"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

20-Books of Summer Wrap-up

This summer I loosely participated in the 20-Books of Summer reading challenge. I say 'loosely' because all I did for it was keep track of the books I read and wrote reviews for them. 

This being the last day of summer (though the challenge ended on Sept. 6th, Labor Day, I believe) made me think I'd best wrap this thing up or else, what was the point? Ha!

I ultimately read 27 books (bully for me!) so exceeded the challenged goal. Back in the days before retirement from my job as a high school librarian I always attempted to read 30 books each summer ferreting out new books to recommend to my patrons. So 27 books is very close to that old goal and remarkable from the stand point that eight of them were over 400 pages long. I used those for another summer challenge with a similar name, The Big Book Summer Challenge.

The book reviews are hyperlinked. It appears I still have a bit of work to finish up the last of the reviews, three left to go. Not bad, even if I never get to them!

20-Books of Summer Reading Challenge

1. The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline
2. End of Watch by Stephen King
4. The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green 
5. The 100 Best Loved Poems of All Time edited by Leslie Pickell
8. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
9. We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
10. Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
12. This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger
13. Stitches by Anne Lamott
14. Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck
15. The Cold Millions by Jess Walters
16. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
17. One of Ours by Willa Cather
18. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
19. It Began With a Page by Kyo Maclear
21. The Tale of Kitty in Boots by Beatrix Potter
22. The Creator's Canvas by Steven Payne
23. The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
25. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
26. The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich
27. Wade in the Waters: Poems by Tracy K. Smith

A few details about this bunch of books:

My favorite fiction title: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir.

My favorite nonfiction/essays: The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

The eight 400+ page books read: The Four Winds / We Are Not Free / The Night Watchman / One of Ours / End of Watch / Project Hail Mary / The Ministry of Utmost Happiness / This Tender Land

Four past and present Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction: Breathing Lessons / One of Ours / The Interpreter of Maladies / The Night Watchman

Favorite YA title: Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story) by Daniel Nayeri

Most likely to reread: Pride and Prejudice or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Oddest selection: A Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck. I ordered this book last November from the library and the hold finally came through in July. It was a short children's book, completely unmemorable. I wonder what the hold up was? 

Book Club selections: The Exiles / Love and Other Consolation Prizes / The Ministry of Utmost Happiness / This Tender Land / The Cold Millions / The Tattooist of Auschwitz / The Night Watchman

Children's books: It Began with a Page / Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy / The Tale of Kitty on Boots / Christmas Day in the Morning

Poetry books: Wade in the Water / Why Storms are Named After People and Bullets Remain Nameless / 100 Best Loved Poems of All-Time

Books or Audiobooks I Own: The Anthropocene Reviewed / 100 Best Loved Poems of All-Time / The Creator's Canvas / The Interpreter of Maladies / The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe / Pride and Prejudice /The Night Watchman

Favorite review: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness or The Anthropocene Reviewed

Most popular blog post, based on page views: Breathing Lessons, 245.

And so I wrap up my summer reading projects and look toward the future with many new and old books in mind.



  1. I'm looking forward to our next set of books!

    1. I sure hope they are good. It is always a bit of crap shoot. (Frog music)

  2. Well done! I only finished 8 of the 21 I selected (giving up on 6 and leaving 7 in my stacks for later this year). I just love putting together lists of potential reads. I'll have to spend some time perusing your reviews since you've listed several that I want to read (and a few that I've already read). I'm eager to read Project Hail Mary since my husband said it was outstanding and that I'd enjoy it, too.

    1. My husband and I listened to Project Hail Mary together and both loved it!

  3. Fantastic job on both of these challenges. I really enjoy challenges with short time limits as they seem less overwhelming.

    1. Me, too. One summer, one month, one day. I can manage these. All year. Too stressful.

  4. Good job! I won't have to retire for a number of years, but when I do, I probably won't write any reviews. Good for you. Reading books is easy; writing reviews is work!

    1. I know. I have three or four books sitting right here as I blog screaming to be reviewed. When I worked I only reviewed YA books (or almost only) and now I am mad at myself that I never reviewed some of my favorite books. I guess I'll have to go back and reread them so I can write a good, fresh review.

  5. Congratulations! There's a lovely feeling of accomplishment in meeting a goal.

  6. Way to go, Anne! Juggling two summer book challenges at once! You did great on Big Book Summer this year, and I'm so happy to hear that Project Hail Mary was your favorite novel because it's waiting for me on my shelf!


    Book By Book

  7. Wow!! You did really well. Project Hail Mary is on my list to read soon. Too many have loved it for me to ignore it for much longer.

  8. Wow, that's a lot of long books! My husband is listening to the Andy Weir at the moment and really enjoying it. I managed my 20 Books of Summer and most of my other stuff too although this month I won't get all my NetGalley reads done.


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