 (or 15 or 10) books and try to read them in the specified time frame.  The books you select can change, and, if you don’t want to specify the full number at the outset, that’s completely fine.

I managed to complete the challenge last year, and so of course I eager to try again! I’ve made an initial selection of books, but I fully expect these to change during the challenge!  Still, it’s good to at least pretend that I have a plan, right?!

I’ve split my list into categories this year, and I’ll start with my remaining backlist titles (books bought or otherwise acquired prior to 2021):

  1. The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead
  2. Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
  3. The Betrayals by Bridget Collins
  4. We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker (yes, I’m late to the party on this one!)
  5. Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke
  6. The Last Good Man by Thomas McMullan
  7. The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham
  8. Blood Red City by Rod Reynolds
  9. The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas
  10. Hermit by S. R. White
  11. The Golden Rule by Amanda Craig

Regular visitors to the blog will know that I’ve been trying to read more non-fiction this year, setting myself the rather unambitious target of reading one non-fiction book per month. Over June, July, and August, I’m planning to read:

  1. Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez
  2. Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime by Val McDermid
  3. Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Other than that, I intend to read some of newer purchases, and I’m trying to go broadly in order of purchase (broadly only because I’m a mood reader and may not always fancy the one that’s next in line).

  1. The Long, Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper
  2. Ezra Slef: The Next Nobel Laureate in Literature by Andrew Komarnyckyj
  3. Light Perpetual by Francis Spufford
  4. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo
  5. The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex
  6. The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward

So there’s my starting list. How much resemblance it will bear to the final list is anyone’s guess.


  1. Good luck, Jo! I’m still fiddling around with my list. And that’s on the days when I think I might join. I can’t even decide that part. 😄

    1. Know that feeling! In the end, I figured that I’d be reading anyway, and it’s so flexible that it almost doesn’t matter which books I start with! Good luck if you decide to join! x

    1. Thank you! I was quite pleased with the variety in my list 🙂 Good luck with the challenge, and choosing from your selected 50!

    1. Thanks, Paul! The reading should be ok – it’s getting the reviews out that I struggle with… 😬

  2. Some excellent books on this list! I’ve made a list, then changed it half a dozen times and now I can’t even decide if I want to join or not 🙈 I can read 20 books easily enough, but oh the reviewing 😅

    1. Thank you! I’m pleased with the variety on the list, even though I’ve mostly picked my oldest unread books. I ummed and ahhed about joining, but it’s so flexible that I figured there’s nothing to lose! Good luck if you do decide to join! x

    1. Thank you, Cathy. While I’ve not done much more than pick my oldest unread books, I’m really pleased with the variety!

  3. I’ve heard good things about We Begin at the End. I love John Wyndham, The Kraken Wakes has my favourite female character from classic sci-fi (though I know that’s not a very high bar), I always suspect he based her off his wife. I hope you enjoy it!

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