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The Lure of the East: British Orientalist Painting by Nicholas Tromans

The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynd

An Infamous Army by Georgette Heyer

Vanished City, The : London's Lost Neighbourhoods by Tom Bolton

Beloved by Toni Morrison

201 Dutch Verbs: Fully Conjugated in All the Tenses by various

Leslie Stephen: His Thought and Character in Relation to His Time by Noel Gilroy (Leslie Stephen) Annan

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Member: Caroline_McElwee

CollectionsRead 2016 (my own collection) (57), Your library (7,541), Read 2015 (my own collection) (56), Kindle Library (since Aug 2014 - I have over 1000 others!) (139), 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!) (225), 2009 - read (from my own library) (72), Thrice or more! (57), Read 2013 (from my own library) (66), Read (of my library) (1,437), Bloomsbury Group and Friends (120), Dutch Collection (128), Russia (117), Joyce Carol Oates Collection (47), Books I wouldn't want to live without (1,862), Useful self development tools (16), Publications (45), All collections (7,906)

Reviews128 reviews

TagsNovel (2,128), R (1,661), US (1,037), UK (903), 2012 (896), 2014 (876), biography (844), novel (680), autobiography (583), 2013 (464) — see all tags

MediaNot set (122), Book (7,781), Paper Book (6,983), Audiobook (13), Ebook (107), Other (3), Map (2)

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About mePhotograph: (c) C J McElwee 2015 Virginia Woolf bust by Steve Paterson:

This year's reading thread:

Currently reading

Two Lives (William Trevor) (*/11/16) (375/*)
The Lunar Men (Jenny Uglow) (*/12/16) (501/*)
Eugene O'Neill: A Life in Four Acts (Robert M Dowling) (*/11/16) (481/*)
The Abundance (Annie Dillard) (*/11/16) (271/*) AAC
The Shelf (Phyllis Rose) (*/11/16) (260/*) ROOT
Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? (Frans de Waal) (*/10/16) (275/*)

Selected Poems: Emily Dickinson (*/10/16) (129/*)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (Michael Claybon) (*/10/16) (639/*) AAC
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck) (*/11/16) (400/*) AAC ROOT
Georgia O'Keeffee and her Houses (Barbara Buhler Lynes and Agapita Judy Lopez) (*/10/16) (250/*)
Conversations with James Baldwin (*/08/16) (312/*)


Reading Like a Writer (Francine Prose) (*/05/16) (268/*)
Barchester Towers (Anthony Trollope) (*/01/16) (583/*)


The Letters of Samuel Beckett - vol 1: 1929-1940 (*/10/16) (718/*)
Democracy For Realists (Christopher H Achen/Larry M Bartels) (*/10/16) (328/*)
Six Facets of Light (Ann Wroe) (*/04/16) (281/*)
The Literary Churchill (Jonathan Rose) (*/06/16) (450/*)
Selected Poems of Anna Akhmatova (*/04/16) (161/*)
Letters to Poseidon (Cees Nooteboom) (*/03/16) (263/*)
Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle East (Nicolas Pelham) (*/08/16) (185/*)
A Writer's Diary: Virginia Woolf (*/08/16) (365/*)
Blood and Land (J.C.H. King) (*/09/16) (549/*)
The European Union: A Citizen's Guide (Chris Bickerton) (*/06/16) (304/*) (Kindle)

may return to

Wolves and Honey (Susan Brind Morrow) (*/07/16) (125/*) (Nature)
All those Strangers: The Art and Lives of James Baldwin (Douglas Field) (*/06/16) (148/*)
Negroland: A Memoir (Margo Jefferson) (*/6/16) (242/*)
The White Road (Edmund de Waal) (*/05/16) (401/*)
The Furies: A Poetry Anthology of Women Warriors (various) (*/04/16)

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

Read 2016

The Warden (Anthony Trollope) (05/01/16) (210/210) **** ROOT
Small Hands (Mona Arshi) (Poetry) (53/263) ****
The Beautiful Librarians (Sean O'Brien) (11/01/16) (67/330) *** (poetry)
Chick (Hannah Lowe) (poetry) (12/01/16) (71/401) ****1/2 (Poetry)
40 Sonnets (Don Paterson) (12/01/16) (44/445) **** (poetry) ROOT
Loop of Jade (Sarah Howe) (*/01/16) (60/505) ****1/2 (poetry)
Waiting for the past (Les Murray) (17/01/16) (79/584) ***1/2 (poetry)
The Loney (Andrew Michael Hurley) (25/01/16) (360/944) ****
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris (David McCullough) (07/02/16) (456/1400) ****1/2
Ho'oponopono (Ulrich E Duprée) (08/02/16) (95/1495) ****
The Long Ships (Frans G Bengtsson) (22/02/16) (528/2023) ***1/2
Gratitude (Oliver Sacks) (22/02/16) (45/2068) *****
Candide (Voltaire)(26/02/16) (113/2181) ***
The Noise of Time (Julian Barnes) (27/02/16) (184/2365) ****
Mothering Sunday (Graham Swift) (8/02/16) (132/2497) ****
That Old Cape Magic (Richard Russo) (11/03/16) (261/2758) AAC ***1/2
The Butcher's Hook (Janet Ellis) (debut) (15/03/16) (341/3099) ****
How to Measure a Cow (18/03/16) (250/3349)***1/2
On the Move (Oliver Sacks) (31/03/16) (384/3733) ****1/2
For Two Thousand Years (Mihail Sebastian) (06/04/16) (231/3964) ****
84 Charing Cross Road/The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street (Helene Hanff) (Reread) (08/04/16) (240/4204) ***** ROOT
Tolstoy (Rosamund Bartlett) (20/04/16) (454/4658) **** ROOT
1984 (George Orwell) (reread) (27/04/16) (287/4945) ***** ROOT
The Whistling Season (Ivan Doig) (05/05/16) (345/5290) AAC ****
In Gratitude (Jenny Diski) (11/05/16) (250/5540) ****
The Red Chairs (Edna O'Brien) (12/05/16) (297/5837) ****1/2
The Martian Chronicles (Ray Bradbury) (16/05/16) (232/6069) ****1/2 ROOT
Men Explain Things to Me (Rebecca Solnit) (18/05/16) (125/6194) ****
Life After Life (Kate Atkinson) (30/05/16) (610/6804) ****1/2
Quicksand (Henning Mankell) (04/06/16) (301/7105) ****
A God in Ruins (Kate Atkinson) (13/06/16) (545/7650) ****
The Invisible Woman (Helen Walmsley-Johnson (22/06/16) (232/7882) ****1/2
The Levant Trilogy: The Danger Tree/The Battle Lost and Won/The Sum of Things (Olivier Manning) (29/06/16) (569/8451) ****1/2 ROOT
A Country Road, A Tree (Jo Baker) (LL) (04/07/16) (335/8786) ****1/2
One Fine Day (Mollie Panter-Downes) (11/07/16) (179/8965) ***1/2
A House Full of Daughters (Juliet Nicholson) (17/07/16) (326/9291)*****
Long Time no see (Hannah Lowe) (29/07/16) (313/9604) **** ROOT
The Man Without a Shadow (Joyce Carol Oates) (1/08/16) (369/9,973) ****
Daily Rituals: How Artists Work (ed Mason Currey) (08/08/16) (236/10,209) **** ROOT
The Lonely City (Olivia Laing) (Kindle)(13/08/16) (285/10,494) ****1/2
Peacock and Vine (A S Byatt) (13/08/16) (183/10,677) ****
Chamber Music (Doris Grumbach) (14/08/16) (213/10,890) (LL) ***1/2
James Baldwin in Turkey (photographer: Sedat Pakay/ text various) (14/08/16) (63/10,953) *****
Secrets of the Sea House (Elizabeth Gifford) (15/08/16) (303/11,256) ****
The Dig (Cynan Jones) (17/08/16) (157/11,453) ****
Serious Sweet (A. L. Kennedy) (28/08/16) (517/11,970) ** (reading experience) **** (writing)
How to Age (Anne Karpf) (04/09/16) (146/12,116) ***1/2
The Trip to the Echo Spring (Olivia Laing) (05/08/16) (302/12,418) ****1/2
Another Country (James Baldwin) (19/09/16) (396/12,814) ****1/2 ROOT
His Bloody Project (Graeme Macrae Burnet) (25/08/16) (288/13,102) ***1/2
The Book of Joy (Dalai Lama/Desmond Tutu) (28/09/16) (368/13,470) ****
When Breath Becomes Air (Paul Kalanithi) (05/10/16) (228/13,768) ****1/2
Autumn: A Folio Anthology (various) (08/10/16) (82/13,840) **** ROOT
Ariel: A Literary Life of Jan Morris (Derek Johns) (10/10/16) (192/14,032) ***1/2
Exposure (Helen Dunmore) (23/10/16) (391/14,423) ***1/2
The Underground Railroad (Colson Whitehead) (30/10/16) (306/14,729) ****1/2
The Little Book of Hygge (Meik Wiking) (01/11/16) (288/15,017) ****
Winter: A Folio Anthology (Various) (02/11/16) (81/15,098)
The Listener (Tove Jansson) (Short Stories) (05/11/16) (157/15,255) ***1/2 ROOT
Bowie/Collector (Various) (08/11/16) (263/15,518) *****
Unforbidden Pleasures (Adam Phillips) (17/11/16) (197/15,715) ****1/2
Speak (Louisa Hall) (*/11/16) (315/16,030) ****

Total: 64

(15,715 pages)

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, Atwoodians, Bloomsbury Group and their friends, Club Read 2014, Club Read 2015, Club Read 2016, Dutch writing in English - An appreciation, Fans of Joyce Carol Oates, Folio Society devoteesshow 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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