Tuesday, 2 February 2010

January Reading

I've resolved to keep better track of my reading this year; I've been using a notebook to record it all in since 2003, but it is very difficult to track back what I have read by a particular author. I've been making a hasty transcription of years 2003-2008 (title and author surname), and a better one for 2009 (which I might post in due course if anyone is interested), and a proper one for 2010 showing whether the book was a re-read (RR), a Persephone (P), a Virago Modern Classic (VMC), an autobiography (AB), a biography (B), non fiction (NF), or a children's book. I'm also going to star my stand-out reads on a monthly basis.

People often wonder how I manage to read so much - well I should point out that I often read recipe books and children's books which don't take so much reading. I read at lunch, coffee and teatime, as well as in the evening and before I go to sleep. Having started a new job, I have been too tired to do much more than lie on the sofa with a book in the evenings!

So, here are the January "statistics", in order that I read them. My standout books for this month were Saplings (Noel Streatfield, a re-read), Brooklyn (Colm Toibin), Not so quiet
(Helen Zennor Smith), The pastor's wife (Elizabeth von Arnim), The happy foreigner (Enid Bagnold (review on VVV to come next month) and Minnie's room (Mollie Panter-Downes).

In February, I'm looking forward to reading some more Elizabeth von Arnim, re-reading some of Lorna Hill's children's books (more on that soon), and starting my 2010 Cornish Cornucopia in earnest.

Man in the picture Hill, Susan
Smile Please Rhys, Jean AB
The runaway Hart, Elizabeth P
Samantha Smyth Cavendish, Lucy
More to life than this Matthews, Carole
Saplings Streatfeild, Noel P, RR *
Misses Mallet Young, E.H. VMC
Gut Symmetries Winterson, Jeanette
On Roads Moran, Joe NF
Last year of being married Tucker, Sarah
Brooklyn Toibin, Colm *
Trust Flanagan, Mary
Daphne Du Maurier Country Shallcross, Martyn NF
Laurie and Claire Rowntree, Kathleen
Land of Green Ginger Holtby, Winifred VMC
True Deciever Jonsson, Tove
Eunice Fleet Tobias, Lily
The closed door and other stories Whipple, Dorothy P *
Stress family Robinson Plass, Adrian
Country Housewife's book Yates, Lucy P
Good evening Mrs Craven Panter-Downes, Mollie P
The shuttle Burnett, Frances Hodgeson P
Accidental marathon Hawking, Laura
My Antonia Cather, Willa VMC
The ghostly lover Hardwick, Elizabeth VMC
The tennis party Wickham, Madeleine
Not so quiet Zennor Smith, Helen VMC *
Good food on the aga Heath, Ambrose P
The pastor's wife Arnim, Elizabeth von VMC *
Dancing backwards Vickers, Salley
No great place Webb, Mary VMC
Tea with Mr Rochester Towers, Francis P
Rosettes for Jill Ferguson, Ruby C
The golden spur Powell, Dawn VMC
Plan B Barr, Emily
The Beth book Grand, Sarah VMC
When good friends go bad Campbell, Ellie
Blue skies Hodgman, Helen
Letty fox : her luck Stead, Christina VMC
Bradshaw variations Cusk, Rachel
Miss Chopsticks Xinran
Four frightened people Robinson, E. Arnot VMC
The south Toibin, Colm
The other family Trollope, Joanna
Peyton place Metalious, Grace VMC
Undercover mother Thompson, Erin
The happy foreigner Bagnold, Enid VMC *
The sheltered life Glasgow, Ellen VMC
Flush Woolf, Virginia P
Snoop: what your stuff says about you Gosling, Sam NF
Minnie's Room Panter-Downes, Mollie P *
Aleta Day Beynon, Francis VMC
Confessions of a reluctant recessionista Silver, Amy
Kate and the mystery pony Fielding, Kate C
Stone angel Laurence, Margaret VMC *
Time of secrets Pagnol, Marcel AB
Time of love Pagnol, Marcel AB
Tom tackles the Chalet School EBD C RR
A woman's place Adams, Ruth NF P
The curate's wife Young, E.H. VMC
The thinking reed West, Rebecca VMC
The thinking reed Llewellyn, Julia
Daughter of earth Smedley, Agnes VMC
Captivated Dudgeon, Piers B
We have always lived in the castle Jackson, Shirley
Jest of god Laurence, Margaret VMC
This charming man Keyes, Marian


  1. You've missed off The Passion of New Eve...

    I will never cease being amazed by how much you manage to read a year; a month in some respects makes me feel worse as another month or so like that and you will have read more than I did last year! It's quality over quantity though and there are some good books on that list.

    I make similar abbreviations in my notebook for Viragoes; Persephones; Non Fiction; rereads; in translation (usually I'll write language of origin).

    I'm looking forward to reading your future posts on Lorna Hill; I have such warm memories of her books.

    I need to read more Elizabeth Von Arnim as she's simply wonderful.

  2. If you have access to Excel or another spreadsheet, I highly recommend putting your book list into that format. If you do one column for author's last name, one for their first name, the title, date, or whatever else you care to keep track of, you can sort by author or date, etc. That way you can see what you have read by each author without having to go through your entire list. It works really well for me.

  3. Claire - I wrote this up on Saturday, so technically th last day and half were missing - oops!

    Thomas - I have done it in Excel which is why the format is a little weird here as it didn't work too well with blogger.

  4. Wow. I started a notebook when I was twelve then moved onto index cards and finally an Acess database. A few years ago i realises I had a huge list of titles and authors that i remebered nothing about. Which is why I started blogging!

  5. I have a friend who collects the Lorna Hill books. I've always suspected her of being a secret ballet dancer.

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  7. Wow, you read so much! I keep a notebook of my reading alongside my blog- useful to have with you if you can't get to a computer!

  8. Jane - I wish I had a record that went that far back.

    Kate - I expect she probably wishes she had kept up her ballet like me - more on that later.

    JoAnn - don't be!

    Dot - a notebook is so helpful I find.

  9. You would be just the person to speak to for reader's advisory!

  10. I am always amazed at how much you read too! I recommend putting all your reads on a spreadsheet too - it will be much easier to track then.

  11. I am very much impressed by the number of books you have read this month. I suspect that it is double what I managed to read in 2009!

  12. Wow - I would love to read this many books a month as I would have an excuse then to buy as many books as I do! Are you perhaps a speed reader too?

    While I was not blogging at the end of last year did you get to the Lacuna by any chance? And if so what did you think of it?

  13. Darlene - I would love to be able to recommend more books, which was why I was exploring the possibility of working in public libraries.

    Jackie - they are on a spreadsheet now :)

    Bookish space - January was quite a reading month.

    Samantha -yes, I guess I am a speedreader. Have not readthe Lacuna yet - it's too expensive til out in paperback.

  14. Wow!!! That's more than I'll read all year - probably! Loads of VMCs on that list, but I guess that figures.

    I'm completely blown away.


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