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Willoyd's Reading 2016

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Book List 2016

Previous book lists: 2009, 2010-2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015

January
01.  1815 - Stephen Bates (Jan 12) ***
02.  Ragtime - EL Doctorow (Jan 16) T ****
03.  The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher- Hilary Mantel (Jan 17) G **
04.  The Adventures of English - Melvyn Bragg (Jan 30) A ****
 
February
05.  The Two-Penny Bar - Georges Simenon (Feb 1) ****
06.  Us - David Nicholls (Feb 8) XG *
07.  Inkheart - Cornelia Funke (Feb 21) ***
08.  Blaming - Elizabeth Taylor (Feb 24) T *****
09.  The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham (Feb 27) ET *****
 
March
10.  True Grit - Charlies Portis (Mar 3) U ****
11.  Jamaica Inn - Daphne du Maurier (Mar 9) E ****
12.  Howards End - EM Forster (Mar 20) ET *****
 
April
13.  And The Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini (Apr 2) G ****
14.  Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons (Apr 3) ER *****
15.  The Unexpected Professor - John Carey (Apr 9) ***
16.  Landskipping - Anna Pavord (Apr 15) *****
17.  Landfalls - Naomi Williams (Apr 18) G *****
18.  Rain - Melissa Harrison (Apr 21) ****
19.  The Go-Between - LP Hartley (Apr 22) ETR ***
20.  The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver (Apr 24) U ****
21.  The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark (Apr 28) TR *****
 
May
22.  Winnie-the-Pooh - AA Milne (May 2) ER ******
23.  My Uncle Silas - HE Bates (May 5) ER **
24.  The Strangest Family - Janice Hadlow (May 9) ****
25.  Germany, Memories of a Nation - Neil Macgregor (May 14) ******
26.  The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13¾ - Sue Townsend (May 15) ER **
27.  The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories - Angela Carter (May 15) *****
28.  Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf (May 18) ETR ******
29.  A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman (May 20) X *
30.  The Running Hare - John Lewis-Stempel (May 22) *****
31.  Year of Wonders - Geraldine Brooks (May 23) E ****
32.  Kestrel for a Knave - Barry Hines (May 23) ET ***
33.  The Driver's Seat - Muriel Spark (May 26) T ***
34.  Evelina - Fanny Burney (May 30) ET ****

June
35.  Exotic England - Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (June 2) G **
36.  The Battle of the Atlantic - Jonathan Dimbleby (June 9) ****
37.  On The Black Hill - Bruce Chatwin (Jun 12) E *****
38.  The Racer - David Millar (Jun 17) ****
39.  Summer Lightning - PG Wodehouse (Jun 19) E ****
40.  Emma - Jane Austen (Jun 30) ETR ******

July
41.  Stephen Fry in America - Stephen Fry (Jul 3) *** 
42.  The Somme - Gary Sheffield (Jul 8) ***
43.  The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry (Jul 16) ******
44.  Cotillion - Georgette Heyer (Jul 19) A ****
45.  The House by the Lake - Thomas Harding (Jul 23) G ******
46.  The Pursuit of Love - Nancy Mitford (Jul 27) ETR ***

August
47.  Berlin Now - Peter Schneider (Aug 7) ***
48.  The Blackhouse - Peter May (Aug 16) ***
49.  The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (Aug 22) ER *****
50.  Seven Brief Lessons in Physics - Carlo Rovelli (Aug 23) ****
51.  Diaries, In Power 1983-1991 - Alan Clark (Aug 25) ***
52.  The Stars Look Down - AJ Cronin (Aug 26) E *
53.  The Tightrope Walkers - David Almond (Aug 28) G ***
54.  The Death of King Arthur - Simon Armitage (Aug 29) ****

September
55.  The Muse - Jessie Burton (Sep 2) *****
56.  Another World - Pat Barker (Sep 8) E ***
57.  Mansfield Park - Jane Austen (Sep 18) ER *****
58.  A Short History of the Vietnam War - Gordon Kerr (Sep 20) ****
59.  Ella Minnow Pea - Mark Dunn (Sep 23) ****
60.  The Swerve - Stephen Greenblatt (Sep 26) **
 
October
61.  Set in Stone - Robert Goddard (Oct 1) E ***
62.  Through the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll (Oct 2) T ****
63.  The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham (Oct 3) T ****
64.  The Fishing Fleet - Anne de Courcy (Oct 25) ***
 
November
65.  Dracula - Bram Stoker (Nov 13) EGT ***
66.  Claxton - Mark Cocker (Nov 21) ****
67.  The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex - Mark Kermode (Nov 29) ***
68.  The Shadow Puppet - Georges Simenon (Nov 30) ****
 
December
69.  The Outrun - Amy Liptrot (Dec 9) G ******
70.  Beyond Black - Hilary Mantel (Dec 16) **
71.  High Rising - Angela Thirkhill (Dec 17) ****
72.  Mystery in White - J. Jefferson Farjeon (Dec 18) **
73.  Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome (Dec 20) ER ******
74.  The Mistletoe Murder - PD James (Dec 21) ****
75.  The Saint-Fiacre Affair - Georges Simenon (Dec 21) ***
76.  Murder in Advent - David Williams (Dec 23) ****
77.  The Soul of Kindness - Elizabeth Taylor (Dec 26) *****
78.  The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes (Dec 26) R ****
79.  On The Slow Train - Michael Williams (Dec 29) ****
80.  The Year of Living Danishly - Helen Russell (Dec 30) ****

 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.
X=unfinished, A=audiobook, R=reread, G=Reading group read, E=English Counties Challenge read, U=USA States 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 109 books and series I've given my top rating to (individual books in a series may have scored less):

 

Adult Fiction (68)

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 Aubrey-Maturin series

Pears, Ian: An Instance of the Fingerpost

Penney, Stef: The Tenderness of Wolves

Perry, Sarah: The Essex Serpent

Proulx, Annie: The Shipping News

Rushdie, Salman: Midnight's Children

Seth, Vikram: A Suitable Boy

Simenon, Georges: The Maigret series

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 (34)

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

Harding, Thomas: The House By The Lake

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

Liptrot, Amy: The Outrun

Longford, Elizabeth: Wellington, The Years of the Sword

MacGregor, Neil: Germany, Memories of a Nation

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 (7)

Bond, Michael: The Paddington Bear series

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: The Swallows and Amazons series

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

Georgette Heyer
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

Two lists to try and focus my non-fiction reading. It's not been too successful so far, but I'm aiming for 2016 to be the breakthrough year!

The first list is entitled 'Doorstoppers'. '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'm simply listing those I have read.

The second list is for 'Slightly Foxed Editions.' I've been collecting this series of memoirs for the past few years, but have barely made any inroads reading 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, so they are a priority for 2016.

Doorstoppers
Read in 2016
The Strangest Family by Janice Hadlow ****
Germany, Memories of a Nation by Neil Macgregor ******
The Battle of the Atlantic by Jonathan Dimbleby ****

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 Maxtone 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 ******
33. The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley by Diane Petre

34. Brensham Village by John Moore

35. Sword of Bone by Anthony Rhode

36. Terms and Conditions by Ysende Maxtone Graham

Edited by willoyd

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Fiction Author Lists

 

Five authors, whose books I'm concentrating on, plus the classics read in 2016 (annual aim is 6):

  • Classics 2016
  • Charles Dickens
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Emile Zola's Rougon-Macquart series
  • Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series
  • Georges Simenon's Maigret books

 

Classics 2016

Definition of a classic is flexible, but generally at least pre-WW2, and I'll recognise it when I see it!  R = reread

Howards End - EM Forster *****

Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf R ******

Evelina - Fanny Burney ****

Emma - Jane Austen R ******

Mansfield Park - Jane Austen R *****

Dracula - Bram Stoker R ***

 

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

20. Cecile is Dead

21. The Cellars of the Majestic

22. The Judge's House

23. Signed, Pipcus

24. Inspector Cadaver

25. Felicie

26. Maigret Gets Angry

27. Maigret in New York

28. Maigret's Holiday

29. Maigret's Dead Man

 

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. In a couple of places, I've listed different books, primarily to replace books already read which I don't intend to reread, usually because I've read them too recently; these are marked with a +. Books that I've read are picked out in blue.

 

Completed: 43/48

 

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

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

03. Evelina by Fanny Burney (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 (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. Howards End by EM Forster (Hertfordshire) + *****

23. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham (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 = 153 out of 1305

 

1302. The 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 ******

0916. On The Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin *****

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 *****

0854. Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor *****

0837. Ragtime by EL Doctorow ****

0830. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre ******

0802. The Driver's Seat by Muriel Spark ***

0782. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut *

0777. The Godfather by Mario Puzo ***

0768. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C Clarke ****

0762. A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines ***

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 ***

0646. The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham ****

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 ***

0585. The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham *****

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 ****

0300. Howards End by EM Forster *****

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 ******

0056. Evelina by Fanny Burney ****

0045. Candide by Voltaire ****

0031. Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe *

0001. Aesop's Fables by Aesopus **

Edited by willoyd

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Popsugar Reading Challenge 2016
 
Not my normal style of website, but this was a really enjoyable challenge last year, so I'm giving it a go this year too.

 
40/40   completed Oct 3rd

  • A book based on a fairy tale: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories - Angela Carter
  • A National Book Award winner: The Swerve - Stephen Greenblatt
  • A YA bestseller: The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13¾ - Sue Townsend
  • A book you haven't read since high school: The Go-Between - LP Hartley
  • A book set in your home county: Mrs Dalloway - Virginia Woolf
  • A book translated into English: Inkheart - Cornelia Funke
  • A romance set in the future:  The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
  • A book set in Europe: Germany, Memories of a Nation - Neil Macgregor
  • A book that's under 150 pages: Rain, Four Walks in English Weather - Melissa Harrison
  • A New York Times bestseller:  True Grit - Charles Portis
  • A book that's becoming a movie this yearThrough the Looking Glass - Lewis Carroll
  • A book recommended by someone you just met: The Somme - Gary Sheffield
  • A self-improvement book: Seven Brief Lessons in Physics - Carlo Rovelli
  • A book you can finish in a day: The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher - Hilary Mantel
  • A book written by a celebrity: The Battle of the Atlantic - Jonathan Dimbleby
  • A political memoir: Diaries, In Power 1983-1991 - Alan Clark
  • A book at least 100 years older than you: Evelina - Fanny Burney
  • A book that's more than 600 pages: The Strangest Family - Janice Hadlow
  • A book from Oprah's or R&J's book club: A Man Called Ove - Fredrick Backman
  • A science-fiction novel: The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham
  • A book recommended by a family member: The Racer - David Millar
  • A graphic novel: Asterix, The Bonnie Fechter - Goscinny and Uderzo
  • A book that is published in 2016: Landskipping - Anna Pavord
  • A book with a protaganist who has your occupation: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
  • A book that takes place during summer: The Driver's Seat - Muriel Spark
  • A book and its prequel: Mansfield Park - Jane Austen & Becoming Mrs Norris - Alexa Adams
  • A murder mystery: The Two-Penny Bar - Georges Simenon
  • A book written by a comedian: Stephen Fry in America - Stephen Fry
  • A dystopian novel: Ella Minnow Pea - Mark Dunn
  • A book with a blue cover: Blaming - Elizabeth Taylor
  • A book of poetry: The Death of King Arthur - Simon Armitage
  • The first book you see in a bookstore: The Running Hare - John Lewis-Stempel
  • A classic from the 20th century: Ragtime - EL Doctorow
  • A book from the library: 1815, Regency Britain in the Year of Waterloo - Stephen Bates
  • An autobiography: The Unexpected Professor - John Carey
  • A book about a road trip: The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver
  • A book about a culture you're unfamiliar with: And The Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini
  • A satirical book: Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
  • A book that takes place on an island: The Blackhouse - Peter May
  • A book that's guaranteed to bring you joy: Winnie-the-Pooh - AA Milne
Edited by willoyd

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A Tour of the States
 
I thought it about time I aimed to improve my experience of American literature, it being somewhat limited.  So, this is the challenge on which the English Counties list was modelled: 51 states of the US, each represented by one book.  It is based on the list here, but in the spirit of broadening that experience, I have amended it using these rules:  a. it must be fiction; b. an author can only appear once; c. no children's books; d. no rereads. This all inevitably means that some truly great books will be missing and that I may not have chosen an author's best or most famous book nor the most famous or most representative book for a state, but so be it. Books that probably would have made the list if not already read were

To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee (Alabama)
A Thousand Acres - Jane Smiley (Iowa)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain (Missouri)
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (New York)

Their inclusion might well have changed other states' books, given the rule about only one book per author.

2/51
 
01. The Keepers of the House - Shirley Ann Grau (Alabama)
02. Alaska - James Michener (Alaska)
03. The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver (Arizona) *****
04. The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks - Donald Harington (Arkansas)
05. East of Eden/Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (California)
06. Plainsong - Kent Haruf (Colorado)
07. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates (Connecticut)
08. The Saint of Lost Things - Christopher Castellani (Delaware)
09. To Have and Have Not - Ernest Hemingway (Florida)
10. Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell (Georgia)
11. From Here To Eternity - James Jones (Hawaii)
12. Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson (Idaho)
13. The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow (Illinois)
14. The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields (Indiana)
15. The Bridges of Madison County - Robert Waller (Iowa)
16. Butcher's Crossing - John Williams (Kansas)
17. Uncle Tom's Cabin - Harriet Beecher Stowe (Kentucky)
18. All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren (Louisiana)
19. Empire Falls - Richard Russo (Maine)
20. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant - Anne Tyler (Maryland)
21. The Scarlet Letter- Nathaniel Hawthorne (Massachusetts)
22. The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides (Michigan)
23. Main Street - Sinclair Lewis (Minnesota)
24. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner (Mississippi)
25. Mrs Bridge - Evan S Connell (Missouri)
26. A River Runs Through It - Norman Maclean (Montana)
27. My Antonia - Willa Cather (Nebraska)
28. The Ox-Bow Incident - Walter van Tilburg Clark (Nevada)
29. Peyton Place - Grace Metallious (New Hampshire)
30. Independence Day - Richard Ford (New Jersey)
31. Cities of the Plain - Cormac McCarthy (New Mexico)
32. The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton (New York)
33. Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier (North Carolina)
34. The Round House - Louise Eldrich (North Dakota)
35. Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson (Ohio)
36. True Grit - Charles Portis (Oklahoma) ****
37. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey (Oregon)
38. Blood on the Forge - William Attaway (Pennsylvania)
39. The Witches of Eastwick - John Updike (Rhode Island)
40. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd (South Carolina)
41. Welcome to Hard Times - EL Doctorow (South Dakota)
42. A Death in the Family - James Agee (Tennessee)
43. Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry (Texas)
44. The Nineteenth Wife - David Ebershoff (Utah)
45. The Secret History - Donna Tartt (Vermont)
46. Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison (Virginia)
47. Snow Falling on Cedars- David Guterson (Washington)
48. Advise and Consent - Allen Drury (Washington DC)
49. Storming Heaven - Denise Giardina (West Virginia)
50. The Art of Fielding - Chad Harbach (Wisconsin)
51. The Virginian - Owen Wister (Wyoming)
 
 

 

Edited by willoyd

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Reserved as spare.

Edited by willoyd

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Reserved as spare.

Edited by willoyd

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Reserved as spare.

Edited by willoyd

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Reserved as spare

Edited by willoyd

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Review of 2015, Looking Forward to 2016

 

Having said in last year's review that 2015 would be a year for consolidation, it turned out to be the year in which I broke pretty much all my records for reading, with 70 books achieved for the first time since starting records.  Whilst there was the normal sprinkling of shorter books (Lady Susan being the shortest at barely 60 pages - but what fun they were!), the overall average of almost 300 pages per book showed that there were a goodly number of chunkier volumes too (the longest being another named after its heroine,  Anna Karenina¸at just over 800 pages). 

 

Last year, I commented  that the quality seemed to have improved from the previous year, yet this year saw one less 1-2 star award (even if there was one more 1-star, and the unutterable drivel of Divergent) but two more 5-6 star awards compared to 2015; I don't think I'm getting any less particular either.  In terms of the various checklists I keep, the 6 Classics, 6 English Counties books, 15 from the 1001 book list (2 rereads) and 5 O'Brians suggest a good year. There was admittedly less success with others: no Dickens or Hardy, 1 Zola, 1 Simenon, 1 Slightly Foxed edition (although better than the zero from last year), and, perhaps most galling, only 1 non-fiction doorstopper, a category I promised myself I'd work on more this year.  My excuse (reason?) was that I found myself really getting my teeth into a year-long challenge, reading books in 50 different categories, which I successfully finished on New Year's Eve.  It certainly added some spice to the year, and I'm sure contributed to the larger annual total.

 

Perhaps the biggest failure though was my pathetic attempt to reduce the number of acquisitions, which completely gave way in the autumn.  A discrete veil will be drawn over the exact numbers, but we're talking well into three figures, so the tbr list definitely increased.  What made it worse was how few of these were actually read during the year. 

 

Enough on the negatives though, as it was a good, perhaps outstanding year!  What were the standouts though?   In terms of individual books, 2015 was the year of Middlemarch.  I last read this as a teenager for A-levels, and never fully appreciated it.  It is, without doubt, one of the monumental greats of English literature, a totally absorbing read which I was genuinely sad to finish and which marches its way straight into my personal top 10.  There are very few years where it wouldn't have been a runaway winner.  It is thus all the more impressive that it was actually closely pushed as Book of the Year by Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels, of which I read/reread the first five this year.  All I can say here is that I'm delighted there's another fifteen or so to look forward to, and I can see me ekeing them out as the series progresses.

 

In the non-fiction stakes, Tim Clayton's account of Waterloo stood head and shoulders not only above the raft of other Waterloo books I've encountered this year (including the popular but poor Bernard Cornwell account), but in front of the rest as well, and was my third placed book/series overall.  There are many years it would have won outright.  Even so, Frank Worsley's account of the Shackleton Boat Journey - which sees its 100th anniversary early next year - pushed it as closely as the O'Brians did Middlemarch in the fiction category.  Clayton's books are always worth reading, but, even by his standards, Waterloo was a tour de force of narrative history and worthy of the anniversary.  Other smaller but no less enjoyable highlights were the superb reading of South Riding by Carole Boyd, the sheer fun of Georgette Heyer's The Grand Sophy (I last read Heyer's Regency novels some forty years ago, and this showed me that they are overdue a reread) the surprise of Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit - genuinely funny and moving - and the traditional robustness of Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagles of the Ninth, taking me back to the pleasures of childhood reading as I remember it (Oh, the nostalgia!).  Burial Rites blew me away as a first novel, and reminded me how much I want to revisit Iceland.

 

And so into 2016.  Well, maybe THIS is the year when I will consolidate and concentrate on what I've already got on my shelves waiting to be read.  I can pretty much repeat most of the rest of last year's closing paragraph too: "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. "  Well, this year I am: I'm going to set up my 2015 acquisition list as another checklist, and see if I can make some inroads into that, whilst keeping my 2016 acquisition list down below it.  As things stand, my LibraryThing TBR total is 1371 (ouch!).  So, maybe an initial target of under 1300 this year?  Sounds doable, even if it has gone up every year so far.

 

 

2015 Accolades

 

Fiction (and overall) Book of the Year

Middlemarch - George Eliot

 

Fiction (and overall) runner-up

The Aubrey/Maturin series - Patrick O'Brian

 

Rest of the fiction shortlist (alphabetically by author)

The Grand Sophy - Georgette Heyer

South Riding - Winifred Holtby

Burial Rites - Hannah Kent

The Shipping News - Annie Proulx

The Eagle of the Ninth - Rosemary Sutcliff

Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit - Jeanette Winterson

 

Non-fiction Book of the Year

Waterloo - Tim Clayton

 

Non-fiction runner-up

Shackelton's Boat Journey - Frank Worsley

 

Rest of the non-fiction shortlist

Once There Was A War - John Steinbeck

The Magnetic North - Sara Wheeler

 

Duffer of the Year

Divergent - Veronica Roth

 

Rest of the Duffer shortlist

The Silent Wife - ASA Harrison

The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul - Deborah Rodriguez

Edited by willoyd

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Welcome to my reading blog for 2016. I've still some reviews to finish off for 2015, which I'll tack onto the 2015 thread, and some tidying up to do on my lists etc, but this thread is now open!

Edited by willoyd

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I shall look forward to seeing what 2016 has in store for you. Happy New Year, and happy reading in 2016. :)

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Perhaps the biggest failure though was my pathetic attempt to reduce the number of acquisitions, which completely gave way in the autumn.  A discrete veil will be drawn over the exact numbers, but we're talking well into three figures, so the tbr list definitely increased.  What made it worse was how few were actually read during the year.

 

Happy reading for 2016, Willoyd.

 

Yes, the acquisitions thing.....that catches me out every year. :lol: Admittedly, mine wasn't as "bad" as yours being only about 80-ish (or probably a bit more, considering we have had the Kindle sales over the last week or so and I have already bought about 15 from there), but it has made my TBR pile distinctly intimidating. :thud:

 

I see you have a few Jodi Taylor books. I remember you enjoyed the first book in the Chronicles of St Marys series, but I couldn't remember if you had read the others. I've only read the first one; I loved it, but just haven't had the chance to make a start on any of the others. You also have another treat in The Mangle Street Murders.....that was a very enjoyable read. :readingtwo:

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Happy reading for 2016, Willoyd.

 

Yes, the acquisitions thing.....that catches me out every year. :lol: Admittedly, mine wasn't as "bad" as yours being only about 80-ish (or probably a bit more, considering we have had the Kindle sales over the last week or so and I have already bought about 15 from there), but it has made my TBR pile distinctly intimidating. :thud:

Yes, I've bought a few in the Kindle Sale too, mostly non-fiction.

 

I see you have a few Jodi Taylor books. I remember you enjoyed the first book in the Chronicles of St Marys series, but I couldn't remember if you had read the others. I've only read the first one; I loved it, but just haven't had the chance to make a start on any of the others. You also have another treat in The Mangle Street Murders.....that was a very enjoyable read. :readingtwo:

I enjoyed the second too. For some reason I haven't got further. Intend to push on with both that series and the O'Brian series early in the New Year.

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Happy reading, Willoyd! You have lots of great lists there. You're making excellent progress in the 1001 list. :)

 

I'm interested in reading a Maigret novel one day. Do they have to be read in order? I have one on my TBR pile, but of course it's not the first one (it's #6, according to your list).

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Thank you all!
 

I'm interested in reading a Maigret novel one day. Do they have to be read in order? I have one on my TBR pile, but of course it's not the first one (it's #6, according to your list).


No they don't. I've certainly seen no particular order in them. It could be an interesting exercise to try and put them in some sort of chronological order, but I'm not convinced it could be done with any precision, or indeed that Simenon had any time order in mind. I'm simply reading them in the order Penguin are publishing them, which as far as I can see, is the order in which they were originally published. I also have the complete 10-volume paperback complete works, in French: it's right on the limit of what I can enjoy without spending too much time with my head in a dictionary. I do, however, enjoy being able to relax and read in my own language too!

I've found that no one Maigret is particularly special, although I'm obviously developing my favourites. There are certainly more complex and intriguing whodunnits - but then that isn't really what Maigret is about. Where I think the series scores is in the cumulative effect of developing atmosphere and sense of time and place, which Simenon achieves brilliantly in very few words. The books are short, but within a very few pages, I find myself buried in postwar France to a depth that few other writers can achieve. I love them!

BTW, #6, Night At The Crossroads, is a good one - I enjoyed it a lot. It should be a good indicator as to whether you are likely to enjoy others.

Edited by willoyd

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Thanks for the info on Maigret, Willoyd. That's very helpful! :)

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