Wednesday, 31 May 2017

20 Books of Winter

I've been avoiding a certain book for a week now.
Spotting 20 Books of Summer Winter over at Cathy's 746Books has been the perfect excuse to procrastinate some more.


I have joined in this meme for the past few years and I can proudly say that I have never finished all 20 books!
That's because the most pleasurable part of this meme is in the art of the compiling.

I love any excuse to browse through my TBR piles, wondering which books I might feel like reading over the cold winter months, figuring out which ones I have already committed to reading for readalongs, all the while knowing that I will be tempted by unknown new releases and spontaneous reading challenges.

At this point in time, I feel fairly safe in saying that one of the books that will not make my #20books list is the new Arundhati Roy which I have now renamed #ministryofutmostdisappointment.

I've also decided to feature as many slim volumes as possible on my #20books list.

Perhaps this will be the year I read all 20 books!

1.

The Return of the King by J R R Tolkien is the final book in my #HLOTRreadalong2017.
I'm halfway through The Two Towers and feel confident that I will make it all the way though the series.




2.

The Undercurrent by Paula Weston is a new release that has just found it's way onto my TBR pile.
It's a YA futuristic thriller from Text Publishing due to be published in August.




3. 

Polly and Buster by Sally Rippin is the beginning of a new junior fiction series by the much loved author of Billie B Brown.
It's a June new release for Hardie Grant Egmont about a 'friendship that makes your heart squeeze with happiness'.




4. 

The Best Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant has been on my TBR pile for too many years to count.
I can also use this book for Paris in July.




5.

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout is the follow up to My Name is Lucy Barton.
I can't wait!




6.

I discovered Time Without Clocks by Joan Lindsay in a second hand bookshop last year.
When Roy's book proved so disappointing last week, I pulled this one out instead...and fell into it's comfy, warm and charming embrace with a huge sigh of relief.




7.

Heather, the Totality by Matthew Weiner (creator of Mad Men) is probably a scarier prospect than my usual fare. 
This November new release from Little Brown will no doubt be shared with Mr Books as he was a huge fan of the entire Mad Men series.




8.

Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter was recommended to me by one of my colleagues.
This winter could be it's chance!




9. 

The Plains by Gerard Murnane is a modern day Australian classic.
It's time I read it.




10.

Only in New York by Lily Brett ticks several boxes.
Short essays ✓ Lily Brett ✓ New York ✓ a book about walking ✓
I should have been all over this one ages ago!




11.

Beyond the Rock by Janelle McCulloch is the logical choice to read along with Lindsay's reminiscences above.
I may even be tempted to reread Picnic at Hanging Rock!




12.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley has been shortlisted for this year's Baileys Women's Prize.
I have one week to read this before the winner is announced!




13. 

Till Apples Grow on an Orange Tree by Cassandra Pybus was another recent secondhand bookshop find.
The cover tempted me with this Australian memoir, and I'm curious to see if it 'beguiles' me as much as Marion Halligan suggested on the back cover.




14.

The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer is an award winning Dutch story for teens.
Kuijer won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2012 (see my ALMA page for more details).




15.

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote is one of those classics that I can't believe that I haven't read yet.




16.

I've been keen to read another book by Willa Cather ever since I read and adored My Antonia.
A Lost Lady is the slimmest Cather on my TBR pile.




17.

My edition of The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford has a pretty cover.
Enough said!




18.

Rumour has it that Mantel is getting closer to releasing the third book in her Cromwell trilogy.
The Giant, O'Brien by Hilary Mantel will be my teaser.




19.

I'm planning on seeing the movie based on A Sense of an Ending soon.
Levels of Life by Julian Barnes is one of my unread Barnes' on my TBR pile.




20.

Paris Nocturne by Patrick Modiano is one of the books on my Nobel Prize challenge...and one of the slimmest options.




There you have it!
A lovely mix of short stories, children's books, essays, classics, shortlisted books and new releases.

I have two bonus books that I may switch in to the mix if the mood takes me:

1. Maisie Dobbs #10 Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear
2. Maisie Dobbs #11 A Dangerous Place by Jacqueline Winspear


Have you read any of these or heard anything good (or bad) about them?

What about the Arundhati Roy?
Should I try again with The Ministry of Utmost Happiness?

20 comments:

  1. I've read The Return of the King many years ago, along with the other two books of The Lord of the Rings - loved them all. I've also read A Lost Lady which I read in one sitting - once I started it I just had to finish it. Not that there’s any mystery to solve, but just because I was enjoying it so much.

    I'm currently reading The Ministry of Utmost Happiness and am not sure what to make of it. I'm struggling a bit with all the words I don't know for a start and so much of it is just description. But I've only read less than a quarter of it and there's not much 'happiness'.

    I borrowed The Giant, O'Brien from the library but took it back largely unread - can't remember much about it now, but I found it had to get into, unlike the other books by her that I've read and loved. I'm looking forward to the next Cromwell book!

    Good luck with the challenge - I'm only trying for 10 this year.

    Margaret @ BooksPlease (http://www.booksplease.org/)

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    1. My HLOTRreadalong is actually a re-readalong as this is the third time I've read the books in this lifetime :-) They are still as delightful and stirring as when I read them as a teen and a twenty-something.

      As for the Ministry? Like you I found all the unknown words a bit unnecessary. I don't mind looking up some new words when reading, but it feels like she's trying to make a point in a very heavy-handed kind of way. I also had the thought that she was trying to emulate Rushdie in Midnight's Children, if not consciously, then unconsciously enough for this HUGE fan of Midnight Children to see the comparison and to find it lacking. But I haven't got very far yet and our local TV bookclub show is talking about it next week, so I will reserve judgement until then.

      Thanks for the heads up about The Giant, O'Brien, I will be prepared now.

      Delete
  2. I just had to SHARE your inspiration for all things Aussie and #20BooksOfSummer !
    Here is the bolgpost:

    https://nancyelin.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/great-lists-tracy-brona-and-cleo-20booksofsummer/

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  3. Sorry you were disappointed in the Arundahti Roy - I am going to a talk with her next week - the book is part of the ticket price which I got for my birthday.

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    Replies
    1. I'll be curious to read other people's thoughts as they go along. I started off with so much anticipation and expectation, but I started making allowances and doing compromise deals with myself to keep up the idea that this was going great....until I finally had to admit that I didn't want to pick the book up any more.

      It may be because it was SWF week here, which was a HUGELY busy week for me and I was a tad over-stimulated. It may not have been the right kind of book for the mood/head space I was in as I turned to a more comforting, charming read instead.

      So I won't abandon ship completely. I am prepared to be wooed back in :-)

      Delete
  4. I've been on the fence about whether I should do 20 Books of... but you're right. The fun is in making the list! Have a good winter of reading!

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    Replies
    1. I'm glad my post has tempted you to jump in too. Making a list is soooooo much fun!
      #bookgeek yes I am!

      Delete
  5. Sorry about the Roy being disappointing, what a shame. I haven't felt compelled to get it, I have to say. I'm glad you're joining in the books of summer / winter - I didn't manage the first year and did with swaps last year. I see at least one swap in the future for this year, but we'll see. Here's my pile: https://librofulltime.wordpress.com/2017/05/29/20booksofsummer-2017-the-list/ and happy reading to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've done lots of swapping in previous years, so I thought I'd try the slim book option this year.
      I've started 3 of the books on the list...so I'm off to a good start :-)

      Delete
    2. That's impressive! I'm doing two of mine, including one I was supposed to be saving for August (oops).

      Delete
  6. Wow, really interesting list! I may have to read some of these as well! Certainly a few for my TBR list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the thing with challenges like this - the TBR pile expands further!!

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  7. I love how you're not letting a little thing like WINTER keep you from joining in! hehe I'll be lucky to get 10 books read but at least I'll be trying :)

    http://collettaskitchensink.blogspot.com/2017/06/20-books-of-summer-2017.html

    Colletta

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  8. I love the LOTR series. I hope you enjoy it. I just finished reading Breakfast at Tiffany's, with mixed emotions. I preferred the Christmas short story.

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  9. That looks like a nice, varied list. I haven't read any of them, but there are a lot that I would be interested in reading. Featuring slim volumes sounds like a sensible idea - there are some very long ones on my list!

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  10. Great stuff! I've joined up too. Sitting here in my bare feet under a fan, it's hard to imaging you all wrapped up in a blanket or something. I just finished ROTK and enjoyed it the most of all....I may even have to read the Silmarillion!

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    Replies
    1. I spotted your ROTK review on the linky, and will pop along to read it soon. I just want to finish the book I'm in ATM before getting back into Middle Earth mode :-)

      Delete
  11. Interesting list. No author's I've read yet, but I do have Nancy Mitford's books on my shelf to read.

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  12. I'm curious to hear how you like Grief Is the Thing With Feathers. I read a Capote story a few weeks ago, and the writing was exquisite. I'm sure the same will be true for Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is still on my TBR list. Have fun reading!

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