shelf by shelf : from Goudge to Hemingway

shelf (2)Last time I talked about picking one shelf and reading from end to end. I think if I ever tried that I would have to find a shelf that had the fewest author collections. That is, a shelf with only one or two by any one given author. Otherwise I  could get buried under an author I don’t like or read one I love too quickly. We will see at the end of this if any shelf looks like it could be a possibility.

Studying my shelves in this way does open up all kinds of reading games that I could play. I could find five books by different authors in a row and then read them in order. That might be kind of fun. One that seems even more likely to try out would be to start with Shelf 1 and choose one book from each shelf. That would force me into picking up things I might be ignoring while maintaining a lot of variety. Or I could make a list of the top 10 books most likely to be culled and then give them all fair crack–that is, the Nancy Pearl Rule of 50. The possibilities are truly endless.

Like Shelf 10, Shelf 11 has a fairly low completion rate. Hmm, that sounds like the basis for another reading game …

Don't forget to click. Plenty of room to zoom.
Don’t forget to click. Plenty of room to zoom.

SHELF ELEVEN: 37 books, 27 unread, 10 read, 27% completed

Goudge, Elizabeth – Green Dolphin Street
When I bought this I had no idea it was turned into a film with Lana Turner. I’ve read one other  Goudge novel that I didn’t like as much as I thought I should.

Gould, John – Farmer Takes a Wife

Grady, James – Six Days of the Condor (completed)
1970s spy thriller. Looooved this movie with Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway when I stumbled across it on Netflix. And I really looooooooooved the book after I found an old battered copy of it. And then I watched the film again for good measure and still loved it.

Grand, Sarah – The Beth Book

Green, Henry – Loving
Green, Henry – Living
Green, Henry – Party Going
I failed to get into Green when some bloggers held a reading week a few years ago. I am determined, however, to give him another go. This spac- economizing omnibus edition will save it from any culls in the near future.

Grossman, Vassily – Everything Flows
Grossman, Vassily – Life and Fate
Picked these up purely because they were NYRB Classics on a remainder shelf. I’m assuming it will have to be a pretty cold day before I pick up the enormous Life and Fate.

Grossmith, George and Weedon – The Diary of a Nobody
Got this at Powell’s last summer because I liked the illustrations. Have heard from many of you that it is a fun book.

Greene, Graham – Travels with My Aunt (completed)
Greene, Graham – The Lawless Roads
Greene, Graham – The Human Factor (completed)
Greene, Graham – The Shipwrecked
Greene, Graham – The End of the Affair (completed)
Greene, Graham – The Power and the Glory
Greene, Graham – Brighton Rock
Greene, Graham – The Comedians
Greene, Graham – A Burnt-out Case (completed)
Greene, Graham – Monsignor Quixote
Years ago my first Graham Greene was Our Man in Havana. I liked it, but found it a bit too whimsical for my tastes. I recently listened to Jeremy Northam read it and ended up enjoying it more than the first time. Travels with My Aunt was my second Greene and I liked it much better. It wasn’t until I read The End of the Affair that I realized just how amazing Graham Greene can be. Gosh I love that book. Also quite liked The Human Factor and to a lesser degree A Burnt-out Case.

Grumbach, Doris – Fifty Days of Solitude (completed)
Grumbach, Doris – The Pleasure of Their Company
Grumbach, Doris – The Book of Knowledge
Grumbach, Doris – Life in a Day
Grumbach, Doris – The Missing Person
Grumbach, Doris – Coming into the End Zone
Grumbach, Doris – Chamber Music (completed)
I took a chance on Doris Grumbach at Powell’s last summer. I picked up Chamber Music and thought it sounded good, but then thought I might be missing something if I didn’t buy the other Grumbach’s on the shelf. Turned out I loved Chamber Music and liked the memoir Fifty Days of Solitude about half as much. I should note that this a is a case where I have lumped an author’s memoirs in with her novels. You will see that later with May Sarton and perhaps a few others.

Hall, Radclyffe – The Well of Loneliness (completed)
Some of Hall’s prose is definitely awkward, but overall I really loved this 1920s tale of Lesbian love. It is amazing how much of what Hall wrote was progressive and how much still rings true today.

Handke, Peter – Slow Homecoming
Handke, Peter – Short Letter, Long Farewell

Harrison, Melissa – At Hawthorne Time (completed)
Simon Savidge gave me this novel last year when we went on our road trip to Booktopia in Petoskey. I really liked this novel. It was longlisted for the Bailey’s Prize.

Harrower, Elizabeth – The Watch Tower

de Hartog, Jan – The Little Ark

Hawkesworth, John – Upstairs, Downstairs
A novelization of the amazing 1970s TV series of the same name.

Hegi, Ursala – Hotel of the Saints (completed)

Hemingway, Ernest – A Moveable Feast
Hemingway, Ernest – For Whom the Bell Tolls
You will have to wait for my next shelf to see what Hemingway I have read. While he isn’t a favorite of mine, I never quite understand the blanket criticism of his work.

NEXT TIME: Hemingway to Jansson


10 thoughts on “shelf by shelf : from Goudge to Hemingway

  1. Gina Thomas (@ginafordthomas) May 26, 2016 / 6:52 pm

    Graham Greene is an author I haven’t read yet but think I would like, a question recently addressed on The Readers podcast I think! I have 3 – End of the Affair, Travels with My Aunt and The Quiet American (the movie with Michael Caine was good). Those are my two favorite Hemingways.

    If I were you I’d do the one book from each shelf option. I’m going to try the First Chapter method I’ve seen on a few booktubes to decide my next read … You read the first chapter of 5 or more books then pick one to continue which draws you in the most.


    • Thomas June 3, 2016 / 12:48 pm

      Travels with my Aunt is on the lighthearted side and quite enjoyable. End of the Affair is sad and beautiful.


  2. Sarah C May 26, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    I’ve recently come to love Graham Greene, because I finally read Heart of the Matter. J’ADORE. I read it first and then I listened to Michael Kitchen narrate it. SO GOOD. And if you loved End of the Affair (as you should), try the audio version read by Colin Firth. He gets the book SO RIGHT.


    • Thomas June 3, 2016 / 12:49 pm

      I own the Colin Firth recording of End of the Affair but am saving it for a rainy day.


  3. Sarah Faragher May 27, 2016 / 10:16 am

    I want to read Henry Green’s fiction and can’t seem to start. But to tell the truth I have not read that much fiction over the past several years, since what I really love to read are memoirs/autobiographies by novelists, more than their actual novels. Case in point, Henry Green’s 1940 memoir “Pack My Bag” – it was written under duress (he had already published a few novels and was convinced he would be killed in the war). Such a splendid book.


    • Thomas June 3, 2016 / 12:49 pm

      Interesting recommendation.


  4. Susan in TX May 28, 2016 / 5:42 pm

    Fewer on this shelf that I’m familiar with. I’ve almost decided that I like Goudge’s children’s fiction better than her adult fiction, but I haven’t given her a fair shake yet…and there’s plenty on my TBR to choose from. I wonder if you conducted a poll of your readers how many would have unread Hemingway’s on their shelves? I’m going to venture a guess and say that would be a fairly high percentage – and I would be one of them, of course. I actually liked The Old Man and the Sea more than I thought I would, but found For Whom the Bell Tolls to be slow-going. I have a couple more on the shelves waiting on me, but I’m not in a great rush.
    Happy weekend to you!


  5. Liz Dexter May 31, 2016 / 6:53 am

    I’ve got The Beth Book to read for All Virago / All August, having read her other one, which I LOVED.


  6. biggardenblog June 2, 2016 / 4:30 pm

    [J] Hemmingway. Writing about decadance is one thing, but I really draw the line at a decadant writer. And I don’t care how good the writing is. And it is. Good writing, I mean. Not him, Good. I have standards. I’m being irrational I know! … Okay, dammit, I just simply don’t like the man. I’m allowed a personal prejudice or two aren’t I? It’s not as if it’s anything to him – or the heirs to his literary estate (I despise them even more – making money out of a dead man’s decadance). No, I’m not being judgemental – the truth is I just don’t like him. ;~)


    • Thomas June 3, 2016 / 12:54 pm

      If we weren’t allowed personal prejudice I would never be able to open my mouth.

      Liked by 1 person

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