20 Books of Summer.


I want to write a positive post today as things in the UK are, as you can imagine, pretty tense. Yesterday I woke up to the dreadful news of the attack in Manchester, and this morning the news that we are on critical alert, meaning an attack is thought to be imminent and the army have been deployed. It's very sobering, and I think like many people here some happiness and joy should be shared. To cheer up myself and hopefully others I thought I'd make my list for the 20 Books of Summer interspersed with some of the nicest pictures I've seen of books and summer.

For the past few years Cathy of 746 Books holds a 20 Books of Summer Challenge from 1st June to 3rd September and this will be my fourth year of joining! I've never yet managed to read from my 20 Books list (previous attempts: 2014, 2015, and 2016) but perhaps this will be the year. My personal best I think is 15, so anything above 15 will be regarded as a big achievement! For my list I've decided to take 5 books from my Ancient Greek and Roman Challenge and 15 from my Classic Club list. Without further ado, here's my selection...

Ancient Greek and Roman

The Golden Ass.
The Golden Ass by Apuleius.
Ethics by Aristotle.
Confessions by Augustine of Hippo.
The Symposium by Plato.
Constellation Myths: With Aratus's Phaenomena by Eratosthenes and Aratus.

Plato's Symposium by Anselm Feuerbach (1869).

Classic Club

The Letters of Abélard and Héloïse.
The Lucky Chance by Aphra Behn.
The Wonder: a Woman Keeps a Secret by Susanna Centlivre.
In Praise of Folly by Desiderius Erasmus.
Journals of Dorothy Wordsworth.
Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.
Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Monkey by Wu Cheng'en.
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford.
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith.
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay.
The Royal Mischief by Delarivier Manley.
The Innocent Mistress by Mary Pix.
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark.
The Fatal Friendship by Catherine Trotter.

And, because summer is so very close, here's some summery loveliness I've seen online of late!

Sunset at Millennium Green in North Hykeham by Malc Sawyer.
Cambridge University Botanic Garden by Peter Edwards.
via Twitter.

Early morning misty view of the Rose Garden, seen from the Tower at Sissinghurst Castle Garden, near Cranbrook, Kent.

David Austin Roses.
Tall Bearded Iris ('Patchwork Puzzle').
A quote from The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens.
And, until June, I think I'll be finishing Hardy's Jude the Obscure (which I love even more the second time around) and The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks, which is quite a challenging read as you can no doubt imagine.

Do let me know if you're joining with Cathy's 20 Books of Summer 😊


  1. Glorious and lush pictures; English landscape and foliage always seem special somehow; Oregon is nice, also, but it's not quite the same...

    1. I do think England is particularly fine in spring and summer. It's all the rain I think, it is very lush :)

  2. What beautiful photos to uplift a difficult day. I've never done a 20 books list, maybe I should -- but I do own a Rackham-illustrated Vicar of Wakefield! Here's hoping the next week will be happily dull and boring.

    1. I love the 20 books list, it's always fun even if I never do finish :)

      I love Rackham's illustrations for Vicar - I don't own this edition, but I looked at them a while ago on Internet Archive.

      And yes, here's to a dull week! On a separate note I'm also very much looking forward to after the election. Fed up with elections. Do you know we had the Scottish referendum in 2014, the General Election that saw Cameron win in 2015, Brexit in 2016, and now another General Election for 2017! This country does nothing but argue...

    2. So wait, there's a disadvantage to your habit of just calling elections whenever anybody feels like it? It's true, you've had too many lately! I've usually had a bit of election envy as you don't have the loooong drag to the presidential election that we have to slog through every few years. We didn't used to have it for such a horrifyingly long time, though....

    3. Your elections are remarkably long. We, for some reason, seem to follow them in depth, so we in the UK suffer them too ;) I suppose your elections are so long because of the necessary tour? We had so much coverage I'd be tempted to list the US elections amongst our great list!

    4. Well, they didn't used to take so long. Since we know exactly when they're going to be, the news outlets start speculating on possible contenders about two years ahead of time. And they all want to get in ahead of each other, so every time they start just a bit sooner. Kind of like Christmas shopping, I guess. Everybody is sick to death of it, but who's going to be the one to refuse to participate? This last time seems to have really backfired -- the media couldn't resist the Trump circus, ignored the other candidates, and it wound up helping him a lot. Blargh, I think I'll come live with you. Theresa May almost sounds fun in comparison.

    5. Nothing fun about Theresa May I'm afraid. UN condemnation, Red Cross Intervention, "No deal is better than a bad deal", homelessness up, poverty up, hate crime up... I know what you mean about the media circus around Trump, especially all of the "no way can he win" - I think the right wing press here did something similar in the 1980s - told everyone it was likely Labour would win so all the Tories freaked out and made sure they voted!

      And yes your election is way too long - we follow it in depth, you know, so we suffer it too :)

  3. Love your list of books! Praise of Folly (by our national treasure) is a great funny read. I did something different this year: made a list of classics I 'don't' want to read! It was time to face the music ...and finally read some books that have been onmy TBR pile for decades!
    Also the flowers are beautiful.... I ordered 100 tulips that I saw on Gardener's World show with Monty. The 'Danceline' bulbs will be here in September, I can't wait!
    I'll be following your progress with #20BooksOfSummer hashtag!

    1. I'm looking forward to Praise of Folly! That'll be one of the first I read :)

      I love tulips! I only have a few - I have some pink ones I love - the Angélique variety, very pretty. The Dancelines are gorgeous too - very tempting... :)

      I didn't know you were a Gardeners' World fan! Hurrah for Monty! And Nigel and Nell too, of course :)

  4. Great list! I especially loved The Good Soldier, and Muriel Spark is just wonderful -- I only just finished one of her later works this week (A Far Cry From Kensington, from 1988). I do want to participate in the 20 books of summer, I'll have to ponder over my choices -- would love to cross 20 books off my owned-and-unread list!

    1. I'm really looking forward to The Good Soldier - not sure if to read that now I've finished Picnic at Hanging Rock or Goldsmith - both have been on my TBR pile for years!

      I'll look forward to your list! :)

  5. Forgot to add that your photos are stunning! I thought those roses were peonies, amazing! And bearded irises are my favorite flowers. I was hoping to go to Giverney this year but will probably have to wait, but there are supposed to be some beautiful gardens nearby here in Rhineland-Pfalz.

    1. I love irises! Mine are almost ready to bloom - I can see a touch of blue about to appear :) I'll take pictures as soon as they're out - this year has been my first year for irises.

      You've also reminded me I'd really like to get some peonies - never had those. But those roses in the picture do indeed seem to be roses - Harlow Carr roses, I think. They're so pretty - I love roses. But I must get some peonies from somewhere :)


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