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Willoyd's Reading 2015

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Book List 2015

 

Previous book lists: 2009, 2010-2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

 

January

01.  The Woman Who Dived into the Heart of the World - Sabine Berman (Jan 7) G ***

02.  Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor (Jan 10) ****

03.  Master and Commander - Patrick O'Brian (Jan 17) R *****

04.  Waterloo - Tim Clayton (Jan 25) ******

05.  Post Captain - Patrick O'Brian (Jan 31) R *****

 

February

06.  HMS Surprise - Patrick O'Brian (Feb 12) R *****

07.  Remarkable Creatures - Tracy Chevalier (Feb 15) ****

08.  A Symphony of Echoes - Jodi Taylor (Feb 17) ****

09.  The Mauritius Command - Patrick O'Brian (Feb 20) R ******

10.  The Mesmerist - Barbara Ewing (Feb 25) G ***

11.  We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Jay Fowler (Feb 27) U **

 

March

12.  Middlemarch - George Eliot (Mar 17) RET ******

13.  The Road to Middlemarch - Rebecca Mead (Mar 29) ****

14.  Elephant Moon - John Sweeney (Mar 31) G ***

15.  The Third Man - Graham Greene (Mar 31) T ***

 

April

16.  The Apple: Crimson Petal stories - Michel Faber (Apr 1) ****

17.  Four Dreamers and Emily - Stevie Davies (Apr 4) ***

18.  Stuffocation - James Wallman (Apr 7) **

19.  Night and Day - Virginia Woolf (Apr 18) T *****

20.  Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Kate Atkinson (Apr 26) G ***

 

May

21.  A Question of Upbringing - Anthony Powell (May 2) R ***

22.  Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks (May 11) T ***

23.  Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (May 28) T *****

24.  Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - Fannie Flagg (May 31) G *****

 

June

25.  The Napoleonic Wars: A Very Short Introduction - Mike Rapport (Jun 5) ***

26.  Memento Mori - Muriel Spark (Jun 10) T ***

27.  Waterloo, The Aftermath - Paul O'Keeffe (Jun 21) ****

28.  Marriage Material - Sathnam Sanghera (Jun 27) ***

29.  The Grand Banks Cafe - Georges Simenon (Jun 29) ****

 

July

30.  The Small Hand - Susan Hill (Jul 2) ****

31.  Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Ian Fleming (Jul 3) *****

32.  The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood (Jul 8) ***

33.  Desolation Island - Patrick O'Brian (Jul 14) *****

34.  Divergent - Veronica Roth (Jul 15) *

35.  Once There Was A War - John Steinbeck (Jul 20) *****

36.  Frankenstein - Mary Shelley (Jul 23) T ****

37.  Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson (Jul 25) T *****

38.  The Shipping News - Annie Proulx (Jul 29) T ******

39.  The Girls of Slender Means - Muriel Spark (Jul 30) T ****

 

August

40.  Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell (Aug 7) RET ***

41.  Julie and Julia - Julie Powell (Aug 13) ***

42.  The Humans - Matt Haig (Aug 18) **

43.  On Roads - Joe Moran (Aug 21) ****

44.  South Riding - Winifred Holtby (Aug 25) AE *****

45.  Lady Susan - Jane Austen (Aug 31) A ****

 

September

46.  The Silent Wife - ASA Harrison (Sep 7) GU *

47.  Villette - Charlotte Bronte (Sep 14) T ***

48.  Regeneration - Pat Barker (Sep 27) T *****

 

October

49.  The Eye in the Door - Pat Barker (Oct 3) ****

50.  Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Simon Armitage (Oct 4) *****

51.  The Ghost Road - Pat Barker (Oct 16) T ***

52.  Shackleton's Boat Journey - Frank Worsley (Oct 18) *****

53.  The Magnetic North- Sara Wheeler (Oct 29) *****

54.  The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer (Oct 31) R ******

 

November

55.  Gemma Bovery - Posy Simmonds (Nov 3) ****

56.  The Well of Loneliness - Radclyffe Hall (Nov 7) ET **

57.  The News from Waterloo - Brian Cathcart (Nov 21) ***

58.  The Magic Toyshop - Angela Carter (Nov 28) ****

59.  Under Milk Wood - Dylan Thomas (Nov 29) R ******

 

December

60.  The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul - Deborah Rodriguez (Dec 5) G *

61.  The Eagle of the Ninth - Rosemary Sutcliffe (Dec 10) ******

62.  Clockwork - Philip Pullman (Dec 12) ****

63.  Consider Phlebas - Ian M Banks (Dec 14) U **

64.  Burial Rites - Hannah Kent (Dec 17) *****

65.  La Fortune des Rougon - Emile Zola (Dec 22) ****

66.  And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie (Dec 24) ****

67.  Period Piece - Gwen Raverat (Dec 27) ***

68.  The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin - Georges Simenon (Dec 29) ****

69.  Human Voices - Penelope Fitzgerald (Dec 30) ***

70.  The Old Boys - William Trevor (Dec 31) ***

 

Ratings

* Disliked this (a lot!), likely to be unfinished.

** Didn't really get on with this, possibly unfinished or skimmed.

*** Decent read, but not unputdownable.

**** Good read, hard to put down.

***** Excellent, outstanding.

****** On the favourites list.

U=unfinished, A=audiobook, R=reread, G=Reading group read, E=English Counties Challenge read

T=Thousand and One Books To Read Before You Die read

Edited by willoyd

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Books rated as 6-stars

A record of the 106 books I've given my top rating to:

Adult Fiction (66)
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
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
Cooper, Susan: The Dark is Rising
Cunningham, Michael: The Hours
Davies, Martin: The Conjuror's Bird
Dickens, Charles: A Christmas Carol
Dickens, Charles: Bleak House
Dickens, Charles: David Copperfield
Dunant, Sarah: In the Company of the Courtesan
Eliot, George: Middlemarch
Elphinstone, Margaret: The Sea Road
Elphinstone, Margaret: Voyageurs
Ewing, Barbara: Rosetta

Fforde, Jasper: The Eyre Affair
Goscinny, Rene: Asterix in Britain
Greig, Andrew: The Return of John MacNab
Haddon, Mark: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
Hardy, Thomas: Far From The Madding Crowd
Herbert, Frank: Dune
Heyer, Georgette: The Grand Sophy
Horwood, William: Skallagrig
Hulme, Keri: Bone People
Japrisot, Sebastian: A Very Long Engagement
Lee, Harper: To Kill A Mockingbird
Mantel, Hilary: Wolf Hall
Melville, Herman: Moby Dick
Miller, Andrew: Pure
Mitchell, David: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
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
Proulx, Annie: The Shipping News
Rushdie, Salman: Midnight's Children
Seth, Vikram: A Suitable Boy
Smiley, Jane: A Thousand Acres
Smith, Dodie: I Capture the Castle
Steinbeck, John: Of Mice and Men
Stephenson, Neal: Cryptonomicon
Stevenson, Robert Louis: Kidnapped
Swift, Graeme: Waterland
Thackeray, William: Vanity Fair
Thomas, Dylan: Under Milk Wood
Thompson, Harry: This Thing of Darkness
Tolkien JRR: The Lord of the Rings
Tolstoy, Leo: War and Peace
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 (31)
Blanning, Tim: The Pursuit of Glory
Brown, Hamish: Hamish's Mountain Walk
Clayton, Tim: Waterloo
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
Jamie, Kathleen: Findings
Junger, Sebastian: The Perfect Storm
Lee, Hermione: Virginia Woolf
Longford, Elizabeth: Wellington, The Years of the Sword
Moore, Richard: In Search of Robert Millar
Nichols, Peter: A Voyage for Madmen
Pennac, Daniel: The Rights of the Reader
Pinker, Stephen: The Language Instinct
Rackham, Oliver: The History of the Countryside
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

Children's Fiction (9)
Bond, Michael: A Bear Called Paddington
Kipling, Rudyard: Puck of Pook's Hill/Rewards and Fairies
Milne, AA: Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner
Pullman, Philip: Northern Lights
Ransome, Arthur: Winter Holiday
Ransome, Arthur: We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea
Ransome, Arthur: Secret Water

Sutcliff, Rosemary: The Eagle of the Ninth
White, TH: Mistress Masham's Repose

Edited by willoyd

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Favourite authors

To qualify for this list, I have to have read at least three books by that author (amazing how many where I've just read two, especially non-fiction!), so no one-book wonders (it's the book then, not the author!). None of the books themselves need to have reached a six star rating, but they do need to have been rated consistently highly. Authors may be listed under both fiction and non-fiction.

 

Fiction

Peter Ackroyd

Jane Austen

JL Carr

Charles Dickens

Sarah Dunant

Margaret Elphinstone

Penelope Fitzgerald

Elizabeth Gaskell

Thomas Hardy

Donna Leon

Patrick O'Brian

Arthur Ransome

Georges Simenon

Virginia Woolf

 

Non-Fiction

Tim Clayton

Lisa Jardine

Jan Morris

Simon Schama

Claire Tomalin

Jenny Uglow

 

Edited by willoyd

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Non-fiction lists

 

No overall TBR list - that's simply the books listed on my LibraryThing account that aren't rated and aren't for reference!  However, a couple of years ago I started two lists to encourage reading in two areas, one being non-fiction, the other being classics.  They are now supplemented by the English Counties challenge.

 

The non-fiction list is split into two categories: 'doorstoppers' and Slightly Foxed editions. For the purposes of this list 'doorstoppers' are books that are generally longer than 500 pages; a few are multi-volume works. I've had a tendency to acquire them over the years, and then not get around to reading them; it's all too often easier to pick up a quicker read!

 

Rather than list all the doorstoppers in my collection (and it continues to grow) as I have done previously, I've simply listed those I have 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. I've said the same thing for the past couple of years, but have failed miserably.  2015 really has to be the year I make some inroads on this list.

 

Doorstoppers

 

Read in 2015

Waterloo by Tim Clayton ******

 

Read in 2014

The Pursuit of Glory by Tim Blanning ******

Darwin by Adrian Desmond and James Moore ****

 

Read in 2013

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

The Plantagenets by Dan Jones ****

 

 

Slightly Foxed Editions

01. Blue Remembered Hills by Rosemary Sutcliff ***

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

24. Period Piece by Gwen Raverat ***

25. I Was A Stranger by John Hackett

26. Portrait of Elmbury by John Moore

27. Marrying Out by Harold Carlton

28. My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell ***

29. Basil Street Blues by Michael Holroyd

30. Silver Ley by Adrian Corduroy

31. The House of Elrig by Gavin Maxwell

32. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff ******

 

Edited by willoyd

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Classics TBR list

 

The second TBR list is my list of classics to read (the definition of 'classic' has been stretched on occasions!). Here, I've only allowed one book per author, which can be replaced by another during the year if the previous book is read.

 

Books that have been read during the year are highlighted; those from previous years are listed at the end. As books can be added at any time, the aim isn't to complete a list, rather to encourage reading more classics per year!

 

Le Pere Goriot by Honore de Balzac

The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoire

The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett

Villette by Charlotte Bronte ***

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (reread)

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas

Middlemarch by George Eliot ******

The Siege of Krishnapur by JG Farrell

Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford

Howards End by EM Forster

To The Ends of the Earth by William Golding (trilogy)

I, Claudius by Robert Graves

Life and Fate by Vassily Grossman

Desperate Remedies by Thomas Hardy

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Ulysses by James Joyce

Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos

Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence

Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham

Paradise Lost by John Milton

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 ****

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy *****

Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

Night and Day by Virginia Woolf *****

La Fortune des Rougon by Emile Zola ****

 

Read in 2014

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte ****

Possession by AS Byatt ****

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens *****

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell *****

Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy ******

Dune by Frank Herbert ****** (reread)

What Maisie Knew by Henry James ***

 

Read in 2013

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte ****** (reread)

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens ******

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

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome **

The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf *****

 

Edited by willoyd

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Fiction Author Lists

 

Five authors, whose books I'm concentrating on:

  • Charles Dickens: novels in order of publication
  • Thomas Hardy: novels and short stories in order of publication
  • Emile Zola: the Rougon-Macquart series
  • Patrick O'Brian: the Aubrey-Maturin series (I've read a few of these but have decided to start the series from scratch again).
  • Georges Simenon: the Maigret books (listed in the order of reissue by Penguin, but aiming to read some in the original as the translations are sometimes uncertain).

Charles Dickens

Novels

01. The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club (1837) ****

02. The Adventures of Oliver Twist (1839)*****

03. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1839)*****

04. The Old Curiosity Shop (1841)

05. Barnaby Rudge (1841)

06. The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit (1844)

07. Dealings with the Firm of Dombey and Son (1848)

08. The Personal History of David Copperfield (1850) ******

09. Bleak House (1853) ******

10. Hard Times (1854)

11. Little Dorrit (1857)

12. A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

13. Great Expectations (1861) ****

14. Our Mutual Friend (1865)

15. The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870)

 

The Christmas Books

16. A Christmas Carol (1843) ******

17. The Chimes (1844) ***

18. The Cricket on the Hearth (1845)

19. The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain (1846)

 

Thomas Hardy

Novels

01. Desperate Remedies (1871)

02. Under the Greenwood Tree (1872)

03. A Pair of Blue Eyes (1873)

04. Far from the Madding Crowd (1874) ******

05. The Hand of Ethelberta (1876)

06. The Return of the Native (1878) ****

07. The Trumpet Major (1880)

08. A Laodicean (1881)

09. Two on a Tower (1882)

10. The Mayor of Casterbridge (1886)

11. The Woodlanders (1887)

12. Tess of the D'Urbevilles (1891)

13. Jude the Obscure (1895)

14. The Well-Beloved (1897) ***

 

Short Stories

15. Wessex Tales (1888)

16. A Group of Noble Dames (1891)

17. Life's Little Ironies (1894)

 

Emile Zola's Rougon-Macquart Series

01. La Fortune des Rougon ****

02. Son Excellence Eugene Rougon

03. La Curee

04. L'Argent

05. Le Reve

06. La Conquete de Plassans

07. Pot-Bouille

08. Au Bonheur des Dames

09. La Faute de L'Abbe Mouret

10. Une Page d'amour

11. Le Ventre de Paris

12. La Joie de vivre

13. L'Assommoir

14. L'Oeuvre

15. La Bete humaine

16. Germinal

17. Nana

18. La Terre

19. La Debacle

20. Le Docteur Pascal

 

Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series

01. Master and Commander *****

02. Post Captain *****

03. HMS Surprise *****

04. The Mauritius Command ******

05. Desolation Island *****

06. The Fortune of War

07. The Surgeon's Mate

08. The Ionian Mission

09. Treason's Harbour

10. The Far Side of the World

11. The Reverse of the Medal

12. The Letter of Marque

13. The Thirteen Gun Salute

14. The Nutmeg of Consolation

15. Clarissa Oakes

16. The Wine-Dark Sea

17. The Commodore

18. The Yellow Admiral

19. The Hundred Days

20. Blue at the Mizzen

 

Georges Simenon's Maigret novels

01. Pietr the Latvian ***

02. The Late Monsieur Gallet ***

03. The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien ****

04. The Carter of 'La Providence' *****

05. The Yellow Dog ***

06. Night at the Crossroads ****

07. A Crime in Holland ****

08. The Grand Banks Cafe ****

09. A Man's Head ***

10. The Dancer at the Gai-Moulin ****

11. The Two-Penny Bar

12. The Shadow Puppet

13. The Saint-Fiacre Affair

14. The Flemish House

15. The Madman of Bergerac

16. The Misty Harbour

17. Liberty Bar

18. Lock No. 1

19. Maigret

 

Edited by willoyd

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English Counties Reading Challenge

 

This is tied in with the English Counties Challenge listed in the Reading Challenge section. However, I've listed a few different books, primarily to replace books already read which I don't intend to reread (but may!), usually because I've read them too recently - these are marked with a +. Books that I've read are picked out in blue, those read this year are in bold.

 

Completed: 20/48

 

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

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

03. The Misses Mallett by EH 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. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome / The Maid of Buttermere by Melvyn Bragg (Cumbria)

10. Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (Derbyshire)

11. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie (Devon) ****

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

13. The Life and Adventures of 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. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (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 Darling Buds of May by HE Bates (Kent) ***

25. Oranges Are The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterton (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. Dracula by Bram Stoker (North Yorkshire)

31. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Northamptonshire)

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

33. Sons and Lovers 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. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (West Yorkshire) ******

47. Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope (Wiltshire) *****

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

 

 

Edited by willoyd

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Books read from 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
 
This list is taken from the Arukiyomi spreadsheet which includes the 1305 books that have featured in the 4 editions to date, using his numbering sequence, most recently published at the top.  It is kept solely for interest: I'm not attempting it as a challenge as there are far too many books on the list that I have no intention of even attempting to read, whilst there are too many others not on it (but I think should be!) that I do want to read. I do, however, have a fascination with lists, so.....

Total read = 144 out of 1305

1302.  Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes ***
1255.  The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd *****
1250  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon ******
1231.  The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor *****
1227.  Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides ****
1215.  Life of Pi by Yann Martel ****
1178  Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson ******
1167.  Amsterdam by Ian MacEwan ****
1161  The Hours by Michael Cunningham ******
1159.  The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver *****
1155.  Enduring Love by Ian MacEwan *

1139.  The Ghost Road by Pat Barker ***
1128.  The Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald ***
1127.  The Reader by Bernard Schlink *

1105.  The Shipping News by Annie Proulx *****(*)
1103.  Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks ***
1096  A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth ******
1075.  The Crow Road by Ian Banks ****
1073.  The Dumas Club by Arturo Perez-Reverte ***
1072.  Miss Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg *****
1057.  Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell ****

1059.  Regeneration by Pat Barker *****
1041.  Possession by AS Byatt ****
1032.  Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro ****
1005.  The Long Dark Tea-time of the Soul by Douglas Adams ****
1004.  Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams ****
0971. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson *****
0962  Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd ******
0931  Waterland by Graham Swift ******
0903  Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie ******
0895  The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco ******
0883.  Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams *****
0830  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre ******
0782.  Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut *
0777.  The Godfather by Mario Puzo ***
0768.  2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke ****
0746.  The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov *****
0715.  The Graduate by Charles Webb ***
0713.  The Spy Who Came In From the Cold by John Le Carre **

0712.  The Girls of Slender Means by Muriel Spark ****
0688.  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark ****
0675  To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee ******
0668.  Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee **

0665.  Memento Mori by Muriel Spark ***
0636.  Justine by Lawrence Durrell *
0630  The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien ******
0611.  Lord of the Flies by William Golding ****
0609.  The Story of O by Pauline Reage *
0605.  The Go-Between by LP Hartley **
0604.  The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler ****
0593.  Excellent Women by Barbara Pym ***
0590.  The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway ***
0583.  Foundation by Isaac Asimov ****
0573.  The Third Man by Graham Greene ***
0567.  I, Robot by Isaac Asimov ****
0564  Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford ******
0560.  Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell *
0547.  The Plague by Albert Camus *
0529.  Animal Farm by George Orwell **
0527.  The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford *****
0513.  The Outsider by Albert Camus *
0505  Between the Acts by Virginia Woolf ******
0503.  Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler ****
0490.  The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler ****
0487.  Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson *****
0479  Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck ******
0477  The Years by Virginia Woolf ******
0476.  The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien ****
0450.  The Nine Tailors by Dorothy L Sayers *****
0440.  The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz ***
0428.  Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons *****
0420.  The Waves by Virginia Woolf *****
0416.  Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham *****
0412.  The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett ***
0403.  All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque ***
0395.  Orlando by Virginia Woolf ****

0394.  Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence *

0393.  The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall **
0383  To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf ******
0371.  The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie ****
0367  Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf ******
0366.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald ***
0347.  Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf *****
0330.  Night and Day by Virginia Woolf *****
0328.  The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West ***
0316.  The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf *****
0313.  The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan ****
0295.  A Room With A View by EM Forster *****
0276.  The Call of the Wild by Jack London ****
0275.  The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers ****
0269.  The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle ****
0267.  Kim by Rudyard Kipling ****
0256.  The Turn of the Screw by Henry James ****
0250.  What Maisie Knew by Henry James ***
0249.  Dracula by Bram Stoker *****
0239.  The Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith *
0238.  The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle *****
0232.  The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde ***
0229.  La Bete Humaine by Emile Zola ****
0216.  The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson ****
0213  Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson ******
0210.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain ****
0203.  Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson *****
0199.  The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James ***
0193.  Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy ****
0192.  Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy *****
0184  Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy ******
0182.  Around The World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne ****
0177  Middlemarch by George Eliot ******
0176.  Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll ****
0173  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy ******
0167.  The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins ****
0163.  Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne ****
0162.  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ****
0155.  Silas Marner by George Eliot ***
0154.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens ****
0148.  The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins *****
0143.  Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert *****
0142.  North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell *****
0138  Bleak House by Charles Dickens ******
0137.  Villette by Charlotte Bronte ***
0136.  Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell ****
0132  Moby Dick by Herman Melville ******
0130  David Copperfield by Charles Dickens ******
0128.  Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell *****
0126  Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte ******
0125.  Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte ****
0124  Vanity Fair by Wllliam Thackeray ******
0123  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte ******
0122.  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas *****
0113.  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ******
0106.  The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens *****
0105.  Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens *****
0090.  Ivanhoe by Walter Scott ***
0089. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley ****
0088.  Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen *****
0087.  Persuasion by Jane Austen *****
0084  Emma by Jane Austen ******
0083.  Mansfield Park by Jane Austen *****
0082  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen ******
0081  Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen ******
0045.  Candide by Voltaire ****
0031.  Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe *
0001.  Aesop's Fables by Aesopus **

Edited by willoyd

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Books to read, acquired in 2015
 
Blue = read in 2015; Orange = done in later year
 
Paper books (24/107)
Four Dreamers and Emily - Stevie Davies (online, pb) ***
The Organized Mind - Daniel Levitin (online, hb)
The Napoleonic Wars, A Very Short Introduction - Mike Rapport (Waterstones, pb) ****
Some Luck - Jane Smiley (Amazon, hb)
Waterloo, The Decisive Victory - Nick Lipscombe, ed (Amazon, hb)
Watching the English - Kate Fox (TBP, hb)
Russia and Napoleon - Dominic Lieven (online, pb)
Stuffocation - James Wallman (independent, pb) **
The Story of Music - Howard Goodall (independent, pb)
Nelson, The Dream of Glory - John Sugden (2H, hb)
Tambora, The Eruption that changed the World - Gillen D'Arcy Wood (online, hb)
George Eliot - Jenny Uglow (online, pb)
The Unexpected Professor - John Carey (independent, pb)
Counting Sheep - Philip Walling (independent, pb)
The Spanish Ulcer - David Gates (online, pb)
Waterloo, The Aftermath - Paul O'Keefe (online, hb)
Napoleon the Great - Andrew Roberts (Waterstones, pb)
The Deluge - Adam Tooze (Waterstones pb)
Perfect Wives in Ideal Homes - Virginia Nicholson (independent, hb)
Capital Crimes - Martin Edwards (ed.) (independent, pb)
King Charles I - Mark Kishlansky (independent, hb)
The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Antonia Fraser (charity, hb)
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote (charity, hb)
Empire of the Seas - Brian Lavery (Waterstones, pb)
William III and Mary II - Jonathan Keates (Waterstones, hb)
Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks (online, pb) ***
London at War - Philip Ziegler (independent, pb)
Europe, The Struggle for Supremacy - Brendan Simms (online, pb)
The Ash Tree - Oliver Rackham (independent, hb)
Globe - Catharine Arnold (independent, hb)
Rivers - Nigel Holmes and Paul Raven (online, hb)
Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers - Ian Stewart (independent, pb)
Wales since 1939 - Martin Johnes (independent, pb)
Flying Scotsman - Andrew Roden (charity, hb)
Romantic Outlaws - Charlotte Gordon (online, hb)
Miss Buncie's Book - DE Stevenson (independent, pb)
Love, Nina - Nina Stibbe (independent, pb)
From Dawn to Decadence - Jacques Barzun (second hand, hb)
Agents of Empire - Noel Malcolm (online, hb)
Ardennes, 1944 - Anthony Beevor (online, hb)
The News from Waterloo - Brian Cathcart (online, hb) ***
The Weather Experiment - Peter Moore (online, hb)
Wellington: Waterloo and the Fortunes of Peace - Rory Muir (online, hb)
The Lady and the Unicorn - Tracey Chevalier (charity, hb)
Roy Jenkins - John Campbell (Waterstones, pb)
Jeremy Hutchinson's Case Histories - Thomas Grant (Waterstones, hb)
Early Warning - Jane Smiley (independent, hb)
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Ian Fleming (online, hb) *****
The Great Mathematical Problems - Ian Stewart (Waterstones, pb)
Rush Hour - Iain Gateley (Waterstones, pb)
The New Spaniards - John Hooper (online, pb)
Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia - Michael Korda (online, pb)
The History of Modern France - Jonathan Fenby (online, hb)
Shackleton, By Endurance We Conquer - Michael Smith (online, pb)
Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson (independent, pb) *****
The Most Dangerous Book - Kevin Birmingham (Blackwell's, pb)
All That Is Solid - Danny Dorling (Blackwell's, pb)
Ragtime - EL Doctorow (Blackwell's, pb)
The Amateur Marriage - Annie Tyler (Blackwell's, pb)

The End of the Affair - Graham Greene (Blackwell's, pb)
My American - Stella Gibbon (Blackwell's, pb)
Islands Beyond The Horizon - Roger Lovegrove (Blackwell's, pb)
101 Damnations - Ned Boulting (Waterstones, pb)
The Lanterne Rouge - Max Leonard (Waterstones, pb)
The Paying Guests - Sarah Waters (Waterstones, pb)
The Beginning of Spring - Penelope Fitzgerald (online, pb)
Mr Weston's Good Wine - TF Powys (online pb)
Good Evening, Mrs Craven - Mollie Panter-Downs (independent, pb)
An Unsung Hero - Michael Smith (independent, pb)
Engel's England - Matthew Engel (independent, pb)
Danubia - Simon Winder (independent, pb)
Gemma Bovery - Posy Simmonds (independent, pb) ****
Victoria - Jane Ridley (independent, hb)
To Hell and Back - Ian Kershaw (online, hb) ****
The Seasons - Nick Groom (online, pb)
Prisoners of Geography - Tim Marshall (online, hb)
Weatherland - Alexandra Harris (online, hb)
Golden Age - Jane Smiley (independent, hb)
Twentieth Century Battlefields - Dan Snow (independent, pb)
The Sleepwalkers - Arthur Koestler (online, pb)
A Message from Martha - Mark Avery (independent, pb)
Inglorious - Mark Avery (independent, hb)
SPQR - Mary Beard (present, hb)
The Railways - Simon Bradbury (Waterstones, hb)
Claxton - Mark Cocker (Waterstones, pb)
Common Ground - Rob Cowen (independent, hb)
The Strangest Family - Janice Hadlow (Waterstones, pb)
Charlotte Bronte - Claire Harman (independent, hb, 100)
Honourable Friends? - Caroline Lucas (Waterstones, pb)
The Sense of Style - Steven Pinker (Waterstones, hb)
The Face of Britain - Simon Schama (independent, hb)
The Sleepwalkers - Arthur Koestler (online, pb)
Tom Brown's Schooldays - Thomas Hughes (online, pb)
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul - Deborah Rodriguez (Waterstones, pb) *(*)
The Magic Toyshop - Angela Carter (Waterstones, pb) ****
Walking the Nile - Levison Wood (Waterstones, pb)
South - Ernest Shackleton (Waterstones, pb)
Beyond Bratwurst - Ursula Heinzelmann (present, hb)
The War in the West: Germany Ascending - James Holland (present, hb)
The Eagle's Way - Jim Crumley (present, pb)
Clockwork - Philip Pullman (online, pb) ***
Neurotribes - Steve Silberman (online, pb)
1606 - James Shapiro (online, hb)
The Invention of Nature - Andrea Wulf (online, hb)
Mr Foote's Other Leg - Ian Kelly (online, pb)

1815 - Regency Britain in the Year of Waterloo - Stephen Bates (present, hb)
The Battle of the Atlantic - Jonathan Dimbleby (present, hb)

 
E-books (15/39)
Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor ****
A Symphony of Echoes - Jodi Taylor ****
A Second Chance - Jodi Taylor
A Trail Through Time - Jodi Taylor
A London Year - Travis Elborough and Nick Rennison (eds)
Dark Quartet - Lynne Reid Banks
Flanagan's Run - Tom MacNab
The Devil in the Marshalsea - Antonia Hodgson
The Story of Film - Mark Cousins
The Living Mountain  - Nan Shepherd
Napoleon and His Marshals - AG Macdonell
Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Kate Atkinson ***
Eat, Sleep, Cycle - Anna Hughes
The Good Years - Walter Lord
The Mangle Street Murders - MRC Kasasian
The Well of Loneliness - Radclyffe Hall **
Divergent - Veronica Roth *
Tulip Fever - Deborah Moggach
The President's Hat - Antoine Laurain
Extraordinary People - Peter May
The British Dream - David Goodhart
Reflections on the Revolution in Europe - Christopher Caldwell

Julie and Julia - Julie Powell ***
My Life in France - Julia Child
The Crocodile by the Door - Selina Guinness
Blood Sisters - Sarah Gristwood
Gorky Park - Martin Cruz Smith
The Silent Wife - ASA Harrison **
British Story: A Romance - Michael Nath
A Spool of Blue Thread - Anne Tyler
The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer ******
Iron Gate - William Krueger
Burial Rites - Hannah Kent *****
And Then There Were None - Agatha Christie ****

Diaries, In Power - Alan Clark ***
I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That - Ben Goldacre
The Mighty Dead - Adam Nicholson
Killers of the King - Charles Spencer
Blenheim - Charles Spencer

 
Audio-books (4/6)
South Riding - Winifred Holtby ******
Lady Susan - Jane Austen ****

The Adventures in English - Melvyn Bragg ***
Cotillion - Georgette Heyer ****

William Pitt the Younger - William Hague
Common People - Alison Light

Edited by willoyd

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A Year Long Reading Challenge - 2015

 

This is a challenge I've undertaken on another site, that goes alongside the others I'm doing here, so thought I would list it here too. It's proving quite fun!

 

50/50

  • A book with more than 500 pages: Waterloo - Tim Clayton
  • A classic romance: Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
  • A book that became a movie: Master and Commander - Patrick O'Brian
  • A book published this year: The News from Waterloo - Brian Cathcart
  • A book with a number in the title: Four Dreamers and Emily - Stevie Davies
  • A book written by someone under 30: Burial Rites - Hannah Kent
  • A book with nonhuman characters: Elephant Moon - John Sweeney
  • A funny book: Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson
  • A book by a female author: South Riding - Winifred Holtby
  • A mystery or thriller: The Grand Banks Cafe - Georges Simenon
  • A book with a one-word title: Stuffocation - James Wallman
  • A book of short stories: The Apple: Crimson Petal stories - Michel Faber
  • A book set in a different country: The Mauritius Command - Patrick O'Brian
  • A nonfiction book: On Roads - Joe Moran
  • A popular author's first book: Just One Damned Thing After Another - Jodi Taylor
  • A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet: Desolation Island - Patrick O'Brian
  • A book a friend recommended: The Small Hand - Susan Hill
  • A Pulitzer Prize winning book: The Shipping News - Annie Proulx
  • A book based on a true story: Remarkable Creatures - Tracey Chevalier
  • A book at the bottom of your to-read list: La Fortune des Rougons - Emile Zola
  • A book your mum loves: The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer
  • A book that scares you: Memento Mori - Muriel Spark
  • A book more than 100 years old: Middlemarch - George Eliot
  • A book based entirely on its cover: Shackleton's Boat Journey - Frank Worsley
  • A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't: The Eagle of the Ninth - Rosemary Sutcliffe
  • A memoir: The Road to Middlemarch - Rebecca Mead
  • A book you can finish in a day: The Third Man - Graham Greene
  • A book with antonyms in the title: Night and Day - Virginia Woolf
  • A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit: The Magnetic North- Sara Wheeler
  • A book that came out the year you were born: Once There Was A War - John Steinbeck
  • A book with bad reviews: Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
  • A trilogy: The Regeneration trilogy - Pat Barker
  • A book from your childhood: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Ian Fleming
  • A book with a love triangle: Post Captain - Patrick O'Brian
  • A book set in the future: Divergent - Veronica Roth
  • A book set in high school: A Question of Upbringing - Anthony Powell
  • A book with a colour in the title: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Simon Armitage
  • A book that made you cry: Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks (the book didn't, but the play certainly did)
  • A book with magic: Clockwork - Philip Pullman
  • A graphic novel: Gemma Bovery - Posy Simmonds
  • A book by an author you've never read before: Marriage Material - Sathnam Sanghera
  • A book you own but have never read: Villette - Charlotte Bronte
  • A book that takes place in your hometown: The Mesmerist - Barbara Ewing
  • A book that was originally written in a different language: The Woman Who Dived into the Heart of the World - Sabine Berman
  • A book set during Christmas: The Magic Toyshop - Angela Carter
  • A book written by an author with your same initial name: The Old Boys - William Trevor
  • A play: Under Milk Wood - Dylan Thomas
  • A banned book: The Well of Loneliness - Radclyffe Hall
  • A book based on or turned into a TV show: Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell
  • A book you started but never finished: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Jay Fowler
Edited by willoyd

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Review of 2014, Looking Forward to 2015

 

Having commented in my last review that the year had got off to a slow start, 2014 promptly started in exactly the same way! Unlike 2013 though, this was due more to getting stuck into some bigger books than getting bogged down in disappointing book group reads. By the end of March, things were picking up well and continued to flourish, especially in the latter half of the year, with a particularly strong August, followed by a string of 'best' months to date September to November. 2014 thus saw the highest number of books read in a single year since I started recording.

 

Perhaps more important, though, was the fact that it was also a good year for quality. Indeed, throughout the year, only two books 'achieved' the minimum 1-star award, compared to 5 last year. That was probably largely due to my having reduced my book group commitment, dropping one and retaining the other, the one dropped having generated a fair few one-stars last year. This meant more time for books I wanted to read!

 

Having said all this, 2014's main goal was, ironically, not about overall numbers, but about reading more classics, more non-fiction doorstoppers, and more books from the various challenges I'd set myself. The only specific target I set last year was to read twenty books from my various challenge lists. 21 was the final figure (allowing for books overlapping more than one list), so this aspect went reasonably well too. The non-fiction front was probably the weakest, with just two doorstoppers read (one of which was a close contender for Book of the Year), but the list included 7 from the Classics list, 7 from the English Counties Challenge (including the Book of the Year itself), and 11 to add to the 1001 Books List - not bad considering that's not even a challenge I'm going for! The fact that so many of them achieved 4+ stars was even more rewarding.

 

Where things didn't work out were in my rather feeble attempts to buy fewer books. The one saving grace is that most of those I bought were in various sales etc., so expenditure did drop a fraction, but that's something I really do have to tackle next year, as the unread book list is now looking almost overwhelming, and retirement beckons!

 

So, what were the standouts? In terms of individual books, there were two, my Fiction and Non-fiction winners. They were easy winners too, amongst the best of their respective genres I've yet read. Rather less assuming, Charlotte Higgins's book on Roman Britain made a substantial impact as well, and I had great fun following up some of her travels during my own excursions round Britain. I can see a rerating coming on! The other standouts were the new versions of the Maigret stories by Penguin (even if they translations may not satisfy everybody's tastes) and my continued exploration of Penelope Fitzgerald's novels. Her lean style of writing distinctly appeals, and has seen me extend further into similar terrain and the works of Muriel Sparks and Beryl Bainbridge (the latter courtesy of the English Counties Challenge); Simenon isn't exactly overly effusive either in his own way!

 

So what about 2015? I think I want it to be a year to consolidate and concentrate on what I've already got sitting on shelves waiting to be read. I'd like to continue to focus on the books in the checklists above: classics, non-fiction doorstoppers, the Slightly Foxed books, the five authors, and the English Counties list. However, beyond that, I'm not going to set any targets.  I did initially, but then it dawned on me that my working life is already far too target-driven, and that my reading is my relaxation, part of the antidote.  So - no targets, just a year's enjoyable reading.  Or is that a target in itself?!

 

(BTW, I regard a doorstopper as one of over c.500 pages hardback for non-fiction, and 600 for fiction.)

 

 

2014 Accolades

 

Fiction and Overall Book of the Year

Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy

 

Fiction Runner-up

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

 

Rest of the fiction shortlist (in alphabetical order):

Nicholas Nickleby– Charles Dickens

Offshore – Penelope Fitzgerald

North and South – Elizabeth Gaskell

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver

The Nine Tailors – Dorothy Sayers

 

Non-fiction Book of the Year

Pursuit of Glory: Europe 1648-1815 – Tim Blanning

 

Non-fiction Runner-up

Under Another Sky: Travels through Roman Britain – Charlotte Higgins

 

Rest of the non-fiction shortlist (in alphabetical order)

Slow Train to Switzerland - Diccon Bewes

Acts of Union and Disunion – Linda Colley

Thomas Hardy, The Time-Torn Man – Claire Tomalin

 

Special Award: Hidden Gem of the Year

Miss Jemima's Swiss Journal - Jemima Morrell

Not in print, and very much an amateur, personal, diary of the first ever

Thomas Cook tour to Switzerland, upon which the Diccon Bewes book above was based.

Gave a wonderful insight though into the Switzerland and travel of that time.

 

Duffer of the Year

The Dinner by Herman Koch

 

Rest of the duffer shortlist

None - there was simply no contest, it was that bad.

 

Edited by willoyd

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Welcome to my reading blog for 2015. I've still one or two reviews to finish off for 2014, but this thread is now open!

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I wish you a great reading year in 2015, Willoyd :). I'm glad you read so many great books in 2014.

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Ooh, I loved The Nine Tailors too .  :D  I like the look of the `new` Maigrets, but just can`t see myself buying them ( if I buy one, I`ll want to buy them all... ).

 

Best of luck with your 2015 reads !  :smile:

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Hope you have a great reading year, Willoyd. :smile:

 

Duffer of the year: The Dinner. I must get to this book, this year. I'm so curious about it, as it has really polarised people!

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Enjoy your 2015 reading.... :readingtwo:

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Non-fiction lists

The non-fiction list is split into two categories: 'doorstoppers' and Slightly Foxed editions.

 

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.

 

I have the Sightly Foxed edition of The Young Ardizzone by Edward Ardizzone on my 'to read' pile and A House in Flanders by Michael Jenkins and A Boy at the Hogarth Press & A Parcel of Time by Richard Hoggart on my Wish List.  Good luck with this particular challenge.  :)

 

 

Classics TBR list

 

Read in 2014

Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte ****

Possession by AS Byatt ****

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens *****

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell *****

Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy ******

Dune by Frank Herbert ****** (reread)

What Maisie Knew by Henry James ***

 

Read in 2013

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte ****** (reread)

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens ******

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

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome **

The Voyage Out by Virginia Woolf *****

I have quite a few of your classics on my 'to read' pile too.   I think the number of four and five star reviews I've quoted above show just how worthy these classics are for actually being classed as such. 

 

Good luck with all your challenges.  :)

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On 01/01/2015 at 6:33 PM, bobblybear said:

Hope you have a great reading year, Willoyd. :smile:

 

Duffer of the year: The Dinner. I must get to this book, this year. I'm so curious about it, as it has really polarised people!

 

I know that quite a few people here really rated it, so hope you do too.  For me, the only problem is that I so disliked it, I resent having paid good money for it - one of the very few books where I feel that way.    But if you can borrow a copy.......!  It was a reading group choice for me, otherwise one quick dip would have told me to steer well clear, as I had recognised the style in the first half dozen pages.  I do have a tendency to dislike a lot of bestsellers: my Duffer of the Year last year was Gone Girl!  I think I have to care for, or at least have some common feeling with, one or more characters in a book.  Once I find myself not doing so (and in both these books, it was rather more than just not caring!), the writer loses me.  As we agreed at the reading group meeting, The Dinner was certainly clever (although there were aspects which I feel the writer got wrong), but that's not what grabs me when it comes to reading.

 

On 01/01/2015 at 9:31 PM, Janet said:

I have the Sightly Foxed edition of The Young Ardizzone by Edward Ardizzone on my 'to read' pile and A House in Flanders by Michael Jenkins and A Boy at the Hogarth Press & A Parcel of Time by Richard Hoggart on my Wish List.  Good luck with this particular challenge.  :)

 

 

I have quite a few of your classics on my 'to read' pile too.   I think the number of four and five star reviews I've quoted above show just how worthy these classics are for actually being classed as such. 

 

Good luck with all your challenges.  :)

 

Yes, it's rare for me to dislike any of the nineteenth century classics.  Getting on to the twentieth century, it's a slightly different story, where things are a bit more mixed, at least IMO!

 

Thanks all for the good wishes - I hope your reading is equally rewarding.

Edited by willoyd

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Willoyd, I hope your reading this year is at least as interesting as last years! :)

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I know that quite a few people here really rated it, so hope you do too.  For me, the only problem is that I so disliked it, I resent having paid good money for it - one of the very few books where I feel that way.    But if you can borrow a copy.......!

I bought it for only £0.99 for my Kindle, so I won't be too bothered if I don't like it. :D

 

 

It was a reading group choice for me, otherwise one quick dip would have told me to steer well clear, as I had recognised the style in the first half dozen pages.  I do have a tendency to dislike a lot of bestsellers: my Duffer of the Year last year was Gone Girl!  I think I have to care for, or at least have some common feeling with, one or more characters in a book.  Once I find myself not doing so (and in both these books, it was rather more than just not caring!), the writer loses me.

Yes, I remember you had Gone Girl as the previous years Duffer. I quite enjoyed it, but then again I didn't dislike all of the characters in it. If all the characters are reprehensible (to the point of being one-dimensional and unrealistic) then I will probably struggle with it - which is why I hated Missing Gretyl and The Slap. But as long as they have some sort of logical/believable reason behind their behaviour and character, then I might get on with it. Only one way to find out though..... :readingtwo:

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Happy reading for 2015 Willoyd!

 

The Dinner was my 2013 Duffer of the Year :D I did really enjoy Gone Girl though...

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On 03/01/2015 at 8:06 AM, bobblybear said:

I bought it for only £0.99 for my Kindle, so I won't be too bothered if I don't like it. :D

Ideal!

 

pontalba said:

Willoyd, I hope your reading this year is at least as interesting as last years! :)

Good way of putting it! But that is definitely what I would like most out of this year, so thank you!

 

Alexi said:

The Dinner was my 2013 Duffer of the Year :D I did really enjoy Gone Girl though...

I know I will be very much in a small minority disliking both, but not untypical. Interesting that you thought the same about The Dinner.

Edited by willoyd

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