So many books: 2019 reading goals


So many books, so little time. — Frank Zappa (attrib.)


As this is principally a book review blog most of the posts will be about … books. There are individual pages about longstanding interests of mine, Arthuriana (archaeology, history, mythology, popular culture, folklore) and its associated topic the Grail, but my tastes are generally rather catholic.

So you’ll find an awful lot of fantasy titles reviewed here, many by favourite authors E Nesbit and her successors Joan Aiken and Diana Wynne Jones. Much of fantasy shades into magic realism and SF or speculative fiction and so these are categories that are explored too. More highbrow literature is not neglected either, whether classic or modern, but fiction comes in all shapes and sizes so adventure stories rub shoulders with ghost tales, thrillers, crime fiction, historical romance and the occasional graphic novel.

Non fiction makes an appearance, from popular science to pseudohistory, from reference to biography, and from art to travel. I try to ring the changes, so if your interest isn’t immediately piqued have patience, something intriguing should come along soon. Feel free to start a conversation or discussion about any post — I aim to respond to each and every one so you won’t be wasting your time commenting into the ether! The only constraint, as Zappa is reported to have frankly and wisely remarked, is time.

Reading goals in 2019

1. Classics Spin
2. Goodreads Reading Challenge

The Classics Spin is a randomised choice of 20 classics I’ve selected to complete before the end of 2020, all titles already on my shelves.

I’ve subscribed again to the Goodreads Reading Challenge for this year, pledging to read at least 52 books in 2019. This will be regardless of whether they are first-time reads, rereads, library books or whatever. I don’t antipate any difficulties with this total: follow my progress at

In a bid to reduce TBR books on my shelves and in my Classics Club list I’ve selected a score of titles for Twenty Books of Summer, promoted by Cathy Brown of

Those read during the event are in bold.

1. Joan Aiken: Midnight is a Place is set in the same world as the Wolves Chronicles.
2. ‘BB’ [D J Watkins-Pitchford] : The Little Grey Men, an intriguing literary fairytale.
3. J M Barrie: Peter Pan, yet another children’s book, this one a reread.
4. Charlotte Bronte: Shirley, still to complete from a previous Classics Spin.
5. Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Secret Garden, because I still haven’t read it.

6. Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Return of Tarzan will be a reread, my ancient copy from the early 20th century having disintegrated long ago.
7. Edmund Crispin: The Case of the Gilded Fly is a reread for review.
8. Robertson Davies: The Manticore which, along with no. 9,
9. Robertson Davies: World of Wonders, are the books yet to be read in The Deptford Trilogy.
10. Roddy Doyle: Charlie Savage, a signed copy of which was kindly gifted by Cathy Brown.

11. Hermann Hesse: Steppenwolf, a Hesse I meant to read eons ago.
12. Eva Ibbotson: The Secret of Platform 13 was, as far as I can tell, definitely not ripped off by J K Rowling.
13. Niccolò Machiavelli: The Prince I once dipped into but never completed.
14. Daphne du Maurier: Rebecca, and, no, I still haven’t read it.
15. L M Montgomery: Anne of Green Gables, because … just because.

16. Mervyn Peake: Gormenghast, the next in the trilogy after Titus Groan.
17. Vita Sackville-West: No Signposts in the Sea, her final novel.
18. Andrzej Sapkowski: Blood of the Elves, which recently fell into my hands at a bookshop selling remaindered titles, by an author recommended by Piotrek and Ola.
19. Mark Twain: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer: another reread from childhood.
20. Rosemary Craddock: Avalon Castlethis last a library book.

10 thoughts on “So many books: 2019 reading goals

    1. Thanks, Emma! This is the tidiest it’s ever been in the loft, in preparation for a move…

      * Following the move the loft photo (now on another page) has now been replaced by an image of the bookshelves in the new house. 🙂


  1. Pingback: Literally challenged: update | calmgrove

    1. Are you planning to read Diana’s whole back catalogue, Daphne, as Marisa’s doing? My progress is proceeding at a very stately pace … The next Dido book is softly calling for me too, but she’ll have to wait while I demolish my bedside pile a bit more. 🙂


    1. Thank you. I suppose one is internalised landscapes against which narratives are played while the other is real landscapes in which real life is played out. Btw I like gardens and nature too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, I thought it was a good way to encourage me to actually pick up and read the darn books! And three years shouldn’t be too threatening a period, giving me plenty of time to choose among all those other works on my shelves.

      Liked by 1 person

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