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The Broken Bridge by Philip Pullman

Nick's Trip (Five Star Fiction S.) by George P. Pelecanos

The Polish Officer : A Novel by Alan Furst

The Adventures of Augie March (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century) by Saul Bellow

Insel des vorigen Tages by Umberto Eco

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears

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Member: gaskella

CollectionsStockcheck (698), Your library (3,505), To read (1,876), Read but unowned (345), Favorites (9), Book Group Reads (66), Children's/YA Books (236), 5 Star Books (105), Prize-winners (62), Desert Island Books (4), Daughter's Books (4), All collections (4,327)

Reviews581 reviews

TagsFiction (2,518), TBR (2,033), Hdbk (556), Not kept (298), Crime (249), Children's (212), Memoir (143), SF (93), Fiction English (88), Biography (81) — see all tags

Cloudstag cloud, author cloud

Recommendations9 recommendations

About meBooklover, compulsive book-buyer and blogging about it for over five years - do visit 'Annabel's House of Books' - see the link below. A materials scientist by training, I worked in industry for ages before belatedly becoming a mum at 40, and am now working as a school Lab Technician.

About my libraryI buy far too many books, my unread now outnumber my read ones, but if I see something interesting I have to buy it! I aim to read around 100 books each year, and to review most of the books I read - Do let me know what you think, (expanded reviews and comment are on my blog 'Annabel's House of Books' and also where I am Fiction Editor).

I mostly read contemporary and 20thC literature. I also like crime novels and I'm not averse to a good biography or a bit of SF or other genre fiction occasionally. I have a good reference library too being a bit of a quiz fiend. Since having a child, I've developed a love of older children's and young adult books - auditioning them for my daughter perhaps, but I believe the best children's novels are every bit as good as adult ones! The best of my daughter's books are included, alongside my own childhood favourites still on the shelves.

Books I've read but not kept are only included where they're important, as part of a series, or I've reviewed them - these are tagged 'not kept'.

This year I've already read 72 books (as of end July). 10/10 highlights so far are:

- The Explorer by James Smythe (re-read)
- Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton
- Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
- Bedsit Disco Queen by Tracey Thorn
- American Sycamore by Karen Fielding
- Into the Trees by Robert Williams
- Tigerman by Nick Harkaway

In 2013 I read 106 books; 13 earned 10/10. They were:
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx (re-read); Mrs Bridge by Evan S Connell; The Explorer by James Smythe; Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M.Delafield; Magda by Meike Ziervogel; Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann; The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (re-read); The Great Gatsby (re-read); The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers; Alex by Pierre Lemaitre; Glaciers by Alexis M Smith; The Humans by Matt Haig; Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo - my Book of the Year!

My 2012 highlights were:
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey; The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson; Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr (re-read); The Bottle Factory Outing, and Sweet William by Beryl Bainbridge; My Policeman by Bethan Roberts; A monster calls by Patrick Ness; Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt; The Darling Buds of May by HE Bates

In 2012 I also hosted a BERYL BAINBRIDGE READING WEEK & my ongoing 'Reading Beryl' project has its own page on my blog

Groups37 oldies in 2011 challenge, Bloggers, Children's Fiction, Detectives, Fairy Tale Readers, Folio Society devotees, Freebies, Book Giveaways and Contests, Ladybird Ladybird, ReadItSwapIt, Undiscovered Gemsshow all groups

Favorite authorsPeter Ackroyd, Paul Auster, Beryl Bainbridge, Iain Banks, Nicola Barker, Nina Bawden, Sebastian Beaumont, Lawrence Block, Christopher Brookmyre, John le Carré, Raymond Chandler, Tracy Chevalier, Lauren Child, Jonathan Coe, Michael Connelly, Amanda Craig, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sally Gardner, Laurie Graham, Robert Graves, Graham Greene, Russell Hoban, Alice Hoffman, Nick Hornby, Elmore Leonard, David Lodge, Ian McEwan, Paul Micou, Richard Russo, Marcus Sedgwick, Anne Tyler, Salley Vickers, Evelyn Waugh, Angela Young (Shared favorites)


Favorite bookstoresBlackwell's Oxford, Mostly Books, Oxford University Press Bookshop, The Bookstore, Waterstone's Oxford


Also onAmazon, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Twitter, Wordpress

Membership LibraryThing Early Reviewers/Member Giveaway

Real nameAnnabel

Locationnr Oxford, UK

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/gaskella (profile)
/catalog/gaskella (library)

Member sinceSep 8, 2006

Leave a comment


Hi Annabel, I stumbled on a couple of recommendations of yours in 'Undiscovered Gems (2008), and have taken a punt and ordered them : Electricity (Ray Robinson) and Thirteen (Sebastian Beaumont). As I see I have almost 25% of the books on your library, I imagine we share similar tastes. Will let you know once I've read them.

Kind regards

you're right--it is so different. i'm not really liking it (just want them to stay on the beach!), but i'll persevere. :o)
Hi from Atlanta, Gaskella. I, too, have recently begun King's Dark Tower series. Your review is just terrific. I don't do much "fantasy" so hopefully I own't be put off. I've got the 2nd one on my nightstand waiting for me-- hear it may be the best! --Jenny :o)
Thank you for adding me to your list of interesting libraries. I always consider it a huge honour.

Take care

Mike B-L is Sir Tim's brother. I heard Mike discussing his book on a radio talk show.
I'm enjoying What I Saw and How I Lied, and the cover is fabulous. I got mine through Amazon Vine otherwise I probably would never have known about it.

Hi Annabel, I hope you didn't mind me using your blog and contents like that. I thought it was a great idea, and everybody seems to have enjoyed having a go. It was hard work though! Your blog is one that I visit regularly now - usually about three times a week. It's great!
Snap! I added Zuleika Dobson in the Folio ed some months ago but haven't got round to reading it yet - I must have read it in my teenage years when I devoured everything from Bernard Shaw to Alexandre Dumas and Jules Verne but have forgotten it completely. I was interested to see your note about reading for children - I have three literate great-grandchildren in Sheffield (my 78th birthday today) and I have just acquired and reviewed Rosemary Sutcliffe's "The silver branch" about Roman Britain which will be passed on to them on my next visit. It's my aim too to review everything I add, but there's a big backlog.
Best wishes
Thanks, Annabel. I was pleased that you found Cut Short 'an easy read'. I hoped it would be entertaining rather than taxing. I find some crime fiction quite confusing. I'm full of admiration for authors who succeed in pulling off supercomplicated plots, but I'm not sure I'd ever emerge from the maze if I tried to write something too clever...
I did want to make the book fairly realistic, as I think (I hope) that makes it more creepy. It could happen. It could be happening somewhere right now... The drama and terror all emanate from the killer who perhaps drifts a little towards horror? As a balance, I tried to make my police team true to life. I'm glad you felt they were realistic, but perhaps I should jazz Geraldine up a bit in future. In Book 2 the only other DI is nearing retirement and doesn't play much of a role, leaving more for Geraldine to do, with a different young DS in tow... Peterson is going to come back in Book 3. I rather liked him, and his relationship with Geraldine, but don't want to focus on that too much, hence his disappearance from Book 2 (I think.)
It's lovely to hear from you. Please keep in touch.
i haven't read it yet, but it meant to be one of the modern lithuanian classics:)
hello, i just looked at your blog and it says in the corner that you are planning to read vilnius poker by ricardas gavelis. how bizarre! where did you get this book from in english? i'm from lithuania myself and it feels weird that someone could read such a book here in the uk!:) let me know what you think when you finish.
Loved your blog. That's the kind of thing I'd like to get round to doing. Getting started by posting reviews on LT as I go along. In particular, I aspire to lists like yours!

Thanks for reading my review too.


I'm so glad you liked my review of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet! It was such a charming and beautiful book. I'm sure you'll love it.


I've got a feeling that was the reason why I put it on my Bookmooch wishlist so it had better be!!!

I know what you mean, I always like to read my ER book pretty sharpish, but at the moment I've still got "The Agency" to read as well as this one. I've also got "The Hidden by Tobias Hill, which took ages to get here and I know it's had some pretty good reviews so I'll read that one when I get around to it, but soonish.

Aaagghh - so many books, so little time...

I see you got Far North by Marcel Theroux today too - they got that through quickly didn't they?

Hi Annabel,
Thanks for your note! I have added you to our blogroll. Since I do all myo blog reading from a reader, I forget who's actually on our blogroll. :-) I'd been meaning to check and make sure our regular commenters and the blogs I read regularly were represented, so I'm glad you piped up!

And thanks for adding me to your interesting libraries. I'm addiing you to mine as well.
Good luck with your chat tomorrow - don't have access to Radio Oxford otherwise I'd listen!
Thank you for all the reviews you've done - given me some good ideas for my children's next books as well as my own. Happy reading in 2009.
Sue May

Thanks for adding me as a friend - I'm surprised we hadn't done this earlier!

Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

Hi Annabel, I too bumped The Reader up my TBR pile because I want to see the film. For me, it lacked any emotion in what should have been an emotion-filled novel. But I do have a problem with translations and often find they lack something for me. It's only a short book so I would say it's probably worth you still giving it a go.

Thanks for your message. I've just been looking at your blog and will be adding it to my ones to watch.

Just thought I would say hello, as we share quite a few books. I'm a book-buying-aholic too - for me a big part of the enjoyment is browsing bookshops and choosing ones to buy. If only I could read them a bit quicker!

Hi Annabel,

Yes, you should definitely cut your teeth on a Faulks! I'd recommend Engleby - but stick with it. I've got a couple more of his books - Birdsong and Human Traces, which I'm looking forward to reading but probably not until next year now, what with the size of my TBR pile!

Hi Annabel,

I listed your library because I particularly liked what you said in your profile about your book buying habits - it is great to find people who are as book mad as myself!

I shall be listing more books soon and no doubt we will indeed share a number.

Best wishes

Hi. Not surprising as you have so many books listed, we share quite a few. Good to see you gave Magnus Mills Scheme for Full Employment five stars, he's one of my favourites and Anne Tyler in my favourite authors list too. I'll potter through the rest of your list with confidence and see what grabs me, I'm always looking for new authors that have passed me by before. Thanks.
Hi Annabel

I've been around bookshops today and decided to buy The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri. I hope it's good! I've not ready any of his books before, but you mentioned him in your last comment to me, so I thought I'd give it a whirl...!

Hi Annabel

I've been working my way through the Inspector Rebus novels for the past two years, ever since my husband bought me the first 10 in a set for Christmas 2006 (I think it was!). Some of them are good, some of them not so good - I've just finished Mortal Causes so I'm on Black and Blue next. Have you got the same set, and are you reading them in sequence?

Hi Annabel,

I'm glad you liked Motherless Brooklyn. I read it a few years ago for a Book Club and really enjoyed it. I had taken it out from the library, but recently got my own copy so I'm looking forward to re-reading it.

I agree with you about the last quarter of the book, it does slightly tail off, but overall it's still one of my favourites.

Hello. Yes, I saw Electricity on Scott Pack's blog as well. It peaked my interest at the time, but I sort of forgot about it until I saw it for £2 second hand yesterday. Well for that price I just had to. I keep meaning to pop through to Abingdon and investigate Mostly Books, it's just that things always get in the way. I shall make a concerted effort though! The Literary Society sounds like a fantastic idea.

Thanks for adding me to your interesting libraries. The Georgette Heyers have been mood enhancers for me since early teens - it's lovely to wallow in beautifully written, really well researched froth! I'm collecting them in hardback now - the original paperbacks are falling apart.
I've just finished the follow up to Never the Bride - Something Borrowed and it's every bit as good as the first, I'm getting really fond of Brenda & Effie.
I will add you to my ILs for some more good books as I see that you have already marked out in your star books for 2007 & 8 some that I have also really enjoyed, especially Ex Libris, The Uncommon Reader and Miss Pettigrew.
I too have lots of hard boiled crime, it's just a bit of light relief to get back to a 'nice' murder.

Hi Annabel,

enjoyed Thirteen very much, finished it this morning. On to Michael Tolliver Lives now . . . .


Thanks for your comments. I've noticed your library in the past, as several of the books you've added have piqued my curiosity.

Glad to help with that review, hope you enjoy it once you get it.

It made me start a group here called Undiscovered Gems, so we could talk about a great finds that seem to be overlooked on here. I tried to send you an invite to it but the link won't work, so I am trying it here too. I hope it works and that you join.

We seem to have a lot of books in common so I am just about to go look through your library now.
Read it, wasn't gripped by it, and a friend of mine who read it said it was a bit boring.
Just wondering what you thought of The Autograph Man.
Thanks for your comments - you have some excellent books and it's always interesting to see what somebody who shares a similar taste in books is reading!

I've got two cats - the one in my picture is Ella (she's currently sharing my chair and taking up all the room). My other cat is called Charlie and he's ginger and white and a bit of a geezer - or so he likes to think!
Hi Annabel,
I agree that we share some really interesting books (and a significant chunk of my library as loaded so far). I'm looking forward to browsing your library properly when I get a chance and seeing how many more comparisons there are.
I'm a bit like you in that I've only recently developed this love of children's books and I'm mainly re-buying all the ones I had as a child - mostly the classics like Peter Pan, Heidi, What Katy Did etc, etc. I keep promising myself that I will buy all the Mrs Pepperpot books sometime, though that doesn'y really chime with my vow to buy nothing else until I've whittled down Mount TBR (now up to 96)

I do try and buy children's books for my own kids every Xmas (the 'kids' in question are now 31 and 28!) Last year my son (31) got a boxed set of the Secret Seven stories and my daughter (28) got a lovely hardback copy of The Tiger Who Came to Tea - her all-time favourite book as a child. I did recently read and enjoy The White Giraffe by Lauren St John, but the books I really love are the YA ones that treat their readers as grown-ups - slightly edgy, often a bit gruesome and generally challenging. One of my favourite authors of these is a British writer called Graham Joyce. His books (amongst them are TWOC, Do The Creepy Thing, Smoking Poppy and The Tooth Fairy) deal with very grown-up issues but in a way that I wish he'd been around when my own kids were that age. Another all-time favourite is a book called deadkidsongs by Toby Litt which, although it isn't actually a YA book is one that I know my kids would have loved at around 15ish. I guess you've still got all those great ones to come as your daughter grows up.

One of the things I love about LT is that it is introducing me to such a lot of American books I didn't know about. I always thought that we read pretty much the same things on either side of the pond - around 3/4 of my boks (at a guess) are by American authors - so I've been really surprised to find everybody on a particular thread talking about a book or a series of books that I have never heard of.
Hi there - thanks for including my library in your 'interestings' - a great compliment, I always think. I see we've both got a bit of a thing about children's/YA books. A book written for children but which still reads well to someone of my age is a real treat, I think (and I loved 'Holes' too). Anyway, feel free to have a browse around any time you feel like it. And you're from the UK too! We could do with a few more of us here! What part are you from?
Hi Annabel

thankyou for your message remy library - apols it has taken so long to read it - but I havent been on the site for a while (I was getting a bit addicted)
Its funny how good books come in waveas as do fallow periods.

I've got 2 on the go at the moment that i love - the new Iain Banks one " the steep appraoch to garbadale" and a 900 page epic sacred games by vikram chandra - a kind of gofather epic set in india (it is better than it sounds honest)


Just popped by to let you know that I have changed my user name from karenwardill to kiwidoc, as I notice you have tagged my library and may wonder who kiwidoc is!!!

Happy reading.


Annabel, no worries!

The narrowness of the subject robably accounts for the small interest in the group!

I would recommend 'The Assault' by Mulisch. It really is a very good book and worth the read.

Thanks for the reply,


Hi! I just wanted to tell you you've made me feel so much better about my 'to be read' list, which has about 70 books on it and has been making me feel guilty for ages now. Yours is enormous! All that great reading ahead of you! I have made a vow this year not to buy any more books until Mount TBR is down to less than 10, and except for the around 20-30 books I treated myself to just after I made the resolution, I think I'm doing very well! Hard, isn't it?
I meant to write "Hi again, Just... not Hi againust which doesn't make sense!
Hi againust. I've just seen a quote from you on the back of a book ("Speaking of Love" by Angela Young).
I actually noticed it on this blog Well done, somebody saw it!
Welcome to Detectives!
Hi, Annabel.

Everybody I know who's used ReadItSwapIt winds up with more books, not fewer, so I wouldn't recommend it. Charity shops are the only way of reducing the book mountain I find; you at least get the feeling you're doing something righteous into the bargain!

Also, please feel free to knock my beloved employers at any time. Few things can make you loathe a company so much other than working for them!


Saw your post about Tokyo Calling on the 'What are you reading now' thread. The idea of subversive stories made me hit Amazon and buy it immediately. Thanks for the recommendation!

Thank you. I'll be sure to have a proper explore of your library later. I've added lots of people recently and need to update my wishlist!

Necropolis is absolutely fantastic, I think you'll love it. It taught me lots of new facts and managed to be both scholarly and entertaining at the same time. Her bibliography is quite scarily extensive - she must have spent ages researching.

Thank you so much for permission to quote from your LibraryThing review. I expect the publishers will simply quote one line, the one about it being 'an extremely accomplished first novel, highly recommended' - but thank you so much for your permission, and don't worry about the grammar ... I don't think that part will be quoted. Best, Angela Young
PS: If Beautiful Books - SPEAKING of LOVE's publishers - wanted to, could they quote from your review on the paperback cover?

Best, Angela Young
I just wanted to thank you for your enthusiastic review of SPEAKING of LOVE on the Library Thing. (It wasn't Mark Thornton at Mostly Books who gave you a copy to read, was it? I did his SHELF SECRETS course about three weeks ago and left a copy with him ... and you live near Oxford ... but don't panic, I'm not trying to track you down, just curious about how SPEAKING of LOVE fell into your hands.)

Thank you so much for the review. It is, as I'm sure you know, very difficult to get first novels reviewed, especially when they're published by as-yet-not-very-well-known indie presses.

Angela Young
Hi again. I know what you mean about your daughter not reading your books - I've got 2 toddler boys and I doubt they'll be reading alot of my childrens books.... never mind though, I get to keep them!

Julie x
Hi, we share quite a few books but I was quite impressed that you had a tag for "unread"! I have got most of my unread books together but some have made their way elsewhere, but am not brave enough to tage them. Also, I notice you have quite a few Noel Streatfeild books and I wanted to look at your other childrens books - especially the ladybirds, which I love and am now on the official look out for. My reading has gone down a lot since I had kids but I still buy books when I can afford it, especially charity shops and the like. I have a buy it when you see it approach too. (Probably why our to read lists are so long!)
Nice to meet you,
Congratulations! Your review of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was one of the fifty prize winners. See the blog post announcing the winners. You've won a gift membership and a CueCat barcode scanner.

Send an email to to claim your prize. Include your user name on LibraryThing, as well as your mailing address (so we can send out the CueCat!).

Hi Annabel,

Thanks for your note. I have watched your library with interest and note the high 'affinity' of shared books. Great to see you put the effort into reviews - they are very helpful for perusal of possible reads.

I an also a tad book obsessed - love buying, collecting, reading, discussing books. I can never leave a book store without something. Also notice you are a Folio fan - I love these publications also and have periods of joining until my bamk account objects.

I note your 'pseudonym' is Gaskella - I have just finished 'North and South' and loved it - cannot believe it took me so long to find her.

Would love to hear of any recent suggestions for good reads. I am also very jealous of where you live - Oxford is so beautiful. My dad was a Cambridge man so we never visited Oxford much as kids!!

Nice to meet you,

...also have you seen India Knights website it is about her idiot proof diet book and the forum seems good. :D
Thanks for your comment, hope everything is still going well for you!
I love your library collection!!! :D
Wow, we share a lot of good books! And I'm going to check out your Ladybird link in a moment, because I love my Ladybird books! Then I'll finish entering my stragglers. Best wishes for a good new year! -- Jane
Glad you're enjoying Oryx and Crake. I'd be interested in your take on the ending.

I'd never heard of Michael Chabon, but I will look out for him. As for recommendations, you could try Mordecai Richler (Canadian rather than American though) if you haven't already. Barney's Version or the Solomn Gursky one, maybe.

I like your 'buy it when you see it' approach to books. I make endless lists of books to buy and then order the ones from the top of the list. Of course the list grows so quickly that I can't keep up with it, with the result that it is about as long as your 'not read yet' pile.
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