I thought I’d put together a post with some of the books I’ve added to my TBR list recently. I don’t know about other people – and feel free to share in the comments how your TBR list works – but my TBR is a list on my computer which I refer to when I’m ordering books at the library or am going to a bookshop! I’ve recently gone through a spell where I haven’t added much to my list, but that reading list slump has officially ended and I’ve been adding books left, right and centre. Here are a few which I’ve added recently (clicking on the title will take you to the book on Foyles’ website):
Adeline: A novel of Virginia Woolf by Norah Vincent
I recently read a review of this novel in a newspaper and was immediately intrigued. Twenty-two days after Virginia Woolf took her own life, her body was found in the River Ouse. Norah Vincent’s novel imagines how Woolf came to be there, as well as imagining Leonard Woolf, T.S Eliot and Lytton Strachey, among others in a ‘portrait of Woolf and her social circle’. ‘Haunting every page’ is Adeline (Virginia’s birth name) who is both a consolation and a torment to Virginia.
As I enjoy Woolf’s novels, I’m drawn to any book where she appears. I am always slightly uneasy when an author takes a real person, and a well-known and celebrated person at that, and fictionalises their life, but the concept of this one seems intriguing and I’m eager to see how Vincent explores Woolf and her life. I’m keen to dive into this one.
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
I don’t think this book was on my radar until I read Jacqui’s review of it. The Bookshop is set in a small East Anglian town where the protagonist, Florence Green, opens a bookshop, against opposition from locals. Her move has gone against everything which has always been done, and not only does she have to deal with the struggles of opening a bookshop, but also facing the forces that are the important people of the town.
I’m sure I’m not alone in being drawn to books about anything book related, so I was immediately interested in this one. Jacqui described the book as ‘finely observed’, with ‘precise and economical’ prose which is always a quality I enjoy in novels. The quotes she included also suggested it was quite humorous in places, which seems like a good combination to me. I’m looking forward to reading this one.
Weathering by Lucy Wood
Ada returns to the house she left thirteen years ago with her daughter Pepper to sort through her mother’s belongings so she can finally leave the house and never return. Pepper is accustomed to following her restless mother, but this old house is something new to her and she’s fascinated by everything surrounding it, particularly the river and the ‘strange old woman who sits on the bank with her feet in the cold, coppery water’. Pepper and Ada soon find themselves ‘entangled with the life of the valley’ and discover how places can bind people together.
I’ve read many positive reviews of Lucy Wood’s novel Weathering but when I went to order it at the library, they didn’t have it in stock yet. However, they did have her short story collection Diving Belles which I really enjoyed – her writing and storytelling is wonderful (review coming soon). Weathering is now even more firmly on my to-read list and I can’t wait to read it.
Through her work as a performer, Amanda Palmer has learnt how to turn to strangers for help and, in turn, build communities and make friends. These lessons helped her to ‘ask the world for money to make a new album and tour with it’. Expanding on her TED talk, this book teaches us how we can all take from her experience and ask people for help.
I’ve read lots of positive reviews of this book, and as I’m making a conscious effort to read more nonfiction this year, I’m keen to read this sooner rather than later. Jen Campbell spoke so passionately about this book in her March wrap-up video that I was compelled to add it to my to-read list. I feel like this will be an empowering read.
Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan
This book got firmly placed on my TBR after reading Max’s review. This story of ‘adolescence and betrayal’ is set on the French Riviera and follows Cecile as she leads her life with her widowed father and his mistresses. However, her father decides to remarry and Cecile intervenes, with tragic consequences…
If Max’s review didn’t make me interested already, the following quote clinched it for me:
“The next morning I was awakened by a slanting ray of hot sunshine that flooded my bed and put an end to my strange and rather confused dreams. Still half asleep I raised my hand to shield my face from the insistent heat, then gave it up. It was ten o’ clock. I went down to the terrace in my pyjamas and found Anne glancing through the newspapers. I noticed that she was lightly, but perfectly, made up; apparently she never allowed herself a real holiday. As she paid no attention to me, I sat down on the steps with a cup of coffee and an orange to enjoy the delicious morning. I bit the orange and let its sweet juice run into my mouth, then took a gulp of scalding black coffee and went back to the orange again. The sun warmed my hair and smoothed away the marks of the sheet on my skin. I thought in five minutes I would go and bathe.”
There’s just something about the imagery and the language which is so appealing and…delicious. It feels like a summer read to me, and one I’m looking forward to enjoying sitting in the garden and, hopefully, the sun!
So that’s what I’ve added to my TBR list recently. Who knows when I’ll get round to reading these – books can sit on my list for an embarrassingly long time. But putting this post together has made me want to treat myself to a few books… Perhaps I’ll start reading them sooner than I think. What have you added to your TBR list recently?