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Thread Contents

Please note, none of the links currently work owing to a problem with software.


Post number

02.  Book List 2021

03.  Favourite books

04.  Favourite authors

05.  Tour of the United States

06.  Classic fiction:  Dickens, Zola

07.  Fiction:  O'Brian, Sansom, Leon, Simenon

08.  Some stats

09.  Big Reads

10.  spare

11.  spare

12.  spare

13.  spare

14.  2020 review, 2021 preview

15.  Accolades for 2020


Edited by willoyd

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Book List 2021

Previous book lists: 2009, 2010-2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020


01.  Wake by Anna Hope G *****

02.  Man at the Helm by Nina Stibbe G **

03.  Body Surfing by Anita Shreve G *

04.  Au Bonheur des Dames by Emile Zola G *****



* Disliked this (probably a lot), likely to be unfinished.
** Disappointing: didn't really engage with or like this, may be unfinished.
*** OK: decent enough read, but not unputdownable.
**** Good: into the realms of not wanting to put it down.
***** Excellent: outstanding, even if not quite a favourite.
****** A favourite: something makes this special, even if only personal to me.

A=audiobook, G=Reading group read, R=reread, U=USA States Challenge read,  X=unfinished

Edited by willoyd

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Favourite Books
A record of the 127 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 (79)
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

McMurtry, Larry: Lonesome Dove
Melville, Herman: Moby Dick
Miller, Andrew: Pure

Miller, Andrew: Now We Shall Be Entirely Free
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

O'Farrell, Maggie: Hamnet
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

Waugh, Evelyn: Brideshead Revisited
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 (40)
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

Howell, Georgina: Daughter of the Desert
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

Sands, Philippe: East-West Street

Schumacher, EF: Small is Beautiful
Simpson, Joe: Touching the Void
Taylor, Stephen: Storm and Conquest
Tomalin, Claire: Pepys, The Unequalled Self

Tree, Isabella: Wilding
Uglow, Jenny: The Pinecone
Unsworth, Walt: Everest
Weldon, Fay: Letters to Alice on first reading Jane Austen
Wheeler, Sara: Terra Incognita

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
Donna Leon
Patrick O'Brian
Georges Simenon

Virginia Woolf


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

Edited by willoyd

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A Tour of the States
My experience of American literature being much narrower than I would like, I decided to take a tour of the states in a similar way to our own English Counties challenge: 51 books, one set in each of the American states (including Washington DC).  In fact, the English Counties was modelled on an American States challenge 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!  Blue means read, bold blue means read this year.


The Keepers of the House - Shirley Ann Grau (Alabama) *****
To The Bright Edge of the World - Eowyn Ivey (Alaska) ******
The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver (Arizona) ****
The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks - Donald Harington (Arkansas)
East of Eden - John Steinbeck (California)
Plainsong - Kent Haruf (Colorado) ****
Revolutionary Road - Richard Yates (Connecticut)
The Saint of Lost Things - Christopher Castellani (Delaware)
A Land Remembered - Patrick Smith (Florida)
The Color Purple - Alice Walker (Georgia)
The Descendants - Kaui Hart Hemmings (Hawaii)
Housekeeping - Marilynne Robinson (Idaho) ****
The Adventures of Augie March - Saul Bellow (Illinois)
The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields (Indiana)
The Bridges of Madison County - Robert Waller (Iowa) ****
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote (Kansas)
Nathan Coultar - Wendell Berry (Kentucky) *****
All the King's Men - Robert Penn Warren (Louisiana)
Empire Falls - Richard Russo (Maine)
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant - Anne Tyler (Maryland) ***
Ethan Frome- Edith Wharton (Massachusetts) ***

Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison (Michigan)
Main Street - Sinclair Lewis (Minnesota)
As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner (Mississippi)
Stoner - John Williams (Missouri) ***
A River Runs Through It - Norman Maclean (Montana)
My Antonia - Willa Cather (Nebraska) *****
The Ox-Bow Incident - Walter van Tilburg Clark (Nevada)
Peyton Place - Grace Metallious (New Hampshire)
The Sportswriter - Richard Ford (New Jersey) ****
Cities of the Plain - Cormac McCarthy (New Mexico)
Underworld - Don DeLillo (New York)
Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier (North Carolina) *****
The Plague of Doves - Louise Erdrich (North Dakota) *****
Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson (Ohio) ***

True Grit- Charles Portis (Oklahoma) ****
Trask - Don Berry (Oregon)
The Killer Angels - Michael Shaara (Pennsylvania)
The Witches of Eastwick - John Updike (Rhode Island)
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd (South Carolina) ***
Welcome to Hard Times - EL Doctorow (South Dakota)
A Death in the Family - James Agee (Tennessee)
Lonesome Dove - Larry McMurtry (Texas) ******
The Nineteenth Wife - David Ebershoff (Utah)
The Secret History - Donna Tartt (Vermont)
The Known World - Edward P Jones (Virginia)
Snow Falling on Cedars- David Guterson (Washington) ***
Advise and Consent - Allen Drury (Washington DC) *****

Storming Heaven - Denise Giardina (West Virginia)
The Art of Fielding - Chad Harbach (Wisconsin)
The Virginian - Owen Wister (Wyoming)

Edited by willoyd

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Classics fiction

Two authors whose books I want to focus more on:

  • Charles Dickens
  • Emile Zola's Rougon-Macquart series



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)

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

Edited by willoyd

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Fiction focus

  • Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series
  • 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; 2020 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


CJ Sansom's Shardlake series

01. Dissolution (2003) 

02. Dark Fire (2004)

03. Sovereign (2006)

04. Revelation (2008)

05. Heartstone (2010)

06. Lamentation (2014)

07. Tombland (2018)


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. The Golden Egg (2013)

23. By Its Cover (2014)

24. Falling in Love (2015)

25. The Waters of Eternal Youth (2016)

26. Earthly Remains (2017)

27. The Temptation of Forgiveness (2018)

28. Unto Us A Son Is Given (2019)


Georges Simenon's Maigret novels

1-27 read prior to 2021

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

45. Maigret and the Dead Girl

46. Maigret and the Minister

47. Maigret and the Headless Corpse

48. Maigret Sets a Trap

49. Maigret's Failure

50. Maigret Enjoys Himself

51. Maigret Travels

52. Maigret's Doubts

53. Maigret and the Reluctant Witnesses

54. Maigret's Secret

55. Maigret in Court

56. Maigret and the Old People

57. Maigret and the Lazy Burglar

58. Maigret and the Good People of Montparnasse

59. Maigret and the Saturday Caller

60. Maigret and the Tramp

61. Maigret's Anger

62. Maigret and the Ghost

63. Maigret Defends Himself

Edited by willoyd

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Some Stats


The Last 10 Years (to end 2020)

Books read - 683 (384 in the past 5 years)

Most books in a year - 84 (2020)

Fewest books in a year - 50 (2011)

Most pages in a year - 23626 (2018)

Most books in a month - 19 (Dec 2011)

Highest average month - 13.7 (December)

Lowest average month - 3.5 (February)

% Fiction / Non-Fiction  - 65 / 35

% Male / Female author - 58 / 42


Star ratings

1 - 27 (3.9%, including 0 rereads)

2 - 56 (8.1%, 0 rereads)

3 - 184 (26.6%, 12 rereads)

4 - 225 (32.3%, 9 rereads)

5 - 133 (19.4%, 15 rereads)

6 - 67 (9.7%, 30 rereads)


2020 figures

Books read - 84 (2019-75)

Most books in a month - 12 (April and December)

Fewest books in a month - 2 (February)

Pages in the year - 22192 (264 average per book)

Most pages - 832 (The Luminaries)

Fewest pages - 66 (Wing)

% Fiction / Non-Fiction  - 51 / 49

% Male / Female author - 63 / 37

% Paper / Electronic - 81 / 18 (1 audiobook this year)

% Owned / Borrowed (inc Library) - 81/ 19


Star ratings

1 - 2 (2.4%, 0 rereads)

2 - 4 (4.7%, 0 rereads)

3 - 17 (20.0%, 0 rereads)

4 - 29 (38.8%, 1 reread)

5 - 26 (25.9%, 1 reread)

6 - 7 (8.2%, 3 rereads)


TBR list

End of...

2017 - 1472

2018 - 1378

2019 - 1331

2020 - 1351

Edited by willoyd

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Big Reads

I've got a long list of books I want to read, many of them pretty chunky, but there are a few which are particularly big, humungous even, usually multi-volumed and thus tend to get put off and put off; generally, they will have a minimum of 800 pages. So a list to keep prodding me.  Will any get read this year??!


Ackroyd, Peter: Dickens and London The Biography

Barker, Juliet: The Brontes

Barzun, Jacques: From Dawn to Decadence

Braudel, Fernand: The Identify of France (2v) and The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World (3v)

Campbell, John: Margaret Thatcher (2v)

Cervantes, Miguel de: Don Quixote

Gibbon, Edward: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (6v)

Evans. Richard: Third Reich trilogy

Fisher, HAL: A History of Europe (3v)

Foote, Shelby: The American Civil War (3v)

Grossman, Vassily: Stalingrad and Life and Fate

Herodotus: The Histories

Hugo, Victor: Les Miserables

Inwood, Stephen: A History of London

Johnson, Paul: Birth of the Modern

Kershaw, Ian Hitler

Lawrence, TE: The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Macauley, Thomas Babington: The History of England (5v)

MacCulloch, Diarmid: A History of Christianity

Mantel, Hilary: Thomas Cromwell trilogy 

Morris, Jan: Pax Britannica trilogy

Muir, Rory: Wellington (2v)

Pepys, Samuel: The Diaries (9v!)

Powell, Anthony: A Dance to the Music of Time (12 books in 4v)

Richie, Alexandra: Faust's Metropolis

Roberts, Andrew: Salisbury, Napoleon the Great and Churchill

Roberts, JM: The History of the World and Twentieth Century

Sassoon, Donald: The Culture of the Europeans

Sugden, John: Nelson (2v)

Sumption, Jonathan:The Hundred Years' War (4v)

Watson, Peter: Ideas A History and A Terrible Beauty

Woolf, Virginia: The Essays, The Letters and The Diaries (6v each)



Edited by willoyd

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Review of 2020, Preview of 2021

I started off my 2019 review with the words 'It was a funny old year'. Little did I know!  If 2019 was a funny old year, then 2020 was completely bonkers - which is probably a fair summary!  It's funny to look back and think that at the time I was writing, things were already brewing in China....


Certainly, my reading was massively affected by the advent of the coronavirus, although not in quite the way that I thought it would.  I read more because of it - that much was to be expected.  Having got the year off to one of my slowest starts in years (just 8 books and 2700 pages in the first 3 months), 2020 landed up with my highest calendar year book total ever (84), and a respectable 22200 pages, on a par with most recent years.  Perhaps rather less expected was that I found myself shying away from the bigger, chunkier tomes that I thought I would enjoy most in lockdown conditions, and wanting to stick to a succession of relatively short, sharp reads.  Whilst in previous years my average page per book count was in the high 200s, even just over 300 on one occasion, this year it dropped to a smidgen under 265. The bulk of the longer books that I did read in the second half of the year were book group reads - and a few of those were skim read just to get through them.


Other trends or features of the year included an almost exact repeat of 2019 in both the quantitative and qualitative balance between fiction and non-fiction: about half-and-half in numbers, but the ongoing 'comeback' of fiction when it came to the accolades.  Comfortable favourite read of the year was Maggie O'Farrell's Hamnet, the only new 6-star read of the year.  What on earth afflicted the Booker judges' minds to leave it of even the long list I have no idea - it beggars belief, and left me disinclined to take any note of what they did go for - we were obviously on a completely different wavelength.  Female writers continued to represent around 40% of my reading, e-books around 20%. What surprised me was that library books dropped from a quarter to a fifth of my reading - I really expected for them to rise. Lockdown didn't prevent me from having a large stack available, but it seems that my own library simply appealed more. That may also tie in with the fact that one in five books since the start of the first lockdown have been rereads, an unusually high proportion.


In terms of my various challenges, last year's words 'some progress was made on most fronts, but in all cases it would be good to have done more' apply again. The pace picked up slightly on my Tour of the USA, with 5 more books read (one more than last year, which was double the previous year), putting me now on 20 of the 51 read.  What the tour is achieving is in finding some great new (at least to me!) writers to read more of: Wendell Berry and Louise Erdrich in particular are two whose writing I want to explore further, just as I have started to do with (for instance) Willa Cather from last year. I also read at least one book from each of my other lists.


Part of the reason for this slowness is probably because of book group commitments.  I joined yet another book group this year, bringing the total to three.  It has proved to be one of the most enjoyable, with a range of books that I've found especially stimulating, even if I haven't necessarily 'enjoyed' specific books - a group of people from whom I have learned much in discussion.  Zoom has been a godsend, with all three groups managing to meet regularly as a result, although one has been touch and go.  Although this may seem like overload, I do really enjoy the opportunity to discuss books I've read with other people, especially given the lack of other social/cultural activities available, and love the variety of viewpoints - meetings where we're all in agreement are the most boring! I also like the variety of reading it encourages me to do, and with 3 books at most per month that usually still leaves time for my own choice of reading.


One other trend this year for me: an increased interest in podcasts. I've been exploring a number of literary podcasts, but have really only come up with one I found particularly satisfying: Slightly Foxed's monthly edition.  Most others are too focused on contemporary fiction for my taste. The one exception has been 'Backlisted', which on paper looks great, but it is at the same time, and rather paradoxically, too laddish and too intense about the books involved, many of which are of absolutely no interest.  I can't find a podcast about nonfiction reading anywhere, yet that represents half of my reading.  I continue to work on that, but thank goodness for Slightly Foxed!


So, what of next year?  In recent years, I've been a bit whiffly about goals, and to some extent it's going to be the same again this year.  Given that I didn't get close to achieving what I set out to do last year, they will almost inevitably echo those I set last year, which in turn echoed previous years!  Maybe I might manage them better this year?  Anyway, here goes:


+ To read more of the books I really want to read to include:

           + To complete my reading of the Dickens novels and to read at least a quarter of the Rougon-Macquart sequence.

           + To make significant inroads into the Tour of the USA

           + To read more natural history

+ To increase the proportion of library books read, aiming for at least 25% (hoping to reduce buying!).


The first sounds a bit vague, but it's actually not - there's an increasing list of books that I've found I really want to read, but never seem to get around to because of other distractions. Most are fairly big reads requiring concentration and time. I need to give both to them, particularly to those on my 'Big Reads' list.  It will also mean that the total number of books will almost inevitably come down so a final challenge:


+ To average more than 300 pages per book, and read at least 24000 pages.


I've tended to avoid putting numbers on goals before, but maybe a change is in order?


Edited by willoyd

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Accolades for 2020


Book of the Year

1.  Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

2.  A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

3.  Island Stories by David Reynolds


Fiction Book of the Year

Winner: Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

Runner-up: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens  



The Plague of Doves by Louise Erdrich

Nathan Coulter by Wendell Berry

All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton


Non-fiction Book of the Year

Winner: Island Stories by David Reynolds

Runner-up:  Home by Julie Myerson



Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere by Jan Morris

A Game of Birds and Wolves by Simon Parkin

The Summer Isles by Philip Marsden


Duffer of the Year

Winner:  Gold by Chris Cleave



The House by Simon Lelic

The One Hundred Year Old Man Who... by Jonas Jonasson


Discovery of the Year

Wendell Berry


Most Disappointing of the Year

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson


Reread of the Year

Mrs Dalloway / The Hours by Virginia Woolf / Michael Cunningham

(the combination is what made it the reread of the year - fascinating)


Edited by willoyd

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Welcome to my reading blog for 2021. This thread is now open!

Edited by willoyd

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I loved seeing your reading statistics and reading your review of 2020, preview of 2021! Happy reading in 2021 :). I hope you'll be able to read some of those big reads requiring a lot of time and concentration.

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I really enjoyed reading your review of 2020 and I wish you a great 2021.

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