My TBR by the decades – The 1930s

Dang. I just went through the list. It seems like it is going to be a good decade, but so many books by authors I love (and many cozy reads), it was actually rather boring to annotate the list. Maybe you all have suggestions which of these gems I should read.

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.]


As We Were – E.F. Benson
The Deepening Stream – Dorothy Canfield
The Shutter of Snow – Emily Holmes Coleman
The Weatherhouse – Nan Shepherd
Journey’s End – R.C. Sherriff and Vernon Bartlett
Miss Mole – E.H. Young

I’m probably going to go for the Sherriff. I was so excited to find this volume as his books are hard to find here in the US, but I’ve been sitting on it for a long time. I have so enjoyed (loved) The Fortnight in September and The Hopkin’s Manuscript, I think I was afraid to read another Sherriff in case it wasn’t good. And this one has a co-author. Those always make a bit wary.


Friends and Relations – Elizabeth Bowen
Mystery in the Channel – Freeman Wills Crofts
Poor Caroline – Winifred Holtby
Simpson – Edward Sackville-West

This one is a total question mark. I have no idea which of these rise to the top when the time comes.


As We Are – E.F. Benson
Secret Lives – E.F. Benson
The Pure and the Impure – Colette
Marriage of Hermione – Richmal Crompton
Portrait of a Family – Richmal Crompton
Orient Express – Graham Greene
Down the Garden Path – Beverly Nichols
Lonely Road – Nevil Shute
Death Under Sail – C.P. Snow
The Gods Arrive – Edith Wharton
One Way of Love – Gamel Woolsey
Jenny Wren – E.H. Young

This could be a really good year. I mean I could read my way through this entire year and be pretty happy. This is the opposite of 1931, all of these jump out at me.


Bonfire – Dorothy Canfield
The Holiday – Richmal Crompton
A Thatched Roof – Beverly Nichols
A Pass in the Grampians – Nan Shepherd
High Rising – Angela Thirkell
Frost in May – Antonia White

This may be the earliest Thirkell I have, so that one may win the race.


Luminous Isle – Eliot Bliss
The 12.30 from Croydon – Freeman Wills Crofts
Chedsy Place – Richmal Crompton
A London Child of the 1870s – Molly Hughes
A Pin to See the Peep Show – F. Tennyson Jesse
Devoted Ladies – Mary Keane
Rumour of Heaven – Beatrix Lehmann
Work of Art – Sinclair Lewis
Going Abroad – Rose Macaulay
The Flowering Thorn – Margery Sharp
The Search – C.P. Snow
The Curate’s Wife – E.H. Young

An obscure Sinclair Lewis. That’s probably going to be the winner. I’ve read most of his novels and I’ve owned this one for a long time. I feel like  Stuck in a Book recently posted something about A Pin to See the Peep Show, and what about that title. Hmm.


Untouchable – Mulk Raj
England Made Me – Graham Greene
O These Men, These Men! – Angela Thirkell

My guess is a book I wrote with that title would not be similar in anyway to the one Thirkell wrote.


The Dark Frontier – Eric Ambler
Caroline – Richmal Crompton
The Old Man’s Birthday – Richmal Crompton
Innocent Summer – Frances Frost
None Turn Back – Storm Jameson
Mary Lavelle – Kate O’Brien
Turn, Magic Wheel – Dawn Powell
Greengates – R.C. Sherriff
Summer Will Show – Sylvia Townsend Warner

I really want to say Ambler on this one but I’ve had 3 or 4 Dawn Powells on my shelves for a very long time. I think it is probably time to get her a go. Even though I have other of her books (is that grammatical?) I like starting with an author’s earliest books as possible.


John – Irene Baird
Friend of the Rich – E.F. Benson
Janet – E.F. Benson
The Unwanted – E.F. Benson
There Are Four Seasons – Richmal Crompton
Alas, Poor Lady – Rachel Ferguson
The Nutmeg Tree – Margery Sharp
Journey by Moonlight – Antal Szerb
Summer Half – Angela Thirkell
Hunt the Slipper – Violet Trefusis

Boy, the 30s really are a cozy-fest.


I’m Not Complaining – Ruth Adam
Cause for Alarm – Eric Ambler
Journeying Wave – Richmal Crompton
Brighton Rock – Graham Greene
In Hazard – Richard Hughes
Lions and Shadows – Christopher Isherwood
Single Hound – May Sarton
The Professor – Rex Warner

If I was adventurous I would choose In Hazard. I bought it solely for its cover.


Seasoned Timber – Dorothy Canfield
Merlin Bay – Richmal Crompton
The Morning Is Near Us – Susan Glaspell
Manja – Anna Gmeyner
Party Going – Henry Green
The Confidential Agent – Graham Greene
The Lawless Road – Graham Greene
The Brandons – Angela Thirkell
Lark Rise – Flora Thompson

For the whole list:

TBR Chron

15 thoughts on “My TBR by the decades – The 1930s

  1. heavenali January 14, 2018 / 5:09 am

    Friends and Relations by Elizabeth Bowen is very good, I also thought Poor Caroline was excellent.
    I have three or four of those 1932 books so can’t help you much there but I might go for the Beverley Nichols.
    I love Antonia White and although Frost in May isn’t my favourite of the quartet I would recommend it.
    Your 1934 list is hard. I’ll probably read Luminous Isle. But A Pin to see a Peepshow is fantastic as is The Curate’s Wife (sequel to Jenny Wren have you read that?)
    1936 – A Summer will Show is wonderful.
    Not sure about your 1937/8 lists I think there might be better things out there. Brighton Rock though is definitely not cosy if you want a rest from cosy, it’s also short. I liked but didn’t love it.
    1939 Manja no question, utterly brilliant and definitely not cosy.


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 2:52 pm

      I really want to follow-up on your Manja recommendation but I just realized that The Confidential Agent which I am halfway through is from the same year. These are the kinds of problems I am going to have this year.


      • heavenali January 23, 2018 / 3:05 pm

        I will have clashes like that too. Sometimes I might just read the other book too though.


  2. Claire (The Captive Reader) January 14, 2018 / 11:33 am

    Lots of overlap with my own list for this decade! Like Ali, I have to recommend Manja for 1939 (though many people consider The Brandons their favourite Thirkell). It’s far from subtle but is still absolutely fascinating and one of the more important books Persephone has brought out.

    Intrigued to see Journey’s End for 1930. Is that the novelisation? I’m currently reading the play right now (from 1928). Could be interesting to compare!


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 2:53 pm

      I’m still suffering from the fact that Thirkell wrote so many and I wan to read them in order. I really need to get over that little bit of OCD.


  3. Jerri Chase January 14, 2018 / 11:59 am

    Oh, These Men, These Men is very FAR from typical Thirkell, not set in Barsetshire and not a cosy read. You might or might not like it, but don’t judge her by it. Summer Half is perhaps my personal favorite of her Barsetshire series, the first time I believe that she KNEW she was writing a series. High Rising, very early in the series. The Brandons has been published in more different editions, including by book clubs.


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 2:55 pm

      You have peaked my interest in Oh, These Men and based on others for that year there is a very good chance that it’s going to be the choice.


  4. Karen K. January 15, 2018 / 12:57 pm

    I started the Thirkells in December, High Rising was delightful. I’ve read three in the series so far and enjoyed all of them. Great light reads (though there is a bit of racism which is off-putting).


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 2:55 pm

      It’s hard to find stuff from that era that didn’t have a whiff of racism.


  5. Liz Dexter January 17, 2018 / 10:26 am

    Ooh, I did Jenny Wren for 1932. I’ve already got Pomfret Towers on my list, otherwise I’d use The Brandons for 1939, as I have that one. You want to see the other 30s I’ve done, don’t you?
    1930 Vita Sackville-West – The Edwardians

    1931 Joanna Cannan – High Table

    1932 E. H. Young – Jenny Wren

    1933 Vera Brittain – Testament of Youth

    1934 Winifred Holtby – The Crowded Street

    1935 Francis Brett Young – White Ladies

    1936 Georgette Heyer – The Talisman Ring

    1937 Zora Neale Hurston – Their Eyes were Watching God

    1938 Angela Thirkell – Pomfret Towers


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 3:01 pm

      After I had finished my “complete” TBR list I found a small stack of mass market paperbacks which includes The Edwardians. So I guess I could throw that into the mix as well. It’s interesting to look at my largely white, Anglo, and fairly twee books for the 1930s and realize they exist in the same universe as Zora Neale Hurston.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Simon T January 19, 2018 / 4:49 am

    I think I could happily read just from your 1930s shelves for years and years. Wonderful!

    And, yes, A Pin to See the Peepshow made my list for favourite books of the year – Rachel and I also compared it to an EM Delafield novel about the same murder case on Tea or Books? some time ago.


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 3:03 pm

      With only 79 titles for the decade, you COULD read only from my 1930s shelves in 2019. Sounds like you’ve just created next year’s challenge.


  7. Susan in TX February 21, 2018 / 2:33 pm

    I loved High Rising. Thirkell is perfect before bed reading – light humor, nothing serious.


  8. mrbooks15 April 17, 2018 / 12:52 pm

    Some of Dornford Yates’ Berry books- Adele and Co (1931) and And Berry Came Too (1936)- I was planning a thirties theme for my reading as well (but only from my TBR) and have so far Thirkell, Priory (Dorothy Whipple), Edwardians (Vita S-W), and a couple of Crime Classics – Murder in White and Murder in Piccadilly on my list.


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