Another Ten from the TBR

As some of you might remember, about six months ago I posted a list of ten books chosen at random from my Goodreads “to read” shelf and since then I have been slowly working through those ten books. I have now read and reviewed eight of them; the other two I decided I no longer wanted to read and could remove from the shelf. Of course, I’ve also been reading other books from my TBR as well as adding more books to it, so this little project of mine hasn’t really made any difference to the numbers – but I still think it was worthwhile as it motivated me to finally pick up some of the books I’ve been marking as “to read” on Goodreads over the years and then forgetting about.

The eight books from the list of ten which I have now read are as follows:

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Thief of Time by John Boyne
Royal Mistress by Anne Easter Smith
The Odd Women by George Gissing
April Lady by Georgette Heyer
Cousin Bette by Honoré de Balzac
The Master of Ballantrae by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Sea-Hawk by Rafael Sabatini

I enjoyed most of these, particularly Alias Grace, The Sea-Hawk and The Master of Ballantrae, but I was disappointed by The Thief of Time. I’m also pleased to have read something by George Gissing and Honoré de Balzac at last!

The two books I decided not to read were:

The Bones of Avalon by Phil Rickman
Wieland by Charles Brockden Brown

I did start The Bones of Avalon, but couldn’t get into it and eventually abandoned it, happy that I’d at least given it a chance. Wieland, though, just doesn’t sound appealing to me and I can’t remember why I had wanted to read it in the first place.

That’s ten books removed from the TBR, then, which means it’s time to choose ten more! Again, I’ve used a random number generator to pick ten numbers and I’m listing the corresponding books below:

A Shilling for Candles

12 – A Shilling for Candles by Josephine Tey

Ten Second Staircase

46 – Ten Second Staircase by Christopher Fowler

The Shadowy Horses

128 – The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley

Phineas Redux

337 – Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope

The Reckoning

322 – The Reckoning by Sharon Penman


111 – Restoration by Rose Tremain

The Brontes went to Woolworths

463 – The Brontes went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson

Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles

245 – Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles by Margaret George

The Last King of Lydia

408 – The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach

Poor Caroline

36 – Poor Caroline by Winifred Holtby

What do you think of this selection? Are there any you think I definitely need to read? Any you wouldn’t recommend?

23 thoughts on “Another Ten from the TBR

  1. whatmeread says:

    Wow! I’ve only read one book from your second list, and that’s Poor Caroline. I read several Winifred Holtby novels about a year ago. I liked them all, although Poor Caroline is somewhat different from the others, maybe more acidic.

    • Helen says:

      I have read two Winifred Holtby books – South Riding and Land of Green Ginger and enjoyed them both, particularly South Riding. I’m looking forward to Poor Caroline, even if it is different from the others.

  2. piningforthewest says:

    That is a great list. I’ve read five of them, I think my favourites from it are Phineas Redux and The Shadowy Horses.

    • Helen says:

      I’m happier with this list than I was with my first one. I was pleased Phineas Redux came up and not one of the later books in the Palliser series as I’ve been working through them in order. I’m glad you liked The Shadowy Horses!

  3. Jennifer says:

    I always enjoy Josephine Tey. A Shilling for Candles isn’t my favorite, that would be The Daughter of Time, but all her books are good. Phineas Redux is the next of the Palliser novels that I need to read. The Reckoning is the third in Penman’s Welsh princes series. I was just thinking I need to reread them. You have some great choices.

    • Helen says:

      The Daughter of Time is the only Josephine Tey mystery I’ve read, so I’m looking forward to reading another one. I’m glad to hear they are all good. I’ve read the first two Welsh Princes books and loved them both! I can’t wait to read The Reckoning.

  4. Seren says:

    Hi! I recently friended you on Goodreads because I adored all your favourite book choices…I am so glad that I am not the only one with the tottering “to read” pile. I should definitely try this next year – I need to get some of them read! x

    • Helen says:

      Thanks for commenting, Seren. My to read pile is completely out of control! I need to stop adding new books and concentrate on reading the ones I already have.

  5. Lory @ Emerald City Book Review says:

    Hm, maybe you should read Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett instead. I seem to recall enjoying that one. (Wouldn’t it be interesting to find a bunch of books with the same title and read them together to compare them?) Of your current choices, I have only read Restoration, which I recommend highly. The Last King of Lydia looks most intriguing to me otherwise. I hadn’t heard of that one.

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad to hear you would recommend Restoration – it will be my first book by Rose Tremain. I knew nothing about The Last King of Lydia until I saw one or two good reviews and was intrigued enough to add it to my TBR.

  6. Jane @ Beyond Eden Rock says:

    I can warmly recommend Phineas Redux, Restoration and The Reckoning; and though I haven’t read Poor Caroline I love Winifred Holtby’s writing and so I’d love to read your thoughts about it. The other book I know is the Margaret George, which I found very readable but not the best book about Mary Queen of Scots,

    • Helen says:

      I love Winifred Holtby’s writing too, based on the two books I’ve read (South Riding and Land of Green Ginger), so I’m looking forward to reading Poor Caroline. I have one or two other books about Mary, Queen of Scots to be read, so I’ll be interested to see how Margaret George’s version compares.

    • Helen says:

      It isn’t really having as much impact on the size of my TBR as I’d hoped, but I still had fun working through my first list of ten and am looking forward to starting the second list.

  7. Lisa says:

    I’ve been clearing out books as well, letting go of some that I’ve had much too long – and that’s been easier than I expected. Not that my shelves aren’t still overflowing, of course.

    Several of the books you list are new to me. Phineas Redux may be my favorite of the Pallisers – but I need to re-read The Duke’s Children to be sure. I don’t remember much about A Shilling for Candles, and I’ve been thinking it’s time to re-read Tey.

  8. Alex says:

    I was going to ask if you had read the earlier novels in The Palliser sequence because otherwise you might find ‘Phineas Redux’ hard going, but I see you have. I love The Pallisers. They are my favourite Trollope and I’ve been contemplating reading my way through the whole sequence again just for the fun of sharing the characters’ lives for a while.
    I’ve recently re-read ‘The Daughter of Time’ for a book group and was surprised by how disappointed I was. I’m not sure that I would go back to Tey again so I’ll be interested to see what you make of her book.

    • Helen says:

      I’m glad it was Phineas Redux that came up and not one of the final two Palliser novels, otherwise I think I would have had to cheat. I like to read a series in order if at all possible. As for Josephine Tey, I’m assuming A Shilling for Candles is a fictional mystery rather than one based on historical fact like The Daughter of Time, so that might give it a different feel.

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