My Summer Reading Plans* (*please note these may be subject to sudden change!)

This blog post started life as a #20booksofsummer post. It was going to be really easy to write…

Then I realised that 20 books were definitely not going to Be enough, so it expanded to 30 books of summer…

Now it is completely and utterly out of control! The lists and notes have been rewritten so many times. Every time I have opened my emails, checked my Twitter and said hello to the Postman the plans have changed…

But school finished on Friday . It might be raining in Cumbria, but my summer is officially here. I can delay this no longer.

So here goes, tentative summer reading plans, which are very likely to expand at a moments notice!

And I will begin with…

Beautiful proofs just begging to be read…

Having just devoured Don’t Think a Single Thought by Diana Cambridge in almost a single sitting, I can’t wait to get my teeth into The Naseby Horses by Dominic Brownlow. Both books are published by the very talented Louise Walters, and Naseby Horses is set in the Fens, my childhood playground. With a ‘silent and mysterious setting’ and a local curse to boot this one is right up my street. And who can resist a proof that comes bagged up in lavender!!

Next up is The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow. I have had this gorgeous looking proof winking at me for a good few weeks now and I am so excited to be on the blog tour for this one, leading up to it’s publication on 12th September with Little Brown. Set in a ‘sprawling mansion filled with exotic treasures’ and billed as being perfect for readers of The Night Circus, The Thirteenth Tale and The Binding, my hopes are high.

The next two books in this category are late entries, having just come to my attention in the last week and for that I am very grateful!

The first was so beautifully reviewed recently by Amanda @BookishChat, the intriguing Witches Sail in Eggshells by Chloe Turner, published by Reflex Press. After rediscovering my love for short stories in the past 12 months I can’t wait to embark on this one. Thank you David Borrowdale for my gifted copy.

The second is the long awaited sequel to Bluebird Bluebird by Attica Locke. Having discovered this huge talent at the end of last year I was thrilled to be offered a proof of Heaven, My Home. Set in Texas against a backdrop of racial violence following the election of Donald Trump, a black man is implicated in the disappearance and potential murder of a white boy : the son of an Aryan Brotherhood captain.

This book feels like an important and timely read and I am very grateful to Hope Ndaba at Serpent’s Tail for sending this one my way.

American Dirt by Jeannie Cummins has been getting a whole lot of love on Twitter recently and I am so grateful to Louise Swannell for her super speedy response to my begging for a proof. This is (I think!!) my first 2020 proof. The story of a mother’s love and desperate efforts to protect her son as circumstances force them to flee Mexico, riding the ‘la bestia’; dangerous freight trains crossing the US – Mexican border. Published by Tinder Press this too feels like an important novel of it’s time.

Now I am very definitely a ‘physical books’ kind of a gal, however when I really, really, really want to read something I will turn to NetGalley!

Currently waiting for me on my shelf are four crackers which I am planning to devour on the long car journey to France in a couple of weeks time!

Let’s begin with the incredible talent that is Laura Purcell and her upcoming release Bone China. A historical thriller set in Cornwall and inter woven with superstition and intrigue, this one is just brimming with promise! Published on 19th September by Raven Books this one looks like a gem.

The Underground Railroad launched Colson Whitehead into my reading consciousness with a bang. His latest work The Nickel Boys is set in 1960’s Florida and, just like Railroad finds it’s foundation very much in reality. Here is the story of a Reform School that twists and destroys the lives of the boys within it. I am not anticipating an easy read but certainly an important one.

Tracy Chevailer‘s new offering is up next! A Single Thread is set between the Wars. Focusing on Violet, mourning the loss of her brother and fiancé, one of a generation of women unlikely to marry, she strikes out alone. Looking for independence and seeking a purpose in her life, this book seems full of promise and empowerment! Published by HarperCollins UK on 5th September

And finally Jeanette Winterson has held me under her spell since discovering Oranges are not the only fruit as a wide eyed teenage. To have a digital copy of her latest book Frankissstein seems like a true honour! Within these pages Winterson tackles the thorny issue of AI and asks the difficult question of what will happen when humans are no longer the most intelligent creatures on the planet? Published 1st October by Grove Press.

New, shiny, recently released books that are singing to me…

First on this list has to be The Moss House by Clara Barley. Just published by BlueMoose Books and hot on the heels of the fabulous Gentleman Jack, this is the book for anyone looking to immerse themselves once more in the story of the awe inspiring Annie Lister and her lover Anne Walker.

(And interesting fact Clara Barley and my good self shared an A level English teacher, the wonderful Linda Hill of Linda’s Book Bag.)

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, Bloomsbury is quite literally EVERYWHERE this summer. Already a Sunday Times #1 bestseller this imitate portrait of the lives and desires of three very different women is widely tipped as the nonfiction read of the summer.

On Chapel Sands: My Mother and Other Missing Persons by Laura Cumming, Chatto &Windus is about as compelling a family history story you will find this year. With the story of her mother’s kidnap in childhood at it’s heart this is Cummings exploration of a Lincolnshire coastal hamlet and it’s secrets.

And the finally – Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann, Galley Beggar Press. I have made absolutely no secret of the fact that this book scares me and intrigues me in almost equal measure. Approximately 1000 pages long and largely told through a single sentence, it is certainly unique. It’s on order…I am waiting with bated breath

Books that I have missed…

These are books that have been published for a while now, books the world has been raving about but books I haven’t quite caught up with yet.

The first had been recommended most heartily by Claire @yearofreading and who am I to disagree! Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott was long listed for this year’s Women’s Prize and is the story of Truman Capote and his ‘Swans’, the wealthy, beautiful women he courted but ultimately betrayed.

And continuing the theme of hedonism, let us look next to Daisy and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. It feels like every single person in the bookish world and beyond has read this tale of a 70’s band rise and fall. And I want to join the party!

Heading in a completely different direction now, for I can’t go long without venturing into the world of Victorian England. Particularly the grimy streets of London where there is a mystery to be solved. The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell looks like a promising way of scratching my Dickensian itch. This first hit my radar through the Backlisted Podcast and I have been running to catch up with it ever since.

Sneaking another one in here, let me introduce Heroes by Stephen Fry. Around this time last year I read and thoroughly enjoyed Mythos. Heroes is the last of my Christmas present books and it seems a perfect read for basking (please God!) in the summer sun!

And finally…my blasts from the past my TBR pile…

Blogging has thrown up so many welcome literary discoveries that I have, inevitably been cheating in my ‘To be read pile’. So in no particular order below are the books I am determined to get to this summer!

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke – This has been by my bed for a least two years! Another one that scares me a wee bit. Time to face my fear I think!

Stoner – John Williams – I have been meaning to read this for time immemorial. Who thinks the time is right?

Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien Everyone has read this tale of revolutionary China, right? Wrong!! Need to sort it out!

Frankenstein– Mary Shelley Strictly speaking this is a reread, having read this many years ago at University. Having just completed the brilliant Arguing with the dead by Alex Nye, which focuses on Mary’s tangled relationship with Percy Shelley, and having access to Winterson’s Frankisstein, it feels the time is right to reacquaint myself with the monster!

And so there you have it..

…my somewhat tentative summer reading plans.

There are, however, any number of things which might just sway me off course.

At this moment, for example I am very aware the Man Booker Prize long list announcement is looming. I would like to say I won’t be affected…

…it would be a lie!

Every time I log on to Twitter I will make new golden discoveries, be tempted into requesting proofs and just generally feast myself on the loveliness of fabulous books floating in the ether!

Lovely publishers will hopefully continue to be in contact sending me goodies, (again, Please God!)

And I will wander into beautiful book shops and rescue poor unwanted books… for their own good…naturally!

But I promise that one thing that will definitely happen is that I will read lots of lovely books…

…and it’s always good to have a plan!!!

Happy reading!

Rachel x

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