Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Ten books on my 'to read' list - which should go first?

A bunch of people have been posting about the Orange longlist - and the amazing CardigangirlVerity has been racing through them and posting a set of reviews that make my eyeballs/brain salivate - or whatever their equivalent is... and obviously I'm impressed/intimidated/inspired by her pace.

I thought I'd sort out ten books I want to read in the next 2-3 months. I've been making a real effort not to buy books until/unless I'm ready to read them - so I can't post a picture of the bookpile yet. But if I'm successful I'll see about something retrospective. 

So here we go:
(1) Round about a Pound a Week, and (2) Few Eggs and  No Oranges - on the list because of some great reviews during the Persephone Reading Weekend. I'd welcome suggestions for a third Persephone to pick up (preferably some fiction)

(3) Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives - because from the reviews I've read so far, this is the Orange that most appeals. Despite this, I have already read Room and Jamrach's Menagerie and enjoyed both - and I've bought Annabel too. I'm holding out for a nicer edition of Baba Segi, so it might be a month or two before I get onto it.

(4) The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet - I bought this to read on holiday in December last year. Somehow I never got round do it. And with it's pale covers I've been nervous about jamming it in the handbag to take to work.

(5) Finkler Question - I always try to leave the Booker winner till last on the short list.

(6) Freedom - because it's there (?)

(7) Chris Mullin's Decline and Fall because I love politics, and I enjoyed a lot of View from the Foothills (some of the tone was a bit annoying, but a lot of the suspicion of/frustration at civil servants rang true, and it's great to see his perspective on things that I remembered and have also read about in the various memoirs from a No.10 perspective)

(8) Some/all of the Little House in the Prairie series - I've been inspired by this review at BookSnob

(9) A Tale of Two Cities - I'm not much of a Dickens fan (love the plots, bored by the writing), but in the last month two different people have (completely unprompted) recommended it soooo enthusiastically I'm going to give him another chance.

(10) Parting Shots - a Christmas book that I've dipped into, and think it's time to put it by the bath or near the toaster. Two places I'm always after something I can read in little-ish chunks...

So - which should I read first?


  1. You HAVE to read 1000 Autumns asap; I loved it (hunt around on my blog, I reviewed it in the last few weeks). After that, go for Little House on the Prairie. I haven't read any of the others, so they can wait! (joking)

  2. Persephones! Of course! ;)

  3. Great list. I loved 'Round About a Pound a Week' - especially poignant for me as the famlies lived in the slums that were knocked down to build my old flat in Vauxhall. Please read it before you come down to Hay so we can talk about it. Other Persephones - I liked 'Miss Buncle's Book' - very light but good fun. 'The Fortnight in September' and 'Greenery Street' are my favourite books in which not much happens. 'How to Run Your Home Without Help' is interesting from a social history perspective. I also liked Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary.

    Two Cities is my favourite Dickens. It's not like any of his other books.

    I haven't read any of the others!

  4. Well thanks people I'm now about 100 pages into the Thousand Autumns, really enjoying it but not sure I yet see why it's sooooo amazing.

    Think I might head off to Lamb's Conduit Street tomorrow to see about lining up some more...