I am currently ‘oop north’ in Manchester and have been joined at my aunties by the lovely Granny Savidge Reads (though she does prefer to be known as simply Gran) and last night she was asking me my advice on possible choices for one, of the three that she is a member of, book groups and their choices of reads next year.
They already have a list of possible options and the idea is that each member of the group chooses twelve of the titles from the list giving them points in order of preference (twelve being the maximum and working down) and the ones that get the most votes are the twelve they head for in 2011.
Naturally I thought that all of you would make a wonderful panel who could recommend a title of twelve from the list, rather than just me. So here without further ado, and in order of authors first name, is the list of the possible reads, I have crossed some out as Gran had already read them and didn’t fancy them again or just didn’t fancy end of – though I am sure she could be persuaded by you all…
- The Children’s Book – A.S. Byatt
- The Yacoubian Building – Alaa al Aswanny
- La’s Orchestra Saves The World – Alexander McCall Smith
- The Long Song – Andrea Levy
- The White Tiger – Aravind Adiga
- The Card – Arnold Bennett
- Dreams From My Father – Barack Obama
- Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens
- Last Train From Liguria – Christine Dwyer Hickey
- Short Stories – D.H. Lawrence
- Death Sentence – David Lodge
- Counting My Chickens – Deborah Devonshire
- These Foolish Things – Deborah Moggach
- The Good Soldier – Ford Maddox Ford
- Girl in a Blue Dress – Gaynor Arnold
- Adam Bede – George Elliott
- Three Cups of Tea – Greg Mortenson
- Kafka on the Shore – Haruki Murakami
- Wolf Hall – Hilary Mantel
- Family Romance – John Lancaster
- Paradise Postponed – John Mortimer
- The Plague of Doves – Louise Erdrich
- An Education – Lynn Barber
- The Red Queen – Margaret Drabble
- The Memory Box – Margaret Forster
- The Glassblower of Murano – Marina Fiorato
- Florence Nightingale – Mark Bostridge
- The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
- The Hamilton Case – Michelle De Krester
- Memento Mori – Muriel Spark
- The Wasted Vigil – Nadine Aslam
- Great Fortunes – Olivia Manning
- Border Crossing – Pat Barker
- Peripheral Vision – Patricia Ferguson
- The Law of Dreams – Peter Belling
- Trespass – Rose Tremain
- Sacred Hearts – Sarah Dunant
- The Little Stranger – Sarah Waters
- Engleby – Sebastian Faulks
- Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
- The Beacon – Susan Hill
- Restless – William Boyd
- A Whispered Name – William Brodrick
- The Believers – Zoe Heller
That’s quite a list isn’t it? I am sure you can understand why I thought opening this up to all of you would be much more helpful as I haven’t heard of half of the authors. Which is also an apology if therefore I have spelt some titles and authors wrongly, I am going by the spreadsheet Gran brought with her. I did recommend ‘The Little Stranger’ oddly as though I didn’t initially love it, it grew on me over time, I would have loved to have read it and been able to discuss the ending and what it all seemed to mean.
So which twelve would you pick and why? I know Gran will be popping by and checking, as will I as I have some of these on Mount TBR which I have been itching to get around too. Let us know, if you could suggest twelve in orderof preference and why that would be amazing…
So I haven’t bought a book since the end of October when I had a bit of a haul that I reported to you guys on a week later. I have to say that I can’t really moan about how difficult it has been because the main way through the issue so far has been being very busy and most of all… Avoidance!!!
Yes I admit I have not really been in many bookshops or charity shops (I know, it’s not normal) but there have been opportunities such as a visit to Foyle’s waiting for a late friend. Then there is the weekly Sainsbury’s shop with its tempting best sellers section (though one was bought for me while we were in there the other day) yes the answer for me has been avoidance. What has been promising though, if I do give up buying books for charity next year, has been that still books have been arriving (despite the woes of the flood) in some abundance in the last week or so thanks to the library, swapping and publishers.
Despite the fact that I have been reading some corkers and then been sulking at having to give them back I am still using the library much, much more than I was. It’s the perfect way of trying out authors or publishers (as you will see) that I am interested in and getting my mitts on books you have recommended.
- The Boat by Nam Le – So many of you recommended this how could I not pick this up? I think I am going to love it.
- The Tragedy of the Korosko by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – I am the biggest Sherlock Holmes fan but had never heard of this, not that it’s Holmes, and it’s a Hesperus book which is a publisher I must read more of since Lady Into Fox.
- A Dog’s Heart by Mikhail Bulgakov – Want to read some of this author, never have and like the idea of a beast created by mixing a stray dog and a criminal. Sounds gothic and dark and is also Hesperus Press.
- Betrayal by Marquis de Sade – Another author I want to try and a short Hesperus I can dip into.
- Girl in the Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold – Long listed for the Man Booker and sounds a little sensational.
- The Drivers Seat by Muriel Spark – After reading The Girls of Slender Means lots of you recommended this.
- Wedlock by Wendy Moore – Some non fiction about ‘how Georgian Britain’s worst husband met his match’, sounds fabulous.
- The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter – Loads of you have said I should try this and after Atwood’s Good Bones I want to try some more twisted fairy tales.
- Jane and Prudence by Barbara Pym – Again many of you have raved about Pym and I have not tried one of her books.
- The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri – Yet again through your recommendations of the author. So all these are basically your fault, and if you are getting bored of lists it’s your fault too.
I have also re-activated my Read It Swap It account again and used my unwanted books to get books I really wanted. Ok it costs a bit for postal… that’s not buying books though is it and I have got some gems.
- The Spy Game by Georgina Harding – Has been on my wish list an age.
- Birds of America by Lorrie Moore – As am trying my hand at shorter fiction and short stories have heard Moore is the queen of this. Is that so?
- Perfect Happiness by Penelope Lively – After the review at Other Stories how could I not want to read this?
- Hotel World by Ali Smith – I actually gave this one away on Read It Swap It ages ago… why?
- A Partisan’s Daughter by Louis De Bernieres – After loving Notwithstanding I am keen to read much more from this author.
- Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian – So many of you told me this was a must read when I asked about Asian fiction.
- The Little White Car by Danuta de Rhodes – Or actually by Dan Rhodes who’s Gold I love, love, loved and this sounds a wonderful tale of some crazy capers of two ladies.
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt – After swapping this I realised already had it but this is actually a much nicer copy with bigger type and that can matter can it not?
- Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xialong – Another Asian author recommended after I read the latest Xiaolu Guo novel.
- The Provincial Daughter by R.M. Dashwood – I am about to read The Provincial Lady and so reading about the daughter after might be fun, have heard great things about both from you all.
- The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie – Well I like reading books in order and this was the one I was missing and one which Eva said was one of her favourites.
Phew, that’s a bit of a barrage of book titles and some of my Read It Swap It’s haven’t arrived yet. I was going to add in the books received from publishers but think you might all be asleep if I do that so will follow up with part two later in the week. As ever your thoughts on my latest arrivals are most welcome and I will be delighted to hear what you think.