Didn’t we just finish the 20 Books of Summer? I don’t know about you, but between September 2016 and June 2017 a lot of big events happened, so it feels like I just finished last year’s challenge. However, Cathy at 746 Books is up to it again! She explains:
For anyone who hasn’t taken part before, 20 Books of Summer is a reading challenge I do each year from 1 June to 3 September where I read 20 books from my TBR in three months.
Last summer I counted all the pages I needed to read, divided it by the number of days in the challenge, panicked when I remembered that writing the reviews themselves take a while, and then added sticky notes for my daily reading goal. Remember this?
I finished the challenge and only changed books a couple of times (I forgot things like book club picks and that including The Brothers Karamazov was just silly). I did clean up my collection of review copies! I only have two books left that were sent to me by publishers or authors, and I’m adding those to my 2017 #20BooksofSummer challenge.
This summer, though, will be a bit different for me. I have to do training in August for the new location — a correctional facility — where I will teach. The reading challenge also runs into the school year, so I may have to stop and focus on what I’m doing professionally. Thus, this year I’m going in less prepared and more forgiving.
Here are my 20 Books of Summer:
An Untamed State by Roxane Gay
I bought this book right when it came out, but like so many others, it hasn’t been read. Gay’s novel is also part of my general 2017 goal to read books by women of color that I already own.
In An Untamed State, Roxane Gay delivers an assured debut about a woman kidnapped for ransom, her captivity as her father refuses to pay and her husband fights for her release over thirteen days, and her struggle to come to terms with the ordeal in its aftermath.
Watchfires by Hilary Plum
I bought this book recently at the author’s reading. She was so smart and yet shy that I wanted to get this non-fiction collection about her struggles with anorexia, which she juxtaposes with terror.
Hilary Plum’s Watchfires is an intimate account of public and private life during the long years of the “war on terror.” This remarkable essay begins in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and illuminates the relationships among cancer, autoimmune disease, the Iraq War, the Arab Spring, Occupy, veteran suicide, the American epidemic of gun violence, and Plum’s family history.
A Girl’s Guide to Vampires by Katie MacAlister
Thanks to all the support I received in my post about my #poser dinosaur and being ashamed of my past self and what she read, I’m adding two sexy vampires books to the list. These are audio books, which I’ve enjoyed more and more lately.
All Joy Randall wants is a little old-fashioned romance, but when she participates in a “Goddess evoking” ceremony with her friend, Roxy, Joy finds out her future true love is a man with the potential to put her immortal soul in danger.
Sex and the Single Vampire by Katie MacAlister
Book #2 of the vampire series. They’re all stand-alone novels, but I’m reading them in order.
If Allie doesn’t find a ghost soon, her short career as a “Summoner” with United Psychical Research Association will be a thing of the past, so naturally she is delighted to find what she thinks is the tortured spirit of a gorgeous, naked, wounded man. But the cranky spirit, who looks exactly like the dishy man who has been haunting Allie’s dreams…
A Thin Gold Thread by Lisa Rosen
This is a book I promised to review for another book review site ages ago!
Disillusioned with academic life, Addy Quick just wants to finish graduate school and get on with Doing Important Things. When she moves back home for the summer to finish her dissertation, she realizes that living with her anxious mother (and her constant refrain of “what will people think”) is not going to be easy.
Kindred by Octavia Butler
A book that’s been on my TBR shelf for a few years. Fits with my goal of read women of color books I already own.
Having just celebrated her 26th birthday in 1976 California, Dana, an African-American woman, is suddenly and inexplicably wrenched through time into antebellum Maryland.
Super Mario Bros. 3 (Boss Fight Books #13) by Alyse Knorr
One of my favorite video games ever. I agreed to review this book a while back for the same blog I mentioned above. This is a non-fiction book about the game.
Alyse Knorr unearths Super Mario Bros 3’s connections to theater and Japanese folklore, investigates her own princess-rescuing impulses, and examines how the game’s animal costumes, themed worlds, tight controls, goofy enemies, and memorable music cohere in a game that solidified Mario’s conquest of the NES era.
Wrestling With the Muse: Dudley Randall and the Broadside Press by Melba Joyce Boyd
In college, I stumbled across a graduate-level history class called Black Detroit. And that’s all we studied: black life in Detroit. It was the best class I’ve ever taken. Dudley Randall started a press on the streets of Detroit. This is his biography.
Dudley Randall, one of the great success stories of American small-press history, was also poet laureate of Detroit, a civil-rights activist, and a force in the Black Arts Movement. Melba Joyce Boyd was an editor at Broadside, was Randall’s friend and colleague for twenty-eight years, and became his authorized biographer.
Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
A collection of cartoons. Adersen is super funny.
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay
Goes toward both my fat-positive and books by women of color I already own goals.
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Part of my fat-positive reading goals.
Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her closet.
Hometown by Michele Feltman Strider
Plump, unattractive, and underachieving, Sharon Mathers isn’t the kind of girl usually found in glossy women’s magazines. She is the kind of girl found reading them, usually while drinking beer in the backroom of her friend’s double-wide trailer/beauty parlor.
This is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe
Goes toward my fat-positive and women of color reading goals.
Gabourey Sidibe—“Gabby” to her legion of fans—skyrocketed to international fame in 2009 when she played the leading role in Lee Daniels acclaimed movie Precious. In This is Just My Face, she shares a one-of-a-kind life story.
Losing It by Lindsay Faith Rech
Part of my 2017 fat-positive goals.
Considering she’s just driven her car into the front window of Davey’s Café, they might be on to something. All Diana wants is to be normal—but life for this thirty-two-year-old waitress is anything but.
Jolie is Somewhere by Alana Cash
Sent to me by the author. I loved her last book, the self-published Saints in the Shadows.
Jolie has a list. There are 4 names on it. How can she take revenge on the cop who put her in jail for something she didn’t do, the roommate who could have saved her and didn’t, the inmate who smashed her face against a jailhouse wall, or the high-priced attorney who did nothing for her?
If the Dress Fits by Carla de Guzman
Fits both my fat-positive and women of color reading goals.
Martha Aguas kind of has it all–she’s an accountant who loves numbers, an accident-prone puppy that loves her, and the perfect wardrobe.
Yes, she wears a dress size 24, her bras don’t fit and she’s never had a boyfriend, but so what?
Mystery and Mortality: Essays on the Sad, Short Gift of Life by Paula Bomer
An author I’ve read for years and actually met up with a few years ago. Her mother passed away, and so I immediately bought this collection right after.
Here, Bomer’s essays bring us back to what we’re supposed to derive from literature: compassion.
Belly Songs: In Celebration of Fat Women by Susan Stinson
Part of my fat-positive reading goals.
‘Belly Songs’ is a collection of poetry, short fiction and personal essays that examine fat oppression and celebrate the beauty, strength and sensuality of ‘fat’ women.
Bird Box by Josh Malerman
We’re reading this one in my book club June meetup. It won’t be reviewed on Grab the Lapels.
Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.
Unforgivable Love: A Dangerous Liaisons Re-telling by Sophfronia Scott
Sent to me as a review copy by the author. Also fits my goal to read books by women of color.
In this vivid reimagining of the French classic Les Liaisons Dangereuses, it’s the summer when Jackie Robinson breaks Major League Baseball’s color barrier and a sweltering stretch has Harlem’s elite fleeing the city for Westchester County’s breezier climes. But there two predators stalk amidst the manicured gardens and fine old homes.