20 Books of Summer: 2023!

This is a challenge kindly hosted by Cathy@746books. You pick 20 (or fewer, it's entirely up to you) books from your sagging shelves and endeavour to read and review them all between 1st June and 31st August. 

Once you have your list of books, you sign up via Cathy's website here: https://746books.com/2023/05/02/announcing-20-books-of-summer-23-add-your-links-here/. You can also tweet about your books using the hashtag #20booksofsummer23

I've taken part in #20booksofsummer for the last few years. I don't think I've ever completed it in full, but I've always enjoyed it. This year, however, I will be back reviewing in the Edinburgh Fringe, Edinburgh Art Festival and Edinburgh International Book Festival for the first time since 2019, so I have no idea how I'll get on with my 20 books!  But it's always such fun to choose them, and to find things languishing on the shelves that I'd forgotten about and often feel new enthusiasm for. 

These are the books I've chosen:


Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Lark by E Nesbit

The Vinyl Detective by Andrew Cartmel

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

The Grand Banks Café by Georges Simenon

The New Rector by Rebecca Shaw

What Men Say by Joan Smith

Tea is So Intoxicating by Mary Essex

Blood in the Water by Gillian Galbraith

A Month in the Country by JL Carr

Dead in the Water by Dana Stabenow

A Calendar of Love by George Mackay Brown

Puzzled Heart by Amanda Cross

Edward Kane and the Parlour Maid Murder by Ross Macfarlane*

Forever by Judy Blume

A Summer Birdcage by Margaret Drabble

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Non Fiction

Ways of Seeing by John Berger

Expecting: The Inner Life of Pregnancy by Chitra Ramaswamy*

Apricots on the Nile by Colette Rossant

* sent to me for (long overdue I'm afraid...) review.

Just looking at this list makes me want to start reading (but first I need to read and review Ajay Close's new book, set in Leeds at the time of the Yorkshire Ripper. It's excellent so far.)

Have you read any of my choices? Recommend - or not?  


  1. I have read The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald and I thought it was very good, but I found it depressing. I would definitely recommend A Month in the Country. I have Dead in the Water by Stabenow and The Vinyl Detective but haven't read those yet.

    TracyK at Bitter Tea and Mystery

  2. I began Daisy Jones and could not get into it. A woman who works at my public library said the audio version was amazing so I switched to that, began again at the beginning, and LOVED the book!

  3. I read Forever so long ago that I don't remember it. I think I was a teenager. I found Claire Keegan's Small Things Like These to be beautiful.

  4. The Vinyl Detective
    Dead in the Water
    Small Things Like These
    The Bookshop

    The Keegan would probably rank first, but all are worth reading.


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