shelf by shelf : from Cather to Collins

No preamble this time. Waiting for inspiration might unduly delay this post. So here it goes.

shelf 6
Make sure to click it. Plenty of room to zoom.

SHELF SIX: 42 books, 17 unread, 25 read, 40% completed

Cather, Willa – The Professor’s House (completed)
Cather, Willa – Alexander’s Bridge (completed)
Cather, Willa – Sapphira and the Slave Girl (completed)
Cather, Willa – One of Ours (completed)
Cather, Willa – Collected Stories (completed)
This is an example of having read pretty much everything an author has written but not owning all of them. Happily most Cather’s stay in print so I don’t really need to keep them, but observers may think I am not as much of a fan as I am. Plus I really do need to reread O Pioneers! and My Ántonia. It has been too long.

Carlotto, Massimo – Gang of Lovers (completed)
Carlotto, Massimo – The Columbian Mule (completed)
In the mood for something different and compelled by Europa’s covers, I picked up Gang of Lovers not too long ago off a table at Politics and Prose and have found myself oddly delighted by this hardboiled noir novels.

Catton, Eleanor – The Rehearsal

Channon, E.M. – The Honor of the House

Chase, Ilka – New York 22
I couldn’t resist this cover at Powell’s last summer.

Ilka Chase

Chase, Mary Ellen – The Lovely Ambition
Chase, Mary Ellen – The Edge of Darkness
Cool covers and mid-century New England (I think).

Chatwin, Bruce – The Viceroy of Ouidah
Chatwin, Bruce – On the Black Hill (completed)
Even though On the Black Hill is one of my favorite novels of all time, I have had less success with Chatwin’s other writing.

Chesnutt, Charles W. – The House Behind the Cedars

Chesterton, G.K. – The Father Brown Stories
I’ve never read any of these but they seem like the should be up my alley.

Cholmondeley, Mary – Red Pottage

Christie, Agatha – Sad Cypress
The only Christie I have read is And Then There Were None. It was fine, but not really my thing. The only reason I own this one is because I found cheap or free somewhere.

Clark, Walter van Tilberg – The Ox-Bow Incident

Coe, Christopher – I Look Divine (completed)
Coe, Christopher – Such Times

Coetzee, J.M. – Disgrace (completed)

Coleman, Emily Holmes – The Shutter of Snow

Colette – The Ripening Seed (completed)
Colette – The Pure and the Impure
Colette – My Mother’s House and Sido
Colette – The Other One
Colette – The Shackle
Close viewers will note I have two copies of My Mother’s House and Sido. Didn’t realize that until I made this list. I was not a big fan of the Claudine books that I forced myself to read for A Century of Books. I did, however, really enjoy The Ripening Seed. I hope I like all these other volumes which I pretty much bought simply because the covers feature line drawings by Jackie Schuman, the cover artist for Barbara Pym’s Dutton editions.

Comyns, Barbara – Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead
Comyns, Barbara – Our Spoons Came From Woolworths (completed)
Comyns, Barbara – The Vet’s Daughter (completed)
Comyns, Barbara – The Skin Chairs (completed)
Looking at the three Comyns novels I’ve read so far makes me realize how impressive she is. Three very different books but all fantastic. I believe What Was Changed and Who Was Dead is her best, so I guess I have something good to look forward to.

Compton-Burnett, Ivy – A God and His Gifts
Compton-Burnett, Ivy – Manservant and Maidservant (completed)
Compton-Burnett, Ivy – A House and Its Head (completed)
Compton-Burnett, Ivy – The Present and the Past
Compton-Burnett, Ivy – A Family and a Fortune
Compton-Burnett, Ivy – Brothers and Sisters
ICB is an acquired taste and I’m not entirely sure if I’ve acquired it. They are clever and funny and use lots and lots of dialog. More dialog than you would believe possible. And she definitely likes an “and” in her titles doesn’t she?

Collins, Wilkie – Basil
Collins, Wilkie – The Bitter Bit and other stories
Collins, Wilkie – The Moonstone
Collins, Wilkie – Blind Love (completed)
Let me just say I have also read The Woman in White and Armadale even thought I don’t own copies.

NEXT TIME: Collins to Dickens (Monica)

shelf (2)



15 thoughts on “shelf by shelf : from Cather to Collins

  1. Ruthiella April 24, 2016 / 9:47 pm

    I like your comment about Cather. I feel that way about certain authors…I need all their books on my shelves to telegraph non-verbally to observers that they are my favorite authors.

    I have never read any Collette (yet) but I love the look of those matching spines.


    • Thomas April 27, 2016 / 8:48 am

      Shoot me an email with your address and I will send you my extra Colette copy of My Mother’s House and Sido.


  2. heavenali April 25, 2016 / 2:58 am

    I adore Cather! I am ekeing out her books as I have only The Professors House and Death comes to the Archbishop to read of her novels.


    • Thomas April 27, 2016 / 8:49 am

      Death Comes is seen by many as her masterpiece. My personal favorite is The Professor’s House.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ronnie Lathrop April 25, 2016 / 6:31 pm

    I took a graduate course on Cather in college and read all of her works. People poo-poo the Pulitzer for One of Ours, but it’s such a good World War I novel. I was crying so much at the end that I couldn’t see the last few pages. Years ago I made a trip to Red Cloud, NE to see where she grew up. Fantastic.


    • Thomas April 27, 2016 / 8:50 am

      Last year I saw her birthplace in Gore, Virginia (the scene of Sapphira and the Slave Girl) but it was just a marker at the side of the road.


  4. biggardenblog April 26, 2016 / 2:07 am

    I’ve decided to find two books from each of your posts that you clearly think very well of, and add them to my ‘look out for’ list. By the way, the cover of New York 22 does it for me, too. Mid-Century New England seems now almost as far removed in time and place as does mid-19thC Shanghai – but likewise with sufficient familiarity to make the context comprehensible: and thus a highly engaging read.


    • Thomas April 27, 2016 / 8:52 am

      Oh dear, now I feel the pressure to be selective with my hyperbole so I don’t steer you wrong. I agree about you how old fashioned mid-Century feels. I am reading a Penelope Lively right now from 1993 and the scenes at the travel agents feel old fashioned.


      • biggardenblog April 28, 2016 / 1:52 am

        No don’t worry about me and others, just write what you think at the time. We take responsibility for our own choices, including buying books on the basis of the cover artwork!


  5. Liz Dexter April 26, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    I love Cather but I have tried ICB and I just cannot. Even though lots of my beloved Iris Murdoch books have swathes of clever “just dialogue” pages, I just cannot with ICB.


    • Thomas April 27, 2016 / 8:52 am

      I get it on ICB. Not ready to write her off, but can’t say that I have really flat out enjoyed them.


  6. Richard Ewart April 27, 2016 / 12:26 am

    I’ve read two of Cather’s novels. I enjoyed O Pioneers! very much, but the one that really impressed me was The Professor’s House. It’s a cracking good novel, and one of my all time favourites.


    • Thomas April 27, 2016 / 8:47 am

      I absolutely agree with you on The Professor’s House. I’ve read it about 3 or 4 times now and even chose it as my favorite book for the session we did at Booktopia on our favorite books. The four books the panel talked about were announced ahead of time and so a room full of people came ready to talk about it. That was fun and gratifying.


  7. Gina Thomas (@ginafordthomas) April 27, 2016 / 10:29 am

    This prompted me to count and realize I have a dozen Colette volumes on my shelves! The older I get the more I appreciate her, Cheri is a particular favorite. I have a feeling I will see many of my other favorite French authors on your future shelf by shelf posts. I highly recommend Judith Thurman’s Secrets of the Flesh, A Life of Colette.


  8. Susan in TX April 27, 2016 / 10:09 pm

    I haven’t read many of these authors, other than Wilkie Collins, Agatha Christie, and G.K. Chesterton’s Father Brown stories. I’ve heard much of ICB from Simon T, but she’s a little harder to find. The only Comyns I’ve read was the Woolworth one.
    It does amaze me every time you do these shelf posts that you house your reads and unreads together…I’ve quit twitching, though. ;)


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