shelf by shelf : from Bowen to Brookner

shelf (2)In the last installment of Shelf by Shelf I talked about owning all of an author’s work and how much room that can take up. When it comes to this week’s shelf I have 20 of Anita Brookner’s 24 novels (the other four will appear in the next installment). Unlike the indecision I wrote about last time, there is no indecision when it comes to Brookner’s novels. I know I will continue to reread them for many years to come. I suppose I can imagine some sort of life changing thing that might make me shy away from them in the future. Will I want to read them when I am closing in on death? I’m not sure, but until then, I know I want access to them.

Speaking of Anita Brookner (as I often do) I was happy to be asked to offer a personal tribute to Brookner in the latest edition of Shiny New Books.

But let’s move on to the latest shelf.

IMG_5459 (2)
Don’t forget to click. Plenty of room to zoom.

SHELF FOUR: 36 books, 10 unread, 26 read, 72% completed.

Bowen, Elizabeth – The Little Girls (completed)
Bowen, Elizabeth – The House in Paris (completed)
These are the two Bowens that make me feel like I am a Bowen fan. Other’s of hers make me wonder.

Bowles, Jane – Two Serious Ladies

Boyd, William – The Destiny of Nathalie X
Boyd, William – Fascination
Boyd, William – Any Human Heart (completed)
Loved Michael’s Booktopia choice of Any Human Heart so much that I have buying his other books whenever I see them.

Bradbury, Malcolm – Eating People is Wrong
I was amused by the title and liked the nice old vintage cover, but I must admit I thought this was by Ray Bradbury. The internets tell me it is a university novel which I should like, but I hope the comparisons to Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim are unfounded.

Braddon, Mary – John Marchmont’s Legacy
Braddon, Mary – The Doctor’s Wife
I enjoyed Lady Audley’s Secret (not as much as Wilkie Collins, however). Just writing this entry puts me into the mood for a sensation novel.

Bram, Christopher – Surprising Myself (completed)
Bram, Christopher – Hold Tight (completed)
I first read Bram’s gay coming of age novel Surprising Myself when I was gay and coming of age. Also enjoyed Hold Tight but I haven’t reread it so I don’t remember what it was about. For those of you who don’t know, Bram wrote the book that was turned into the film Gods and Monsters starring Brendan Fraser and Ian McKellan.

Brand, Millen – Albert Sears
I bought this purely for the cover and the vintage of the book. Turns out that another of his novels The Outward Room, has been reissued by NYRB Classics

Brennan, Maeve – The Rose Garden (completed)
I remember liking this book, but I don’t remember a thing about it.

van den Brink, H.M. – On the Water (completed)

Bronte, Charlotte – Shirley
Bronte, Charlotte – Villette

Brookner, Anita – The Debut (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Providence (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Look at Me (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Hotel du Lac (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Family and Friends (completed)
Brookner, Anita – The Misalliance (completed)
Brookner, Anita – A Friend from England (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Latecomers (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Brief Lives (completed)
Brookner, Anita – A Closed Eye (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Fraud (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Dolly (completed)
Brookner, Anita – A Private View (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Incidents in the Rue Laugier (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Altered States (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Visitors (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Falling Slowly (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Falling Slowly (completed)
Brookner, Anita – Undue Influence (completed)
Brookner, Anita – The Bay of Angels (completed)
It wasn’t until I typed this out that I realized I have two copies of Falling Slowly.

NEXT TIME: Brookner to Carswell


14 thoughts on “shelf by shelf : from Bowen to Brookner

  1. Batbara in California April 8, 2016 / 11:45 pm

    Thomas – Funny you should be talking about Anita Brookner right now. At this moment I’m reading her book “Undue Influence”. I’m a big fan of hers. I always think that some of what she writes is just so personal that I’m embarrassed to read her.


    • Thomas April 12, 2016 / 8:30 am

      Personal about Brookner or personal about you? I can see that working both ways.


  2. Gina Thomas (@ginafordthomas) April 9, 2016 / 8:10 am

    Nice Brookner insights. I’m feeling the need to revisit titles I read in my 20’s, especially since I know now how much I didn’t know then! Any Human Heart is on my shelf, definitely need to get to that one. Thanks for the intro to Shiny New Books btw – damn you! ;)


    • Thomas April 12, 2016 / 8:32 am

      Any Human Heart is a fantastic book. Boyd does a great job weaving the events of the 20th century into the story of one man’s up and down life.


  3. Karen K. April 10, 2016 / 10:59 am

    I love your Shelf by Shelf postings! I am always so intrigued by other people’s bookshelves. I haven’t read either of those Braddons but I loved Lady Audley’s Secret and Aurora Floyd. I hadn’t heard of John Marchmont’s Legacy so I’ll have to look for it.

    And I still haven’t read any more Brookner since your reading event in 2011! Shocking!


    • Thomas April 12, 2016 / 8:33 am

      I’m really enjoying Shelf by Shelf as well. I look forward each time to thinking about and reflecting on what is on each shelf.


  4. BookerTalk April 10, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    William Boyd can be hit and miss but I can recommend Brazzaville Beach. I dont know this one by Malcolm Bradbury, his most renowned work is The History Man, a “campus novel” set in 1970s.


    • Thomas April 12, 2016 / 8:34 am

      I was a little worried when I saw Bradbury likened to Kingsley Amis and Lucky Jim–a book I should have enjoyed more than I did.


  5. Christy April 10, 2016 / 11:26 pm

    I’ve only read one book by Elizabeth Bowen – To the North – and it’s made me want to read more by her, but I haven’t yet. I’ve still only read Hotel du Lac of Brookner’s book – back when you did a Anita Brookner reading event. I liked that one too and remember some specific scenes quite clearly even now.


    • Thomas April 12, 2016 / 8:36 am

      I read To the North so long ago (2001), I don’t remember a thing about it.


  6. Chris Wolak April 11, 2016 / 11:30 am

    I haven’t read any Brookner yet and just added Latecomers to my list to look for when I take a bag of trade-ins to the used bookstore later this week.


    • Thomas April 12, 2016 / 8:37 am

      Her books are pretty easy to find. May not find specific titles as easily, but they always have at least one or two.


  7. Liz Dexter April 12, 2016 / 7:25 am

    You want “The HIstory Man” by Malcolm Bradbury – that’s the famous and best one.

    And how old are you? I LOVEDLOVEDLOVED Brookner in my 20s and got quite a long way with her, but as I’ve hit middle age and her books are a bit ahead of me, they’ve depressed and bothered me more than I’ve enjoyed them, and I’ve found it hard to come to terms with them – indeed, I stopped automatically buying the new one each time it came out. Obviously that’s not going to be an issue now, but I’m not sure when I’ll be able to pick up those later ones.


    • Thomas April 12, 2016 / 8:30 am

      LOL. I am 46. I just started to reread Lewis Percy–a character in his 20s! I know what you mean about depressing, but I kind of revel in that. About 10 years ago I stumbled across about 8 of her earlier novels all in US first edition hardcovers for about $3 a piece at used bookstore in Philadelphia. Let’s just say I left a hole in their B section that day.

      Liked by 1 person

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