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Kingdom of Plants: A Journey Through Their Evolution by Will Benson

Moral Agents: Eight Twentieth-Century American Writers by Edward Mendelson

Swallow (Abacus Books) by D.M. Thomas

The Photographs and Notebooks by Bruce Chatwin

Astonishing Splashes of Colour by Clare Morrall

Selected Poems: v. 1 by Erica Jong

Mrs Engels by Gavin McCrea

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Member: Caroline_McElwee

CollectionsRead 2017 (my own collection) (47), Read 2016 (my own collection) (64), Your library (7,749), Read 2015 (my own collection) (56), Kindle Library (since Aug 2014 - I have over 1000 others!) (233), Read 2014 (my own collection) (68), College of One (39), 50 books I'd keep if I could have no more (50), Read but no longer owned (or not read!) (250), 2009 - read (from my own library) (72), Thrice or more! (57), Read 2013 (from my own library) (66), Read (of my library) (1,472), Bloomsbury Group and Friends (120), Dutch Collection (128), Russia (118), Joyce Carol Oates Collection (47), Books I wouldn't want to live without (1,862), Useful self development tools (16), Publications (45), All collections (8,228)

Reviews128 reviews

TagsNovel (2,155), R (1,705), US (1,072), UK (903), 2012 (896), 2014 (876), biography (863), novel (738), autobiography (609), poems (471) — see all tags

MediaNot set (128), Book (8,096), Paper Book (7,199), Audiobook (13), Ebook (207), Video Recording (1), Other (3), Map (2)

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About mePhotograph: (c) C J McElwee 2015

My 2017 reading thread starts here:

Currently reading

A Secret Sisterhood (Emily Midorikawa/Emma Claire Sweeney) (*/07/17) (274/*)
The Essex Serpent (Sarah Perry) (*/07/17) (420/*)
Blind Spot (Teju Cole) (*/07/17) (337/*)
Hope in the Dark (Rebecca Solnit) (*/06/17) (142/*) (Essays)

A Handful of Earth (Barney Beardsley) (*/06/17) (276/*)

In Custody (Anita Desai) (*/07/17) (204/*) (reread) ROOT
Homegoing (Yaa Gyasi) (*/06/17) (304/*)
Reality is not what it seems (Carlo Rovelli) (*/06/17) (234/*)
Authenticity (The Venerable Yifa) (*/05/17) (106/*)

The Vanishing Futurist (Charlotte Hobson) (*/06/17) (307/*)

White Beech (Germaine Greer) (*/05/17) (343/*)
The Fire This Time (ed Jesmyn Ward) (*/05/17) (224/*)

The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velázquez (Laura Cumming) (*/04/17) (268/*)
Immortal Diamond (Richard Rohr) (*/04/17) (212/*)ROOT
The Confessions of Nat Turner (William Styron) (*/03//17) (429/*)ROOT
23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism (Ha-Joon Chang) (*/03/17) (263/*)ROOT

War: What if it were here? (Janne Teller) (*/03/17) (63/*)
The Things You a Can See Only When a You Slow Down (Haemin Sunim) (*/03/17) (267/*)
Roger a Fry: Art and Life (Frances Spalding) (*/03/17) (276*)ROOT
At Home in the World (Thich Nhat Hanh) (*/03/27) (187/*)
Citizen: An American Lyric (Claudia Rankine) (*/03/17) (161/*) (Poetry)ROOT

Lapwing and Fox (John Berger and John Christie) (*/02/17) (288/*)
Ways of Seeing (John Berger) (*/01/17) (156/*)
The Invention of Nature (Andrea Wulf) (*/02/17) (337/*)ROOT
The Rattle Bag (various/ends Heaney and Hughes) (poetry) ROOT
Portraits (John Berger) (*/02/17) (502/*)ROOT

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

Read 2017

The Invention of Angela Carter (Edmund Gordon) (02/01/17) (421/421) ****1/2
A Florence Diary (Diana Athill) (06/01/17) (64/485) ***
Say Something Back (Denise Riley) (Poetry) (07/01/17) (71/556) ****1/2 ROOT
Life on Mars (Tracy K. Smith) (10/01/17) (70/626) (Poetry) *** ROOT
Kindred (Octavia Butler) AAC (10/01/17) (306/932) ****1/2
Collected Poems (John Berger) (15/01/17) (145/1,077) (Poetry) ***1/2
A Jar of Wild Flowers: A Celebration of John Berger (Various) (Essays) (17/01/17) (394/1,472)
Cataract (John Berger/Selçuk Demirel) (18/01/17) (63/1,535) ****
A Gentleman in Moscow (Amor Towles) (29/01/17) (462/1,997)****1/2
Selected Poems: Emily Dickinson (29/01/17) (129/2,126) ****1/2 ROOT
The Mangan Inheritance (Brian Moore) (05/0217) (333/2,459) (LL)****
The Simple Truth (Philip Levine) (06/02/17) (66/2,515) (Poetry) ****
The Beauty (Jane Hirshfield) (poetry) (12/02/17) (102/2,617) **** ROOT
The Gustav Sonata (Rose Tremain) (13/02/17) (240/2,857)****
Judas (Amos Oz) (21/02/17) (274/2,866) ****
The Saffron Road: A a Journey with Buddha's Daughters (Christine Toomey) (26/02/17) (367/3,233) ****1/2
Imagining Alexandria (Louis de Berniéres) (poetry) (26/02/17) (97/3,330) ***1/2
Emily, Alone (Stewart O'Nan) (03/02/17) (255/3,585) ***1/2 ROOT
Smoke (John Berger/Selçuk Demirel) (06/03/17) (67/3,652)****
The Golden Age (Joan London) (10/03/17) (221/3,873) ****1/2
Utopia for Realists (Rutger Bregman) (20/03/17) (264/4,137) ****1/2
South and West (Joan Didion) (21/03/17) (126/4,263) ****1/2
The Dark Romance of Dian Fossey (Harold. Hayes) (*/03/17) (352/4,615) ****
High Rise (J G Ballard) (02/04/17) (272/4,887) (Kindle) ****
Insomniac City (Bill Hayes) (14/04/17) (292/5,278) ****1/2
Soul at the White Heat: Inspiration, Obsession and the Writing Life (Joyce Carol Oates) (16/04/17) (387/5,675)
The Round House (Louise Erdrich) (25/04/17) (374/6,049) ****
Just Mercy (Bryan Stevenson) (28/04/17) (313/6,362) ****1/2 ROOT
Plot 29 (Allan Jenkins) (03/05/17) (249/6,612) ****1/2
On Tyranny (Timothy Snyder) (04/05/17) (126/6,738) ****
The Harbour Master (Daniel Pembrey) (10/05/17) (386/7,138) ***
The Invisible Man (HG Wells) (11/05/17) (188/7,326) ***1/2
Larchfield (Polly Clark) (17/05/17) (355/7,681) ****
I Saw A Man (Owen Sheers) (19/05/27) (311/7,992) ****
The Stranger in the Woods (Michael Finkel) (21/05/17) (203/8,195) ****
Persuasion (Jane Austen) (24/05/17) (311/8,506) ****
Dust Tracks on the Road (Zora Neale Hurston) (*/05/17) (300/8,806) ***1/2
Politics: Between the Exremes (Nick Clegg) (*02/06/17) (274/9,068)****1/2
The Thoughtful Gardener (Ginny Blom) (03/06/17) (253/9,321) *****
The Unseen (Roy Jacobsen) (06/06/17) (268/9,589) ***1/2
Inside the Wave (Helen Dunmore) (12/06/27) (63/9,653) (poetry) ***1/2
The World-Ending Fire: The Essential Wendell Berry (12/06/17) (351/9,704) *****
The Last Temptation (Val McDermid) (16/06/17) (416/10,120) (Kindle) ****
The Torment of Others (Val McDermid) (20/06/17) (412/10,532) (Kindle) ***1/2
Open City (Teju Cole) (26/06/17) (259/10,792) ****
Borderlines (Michela Wrong) (03/07/17) (342/11,134) ***1/2
Rooms of One's Own: 50 Places that made literary history (Adrian Mourby) (03/07/17) (240/11,374) ****
Cousins (Sally Vickers) (09/07/17) (394/11,768) **** ROOT
Angel Hill (Michael Longley) (09/07/17) (59/11,828) (Poetry) ****
Angela Merkel (Matthew Qvortrup) (17/07/17) (344/12,172) ****


Pages: 12,172


Best of 2016 (of 69 books read (17,693 pages))


The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (David McCullough) ****1/2
Gratitude (Oliver Sacks) *****
On the Move (Oliver Sacks) ****1/2
A House Full of Daughters (Juliet Nicholson) *****
The Lonely City (Olivia Laing) (Kindle) ****1/2
James Baldwin in Turkey (photographer: Sedat Pakay/ text various) *****
The Trip to the Echo Spring (Olivia Laing) ****1/2
Bowie/Collector (Various) *****
Unforbidden Pleasures (Adam Phillips) ****1/2


The Noise of Time (Julian Barnes) ****
1984 (George Orwell) (reread) ***** ROOT
The Whistling Season (Ivan Doig) AAC ****
The Red Chairs (Edna O'Brien) ****1/2
The Martian Chronicles (Ray Bradbury) ****1/2 ROOT
Life After Life (Kate Atkinson) ****1/2
A Country Road, A Tree (Jo Baker) (LL) ****1/2
The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead) ****1/2
Speak (Louisa Hall) ****
Golden Hill (Francis Spufford) (Kindle) ****


Loop of Jade (Sarah Howe) ****1/2 (poetry) – Winner of TS Eliot Prize

Top reads of 2015 (of 70 books, 15,042 pages)

Deep Lane (Mark Doty) (Poetry) *****


Plainsong (Kent Haruf) ****1/2
The Illuminations (Andrew O'Hagan) *****
Vanessa and her Sister (Priya Parmar) ****1/2
Go Set a Watchman (Harper Lee) ****1/2
Dear Thief (Samantha Harvey) ****1/2
Grief is the thing with Feathers (Max Porter) ****1/2
Our Souls at Night (Kent Haruf) ****


Being Mortal (Atul Gwande) *****
After Sebald (Ali Smith/Will Self/Robert MacFarlane et al) *****
The Future of the Past (Alexander Stille) ****1/2
Conversations with Frank Gehry (Barbara Isenberg) *****
The Nearest Thing to Life (James Wood) (Memoir Essays) ****1/2
Between the World and Me (Ta-Nahisi Coates) *****
M Train (Patti Smith) ****1/2
My Life on the Road (Gloria Steinem) ****1/2
Falling Upward (Richard Rohr) *****


What stood out in 2014 (Of 92 read)

The Hamlet (William Faulkner) (20/02/14 ****
Day (A L Kennedy) (02/03/14) ****1/2
Tinkers (Paul Harding) (16/03/14)****1/2
The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle (Kirsty Wark) (05/04/14) ****
The Song of Solomon (Toni Morrison) (12/05/14) *****
The Lie (Helen Dunmore) (16/05/14) ****1/2
Virginia Woolf in Manhattan (Maggie Gee) (novel) (13/06/14) ****1/2
In the Light of What We Know (Zia Haider Rahman) (13/07/14) ****1/2
Suddenly, Love (Aharon Appelfeld) (03/08/14) (novel) ****1/2
Last Night at the Lobster (Stewart O'Nan) (14/09/14) ****1/2
Lila (Marilynne Robinson) (16/10/14) ****1/2
A Winter's Tale (William Shakespeare) (07/12/14) ****1/2
The Clothes on their Backs (Linda Grant) (22/06/14) ****


The Road to Middlemarch: My Life with George Eliot (Rebecca Mead) (21/03/14) ****
Life Lessons from Byron (Matthew Bevis) (08/04/14) ****1/2
I've lived in London for 86 1/2 years (Joseph Markovitch/Martin Usbourne) (26/04/14) ***** (memoir/photography)
Rumi: The Persian, the Sufi (A Reza Arasteh) (GL) (27/05/14) ****1/2
This Boy (Alan Johnson) (23/06/14) (autobiography) ****
Andrew Wyeth: A Spoken Self-Portrait (with Richard Meryman)(03/08/14) ****
Until Further Notice I Am Alive (Tom Lubbock) (Memoir) (10/08/14) *****
Great Works:50 Paintings Explored (Tom Lubbock) 15/08/14) *****
Passions Past and Present (Roy Strong) (Essays) (19/08/14) ****
Van Gogh at Work (Marije Vellekoop et al) (27/08/14) *****
Poetry Notebook 2006-2014 (Clive James) (24/10/14) ****
A Painters Progress: A Portrait of Lucian Freud (David Dawson) (07/11/12) ***** (memoir/photography/art)
Essays on the Self (Virginia Woolf) (30/11/14) *****
Update: Poems 2011-12 (Dennis O'Driscoll) (29/12/14) **** (poetry)

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 2015, 75 Books Challenge for 2016, 75 Books Challenge for 2017, Atwoodians, Bloomsbury Group and their friends, Club Read 2014, Club Read 2015, Club Read 2016, Club Read 2017, Dutch writing in English - An appreciationshow 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, Richard Burton, A. S. Byatt, Lord 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, Dalai Lama XIV, 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

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway


Account typepublic, lifetime

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

Member sinceFeb 21, 2007

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