Wednesday 18 April 2007

So, I started making a list...

Yup, I started making a list of books I might read over the Summer. And it got looooong. I am going to have two, fairly uninterrupted months in which to relax and catch up on non-uni reading - but the question is, which do I choose? So, you guys are going to help me out, deal?

Here's the shortlist. They're all on my shelf. Let's whittle. Tell me anything I shouldn't bother with, or, as is more likely, ones DEFINITELY not to be missed.

Mrs. Miniver - Jan Struther: heard so much about it, and haven't quite got around to it...

Thrown to the Woolfs - John Lehmann: his experiences working with Leonard Woolf at the Hogarth Press. Apparently doesn't pull any punches.

Saplings - Noel Streatfeild: been so long since I read a Persephone, and this one has been in the pipeline for a year or two

Notes on a Scandal - Zoe Heller: I always feel guilty when I watch a film without having read the book...

Dusty Answer - Rosamund Lehmann: was going to read this with SUCH a long time ago, and never did...

Katherine Mansfield - Claire Tomalin
: love Mansfield, love Tomalin. Can't go wrong, can I?

Love Letters - Leonard Woolf and Trekkie Parsons: the love letters between Leonard and the woman he fell in love with after Virginia's death

Jonathan Norrell and Mr. Strange - Susan Clarke: friend gave it to me, dovegreyreader talked of little else for a month or so...?

We Need To Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver: I am too late on this one? No pun intended.

Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen: don't worry, this would be a re-read - but I miss reading Austen, and would like to squeeze in another look

Random Commentary - Dorothy Whipple: a sort of notebook about the novels this wonderful Persephone author was writing; was so excited when I came across it in a secondhand bookshop on last year's Cornwall holiday

One Pair of Hands - Monica Dickens: started reading the first few pages when I should have been reading Chaucer, and found it irresistible.

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox - Maggie O'Farrell: saw this on dovegreyreader, is it even published yet?

The Time-Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
: another one every else has read; I really should

A Well Full of Leaves - Elizabeth Myers: her letters were my favourite read of last year, so should really delve into the fiction. Something of an outsider, in terms of odds.

The Secret Option...


  1. Hello! Well, I'd love to get my hands on copies of the Dickens, Lehmann, and Whipple. I'm jealous here! I really enjoyed The Time Traveler's Wife and I think you either buy into the story and love it, or don't.

  2. I picked up The Time Travellers Wife in our local FARA Charity Shop yesterday (along with Anil's Ghost by Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient and Accidental by Ali Smith) No where is my RC by Whipple, I must have another look at that.
    Just arted Anil's Ghost before I stepped off the train last night.

  3. I'd love to read the Dorothy Whipple notebook - I didn't know about it, so thanks for the tip. Mrs. Miniver is just wonderful!

  4. Start off with Saplings
    Mrs Miniver is practically a series of vignettes so you can read one a night before you go to sleep
    So that it two down

    The book about Kevin is brilliant but quite shattering so do not read on a sunny day if you want peace of mind

    After this you will want a good giggle so go for the One Pair of Hands which is wonderful

    Jonathan Strange - you need to check the weather forecast and save this up for a wet week so you can dive in and do not emerge until you have finished it

    All the others as and when

    There - problem solved!

  5. Didn't you promise me you'd be reading Lord of the Rings when you'd finished Uni?

  6. Oooh, I'm so jealous of your Whipple!

    Not having read half of these myself, I can't constructively comment. Just a little thought - isn't Jonathan Strange huge? This would help to determine a stay-at-home/read at table/read in bed book.

    As to Colin's comment re LORD OF THE RINGS - get an enthused friend to read it to you (helps to get over the bumpy bits). I read the entire thing to my husband before the movies came out!

  7. Well obviously we all have different opinions but here are mine. I disliked Jonathan Strange intensely -- could not finish it. Time Travellers Wife was OK, ditto Notes on a Scandal. Dusty Answer is a wonderful book as is anything by Lehmann. I'm not mad on Tomalin though I do like Mansfield so would rather read her writings than her biog. The secret option wil be great. I'm just off to my own blog to blog about Sense and Sensibility.

  8. I got sidtracked half-way through Jonathan Strange - went to books and things more interesting. Never got back to it, but I think I might pick it up again soon

    Quit The Time Travellers Wife at about the half point - not interested to continue

    Ruth, if you like Ondaatje, you must try Skin of the Lion

    So, Simon, my first choice on your list would be the secret option. Just off to the library now to pick up One Pair of Hands


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