I read on someone’s blog that you should write down the books you read in order to see the gaps/bias in your reading. I’ve kept a list of books from 1993, but have never used it for that. My reading is directed by what people donate to charity shops, what’s on my sister’s shelves (marked S below) and recommendations from friends (marked F below). Because I am inordinately lazy, please let me know what glaring omissions I’m making in my reading and I’ll try and pull some in in 2017/18. 
Skip to the end for my book of the year, but in chronological order, the books I’ve read this year are: 

June

Wolf Hall Hilary Mantel (S)

The Stories of English David Crystal

July

The Periodic Table Primo Levy (F)

The Red House Mark Haddon

The Last Shot Hugo Hamilton

Happy To Be Here Garrison Keillor

August

Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel

Walden and Other Writings Henry David Thoreau

September

How the Dead Live Will Self

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase Joan Aiken

Bastard Out of Carolina Dorothy Allison

The Taxidermist’s Daughter Kate Mosse

The Birds and Other Stories Daphne Du Maurier

One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez

October

The Second Book of Modern Women’s Short Stories

The Summer Before the Dark Doris Lessing

The Girl on the Train Paula Hawkins (F)

November

The Innocents Abroad Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain

December

The Life of Charlotte Bronte Elizabeth Gaskell

The Norfolk Mystery Ian Sansom

The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories H.P. Lovecraft

We Have Always Lived in the Castle Shirley Jackson (S)

January

Ways of Seeing John Berger

The Siege of Krishnapur J.G. Farrell (S)

A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole

Journey by Moonlight Antal Szerb

February

A Sicilain Romance Ann Radcliffe

So Many Ways to Begin Jon McGregor

Joan Eardley A Sense of Place

The Blithedale Romance Nathaniel Hawthorne

Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt John Cooper Clarke

March

My Life as a Fake Peter Carey

A Fine Balance Rohinton Mistry

We Should All Be Feminists Chinamanda Ngozi Adiche (F)

April

Jamaica Inn Daphne Du Maurier

Father and Son Edmund Gosse

Carhedral Raymond Carver

Everyday Use Alice Walker

Midnight and I’m Not Famous Yet Barry Hannah

The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame

Injury Time Beryl Bainbridge

The Life you save may be your own and Good country people Flannery O’Connor

Peter Abelard Helen Waddell

The Haunted House and other Stories Wilkie Collins

May

Homegoing Yaa Gyasi (F)

Navajo Night Chant, Chippewa Songs, Ghost Dance Songs

Impressions of an Indian Childhood Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, Zitkala Sa

Book of the year 2016/17
I knew from the moment I started reading it, it was going to be Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantell, but then it wasn’t, it was A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

2017/18 has started with The Mabinogion

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(picture theme – the weather. Inspired by https://bookreveries.com/2016/05/15/words-the-amount-and-the-impact/)

Forty-four books were read in total.

Traipsed to the library for a couple:
Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson
A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, Samuel Johnson

Two were recommended:
The Black House, Peter May (Boo)
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver (Yay)

Some non-fiction snuck in there:
Into the Crocodile Nest, Benedict Allen
Deserted Villages, T Rowley and J Wood

There’s always room for favourites: Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell
The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler
Little Black Book of Stories, A S Byatt The Honourable Schoolboy, John Le Carre

But, it was a close run in for first place. Running a very close second was Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie, but ducking its head to cross the finish line, after sitting on my bookshelf for years, a non fiction of all things, the 2015/16 book of the year is:

The Children of Sanchez, Oscar Lewis

16/17 has started with Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel and I can’t get this not to be in italics!

The full list:
June
Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides with Samuel Johnson
Lazy Tour of Two Idle Apprentices, Wilkie Collins and Charles Dickens
A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland, Samuel Johnson
July
Sidetracked, Henning Mankell
Girlfriend in a Coma, Douglas Coupland
Night Listener, Armistead Maupin
Master Georgie, Bertl Bainbridge
Started Early, Took my Dog, Kate Atkinson
August
Into the Crocodile Nest, Benedict Allen
Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
September
The Black House, Peter May
Hawksmoor, Peter Ackroyd
The Reader, Bernard Schlink
The History Man, Malcolm Bradbury
Homesickness, Murray Bail
October
Little Black Book of Stories, A.S. Byatt
November
Sybil, Benjamin Disraeli
The Subtle Knife, Phillip Pullman
Mr Norris Changes Trains, Christopher Isherwood
Marianne, George Sand
Catriona, R.L.Stevenson
December
The Honourable Schoolboy, John Le Carre
Beautiful Ruins, Jess Walter
Malgudi Days, R.K. Narayan
Journey’s End, R.C. Sherriff
January
Delta of Venus, Anais Nin
Homage to Catalonia, Georhe Orwell
Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Truman Capote
February
The Children of Sanchez, Oscar Lewis
The Pope’s Wedding, Edward Bond
The Bell, Iris Murdoch
The Doll and Other Short Stories, Daphne du Maurier
March
Tipping the Velvet, Sarah Waters
The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Mrs Miniver, Jan Struther
Demian, Hermann Hesse
April
Deserted Villages, T. Rowley, J. Wood
Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie
The Lady in the Lake, Raymond Chandler
May
Iris, John Bayley
Timothy ans the Two Witches, Margaret Storey
The Storytellers Two, compiled by Roger Mansfield
Selected Prose and Poetry, Edward Thomas
The Little Disturbances of Man, Grace Paley

20150607-200128.jpg
Slim pickings this year with only 35 books read. It began with The Book of Flights by JMG Clezio which I can no longer remember, and finished with Red Dust Road by Jackie Kay.

There was:
something local – If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things – Jon McGregor – July
something stomach churning Death in Midsummer and Other Stories – Yukio Mishima – January
something historical Warlords and Holymen: Scotland AD80-1000 – AP Smyth – May
something archaic Love Lies Bleeding – Edmund Crispin – April
something shared Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman – May
something funny Summer Lightning – PG Wodehouse – July

Recommendations came from:
Wordpress – Wittgenstein’s Nephew -Thomas Bernhardt – August https://tomsimard.wordpress.com/
Twitter – The Mezzanine – Nicholson Baker – March
Friends –The Guest Cat – Takashi Hiraide – March

High point:
Collected Stories of John Cheever – January

Low point:
Atonement – Ian McEwan – June

Book of the year 2014/15:

The Children’s Book – AS Byatt – September

2015/16 has kicked off with
Boswell’s Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides 1773 edited by Frederick A Pottle and Charles H Bennett and The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman

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If you were here last year, you’ll know it all kicked off with Threepenny Novel by Bertolt Brecht. It finished with The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. Forty-nine books in all (down on last year), here are the highlights:

The Book of Dave by Will Self in July
The Oxford Book of Japanese Short Stories in August (The Accordion and the Fish Town Hayashi Fumiko and Night Fires Shiga Naoya)
Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xialong in September
What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn December
Pepita by Vita Sackville-West January
Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates January

A lowlight;The Accidental by Ali Smith in March

but, Book of the Year 2013/14 is…..

Agent ZigZag by Ben MacIntyre

What a story.

2014/15 has begun with The Book of Flights by J.M.G. Le Clezio

2012-03-08 16.02.20

Dear Lenny,

That Roger do get about don’t he? I remember seeing him coming along Swingy Lane one night as quick as if his arse were on fire. He took that last corner at nigh on twenty miles an hour and were over the handle bars and in the ditch before you could say Lawrence and Potts. He said he were in a rush to get the bike back in the vicarage wood shed before the vicar noticed it were gone. I don’t reckon you were quite right about them there Davids. By my reckoning there were 43 and a half. I expect you were forgetting that Norma’s girl were a David, but was always called Shelly and then there was Diddy Dave which accounts for the half.

I thought I saw Mucky Bob the other day at the car park but it wasn’t him at all it was one of them new bollards they put in to stop the boy racers from practising their three point turns. It didn’t half look like him though. I wonder if they used him as a model for it. You know like they used Auntie Mary as a model for the backend of buses back in the 20s. She had half price travel for that for nigh on eighteen years right up until that day she got stuck in the door of the once a month market day bus and swore she weren’t going on public transport no more.

Hope you back on your feet a bit more Len. I don’t like to think of you stuck in the house every day especially when there’s been a good frost and fog to get out into. Joan and me walked to the phone box and back yesterday. It were nice to get into the great outdoors and see them at number 13 trying to get their cat down off the flat roof again. We stood and laughed at them for a good 20 minutes and then went back home for a cup of tea and a slice of Battenberg. That’s the only foreign grub you’ll catch me eating and like Joan said he weren’t wholly foreign because he were a cousin of the Queen. He was the one who were friendly with Mr Pattern and told him about how he gave away India and that was what gave him the idea about giving away King Kong. You couldn’t expect the Queen to house an ape like that – not at her age.

Yours Wally

2012-02-14 15.09.22

Dear Lenny,

So much water has passed down the outside privy since we had a proper marddle so I were right pleased to get your letter. Tom – the post – Matthews shoved it through the letterbox along with my parish mag and another of them blooming letters about saving some leopard stuck up a tree in the rainforest. I’d have thought they’d have got the blighter down by now, but it seems not.

There’s some right funny business going on round here. Number 13 have only gone and changed their milk order! They’ve started on that queer stuff called semi-skinned. I know ‘cos Ted – the milk – Matthews told me about it. Time was when folk were happy enough to drink full fat and develop a healthy belly you could rest a cuppa on.

There’s been a bit of an upheaval here at number 11 too. Yes, that’s right, I had to go and get another pair of slippers. The old ones gave up the ghost last Tuesday week after just 15 years of daily wear. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times they just don’t make things to last no more. Joan said I should try some of them moccasins this time, but I put her straight. First it’s moccasins and the next it’s pizza or some other such rubbish for tea. What’s wrong with folks today is that they always want some foreign muck or other. Stick to our muck – that’s what I say. Who wants a meal that’s made out of some blooming tower that’s falling over? It’s food like that what gives people the dropsy, makes them all on the h and then where are you? It’s like that bloke Nippy who were with Lawrence and Potts. He ate a stick of spaghetti and were never right after that. You must have known him, he had a hat on and were always wearing them trousers.

Well Joan says the telly aerial needs a bit of a wiggle before the news so I’m off to the attic for a bit to see what I can do.
Yours Wally

2012-03-19 17.47.40

I’ve inherited a pile of old Haynes Ford Manuals. Here’s the first 2 letters I found in the Ford Granada one (not dated).

Dear Wally,

Maureen suggested I start writing to you after the uproar of the summer. I said I wouldn’t know what to write, but she said there’s always something happening in the family or the village. I have to agree with her there. Can’t quite believe you’re no longer my neighbour after all these years. These Greens think car sharing has just been invented. As I told Michael, me and Wal have been sharing a newspaper, cat, seed potatoes and a rotovator for nigh on 45 yrs.

I’m up and about now though Mary’s girls fetch me my shopping. I had a stroll to the Happy Shopper this morning for a few essentials before Thursday – six fruit scones and two tins of carnation milk. Hope to make it to the Sunday Market this week. I’ve run out of disposable lighters.

I know this is a short first letter Wal, but a blue Rover has just pulled up outside Minnie’s and I will need to get closer to the window for a better look.

Best regards
Lenny

Dear Wally,

The Rover was Minnie’s District Nurse in her brother’s car. Buxom girl, has travelled much in Lincoln. Maureen’s just left with her Hayley, brought me a pork cheese and keyring torch. Was happy with the cheese didn’t like to say I already had a torch, but had to. Made clear I would have been happier with disposable lighters.

Sandra’s grand twins have arrived. Anton and David. Anton I ask you! Do the parents know what happened to Vernon Mace after he and his wife called their second born Anton? Maureen said probably not as it happened nearly 20years ago. She also said that I said he had it coming to him when he started a platonque club at the Vic the summer before. I’ve noticed that woman can be sharp on occasions. Anyway just what we need another David in the family. After 5 minutes we had come up with 42 people in the family called David. Of course I told them that Brock, Dennis, Harold, Sid, Wingy and Quentin were all Davids too. There’s also that terrible mix up on Percy’s part in 1932 when he named his last and sixteenth child David when his second boy was already called it. I said you could tell his grandfather was originally from Besthorpe. They only found out when his oldest daughter came from Cromer when the lad was a year old for his christening. Of course he was know as mucky Bob from then on.

Need to go Wally. Have spied Roger fairly clattering down the road to my door. Will pretend I’m asleep on the settee till he’s moved on to bore some other poor bugger.

Yours
Len

End of the book year

June 1, 2013

Well it all started back in June 2012 with The Longest Journey by E M Forster and finished with The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott and we finally finished the ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ series taking 13 months reading at night. 55 books in all, a record since children came along and including my first e-book Jean DesJardins by fellow blogger Tom Simard (go and read it), but what were the highlights?

A Winter’s Book by Tove Jannson in June
Mr Pye by Mervyn Peake in July
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth Von Arnim in August
The Facts Behind the Helsinki Roccamatios by Yann Martel in October
According to Queeney by Beryl Bainbridge in January

It was also the year I eventually read Rousseau’s Confessions that have been on my shelves for years and fitted in some exercise carrying The Life of Samuel Johnson to work for weeks.

There were, how should I put it? Less than highlights, but I’ll only mention one The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron in September.

Book of the year 2012/3 is ……..

2013-05-31 22.16.36

Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky by Patrick Hamilton

I know it’s 3 books in 1, so if you are forcing me to choose – The Plains of Cement.

The whole trilogy is exquisitely painful.

Right, back to the first book in the 2013/14 year – Threepenny Novel by Bertolt Brecht – started in May, to be finished in June ( May/June counts as next year, you know the rules).

image

I’m reading on the bus, sketching at the photocopier, reading blogs in breaks and giving up housework. Now all I need to do is fall out with everyone so noone ever wants to speak to me again. More suggestions/time welcome.

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Not entirely sure what I ‘should’ be doing anymore, but here’s some books.
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The High Window and Playback by Raymond Chandler and Best
‘Thinking Machine’ Detective Stories by Jacques Futrelle.

Three bargains from the 50p shelves at Scarthin Books. I’ve read ‘the problem of Cell 13’ story by Futrelle and am savouring the knowledge that I have two unread Chandlers on my shelves waiting to be read.

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I finished Hotel Luc by Anita Brookner this weekend, a book I’d forgotten I had bought until I had to empty and then refill all the bookshelves after decorating, and have just started The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht on recommendation (often a gamble).

I’ve also tried to get back to going to the library regularly, primarily to keep pace with children’s avid reading, so Lemony Snickett’s have been through the house, several Horrible Histories and a great book on Heath Robinson, perfect for the child who fills your recycling bin with masses of paper of inventions. Have also had out books on Lucian Freud, Edward Hopper and Turner.

Early on in my blogging career, I was reading Oliver Twist and there was a couple of sentences that really made me chuckle early on. I then couldn’t find it, but I’ve gone back tonight and found it:

“… the young woman burst into another fit of crying, and got so dreadfully hysterical, that a couple of women who came up at the moment asked a butcher’s boy with a shiny head of suet, who was also looking on, whether he didn’t think he had better run for the doctor. To which, the butcher’s boy: who appeared of a lounging, not to say insolent disposition: replied, that he thought not.”

Respect to the Butcher’s boy!

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