20 Books of Summer – 2018

This time last year I decided to take part in 20 Books of Summer hosted by Cathy at 746 Books. It’s a simple idea – to make a list of twenty books (or fifteen or ten) that you would like to read during the summer months – but it’s more difficult to complete than you might expect! I managed to read 16 out of 20 last year, which I was still quite pleased with, but I’m looking forward to trying again this year.

Here are my twenty books for 2018, in no particular order:

1. The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

2. Desperate Remedies by Thomas Hardy

3. The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

4. A Game of Hide and Seek by Elizabeth Taylor

5. The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry

6. Fool’s Errand by Robin Hobb

7. The Poison Bed by EC Fremantle

8. Elizabeth and Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim

9. For the Immortal by Emily Hauser

10. Post of Honour by RF Delderfield

11. The King’s Witch by Tracy Borman

12. Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard

13. Lamentation by CJ Sansom

14. The Bull from the Sea by Mary Renault

15. Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie

16. Don’t Look Now and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier

17. My Beautiful Imperial by Rhiannon Lewis

18. Fortune’s Fool by David Blixt

19. The Wardrobe Mistress by Patrick McGrath

20. The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton


I’ve included a mixture of review copies (from NetGalley and from authors/publishers), books from my Classics Club list and some that I just want to read. I will need to read these twenty books between 1 June – 3 September, but I’m sure I will find myself reading others that aren’t on the list too!

Have you read any of these? Will you be taking part in 20 Books of Summer this year?

37 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer – 2018

  1. Judy Krueger says:

    Good for you! Here it is almost June and I have not made my summer list yet. The only one on your list I have read is The Bull From the Sea. My review: http://keepthewisdom.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-bull-from-sea.html. It was great and did not take long to read.
    I want to read Pat Barker as she has been compared to many of my loved authors including Edna O’Brien.
    In any case, there are plenty of wonderful books, old and new, that I am wanting to read. It is going to be a great summer for reading. Good luck with your list!

    • Helen says:

      I’m not usually very good at sticking to lists, but I do really want to read all twenty of these books so I’m hopeful that I will at least get through most of them! I’m glad you liked The Bull From the Sea. I need to read that one soon so I can move on to her Alexander the Great trilogy at last! Pat Barker will be a new author for me – I’ll be interested to see what her writing is like.

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed some of the books on my list, Cathy – and I hope we both like the NetGalley ones. Good luck with your list. πŸ™‚

  2. Carmen says:

    Good luck with your summer reading. Hopefully you’ll be able to fit all in and then some. πŸ˜‰ Mary Renault and du Maurier on your list remind me that I want to read them sooner rather than later. I have a few du Maurier’s novels and short stories on mount TBR, as well as the Alexander the Great trilogy by Renault. If only I could read faster…Or watch less movies, more likely! πŸ˜‰

    • Helen says:

      Thank you. I love du Maurier so I hope you can get round to reading some of her books soon. I only have one more of her novels left to read, but most of her short story collections and non-fiction. So far I’ve only read one Mary Renault book and I’m looking forward to reading more!

  3. Rachel Bailey says:

    May I recommend that you read The King Must Die before reading The Bull From the Sea? They are really two halves of the connected story.

    • Calmgrove says:

      My mother had both these Renault titles, which I read avidly as a teenager. One of the best introductions to Greek mythology and particularly Cretan archaeology for an impressionable young man!

    • Helen says:

      I have already read The King Must Die and enjoyed it, but didn’t love it as much as I’d expected to. I’m planning to start the Alexander trilogy soon, as I think I might prefer those, but I want to read The Bull From the Sea first – I’m the sort of person who likes to finish one thing before beginning another!

  4. FictionFan says:

    The only one I’ve read is Lamentation, which is wonderful – my favourite of the series, in fact. I also have a copy of The Way of All Flesh to read over the summer – sounds good, doesn’t it? Have a great summer of reading!

    • Helen says:

      The Way of All Flesh does sound interesting – I hope we both enjoy it! I recently discovered that there’s a new Shardlake book called Tombland coming out in October, so I need to get up to date with Lamentation as soon as possible.

      • FictionFan says:

        Oh, great! I hadn’t heard that and it’s usually so long between books for him I hadn’t started to hope yet! I shall pop across and pre-order immediately – thanks fro the heads up! πŸ˜€

  5. cirtnecce says:

    Very impressive list! I have not read any but Lamentations and The Wardrobe Mistress are both on my list to read asap! Here’s to a wonderful summer reading!

    • Helen says:

      Thank you! I hope you have lots of good books to look forward to this summer. I need to read Lamentation soon as I’ve just found out that CJ Sansom has a new book coming later this year. πŸ™‚

  6. Margaret says:

    I’ve read three of these – Marking Time, Lamentation, and The Bull from the Sea (this one years ago!), all really good. And I have The Story Keeper, Elizabeth and Her German Garden and Don’t Look Now and Other Stories in my TBR shelves plus The Craftsman (from NetGalley) to read as well. We’ll never run short of anything to read! Happy summer reading!

    • Helen says:

      No, I don’t think there’s much danger of us running out of books. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’ve enjoyed a few from my list. I can’t wait to read The Craftsman, although it sounds even darker than Sharon Bolton’s other books!

  7. Karen K. says:

    Ooh, I hope you review Desperate Remedies because I’ve just read two in a row by Hardy and I really want to read this one (must get through some more of the TBR stack first, unfortunately).

    Elizabeth and Her German Garden is a perfect summer read, and I am always strongly in favor of the Cazalets, so I hope you get to Marking Time as well. Great list!

    • Helen says:

      Desperate Remedies was my Classics Spin book from earlier in the year, but I never got around to reading it. I think it will be one of the first I read from this list. I read the first Cazalet book for last year’s 20 Books of Summer and I’m ready for the second one now!

    • Helen says:

      I’m pleased to hear you loved those two books as I’m hoping to read them for the Taylor and von Arnim days in your Birthday Book. πŸ™‚

  8. Jessie @ Dwell in Possibility says:

    Wonderful list, Helen! I haven’t read any of these, but several are on my TBR list. I think Elizabeth and Her German Garden will be lovely to read during the summer, and I’ve been wanting the start The Cazalet Chronicles for the past few summers now. Happy reading!

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I think Elizabeth and Her German Garden should be a perfect summer read. Marking Time is the second Cazalet book and I really need to read it soon before I forget what happened in the first one!

  9. jessicabookworm says:

    Great to see you are taking part again this year Helen πŸ™‚ I managed 9/10 books last year, so hopefully we will both do a little better with our lists this year. I haven’t read any of the books on your list but I do also have a copy of The Poison Bed by EC Fremantle to read and I do have a Daphne du Maurier novel on my challenge list (The House on the Strand). Happy summer reading! πŸ˜€

  10. Liz Dexter says:

    I’ve read numbers 2, 4 and 8 and it looks like you have a good and varied list that will also help you with other projects – a recipe for success, I’d say. I have been a bit over-ambitious with mine, so we’ll see …

    • Helen says:

      Yes, I needed to read some of these books for other projects anyway, so it was quite an easy list to put together. Good luck with yours. πŸ™‚

  11. piningforthewest says:

    I’ve read numbers 4, 8, 10, 12, and 16, all really enjoyable reads. I probably will join in with this one – if I can get myself organised.

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