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Willoyd's Reading Log 2013

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Book List 2013

 

Previous book lists: 2009, 2010-2011, 2012

 

January

1. When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro (Jan 2) G **

 

February

2. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens (Feb 2) G ******

3. Antarctica by Gabrielle Walker (Feb 18) ****

4. Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada (Feb 23) G *

 

March

5. Underground, Overground by Andrew Martin (Mar 9) ****

6. The Glass Painter's Daughter by Rachel Hore (Mar 16) ****

7. King Solomon's Carpet by Barbara Vine (Mar 22) *****

 

April

8. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (Apr 13) *****

9. A Far Cry from Kensington by Muriel Spark (Apr 18) ***

10. Capital by Maureen Duffy (Apr 28) ****

 

May

11. Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville (May 12) G ***

12. Bankside by David Brandon and Alan Brooke (May 14) ***

13. The Last Viking by Stephen Bown (May 20) ****

14. The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf (May 27) *****

 

June

15. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (Jun 7) ******

16. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Jun 8) ***

17. Light by Margaret Elphinstone (Jun 15) G *****

 

July

18. Seasons in the Sun by Dominic Sandbrook (Jul 12) *****

19. Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple (Jul 17) ***

20. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (Jul 27) R ******

21. White River by Jamie Whittle (Jul 28) ***

 

August

22. Findings by Kathleen Jamie (Aug 4) *****

23. A Month in the Country by JL Carr (Aug 14) RG ******

24. To Sea and Back by Richard Shelton (Aug 20) ****

25. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Aug 21) G **

26. The Darling Buds of May by HE Bates (Aug 22) ***

27. Ashenden by W Somerset Maugham (Aug 28) ****

 

September

28. Walk the Lines by Mark Mason (Sep 14) ***

29. A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif (Sep 21) G ***

 

October

30. A Time of Gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor (Oct 3) GU **

31. The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald (Oct 12) G *****

32. The Real Jane Austen by Paula Byrne (Oct 27) *****

33. Portrait in Sepia by Isabel Allende (Oct 31) G *****

 

November

34. Sweet Poison by David Gillespie (Nov 6) ***

35. Armchair Nation by Joe Moran (Nov 21) ****

36. An Unsuitable Job for a Woman by PD James (Nov 23) G ***

37. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary-Anne Shaffer and Annie Burrows (Nov 25) GR ****

38. Circle Line by Steffan Hughes (Nov 29) **

39. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (Nov 30) ***

 

December

40. The Plantagenets by Dan Jones (Dec 1) ****

41. A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland (Dec 6) ****

42. Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant (Dec 9) *****

43. Letters to Alice on first reading Jane Austen by Fay Weldon (Dec 11) ******

44. Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin (Dec 20) *****

45. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James (Dec 21) ****

46. Pietr the Latvian by Georges Simenon (Dec 22) ***

47. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome (Dec 22) **

48. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Dec 23) R *****

49. The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee (Dec 23) ***

50. Forever X by Geraldine McCaughrean (Dec 24) ***

51. Christmas Pudding by Nancy Mitford (Dec 25) ****

52. The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper (Dec 26) ******

53. Blue Remembered Hills by Rosemary Sutcliff (Dec 27) ***

54. The Courier's Tale by Peter Walker (Dec 29) *****

55. The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin (Dec 30) ****

56. The Matisse Stories by AS Byatt (Dec 30) G **

 

 

Unfinished and insufficient completed to count towards reading list.

1. The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne (Jan 31) UG *

2. Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers (Feb 24) UG *

3. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (Feb 25) U *

4. Starter for Ten by David Nicholls (Mar 17) UG *

 

 

Ratings

* Disliked this, Very rarely finished.

** Disappointing. Usually finished but may not be.

*** Solid read, even if perhaps not fully engaging.

**** Very good, involving read.

***** Excellent, an outstanding read, even if not quite making it onto my favourites list.

****** An all-time favourite.

 

A star in brackets means that I can't decide which of two grades to give as yet!

 

U=unfinished, A=audiobook, R=reread, G = reading for book groups

Edited by willoyd

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Books rated as 6-stars

 

A record of the 87 books I've given my top rating to:

 

Fiction (60)

Ackroyd, Peter: Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem

Ackroyd, Peter: Hawksmoor

Atkinson, Kate: Case Histories

Austen, Jane: Sense and Sensibility

Austen, Jane: Pride and Prejudice

Austen, Jane: Emma

Bronte, Charlotte: Jane Eyre

Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights

Buchan, John: John Macnab

Carr JL: A Month in the Country

Carr JL: The Harpole Report

Carre, John Le: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Chaucer, Geoffrey: The Canterbury Tales

Chevalier, Tracey: Falling Angels

Childers, Erskine: The Riddle of the Sands

Collins, Norman: London Belongs To Me

Cunningham, Michael: The Hours

Cooper, Susan: The Dark is Rising

Davies, Martin: The Conjuror's Bird

Dickens, Charles: Bleak House

Dickens, Charles: David Copperfield

Elphinstone, Margaret: The Sea Road

Elphinstone, Margaret: Voyageurs

Ewing, Barbara: Rosetta

Greig, Andrew: The Return of John MacNab

Haddon, Mark: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Herbert, Frank: Dune

Horwood, William: Skallagrig

Hulme, Keri: Bone People

Japrisot, Sebastian: A Very Long Engagement

Kipling, Rudyard: Puck of Pook's Hill

Kipling, Rudyard: Rewards and Fairies

Lee, Harper: To Kill A Mockingbird

Mantel, Hilary: Wolf Hall

Melville, Herman: Moby Dick

Mitchell, David: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet

Miller, Andrew: Pure

Monsarrat, Nicholas: The Cruel Sea

Moorcock, Michael: Mother London

O'Brian, Patrick: The Mauritius Command

Pears, Ian: An Instance of the Fingerpost

Penney, Stef: The Tenderness of Wolves

Pullman, Philip: Northern Lights

Rushdie, Salman: Midnight's Children

Seth, Vikram: A Suitable Boy

Smiley, Jane: A Thousand Acres

Smith, Dodie: I Capture the Castle

Stephenson, Neal: Cryptonomicon

Stevenson, Robert Louis: Kidnapped

Thackeray, William: Vanity Fair

Thompson, Harry: This Thing of Darkness

Tolkien JRR: The Lord of the Rings

Tolstoy, Leo: War and Peace

White, TH: Mistress Masham's Repose

Willis, Connie: To Say Nothing of the Dog

Woolf, Virginia: Mrs Dalloway

Woolf, Virginia: The Years

Woolf, Virginia: To The Lighthouse

Woolf, Virginia: Between the Acts

Woolfenden, Ben: The Ruins of Time

 

Non-fiction (27)

Cocker, Mark: Crow Country

Dawkins, Richard: The Blind Watchmaker

Fadiman, Anne: Ex Libris

Frater, Alexander: Chasing the Monsoon

Hanff, Helen: 84 Charing Cross Road

Hastings, Max: All Hell Let Loose

Holland, James: Dam Busters

Hoskins, WG: The Making of the English Landscape

Huntford, Roland: Shackleton

Junger, Sebastian: The Perfect Storm

Longford, Elizabeth: Wellington, The Years of the Sword

Lee, Hermione: Virginia Woolf

Moore, Richard: In Search of Robert Millar

Nichols, Peter: A Voyage for Madmen

Pennac, Daniel: The Rights of the Reader

Rackham, Oliver: The History of the Countryside

Pinker, Stephen: The Language Instinct

de Saint-Exupery, Antoine: Wind, Sand and Stars

Salisbury, Laney and Gay: The Cruellest Miles

Simpson, Joe: Touching the Void

Taylor, Stephen: Storm and Conquest

Tomalin, Claire: Pepys, The Unequalled Self

Uglow, Jenny: The Pinecone

Unsworth, Walt: Everest

Weldon, Fay: Letters to Alice on first reading Jane Austen

Wheeler, Sara: Terra Incognita

Young, Gavin: Slow Boats to China

Edited by willoyd

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Non-fiction lists

No overall TBR list - that's simply the unrated books on my LibraryThing account.

However, I have been meaning to make greater inroads into the list of non-fiction doorstoppers on my shelves than I've managed to achieve over the last year or two, so have decided to list those I've not read here as a specific list for encouragement!!

Rules are that book should be greater than 500 pages, and that only one book by an author to be listed at one time. A few are multi-volume works.  Goodness knows how long they will take to read!

I've also been collecting the series of memoirs being published by Slightly Foxed (possibly my favourite 'magazine', if that is how such a beautiful production can be described), but have barely made any inroads to them, so am going to give them a go this year. Rather slimmer than the doorstoppers, they are listed at the end.

As the doorstopper list is a changeable feast, books that have been read are listed at the end. For the Slightly Foxed list, books in blue have been read.

 

Doorstoppers

 

History

01. The Noble Revolt by John Adamson

02. The Crusades by Thomas Asbridge

03. The Pursuit of Glory by Tim Blanning

04. The Discoverers by Daniel Boorstin

05. This New Ocean by William Burrows

06. The Identity of France by Fernand Braudel

07. World Crisis v1: 1911-1914 by Winston Churchill

08. The Sleepwalkers by Christopher Clarke

09. The Seven Years War by Julian Corbett

10. Vanished Kingdoms by Norman Davies

11. The Penguin History of Modern China by Jonathan Fenby

12. A History of Europe by HAL Fisher

13. The World on Fire by Amanda Foreman

14. The Thirties by Juliet Gardner

15. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbons

16. The Presidents by Stephen Graubard

17. Catastrophe by Max Hastings

18. The Battle of Britain by James Holland

19. The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk

20. The Birth of the Modern by Paul Johnson

21. Postwar by Tony Judt

22. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by TE Lawrence

23. The History of England by Thomas Macauley

24. The History of Christianity by Diarmid Macculloch

25. Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson

26. Scotland: The Story of a Nation by Magnus Magnusson

27. The History of Germany since 1789 by Golo Mann

28. The Line Upon the Wind by Noel Mostert

29. Pax Britannica trilogy by Jan Morris

30. History of Venice by John Julius Norwich

31. The Scramble for Africa by Thomas Pakenham

32. Global Catastrophe by Geoffrey Parker

33. The Making of the British Landscape by Francis Pryor

34. America, Empire of Liberty by David Reynolds

35. The Penguin History of the World by JM Roberts

36. The England of Elizabeth by AL Rowse

37. Never Had It So Good by Dominic Sandbrook

38. The Culture of the Europeans by Donald Sassoon

39. An Embarrassment of Riches by Simon Schama

40. Trial by Battle by Jonathan Sumption

41. Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas

42. The German Genius by Peter Watson

43. The Thirty Years War by CV Wedgwood

44. The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt by Toby Wilkinson

 

Biography

01. Dickens by Peter Ackroyd

02. The Brontes by Juliet Barker

03. Nikolaus Pevsner by Susan Harries

04. Titian by Sheila Hale

05. Stanley by Tim Jeal

06. Churchill by Roy Jenkins

07. Hitler by Ian Kershaw

08. Salisbury by Andrew Young

09. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

10. God's Architect by Rosemary Hill

11. The Pursuit of Victory by Roger Knight

12. Darwin by Adrian Desmond and James Moore

13. Queen Anne by Anne Somerset

14. Bismarck by Jonathan Steinberg

 

Travel and Exploration

01. The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard

02. Into the Silence by Wade Davis

03. In Europe by Geert Mak

04. Maximum City by Suketu Mehta

05. Old Glory by Jonathan Raban

 

Read this year

Seasons in the Sun by Dominic Sandbrook *****

The Plantagenets by Dan Jones ****

 

Slightly Foxed Editions

01. Blue Remembered Hills by Rosemary Sutcliffe ****

02. My Grandmothers and I by Diana Holman-Hunt

03. A Cab at the Door by VS Pritchett

04. A Boy at the Hogarth Press & A Parcel of Time by Richard Hoggart ***

05. A Late Beginner by Priscilla Napier

06. Corduroy by Adrian Bell

07. The Missing Will by Michael Wharton

08. Another Self by James Lee-Milne

09. The High Path by Ted Walker

10. A House in Flanders by Michael Jenkins

11. A Sort of Life by Graham Green

12. The Young Ardizzone by Edward Ardizzone

13. People Who Say Goodbye by PY Betts

14. Hand-grenade Practice in Peking by Frances Wood

15. Mr Tibbit's Catholic School by Ysende Maxtone Graham

16. Look Back with Love by Dodie Smith

17. Mango and Mimosa by Suzanne St Albans

18. The Flame Trees of Thika by Elspeth Huxley

19. A Late Education by Alan Moorehead

20. My Grandfather & Father Dear Father by Denis Constanduros

21. The Real Mrs Miniver by Ysende Graham

22. Country Boy by Richard Hillyer

23. The Past is Myself by Christabel Bielenberg

Edited by willoyd

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Classics TBR list
I also want to get stuck more into the classics, so this is my list of classics to read (the definition of 'classic' has been stretched on occasions!).
Only one book/series per writer allowed at any one time, so will only add the next from that author once the previous one has been read.


Le Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac
The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir
The Master and Margarita by Mikhael Bulgakov
Evelina by Fanny Burney
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
Villette by Charlotte Bronte
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (reread) ******
Possession by AS Byatt
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (reread)
The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
The Deptford Trilogy by Robertson Davies
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens ******
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot
The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard
Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James ****
Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome **
Ulysses by James Joyce
Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos
Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham
Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake
A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (reread)
The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott
Waverley by Walter Scott

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
The Once and Future King by TH White
The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf *****
Night and Day by Virginia Woolf
The Fortune of the Rougons by Emile Zola

 

Edited by willoyd

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Books read from 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

 

Total read = 120 out of 1294.

 

1. Books from the original 2006 list (115 read).

 

2000s

011. The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd *****

019. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon ******

029. The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor *****

033. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides ****

049. Life of Pi by Yann Martel ****

 

1900s

72. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson ******

081. Amsterdam by Ian MacEwan ****

89. The Hours by Michael Cunningham ******

095. Enduring Love by Ian MacEwan *

115. The Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald ***

116. The Reader by Bernard Schlink *

141. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth ******

153. The Crow Road by Ian Banks ****

157. Miss Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg *****

190. Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro ****

209. The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul by Douglas Adams ****

210. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams ****

247. Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd ******

265. Waterland by Graham Swift ******

288. Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie ******

293. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco ******

301. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams *****

339. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre ******

375. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut *

379. The Godfather by Mario Puzo ***

389. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke ****

400. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov *****

428. The Graduate by Charles Webb ***

430. The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John Le Carre **

450. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark ****

456. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee ******

488. Justine by Lawrence Durrell *

494. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien ******

506. The Story of O by Pauline Reage *

508. Lord of the Flies by William Golding ****

510. The Go-Between by LP Hartley **

511. The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler ****

521. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway ***

527. Foundation by Isaac Asimov ****

539. I, Robot by Isaac Asimov ****

542. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford ******

547. Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell *

559. The Plague by Albert Camus *

564. Animal Farm by George Orwell **

566. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford *****

579. The Outsider by Albert Camus *

584. Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf ******

586. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler ****

599. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler ****

601 Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson *****

610. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien ****

611. The Years by Virginia Woolf ******

650. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons *****

654. The Waves by Virginia Woolf *****

656. Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham *****

660. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett ***

667. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque ***

675. Orlando by Virginia Woolf ****

676. Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence *

686. To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf ******

695. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie ****

698. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf ******

699. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald **

716. Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf *****

740. The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf *****

743. The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan ****

761. A Room With A View by EM Forster *****

777. The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers ****

781. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle ****

783. Kim by Rudyard Kipling ****

 

1800s

789. The Turn of the Screw by Henry James **** 

794. Dracula by Bram Stoker *****

803. The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith *

804. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle *****

811. La Bete Humaine by Emile Zola ****

820. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson ****

822. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson ******

825. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain ****

831. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson *****

833. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James ****

839. Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy ****

848. Around The World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne ****

853. Middlemarch by George Eliot *****

854. Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll ****

857. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy ******

862. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott ***

863. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins ****

867. Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne ****

868. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ****

875. Silas Marner by George Eliot ***

876. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens ****

880. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins *****

886. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert *****

890. Bleak House by Charles Dickens ******

892, Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell ****

896. Moby Dick by Herman Melville ******

898. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens ******

900. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell *****

902. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte ******

904. Vanity Fair by Wllliam Thackeray ******

905. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte ******

906. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas *****

913. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ***

918. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens *****

930. Ivanhoe by Walter Scott ***

932. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen *****

933. Persuasion by Jane Austen *****]

936. Emma by Jane Austen ******

937. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen *****

938. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen ******

939. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen ******

 

1700s

970. Candide by Voltaire ****

985. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe *

1001. Aesop's Fables by Aesopus **

 

2. Books added in 2008 (5 out of 282 read)

055. The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez-Reverte ***

058. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell ****

174. Excellent Women by Barbara Pym ***

205. The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz ***

234. The Call of the Wild by Jack London ****

 

3. Books added in 2010 (0 out of 11 read)

Edited by willoyd

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English Counties Reading Challenge (Willoyd's variation)

 

This is closely based on the English Counties Challenge listed in the Reading Challenge section.  I've listed a few different books, primarily to replace books already read which I don't want to reread, mainly because I've read them too recently.  These are marked with an asterisk.

 

01. My Uncle Silas by H. E. Bates (Bedfordshire)

02. Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (Berkshire)

03. The Misses Mallett by E. H. Young (Bristol)

04. The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (Buckinghamshire) *****(*)

05. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers (Cambridgeshire)

06. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (Cheshire)

07. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (City of London) *****

08. Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier (Cornwall)

09. The Maid of Buttermere by Melvyn Bragg (Cumbria)

10. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (Derbyshire)

11. To Serve Them All My Days by RF Delderfield (Devon)*

12. Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (Dorset)

13. Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (Durham)

14. South Riding by Winifred Holtby (East Riding of Yorkshire)

15. Winnie-The-Pooh by A. A. Milne (East Sussex)

16. The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James (Essex) ****

17. Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee (Gloucestershire)

18. The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (Greater London)*

19. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (Greater Manchester)

20. Watership Down by Richard Adams (Hampshire)

21. On The Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin (Herefordshire)

22. Howard's End by EM Forster (Hertfordshire)*

23. England, England by Julian Barnes (Isle of Wight)

24. The History of Mr Polly by HG Wells (Kent)*

25. Oranges are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (Lancashire)

26. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend (Leicestershire)

27. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (Lincolnshire)

28. An Awfully Big Adventure by Beryl Bainbridge (Merseyside)

29. The Go-Between by L. P. Hartley (Norfolk)

30. All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot (North Yorkshire)

31. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Northamptonshire)

32. The Stars Look Down by A. J. Cronin (Northumberland)

33. The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence (Nottinghamshire)*

34. The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford (Oxfordshire)

35. Set In Stone by Robert Goddard (Rutland)

36. Summer Lightning by P. G. Wodehouse (Shropshire)

37. Lorna Doone by R. D. Blackmore (Somerset)

38. A Kestrel For A Knave by Barry Hines (South Yorkshire)

39. The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett (Staffordshire)

40. The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald (Suffolk) ***

41. Emma by Jane Austen (Surrey)

42. Another World by Pat Barker (Tyne and Wear)

43. Tom Brown's School Days by Thomas Hughes (Warwickshire)

44. Middlemarch by George Eliot (West Midlands)

45. Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons (West Sussex)

46. Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë (West Yorkshire)*

47. Doctor Thorne by Anthony Trollope (Wiltshire)*

48. The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall (Worcestershire)

Edited by willoyd

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Review of 2012, Looking forward to 2013.
In terms of quantity, this has to be one of my best years yet: the first time I've hit the 60 book mark, highly appropriate for Diamond Jubilee year! As in previous years, the final total largely came off the December splurge, holidays and bad weather being a perfect mix for reading! This year, this month came in at 16 books, not quite the record (19 last year). Even so, the rest of the year was definitely a cut above previous years, especially when allowing for the August – September dip when, with Olympics, Paralympics and the usual frantic start to the school year, I read just three books, my lowest two-month total ever.

In terms of quality, 2012 was a bit more mixed. Most notable was the lack of 6 star fiction reads: just one new one until the very last couple of days of the year: Andrew Miller's superb Pure. This was joined at the last gasp by Virginia Woolf's last novel, Between the Acts. The other three were all non-fiction, including my book of the year, Jenny Uglow's The Pinecone, one of my favourite writers on absolutely top form. It's worth mentioning the other two as well, both, coincidentally, about flying, even if very different books: James Holland's Dam Busters, and Antoine de Saint-Exupery's wonderfully lyrical Wind, Sand and Stars.

Unlike last year, there were no great new discoveries (although I continued with last year's, enjoying two more of Virginia Woolf's output), but I did enjoy my first experiences of Somerset Maugham. However, Oliver Twist and Madame Bovary did surprise me in how much I enjoyed them, the former especially in being a more complex and rewarding read than any of the films or musicals had suggested.

On the downside, one book stood out in its awfulness: James Herbert's Ash. This could be a serious contender for the worst book I've ever read. The other one-star read, Gideon Defoe's Pirates could at least be sort of be forgiven as being aimed at younger children's sense of humour! Two others that disappointed me, having expected so much more, were Ian Pears's Stone Fall, such a letdown after An Instance of the Fingerpost, and Kathryn Stockett's The Help, where I really struggled to see how it had garnered so many rave reviews – very ordinary.

Two other aspects of reading have also taken off this year. Firstly, the media I'm using is much more varied: I'm reading far more on my Kindle, and indeed on my phone, whilst I've started listening to audiobooks more too – I'm currently steadily working my way through Roy McMillan's reading of Don Quixote. Secondly, I've joined a couple of book groups, and that is producing some interesting reading, including the unfortunate Ash and The Help. However, the latter led to a hugely pleasurable evening's discussion (helped by being held round the kitchen table whilst consuming a Christmas buffet!), so it proved a good choice after all! It'll be interesting to see how both develop in 2013.

So, what about next year? I did say last year that whilst not being keen on setting targets, those sixty books would be a good figure to aim for. I also mentioned that I would like to "make some inroads into some of the big doorstopper reads that I have had lined up for some time but for one thing and another have never got around to." On that front, target or otherwise, I completely failed! So this year, I'm going to prioritise two areas of reading: those doorstoppers, and some of the classics that I've been meaning to read for some time. To help that, I've set up two reading lists on a couple of earlier posts to help me tick off some of that backlog. Otherwise, the big target this year is to limit my expenditure on books – I've plenty of good material to read on the shelves, and things like the Kindle Daily Deal seem to come up with enough interesting reads. As for numbers? Not so bothered – just hope that I get some good books to read - but can't resist aiming for another sixty, but will quite happily accept less if I get through a few of those biggies.

Edited by willoyd

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I particularly enjoyed these books, Willoyd:

 

The Master and Margarita by Mikhael Bulgakov

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

 

And I have many of your other classics on my TBR pile, so I'll be interested to see what you make of them. Happy Reading! :)

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And I have many of your other classics on my TBR pile, so I'll be interested to see what you make of them. Happy Reading! :)


Thanks Kylie. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into that list. Catch 22 is a particularly interesting one for me: I've tried it two or three times, and it's never got a hold, but I've always tried at times when I've had other distractions, so want to give it one more go when I can really get my teeth into it. FWIW, I remember loving the film when I saw it quite a few years ago. Edited by willoyd

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I remember enjoying the film too - and it's not a particularly easy book to adapt, given the many characters and the way the story chops and changes. I hope you get on with it much better the next time you read it. :)

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Hello willoyd,

 

Your 6-star fiction list is very encouraging - as I intend to read quite a few of those titles this year.

Wishing you lots more 6-star books this year.

 

And what's a "doorstopper", please?

(Do you mean the book is so heavy and huge that it can be used as a door-stopper? Or have I got that wrong? :blush:)

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And what's a "doorstopper", please?
(Do you mean the book is so heavy and huge that it can be used as a door-stopper? Or have I got that wrong? :blush:)


Absolutely right! I see they're referred to as 'Doorsteps' in the reading challenges section, so 'doorstopper' might be a personal colloquialism. Edited by willoyd

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Thanks Kylie. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into that list. Catch 22 is a particularly interesting one for me: I've tried it two or three times, and it's never got a hold, but I've always tried at times when I've had other distractions, so want to give it one more go when I can really get my teeth into it. FWIW, I remember loving the film when I saw it quite a few years ago.

 

I seem to be having the same issue with catch 22 myself, it's not holding my attention so it's taking me longer to read than normal. I am getting there though.

 

 

Happy reading in 2013!

Edited by Devi

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Catch-22 took me a little while to get into the flow of but once I did it had me reading it at every chance I got.

 

Good luck with 2013 :readingtwo:

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I always enjoy reading your reviews Willoyd, so looking forward to seeing what you have to say about the books you read next year. :)

 

I was just going through your list of 6-star books, and delighted to see so many of my favourites on there, but have to admit there were a few I didn't get on with and rated 1- or 2-stars, so just goes to show, we all have different tastes!

 

Happy reading in 2013! :smile2:

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I was just going through your list of 6-star books, and delighted to see so many of my favourites on there, but have to admit there were a few I didn't get on with and rated 1- or 2-stars, so just goes to show, we all have different tastes!



Wouldn't have it any other way (but still glad we can agree on some at least)! So, go on, which ones? Edited by willoyd

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I see they're referred to as 'Doorsteps' in the reading challenges section, so 'doorstopper' might be a personal colloquialism.

 

Oooh! I thought a "doorstep" was something else! (Nevermind!)

Your "doorstopper" made more intuitive sense to may - I may borrow it :)

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I love all the non-fiction lists in this thread, I don't read nearly enough non-fiction so I think I'll be keeping an eye on this thread for ideas! Happy reading in 2013, Willoyd! :D

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Ha ha, knew you'd ask!

 

Agree with:

Austen, Jane: Sense and Sensibility

Austen, Jane: Pride and Prejudice

Carr JL: A Month in the Country

Chevalier, Tracey: Fallen Angels

Seth, Vikram: A Suitable Boy

 

Don't agree with:

Austen, Jane: Emma

Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights

Pullman, Philip: Northern Lights

Tolkien JRR: The Lord of the Rings

White, TH: Mistress Masham's Repose

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Awh Chesil, not a Northern Lights fan? That's one of my favourite trilogies.

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Don't agree with:

Austen, Jane: Emma

Yes, that's often one of the Austen canon that people don't like it seems, along with Mansfield Park. i studied it for A-level, and it was the book that introduced me to Jane Austen, so I suppose it had a stronger impact than for others.

Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights

Now that's one I wouldn't have guessed.

 

Pullman, Philip: Northern Lights

Tolkien JRR: The Lord of the Rings

These two are about as close to fantasy as I'm likely to get when it comes to rating a book highly - not my scene normally - I'd normally rate fantasy in the 1/2 star bracket. They are both novels where I can quite see others not rating them at all. I just think both are brilliantly imaginative and thought through stories (some of LOTR might seem a bit of a cliche now, but only because others have tried to follow). BTW, Ben, this 6-star rating is just for Northern Lights, not for the whole of the Dark Materials trilogy. For me, the next two books, never quite lived up to the first.

 

White, TH: Mistress Masham's Repose

This is one I read years ago, one of my earliest 6-star ratings, before I started writing reviews, so can't quite remember why. I remember loving bot the premise and the quirkiness of the story. Your naming it surprised me a bit - I can see why not a 6-star rating, but not one I would have put down as likely to be rated at the bottom end (but then, looking at the Amazon reviews, it's a rare book indeed that doesn't have at least a couple of 1-star reviews.

Edited by willoyd

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BTW, Ben, this 6-star rating is just for Northern Lights, not for the whole of the Dark Materials trilogy. For me, the next two books, never quite lived up to the first.

 

Oh by no means is the trilogy as a whole 6/6, I'd agree with you. I think the magic of the first is never successfully replicated in the others, but overall it's still a trilogy that I find myself coming back to in times of reading droughts - so there must be something about it for me (although I'm certainly not sure what that something is).

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I love the Northern Lights trilogy, myself. Haven't read it in years, actually, should read it again.

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Had a look at your classics list Willoyd & have quite a few of the same books Wuthering Heights, Tom Jones, North & South, Catch 22 & Of Human Bondage, i've read & enjoyed. Villette & The Mill On The Floss i didn't like in fact i couldn't even finish Villette. Desperate Remedies, Possession, The Deptford Trilogy, Midnight's Children & The Gormenghast Trilogy are all on my TBR pile so i look forward to reading your thoughts on these when you get round to them. I'm embarrassed to say i confused The Deptford Trilogy with The Deptford Mice bought it for the children & didn't realise my mistake till i got it home :blush2:

 

Happy Reading in 2013 :smile:

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