Sunday, August 1, 2010

On the tbr table

Here’s my latest selection from the tbr shelves. I also have some lovely new books from the library by favourite authors & they’ll probably squeeze their way into this pile at some stage. I have new books by Katie Fforde, Marcia Willett & Robert Barnard, all favourite authors for a rainy Sunday afternoon’s reading. Apart from that, these are the books I think I’ll be reading over the next few weeks.

The Bride of Lammermoor – Sir Walter Scott. This is the latest book for my 19th century bookgroup where we’re coming to the end of our selections of books that were the basis for operas or musicals. The Bride was famously the basis for Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. I’m about to start the third weekly instalment & I’m enjoying it very much. I read it many years ago when I read quite a lot of Scott’s novels but it’s been a long time & I’ve forgotten most of the plot completely. It’s said to have been one of the influences on Emily Bronte when she wrote Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights is one of my favourite books so I’m eager to see if I can detect any influence.

Miss or Mrs? – Wilkie Collins. This is a volume of 3 novellas by Collins, one of my favourite 19th century writers. I’ve read a few of his short stories in anthologies & as part of the Hesperus Press reprints of the Christmas editions of Dickens’s Household Words, but these stories are new to me.

Madame de Pompadour – Nancy Mitford. Continuing the Mitford reading I’ve been doing this year while I wait for my copy of the Capuchin reprint of Highland Fling to arrive & work myself up to reading Wigs on the Green. I was a bit put off by some of the reviews so I need to wait a while before I tackle that one.

Henrietta sees it through – Joyce Dennys. I loved Henrietta’s War when I read it last year thanks to the Bloomsbury reprint so I can’t wait to read the sequel.

I capture the castle – Dodie Smith. Another book I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read & as it’s Cornflower’s choice for her Bookclub next month, this is the perfect excuse to get it out. Flicking through it last night I came across a reference to a meal with “consoling sausages”. What a wonderful expression! I just hope I’m not too old for this book which seems to be one that readers discover & love in their teens.

The Nonesuch – Georgette Heyer. I only discovered Heyer a couple of years ago & I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read so far very much. I was inspired to get this one down from the shelf because Austenprose are celebrating Heyer in August. I’m especially interested in Heyer’s books that feature older heroines as I think I’m a bit old to put up with some of her flighty young Misses. I’ve read A Civil Contract, Lady of Quality & Black Sheep & I have Frederica & An Infamous Army on the tbr shelves so any recommendations from Heyer fans would be welcomed.

Decca : the letters of Jessica Mitford. More Mitfordiana. I haven’t read any letters for a long time & I love them so I thought it was Jessica’s turn.

Contested Will – James Shapiro. This is my current book & I hope to finish it this afternoon. It’s about the Shakespeare authorship controversy which I find endlessly fascinating. Shapiro wrote 1599, one of the best books on Shakespeare I’ve read & this is excellent.

What will you be reading next?


  1. My next book I shall be reading is my current library book which was recommended by a friend, 'Cutting for Stone' by Abraham Verghese. The next book on my TBR pile is 'The Golden Gate' by Vikram Seth. This book is in verse and over 300 pages long. Has anyone read this book? And if so what do they think of it?

  2. Jennifer, I loved The Golden Gate, so witty & clever. I think it's been compared to Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City & I'd have to agree. You'll soon forget it's in verse & just be swept along by the story. I hope you enjoy it.

  3. I couldn't finish Decca - too long, too much, I'm afraid. I loved I Capture the Castle, though. Hope you enjoy it.

  4. I'm trying and mostly failing with the Booker long list this year...not sure if it's me, the weather or the books and I'd love to know what Australians think of The Slap, which I abandoned very quickly...currently The Long Song by Andrea Levy is restoring my faith in contemporary fiction.

  5. Lynne, I never wanted to read The Slap, just not my thing. But, I bought it for my sister (we have nothing in common but blood but get on very well) & she loved it. I knew she would. She passed it around all her friends & they had long conversations about it. It's Tsiolkas's most mainstream book & it's sold heaps here. I've bought more than 50 copies for my library. The reservation queue was 100+ for months. Tsiolkas's earlier books were pretty controversial, quite explicit about sex & drugs. Good luck with The Long Song & the rest of the longlist.