Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A discovery in the pages of an old notebook

I have been using a notebook to record my reading since 2003 - it's nearly full now, but when I turned over to start a new page last week, I found a list of "All time great books" which I had compiled and written down in beautifully neat pencil writing. There's no date on it, but judging by the books included, I think it was written in late 2005 or early 2006, after I left university and started working.

I thought I'd share the list - I've *'d the ones that would still make it onto my All Time Great Books list - it's a crude list, but it certainly includes many of the books that have stayed with me. And at the end I've added a few more... An interesting piece of personal history anyway!

* Diary of a nobody (George and Weedon Grosssmith)
All quiet on the Western Front (Erich Maria Remarqe)
* Hons and Rebels (Jessica Mitford)
Enduring love (Ian McEwan)
Small Talk (Naomi Mitchison)
* Brideshead revisited (Evelyn Waugh)
* Rebecca (Daphne Du Maurier)
* Birdsong (Sebastien Faulks)
* Vanishing Cornwall (Daphne Du Maurier)
* Charlotte Grey (Sebastien Faulks)
* The little friend (Donna Tartt)
* Poisonwood bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
* Picnic at hanging rock (Joan Lindsay)
* The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath)
* L Shaped Room trilogy (Lynne Reid Banks)
* Autumn Term (Antonia Forest)
Metroland (Julian Barnes)
The Queen and I (Sue Townsend)
* Lark Rise to Candleford (Flora Thompson)
* Everyday Stalinism (Sheila Fitzpatrick)
* One pair of feet (Monica Dickens)
* Testament of Youth (Vera Brittain)
* THe classic slum (Robert Roberts)
* Frost in May (Antonia White)
The road to Wigan Pier (George Orwell)
* Sunbathing in the rain (Gwyneth Lewis)
To kill a mockingbird (Harper Lee)
Disgrace (JM Coetzee)
* The enchanted places (Christopher Milne)
* Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

Today I might add:
The enchanted April (Elizabeth Von Arnim)
The music room (William Fiennes)
Nella Last's War (Nella Last) and Nella Last's Peace
The gentle art of domesticity (Jane Brocket)
Bake and decorate (Fiona Cairns)


  1. Some fabulous reads there. I also loved Jane Eyre, Picnic at Hanging Rock (great film too!), Testament of Youth and Frost in May and the others in the series. I have Jane Dunn's biography of Antonia White on TBR pile, will get round to it some day!

  2. What a lovely find :-) I have enjoyed many of the books on your list, but I think only To Kill a Mockingbird would end up on my list of favourites - the rest would end up on my 'very good' list!

  3. How lovely to stumble upon thoughts one had forgotten all about and to see the things that have changed and those that haven't. I'm intrigued by Everyday Stalinism.

  4. What a great list, some I've read and loved myself and some of the others are promptly going on my tbr list!

  5. Great great list! I will copy it out for my TBR! I have just ordered the Elizabeth von Arnim book and I am really looking forward to reading it.

  6. Interesting list: some of my favourites Jane Eyre, L shaped room, Bell Jar. Not read the Jessica Mitford will put on my list!

  7. What a lovely thing to find. Your list has some wonderful books on it. To Kill a Mockingbird was a beautiful book for me to read this year and I loved Elizabeth Von Armin last year.

  8. Brilliant find and such an interesting list. I am interested by the ones you have gone off somewhat! I've never read that Julian Barnes but think a History of the World in 10 1/2 chapters is such a fantastic book.

    I wish I had kept a notebook of my reading for so long!


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