Having a blast

Summer reading, had me a blast… The last two or three summers I’ve joined in with Cathy’s meme Twenty Books of Summer and, even if I’ve gone for a softer option like last year’s Ten Books, I’ve generally managed to complete a score of titles.

This year I’m again joining the ever expanding cohort of bloggers (who happen to be readers) participating in this event, and I’m going for a total of fifteen books. Here’s why.

I want to combine this meme with a couple of others — easy as it’s all about personal choice of reading — but also want to include some chunksters. This will mean a slower rate of consumption of course, but I hope that an average of five books a month (summer counts as between 1st June and the first day of September) will be manageable.

Lory is running a new meme, Summer in Other Languages, which with its three levels of commitment encourages bloggers to read works in foreign languages other than English or at least in translation. This also happens to tie in with my intermittent involvement with Gilion’s European Reading Challenge 2021. I’m considering Sapkowski’s Blood of the Elves as a possibility, also Machiavelli’s The Prince (on my Classics Club list) or Szerb’s The Queen’s Necklace.

From my list for Karen’s Back to the Classics Challenge 2021 I fancy a couple of those chunksters I mentioned earlier, The Glass Bead Game by Herman Hesse and George Eliot’s Middlemarch. They’re both on my Classics Club list which — in theory at least — I’m hoping to complete by year’s end. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention Gormenghast. And there’s also Moby Dick which I’ve yet to finish. Hmm.

Robertson Davies, born 28th August 1913

The last couple of summers, somewhere around the end of August, Lory has also been running a Robertson Davies Reading Week on her now mothballed site, Emerald City Book Review. Whether or not she runs it on her current site I intend to be reading the next instalment in this Canadian writer’s Salterton trilogy.

Regular readers know how much I avoid committing to plans set in concrete, especially where reading is concerned, but where these half dozen titles are concerned they won’t be the sum total of my literary consumption this coming season. I’ll be continuing my steady passage through The Lord of the Rings for Talking Tolkien, and attempting to add at least another non-European title to Reading All Around the World. Then there’ll also be short story collections in my self-imposed prompt The Library of Brief Narratives and also my 21 TBR Books in 2021 which I’m soon about to complete, if not finished already. And I’m sure I’ll be making a song and dance about Book Lover’s Day on August 9th even though for me — and perhaps you too — every day is a book lover’s day.

Carl Larsson, Woman lying on a bench, 1913

Now, what about you? Do you have plans, as I know a lot of you have, for summer reading? Have you given yourselves lots of wriggle room for mood changes and eventualities (such as Jazz Age June)? Do let me know!


Today is the anniversary of our wedding — which took place literally a year and a day after we first met, fifty years before. We’re away for a few days (now that restrictions have been eased) but the next few blog posts have already been scheduled, though my replies to your comments may not be as immediate as I’d like them to be.

© C A Lovegrove

36 thoughts on “Having a blast

    1. The fact is, Gert, that I post stuff like this to give your good selves and — more importantly — myself the impression that I have a semblance of control over my life, making cunning plans like a politician working on the Queen’s Speech before Parliament; but the truth is that I know that my trusting readers will be reassured by all this and that those who aren’t will, like myself and lazy voter, mostly have forgotten these cunning plans and swallow whatever honeyed words I use in the future to explain what I do manage to accomplish is what I intended in the first place.

      Now I need to go and lie supine after not taking breath for that opening statement…

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    1. Thank you, Alastair! And you may find some pics of Suffolk appearing in coming days and weeks on my photoblog and on my Instagram feed amidst various ramblings about Titus, Dorothea and their ilk!

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  1. So glad to have you along for Summer in Other Languages! I’m giving Robertson Davies a rest at least as far formal events go, but his books make perfect summer reading and I hope past participants will continue to work through his wonderful books. Enjoy the Salterton trilogy.

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    1. Thank you, Mallika! We’re on the Suffolk coast in Southwold, which has links with George Orwell, but I don’t think we’re hoping for anything dystopian! But a return to Middlemarch is definitely planned!

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    1. Will do, Cathy, and thanks — and good to hear I’m not the only person combining challenges, it certainly makes sense if, like me, one lacks to sense to avoid overcommitting to them! 🙂

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    1. Organised? Moi? It’s as much as I can do to remember what day it is! And I wouldn’t presume to organise anyone else Anne — I had enough of that teaching to last me the rest of my lifetime… 😁

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  2. Nice way of combining various reading challenges.

    I’ll be participating in 20 Books of Summer, like I have done for a few years. I’ll be publishing my list during the week of May 24th, it will be mostly books from my physical TBR

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    1. I’ve bought very few books this last UK lockdown so like you, Emma, pretty much most if not all of my summer reading will be from by TBR shelves. Combining 15 Books of Summer with other challenges is my sneaky way of seeming more organised and busy!

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    1. Thanks, Laurie, though strictly next week is our 50th wedding anniversary—today was celebrating a half century since we first met!

      We’re holidaying in Southwold on the Suffolk coast. George Orwell lived here with his family on the High Street between 1932 to 1941, apparently setting his 1935 novel The Clergyman’s Daughter in a village partly inspired by Southwold. I have W G Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn to finish sometime: it mentions him visiting the Sailor’s Reading Room in the town. And P D James had a holiday in Southwold for many years, featuring Southwold as a key location in her dystopian Children of Men. But of course we’ve merely started exploring the streets, the independent shops and walking along the beach (despite the chilly damp weather). Oh, and there’s a bookshop here… 😁

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  3. Wow! that is *impressive*! So many challenges but I think if you can integrate them like that, you will have more chance of success!! Some really interesting books on your list too – will look forward to following your progress. I’m not joining in formally – in fact, I have very little in the way of challenges lined up apart from Women in Translation month and All Virago/All August which i take part in in my own way. Good luck and happy reading and happy anniversary too!

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    1. It’s all show, Karen, I promise! Wait and see how little I actually achieve… But I know from your recent history you’re no slouch yourself so look forward to your choices for the summer.

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  4. I’m doing some combining too – 20booksofsummer (more like 15) with Summer in Other Languages, European lit challenge, 21in21, Women in Translation month and All Virago month. Phew. I shall need a few glasses of Pimms to keep me going.

    Enjoy your anniversary celebration holiday. the lockdown lifting has come at a perfect time for you

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    1. I understand it’s always Pimms-o’clock, so you should be alright! I know these challenges are always personal — no penalties incurred! — but it’s always satisfying to feel a sense of achievement, isn’t it. 🙂 Bonne chance, alors!

      We booked our self-catering holiday knowing restrictions in England were due to be eased, but it looks as if we’ve been lucky if they’re reimposed because of the new variant. Luckily the rain has mostly held off — perhaps mainly because it’s by the North Sea coast.

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    1. Thanks, Jane, luckily we’ve avoided most of the hail showers so far! The town is full of indie shops, which we appreciate, and the seaside bits all we’d hoped for. And author associations too!

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  5. So many challenges! Good luck with them all! I have also signed up for the “Summer in Other Languages” challenge, and didn’t know that 9th August is the Book Lovers’ Day. Exciting! For the “Summer in Other Languages” challenge, I plan to read some books in Russian & Spanish, as well as fiction translated from French.

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    1. I’m in awe of your linguistic abilities, Diana, it’s as much as I can do with French and a smattering of Italian (and even less of Welsh). Thank goodness for the talents of translators these days, the virtually unsung heroines and heroes of global literature.

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      1. Oh, I am hardly a linguistic genius lol Russian happens to be my native and I have been studying Spanish on and off for at least these past 15 years 🙂 Still, I think translated literature is very important and I can’t agree with you more on translators globally who deserve so much more recognition and praise than they get. I also admire people who get out of their comfort zone, so to speak and read authors from various countries, trying to understand different culture and history.

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