Books Read from TBR pile in Q1 2017

At the end of last year I decided to seriously tackle the physical pile of books that I had at home. Some books, such as The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa or The Spire by Wiliam Golding I had been meaning to read for years. These days I also have many similar books on my kindle and then there are many that I have wanted to read for years but don’t actually own. Well, this all sounds familiar to anyone that enjoys reading so I wont bang on about it but I felt it was time to actually do something about it. At the end of my first post of 2017 I included a photo of (most of) the physical books that I currently have at home (I started to discover more after I had taken the photo) and so I thought I’d just have a quick update on my progress. Although I started on this in December last year because I joined the GoodReads Group – Mount TBR 2017 challenge I will only include those books read in 2017. For the record I read Collette’s The Pure and the Impure and Theodor Storm’s Paul the Puppeteer in December which are missing from this list. Anyway here’s a list and photo of those read in the first quarter of 2017:

1. The Immoralist by André Gide
2. Betrayal by Marquis de Sade
3. The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa.
4. 88 More Stories by Guy de Maupassant
5. Something to Declare by Julian Barnes
6. Three Plays by August Strindberg
7. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
8. Late Fame by Arthur Schnitzler
9. Vienna 1900: Games With Love And Death by Arthur Schnitzler
10. Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill
11. Don’t Know Much about History: Everything You Need to Know about American History But Never Learned by Kenneth C. Davis

Physical books read from TBR pile in first quarter of 2017

The pile on the left hand side are those I’m currently reading; the Nigel Slater book is one I’m just going to read as the year progresses as it’s in a diary format. Since taking the photo I have also started reading Angela Carter’s Nights at the Circus which I’m enjoying and is from the TBR pile. I have committed to read twenty-four books in the GoodReads group but at this rate I could probably read near forty by the end of the year. But this is one of the issues I have with setting a number on the books I’m going to read, and is why I usually avoid doing so, and that is that the temptation is to concentrate on shorter and/or easier books just to get the numbers up. You can see from the photograph that I have largely concentrated on shorter volumes so far so I’ve probably been a bit guilty of that myself.

My reading in March has been disrupted by an illness followed by an A&E visit which wasn’t much fun and which I’m still partially recovering from. But the book I was reading when I fell ill was Susan Hill’s Howards End is on the Landing, a book that I first read about on someone’s blog a year or so ago, and one that I felt I just had to read during this challenge as it is supposedly about Susan Hill’s attempt to read only books that she already owns. Although it was an interesting enough read I thought she veered off most of the time to just talk about the books she owned and the famous authors that she’d bumped into throughout her life. The blurb on the back says that she was to ’embark on a year-long voyage through her books, in order to get to know her own collection again.’ I took that to mean that she was doing what I was doing and reading books from her collection but what she is doing is rummaging through her collection to see what she has and what memories it evokes. This is why I initially found the list at the end of the book a bit confusing as it is not a list of the books that she read throughout the year but are those she would take with her on a desert island—strangely enough most of them are British authors with the occasional American thrown in for good measure; the only translated books were The Bible, The Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. Now, I’m not critical of the choice, just surprised as my list (if it existed) would have a lot of French, German, Russian etc. authors.

It’s probably not worth me trying to predict the ones that I will read in the rest of the year as I usually have to go with what I feel like at that moment but I would like to finally read The Spire and I would like to continue my reading of the Clochemerle books by Gabriel Chevallier. I also have more H.E. Bates books to read and I keep picking up, but not starting, Perec’s Life: A User’s Manual.

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13 Comments

Filed under Fiction, Hill, Susan, Non-fiction

13 responses to “Books Read from TBR pile in Q1 2017

  1. Please, please read The Spire! One of my favourite books. I read it several years ago with the Guardian Reading Group and had the thrill of being able to ask Golding’s daughter a question at the end of the month. It’s a stunning example of the use of a limited third person narrative to bring the reader into a crumbling mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great idea to read The Kitchen Diaries throughout the year. I did something similar a few years ago, working my way through a section each month, trying some of the recipes in the process. It still remains one of my favourite books about food.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jonathan

      It’s quite interesting reading it this way as Slater is very congenial. I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet but I’ve marked out a couple. Slater’s ‘Real Fast Food’ has been a favourite of mine for years.
      I find it a bit odd that in the text Slater describes the book as a sort of working book, i.e. one to keep in the kitchen and not to worry about getting food over etc. but the book is thick, heavy, on expensive paper and the photos are like works of art; none of which make it easy to use as a working book.

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  3. Well done, and do please try the Perec again – it’s wonderful, one of my desert island books!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Well done, Jonathan:)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not at all bad, I confess I’m quite impressed. I am trying to do something similar myself, but am not as disciplined. I do like Nigel Slater and his recipes as well (Real Fast Food was the first recipe book I ever owned when I came to the UK), but haven’t read those diaries. I too think The Spire is rather wonderful, although it has been a while since I read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan

      I’m not a great book buyer as I use the library and these days get books on my kindle. It was just that I was starting to run out of room and I had stacks of books to read but I never seemed to read them. Hopefully it will continue as the year progresses. If I don’t read the The Spire this year then I shall have to kick myself very hard.

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  6. Vishy

    So wonderful that you are reading the books from your shelf, Jonathan! Glad to know that you finally read The Leopard. It is a book I hope to read one of these days. It was interesting to know about Susan Hill’s book. It looks like she wanted to write a bookish memoir and just wrote what she wanted. Easy to look at one’s book collection and write what one wants rather than reading the actual book and writing about them 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jonathan

      Thanks Vishy. I think that Susan Hill was writing about the books she owned and I thought she was going to be reading the books she owned as I am doing. It was a pleasant enough read but nothing special.

      I fdidn’t get round to posting about ‘The Leopard’ but I’m tempted to read it again this year as I think I rushed it a bit and it would probably stand a second reading well.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vishy

        I hope you enjoy reading The Leopard again, Jonathan. If I get to it by that time, maybe we can compare notes. Sorry to know that you were not feeling well last month. Hope you are feeling better now.

        Liked by 1 person

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