20 Books of Summer

Last week I learned Cathy, of 746 Books is once again hosting her annual 20 Books of Summer Challenge. The rules are simple and there’s no pressure. Just choose 20 books to read between June 3 and September 3. Nothing is set in stone. You can swap out a book for different one, skip a book or two or even fail to read all the books on your list. You can even cut your list down to 10 or 15.  I’ve selected 20 books plus four alternates in case I end up tossing a few aside. Truth be told, I’d love nothing better than to read all 24 of these before the end of summer.

  1. Assault in Norway by Thomas Gallagher  – Published in 1981, I’ll be reading this vintage paperback for the European Reading Challenge.
  2. What’s the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank – I’ve been itching to get my hands on this book for years. Now is my chance!
  3. Five Ideas That Change the World by Barbara Ward – This one is for my Old Book Reading Project, since it was published way back in 1959.
  4. Richistan: A Journey Through the American Wealth Boom and the Lives of the New Rich by Robert Frank – We all know the rich are different. But just HOW different?
  5. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner – One of several books I’ve selected for my 20 Books of Summer I picked up at a Friends of the Library book sale.
  6. War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence by Ronan Farrow  – I keep seeing this at the library and it’s about time I read it.
  7. The Knowledge Web: From Electronic Agents to Stonehenge and Back — And Other Journeys Through Knowledge by James Burke – One of several carryover books from last year’s list. Maybe this year I’ll finally read it.
  8. Women, Race, & Class by Angela Davis – Another one for my Old Books Reading Project.
  9. The Exiles Return by Elisabeth de Waal – The sole novel on my list. I’m hoping to apply this one to the European Reading Challange.
  10. A Nation Rising: Untold Tales from America’s Hidden History by Kenneth C. Davis – I bought this one from the old Quality Paperback Club and never got around to reading it. Better late than never!
  11. Their Promised Land: My Grandparents in Love and War by Ian Buruma- I’ve had pretty good luck with Buruma in the past.
  12. The Case for God by Karen Armstrong – Another holdover from last year.  It’s been too long since I’ve read anything by Armstrong.
  13. The Trial of Socrates by I.F. Stone – Published in 1989, this one has been sitting on my shelf forever.
  14. The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath by Kevin P. Phillips- Yet another book that’s been ignored and finally needs to be read.
  15. The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by Picked up this National Book Award winner at a Friends of the Library book sale.
  16. The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East by Olivier Roy – I grabbed this from one of those Little Free Libraries you see all over the place.
  17. The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor by David S. Landes -It was on last year’s list and maybe this year I’ll finally read it!
  18. An introduction to Contemporary History by Geoffrey Barraclough –  Another for the Old Books Reading Project.
  19. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America by Juan Gonzalez – When I picked up this book at the Friends of the Library Book sale it just “felt right.” We’ll see if my intuition has led me to a good book.
  20. The Evolution of God by Robert Wright – No matter what happens I will finally read this!
  21. (Alternate) Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond – Just like The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East I found my copy in a Little Free Library.
  22. (Alternate) The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi – I’ve heard good things about Taibbi’s writing. Can’t wait to find out for myself.
  23. (Alternate) Is Latin America Turning Protestant?: The Politics of Evangelical Growth by David Still – I’m hoping this one makes a nice companion read to Harvest of Empire.
  24. (Alternate) Laughing Without an Accent: Adventures of an Iranian American, at Home and Abroad by Firoozeh Dumas – If I’m lucky I’ll enjoy this one as much as her earlier book Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America.

12 thoughts on “20 Books of Summer

    • I’ll be lucky to get through even 10 or 15 since I’m always grabbing a new book to read. Oh well, I’ll just have to try! Thanks for dropping by and commenting!


    • Thanks! I’m getting excited to read those as well! I think you should pile up a heap if your own. I’d love to see what you’ve selected! Thanks for commenting!


  1. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer: Laughing Without an Accent by Firoozeh Dumas | Maphead's Book Blog

  2. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer: The Exiles Return by Elisabeth de Waal | Maphead's Book Blog

  3. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer: In The Ruins Of Empire by Ronald H. Spector | Maphead's Book Blog

  4. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer: North of Ithaka by Eleni Gage | Maphead's Book Blog

  5. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer: Final Thoughts | Maphead's Book Blog

  6. Pingback: 20 Books of Summer | Maphead's Book Blog

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