I love my tbr shelves. I’m a very lucky woman, as well as a very undisciplined one when it comes to buying books. I blame the internet & ebooks for the explosion of my tbr shelves over the last few years – it couldn’t possibly be my fault. I’m also very easily led when it comes to ideas for what to read next &, as my mother would have said, my eyes are bigger than my stomach (or whatever the bookish equivalent is). So, the curse of the tbr shelves is that I often have a copy of whatever book has been reviewed in the blog post I just read or podcast I just listened to, especially as I read blogs that often focus on older books, & I want to read that book right now. Or as soon as I finish the three books I’m reading at the moment. But then, definitely, before the next inspiration strikes. So, the book moves from the shelves to the pile on my desk & sometimes sits there so long that I’ve forgotten what the original inspiration was. These are the books I’ve pulled off the shelves in the last few weeks & the reasons why they’re there.
I read a list of the best WWI novels. I can’t find the website now but it was on my Facebook timeline. It was an interesting list & I’d read several of the books already. One that I hadn’t read but do own is Rose Macaulay’s Non-Combatants and Others. Another book was Mrs Humphry Ward’s Missing. This was free to download to my Kindle so I did that, knowing that I will never remember why I downloaded it when I finally get around to reading it. However, I was also reminded of John Sutherland’s biography of Mary Ward. My Oxford paperback edition has some of the most laudatory quotes from respected biographers that I’ve ever read. “A major biography… it deserves a fanfare” Claire Tomalin, “John Sutherland’s… account of her life is clearly the best yet.” Julia Briggs, “gripping… a story that unfolds with the fascination of high tragedy.” Margaret Drabble. So, why has it been on the tbr shelves since 1995? Maybe it’s the very small print…
Continuing the WWI theme, I listened to a fascinating podcast from BBC Women’s Hour the other day. It was an interview from the 1960s with Baroness de T’Serclaes, who began life as Elsie Knocker, one of the courageous women who set up ambulance posts & nursed during WWI, usually with very little help or encouragement from the establishment. I remember telling my self to order the paperback because I was never going to have time to read the hardback. Well, I did, & that was four years ago.
Simon Savidge recently reviewed Kate Colquhoun’s new book about the Maybrick murder case, Did She Kill Him? Simon also interviewed Kate on his podcast, You Wrote The Book! I’ve read other books about Florence Maybrick & I love a good Victorian poisoning murder so I’m keen to read this soon. At least this is from the library so it’s in the library tbr pile instead of my own personal tbr pile. Is there a difference, except that the library books have to go back eventually?
Then, I read Desperate Reader’s review of Somerset Maugham’s The Painted Veil. I have this lovely Vintage edition & I seem to be collecting Vintage editions of Maugham but not actually reading any of them.
I’ve also just read an interview at Nerdalicious with Elizabeth Norton, author of many historical biographies, including The Anne Boleyn Papers. This is a bit different though, as it’s a biography told almost entirely through the contemporary sources for Anne’s life. However, it reminded me that I have this beautiful Folio edition of one of the major sources for Anne’s life, George Cavendish’s Thomas Wolsey : His Life and Death. Somehow, I’ve also managed to order Elizabeth Norton’s book as well… How does that happen?
Then, there was Heavenali’s review of Sheridan Le Fanu’s Uncle Silas & Cosy Books’ purchase of the Virago edition of Charlotte Yonge’s The Daisy Chain, which reminded me that I still haven’t read the sequel, The Trial, which I downloaded a long time ago. I could also mention the new Persephones & the Slightly Foxed editions that I’m determined to read as they arrive & not let them be overtaken by other books – but I won’t because this post is long enough as it is.
There you have it, my latest list of good reading intentions. Only time will tell how many of them I actually read. I have no idea what’s coming up next because my brain is hurting.