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    • Michelle

      Important Announcement!   07/28/2018

      Dear BCF members,   This forum has been running now for many years, and over that time we have seen many changes. Generalised forums are nowhere near as popular as they once were, and they have been very much taken over by blogs, vlogs and social media discussions. Running a forum well takes money, and a lot of care and attention, as there is so much which goes on behind the scenes to keep things running smoothly.   With all of this in mind, and after discussion within the current moderator team, the decision has been made to close this forum in its current format. I know that this will disappoint a lot of our long term members, but I want to reassure you that it's not a decision which has been taken lightly.    The remaining moderator team have agreed that we do not want to lose everything which is special about our home, and so we are starting a brand new facebook group, so that people can stay in touch, and discussions can continue. We can use it for free and should be easier for us to run (it won't need to be updated or hosted). We know not everyone has FaceBook, but we hope that those of you who are interested will join the group. We will share the link, and send invites as soon as we are ready to go. Added: We may as well get this going, find us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/195289821332924/   The forum will close to new registrations, but will remain open for some time, to allow people to collect up any information, reading lists etc they need to, and to ensure they have contact details for those they wish to stay in touch with.    The whole team feel sad to say goodbye, but we also feel that it's perhaps time and that it feels like the right choice. We hope we can stay in touch with all of you through our new FaceBook group.   I personally want to thank everyone who has helped me moderate the forum, both in the past and the present, and I also want to thank every single person who has visited, and shared their love of books.. I'm so proud of everything we've achieved, and the home we built.   Please visit the new section in the Lounge section to discuss this further, ask questions etc.

Willoyd's Reading 2018

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Thread Contents


Post number

02.  Book List 2018 - including previous book lists and threads

03.  Favourite books

04.  Favourite authors

05.  Non-fiction focus - Doorstoppers, Slightly Foxed editions, The Wainwright List

06.  Fiction authors focus - O'Brian, Ransome

07.  Crime authors focus - Sansom, Leon, Simenon

08.  Classics focus - Dickens, Hardy, Zola and year list

09.  1001 Books To Read Before You Die

10.  Tour of the United States

11.  Round Robin (LibraryThing) Challenge

12.  TBR size - monthly record

13.  spare

14.  spare

15.  spare

16.  2017 review, 2018 preview

Edited by willoyd

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Book List 2018

Previous book lists: 2009, 2010-2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017


01.  Maigret at Picratt's by Georges Simenon (Jan 8) ****

02.  The Pursuit of Victory by Roger Knight (Jan 17) *****

03.  Where My Heart Used To Beat by Sebastian Faulks (Jan 18) G *

04.  I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Jan 20) CG *

05.  Walking Away by Simon Armitage (Jan 25) ****



06.  Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett (Feb 1) ***

07.  Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (Feb 9) C ***

08.  Coot Club by Arthur Ransome (Feb 13) R ******

09.  The Big Six by Arthur Ransome (Feb 17) R *****

10.  Claxton by Mark Cocker (Feb 24) R ****



11.  Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Mar 2) G *****

12.  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Mar 10) G ****

13.  Jane Austen, The Secret Radical by Helena Kelly (Mar 21) X **

14.  Darkest Hour by Anthony McCarten (Mar 23) ***

15.  Linescapes by Hugh Warwick (Mar 29) ****



16.  A View of the Harbour by Elizabeth Taylor (Apr 2) G ******

17.  H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (Apr 10) G ****

18.  Longbourn by Jo Baker (Apr 28) ****

19.  Lock No. 1 by Georges Simenon (Apr 30) ****



20.  Letters to My Daughter's Killer by Cath Staincliffe (May 3) G **

NC.  Winter in Madrid by CJ Sampson (May 8) CX **

21.  Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson (May 9) *****

22.  If Only They Didn't Speak English by Jon Sopel (May 11) ***

23.  The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher (May 18) C ****

24.  A Shadow Above by Joe Shute (May 21) *****

NC.  Rebels and Traitors by Lindsey Davis (May 24) CX **

25.  The House of Doctor Dee by Peter Ackroyd (May 28) CT ***

NC.  Darke by Rick Gekoski (May 29) GX *



26.  Farewell to the Horse by Ulrich Raulff (Jun 7) X **

27.  A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland (Jun 10) ***

28.  Tyke on a Bike by John Priestley (Jun 15) ***

29.  Islander by Patrick Barkham (Jun 19) *****

30.  The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (Jun 21) G **

31.  The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth (Jun 30) ***



32.  Gossip from the Forest by Sara Maitland (Jul 7) G *****

33.  Paddington Helps Out (Jul 8) R *****

34.  Maigret by Georges Simenon (Jul 8) ****

35.  The Women Who Shaped Politics by Sophy Ridge (Jul 10) ****

36.  The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson (Jul 14) ***

37.  Pendulum by Adam Hamty (Jul 24) G *

38.  The Secret Rooms by Catherine Bailey (Jul 31) G ****



39.  The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller (Aug 4) **

40.  A Siege of Bitterns by Steve Burrows (Aug 6) ****

41.  Bookworm by Lucy Mangan (Aug 10) *****

42.  Fall Out by Tim Shipman (Aug 19) ****

43.  Birders by Mark Cocker (Aug 21) ****



* Disliked this (a lot!), likely to be unfinished.
** Disappointing, often unfinished or skimmed.
*** OK, enjoyed reading to the end, but not unputdownable.
**** Good, didn't really want to put down.
***** Excellent.
****** On my favourites list: something makes this special, even if only personal to me.

A=audiobook, C=Round Robin Challenge read, G=Reading group read, R=reread, T=Thousand and One Books To Read Before You Die read, U=USA States Challenge read,  X=unfinished

Edited by willoyd

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Favourite Books

A record of the 122 books and series to which I've given my top rating.  These aren't necessarily the best literature I've read, but the books that are personal favourites, that, for whatever reason, struck a special chord in my reading. Individual books within a series are likely to have scored less, but the rating is for the series as a whole. The lists are divided into

  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction
  • Children's Fiction

Fiction (76)
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
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

Eco, Umberto: The Name of the Rose
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

Guareschi, Giovanni: The Don Camillo series
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

Hill, Reginald: On Beulah Height
Holtby, Winifred: South Riding

Horwood, William: Stonor Eagles, The

Horwood, William: Skallagrig
Hulme, Keri: The Bone People

Ivey, Eowyn: To the Bright Edge of the World
Japrisot, Sebastian: A Very Long Engagement

Le Carre, John: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Lee, Harper: To Kill A Mockingbird

Leon, Donna: The Brunetti series

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

Taylor, Elizabeth: A View of the Harbour
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
Zafon, Carlos Ruiz: The Shadow of the Wind

Non-fiction (38)
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

Gogarty, Paul: The Water Road
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

Lewis-Stempel, John: The Running Hare
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

Nicolson, Adam: The Seabird's Cry
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

Schumacher, EF: Small is Beautiful
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 (8)
Berna, Paul: Flood Warning

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.  I've only included authors of adult books - for favourite children's authors, see favourite book list, as the two lists are pretty much the same.

Jane Austen
JL Carr

Charles Dickens
Sarah Dunant
Margaret Elphinstone

Thomas Hardy
Georgette Heyer
Donna Leon
Patrick O'Brian
Georges Simenon

Elizabeth Taylor

Virginia Woolf


Tim Clayton
Lisa Jardine
Jan Morris
Simon Schama
Claire Tomalin
Jenny Uglow

Edited by willoyd

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Non-fiction focus


Three lists to give some focus to my non-fiction reading.


The first list is entitled 'Doorstoppers'. These are generally longer than 500 pages; a few are multi-volume works. I've ticked over with 1 or 2 a year, although 2017 was not a good year with zero!  I'm aiming to do better in 2018! 


The second list is for 'Slightly Foxed Editions.' I've been collecting this series of memoirs for the past few years, but have not actually read many of them.  Again, I'd like to improve on that in 2018. This might be helped by the fact that I stopped subscribing in 2017, so whilst the odd one may be added, the list won't get much beyond no. 36 now.


Finally, a list added late last year - 'The Wainwright List'. This is a list of selected short-and long-listed books nominated for the Wainwright Prize, primarily those focused on natural history plus some others.  It's an area of reading I particularly love, and the list is here not so much as a challenge, more a checklist of books to investigate. 



(Figures in brackets = total no. of non-fiction books read, and the % they represent)


Read in 2018

The Pursuit of Victory by Roger Knight *****

Battle Cry of Freedom by James McPherson *****


Read in 2017



Read in 2016  (23 - 31%)

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  (12 - 17%)

Waterloo by Tim Clayton ******


Read in 2014  (20 - 32%)

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

Darwin by Adrian Desmond and James Moore ****


Read in 2013  (19 - 34%)

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

The Plantagenets by Dan Jones ****



Slightly Foxed Editions

 Books in standard blue are those read in previous years; books read this year are in bold.


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


Selections from the Wainwright List 

The Last Wilderness by Neil Ansell (2018 L)

The Moor by William Atkins (2015 S)

Coastlines by Patrick Barkham (2016 L)

Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham (2014 S)

Islander by Patrick Barkham (2018 L) *****

Love of Country by Madeleine Bunting (2017 S) *****

Claxton by Mark Cocker (2015 S) ****

The Otter's Tale by Simon Cooper (2017 S)

Common Ground by Rob Cowen (2016 S)

The Nature of Autumn by Jim Crumley (2017 L)

Owl Sense by Miriam Darlington (2018 L)

Outskirts by John Grindrod (2018 L)

Weatherland by Alexandra Harris (2016 L)

Rain by Melissa Harrison (2016 L) ****

Under Another Sky by Charlotte Higgins (2014 S) *****

The Sea Inside by Philip Hoare (2014 L)

Foxes Unearthed by Lucy Jones (2017 L)

Meadowland by John Lewis-Stempel (2015 W)

The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel (2017 S) *****

Where Poppies Blow by John Lewis-Stempel (2017 W)

The Wood by John Lewis-Stempel (2018 L)

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (2016 W) ******

Raptor by James Lockhart (2016 L)

H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald (2014 S) *****

The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy (2016 S)

The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane (2014 S)

Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane (2016 S)

Rising Ground by Philip Marsden (2015 S)

A Sky Full of Birds by Matt Merritt (2017 L)

Wild Kingdom by Stephen Moss (2017 S)

The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicolson (2018 L) ******

Britannia Obscura by Joanne Parker (2015 L)

A Wood of One's Own by Ruth Pavey (2018 L)

Landskipping by Anna Pavord (2016 L) *****

The Ash Tree by Oliver Rackham (2015 L)

The January Man by Christopher Somerville (2017 S) ****

The Green Road into the Trees by Hugh Thomson (2014 W)

On Silbury Hill by Adam Thorpe (2015 L)

Counting Sheep by Philip Walling (2015 L)

Silt Road by Charles Rangeley-Wilson (2014 L)

Field Notes from a Hidden City by Esther Woolfson (2014 S)



Edited by willoyd

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Fiction Author focus

  • Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series - a new read
  • Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series - a reread

 Books in standard blue are those read in previous years; 2018 books are in bold.


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

Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series reread
01. Swallows and Amazons (1930)
02. Swallowdale (1931)
03. Peter Duck (1932)
04. Winter Holiday (1933)
05. Coot Club (1934)
06. Pigeon Post (1936)
07. We Didn't Mean To Go To Sea (1937)
08. Secret Water (1939)
09. The Big Six (1940)
10. Missee Lee (1941)
11. The Picts and The Martyrs (1943)
12. Great Northern? (1947)
13. Coot Club (1988)

Edited by willoyd

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Crime Author focus

  • CJ Sansom's Shardlake series
  • Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series
  • Georges Simenon's Maigret books

 Books in standard blue are those read in previous years; 2018 books are in bold.



CJ Sansom's Shardlake series

01. Dissolution (2003) ****

02. Dark Fire (2004)

03. Sovereign (2006)

04. Revelation (2008)

05. Heartstone (2010)

06. Lamentation (2014)


Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series

01. Death at La Fenice (1992) ****

02. Death in a Strange Country (1993) ****

03. The Anonymous Venetian (1994) ****

04. A Venetian Reckoning (1995) ****

05. Acqua Alta (1996) ****

06. The Death of Faith (1997) ****

07. A Noble Radiance (1997) ****

08. Fatal Remedies (1999) *****

09. Friends in High Places (2000) ****

10. A Sea of Troubles (2001)

11. Wilful Behaviour (2002)

12. Uniform Justice (2003)

13. Doctored Evidence (2004)

14. Blood from a Stone (2005)

15. Through a Glass, Darkly (2006)

16. Suffer the Little Children (2007)

17. The Girl of His Dreams (2008)

18. About Face (2009)

19. A Question of Belief (2010)

20. Drawing Conclusions (2011)

21. Beastly Things (2012)

22. By Its Cover (2013)

23. Falling in Love (2014)

24. The Waters of Eternal Youth (2015)

25. Earthly Remains (2016)


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

30. Maigret's First Case

31. My Friend Maigret

32. Maigret at the Coroner's

33. Maigret and the Old Lady

34. Madame Maigret's Friend

35. Maigret's Memoirs

36. Maigret at Picratt's ****

37. Maigret Takes a Room

38. Maigret and the Tall Woman

39. Maigret, Lognon and the Gangsters

40. Maigret's Revolver

41. Maigret and the Man on the Bench

42. Maigret is Afraid

43. Maigret's Mistake

44. Maigret Goes to School


Edited by willoyd

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Classics focus

  • Charles Dickens
  • Thomas Hardy
  • Emile Zola's Rougon-Macquart series
  • Classics by year


Charles Dickens
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
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

Classics - including five year back list

The Radetzky March - Joseph Roth ****


Lorna Doone - RD Blackmore ***

Sons and Lovers - DH Lawrence ****

Tom Brown's Schooldays - Thomas Hughes ***

The Mill on the Floss - George Eliot *****

The Old Wives' Tale - Arnold Bennett *****

Clayhanger - Arnold Bennett *****

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens R ******

Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll ***


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 ***

Middlemarch - George Eliot R ******
Night and Day - Virginia Woolf *****
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy *****
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley ****
Cranford - Elizabeth Gaskell R ***
Lady Susan - Jane Austen ****
Villette - Charlotte Bronte ***
La Fortune des Rougon - Emile Zola ****

Nicholas Nickleby - Charles Dickens *****
What Maisie Knew - Henry James ***
North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell *****
Silas Marner - George Eliot R ****
Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy ******
The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald ***
Agnes Grey - Anne Bronte ****
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens R ******

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens ******
The Voyage Out - Virginia Woolf *****
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte *****
The Turn of the Screw - Henry James ****
A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens *****

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 = 158 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 ******
1090. The House of Doctor Dee by Peter Ackroyd ****

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 *****

0426. The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth ****
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 ****

0309. Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence *****
0300. Howards End by EM Forster ****
0295. A Room With A View by EM Forster *****

0291. The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett *****
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 ****

0149. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot ****(*)
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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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. nothing before 1900; d. no children's books; e. no rereads. Inevitably some great books and authors will have been left off, but the process itself has already helped identify those holes, and I aim to fill them in as additional reading.


01. The Keepers of the House - Shirley Ann Grau (Alabama)
02. To The Bright Edge of the World - Eowyn Ivey (Alaska) ******
03. The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver (Arizona) ****
04. True Grit - Charles Portis (Arkansas) ****
05. East of Eden - John Steinbeck (California)
06. Plainsong - Kent Haruf (Colorado)
07. Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates (Connecticut)
08. The Saint of Lost Things - Christopher Castellani (Delaware)
09. Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston (Florida)
10. The Color Purple - Alice Walker (Georgia) T
11. Hawaii - James Michener (Hawaii)
12. Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson (Idaho) ****
13. The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow (Illinois) T
14. The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields (Indiana) T
15. The Bridges of Madison County - Robert Waller (Iowa) ****
16. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote (Kansas) T
17. The Sport of Kings - CE Morgan (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. Ethan Frome- Edith Wharton (Massachusetts) T
22. The Virgin Suicides - Jeffrey Eugenides (Michigan) T
23. Main Street - Sinclair Lewis (Minnesota) T
24. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner (Mississippi)
25. Stoner - John Williams (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. The Sportswriter - Richard Ford (New Jersey) ****
31. Cities of the Plain - Cormac McCarthy (New Mexico)
32. Underworld - Don DeLillo (New York) T
33. Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier (North Carolina) *****
34. The Round House - Louise Erdrich (North Dakota)
35. Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson (Ohio) ***
36. Paradise - Toni Morrison (Oklahoma)
37. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey (Oregon) T
38. The Killer Angels - Michael Shaara (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. Riders of the Purple Sage - Zane Grey (Utah)
45. The Secret History - Donna Tartt (Vermont) T
46. The Known World - Edward P Jones (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) T
51. The Virginian - Owen Wister (Wyoming)


T = on the 1001 Books To Read Before You Die list.

Edited by willoyd

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Round Robin (LibraryThing) Challenge


Challenges to me

1. Rebels and Traitors by Lindsey Davis (Madeleine)

2. Field Notes from a Hidden City by Esther Woolfson (Chesilbeach)

3. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes (Karen.d)

4. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (Alexi)

5. Tess of the D'Urbevilles by Thomas Hardy (Chaliepud)

6. The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth (Little Pixie)

7. Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (Frankie)

8. Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett (by MRTR)

9. La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (Ben)


Challenges by me

1. Madeleine - The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher

2. Chesilbeach - The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller

3. Karen.d - Winter in Madrid by CJ Sampson

4. Alexi - Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris by Graham Robb

5. Chaliepud - The Invisible Ones by Stef Penney

6. Little Pixie - The House of Doctor Dee by Peter Ackroyd

7. Frankie - Dead Wake by Erik Larson

8. MRTR: Stalingrad by Antony Beevor

9. Ben: SPQR by Mary Beard



Edited by willoyd

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TBR size (month start)


Jan:  1472

Feb:  1464

Mar:  1465

Apr:  1463

May: 1468

Jun:  1451

Jul:   1460

Aug:  1460

Sep:  1413





Edited by willoyd

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Review 2017, Preview 2018

At the end of my review last year, I commented that 2017 could be the most interesting year for some while.  Little did I know how prescient that was!  I already knew that I intended to reduce me work hours before the end of 2017; what I hadn't fully realised was quite how deep the stress had become, and how it would all come to a head, even before Easter!  The upshot is  that not only have I reduced my hours but, I've actually retired from teaching.  What a relief - it's only now that I can look back and see clearly quite what a state had developed. 


Reading-wise it's been a good year, solid rather than spectacular.   In pure number terms, I read 72 books and almost exactly 21000 pages, both only bettered by last year's efforts, not bad when I really wasn't aiming to achieve any particular number. In terms of the aims I had set myself, it was slightly more mixed.  I was pleased to finish the English Counties Challenge (which was great fun and very rewarding), and have made a solid start on my follow-up Tour of the United States - 7 visited to date, including my Book of the Year and promising to be equally as enjoyable.  For the first time in three years, I didn't finish the Popsugar reading challenge, falling just short, but that resulted from a positive decision taken in October not to continue treat it as a target, as it was starting to adversely affect my reading enjoyment (more on that decision below); I will probably finish it off in the New Year, but I don't think I will be tackling the 2018 version, other than incidentally.  I aimed to read more non-fiction, but have landed up reading pretty much the same proportion (around 30%).  The various focus areas and authors I list in my introductory posts above were equally mixed - progress in some (e.g. Simenon, Ransome and O'Brian lists lists), none in others (eg Slightly Foxed, classical and other crime authors).  Although not an aim, one thing that did surprise me was the low proportion of female authors I read this year, down to barely one in three, the lowest in years (a more usual figure would be 40% or so, whilst 2015 saw it reach almost 60%).


So much for quantities, what about quality?!  Perhaps the biggest surprise is how few new 6-star reads I had - just two, although that was partially compensated for by more 5-star reads than normal - am I just getting more picky? (Not overall at least, as my average rating has stayed pretty much the same for the past four years, varying between 3.83 and 3.89); the 6-star rereads were an absolute joy though, especially the joint Rereads of the Year, Flood Warning unexpectedly so.  A perhaps more pertinent trend is that for the second year running, non-fiction books dominate my upper ratings, even if a novel actually tops the list.  Nature books provide a goodly proportion of these, a genre that I find myself reading more of nowadays, and one that seems to more generally have been going through something of a renaissance.  As a result, I am, like chesilbeach, targeting the Wainwright list for ideas, and it's proving fruitful.    Author discoveries this year include Adam Nicolson and Arnold Bennett; I'm looking forward to reading more by Eowyn Ivey too.


At the bottom end, the Duffer of the Year is, yet again, and probably inevitably, a book group choice.  I already knew I didn't like Ben Elton's books, but this merely confirmed how poor I think he is as a writer - unfinishable in fact.  Having said that, the biggest disappointment, a new category this year, was a complete surprise; I've previously really enjoyed much of Susan Hill's work, but this was horribly self-indulgent. 


So, what about next year?  Well, for starters, no more specific numbers to aim at - I've found this approach has spoiled both my reading and my birding this year.  Although I do have two challenges on the go, the Tour of the US and the Round Robin, the former is open ended, the latter reasonably conservative numerically.  Instead, just some areas and authors to focus on, as listed in earlier posts on this thread.  I've said this for a few years now, but this year I really do feel I need to get to grips with some of the bigger books, both fiction and non-fiction, on my shelves, so I expect, indeed almost want, to actually record a drop in the number of books read in the next review.  And maybe, just maybe, I might make some inroads into my To Read list, which the Round Robin might help with?


Accolades for 2017

(Rereads not included except in their own category)


Fiction and Overall Book of the Year

To The Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey


Fiction Runner-up

The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett


Fiction Short list

The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot

Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

The Fortune of War by Patrick O'Brian

A Maigret Christmas by Georges Simenon


Non-fiction Book of the Year (and Overall Runner-Up)

The Seabirds' Cry by Adam Nicolson


Non-fiction Runner-up (and Overall Third Place)

Love of Country by Madeleine Bunting


Non-fiction Short List

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterley

Down the River by HE Bates

Sea Room by Adam Nicolson

The Road to Somewhere by David Goddart


Joint Reread of the Year

Flood Warning by Paul Berna

Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome


Duffer of the Year

Two Brothers by Ben Elton


Duffer short list

The Crime at  Black Dudley by Marjory Allingham

The Circle by David Eggers

All Our Wrong Todays by  Elan Mastai


Most disappointing book of the year

Jacob's Room is Full of Books by Susan Hill






Edited by willoyd

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Welcome to my reading blog for 2018. This thread is now open!

Edited by willoyd

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I love your very extensive 'blog'.   :)


I hope you enjoy 'Tess'.  I love it - but @frankie hates it! :D I think you'll like/love it, but one never can tell!   :)


On 12/28/2017 at 9:12 PM, willoyd said:

Slightly Foxed Editions

 Books in standard blue are those read in previous years; 2018 books are in bold.

I am particularly interested in this section.  I have only read one of these myself (The Young Ardizzone by Edward Ardizzone) and I have My Grandmothers and I by Diana Holman-Hunt on my 'to read' pile, but there are simply (pun intended) loads of titles I'd like to read.  I visited the old shop, which has now sadly closed down, although one can visit their operation - if they have notice!




Can I visit you at your office in Hoxton Square?

Yes, certainly. We are always delighted to meet readers and you’re most welcome during office hours: Monday to Friday between 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. GMT. Occasionally we have events that take us all out of the office, and we have regular large deliveries of books (that make much of the office temporarily impassable!) so do let us know if you’re planning to visit and we’ll ensure a clear path to the bookshelves, the sofa and the kettle.

Please note that, while everything we produce is available to buy from our offices, we are not a bookshop in the traditional sense, so if you’re looking for a particular book or anything else, it’s a good idea to get in touch before you set off to make sure we have your items in stock.


I shall look forward to following your progress this year.  :)

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3 hours ago, Janet said:

I hope you enjoy 'Tess'.  I love it - but @frankie hates it! :D I think you'll like/love it, but one never can tell!   :)


I'm pretty confident I'll enjoy it simply because I've loved all the Hardy I've read to date, but we'll see!

I'm certainly pleased it's part of my challenge.




I am particularly interested in this section.  I have only read one of these myself (The Young Ardizzone by Edward Ardizzone) and I have My Grandmothers and I by Diana Holman-Hunt on my 'to read' pile, but there are simply (pun intended) loads of titles I'd like to read.  I visited the old shop, which has now sadly closed down, although one can visit their operation - if they have notice!


Yes, this is one that is long overdue some attention. They're not only attractive titles, but I love the books themselves as physical entities - simple and yet elegantly practical - perfect for reading. I've also got the set of Slightly Foxed Cubs which I'll give a go some time soon too - another example (along with the likes of Ransome, Sutcliffe et al) of 'grown up' children's books, the sort that seem in somewhat short supply nowadays.  I didn't realise one could visit them, so thanks for that info.  I might try and do so next time I'm in London.

Edited by willoyd

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I hope you have a very enjoyable year of reading in 2018. :)


Thanks again for the Round Robin challenge, I'm looking forward to getting my teeth stuck into it as like you, I finished the English Counties this year.  Which reminds me, good to see The Old Wives Tale as your Fiction runner-up of the year.  I'd never heard of Bennett before the challenge, and I this was one of my favourites too.  I'm certainly planning to read more of his books although I'm not sure when it'll be as my TBR is huge at the moment.

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I wish you a great reading year in 2018, Willoyd :). I enjoyed reading your review of 2017 / preview of 2018 post.

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9 hours ago, chesilbeach said:

Which reminds me, good to see The Old Wives Tale as your Fiction runner-up of the year.  I'd never heard of Bennett before the challenge, and I this was one of my favourites too.  I'm certainly planning to read more of his books although I'm not sure when it'll be as my TBR is huge at the moment.


I read two others of his during the year - as you will see he was one of two authors I listed as 'discoveries' this year. Clayhanger was a selection for our book group and I picked up The Card in a sale late on in the year - and only picked him up because I'd enjoyed the other two so much.  Clayhanger is of the same mould as OWT, whilst The Card was a rather different book, lighter and more 'fun', even though based in exactly the same social and geographical landscape as the other two.  I still want to read more!

Incidentally, the reason Clayhanger was a selection came about because, a year or so ago, we had Marriage Material (Sathnam Sanghera) as a selection, one I had chosen because I'd seen the author at the Ilkley Literature Festival and wanted to follow up.  We found out that Marriage Material was based on OWT - a modern day variant.  Another member of the group then read OWT (I hadn't  at that stage) and enjoyed it so much that she nominated Clayhanger as a selection.  Goes to show that Arnold Bennett really is undeservedly not so well known!  I'm going back to reread MM sometime soon simply to connect the threads that I hadn't picked up first time round - my book group friend thought it had been done very cleverly.


I wonder if your TBR list is as big as mine (over 1400 now!).


Edited by willoyd

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Happy 2018 Willoyd! 


I'm hoping the Round Robin challenge will get me reading some of the titles that have been languishing the longest on my TBR - and like you I plan to read all 14 of them, those handed out by me as well as to me. 


My growing TBR has lots of recommendations from you and no doubt that will be the case this year too :lol: 

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