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Acqua Alta by Donna Leon

Seasons and Creatures by Lauris Edmond

The Ice Balloon by Alec Wilkinson

Rabindranath Tagore - a Biography by Krishna Kripalani

An Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mohandas K. Gandhi

Selected Poems: v. 1 by Erica Jong

An Equal Music by Vikram Seth

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Member: Caroline_McElwee

CollectionsYour library (7,022), Kindle Library (since Aug 2014 - I have over 1000 others!) (32), Read 2014 (my own collection) (59), College of One (39), 50 books I'd keep if I could have no more (50), Read but no longer owned (or not read!) (181), 2009 - read (from my own library) (72), Thrice or more! (53), Read 2013 (from my own library) (66), Read (of my library) (1,354), Bloomsbury Group and Friends (114), Dutch Collection (126), Russia (114), Joyce Carol Oates Collection (46), Books I wouldn't want to live without (1,867), Useful self development tools (15), Publications (45), All collections (7,237)

Reviews110 reviews

TagsNovel (1,983), R (1,565), US (986), UK (902), 2012 (897), 2014 (857), biography (807), novel (631), autobiography (554), 2013 (464) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud, tag mirror

About mePhotograph: Flowers on desk (c) C J McElwee 2014

Currently reading

The Poets' Daughters: Dora Wordsworth and Sara Coleridge (Katie Waldergrave) (biography)
Tender is the Night (F Scott Fitzgerald) (re-read ?6th time)
Marrying Out (Harold Carlton) (memoir)
Ice (Gillian Clarke) (Poetry)

Slow Reading in a Hurried Age (David Mikics)
The Future, Declassified (Michael B&b urrows) (NF) (Kindle)

Rembrandt: The Late Works (Gregor Weber)
Anselm Kiefer (Richard Davey)
Anselm Kiefer Studios (Daniėle Cohn)
Wolf Khan (Justin Spring)

The Question of things Happening: Letters of Virginia Woolf (vol 2)
The Small Pleasures of Life (Philippe Delerme) (Essays)
In Translation: Translators on their work and what it means (eds Allen and Bernofsky
Outsiders Together (Natania Rosenfeld) [Biography]
The Sonnets (Shakespeare)

Persiana (Sabrina Ghayour) - Cookbook in current use

Vivienne Westwood (Vivian Westwood and Ian Kelly)
Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh (John Lahr)
The Blazing World (Siri Hustvedt) (novel)

Slowly dipping

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (Charles Jencks) (NF)
The Complete Short Stories of DH Lawrence
Poems of D H Lawrence
A Year to Live: How to Live this year as if it were your last (Stephen Levine) (re-read)
Don Juan (Lord George Byron)

The Bloomsbury Cookbook (Jans Ondaatje Rolls)
The Voice of the World (Sir Thomas Browne) Selected Works
Hitting Trees with Sticks (Jane Rogers) Short Stories

Haven't given up on:

The Team of Rivals (Doris Kearns Goodwin) [Biography/History]

Reading throughout the next year or two:

The Collected Poems of Ted Hughes (1200 pages of poetry)
A New Literary History of America (eds Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors) (200 essays)
A New History of Western Philosophy (Anthony Kenny)

I'm also doing the American Author Challenge:

I also decided to record my reading on Club Read 2014 this year:

I'm always reading several books at a time, some get left aside for long periods and then are returned to.

Read in 2014

The Writing Life (Annie Dillard) (03/01/14) ***** [re-read] [Memoir]
The School for Love (Olivia Manning) (05/01/14) ***1/2 [Novel]
Sempre Susan (Sigrid Nunez) (06/01/14) ***1/2 [Memoir]
Standing in the Light: My Life as a Pantheist (Sharman Apt Russell) (11/01/14) **** [Memoir/Spiritual]
The Violins of St Jacques (Patrick Leigh Fermor) (12/01/1304) *** [Novel]
O Pioneers! (Willa Cather)(15/01/14) **** [Novel, US]
Meditations (Marcus Auralius) (18/01/14) **** [Philosophy]
The Insulted and Injured (Fyodor Dostoyevsky) (25/01/14) ***
It's Fine By Me (Per Peterson) (26/01/14)***1/2
The Outlander (Gil Adamson) (08/02/14) ***1/2
The Hamlet (William Faulkner) (20/02/14 ****
Persepolis1 (Marjane Satrapi) (27/02/) ***1/2 (book group read/first Graphic novel)
Day (A L Kennedy) (02/03/14) ****1/2
What W. H. Auden can do for you (Alexander McCall Smith)[Essays] (09/03/14) ****
Tinkers (Paul Harding) (16/03/14)****1/2
The Road to Middlemarch: My Life with George Eliot (Rebecca Mead) (21/03/14) ****
The Lives of Stella Bain (Anita Shreve) (24/03/14)***
The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle (Kirsty Wark) (05/04/14) ****
Life Lessons from Byron (Matthew Bevis) (08/04/14) ****1/2
On Leave (Daniel Anselme) (13/04/14) ***1/2
How to be a Woman (Caitlin Moran) (memoir) (18/04/14) ***1/2
Summer in February (Jonathan Smith) (22/04/14) ****
Soil, Soul, Society (Satish Kumar) (23/04/14) ****
I've lived in London for 86 1/2 years (Joseph Markovitch/Martin Usbourne) (26/04/14) *****
Woolgathering (Patti Smith) (27/04/14) ****
Margaret Fuller: A New American Life (Megan Marshall) (biography) (04/05/14) ****
The Song of Solomon (Toni Morrison) (12/05/14) *****
The Lie (Helen Dunmore) (16/05/14) ****1/2

The Murder Bag (Tony Parsons) (24/05/14) ****
Rumi: The Persian, the Sufi (A Reza Arasteh) (GL) (27/05/14) ****1/2
Loudness (Judy Brown) (poetry) (27/05/14) ***1/2
Dept of Speculation (Jenny Offill) (28/05/14) ****
The Sandalwood Tree (Elle Newmark) (07/06/14) ***1/2
Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (Maggie Gee) (novel) (13/06/14) ****1/2
Amours de Voyage (Arthur Hugh Clough) (poetry,letters) (15/06/14) ***
The Clothes on their Backs (Linda Grant) (22/06/14) ****
This Boy (Alan Johnson) (23/06/14) (autobiography) ****
Carl Jung (Paul Bishop) (30/06/14) ****
Sanctuary (Brian Dillon) (30/06/14) (novel) ****
In the Light of What We Know (Zia Haider Rahman) (13/07/14) ****1/2
The Information Officer (Mark Mills) (17/07/14) ***1/2
Youth Without God (Odon von Horvath) (novel) (18/07/14) ****
Madame Bovary (Gustave Flaubert) (31/07/14) ****
Suddenly, Love (Aharon Appelfeld) (03/08/14) (novel) ****1/2
Andrew Wyeth: A Spoken Self-Portrait (with Richard Meryman)(03/08/14) ****
Until Further Notice I Am Alive (Tom Lubbock) (Memoir) (10/08/14) *****

Working on my Novel (Cory Arcangel) (Memoir ?) (10/08/14) ***
War (Harold Pinter) (10/08/14) ****
All We Know of Heaven (Remy Rougeau) (novel) (14/08/14) ***1/2
Great Works:50 Paintings Explored (Tom Lubbock) 15/08/14) *****
Elizabeth is Missing (Emma Healey) (novel) (18/08/14) ****
Passions Past and Present (Roy Strong) (Essays) (19/08/14) ****
The Laskett (Roy Strong) (Memoir/Gardens) (23/08/14) ****
Strong Points (Roy Strong) (Essays) (25/08/14) ***
Van Gogh at Work (Marije Vellekoop et al) (27/08/14) *****
The Married Man: A Life of D H Lawrence (Brenda Maddox) (29/08/14) ****
The Twenty-Four Seven Blossom (Julia Bird) (Poetry) 31/08/14) ***
Mrs Moneypenny's Financial Advice for Independent Women (02/09/14) ****
The Stairwell (Michael Longley) (Poetry) (04/09/14) ***/12
The Paying Guests (Sarah Waters) (06/09/12) ****1/2
Ritual Lighting (Carol Ann Duffy, with artwork by Stephen Raw) (Poetry) (13/09/14) ****
Last Night at the Lobster (Stewart O'Nan) (14/09/14) ****1/2
All the Rebel Women: the rise of the fourth wave of feminism (Kira Cochrane) (14/09/14) **** [Kindle]
Long Life: Essays and other writings (Mary Oliver) (15/09/14) ***1/2
The Library Book (various) (essays) (18/09/14) ***1/2
Ross Poldark (Winston Graham) (Re-read) (23/09/14) ****
The Last Man in Russia (Oliver Bullough) (NF) (26/09/14) ***1/2
Mrs Moneypenny's Career Advice for Ambitious Women (29/09/14) ****
Living in the Maniototo (Janet Frame) (05/10/14) ***
On Liberty (Shami Chakrabati) (06/10/14) ****
Nora Webster (Colm Tòibìn) (10/10/14) ****
Lila (Marilynne Robinson) (16/10/14) ****1/2
Memory Theatre (Simon Critchley) (Short Story/philosophy) (17/10/14) ****
Poetry Notebook 2006-2014 (Clive James) (24/10/14) ****
There's something I've been dying to tell you (Lynda Bellingham) (26/10/14) ***1/2
Trespass (Rose Tremain) (re-read for book group) (30/10/14) ****
A Painters Progress: A Portrait of Lucian Freud (David Dawson) (07/11/12) *****
Rainbow in the Cloud (Maya Angelou) (09/11/14) ****
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (Tom Franklin) (10/11/14) ****
The Private Life: Why we remain in the dark (Josh Cohen) (15/11/14) ****
Academy Street (Mary Costello) (novel) (Kindle) (18/11/14) ****
The Age of Innocence (Edith Wharton) (24/11/14) ****
Portrait of Elmbury (John Moore) (memoir) (25/11/14) ****1/2
Essays on the Self (Virginia Woolf) (30/11/14) *****
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying (Marie Kondo) (02/12/14) ****
Pelt (Sarah Jackson) (04/12/14) (Poerty) ****
A Winter's Night (William Shakespeare) (07/12/14) ****1/2
The Book of Strange New Things (Michel Faber) (14/12/14) ****

read: 88

What stood out in 2013


Top 5

Orkney (Amy Sackville) ****1/2
Pnin (Vladimir Nabokov) ****1/2
Frances and Bernard (Carlene Bauer) ****1/2
The Goldfinch (Donna Tartt) (02/11/13) ****1/2
Toilers of the Sea (Victor Hugo) (07/04/13) ****1/2

Best of the rest

The Poetry Professor (Grace McCleen) ****
The Orchardist (Amanda Coplin) (novel) (Debut) ****
Americanah (Chimamanda Ngosi Adichie) ****
The Orchard (Drusilla Modjeska) ****1/2 (Australia)
Beowulf (Seamus Heaney trans) ****1/2
The Selfish Giant and other Stories (Oscar Wilde)*****


Top 5

Airmail: letters of Robert Bly and Tomas Tranströmer (27/07/13) *****
The Twilight of American Culture (Morris Berman) (NF) (05/01/13) ****
Straw Dogs (John Gray) ****1/2 [Essays]
William Morris (Fiona MacCarthy) ****1/2
Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding (George Monbiat) ****

Best of the rest

The Letters of Leonard Woolf (ed Frederic Spotts) ****1/2
Living, Thinking, Looking (Siri Hustvedt) **** [Essays]
On Writing (A L Kennedy)) ****1/2
The Time by the Sea (Ronald Bythe) ****
This is it (Alan Watts) (Essays) ****
The Rings of Saturn (W G (Max) Sebald) *****
Virginia Woolf's Garden (Caroline Zoob/Caroline Arber: photographer) *****
At the Source (Gillian Clarke) [memoir/Wales/poetry/nature] ****

Special mention
Vincent Van Gogh sketchbooks ***** [Folio Society Facimillies]

What stood out in 2012:


Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments (Michael Dirda)
Former People: The Last Days of the Russian Aristocracy (Douglas Smith)
The Missing Ink: The Lost Art of Handwritting (and why it matters) (Philip Hensher)
Mortality (Christopher Hitchens)
Collected Letters of Virginia Woolf: Vol 1
The Idle Traveller (Dan Kieran)
Listen to the Echoes: Interviews with Ray Bradbury (Sam Weller)
Earth Pilgrim (Satish Kumar)
Wildwood: A Journey through Trees (Roger Deakin)
Hockney: The Bigger Message (Martin Gayford)
Pilgrimage (Annie Leibovitz )


Train Dreams (Denis Johnson)(I read it a second time in the same year!)
Satantango (Laszlo Krasznahorkai)
The Cleaner of Chartres (Salley Vickers)
Home (Toni Morrison)
A trick I learned from dead men (Kitty Aldridge)
Rules of Civility (Amor Towles)
Fame is the Spur (Howard Spring)

Stood out in 2011:


Crossing to Safety (Wallace Stegner) (American)
Our Fathers (Andrew O'Hagan) (British)
Five Bells (Gail Jones) (Australian)
The Last Brother (Nathacha Appanah) (French- Mauritian)
Great House (Nicole Krauss) (American)
Sum (David Eagleman) (American)
The Farm Theotime (Henri Bosco) (French)
The Upright Piano Player (David Abbott) (British)
South Riding (Winifred Holtby) (British)
The Master and Margerita (Mikhail Bulgakov) (Russian)
Tender is the Night (F Scott Fitzgerald) - 5th read, and the writing and scope blew me away this time


The Blue Hour : A Portrait of Jean Rhys (Lilian Pizzichini)
My Reading Life (Pat Conroy)
How to Live - a life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts to answer it (Sarah Bakewell)
Zeitoun (Dave Eggers)
The Fountain (Don Cupitt)(Secular theology/philosophy)
Just Kids (Patti Smith)

Stood out in 2010

Of mutability (Jo Shapcot) [Poetry]
Dreams of Speaking (Gail Jones)(04/12/10) ****
The Book of Small Souls (Louis Couperus) quartet which includes: Small Souls/The Later Life/The Twilight of Souls/Dr Adriaan)
Nemesis (Philip Roth)
The Great Gatsby (F Scott Fitzgerald) [Re-Read 28th time!]
Virginia Woolf Diaries diaries Vols 1-5
Leslie Stephen (Noel Gilroy Annan)
Andrew Wyeth: A Secret Life (Richard Meryman)
The Idea of a University (John Henry Newman)
The Vicar of Wrexhill (Fanny Trollope)
After the Deluge (Vol 1&2) (Leonard Woolf)
Heat of the Day (Elizabeth Bowen
I Lock my door upon myself (Joyce Carol Oates) [Read twice this year]
Conversations 1970-2006 (with Joyce Carol Oates)
Trespass (Rose Tremain)
Pollard (Laura Beatty)
The Spectator Bird (Wallace Stegner)
Little Bird of Heaven (Joyce Carol Oates)
Their Eyes were watching God (Zora Neale Hurston) [Re-read]
An Equal Stillness (Francesca Kay)

I have joined the London Library and decided to start a catalogue to record the books I've loaned and to sometimes review them.

If you don't know about this lovely library you can find it here:

I have started a separate catalogue to list those books here:

Groups75 Books Challenge for 2014, Atwoodians, Bloomsbury Group and their friends, Club Read 2014, Dutch writing in English - An appreciation, Fans of Joyce Carol Oates, Folio Society devotees, Helene Hanff, Hornbeam Reading Group, Monthly Author Readsshow all groups

Favorite authorsDavid Abbott, Peter Ackroyd, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Karen Armstrong, Elizabeth von Arnim, Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, James Baldwin, John Banville, Pat Barker, Simone de Beauvoir, Dirk Bogarde, Elizabeth Bowen, William Boyd, Ray Bradbury, Poppy Z. Brite, Sir Richard Francis Burton, A. S. Byatt, George Gordon Byron, Baron Byron, Italo Calvino, Albert Camus, J. L. Carr, Anne Carson, Raymond Carver, Bruce Chatwin, Anton Chekhov, Louis Couperus, Michael Cunningham, Charles Dickens, Emily Dickinson, Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, Isak Dinesen, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Mark Doty, Carol Ann Duffy, Helen Dunmore, George Eliot, T. S. Eliot, Euripides, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Penelope Fitzgerald, Janet Frame, Northrop Frye, Tess Gallagher, Maggie Gee, André Gide, Victoria Glendinning, Graham Greene, Helene Hanff, Richard Holmes, Michael Holroyd, Janette Turner Hospital, Khaled Hosseini, Siri Hustvedt, Fergal Keane, John Keats, H. H. the 14th Dalai Lama, Primo Levi, Penelope Lively, Mary S. Lovell, Bernard MacLaverty, Deirdre Madden, Osip Mandelstam, Henning Mankell, Sándor Márai, Philip Marsden, André Maurois, Ian McEwan, Patrick McGrath, Anne Michaels, Michel de Montaigne, Toni Morrison, Marcel Möring, Harry Mulisch, Pablo Neruda, John Henry Newman, Joyce Carol Oates, Andrew O'Hagan, Michael Ondaatje, John Pilger, Annie Proulx, Rainer Maria Rilke, Joseph Roth, Philip Roth, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Jonathan Sacks, Vita Sackville-West, Lorna Sage, May Sarton, Bernhard Schlink, Seneca, William Shakespeare, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sam Shepard, Carol Shields, Anita Shreve, Marin Sorescu, John Steinbeck, Lytton Strachey, William Styron, Elizabeth Taylor, Lisa St. Aubin De Teran, Leo Tolstoy, Claire Tomalin, Rose Tremain, Jane Urquhart, Salley Vickers, Alice Walker, Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams, Lanford Wilson, Jeanette Winterson, Jan Wolkers, Leonard Woolf, Virginia Woolf (Shared favorites)


Favorite bookstoresLondon Review Bookshop

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URLs /profile/Caroline_McElwee (profile)
/catalog/Caroline_McElwee (library)

Member sinceFeb 21, 2007

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