Reading Down the House

As you all know, I am always up for a challenge, one that will add to my journey to gorgeousness, health and organised living.

So I am jumping straight into an exacting life’s challenge: reading down the house; reading being one of the cornerstones of my idea of a gorgeous life.

Like an exacting life, books somehow seem to enter my house. I do buy a new book every second month (I take turns with a fellow bookclubber and we share the book for that month) for my book club, and there are always new titles coming out that call their siren song. And I do like to support writers. So the arrival of some books I can account for, but others just appear.

When I take books to the second hand bookshop to trade in, I walk out with a couple of replacements. I keep hoping that I will reach that point where my trade-ins will not get me a book. But that point never seems to be reached – because I keep buying new books and exchange most of the book club books after we have discussed them.

I have drastically reduced the number of books I buy, mainly using the public library, which is a four minute walk from my home, or the library at work. Yet when I look at a shelf to do some decluttering, I am reminded of books I bought but have not yet read, some that I don’t even remember buying.

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Here’s my goal: to read these 13 books by the end of next year. Some I have bought new, some second hand. A couple I bought recently; most have been on my shelf for years. A couple I started but just couldn’t get into. (I am hoping Wolf Hall won’t defeat me again.) Two, the Waugh novels, I am re-reading after having read the first in the trilogy, Men at Arms.

The books:

  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
  • The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey
  • Officers and Gentlemen & Unconditional Surrender by Evelyn Waugh
  • The Second-last Woman in England by Maggie Joel
  • When Will There Be Good News? & Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
  • Hannah and Emil by Belinda Castles
  • The Somnambulist by Essie Fox
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • and finally Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • I will be buying new books. As a member of a book club, I read a new book every month. And my book club meets in a book shop, which in itself is dangerous as there are other books that fall off the shelves into my hands, clearly wanting a home. So that means I will be reading at least two books a month until the end of 2014. (No, my maths isn’t out. Wolf Hall counts as two books at the very least.)

    I am starting with Hannah and Emil.

    Any on this list you know, like, loathe, recommend?

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    19 thoughts on “Reading Down the House

    1. Thanks for joining, L! You have a great-looking line-up ahead of you: mysteries, thrillers, history and high literature! I’ll be interested to hear how you do with the Evelyn Waugh; I haven’t read his books. I had wanted to get my hands on a Hilary Mantel book, but after your less-than-auspicious start, maybe I’ll…try later when I don’t have such a pile of other books to read!

      • I’ve read nearly every Waugh novel. Went through a Waugh phase at uni. But I wanted to re-read some of his books as it was years and years ago. He is brilliant, if somewhat depressing, wch is why I can’t read them all at once.

        Wolf Hall killed me because every character is called Thomas. I just couldn’t keep track of them. And, as the chapters jumped to different places and times and from different perspectives I couldn’t keep track of which Thomas was talking.

        • Not sure if I will read Wolf Hall because it’s the first of a trilogy. I do like books about the Tudor era, though! Must try Waugh. Any recommendations for a first one?

    2. Lucinda when you read Wolf Hall again just remember that whenever Hilary Mantel writes “He said…” or “He did…” no matter how many men have recently been part of the story she is usually referring to Thomas Cromwell. Apart from this early confusion I absolutely loved the book but then I love (well researched!) historical novels. I think someone must have spoken to her about this as she doesn’t do that in “Bring Up the Bodies” 🙂
      Evelyn Waugh’s books are wonderful in my opinion and I read all of them when in my twenties.
      Several friends have recommended “Gone Girl” so that is on my list for reading when I get through the pile that is already waiting for me.
      Enjoy your reading journey with these thirteen titles!

    3. I stopped buying books 2 years ago, but I remember feeling the same as you, books just multiplying around me. Bookstores are a dangerous place for me 😉

      Of your list, I’ve only read Gone Girl. It was a quick read – I wanted to find out what happened next and read it in one day on vacation. I’ve heard good things about Midwives. It’s on my to-read list, so I’d love to hear what you think!

    4. I havent heard of any of them either. My personal reading challenge has been to read 100 books this year, which has meant rushing & choosing short books. 13 in a year sounds muh more civilised & reminds me of the book club I haven’t been to in ages which also meets in our local book shop. For now I am reading “Harold fry” on your reccomendation & enjoying it.
      Happy reading.

      • Glad you are enjoying Harold Fry, Peachie.

        Sometimes I read a stack of books, sometimes I just can’t maintain sustained thought processes. So I will set a small number of books to read – want it to remain enjoyable and not a chore. Also these were books I have bought and are hanging around waiting to be read. Part of my decluttering process.

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