My TBR by the decades – The 1970s

[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 1970s are going to be weird for me. On the one hand there are tried and true authors, but on the other are books I have never heard of and know nothing about. There are no obvious choices.


Children Are Civilians Too – Heinrich Boll
The Hopeful Traveller – Mary Hocking
Houses – Borislav Pekic
Last Things – C.P. Snow


A Meaningful Life – L.J. Davis
The Climbing Frame – Mary Hocking
Message from Malaga – Helen MacInnes
Mawrdew Czgowchwz – James McCourt
Equal Danger – Leonardo Sciascia
Unforgiving Years – Victor Serge
Not to Disturb – Muriel Spark

I’ll never be able to discuss the James McCourt novel. That’s a lot of consonants.


The Acolyte – Thea Astley
No Name in the Street – James Baldwin
Short Letter, Long Farewell – Peter Handke
Upstairs Downstairs – John Hawkesworth
The Bridge of Beyond – Simone Schwarz-Bart
The Malcontents – C.P. Snow
Augustus – John Williams

I almost didn’t put the John Hawkesworth on this list as it’s a novelization of the 1970s Upstairs Downstairs and didn’t seem like a “real” book to me but more of a novelty item. The Baldwin almost didn’t make the list because it is a collection of essays rather than a novel. I love the title Short Letter, Long Farewell.


The Dressmaker – Beryl Bainbridge
The Black Prince – Iris Murdoch
The Siege of Swayne Castle – R.C. Sherriff
The Hothouse by the East River – Muriel Spark
Other Men’s Daughters – Richard Stern

When I purchased Other Men’s Daughters recently I had  a lot of people chime in on Twitter that it was an excellent book.


Doctor Frigo – Eric Ambler
The Snare of the Hunter – Helen MacInnes
In Their Wisdom – C.P. Snow

This perfect storm of authors I like with no other wild cards to choose from. It also represents the last bit of each of their writing output for Ambler (only 2 more books to be published and  Snow (only 1 more). MacInnes had a bit more steam left with 5 more yet to be published.


The Realms of Gold – Margaret Drabble
First Love, Last Rights – Ian McEwan
The Odd Angry Shot – William Nagle

This is going to be a tough choice between the Drabble and McEwan but I think the fact that this is McEwans first novel may tilt the month in his favorite. 


The Spring – Kerstin Ekman
Agent in Place – Helen MacInnes
A World of Light – May Sarton


The Dark Lady – Louis Auchincloss

It’s going to be hard to choose for 1977. Which will it be…?


Injury Time – Beryl Bainbridge
God on the Rocks – Jane Gardam
Prelude to Terror – Helen MacInnes
The High Cost of Living – Marge Piercy
A Reckoning – May Sarton
The Moro Affair – Leonardo Sciascia
Fields of Fire – James Webb
The Volunteers – Raymond Williams


Pig Earth – John Berger
The Safety Net – Heinrich Boll
Slow Homecoming – Peter Handke
Territorial Rights – Muriel Spark

For the whole list,

TBR Chron

My TBR by the decades – The 1960s

[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.]


Eating People is Wrong – Malcolm Bradbury
The Lovely Ambition – Mary Ellen Chase
Trustee from the Toolroom – Nevil Shute
Butcher’s Crossing – John Williams

I really loved John Williams’ novel Stoner so I’ve owned Butcher’s Crossing for ages. The thing is ,because it is a Western of sorts I haven’t been able to bring myself to read it. I’ve heard people say it is great but I haven’t been able to get over the Western part. I should choose it for 1960 but I could also see myself going for the Nevil Shute which I know I will enjoy.


The Judas Tree – A.J. Cronin
The Fringe Dwellers – Nene Gare
Everything Flows – Vasily Grossman
Sunlight on a Broken Column – Attia Hosain
The Chateau – William Maxwell
A Trip into Town – Michael Rubin
The Winter of Our Discontent – John Steinbeck
In a Summer Season – Elizabeth Taylor
Dawn – Elie Wiesel

I think William Maxwell is best known for his short stories. I remember a  friend in 1995 telling me  I should read his stories. So over the years I’ve purchased a few of his anthologies and I haven’t even read a first line. I also bought this novel of his The Chateau. It had a nice cover and I am still holding onto this notion that I have had since 1995 that William Maxwell is someone I should read. This might be his year.


That’s How it Was – Maureen Duffy
An Unofficial Rose – Iris Murdoch
Morte d’Urban – J.F. Powers
Day – Elie Wiesel

I’m completely ambivalent about all of these titles except for Day. I used to really love Iris Murdoch but I am not sure that I still do. And the Murdochs I have on my TBR are all a little thick. I also have a sense that I prefer early Murdoch.


Cobbler’s Dream – Monica Dickens
Careful, He Might Hear You – Sumner Locke Elliott
The Guilt Merchants – Ronald Harwood
A Day in Late September – Merle Miller
Let’s Kill Uncle – Rohan O’Grady
Joanna and Ulysses – May Sarton

Merle Miller is an author I only know about because of Nancy Pearl’s first book Book Lust. I’ve read two or three of his novels and liked them and had fun uncovering his work while browsing used book shops. I think I have been saving them for a rainy day. As for Sarton’s Joanna and Ulysses, which is about a woman meeting a mistreated donkey. I love Sarton, but I am not sure how I feel about that. 


The Rector – Louis Auchincloss
Hard Rain Falling – Don Carpenter
Kate and Emma – Monica Dickens
The Hand of Mary Constable – Paul Gallico
The Sparrow – Mary Hocking
Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Age – Bohumil Hrabel
Corridors of Power – C.P. Snow
The Soul of Kindness – Elizabeth Taylor

This is one of those years where I could go several different directions and probably be happy, but I really have been wanting to read another Auchincloss lately. I totally enjoyed The Book Class and The Partners and don’t know why I haven’t ever come across anyone who has read him. 


My Dog Tulip – J.R. Ackerly
The Garden of the Finzi-Continis – Giorgio Bassani
The Millstone – Margaret Drabble
The Comedians – Graham Greene
The Young Spaniard – Mary Hocking
The Double Image – Helen MacInnes
The Red and the Green – Iris Murdoch
The River Between – Ngugi Wa Thiongo

I saw the movie The Garden of the Finzi-Continis when I was taking Italian language classes way back in college. Since I am taking Italian again, might be fitting to read the book finally. But I must admit that My Dog Tulip is kind of calling my name.


The Embezzler – Louis Auchincloss
The Railway Police – Hortense Calisher
The Room Upstairs – Monica Dickens


Dirty Story – Eric Ambler
Towards the End of the Morning – Michael Frayn
A State of Change – Penelope Gilliatt
Ask No Question – Mary Hocking
A Flag on the Island – V.S. Naipaul
The Mimic Men – V.S. Naipaul
All the Little Live Things – Wallace Stegner


A Compass Error – Sybille Bedford
Eva Trout – Elizabeth Bowen
The Landlord’s Daughter – Monica Dickens
A Very Private Life – Micheal Frayn
A Time of War – Mary Hocking
The Heritage – Frances Parkinson Keyes
Talk – Linda Rosenkrantz
To Each His Own – Leonardo Sciascia
The Sleep of Reason – C.P. Snow
Sarah’s Cottage – D.E. Stevenson

I think I am going to have to try and shoot for The Heritage by Frances Parkison Keyes. Sometimes I buy books for some combination of age, cover, and a vague sense that I might be finding the next best (old) thing or a new favorite author. I’ve done that with FPK and I think the time has come to figure out if I made a mistake or not.


The Woman Destroyed – Simone de Beauvoir
A Pocketful of Rye – A.J. Cronin
Fat City – Leonard Gardner
Checkmate – Mary Hocking
The Road Through the Wall – Shirley Jackson
The Play Room – Olivia Manning
Memoirs of an Anti-Semite – Gregor von Rezzori
Seasons of Migration to the North – Tayeb Salih
The Poet and the Donkey – May Sarton

Huh. Another May Sarton donkey book? I have at least 3 Cronin’s on my shelves. I am going to have to read at least one of them. I have liked he two other novels of his that I have read. Olivia Manning is someone I have read but I may not have been in the mood for her. My problem is hat she has a series or two and I don’t know if this fits into tone of them.

The whole list

TBR Chron

My TBR by the decades – The 1950s

If this cover wasn’t fabulous enough, look at Ilka’s other novel: In Bed We Cry


I shouldn’t be surprised that my TBR is full of authors that I love, but it’s starting to feel a bit samey. Crompton, Dickens, Stevenson, Thirkell…I get it. Based on their ubiquity alone I think this is the decade I am going to force myself away from them. Of course this is how I feel at this moment just looking at the list. Who knows what order I will read everything. I might be in need of the old chestnuts. But for now, I am going to choose outside the box.

…I just finished annotating the list and realize that my cozy favorites start to fade out mid-decade and give way to grittier stuff–and more men.

[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.]


Frost at Morning – Richmal Crompton
The Feast – Margaret Kennedy
The Sure Thing – Merle Miller
Shadow of a Man – May Sarton
Music in the Hills – D.E. Stevenson
Summer in the Country – Edith Templeton
Brat Farrar – Josephine Tey
County Chronicle – Angela Thirkell
The Lost Traveller – Antonia White

She might be familiar to many of you but Josephine Tey is an unknown quantity to me so she might get the nod. I’m not much of a mystery fan so we will she if does anything for me. I have a fair amount of Sarton on my TBR but much of that comes in the form of her journals in the 1970s and 1980s so an earlyish novel by her might be just the thing.


The Loved and Envied – Enid Bagnold
New  York 22 – Ilka Chase
Lucy Carmichael – Margaret Kennedy
Merry Hall – Beverly Nichols
Shoulder the Sky – D.E. Stevenson

I have a few Margaret Kennedys (including another one in 1950) but have never read any of her books. I think the Virago crowd really like her so she may be my choice. I bought New York 22 because it has a fabulous cover. I’m not sure it is any good so I am tempted to read this one so I can move it along to a new home and get it off of my shelves. As much as I like the cover, I am not going to keep it as an object.


The Village – Marghanita Laski
Martha Quest – Doris Lessing
The Gentlewoman – Laura Talbot
Happy Return – Angela Thirkell
Men at Arms – Evelyn Waugh
The Sugar House – Antonia White

The Lessing is the first of her so-called “Children of Violence” series. The fact that it is the first makes me think I should give it a whirl. Although I don’t think I own any of the other five.


No More Meadows – Monica Dickens
Reflections on a Marine Venus – Lawrence Durrell
The Little Ark – Jan de Hartog
Troy Chimneys – Margaret Kennedy
Five – Doris Lessing
Laughter on the Stairs – Beverly Nichols
Ernesto – Umberto Saba
The Easter Party – Vita Sackville-West
The Gipsy in the Parlour – Margery Sharp
Five Windows – D.E. Stevenson
Jutland Cottage – Angela Thirkell
The Kraken Wakes – John Wyndham

If I want a fun read that will take me about two seconds to finish, I would head straight for The Kraken Wakes. I’m also very tempted by Ernesto by Umberto Saba. It’s a gay novel written (and unfinished) in 1953 that wasn’t published until 1975, many years after his death in 1957. The Little Ark is a book I feel like I have had forever. It was purchased because the cover was nice but I have no idea if I will love or hate it. So it’s one of those books that needs to shit or get off the pot. (I need to come up with a better way of describing that kind of book.)


Rowan Farm – Margot Benary-Isbert
Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead – Barbara Comyns
The Cobweb – William Gibson
A Charmed Life – Mary McCarthy
The Wicked Pavilion – Dawn Powell
I Knew a Phoenix – May Sarton
Slide Rule – Nevil Shute
Sweet Thursday – John Steinbeck
What  Did it Mean? – Angela Thirkell
The  Flint Anchor – Sylvia Townsend Warner
Beyond the Glass – Antonia White

No need to go through this list. I’ve already read Slide Rule by Nevil Shute this year. It is an autobiography of his time as an aeronautical engineer but it might as well have been one of his novels.


Memories of Arlington, VT – Dorothy Canfield
The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Doves of Venus – Olivia Manning
Faithful are the Wounds – May Sarton
Red Lights – Georges Simenon
Enter Sir Robert – Angela Thirkell

I think is either going to be a Sarton or Garcia Marquez year. Although that Simenon does have a forward by Anita Brookner…


A Legacy – Sybille Bedford
Friends at Court – Henry Cecil
Every Eye – Isobel English
The Hunters – James Salter
Never Too Late – Angela Thirkell

I’m not sure what really prompted me to buy the James Salter novel late last year. I think it is a Korean War story. That seems very decade appropriate and a break from everything else on my list.


On Leave – Daniel Anselme
Fire, burn! – John Dickson Carr
The Edge of Darkness – Mary Ellen Chase
Bitter Lemons – Lawrence Durrell
Esprit de Corps – Lawrence Durrell
The Day the Money Stopped – Brendan Gill

Is this the same Brendan Gill who wrote for The New Yorker? If only there was a way to find out. I love the title Bitter Lemons.


Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
The Northern Light – A.J. Cronin
The Ten Thousand Things – Maura Dermout
Man Overboard – Monica Dickens
Stiff Upper Lip – Lawrence Durrell
The Sundial – Shirley Jackson
A Ripple from the Storm – Doris Lessing
The Road to Wigan Pier – George Orwell
The Well – Sinclair Ross
Alfred and Guinevere – James Schuyler
Robinson – Muriel Spark
Engaged in Writing – Stephen Spender

Boy, 1958 is a tough one for me. I’m very attracted to the Achebe, Jackson, Orwell, and Ross. (That would make a great name for a law firm. I’m tempted to write a novel just so I can have the protagonist work at Achebe, Jackson, Orwell, and Ross. Although they could also be charted accounts who help him float the shares of his aviation manufacturing firm ala Slide Rule.)  Also, I lied earlier. I do have more of Lessing’s Children of Violence series, but A Ripple From the Storm is number 3 and I don’t have number 2. 


All in a Lifetime – Walter Allen
Passage of Arms – Eric Ambler
Sorrow Laughs – Harry Bloom
Life and Fate – Vasily Grossman
The Letter from Spain – Frances Parkinson Keyes
Walkabout – James Vance Marshall
The Outward Urge – John Wyndham

Do’h, I’ve already read Passage of Arms this year. So I don’t need to comment on the rest, which is a good thing because I don’t really know much of anything about them.

The whole TBR list:

TBR Chron

My TBR by the decades – The 1940s

It will be interesting to see how many of these touch on the war. I’m guessing it won’t be The Ox-Bow Incident.

[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.]


Mr Skeffington – Elizabeth von Arnim
Final Edition – E.F. Benson
The Ox-Bow Incident – Walter van Tilburg Clark
Steffan Green – Richmal Crompton
A Stricken Field – Martha
The Power and the Glory – Graham Greene
Bethel Merriday – Sinclair Lewis
The Living Mountain – Nan Shepherd
Landfall – Nevil Shute
George Passant/Strangers and Brothers – C.P. Snow

Well, it won’t be the von Arnim. I’ve already given that one away. I think I’m done with her. I’ve read half of The Power and the Glory but it has been so long since I put it down that I would have to start from the beginning. It obviously wasn’t gripping me in the way his novels have. 


The Land of Spices – Kate O’Brien
Mrs Tim – D.E. Stevenson
Over to Candleford – Flora Thompson

It really is time I discovered Mrs Tim. I’ve read so many other Stevenson’s but this classic has so far escaped my attention.


Enduring Riches – Margaret Flint
Farmer Takes a Wife – John Gould
The Company She Keeps – Mary McCarthy
A Time to Be Born – Dawn Powell
One Small Candle – Cecil Roberts
Marling Hall – Angela Thirkell

I can’t believe I loved Victoria 4:30 by Cecil Roberts so much and I haven’t yet read this other Roberts. Then again I love Mary McCarthy and I might need her as a foil to all the British authors.


Two Serious Ladies – Jane Bowles
Also the Hills – Frances Parkinson Keyes
Celia’s House – D.E. Stevenson
Candleford Green – Flora Thompson

The Jane Bowles is apparently avant-garde. I am not sure how I will feel about that, but this might be a good time to try.


Liana – Martha Gellhorn
Green Dolphin Street – Elizabeth Goudge
Rest and Be Thankful – Helen MacInnes
The Friendly Young Ladies – Mary Renault
The Signpost – E. Arnot Robertson
Chedworth – R.C. Sherriff
Listening Valley – D.E. Stevenson
Growing Up – Angela Thirkell

At some point this year I will read one of the many Helen MacInnes’ that I have. She can kind of scratch my Ambler itch.


The Green Years – A.J. Cronin
Thursday Afternoons – Monica Dickens
Prospero’s Cell – Lawrence Durrell
Loving – Henry Green
The House in Clewe Street – Mary Lavin
The Journey Home – Zelda Popkin
Miss Bunting – Angela Thirkell
Apartment in Athens – Glenway Wescott

I’ve read a lot of Monica Dickens lately so that one might stay on the shelf for now. I’m kind of in the mood for Durrell right now. He isn’t quite as sunny as his brother Gerald, but writes about sunny Corfu and Egypt. I didn’t really enjoy Glenway Wescott’s The Pilgrim Hawk but the title of this one has me thinking of Rachel Cusk’s Outline. I know that is a weak link, but might be enough for me to give it a whirl.


Jill – Philip Larkin
To Bed with Grand Music – Marghanita Laski
Then and Now – W. Somerset Maugham
Doreen – Barbara Noble
That Lady – Kate O’Brien
Bright Day – J.B. Priestly
The Bridge of Years – May Sarton
Britannia Mews – Margery Sharp
Bell Timson – Marguerite Steen

Philip Larkin is the poet and friend of Barbara Pym who helped revive interest in her work which then in turn led to her publishing more novels. He also wrote a couple of novels, both of which I own and neither of which I have read. It’s definitely time to see what the man was about.


Albert Sears – Millen Brand
The Path to the Spiders’ Nest – Italo Calvino
Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow – M. Barnard Eldershaw
A Girl in Winter – Philip Larkin
One Fine Day – Mollie Panter-Downes
The Evenings – Gerard Reve
Letty Fox: Her Luck – Christina Stead
Stillmeadow Seasons – Gladys Taber
A View from the Harbour – Elizabeth Taylor
Friday at Noon – Benedict Thielen
Peace Breaks Out – Angela Thirkell
The Old Bank House – Angela Thirkell

If I had to choose at this moment I would pick One Fine Day


The Casino – Margaret Bonham
Narcissa – Richmal Crompton
Joy and Josephine – Monica Dickens
Catalina – W. Somerset Maugham
That Winter – Merle Miller
Long After Summer – Robert Nathan
The Locusts Have No King – Dawn  Powell
The Foolish Gentlewoman – Margery Sharp
Another Year – R.C. Sherriff
Tomorrow Will Be Better – Betty Smith
Love Among the Ruins – Angela Thirkell
Private Enterprise – Angela Thirkell

I may need a little Betty Smith to put it all into perspective. Then there is Merle Miller, an author I never would have heard about if not for Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust. I think I have read three of his and not been disappointed. They are medium hard to find at used bookstores so that always makes for  a happy moment to find one in the wild.


Strong Citadel – Katherine Newlin Burt
The Matchmaker – Stella Gibbons
The God Seeker – Sinclair Lewis
Prairie Avenue – Arthur Meeker
Tea with Mr Rochester – Frances Towers

I really disliked Cold Comfort Farm, but the Vintage edition of The Matchmaker was pretty enticing. I bought Prairie Avenue because it had an interesting old dust jacket. But I think the action takes place about 50 years prior so it may not be the best representation of 1949.

For the whole list:

TBR Chron

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

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


My TBR by the decades – The 19teens

As noted previously, I’ve decided to pursue A Century of Books based on Stuck in a Book’s plan to read the century 1919-2018 rather than 1900-1999. As I went through my giant TBR re-sort recently, it became clear that this was a good idea. I would have had a hard (and boring) time filling those years from 1900-1919.

The only weird thing about this shifted century is that I have this one year is a bit of an orphan and doesn’t have any decade pals. So it stands here on its own.

As you can see below the year 1919 is pretty darn compelling. I’ve only ever read (and loved) Canfield’s The Homemaker, so I am curious about that one. I really love Hermann Hesse and I really want to read this one, but there is more Hesse coming up so I thought I would give this one a pass for now. I’ve read a lot of Lewis and this one looks interesting. For some reason the May Sinclair novel doesn’t speak to me at the moment. And then there is the Morley. I know there is lots of blogger/reader chatter about him, but I really know nothing about him or his work. With a title like that, however, I decided to give it a go and am actually already about 10 pages in.

With a great selection like this for 1919 (and even better ones in other years as you will soon see), it makes me want to read everything I have for that year. Like maybe I change my ACOB approach to reading every book that I already own from each year. With 725 books on my TBR that would take about 7 years. Hmm…


The Brimming Cup – Dorothy Canfield
Strange News From Another Star – Hermann Hesse
Free Air – Sinclair Lewis
The Haunted Bookshop – Christopher Morley
Mary Oliver: A Life – May Sinclair

For those of you participating in ACOB and needing ideas for your list I thought I would post the whole list at once rather than make you wait for my blog posts about each decade. Also helpful because it has all of my TBR books published prior to 1919 as well.

TBR Chron

For those of you NOT doing ACOB, you just might be curious to see whats on my TBR.

TBR Alpha