So that was January ….

…. the last week went missing, thanks to a horrible cough and cold,  a tricky few days when I went back to work, and a computer that started playing up horribly, and in the end had to have it’s factory settings restored.


But still I’ve managed to read more this month than I have in a long time:

‘The Lodger’ by Louisa Treger
‘The Faithful Servant’s by Margery Sharp (re-read)
‘The Curiosity Cabinet’ by Catherine Czerkawska
‘Jill’ by Amy Dillwyn
‘The Crooked House’ by Christobel Kent
‘The Prime Minister’ by Anthony Trollope
‘Linnets and Valerians’ by Elizabeth Goudge
‘Weathering’ by Lucy Wood
‘Enchanter’s Nightshade’ by Ann Bridge
‘The Young Pretenders’ by Edith Henrietta Fowler
‘Burial Rites’ by Hannah Kent
‘The Gipsy in the Parlour’ by Margery Sharp
‘Don’t Let Him Know’ by Sandip Roy
‘The Duke’s Children’ by Anthony Trollope

I have to give great credit to the TBR dare, for keeping me away from the library and making me realise how many great books have been waiting on my shelves for far too long.

To date I’ve knocked eight books off the physical TBR and six books off the virtual TBR.

My book of the month has to be ‘Weathering’ by Lucy Wood, and I’ve not read a book that I haven’t liked.

‘Linnets and Valerians’ and ‘The Young Pretenders were for the Classic Children’s Literature Event.

I came to the end of Trollope’s Palliser novels; after eight months months in their company I’ll miss them, but I want to try some of Trolloe’s other books and I still want to read ‘The Forsyte Saga’.

‘The Gipsy in the Parlour’ – set in Devon – was my first book for Reading England.

Margery Sharp Day, on the 25th was a joy, and I am still absolutely delighted that so many found and enjoyed a book.

Since then I’ve been dabbling, and all of these have been picked up and partly read:

‘Saraband’ by Eliot Bliss (the jury is out)
‘The Dead Duke, His Secret Wife And The Missing Corpse’ by Piu Marie Eatwell (just as good as it sounds)
‘Troy Chimneys’ by Margaret Kennedy (one of her best)
‘The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (half-way through, and I love it)
‘Lady Anna’ by Anthony Trollope (I was smitten from the first page)

I’ll pick them up again in February, which I want to be a simple, project free month of reading the books that call.

I’ve added a couple of books to a new ‘after the TBR Dare list on my library account.

And I’ve added a few judicious purchases to my personal library:


‘Three Fevers’ by Leo Walmsley
‘Fire Over England’ by A E W Mason
‘Winds of the Day’ by Howard Spring
‘The Houses in Between’ by Howard Spring
‘All The Day Long’ by Howard Spring
‘The Jasmine Isle’ by Joanna Harystiani
‘Harlequin House’ by Margery Sharp
‘A Century of Creepy Stories’ edited by Hugh Walpole

They’re very much ‘library building purchases’; six on a day when I had an appointment in Truro and seized the chance to visit my favourite bookshop, one came from a local charity shop, and ‘Harlequin House’ arrived because I’ve been looking for an affordable copy for a long time and I finally found one.

I’ll have difficulty resisting that one until the dare is over, but I could read ‘All The Day Long’ because I had a tatty old copy and so the lovely, signed, hardback edition is an upgrade.

My old copy has gone to a charity shop, in one of seven bags we dropped off this afternoon.

I must declare one addition to the virtual TBR – ‘After The Storm’ by Jane Lythell – because I loved her first book, and because it was a ridiculously good bargain.

That was January.

A very good month for books and reading.

Now tell me, how was your month?

What do you have planned for next month?

40 responses

  1. Sorry to hear about your cold! Are you feeling better? Great reading month for you, though! I’m still trying to get myself into reading more after a 2014 of reading slump so I only managed to finish 3 books but I’m quite happy with my reading. They all were quite rewarding. Best of bookish luck for February! 🙂

  2. I’m sorry to hear about your difficult end to January, but at least you’ve had a great month in terms of reading. The TBR dare certainly seems to have been working for you so far!

    • It was nothing I couldn’t deal with, but sometimes days just sail by. The TBR Dare is working beautifully, and I’m realising that my own shelves have books just as good as any the library has, and there’s not too much in bookshops that can’t wait a while.

  3. Lovely books and a good reading month despite illness. There’s been a lot around and I hope you’re feeling better now. I am in the midst of review books and though I’m enjoying them very much, I’m looking forward to getting out of them to read what I feel the need to read! 🙂

  4. How lucky you are to have so many wonderful books on your shelves. I have Troy Chimneys waiting for me — I’ve not read Margaret Kennedy yet and I’m looking forward to it.

    • Yes, I am lucky, and I have been remiss in letting books build up and be neglected while I borrowed too many others from the library. I’m hoping that after 3 months of the TBR dare i’ll find a better balance.I love Margaret Kennedy – especially her later work and I think – I hope – that you will too.

  5. Sorry you’ve been under the weather and hope you’ll be back to normal very soon.

    I imagine if I had your shelves I wouldn’t need the library nearly as much as I do. 🙂

    • I just have the tail end of a sore throat now, so things are pretty much back to normal. I’ve been collecting books more than I’ve been reading them for much too long, so it’s not too much of a hardship being without the library for a while, and it’s making me realise which books I really want to read.

  6. Sorry to hear you’ve had a difficult week, Jane, but you’ve done well to read so many books in January. Glad to hear you’re enjoying The Luminaries; it’s a book that seems to operate on a couple of different levels.

  7. I’ve had a similar kind of month Jane, less the cold – and taken refuge in reading – when I had to resort to my old Pentium laptop when my new one spent a fortnight being fixed, and everything else was so busy too – scheduling 80 pages of the new edition of Shiny on an ancient computer (by today’s standards) meant no time for computer games too which was a good thing.

    I’m rambling! The result is I’ve also read a good deal this month – almost exclusively from my TBR too which is brilliant. I hope next week is better for you! 🙂

    • You’ve done a fabulous job on issue 4, Annabel. I’ve not quite given up computer games but I’ve cut back – making them an occasional thing at moments of stress regular habit. that’s given me more reading time, and focusing on my own books seems to have done wonders.

  8. A great start to the year; I can’t believe how many books you have read. I have The Forsyte Saga on my TBR Pile for the year so hopefully I will get round to it too.

  9. I thought I was reading about myself – Rough with cold and cough -tick! Computer problems at work – tick! Reading can be such a solace, you have done well this month. I have read more than I normally do for a January and I must get round to The Luminaires.

    • I have to have a new work computer, because I still have XP and this year’s payroll update won’t be supported on that platform, but I have hopefully saved my own laptop by re-setting it. time will tell! I’m loving The luminaries. It’s slow and there’s quite a bit to keep track of, but it’s very readable,

  10. Hope you are feeling better Jane… do take care of yourself! I too had several technology challenges this month and unfortunately unlike you could not get too much reading done, thanks to my day job!!! Still February is here and hopefully I should have a better innings!

    • I’m doing better than I was at using what spare time I have for reading, and because I work on an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere I generally read in my lunch break. I wish you a great reading month in February!

  11. Looks like you had a great reading month, can’t believe how many books you finished! I finished 6 which is a good amount for me. I hope you enjoy your new books and happy reading in February 🙂

  12. Looks like you’ve had a wonderful month, bar the cold. They always come at the most inconvenient of times, don’t they?

    Lovely to see Burial Rites on your list of read, I loved that book.

    I’ve had a rather brilliant month of reading as well, it’ll probably be my best month of the year, January normally is.

    • Well, I don’t think there’s ever a right time. I found Burial Rites a little uneven, but I was impressed by the book as a whole. I’m glad you had a great reading anuary too, and I hope you’ll do as well through the rest of the year.

  13. Sorry you’ve been poorly, I hope you are feeling much better very soon. Looks like a lovely month of reading, and as another reader who is enjoying my own books that I already have this year so far, it’s great to see you enjoying your own selection, it’s lovely discovering that the books you own are treasures isn’t it. I know I’ll buy or borrow some new ones soon but it’s good to read some that have been calling from the shelves.

    • Yes, it is lovely, and reading some of the books that have been waiting on my own shelves has been lovely, It make me realise that I need to find a better balance after the TBR Dare when I start using the library again. I can resist shops selling new books, but secondhand books and the library are trickier,

  14. I have Troy Chimneys on my reading stacks, and now I am intrigued! I may have to move it up the reading list, with Lady Anna. I’m glad that you had good books for comfort or distraction, and impressed that you’ve made so much progress with the TBR Dare. I hope that your February is off to a good start.

    • I’m not sure yet if Lady Anna will prove to be one of Trollope’s best books – there were one or two weak spots in the plot in the early chapters, but I think the story is about to open out, so maybe he will be able to explain them away. But reading Troy chimneys I understand why it was Margaret Kennedy’s prize-winner, and I would love you to promote it up the stacks.

  15. What a lovely lot of books read. Sorry to hear you’ve been Took Bad, I am just developing something, having managed not to catch it off everybody in the world, but scanning along my TBR I can see some comforting reads to see me through. My January felt a bit faily (if I may post a link: ) but I am looking onward and upward to finally getting started with Mr Trollope this month …

    • There seems to be a lot of it about, but I hope you don’t get too badly hit. I didn’t read what I meant to read – Pilgrimage fell by the wayside and I meant to read another book for the Children’s Literature Event – but the books will wait I’m sure.

  16. Can’t go wrong with Howard Spring I’ve read “Houses In Between” and enjoyed it but found it a little long. Recently finished his first novel”Shabby Tiger” my copy of which came with a wonderful Pulp Fiction cover and now have the BBC series in mind to track down and watch

    • It’s years since I read him – apart for a short childhood memoir – but I’m eager to pick up his books again, especially now that I know he lived in Cornwall for many years and used settings I know well.

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