Classics Club Spin #30

The Classics Club has announced another spin. To participate, members post a numbered list of 20 of the books from their personal lists, to be posted by this Sunday, June 12. The club announces a number, and that determines which book to read by Sunday, August 7.

So, with no more further ado, here is my list:

  1. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
  2. Cecilia, Memoirs of an Heiress by Fanny Burney
  3. The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
  4. The Aeneid by Virgil
  5. Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope
  6. Miss Mole by E. H. Young
  7. Weatherley Parade by Richmal Crompton
  8. Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
  9. Love’s Labours Lost by William Shakespeare
  10. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  11. Merkland, A Story of Scottish Life by Mrs. Oliphant
  12. The Saga of Gosta Berling by Selma Lagerloff
  13. Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
  14. The Deepening Stream by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  15. The Ten Thousand Things by Maria Dermoût
  16. Tis Pity She’s a Whore by John Ford
  17. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  18. Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth
  19. Iza’s Ballad by Magda Szabo
  20. A Double Life by Karolina Pavlova

Reading Thirkell’s Barsetshire Series in Order: #13 The Headmistress + #12 Growing Up Wrap-Up

Thanks to everyone who joined in commenting on or reviewing or even just reading along with Growing Up. Although we met some new characters, I enjoyed catching up with some old friends. The participants were

This month’s book is The Headmistress, which I will be reviewing on Thursday, June 30. I am fairly sure I have never read this one before, so I’m looking forward to it.

And here’s our badge.

Islands in the Stream

Every once in a while, I mention that I’m reading about islands again. For some reason, I have always drifted toward books set on islands or in other remote locations. So, I thought I’d do an extra post for fun, listing all of the books set on islands that I’ve reviewed since I started the blog. I’m not going to count New York City or the main lands of the British Isles, because there would be too many (or any Game of Thrones books, set on mythical Great Britain), or Australia, since it is a continent. I hope I don’t forget any of them.

Asia

British Isles

Caribbean and South America

Mediterranean

North America

Oceania

Scandinavia

And in the upcoming months, expect reviews of more island-set novels, such as The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart (set in Crete), Red Island House by Andrea Lee (set in Madagascar), and The Unseen by Roy Jacobsen (set in a Norwegian archipelago).

Do you like books set on islands, or am I just weird? Which of these have you read?

If I Gave the Award

I’ve now reviewed all the shortlisted books for the 2021 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction, so it’s time for my feature where I decide whether the judges got it right. In this case, I can’t begin with the book I disliked most, because I liked all of them. In fact, that’s the difficulty, to choose between these worthy candidates.

I very recently reviewed The Tolstoy Estate by Steven Conte, about the German occupation of Tolstoy’s estate during World War II. I enjoyed this novel but didn’t like the letters that skipped ahead of the plot and felt the novel was somehow slight.

I also enjoyed The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams, which explored the ways that gender influenced the making of the Oxford English Dictionary and looked at the women who helped create the dictionary. I found the novel touching and interesting, although a few of the plot points were predictable.

The freshest book in my memory of is A Room Made of Leaves by Kate Grenville. I found this novel about how a woman learns how to work within a difficult marriage and helps found the sheep industry in Australia vivid and deeply interesting. Of course, the husband gets all the credit.

One of my favorite writers is Maggie O’Farrell. Her novel Hamnet is about the death of William Shakespeare’s and Anne Hathaway’s son and its influence on the writing of Hamlet. I found it to be deft and sensitive, although at first I wasn’t comfortable with how much O’Farrell was making up about Hathaway.

But speaking of favorite authors, along with many people, I was waiting for the last entry in Hilary Mantel’s trilogy about Thomas Cromwell. That book, The Mirror and the Light, follows Cromwell’s life as he serves Henry VIII and tries to keep him from his worst excesses. It begins with the beheading of Anne Boleyn and of course, ends with his own death. It had me in tears, which is my best gauge of how much I enjoy a book. This novel was the winner of the award for 2021, and I think the judges got it right.

Reading Thirkell’s Barsetshire Series in Order: #12 Growing Up + #11 Marling Hall Wrap-Up

Thanks to everyone who participated in or commented on this month’s reading of Marling Hall, in which we caught up on some familiar characters and met some new ones. Participants were

The book for May is Growing Up, for which I will be posting my review on Tuesday, May 31. This is another new one for me, so I’m excited. I believe it features the return of one of my favorite characters, Lydia Merton.

And here’s our badge.

Classics Club Spin #29!

It looks like the Classics Club is having another spin. Members can participate by making a numbered list of 20 of the books on their Classics Club lists and posting it by Sunday. On March 20, the Classics Club will pick a number, and that determines which of the books on your list to read by Saturday, April 30.

So, here’s my list for the spin:

  1. The Aenied by Virgil
  2. The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
  3. The Mayor’s Wife by Anna Katherine Green
  4. Much Dithering by Dorothy Lambert
  5. Rhododendron Pie by Margery Sharp
  6. Music in the Hills by D. E. Stevenson
  7. We by Yevgeny Zemyatin
  8. Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie
  9. Grand Hotel by Vicki Baum
  10. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  11. The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins
  12. The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy
  13. Merkland, A Story of Scottish Life by Margaret Oliphant
  14. Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  15. The Moorland Cottage by Elizabeth Gaskell
  16. The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
  17. Isa’s Ballad by Magda Szabo
  18. A Double Life by Karolina Pavlova
  19. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  20. The Saga of Gosta Berling by Selma Lagerlof

If you choose to participate, good look on getting a book you enjoy!