Every year, Cathy from 746 Books runs a 20 Books of Summer (Winter for the Southern Hemisphere) challenge and every year I participate using books from my physical, print TBR. This year it runs from 1 June until 1 September. You can see the book lists and results from all my previous attempts here.

I usually choose books from the beginning of my TBR, the oldest books on the shelf, but I’ve decided to do something a bit different this year (and I had fun with a teaser picture of the books at an angle, with some excellent suggestions on Facebook on how I’d chosen them).

The pile …

So from the top, the oldest one …

Eniola Aluko – “They Don’t Teach This” – her life in football as a Black woman

Robert Twigger – “Walking the Great North Line” – a journey through Britain

– Matthew bought me these two from The Heath Bookshop in September 2022.

Sally Xerri Brooks – “Four Movements” – short stories

– I actually know Sally but wasn’t able to attend her bookshop event, also in September, so my friend Claire bought me this signed copy.

Jess Phillips – “The Life of an MP” – how it all works, with her customary wit and spark

– Jess did an event at the bookshop in October and I bought her new book and got it signed.

Kit de Waal – “My Name is Leon” – a novel about adoption and trauma

– when I attended Kit’s talk at the bookshop in early October, I bought this one alongside her autobiography, which I have already read, not able to resist it.

Brian Bilston – “Days Like These” – his newest book of poetry (I might read this a month a week over the summer)

– His reading at a local school in November 2022, hosted by The Heath Bookshop, was hilarious and moving and I had a lovely chat with him when I got it signed.

Lenny Henry – “Who Am I, Again?” – the first volume of his autobiography

– the Bookshop had a special event where you chose a book from the table and drew a discount from a pot – I got 10% off, having predicted that, but I didn’t mind!

Yaa Gyasi – “Homegoing” – a powerful novel

James Baldwin – “Go Tell it on the Mountain” – ditto, but a classic, as I’d never read Baldwin

Charles Mongomerie – “Happy City” – urban planning

Helena Lee – “East Side Voices” – stories from British Chinese writers

Kacen Callendar – “Lark & Kasim Start a Revolution” – YA multicultural fun with a heart

Kerri Andrews – “Wanderers” – tales of women walkers and explorers

– I bought all of these in an early January book token and The Heath Bookshop token splurge at the Bookshop.

Imogen Binnie – “Nevada” – trans road trip cult classic

– This was the book group read at the Bookshop earlier in the year, I don’t do book groups but I did want to read the book.

Dean Karnazes – “A Runner’s High” – about running sustainably as you age

– The Heath Bookshop sold Dean’s books with him at the National Running show, which I didn’t attend, but I heard they’d brought some signed copies back for the shop so nipped around to pick one up.

Ian Francis – “This Way to the Revolution” – 1960s Birmingham with images of places I remember from the 80s

– I kept looking at this one on the Big Shelf of Temptation in the bookshop; I thought someone might buy me a copy for my birthday so when they didn’t, I snapped it up!

Ross Barnett – “The Missing Lynx” – introducing predators and mammals in rewilding

– I had a book token that I’d printed out and wouldn’t work in bookshops that I wanted to spend in my January splurge, so I ordered it from The Heath Bookshop’s page on bookshop.org, therefore making sure they got a cut.

Adam Nathanial Furman and Joshua Mardell – “Queer Spaces” – a guide to LGBTQIA spaces around the world

– I was away on holiday when the authors came to the Hare and Hounds to do an event hosted by the Bookshop so I made sure I snapped up a copy before I went away.

Kavita Bhanot – “The Book of Birmingham” – stories about my city by local authors

– Matthew put a couple of remaining pounds on his Christmas book token in the Bookshop towards this

Richard Mabey – “The Unofficial Countryside” – cult classic about liminal spaces

– I asked Claire and Catherine at the Bookshop to order this in for me from Little Toller (publisher and bookshop) who had tweeted their worries about their own bookshop sales, so buying it via our indie bookshop seemed a win-win.

So have you guessed the theme yet? Yes, there’s a lovely orange / green / turquoise / white colourway going on, but also these are all books I have bought from The Heath Bookshop in the just over six months they’ve been open!