Tuesday 9 December 2008

Must-Read-Very-Soon pile

As promised, the Must-Read-Very-Soon pile in its entirety - brace yourself, there are quite a few (hence yes, Mel, I did mean 2009!) but they're all books which elevate themselves out of the 'to be read' pile into a state of reading urgency. Having said that, most of them have been there for four months already... I'll read this post in December 2009 and let you know how many have been read.

Let's look at the big shelf in closer detail, left to right... if anything sparks your interest or - even better - if you've read them, do comment.

The Paris Review Interviews vol.1 and vol.2
- these have been mentioned on Stuck-in-a-Book before, and I've read bits and pieces. Interviews with the Great and the Good of literature - in depth, insightful, invaluable. And the third volume is out...

Beyond Sing The Woods by Trygve Gulbranssen
- in my sporadic, but heartfelt, interest in Scandinavian literature, I bought this novel after seeing it mentioned in the comments on Danielle's blog.

Winnie the Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner and When We Were Very Young by AA Milne
- I haven't read these for six or seven years, and that must be rectified soon. Plus, the rather beautiful copy of WWWVY was given to me by my dear friend Mel.

London 1945: Life in the Debris of War by Maureen Waller
- I've not read much about *just* postwar, either fact or fiction, and this came recommended by several Persephone Books lovers - so can't go far wrong.

The Haunted Bookshop
and Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
- These came from Danielle in exchange for Miss Hargreaves... and they're still not read by me. BUT they're on the priority shelf, so watch this space...

A House of Air
by Penelope Fitzgerald
As championed by Lynne 'dovegreyreader' Hatwell, a collection of Fitzgerald's reviews and introductions and essays etc. etc. Started a while ago, but it's been sidelined to this shelf until I'm in a Fitzgerald mood.

The Feminine Middlebrow Novel by Nicola Humble
- This invaluable guide to everything middlebrow I have read, but think I should re-read before I start my dissertation. More on it here.

They Came Like Swallows by William Maxwell
- Cornflower Book Group choice ages ago, sounded brilliant, Karen very sweetly sent me a copy... I will read it soon! Pop over to the Cornflower Book Group and see what was said about it then.

A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft
- I started this after reading Janet Todd's rather wonderful biography of Mary's daughter Fanny, and the whole Wollstonecraft/Shelley clan... found Vindication a little dry, but intend to persevere.

The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton
- The aforementioned Mel lent this to me in September...

A Man Like Any Other by Mary Cavanagh
- I reviewed Mary's debut novel The Crowded Bed, and she subsequently became a friend whom I've seen quite a few times, as she's an Oxfordshire writer. This one is definitely a must read, and is probably no.1 priority on the Must Read shelf.

by Jan Morris
- Our Vicar gave me this when I went to university... I will read it soon, I will! Now that I'm not an undergraduate, I'm starting to get tourists'-curiosity...

Can Any Mother Help Me?
by Jenna Bailey
-In 1935 a lonely young mother wrote to Nursery World asking for advice on how to occupy her literate and lively mind without costing money. She struck a chord; a group started a private magazine. This non-fiction book is all about that - utterly irresistible.

Slave of Christ
by Murray J. Harris
-Always a theological book or twelve waiting in the offing, and the idea of being a slave of Christ is one I want to explore and investigate.
The next one is my dovegreybooks postal book, so don't look too closely if you're in that group.... in fact, I won't even mention it. Squint, and move onto the next one.

The Provincial Lady
by E. M. Delafield
-Yes, of course I've read these four books - it's in the 50 Books... - but they're always due a re-read.

The Haunted Woman
by David Lindsay
-Same applies...

I Follow But Myself
by Frank Baker
-the autobiography of the man behind Miss Hargreaves - more precisely, a book of character sketches of important people in his life. Includes Edward Garnett - Virginia Woolf's sister's daughter's husband's father!

by Sol T. Plaatje
-Just read this South African novel, actually, for my Empire & Nation class; I'll be posting it back to Nichola soon, who kindly lent it to me.

Mrs. Woolf and the Servants
by Alison Light
-My friend Clare gave me this as a leaving present from the Bodleian, and it's absolutely perfect for me, of course. Soon, soon...

Fugitive Pieces
by Anne Michaels
-I'd never heard of this, but my book group friend Louie was absolutely certain that I'd love the novel, and it all looks very promising!

Gosh. See the challenge I have ahead of me? Certainly not put off my books - just writing this has made me want to read every single one of them. But I must write my extended essay... I must. Oh dear, I'm slipping already...


  1. Fugitive Pieces is one of my favorites, I re-read it earlier this year and enjoyed it even more than the first time. I must re-read The Diary of a Provincial Lady too, thanks for the reminder.


  2. The man who was Thursday- one of my top ten favorites.

    Mrs. Woolf and the servants- fantastic.

    You will have to let us know how Life in the Debris of war goes- sounds interesting!

  3. Believe it or not, I haven't read any of these. Guess I have some reading to do! All of them sound interesting by the way.

    ~Paulina of Once Upon A Book

  4. The only ones I've even HEARD of from that list are the ones by A.A. Milne!

  5. I recently read Can Any Mother Help Me? and loved it. If you like books about how life *really* was for people, this is for you.

  6. Very tempting pile you got there indeed. Wasn't familiar with many of them.

  7. In my *totally* unbiased opinion, you should *definitely* read 'Mrs Woolf and the Servants' first ;-) (And while you're reading that you can lend me Jan Morris' 'Oxford'!!)


  8. I am currently reading Fugitive Pieces after it was strongly recommended to me, but I have mixed feelings so far. Some of the others sound interesting.

  9. it's a thumb up for Fugitive Pieces from me as well

  10. The only one of those I've read is The Man Who Was Thursday. I'd never read any Chesterton before, and didn't really know what to expect. I *loved* it, and was surprised at how funny it was. I recommend The Club of Queer Trades too.

  11. I promptly logged on to our library's website and found that we own London 1945 so I've placed a hold. Another read now for MY list!

  12. Sounds like some good books here !

  13. I've made a couple of 'will read in 2009' lists myself, though my books are all over the place. Maybe I would be more apt to read the ones I set out for myself if I, well, set them out! It's too easy to be distracted when they are mixed in the TBR piles. don't feel bad about the Morley books--I still need to read Miss Hargreaves, though she does sit on my book stack next to my bed. Definitely next year!! And by chance just today I bought Winnie the Pooh for my niece for Christmas. I think I'll wait to wrap it and reread it myself first! :)

  14. Hi Simon. Would you tell us more about your dissertation? I'm always interesting in 'middlebrow' novels and it's sometimes difficult to defent them in academia!

  15. I meant defend not defent, darn it!!


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