Saturday 16 March 2019

Twenty-Four Things

I'm constantly looking for ways to highlight the books on my TBR pile.
It's a great way of reminding me of what's actually there; to bring long forgotten books lingering on the bottom of the pile to the front of my mind again.

Twenty-Four Things was a meme that traversed the blog-o-sphere a couple of years ago.
I've adapted it into a TBR post.
Please feel free to join in.

Photo by Dustin Lee on Unsplash

4 Books On My Desk

+ The Real Jane Austen by Paula Byrne
Three-quarters read.
I'm loving this book but I only seem to be able to read it for Austen in August.
Hopefully I will finish it this August!

+ Why Read Moby Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick
I'm planning on hosting a Moby Dick readalong around August/September.

This is part of my prep.
Are you ready to have a whale of a time?

+ The Feel Good Guide to Menopause by Dr Nicola Gates
I'm almost there (the menopause part not necessarily the feel good part) and wondering what I still have to look forward to!!

+ Rice Noodle Fish by Matt Goulding
Purchased last year when we got back from our trip to Japan.
Have been meaning to dive into it ever since.

4 Books On The Bottom Of The Pile

+ Rites of Passage by William Golding
This award winning book has been sitting on the bottom of my pile for about five years now.
I enjoy 'nautical, relational novels', especially ones that fit in a visit to Australia, which this one apparently does.
It would also help me with my Nobel Prize and Booker Prize reading challenge.

+ The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing
This book made it's way onto my pile prior to 2016.
It has stayed on my TBR thanks to my 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die challenge.

+ G by John Berger
Another Booker Prize winner & 1001 Book challenge book, that is patiently waiting for me to be in the right mood to read an 'experimental, non-linear novel'!

+ The Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk
I've been meaning to read a book by Pamuk for years and years, but they're all so thick and never seem to make it to the top of the pile!
This would count towards my Nobel Prize reading challenge if I ever get around to it.

4 Books New To The TBR

+ Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt
An ARC recently acquired via work (lucky me!)
I adored What I Loved and have been keen to read another book by Hustvedt ever since.
Now to just find time to fit it in....

+ The New Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan
An ambitious purchase as I still haven't read Frankopan's earlier book, The Silk Roads.

+ The Master by Colm Toibin
A stylish new edition has just been published by Picador.
This will no doubt sit on my pile until I come over feeling all Henry James-ish!

+ The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey
This one comes highly recommended by my colleague who knows of my love for a good cosy crime wrapped up in historical fiction.

4 Books That Won Awards

+ The Known World by Edward P. Jones
Winner of the 2004 Pulitzer prize for fiction and the International Dublin Literary Award.

+ The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert
Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Non-Fiction prize.

+ Milkman by Anna Burns
Winner of last year's Booker prize.

+ Flights by Olga Tokarczuk
Winner of the Man Booker International Prize in 2018.

4 Books I'm Keen To Read ASAP

+ Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
Twenty years in the making, hopefully not twenty years lurking on my TBR pile!

+ Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia edited by Anita Heiss 
I've been reading good things about this book & would prefer to get to it before it's 'old news'.

+ Warlight by Michael Ondaatje
Two of my colleagues have read this - one loved it and one was 'meh'.
I'm the tie-breaker :-)

+ The Trauma Cleaner by Sarah Krasnostein
This keeps garnering shortlist nominations and winning awards.
Given my fascination with the themes of death and grief in literature, I really should have read this when it first came out, but some of what I've heard about the trauma side of this book, makes me feel squeamish.

4 Books I'm Thinking Of Discarding Unread 

+ Every Third Thought by Robert McCrum

'In 1995, at the age of 42, Robert McCrum suffered a dramatic and near-fatal stroke, the subject of his acclaimed memoir My Year Off. 
Ever since that life-changing event, McCrum has lived in the shadow of death, unavoidably aware of his own mortality. 
And now, 21 years on, he is noticing a change: his friends are joining him there. 
Death has become his contemporaries' every third thought. 
The question is no longer "Who am I?" but "How long have I got?" and "What happens next?" 
This book takes us on a journey through a year and towards death itself. 
As he acknowledges his own and his friends' aging, McCrum confronts an existential question: in a world where we have learnt to live well at all costs, can we make peace with what Freud calls "the necessity of dying?" 
Searching for answers leads him to others for advice and wisdom, and this book is populated by the voices of brain surgeons, psychologists, cancer patients, hospice workers, writers and poets. 
Witty, lucid and provocative, this book is an enthralling exploration of what it means to approach the "end game," and begin to recognize, perhaps reluctantly, that we are not immortal.'

+ Weatherland by Alexandra Harris

'In a sweeping panorama, Weatherland allows us to witness England’s cultural climates across the centuries. 
Before the Norman Conquest, Anglo-Saxons living in a wintry world wrote about the coldness of exile or the shelters they had to defend against enemies outside. 
The Middle Ages brought the warmth of spring; the new lyrics were sung in praise of blossoms and cuckoos. 
Descriptions of a rainy night are rare before 1700, but by the end of the eighteenth century the Romantics had adopted the squall as a fit subject for their most probing thoughts.

The weather is vast and yet we experience it intimately, and Alexandra Harris builds her remarkable story from small evocative details. 
There is the drawing of a twelfth-century man in February, warming bare toes by the fire. 
There is the tiny glass left behind from the Frost Fair of 1684, and the Sunspan house in Angmering that embodies the bright ambitions of the 1930s. 
Harris catches the distinct voices of compelling individuals. 
“Bloody cold,” says Jonathan Swift in the “slobbery” January of 1713. 
Percy Shelley wants to become a cloud and John Ruskin wants to bottle one. 
Weatherland is a celebration of English air and a life story of those who have lived in it.'

+ White Mountain by Robert Twigger

'Home to mythical kingdoms, wars and expeditions, and strange and magical beasts, the Himalayas have always loomed tall in our imagination. 
These mountains, home to Buddhists, Bonpos, Jains, Muslims, Hindus, shamans and animists, to name only a few, are a place of pilgrimage and dreams, revelation and war, massacre and invasion, but also peace and unutterable calm. 
They are a central hub of the world’s religion, as well as a climber’s challenge and a traveler’s dream. 

In an exploration of the region's seismic history, Robert Twigger, author of Red Nile and Angry White Pyjamas, unravels some of these seemingly disparate journeys and the unexpected links between them. 
Following a winding path across the Himalayas to its physical end in Nagaland on the Indian-Burmese border, Twigger encounters incredible stories from a unique cast of mountaineers and mystics, pundits and prophets. 
The result is a sweeping, enthralling and surprising journey through the history of the world's greatest mountain range.'

+ Being a Beast by Charles Foster

'How can we ever be sure that we really know the other? 
To test the limits of our ability to inhabit lives that are not our own, Charles Foster set out to know the ultimate other: the non-humans, the beasts. 
And to do that, he tried to be like them, choosing a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer, and a swift. 
He lived alongside badgers for weeks, sleeping in a sett in a Welsh hillside and eating earthworms, learning to sense the landscape through his nose rather than his eyes. 
He caught fish in his teeth while swimming like an otter; rooted through London garbage cans as an urban fox; was hunted by bloodhounds as a red deer, nearly dying in the snow. 
And he followed the swifts on their migration route over the Strait of Gibraltar, discovering himself to be strangely connected to the birds.

A lyrical, intimate, and completely radical look at the life of animals—human and other—Being a Beast mingles neuroscience and psychology, nature writing and memoir to cross the boundaries separating the species. 
It is an extraordinary journey full of thrills and surprises, humor and joy. 
And, ultimately, it is an inquiry into the human experience in our world, carried out by exploring the full range of the life around us.'

Should I read or discard?


  1. Ha! Should do this too, especially the last one, as I am running out of space right now. Gotta prepare space for the 4 books new to the TBR! ­čśů

    1. The new to pile definitely surpasses the ones outgoing!

    2. Which pile do you mean, at home or at work? :P

  2. You should discard the 4 that are seeming like discards to you. If they don't appeal now they probably won't later and if you realize years from now that you MUST read one of these books you would be able to get it again. I would recommend moving Warlight up in the pile, it is not without flaws, but is definitely worth reading.

    1. I'm thinking I will keep Every Third Thought, but the other three can be passed onto others I think. I can't see me reading them in the next 12 mnths.
      I'm looking forward to Warlight - I've enjoyed two of his earlier books - not without their flaws but they were worth reading too.

  3. Fun post.

    Golden Notebook...yes!
    I've got the Berger on my pile, too.
    Known World & Milkman are notionally on my TBR pile, but not yet physically. I'm trying to use the library more...
    I like Pamuk, but I don't think I'd read Museum of Innocence as my first. Of the ones I've read I'd say Snow or Istanbul were my favorites.

    And I'll be looking forward to your review of Warlight and the time of Moby Dick, too!

    1. I used to use a library all the time, but since working in a bookshop, that habit has gone by the by.

      I keep putting The Golden Notebook on my CC spin lists, but so far it has alluded me.

      Thanks for the tip about with Pamuk to start with - Istanbul is on my TBR pile as well :-)

    2. I don't think I would have chosen The Museum of Innocence as my first read by Orhan Pamuk either.
      My all time favourite is My Name is Red but I also loved Istanbul. I have a friend who lived there and I visited her at the time. Interesting city. My son is going next week, as well.

    3. I visited Istanbul in 1991 - I loved the history and the food and the spiced apple tea, but did struggle with the leery, suggestive older men and the young men who thought they had a right to cop a feel anytime you walked by...and I wasn't someone who wore skimpy clothing either. The girls I knew who wore tops with cleavage and short shorts had a very difficult time.

  4. This is a brilliant idea and I am doing it. Soon. Also, I just got the Trauma Cleaner too and am also nervous about it.

    1. Can't wait to see what others books are lurking on your TBR pile Jean!

  5. Well, well, quite a lot of books there. None of them on my shelves. I have The Master though and this is one of my favourite books. You just have to read it. I read it before I became a Henry James fan, so I am thinking of re-reading it. I have done like you do for some of the books on the shelves. Do I really, really want to read this? A couple of books have disappeared in this way. Good luck with your TBR reading.

    1. I'm looking forward to The Master - it has such devoted fans :-)

  6. I always enjoy your posts but this one just speaks to my heart. The cover picture is fantastic, thanks for that to you and the photographer.

    I'll definitely have to read "The Real Jane Austen", sounds great. Mind you, none of the others look boring, either.

    I have read quite a few of your TBR books, I'm sure it's the same the other way around.

    The Golden Notebook. I read this when it first came out and then about thirty years later with my book club. Most of the members were a lot younger than me and it was surprising to see how they perceived it.

    The Museum of Innocence by one of my favourite authors Orhan Pamuk

    The Known World by Edward P. Jones

    "Warlight" is also on my TBR pile.

    I loved the challenge, might do a post like this myself one day, if you don't mind. I will, of course, mention where I found it first!

    Thanks again for posting.

    1. I'd love to see lots of bloggers pick up this TBR challenge & I look forward to seeing what you do with it.
      Thanks for all your links - it's nice to read your reviews when the books are fresh in my mind and trying to hustle their way to the top of the TBR pile :-D

      I recently discovered Unsplash via another blogger - it's a free image site that simply asks you to acknowledge the creator of each photo you use.

  7. You have some great choices, enjoy

    Shelleyrae @ Book’d Out


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