Reading round-up: October/November

It’s November. Enticed by the pleasures of small achievements, in September I applied myself to two reading challenges which ended with October.  I remember thinking at the start that Halloween would have been and gone by the time I’d finished and it seemed such a long way off back then.  The weeks fly past!

I’m pleased with how much I’ve read over these past two months but since I haven’t managed to review any of the books I don’t feel able to say that I managed either challenge.  I will get reviews written eventually.  I’m aware I’m reading differently since book reviews found their way into the blog.  The reading experience remains a great pleasure, but the post-reading experience has become more focused, more intense.  It is now very much a learning experience and for me, one that takes time to percolate and distil and settle into something worthwhile.

(Worthwhile for me that is, I don’t mean to suggest it will be worthwhile for anyone who finally gets to read what I write 😉 )

So it will be a while before my thoughts on these books appear, by which time the respective challenges will have been dusted off, folded neatly and put away.  They will not have suffered from my lack of reviews, I think.  And I shall have enjoyed the impetus they gave me to choose from certain genres.

For now, here’s a summary of the past two months of reading:

A Room of One’s Own (1929)

Virginia Woolf

Seminal essay that has fueled the flames of women’s literature for me

and which I need to read again very slowly.  A stimulating read


A Writer’s Diary (1953)

Virginia Woolf

Not yet finished.  Such rich pickings in these carefully edited fragments of Woolf’s life and thoughts.  I’m pleased that I started it so soon after A Room of One’s Own; I feel that they feed into each other.  A book I’ll return to often and one which will have a strong influence when I come to read more of Woolf’s novels.  A framework for her books and more


The Birds and Other Stories (1952)

Daphne du Maurier

My first proper taste of Daphne’s short stories. 

A haunting feast


Heart of Darkness (1899)

Joseph Conrad

Totally chilling.  I can at least say that

I have read it and in time I’ll draw things out of it. 

Not a book I’ll return to again


Lady into Fox (1922)

David Garnett

The surprise in the reading pile. 

I did not expect to like this strange little story and I did. 

It leaves me wondering…


A Gull on the Roof (1961)

Derek Tangye

Making a life in rural Cornwall. 

The first in a long series. 

Much to look forward to


Ross Poldark (1945)

Winston Graham

The first in another long series.

This Cornish saga has me gripped on page and screen

– the first book was an enjoyable page-turner


A Year of Marvellous Ways (2015)

Sarah Winman

A warm and whimsical Cornish tale which I love. 

Already a firm favourite


Mansfield Park (1814)

Jane Austen

Working my way through Jane’s catalogue. 


Rainbow Valley (1919)

Lucy M Montgomery

I’m almost at the end of the Anne series.

A return to the familiar feel of these books after a blip with the previous book

I smiled throughout

That leaves just the one book from my original Oct/Nov list that I’ve yet to start: The Glass Room by Simon Mawer.  It’s sitting here waiting and looking a bit forlorn, but I suspect it will be a book for next year now – November/December is already looking full.

19 thoughts on “Reading round-up: October/November”

    1. Thank you so much, Natalie. You inspire me too! (I came across a villanelle the other day and was able to recognise it as such thanks to you!)


    1. Margaret, the book is short; it doesn’t take a lot of reading time. But beyond that the only reason I can offer for persevering is to say that you have read it – which may or may be important to you. I don’t know what caused you to give up each time, or where you stopped, but the tone doesn’t alter as the book goes on and the ending didn’t help. On that basis then, I must say, no it’s not worth persevering! And when I finally produce a proper review I don’t think anything I have to say is likely to encourage you try again!


      1. Thanks Sandra. It was a while ago now and I think I stopped reading it because other books seemed more interesting at the time. I used to think that once I started a book I should finish it, but then decided there are too many books I really want to read so now I have no bother at stopping reading. I think I’ll give it another try, especially as I can’t remember anything specific that put me off. And as you say it is short!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Some great book there! I loved The Birds and Other Stories, and Mansfield Park is one of my favourite Austens. I have Heart of Darkness on my Classics Club list, though more out of a sense of duty than because I think I’ll enjoy it. But it may surprise me! Yes, the whole reviewing thing does change the reading experience – for the better, though, overall, I think…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve been reading some great books. I found A Room of One’s Own a fascinating read too and I love Daphne du Maurier’s short stories. You’ve also reminded me that I need to continue with the Poldark series – I’ve only read the first book so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an eclectic mix Sandra- some I’ve read, and enjoyed , but others have not been on my radar! I have put Heart of darkness on my list, as a necessity!
    I’m really into the Poldark books at present- I can’t remember being as involved in a family saga since reading R F Delderfield’s ” A horseman riding by” series, a long time ago…. they are somewhere on my shelves: maybe now is the time to revisit.
    I am looking forward to your views on ” the Glass Room”- if ever there was an author who encapsulates all that I love in a novel, it is Simon Mawer. Not necessarily the only author, of course, but certainly one who has never disappointed, especially in his earlier, less known writings.
    So much to read………………………..xxxx


    1. Pat, The Glass Room has been bumped off the reading list for this month by Rough Music – so I think you’ll forgive me for not yet reading it. But I’ll get there 🙂

      If you do read the Conrad, I make no recommendation of it. It’s chilling in more ways than one and a number of those ways are not pleasant. But if you read it (and it’s very short) I would love to hear your thoughts.

      (Blowing like blazes here since last evening yet the leaves cling stubbornly to most branches…)



  4. Wow, what a great reading list! I look forward to reading your reviews. A Room of One’s Own is a particular favorite of mine (obviously), so I can’t wait to read your thoughts on it. I’ll be reading Mansfield Park in a month or two so it will be fun to compare notes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you will be able to add some enlightening insights into whatever I’ve managed to glean from A Room of One’s Own. Wonderful that you’re planning to read Mansfield Park. Given how long it takes me to produce a post on a book, we may find we’re thinking about the novel at just the same time – perfect!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. [J] Same thoughts about Conrad. He is/was an extraordinarily talented writer – and to think English was not his native language! However I find his subject matter too dark and – frankly – too depressing to want to read any of his books again. I would still recommend them to others, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well put! I was in awe of the atmosphere he created: so chilling in the all that torpid heat. I can recommend this one only as a book that should be experienced, not as book that might be enjoyed.

      Liked by 1 person

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