Saturday 20 January 2024

The Annual Book Round-up

 This year I set myself the target of 50 books and managed 66. As ever when I am stressed I read avidly, it is an escape mechanism for me, so the end of the year was bumper.

It's been another year of plenty of 'Meh' books from the Had it for ages but never got around to reading it book mountain which I vowed to make a dent in this time last year. To be fair, I did make a dent in it. I also got rid of some unread when I had the cull before we moved because I just knew having put them off this long, I never would get round to them.

My only Janaury resolution for this year (which was actually decided upon in October) is to read my bookshelves. I did toy with saying no buying new books for a year whist I cracked on with this, but realistically I knew I would break the resolution, becasue if nothing else, my favourite author Kate Morton has a new book out. (In fact I've already broken it becasue I bought Judi Dench's book on Shakespeare over the Christmas holidays!) So instead I decided I would endeavour to keep the buying of new books as minimal as possible during 2024...wish me luck.  

In terms of reading my bookshelves. I made the decision for two reasons, one because there were some books I know I will move on, but I wanted some time to either re-read or skim through them before I did, so they moved with me. Second there were books I have kept for years because I read them back when I bought them, loved them then, so kept them but have not looked at them again since. (Some have now moved with me 4 times now.) I decided to see if they deserve to remain.

I also had sets. My brother and I were discussing this, that we were the generation that if you were into an an author or a band you bought everything they put out, and kept it even if you hated it, becasue you wanted to have the complete set.

As you will see from the list below that was certainly the case for Denise Robertson! I'm pretty sure I bought 'None to Make You Cry' first, really enjoyed it and bought more, 13 in total! I kept 2.

I know my tastes have changed because as said above a few of the books on the list I know I kept because I LOVED them when I first read them, but this time round they just left me cold. To the point I was actually questioning my own taste. Case in point 'The Rose Tree'. I can remember enjoying it and indeed bawling my eyes out at the ending. Yet this time round I really struggled, I actually had to force myself to finish it and then thought why on earth did I cry at this??  

Anyway below is the list including my rating score. I'm already a couple of books into 2024's challenge of 55 books. 

I shall leave you with a tweet that I loved from a publisher who had asked the public for their ideas for a vampire story. The one they quoted was; A woman deliberatly gets bitten by a vampire just so she can live forever and finally get through all the books in her 'to read' pile.  

Through the Keyhole: Sex, Scandal and the Secret Life of the Country House Susan Law 3

Fire Woman:The Extraordinary Story of Britain's First Female Firefighter Josephine Reynolds 2

The Wild Silence Raynor Winn 3

The Haunting Season:Ghostly Tales for Winter Nights Various 3

Mrs Benson’s Beetle Rachel Joyce 4

Nöthin' But a Good Time:The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion Tom BeaujourRichard Bienstock 3

Kitted Out: Style and Youth Culture in the Second World War Caroline Young 4

One more Croissant for the Road Felicity Cloake 3

Miranda’s Big Mistake Jill Mansell 1

This Much is True Miriam Margolyes 4

The Pathfinders: The Elite RAF Force that Turned the Tide of WWII  Will Iredale 3

Again Rachel Marian Keyes 3

Watchmen Alan Moore 2

The Fair Botanists Sara Sheridan 1 

Sisters in Arms:The Women Who Flew in World War II Helena Page Schrader 4

The Family Remains Lisa Jewell 3

Forever Home Graham Norton 2

The Dress Diary of Mrs Anne Sykes Kate Strasdin 4

Bleeding Heart Yard Elly Griffiths 4

Landlines Raynor Winn 3

The Newcomer Fern Britton 1

The Garden by the Sea Amanda James 2

The Bullet That Missed Richard Osman 4

Under a Cornish Sky Liz Fenwick 2

Lessons in Chemistry Bonnie Garmus 3

Yorkshire Women at War:Story of the Women's Land Army Hostels Marion Jeffries 2

Daisy Jones and The Six Taylor Jenkins Reid 3

A Spoonful of Murder J M Hall 2

A Pen Dipped in Poison J M Hall 3

V E day Russell Miller 2

Gatsby's Oxford:Scott, Zelda, and the Jazz Age Invasion of Britain:1904-1929 Christopher Snyder 2

Art Deco House Styles Trevor Yorke 4

A Brief History of Tea Roy Moxham 4

London Shopfronts Emma Page 3

Ravenmaster Christopher Skaife 3

Victoria Wood the Authorised Biography Jasper Rees 3

Pirates and Privateers Tom Bowling 1

Denim and Leather:The Rise and Fall of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal Michael Hann 3

Fred and Eddie Jill Dawson 3

Serpents in Eden: Countryside Crimes Martin Edwards 3

A Pin to See the Peepshow F. Tennyson Jesse 3

The Last Remains Elly Griffiths 4

The Lost Bookshop Evie Woods 4

Murder at the House on the Hill Victoria Walters 2

Murder at the Summer Fete Victoria Walters 2

Murder at the Village Church Victoria Walters 2

The American Airman in Europe Roger Freeman 4

Blood and Fears: How America’s Bomber Boys and Girls in England Won their War Kevin Wilson 3

The Anxious Heart Denise Robertson 2

The Land of Lost Content Denise Robertson 2

None to Make You Cry Denise Robertson 4

Irish Girls About Town: An Anthology of Short Stories Various 2

Girl’s Night In Various 1

Twenties Girl Sophie Kinsella 2

A Vintage Affair Isabel Wolff 3

The Cruellest Month Hazel Holt 2

The Rose Tree Mary Walkin Keane 1

The Second Wife Denise Robertson 3

The Stars Burn On Denise Robertson 2

Remember the Moment Denise Robertson 1

A Relative Freedom Denise Robertson 2

Act of Oblivion Denise Robertson 3

Daybreak Denise Robertson 2

Wait for the Day Denise Robertson 3

Illusion Denise Robertson 2

Larksleve Patricia Wendorff 2


  1. Loving the vampire quote! I'm trying to get through my shelves, too - but can't seem to stop finding more in charity shops or bargains on Abebooks!
    It's interesting about your tastes changing, I used to devour detective thrillers but they don't do much for me any more! xxx

  2. I'm duly impressed with the number of books you've read. I didn't keep track of how many I read, but I'd be surprised if there were more than 20, which is downright shameful. Oh, does Kate Morton have a new one out? She's one of my favourite authors too! xxx

  3. Well done you! I'm trying to read from my shelves too because if I don't start now I won't have them read before I die...I only keep books I want to re-read. Once read they're passed on or donated. That was a liberating moment for me when I realised I didn't have to keep every book I owned. You have some crackers on your list; I'd read the books by Raynor Winn and the Bonnie Garmin book on your list. Still waiting for the 4th Richard Osman to turn up in the chazzas. I have reserved the Kate Morton book from the library!

  4. I'd have been attracted to Gatsby's Oxford by the title, but you know Oxford and if you don't rate it, that's a big NO.

    I know what you mean about our generation having to have everything in a set - it's a habit Pete and I have been throwing off too. (He's rather better at it than I am...)