Top Ten Tuesday

Bloggers’ recommendations fill my shelves

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is all about sources of book recommendations. What books have we read because of another blogger or came across via a newspaper, magazine etc. 

Once upon a time my first action on getting the weekend newspaper editions was to turn to the book section to find reviews and recommendations of some of the newly published titles. Sadly, though both the Daily Telegraph Saturday edition and the Sunday Times do still have book reviews, they have been scaled back considerably. It’s now left to the Guardian to carry the flag with a lively blog and thoughtful articles that go far beyond reviews.

Like many book bloggers I find inspiration these days more from bloggers than newspapers. I try to keep a list of these because I find so many ideas I can’t possibly remember them all when I go shopping. Thankfully I also have captured the name of the blogger!

Here is my list of 10

  1. All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West. Recommended by Marilyn at Me, You and Books. This has been on my Classics Club list for three years but it was only last week that I managed to get a good condition second-hand copy.
  2. Chief Inspector Armand Gamesh series by Louise Penny as recommended by Laura at Thinking in Fragments (sadly Laura hasn’t been blogging for many months now). I read on of these every year and love the characterisation and settings. The best by far is A Beautiful Mystery  I just read the latest The Great Reckoning – review coming tomorrow.
  3. review by CurlyGeek at The Bookshop of Our Souls at Night led me to Kent Haruf. though I have yet to read that particular title I got hold of Benediction instead and fell in love with Haruf’s writing. Our Souls at Night has now become one of my ‘rainy day books’ – ones I save up for a special occasion.
  4. Ali (HeavenAli) and Karen (Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings) take all the credit for introducing me to a long list of female authors who I’d never heard of until seeing their reviews.  Elizabeth Taylor I began reading in 2014 but got left rather cold by the first one I read ( Wreath of Roses). It wasn’t until I read Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont that I warmed to her – so now I have three more of her books to enjoy.
  5. Lisa at ANZLitLovers does sterling work about reminding me of the whole world of literature that comes from Down Under. Thanks to her and Sue at Whispering Gums I have made a start on a collection of writers like Peter Carey and Richard Flanagan. Lisa wrote on more than one occasion in 2015 about Black Rock White City by A. S Patrić, describing it as “a stunning novel that places A.S. Patrić among the finest of our new crop of writers.  His prose is uncompromising but his imagery is exquisite.” Her review came through at a time I was thinking I needed to read more work by Australian writers – not that I have read it yet but its on the shelf. Thanks to Whispering Gums I have a copy of Patrick White’s Voss which is considered such a classic it pops up often on school syllabi.
  6. Lisa’s project to read all 20 of Emile Zola’s Rougon-Marquet series inspired me to start the same project, beginning of the series so I can fill in the gaps of those titles I haven’t read yet (4 read 16 to go). I’ve read If you’re not familiar with this series, take a look at the ReadingZola website
  7. Several bloggers including have highlighted the British Library Classic Crime series which began making an appearance in bookshops in the UK about 2 years ago with some beautifully atmospheric artwork covers. Guy at SwiftlyTiltingPlanet just published a review of about 10 of these ( I might have miscounted) so go take a look if if you haven’t come across them before and went to get a sense of what they’re about.
  8. Talking of crime, it’s so hard to keep up with the voracious reading habits of Cleopatra at Cleopatralovesbooks who knows more about crime than some police forces. Her blog is responsible for many titles I have bought in e-format for days when I need a total break from my usual reading fare.
  9. When I started on my quest to read more literature in translation I discovered Stu’s  blog Winston’sDad which is a treasure trove of reviews about writers in far flung countries that I would never have discovered without his dedication to translated fiction. The best recommendation I got was for Satantango by the Hungarian author Laslo Krasznahorkai which is a chilling account of evil.
  10. And last, but really pride of place, are the bloggers who have contributed guest posts to my View From Here series to share their insights about which authors to read from their countries. We’ve covered countries from Japan to Belgium, from Australia to most recently South Africa. There is a wealth of information here about authors you may never have heard of but are just waiting to be added to your TBR.


What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

23 thoughts on “Bloggers’ recommendations fill my shelves

  • Thanks for the mention Karen. Glad you have some Aussie books on your horizon. Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply. This year has been a doozy, but I think I’m coming up for air now so, unless things turn to custard again I hope to be more prompt with my posting.

    PS I’d love you to have an Aussie woman or two in your list!! 😉

  • Mirella

    Thanks for the inspiration! Just added “All Passion Spent” to my reading list 🙂

    • it makes a great companion to Virginia Woolf’s writings

  • Kaggsy and Heaven-Ali are terrible culprits in recommending books to me, too, and even worse (or better, of course!) I live about 3 miles from Ali and we’ve been friends for over a decade, so there’s a constant stream of books between our households (Kaggsy and I do that via post to an extent, too!). It’s lovely, though, eh, esp now there aren’t many review pages to read (I read the New Statesman but it has a v large overlap with The Guardian, unfortunately).

    • oh how lucky to be close to another blogger with such a similar passion and interest. Wales is a bit of a dessert it seems in that respect….. I did take the Times Literary Supplement for a year but I hated the layout – every article looked like hard work because of dense text with nothing to break it into manageable reading pieces. I managed to send them to another blogger however who came from a more academic background so they were not wasted.

  • Bloggers are a blessing and a curse aren’t they? I mean probably 75% of my TBR is because of bloggers, but some of the best books I have read are because of blog posts.

    • i could easily have put you on my list of those whom I hold responsible for making me buy so many books!

  • Oh dear, only book I’ve read from that list is the Elizabeth Taylor, Mrs P. I would recommend Elizabeth Taylor’s Blaming, too.

    • I managed to pick up some in a discount book store in Michigan when I was on a business trip but i don’t believe that particular E. Taylor was in the mix

    • I know the feeling but it has saved me huge amounts of research time trying to find books from certain countries

  • Lovely post! I particularly liked your reference to Cleo and her encyclopaedic knowledge.

  • I get so many book recommendations from other bloggers and have really enjoyed reading the TT posts from everyone. I’m absolutely delighted with my mention and so glad to be able to point you in the right direction when you fancy a change to the darkest side of life!

    • I only wish I had the time to read all the books you recommend

  • *chuckle* I am so very pleased to see that I am adding to your groaning TBR!
    Like you, I find that most of my temptations come from bookbloggers, and on more than one occasion I’ve been embarrassed to find that I couldn’t remember whose recommendation it was when it was time to write the review. I do like to say thank you, and I also like to link to the blogger not just as a courtesy but also so that my readers can read some other opinion besides mine.
    These days, I have a system which is working better for me.
    If I like a book, I add it to my wishlist shelf at Goodreads straight away. Then, (in ‘your review’) I enter the name of the person who recommended the book, and since there is also a box at the bottom for ‘private notes’ I put the URL of the review into there. It only takes a minute.

    • That sounds a great ideas and more manageable than the excel sheet I use. Can you print the Goodreads wishlist in a way that doesn’t include the book images? I like t have a list with me when I go shopping.m

      • I don’t know, I’ve never tried to print anything from GR. I’ll go and have a play and get back to you….

        • Yes, you can. Click on your wishlist or whatever page you want to print out and go to Settings in the little menu above the list but below the GR menu.. You can then select or deselect whatever info you want. You will then need to print from your file menu. I find with IE11 that I need to go to print preview whenever I’m printing internet pages otherwise it prints *everything* that’s on the page including a whole lot of stuff I don’t want.

        • It worked – thank you for that guidance because i would never have found that settings option otherwise. Now all I have to do is go back through all my list and separate them into a TBR list where I actually have the book and a wishlist. Frustrating though that even if it is on a wish list it still only gives the options of currently reading, read or to be read

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