My TBR by the decades – The 1980s

[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.]


The Hidden Target – Helen MacInnes
Recovering – May Sarton

An intelligent spy novel or a journal of a beloved author recovering from a mastectomy? Not to be flip, but both of these tug at me equally. It’s going to come down my mood at the time.


The Missing Person – Doris Grumbach
To the Islands – Randolph Stow


A Soldier’s Legacy – Heinrich Boll
At Freddie’s – Penelope Fitzgerald
Monsignor Quixote – Graham Greene
A Pale View of the Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro
The True Deceiver – Tove Jansson
Anger – May Sarton
Sleepwalking – Meg Wolitzer

So much here to tempt. An early Wolitzer, a late Greene. Penelope Fitzgerald is never a bad idea. I’ve read two Tove Jansson short story collections, one of which I really liked and one which left me ambivalent. I am curious to see what she does in a novel. I blow hot and cold on Ishiguro. Well, I actually don’t feel that strongly, I blow warm and cool on Ishiguro. I’ve tried reading  A Pale View of the Hills previously and didn’t make it very far. If this edition was so pleasant to the touch and the eye I probably would have gotten rid of it a long time ago. Given my other choices, it also seems unlikely it’s going to get read this year.


A Place on Earth – Wendell Berry
The Philosopher’s Pupil – Iris Murdoch

Back in my planning school days I read some of Berry’s non-fiction. For some unknown reason I am not drawn very strongly to this novel. Maybe because that is no how he made his name (at least with me) and so I feel like it can’t be any good. On the other hand a giant, late, Murdoch has me a bit ambivalent.


Watson’s Apology – Beryl Bainbridge
The Ladies – Doris Grumbach
Good Daughters – Mary Hocking
The Busconductor Hines – James Kelman
Testing the Current – William McPherrson
At Seventy – May Sarton

At some point I have to read some Bainbridge. I’ve just assumed I would like her and buy of cheap editions when I find them, but I don’t think I have every read any of them. I really need to figure out if she is someone I would like. I love the title The Busconductor Hines and the book is totally unknown to me.


Quinx – Lawrence Durrell
The Tenth Man – Graham Greene
Indifferent Heroes– Mary Hocking
Last Call – Harry Mulisch
The Good Apprentice – Iris Murdoch

Durrell’s Quinx if the last novel in a five-book series. There is no way I can read it until I read the other four. But I don’t own the other four. 


To the Land of Cattails – Aharon Appelfeld
The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks – Robertson Davies
Innocence – Penelope Fitzgerald
Welcome Strangers – Mary Hocking


In the Country of Last Things – Paul Auster
The Book and the Brotherhood – Iris Murdoch
Civil to Strangers – Barbara Pym

I’ve already started reading In the Country of Last Things so I guess that answers that. I’ve also listened to the amazing Vanessa Redgrave reading the book, but I was following along with the book and the recording is abridged so that is kind of annoying. Redgrave is so good, I wish to heck she had read the whole book. 


The Lyre of Orpheus – Robertson Davies
The Beginning of Spring – Penelope Fitzgerald
The Captain and the Enemy – Graham Greene
Beirut, Beirut – Sonallah Ibrahim
Mother London – Michael Moorcock
After the Stroke – May Sarton

Given that there are so many wonderful repeat authors on my TBR I am getting a little bored with some of their names at this point in my cataloging effort. Based on that and that alone, I think I will go for Beirut, Beirut or Mother London.


Jigsaw – Sybille Bedford
A Natural Curiosity – Margaret Drabble
The Other Side – Mary Gordon
Jack – A.M. Homes
The Message to the Planet – Iris Murdoch
Damascus Nights – Rafik Schami

Probably going to be Damascus Nights. It is one of the books I bought by authors from countries on President Pumpkinhead’s no admittance list. Asshole.

The whole list

TBR Chron

7 thoughts on “My TBR by the decades – The 1980s

  1. winstonsdad January 21, 2018 / 11:59 am

    Aharon Appelfeld passed recently he is worth trying if you. RT read him I’ve the Green as well spent last few years buying as many of his books as I could find


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 3:33 pm

      That is good to know. I don’t know anything about Appelfeld.


  2. lethe January 21, 2018 / 12:03 pm

    At some point I have to read some Bainbridge. I’ve just assumed I would like her and buy of cheap editions when I find them, but I don’t think I have every read any of them. I really need to figure out if she is someone I would like.

    I love her Injury Time, which is on your list for 1978.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Izzy January 22, 2018 / 8:23 am

    A Natural Curiosity is the sequel to The Radiant Way, so you’d better read that first. It’s actually a trilogy, the last being The Gates of Ivory.


    • Thomas January 23, 2018 / 3:35 pm

      I read The Radiant Way but it was back in 2010. No doubt I’m not going to remember that. Oddly, I have never even heard of The Gates of Ivory.


  4. Liz Dexter January 23, 2018 / 3:01 am

    Philosopher’s Pupil is BRILLIANT. I’d steer clear of Message to the Planet, though. Even I, Murdoch-obsessive, have to steel myself to get down to that one!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.