Thursday, February 1, 2018

The joyful habit of wide reading

I often have more than one book on the go, Also, as I get in and out of the car, I enter and leave the narrative that always accompanies me when I drive. The current story is The Silkworm -- JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith. Yesterday on the train I started reading another Lucilla Andrews. Think I'll start Leila Lalami next.

In recent years, I've been keeping track of my reading, and last year, I read 126 books. To my surprise, (and I learned this quite by chance), this count almost doubled that of celebrated author and blogger Mark Manson, who read 66 and stopped reading a few more. Apparently, instead of constantly escaping into books, he saves some time to write! Unlike his,  my list includes many women authors, and I love fiction, because it weaves together history, psychology, philosophy, sociology and more. Below is my 2017 reading list:


Madeleine Masson                      Christine: SOE Agent and Churchill’s Favourite Spy
Ian McEwan                                Nutshell (CD)
Donna Leon                                The Waters of Eternal Youth (CD)
Anne Perry                                  Revenge in a Cold River (CD)
Shakil Choudury                         Deep Diversity
Josephine Tey                             A Shilling for Candles
Alexander McCall Smith            Precious and Grace
Abraham Verghese                      Cutting for Stone (CD)
Julia Spencer-Fleming                In the Bleak Midwinter
Elif Shafak                                  Honor 
Elif Shafak                                  The Forty Rules of Love        11      


Julia Spencer-Fleming                To Darkness and to Death
Julia Spencer-Fleming                One was a Soldier
David Bergen                              Stranger
David Malouf                              Remembering Babylon, Short Stories          (both unfinished)
Julia Spencer-Fleming                Through the Evil Days      
Martha Nussbaum                       Anger and Forgiveness (great but didn’t finish it)
Elif Shafak                                  The Bastard of Istanbul
Trevor Noah                                Born a Crime (CD)
Julia Spencer-Fleming                Out of the Deep I Cry                                       9


Janie Chang                                Dragon Springs Road
Val McDermid                            Out of Bounds
Ian Rankin                                  Rather Be the Devil (CD)
Donna Leon                                Falling in Love (CD)
Yann Martel                                The High Mountains of Portugal (CD)
Julia Spencer-Fleming                A Fountain Filled with Blood
Rose Tremain                             The Gustav Sonata
Val McDermid                            A Darker Domain
Julia Spencer-Fleming                I Shall Not Want
Val McDermid                            The Skeleton Road (CD)                                    10


Marcus du Sautoy                       The Music of the Primes
Val McDermid                             Splinter the Silence
Val McDermid                             The Retribution
Alan Bradley                               As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust (CD)
Alan Bradley                               The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (CD)
Alan Bradley                               The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag (CD)
Richard Wagamese                      Embers
Neil Ferrier                                  Churchill the Man of the Century, a Pictorial Biography
Lisa See                                       Shanghai Girls
Eric Lebege, Arnaud deLalande  The Case of Alan Turing
G.H. Hardy                                  A Mathematician’s Apology                                         11


Jim Ottanami & Leland Purvis   The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded (graphic novel)
Jennnifer Robson                        After the War is Over
Jennifer Robson                          Somewhere in France
Chris Cleave                               Everyone Brave is Forgiven
William Manchester & Paul Reid  The Last Lion: Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (CD)
Donna Leon                                 Earthly Remains
Anne Perry                                  Death on the Serpentine
Alexander McCall Smith             The Bertie Project
Craig Johnston                            An Obvious Fact (CD)
Leilah Nadir                                Orange Trees of Baghdad (unfinished)
Carys Davies                               The Redemption of Galen Pike
Joy Kogawa                                 Gently to Nagasaki
Lewis Thomas                             The Fragile Species                                                    13


Jennifer Robson                          Goodbye from London
Betsy Warland                             Oscar of Between
Neil Gaiman                                The Ocean at the End of the Lane (CD)
Dick and Felix Francis                Dick Francis’s Damage (CD)
Dick Francis                                Bloodline (CD)
Lawrence Block                          The Burglar who Counted the Spoons
Rauni Ollikainen                         Finnish Beginnings
Ian Fleming                                 Casino Royale (CD)
David Mitchell                            Cloud Atlas (CD)
Sonja Larsen                               Red Star Tattoo
Elinor Florence                           My Favourite Veterans
Heidi Greco                                 Flight Paths (poetry)                                                   12


Derek Bickerton                         Bastard Tongues
Ayelet Tsabari                             The Best Place on Earth
Dick/Felix Francis                      Refusal (RB Audio)
Annie Daylon                              Of Sea and Seed
Leila Abouleila                           The Kindness of Enemies
Noviolet Bulawayo                     We Need New Names (CD)
Betsy Warland                             What Holds us Here
Oliver Sacks                                Hallucinations
Felix Frances                               Front Runner
Dick Francis                                Triple Crown (CD)
Dick/Felix Francis                       Crossfire (CD)
Dick/Felix Francis                      Ten-Pound Penalty (audio)
Jennifer Robson                          Midnight in Paris                                                        13


Betsy Warland                             Only this Blue
Alexander McCall Smith            My Italian Bulldozer
Alexander McCall Smith            A Distant View of Everything
Julia Gardiner                             Portrait of an Era: An Illustrated History of Britain 1900-45
Dick Francis                               Second Wind
Dick & Felix Francis                  Even Money
Dick & Felix Francis                  Silks  
Dick Francis                               Wild Horses
Dick Francis                               Come to Grief
Dick Francis                               Decider
Dick Francis                               Twice Shy    
Craig Johnson                             Any Other Name (CD)
Sherman Alexie                          War Dances (CD)
Lucilla Andrews                         In an Edinburgh Drawing Room (CD)                        14


Sherman Alexie                          You Don’t Have to Say you Love me
Craig Johnson                             The Highwayman (CD)
Craig Johnson                             Dry Bones (CD)
Louise Penny                              Glass Houses
Louise Ehrdrich                          The Round House (CD)
Jane Duncan                               My Friends the Mrs Millers
Marjorie Nicholson                    What did you do in the war, Mummy?                           7


Steven Pressman                        The War of Art
Sue Grafton                                Y is for Yesterday
Brendan Burchard                      The Motivation Manifesto (not finished)                
Florence Scovell Shinn              The Power of Intuition                
Lucilla Andrews                         No Time for Romance
Mary Walsh                                Crying for the Moon
Joan Flood                                  Left Unsaid
Ann Patchett                               Truth and Beauty (CD)
Anne Hillerman                          Song of the Lion (CD)
Regina Martino                           Shungite: Protection, Healing and Detoxification
John Mortimer                            Rumpole and the Reign of Terror                                11


Emma Donoghue                       Touchy Subjects (short stories on CD)
Anne Perry                                 An Echo of Murder
Ann Cleves                                 Cold Earth
Kate Quinn                                 The Alice Network
Ann Cleeves                               The Seagull
John Mortimer                            Rumpole’s Last Case (CD)
A.S. Byatt                                   Ragnarok: the end of the Gods (CD)
Ben MacIntyre                            Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS
Bill Richardson                          The Bachelor Brothers Bed & Breakfast Pillow Book        9


Mark Manson                             The Subtle Art of not Giving a Fuck
John MacLaughlin Gray             The White Angel
Tracy Chevalier, Editor               Reader, I Married him
Robert Galbraith                         The Call of the Cuckoo
Daisy Styles                                The Bomb Girls                                                5

When the mood struck me, I blogged about books I particularly liked.


  1. I’m happy to be on your list, Carol! I hope you find time in 2018 to read my new novel, Wildwood. I see we have some reading in common — I like Val McDermid a lot, plus Alexander McCall Smith and some others. I only read 53 books in 2017, however, so I admire your enthusiasm for reading.

    1. Thanks Elinor, look forward to reading Wildwood. Really enjoyed Bird's Eye View too.

  2. A lot of familiar authors and books here. I don't keep count of the books I read but the library has a listing of the books I bring home so I could possibly count them. I have always read a lot and since I retired I spend a lot of time reading. My favourite pastime!

    1. Retiring really helps make time for the many books one wants to read!