I made great strides with condensing my TBR further in September, and am hoping that by the end of October, I will have zero books on my to-read pile. I am aiming to get down to zero so that any books which I acquire can be read immediately.
At present, the tomes which are on my TBR pile have been languishing there for around two to three years, which seems ridiculous to me. I know that a lot of readers have huge TBRs, filled with books which they acquired ten years ago and haven’t yet got to, but I’m keen to rekindle the fizzy feelings which I get upon acquiring a new book and reading it immediately, whilst I’m still incredibly interested in it.
During September, I added no books to my TBR, and I am very proud of myself for this. There are a few new releases which I am keen to get to, but I’m going to either request them from the library, or add them to my Christmas list and hope for the best.
As with last month’s TBR tracker, you can find reviews of the books which I read during September, as well as an updated to-read list, below.
Thomas Hardy by Claire Tomalin
I am currently reading, and very much enjoying, this tome. I started it before going on a long weekend to Pisa, and have decided that dipping in and out of it whilst I have another book on the go is probably the best way to read it.
Cold Light by Jenn Ashworth ***
I have read a lot of Jenn Ashworth’s work in the past, and have really enjoyed it. I was thus keen to get to her debut novel, Cold Light. Although the story held my interest throughout, I never felt entirely gripped by it. I guessed what were supposed to be the major plot points very early on, and found that the novel sadly did not meet my expectations.
The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers by Adam Nicolson *****
I received Adam Nicolson’s The Seabird’s Cry: The Lives and Loves of Puffins, Gannets and Other Ocean Voyagers for Christmas, and although it took me some months to read, I was keen to get to it. I adore nature writing, and have wanted to read Nicolson’s work for a long time, and this seemed like the perfect introduction to it. I found The Seabird’s Cry utterly fascinating, and learnt so much from it. Beautifully descriptive, and with a wealth of wonderful research, this is a must-read for any nature lover.
Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood ****
I had wanted to read Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed, her interpretation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, for such a long time. I decided not to write a full-length review of the novel as there are so many around, but wanted to record a few thoughts, at least. I imagined that a retelling written by Atwood would be very clever, and it is. She retains enough of the original story for it to be recognisable, but certainly puts her own spin onto the plot. Its protagonist is believable, as are, indeed, its secondary characters. The prose throughout is engaging, and the elements of witty humour augment the more maudlin parts of the story. There are some great ideas within Hag-Seed, and the whole thing comes together splendidly.
The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather ***
I ended up reading Willa Cather’s Great Plains trilogy out of order, but found that it did not actually matter. The Song of the Lark is the second novel in the series, and the final one which I got to. Cather’s novel is so well written, and is filled with exquisite prose, but the story feels rather thin on the ground in places, and did not really hold my attention. Whilst I found Thea Kronborg quite intriguing at first, I became less and less interested in the protagonist as the novel went on. I love Cather’s writing style, but from my experience, feel that her novellas and short stories are far more successful than her longer books.
Travellers in the Third Reich by Julia Boyd and The Priory by Dorothy Whipple were both five star reads for me. Full-length reviews of both will be published early next year.
My current TBR stands as follows:
- The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
- The Diviners by Margaret Laurence
- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
- Les Parisiennes: How the Women of Paris Lived, Loved and Died in the 1940s by Anne Sebba
- Sweet Caress by William Boyd (Kindle)
Current total: 5
Goal for the end of October: 0