My TBR by the decades – The 1920s

I’ve managed to stop doing the Charleston long enough to catch my breath so we can chat about my my 1920s TBR shelf. You will probably note that my shelves are devoid of many of the august books of the 20s which is mainly due to the fact that I have already read most of those.

As usual, the full TBR can be found at the bottom of the post.

[For those who don’t know, I am participating in A Century of Books this year which requires me to read one book from each year from 1919 through 2018.]


Happy House – Jane Abbott
Klingsor’s Last Summer – Hermann Hesse

The Abbott was a vintage find of which I have no knowledge and the Hesse is far too enticing to pass up. I think I may have actually read it when I was on a Hesse binge in college, but that was before I started keeping track.


Vera – Elizabeth von Arnim
Joanna Godden – Sheila Kaye-Smith

I’ve already read Vera this year so 1921 is complete.


The Camomile – Catherine Carswell
My Mother’s House – Colette
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Heir – Vita Sackville-West
Life and Death of Harriett Frean – May Sinclair
Seven for a Secret – Mary Webb
A Son at the Front – Edith Wharton

There is much here I would like to read, including Ulysses. I had sworn off Joyce until I read The Dead. Then I read a bit of Ulysses and thought “Hmm, that is way more readable than I thought.” But I won’t be reading it this year, I’ve already read Wharton’s A Son at the Front.


Colin – E.F. Benson
Antic Hay – Aldous Huxley
Peter West – D.E. Stevenson

Let’s just be honest, it’s going to be the Benson or the Stevenson. I have tons of Benson on my TBR and quite a bit but much less of Stevenson. Both are likely to be comfort reads so this should be a cozy year to read.


The Unlit Lamp – Radclyffe Hall
Seducers in Ecuador – Vita Sackville-West

I really liked Hall’s The Well of Loneliness because it is still so relevant and so ahead of its time in content. Her writing, on the other hand is a bit tortured at times.  And the Sackville-West is about 3 pages long. Still, it’s up in the air.


Mother – E.F. Benson
Rex – E.F. Benson
Pastors and Masters – Ivy Compton-Burnett
Corydon – Andre Gide

I thought I had sworn off Ivy Compton-Burnett, but then I found a nice edition of this short work and thought I would give it another go. Less likely to read Benson’s Mother as it is literally about his mother. 


Her Son’s Wife – Dorothy Canfield
Marazan – Nevil Shute

This is Shute’s first novel and one of the few I haven’t read. I think it is going to take the prize.


Leadon Hill – Richmal Crompton
Wintersmoon – Hugh Walpole

I know nothing about the Walpole and I’ve loved all the Crompton’s I’ve read. On the other hand, Walpole is taking up a fair amount of space and I have had it for a long time. It might be time to move it along one way or the other.


Brook Evans – Susan Glaspell
Quicksand – Nella Larsen
The Quarry Wood – Nan Shepherd

The Shepherd is part of an omnibus that I am not sure I want to commit to. I enjoyed Nella Larsen’s Passing and she might be the only person of color that I have in the 1920s. On the other hand I have never read any Glaspell and am very curious to understand what she is all about.


Paying Guests – E.F. Benson
Sido – Colette
The Other One – Colette
Living – Henry Green
The Lacquer Lady – F. Tennyson Jesse
The Bride’s House – Dawn Powell
Three Came Unarmed – E. Arnot Robertson

Although there is much that attracts me here, I think I might go for one of the Colettes. I want to know if they are like the Claudine books, which I hated, or more like The Ripening Seed, which I loved.

For the whole list:

TBR Chron


10 thoughts on “My TBR by the decades – The 1920s

  1. Pamela Foster January 12, 2018 / 9:19 am

    The most promising book of the lot is the Nevil Shute. A Town Like Alice was wonderful.


  2. Claire (The Captive Reader) January 12, 2018 / 10:51 am

    However tempting it may be to get the Walpole off your shelf, I’ve got to pitch for Leadon Hill. It remains probably my favourite Crompton book I’ve read so far and manages to be unsettling without being over the top. Love, love, love it.


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 2:45 pm

      It’s that kind of conundrum that I worry about. By the end of the year I will have read a million old faves (Crompton, Shute, Stevenson, etc.) and ignore authors who are new to me. However, I will probably take your advice on this one.


  3. Alex January 12, 2018 / 11:50 am

    Hello! I’m slowly returning to blogging and this seems like a nice way to ease myself into challenges. I’ll likely only do the decades.


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 2:45 pm

      Welcome back. Good luck with your challenge.


  4. Liz Dexter January 18, 2018 / 3:18 am

    I did Brook Evans for 1928 and really enjoyed it (I did Passing for 1929). Much of your list, which I wanted to mine as I have some 1920s gaps still, is authors I’ve already got in other years. I should have planned it better. Oh, I can read Ulysses, right? Here’s my 20s done and missed so far in case you’re interested:
    920 Mary Webb – The House in Dorner Forest

    1921 John Galsworthy – To Let




    1925 Virginia Woolf – Mrs Dalloway

    1926 Elinor Brent-Dyer – Jo of the Chalet School

    1927 Elizabeth Bowen – The Hotel

    1928 Susan Glaspell – Brook Evans

    1929 Nella Larsen – Passing


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 2:48 pm

      Definitely on the fence still about 1928. I have Glaspell in other years so Nella Larsen might get bumped up to the top spot. I’m also having a running conversation with myself about how effective I could/should be about spreading out authors with multiple titles. It’s a bit of a puzzle.


  5. Simon T January 19, 2018 / 4:46 am

    What fun! From your 1920s piles, I think my favourite is The Heir. And somehow I haven’t read Leadon Hill – I’ll need to see which 1920s years I’ve got without pencilled books in them.


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