Monday, July 4, 2011

43 Books

Following my last post where I mentioned the books I read during surgery and chemo, a number of people asked me (a) what I read and (b) how I found the time.

The answer to (b) is that when you spend months hooked up to intravenous poison every Monday morning for 4 or so hours, you suddenly have quite a lot of time for reading.

(a bit of our library)

And the answer to (a) is below where I list my 43 books. 

As I have said before, I found reading a bit challenging this year.  I did not want to read anything life changing which would later remind me of where I was when I read it. 

I also found it quite helpful to read about people battling life and death in an escapist sense because it made me feel that they were in more trouble than me (the same reason I have watched a lot of House this year.  They have what disease?   Just made me feel better that I had simple straightforward cancer).  

And also I did occasionally feel pretty brain dead and something simple and soft was just the answer. 

I have to mention the role of my Kindle in all this.  Whilst I love to hold a real book in my hot little hands, the Kindle has so many advantages.  Two in particular I mention: the first is that if you are stuck somewhere and don't feel like reading what you have, you can in 30 seconds download another book.  The second is cost.  On Kindle, most paperbacks are $5 to $7, old classics are free, and even new ones are about $11.  Compared to a shop price of $29 for a new paperback that is a major saving and explains why I could do crazy things like read the balance of the Lee Child oeuvre.  ( I bet not many people put 'Lee Child' and 'oeuvre' in the same sentence). 

So, fully categorised and colour coded, here is the list.   

This post is dedicated to Anton, the lovely silver haired man from the country I met in the oncology suite who reads military history and was always interested in what I was reading.  I hope you are doing okay.  

A mixed bag of fiction

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
One Day by David Nicholls
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak 
The Flaneur by Edmund White
When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman (thanks Simone xo)

US loner ex military cop adventures

Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child
The Visitor by Lee Child
Without Fail by Lee Child
Tripwire by Lee Child
Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child
Persuader by Lee Child

I am addicted to Jack Reacher and his slightly improbable but impeccably plotted adventures in the US heartland. 

Self Help and Cancer

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle  (first and last self help book I will ever try to read)
C: Because Cowards get Cancer too by John Diamond
Crazy Sexy Cancer by Kris Carr
The C Word by Lisa Lynch

A classic fast paced WW2 thriller

Eye of the Needle by Ken Follett
(I also read 'A Dangerous Fortune', epic banking family revenge saga set in late 1800s London).  

Soppy and Likely to Make You Lose Respect for Me

A Special Relationship by Douglas Kennedy
Temptation by Douglas Kennedy 
State of the Union by Douglas Kennedy
The Moment by Douglas Kennedy (this is his latest book about a doomed romance set in a 1980s separated Berlin.  I don't know about you but I fully loathed the main character by the end of this story - whatever you do don't read this book)
A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve (always love her work although her earlier stuff is superior I think)

Venetian Detective

Wilful Behaviour by Donna Leon

2 new US legal thrillers

Innocent by Scott Turow (this is a sequel to Presumed Innocent and is quite brilliant.  His writing is so calm and powerful, and this is a marvellous depiction of a marriage in decay as well). 
The Confession by John Grisham

Adventure for 12 year old girls
 (and me)

What Katy Did by Susan Coolidge
Night birds on Nantucket by Joan Aiken
The Witch of Clatteringshaws by Joan Aiken
Midwinter Nightingale by Joan Aiken
Mandy by Julie Andrews (actually I read this to my daughter but it still counts)

You may think this is a bit odd but proper children's literature can be read by adults, I think.  And I may have been regressing just a bit in hospital, so I went on a bit of a Joan Aiken splurge.  These books are amazing, they feature a little Cockney adventuress, Dido Twite and are set in an alternate history in the 1600s and feature a range of kinds (Good King James III and in Midwinter Nightingale a dying King Richard and a baron-werewolf bent on taking over the throne).   You can read about Joan Aiken here

Cornish and Scottish Bohemia

Wild Mountain Thyme by Rosamund Pilcher
Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher
Day of the Storm by Rosamund Pilcher
September by Rosamund Pilcher
Winter Solstice by Rosamund Pilcher

I read The Shell Seekers 20 years ago and it is one of my favourite books ever.  I bought lots of her lesser works on Kindle, some of which are okay, especially Coming Home which is an absorbing story set in Cornwall and London and Malaysia over the 1930s and in WW2.  

Mixture of Non Fiction

At Home by Bill Bryson
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell 
The Big Short by Michael Lewis 
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
Love Wisdom and Motherhood by Jessica Rowe
Is there a Nutmeg in the House? by Elizabeth David 
Smile or Die by Barbara Ehrenreich

Two Rock and Roll Tales

Just Kids by Patti Smith
Life by Keith Richards (still reading this one)


One of my favourite books - have read several times now
Not their best work 
Need to be in the right mood for this 
If you want to read something completely different...?

Finally, a very big thank you to Simone from Bottom of the Ironing Basket.  You see, I won her incredibly generous 500th post giveaway of 16 yes 16 books and they have been arriving in my office in twos and threes over the last couple of weeks.  Here are some of them.   Thank you very much lovely S.  xo 


brismod said...

Well, the title of Crazy Sexy Cancer caught my eye. I bet everyone in the oncology suite noticed that one...

And your snippet of library looks like ours - exactly the same military books (which are not mine by the way)!! xx

Dumbwit Tellher said...

Jane I think it's great that you love to read such a vast array of books. I would never judge someone for reading what they do. I think we all tend to retreat into a book that at the time fills a need or simply takes us away from our reality. I think well read people are the most interesting, not to leave out, knowledgeable. I need to read so much more than I do and I'd love a Kindle. I gave one to my eldest son who really loves it. Thanks for publishing your list, there are many I'd love to read. Hoping you had a good weekend?

Sending best wishes and love,

Kerry said...

Despite the reason for the reading binge...hooray to you Jane. I love your, dare I use the word eclectic, taste. Much like mine so of course I'm impressed! And to have colour coded? Yep, impressed. But glad to see you don't colour code the books on the shelf. So 5 minutes ago :)) And as for turning the spines inward or covering all the books in white paper so they match...that just gives me a headache. So glad to hear that the chemo is over and your wonderful attitude remains intact. x

A Farmer's Wife said...

I was unwell last year with an auto immune condition that had be in and out of hospital and required surgery. I, too, read the entire back list of Rosamunde Pilcher on my Kindle. I found it very comforting and cosy.

I also read the entire Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella which is just a sad thing for a 36 year old mother of two to do!!! But I enjoyed it and it was very non challenging.

I found the Kindle invaluable as I had a great deal of trouble sleeping when I was on some of the medication and so just read one thing after another.

I hope you are now feeling well and things improve from here.

Jenny said...

That is a good list.I haven't heard of a lot of them. I went to the local Dutch bookstore to get some books to read here and went to the English section. As I read over all the selections I wonder how they chose what they have, not on the New York Best Sellers list! So, I read the back covers and take a chance. My last book, a Spanish author, went in the trash. I found some England English books which I find soothing. Love Rosamund Pilcher. I am reading interesting books on the other side of the world that take me away to places I wouldn't normally go. The point of this...Keep reading. It is good for healing. You are doing great! xo Jenny

Natalie said...

Jane, Thanks so much for your book reading list. It's certainly extensive and varied. Love your bookcases. Where they custom built? Hope you are doing well and I look forward to reading more of your blog and more about your reading habits. Love Nataliexx

Slim Paley said...

I remember reading The Shell Seekers about 20 years ago (or so??!) as well- loved it! thanks for the memory

Natalie said...

Jane, you just reminded me, I found the DVD of The Shell Seekers at The Reject Shop for $2 about 6 months ago and loved watching it and have passed it round my Mum and girlfriends who also loved it. I would be more than happy to post it to you if would like to watch it. Love Nataliexx

Jane said...

You are such an inspiration, Jane. I can't wait for The Great Unpack to be over so I can be reunited with my books, my old friends. I appreciate your colour-coded suggestions, you thoughtful girl. J x

count it all joy said...

Thanks you so much for reminding me of Rosamunde Pilcher. I'm so happy that you won Simone's book giveaway! So many goodies to look forward to.

Have you read any David Sedaris before? My husband and I fight over his books when they're released. Love him to pieces. {We also fight over Lee Child, so I don't know what that says about us}. I keep hearing how wonderful Wolf Hall is and it's sitting on my shelf, but it keeps intimidating me with its weight. I'm afraid I won't do it justice in my sleep-deprived state at present.

Hope all is well in your Pear Tree House with you and your lovely ones. Meredy xo

Unknown said...

What a fabulous variety.....and colour-coded too, what a great idea!!

I loved sending you the books, hope you enjoy them :) xx

Mise said...

It's a wonderful and varied list. I too have read and reread What Katy Did, but possibly liked What Katy Did at School even more (the descriptions of the food parcels from home were bewitching). And when life was going badly against me, I found that all I could read was PG Wodehouse, which was detached from reality and gave me respite from it.

First House on the Right said...

Your bookcase makes me want to dash over and straighten all my books - it's so neat, I love it! Some great recommendations there :) Nicolex

24 Corners said...

Your list making skills are enviable Jane...color coding and all!! I just recommended shell Seekers to my sister and she was hooked. I've not read Rosamund's other works for fear of being disappointed (somethimes I'm a book wimp when it comes to that, too many times follow up's don't meet up), but I will give her a go with your recommendation. She certainly would be a lovely 'simple & soft' which is what I need this time of year (loved that description).
I noticed Elizabeth in your list...her go for it, straight forward attitude would I think be wonderful to 'hear' when feeling and being severely out of sorts, a superb 'self help book' if there ever was one, cooking or not.

Amazing and perfect that you won the that kind of stuff, congratulations!
Best to you and your family...
xo J~

Vicki Lane said...

I love your eclectic tastes -- much like mine. I too am a devotee of Lee Child and Rosamund Pilcher -- an unlikely pair of authors if there ever was one.

Life in the Country Lane said...

Im just getting back into the reading mood and loved your varied selections. We have all of Lee Childs - love Jack Reacher too, but Im keen to read some Rosamund Pilcher now. And great color coding! Your celebration cake looks divine. I have all of the delicous magazines, they have helped me to become a decent cook. Thank you for sharing your inspirational posts.
Rebecca x

Licorice and Olives said...

Please finish the book thief, it is beautiful! Then of the new books, the life of pi and what is the what are also amazing reads!

Samantha said...

Love your categories and your book photos.

Banaghaisge said...

Lovely eclectic list of books! And dribbling a little bit over your lovely neat and pretty library shelves which are inspiring me to think about what must be done about them...

Am enjoying reading your blog - I found you because of Design Sponge (I think - have been having one of those wandering the Net days...).
Hugs, Jasmine (in Central Vic)

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