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Willoyd's Reading 2017


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Thread Contents
Post number
02.  Book List 2017 - 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 - Ransome, O'Brian
07.  Crime authors focus - Sansom, Leon, Simenon
08.  Classics focus - Dickens, Hardy, Zola, year list
09.  1001 Books To Read Before You Die
10.  English Counties challenge  - completed

11.  US States challenge
12.  Popsugar challenge
13.  LibraryThing challenge
14.  spare
15.   spare
16.  spare
17.  spare
18.  2016 review, 2017 preview

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Book List 2017

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

01.  The Awakening of Miss Prim by Natalia Sanmartin Fenollera (Jan 3) **
02.  The Invisible Woman by Claire Tomalin (Jan 15) L *****
03.  The Flemish House by Georges Simenon (Jan 17) ****
04.  How to be Danish by Patrick Kingsley (Jan 19) ***
05.  The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Jan 22) R ******
06.  The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (Jan 30) GL ****

07.  Love of Country by Madeleine Bunting (Feb 8) *****
08.  The Madman of Bergerac by Georges Simenon (Feb 28) ****
09.  Lorna Doone by RD Blackmore (Mar 02) E ***
10.  The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler (Mar 05) L ****
11.  The Waiting Time by Gerald Seymour (Mar 09) ***
12.  The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (Mar 12) L ****
13.  Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly (Mar 18) *****
14.  While Flocks Last by Charlie Elder (Mar 22) ***
15.  The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham (Mar 23) **
16.  Soulless by Gail Carriger (Mar 24) ****
17.  The Marble Collector by Cecilia Ahern (Mar 28) G ***
18.  Polly, The True Story Behind Whisky Galore by Roger Hutchinson (Mar 28) ****



19.  Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence (Apr 13) ELT ****

20.  Mallard by Don Hale (Apr 15)  ****

21.  Bird Watching With Your Eyes Closed by Simon Barnes (Apr 17) ***

22.  Tom Brown's Schooldays by Thomas Hughes (Apr 22) EL ***



23.  The Green Road by Anne Enright (May 2) GX **

24.  The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (May 15) ET *****

25.  A Sweet, Wild Note by Richard Smyth (May 20) ****

26.  The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett (May 29) ET *****

27.  Down The River by HE Bates (May 30) *****



28.  The Misty Harbour by Georges Simenon (Jun 1) ****

29.  The Circle by Dave Eggers (Jun 2) GX *

30.  The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (Jun 3) L ****

31.  A Sparrowhawk's Lament by David Cobham (Jun 11) ****

32.  Half in Love by Maile Meloy (Jun 17) ***

33.  To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey (Jun 21) U ******

34.  Footsteps by Katharine McMahon (Jun 24) L ****



35.  Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (Jul 5) LU ***

36.  All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (Jul 7) G **

37.  The Seabird's Cry by Adam Nicolson (Jul 16) ******

38.  Callanish by William Horwood (Jul 18) ***



39.  Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie (Aug 2) ***

40.  Great Northern? by Arthur Ransome (Aug 5) ****

41.  Sea Room by Adam Nicolson (Aug 18) *****

42.  Sightlines by Kathleen Jamie (Aug 19) *****

43.  A Point of View by Lisa Jardine (Aug 21) *****

44.  The Timeless Way by Peter Clarke (Aug 26) ***

45.  More About Paddington by Michael Bond (Aug 26) R ******

46.  The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller (Aug 27) U ****



47.  Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Sep 6) A ***

48.  Clayhanger by Arnold Bennett (Sep 9) G *****

49.  The Sportswriter by Richard Ford (Sep 10) U ****

50.  Liberty Bar by Georges Simenon (Sep 13) ****

51.  The January Man by Christopher Somerville (Sep 23) ****

52.  Letter from New York by Helen Hanff (Sep 23) *****

53.  The Deaths by Mark Lawson (Sep 30) G ***



54.  Reality Is Not What It Seems by Carlo Rovelli (Oct 5) **

55.  Jane's Fame by Claire Harman (Oct 15) *****

56.  Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (Oct 20) ***



57.  The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (Nov 3) G ***

58.  Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (Nov 14) U *****

59.  The Road to Somewhere by David Goodhart (Nov 25) *****

60.  Jacob's Room is Full of Books by Susan Hill (Nov 30) ** 



61.  Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson (Dec 6) GU **** 

62.  The Card by Arnold Bennett (Dec 7) ***

63.  Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont by Elizabeth Taylor (Dec 10) ***

64.  The Fortune of War by Patrick O'Brian (Dec 14) *****

65.  Last Bus to Woodstock by Colin Dexter (Dec 19) ***

66.  Harvest by Jim Crace (Dec 20) G ****

67.  Flood Warning by Paul Berna (Dec 21) R ******

68.  A Maigret Christmas by Georges Simenon (Dec 22) *****

69.  A Christmas Party by Georgette Heyer (Dec 25) ****

70.  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Dec 26) R ******

71.  Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Dec 27) ***

72.  Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome (Dec 30) R ****** 


Not enough read to be listed above:
Two Brothers by Ben Elton (Feb 11) GX *
* Disliked this (a lot!), likely to be unfinished.
** Disappointing, possibly unfinished or skimmed.
*** OK, worth reading, but easily put down.
**** Good, a thoroughly involving and/or entertaining read.
***** Excellent.
****** On my favourites list: something makes this particularly special, even if only personal to me.
A=audiobook, E=English Counties Challenge read, G=Reading group read, L=LibraryThing Challenge 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 117 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 (73)
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

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
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: Bone People

Ivey, Eowyn: To the Bright Edge of the World
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
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 (37)
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

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 (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.

Peter Ackroyd
Jane Austen
JL Carr

Tracy Chevalier
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

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

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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 that's ticked up to three in 2016, but would like to improve on that in 2017. 


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 2017. This might be helped that I've stopped subscribing in 2017, so whilst the odd one may be added, the list won't get that much beyond no. 36 now.


Finally, a new list added this year - 'The Wainwright List'. This is a list of selected short-and long-listed books nominated for the Wainwright Prize.  It's an area of reading I particularly love, and the list is really 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 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; 2017 books 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 

Walking Home by Simon Armitage (2014 S)

Running Free by Richard Askwith (2015 S)

The Moor by William Atkins (2015 S)

Coastlines by Patrick Barkham (2016 L)

Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham (2014 S)

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)

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 S)

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

Raptor by James Lockhart (2016 L)

The Moth Snowstorm by Michael McCarthy (2016 S)

The Old Ways by Robert Macfarlane (2014 S)

Landmarks by Robert Macfarlane (2016 S)

Ramble On by Sinclair McKay (2014 L)

Rising Ground by Philip Marsden (2015 S)

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

The Fish Ladder by Katharine Norbury (2016 S)

Britannia Obscura by Joanne Parker (2015 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
  • Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series

 Books in standard blue are those read in previous years; 2017 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
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; 2017 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 - five year rolling list
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 = 156 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 ****

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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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, bold blue means they've been read in 2017.


Completed: 48/48


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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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.


01. The Keepers of the House - Shirley Ann Grau (Alabama)
02. To The Bright Edge of the World - Eowyn Ivey (Alaska) ******
03. Blood Meridian - Cormac McCarthy (Arizona)
04. The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks - Daniel Harington (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 Colour Purple - Alice Walker (Georgia)
11. Hawaii - James Michener (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. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote (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. The Sportswriter - Richard Ford (New Jersey) ****
31. Red Sky at Morning - Richard Bradford (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. Beloved - Toni Morrison (Ohio)
36. True Grit - Charles Portis (Oklahoma) ****
37. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey (Oregon)
38. Ten North Frederick - John O'Hara (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)
46. Prodigal Summer - Barbara Kingsolver (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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Popsugar Reading Challenge 2017


I've done this challenge for the past couple of years, and really enjoyed it, so am going for it again this year. I'm doing it from December to November.



  • A book recommended by a librarian: The Marble Collector - Cecilia Ahern
  • A book on my TBR list for too long: Whisky Galore - Compton Mackenzie
  • A book of letters: Letter from New York - Helen Hanff
  • An audiobook: Gilead - Marilynne Robinson
  • A book by a person of colour: Hidden Figures - Margot Lee Shetterly
  • A book with a season in the title: Winter Holiday - Arthur Ransome
  • A story within a story: The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • A book with multiple authors
  • An espionage thriller: The Waiting Time - Gerald Seymour
  • A book with a cat on the cover: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
  • A book by a pseudonymous author: The Mill on the Floss - George Eliot
  • A bestseller from a genre I don't normally read: The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell
  • A book by or about a person with a disability: The Pursuit of Victory - Roger Knight
  • A book involving travel: On The Slow Train - Michael Williams
  • A book with a sub-title: How to be Danish - Patrick Kingsley
  • A book published in 2017: A Sweet, Wild Note - Richard Smyth
  • A book involving a mythical creature: The Lady and the Unicorn - Tracy Chevalier
  • A book that never fails to make me smile: More About Paddington - Michael Bond
  • A book about food: Polly, The True Story Behind Whisky Galore - Roger Hutchinson
  • A book with career advice: The Year of Living Danishly - Helen Russell
  • A book from a non-human perspective: Callanish - William Horwood
  • A steampunk novel: Soulless - Gail Carriger
  • A book with a red spine: Clayhanger - Arnold Bennett
  • A book set in the wilderness: To the Bright Edge of the World - Eowyn Ivey
  • A book I loved as a child: Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
  • A book by an author from a country never visited: The Amateur Marriage - Anne Tyler
  • A book with a title that's a character's name: Lorna Doone - RD Blackmore
  • A novel set during wartime: The Old Wives' Tale - Arnold Bennett
  • A book with an unreliable narrator: The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes
  • A book with pictures: Love of Country - Madeleine Bunting
  • A book with a main character of different ethnicity: Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson
  • A book about an interesting woman: Jane's Fame - Claire Harman
  • A book set in two different time periods: Footsteps - Katharine McMahon
  • A book with a month in the title: The January Man - Christopher Somerville
  • A book set in a hotel: Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont - Elizabeth Taylor
  • A book written by someone I admire: A Point of View - Lisa Jardine
  • A book becoming a movie in 2017: The Circle - Dave Eggers
  • A book set around a non-Christmas holiday: Great Northern?- Arthur Ransome
  • The first book in a series not read before: The Crime at Black Dudley - Margery Allingham
  • A book bought on a trip: The Timeless Way - Peter Clarke
  • A book recommended by an author I love: Winesburg, Ohio - Sherwood Anderson
  • A bestseller from 2016: The Outrun - Amy Liptrot
  • A book with a family member term in the title: Sons and Lovers - DH Lawrence
  • A book that takes place over a character's lifespan: The Invisible Woman - Claire Tomalin
  • A book about an immigrant or refugee: The Bridges of Madison County - Robert James Fuller
  • A book from a genre I've never heard of:  The Card - Arnold Bennett
  • A book with an eccentric character: The Prisoner of Heaven - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • A book with more than 800 pages: I Am Pilgrim- Terry Hayes
  • A book from a used book sale: While Flocks Last - Charlie Elder
  • A book mentioned in another book: Tom Brown's Schooldays - Thomas Hughes
  • A book about a difficult topic: Reality Is Not What It Seems - Carlo Rovelli
  • A book based on mythology: Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier


Edited by willoyd
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LibraryThing reading challenge


This is a challenge I've been doing for the past few years on another book forum. Those who take part challenge each other with an unread book from the challenged's LibraryThing catalogue. I've extended it slightly recently by including not just the books I've been challenged with, but those which I've challenged others with.

It's a challenge that's really fun, but I (and most others!) haven't been too successful: I've had books left over at the end of every year bar one. But, and it's a big but, it has stimulated me to read books that would have otherwise lingered unread on my shelves. As that's the point of the challenge, it has, actually, been very successful.

The list below contains this year's books, plust the outstanding books from previous years, which I'm determined to whittle down! Before this year I had read 84/113 challenge books.


Read to date

2017 challenge: 7/12

outstanding challenges: 4/29


2017 challenge

01. The Lady and the Unicorn - Tracy Chevalier

02. Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier

03. Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson

04. The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd

05. The Invisible Ones - Stef Penney

06. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

07. The Keepers of the House - Shirley Ann Grau

08. Footsteps - Katherine McMahon

09. The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell

10. My Antonia by Willa Cather

11. The Old Wives' Tale by Arnold Bennett

12. The Sportswriter - Richard Ford


Outstanding challenges from previous years (2009 onwards)

01. The Prisoner of Heaven - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

02. Winter in Madrid - CJ Sansom

03. The Man of Property - John Galsworthy

04. The Six Wives of Henry VIII - Antonia Fraser

05. The Amateur Marriage - Anne Tyler

06. Old Glory - Jonathan Raban

07. House of Silk - Anthony Horowitz

08. The Shadow of the Silk Road - Colin Thubron

09. Rebels and Traitors - Lindsey Davis

10. Blonde - Joyce Carol Oates

11. The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton - Jane Smiley

12. Blood and Beauty - Sarah Dunant

13. Sons and Lovers - DH Lawrence

14. Dark Fire - CJ Sansom

15. Sacred Games - Vikram Chandra

16. Can You Forgive Her? - Anthony Trollope

17. 11.23.63 - Stephen King

18. The Age of Innocence - Edith Wharton

19. Paradise Lost - John Milton

20. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller

21. The House of Spirits - Isabel Allende

22. The Siege of Krishnapur - JG Farrell

23. The Mitford Girls - Mary Lovell

24. English Music - Peter Ackroyd

25. Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes

26. The Lodger - Charles Nicholl

27. Wildwood - Roger Deakin

28. The Last Witchfinder - James Morrow

29. The Invisible Woman - Claire Tomalin



Edited by willoyd
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Review of 2016, Looking Forward to 2017

On a personal level, 2016 was a pretty horrible year in many ways, but it did have a few redeeming features, one of which was the reading - a sane pool of calm in an insane world!  Two things stood out this year: first was the simple number, eighty books and 22000 pages (22564 to be a bit more precise), both being new year-end highs, comfortably in front of last year's 70 volumes.  The other was the fact that the top three books of the year were all non-fiction, even though the leading fiction book would have certainly been good enough to win in some previous years.  One of my aims in 2016 was to read more non-fiction, and whilst there's still room for improvement (31% is good, but not the best to date), the year was certainly a step in the right direction.


 At the other end of the scale, the duffer of the year was almost inevitable, given that it was a book group selection of an author I already knew I didn't like (really didn't like!), whilst the biggest disappointment was the fact that both the Hilary Mantel books garnered only 2 stars each - this an author who wrote one of my favourite dozen or so books of all time.  I obviously need to be more selective with her!


Whilst whim remained the primary motive for choosing books to read, a number of challenges also guided that choice.  In particular, it was good to make such progress with the English Counties Challenge, a list that has both thrown up some enjoyable discoveries, not least John Wyndham's novels, and also encouraged some particularly joyful reunions, Emma in particular standing out as the rediscovery of the year. Another new discovery of note, even if not because of the Counties list, was Elizabeth Taylor, both of whose books I read landing up on the fiction shortlist (see below).


With just five to go on the counties list, 2017 may well see focus shifting later this year on to the US States Challenge, one I'm really looking forward to.  Having enjoyed (and completed) the Popsugar challenge for the past two years, I'm going to give that a go again as well - it certainly helps inject some variety into my reading, with mixed but enjoyable results!  These have, however, meant that some of my other 2016 ambitions weren't achieved.  For instance, there was no progress on any of the focus classic authors (Dickens, Hardy, Zola), although the aimed-for 6 classics was reached, nor on O'Brian or the Slightly Foxed Editions, whilst the Simenons slipped off the pace slightly.  I was, however, glad to notch up an increased number of doorstoppers (still not enough though).


So, for 2017, I'm not overly bothered about overall numbers (I've said that for several years now, and the figure stills keep going up!), but would like to complete the English Counties and Popsugar challenges, and make inroads into both the US States and the focus lists.  Above all, though, I want to get my TBR list down.  I've set up a list above of the books acquired over the past 2 years that have been unread, with books acquired in 2017 to be added.  The aim is to reduce the starting number siginficantly, the main rule being that I can't add a book to the list until I've read at least one (preferably more!) to offset it.  I also intend to use our library far more this year.


Hopefully, all this is achievable, especially given that I intend at the very least to reduce my work hours by the end of the academic year.  I had already discussed this with my headteacher, but if there were any doubts in my mind, the final book of the year put a stop to them, and I am more determined than ever to make it happen.  2017 could be the most interesting 12 months for some years.  I hope so!


2016 Accolades


Non-fiction and Overall Book of the Year

The House by the Lake by Thomas Harding


Non-fiction and Overall runner-up

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot


Non-fiction and Overall third

Germany, Memories of a Nation by Neil Macgregor


Rest of the non-fiction shortlist

Landskipping by Anna Pavord

The Running Hare by John Lewis-Stempel

The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell *


Fiction book of the year

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry


Fiction runner-up

Howards End by EM Forster


Rest of the fiction shortlist

Blaming by Elizabeth Taylor

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Landfalls by Naomi Williams

The Soul of Kindness by Elizabeth Taylor


Reread of the Year

Emma by Jane Austen


Reread runner-up

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome


Duffer of the Year

Us by David Nicholls


Rest of the Duffer shortlist

A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman

Exotic England by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

The Stars Look Down by AJ Cronin

Mystery in White by J Jefferson Farjeon


* perhaps more for the impact it had on my thinking than as a book in its own right.


Edited by willoyd
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Have a great reading year in 2017, Willoyd. You are on the homestretch with the English Counties Challenge! :boogie:


A couple of books on your TBR pile that I have enjoyed are:


The Mangle Street Murders - M R C Kasasian (though sadly, I think it went downhill after the second book)

The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd


It looks like you have a very wide variety of books waiting to be read. I have just bought Sapiens (Yuval Harari) and hopefully will read it in the early part of the year. :smile:

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Happy 2017! I loosely intend to finish the English Counties list this year - although I am a lot further behind than you! But it also stems from a desire to look at the US states list more closely. Some crackers hopefully await on both lists. Will look forward to comparing thoughts. 


Hope you have an excellent reading year.

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I love your index in post #1 - very organised.  


Looking forward to following your progress, especially in regards to Dickens, Hardy and the English Counties challenge.


I hope you have a good reading year this year.  :)

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