British authorsChinese authorsNigerian authorsTop Ten Tuesday

Books On My Autumn TBR List

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday looks to that season of mists and mellow fruitfulness and asks what we’ll be reading this Autumn from our TBR. Making a list of what I’m going to read is always tricky for me since I don’t like planning too far ahead knowing that I am highly unlikely to stick to the list. I prefer the serendipitous approach where I can. Plus  I have (foolishly??) embarked on a university module about children’s literature so will need to devote some reading time to those texts. But in the interests of playing along with the game here’s a list of books that might have a chance of being read in the next few months. I’ve gone for a mixture of Booker prize winners, crime, books in translation and classics.

  1. Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. I’ll be reading this as part of my Booker prize project. It won in 1988 (he went on to win the Booker again in 200finklerquestion1 with True History of the Kelly Gang. This will be my first experience of reading Carey’s work but so many people have said this is a great book that I will begin with high
  2. Another from my Booker list is The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson which won in 2001. I know from various comments on this blog that it’s not to everyone’s taste but I dipped into it a few weeks ago just to get a feel for the style and didnt have an issue with what is generically labelled ‘Jewish humour’.
  3. An Elergy For Easterly by Patina Gappah: This is a collection of short stories that was on my #20booksofsummer list but I never got to finish
  4. Frog by Mo Yan. My knowledge of authors from China is pitiful so this is an attempt to remedy the situation,spurred on by the deeply moving experience of reading about the Cultural Revolution last week via Madeleine Thien’s knock out Man Booker 2016 shortlisted title Do Not Say We Have Nothing.  Mo Yan won the Nobel literature prize in 2012. Frog,  first published in Chinese in 2009 is ostensibly the life story of the author’s aunt, a midwife, told through a series of letters to a celebrated but unidentified Japanese writer. It covers a broader period than Thien’s novel because it goes back to the Japanese occupation of China, then moves ahead to the victory of the Communist party in 1949, the hunger and violent political upheavals of the first 30 years of communist rule and, finally, the lurch to a peculiarly rampant form of state-directed capitalism. It’s going to be powerful I suspect.
  5. good-womenContinuing on the theme of China, this seems like a good time to finally get around to reading The Good Women of China  by Xue Xinran. She is a British-Chinese journalist currently living London and writing for The GuardianThe Good Women of China is primarily composed of interviews Xinran conducted during her time as a radio broadcaster in China in the 1980s. However, she also details some of her own experiences as a woman in China.
  6. English Music by Peter Ackroyd. This has been on my shelf since 2011.It was recommended when I asked for suggestions of books that would typify England. I ended up reading a different recommendation – Iris Murdoch’s The Sea, The Sea   but now think it could be time to revisit Mr Ackroyd.
  7. Candide by Voltaire. This is book number 4 on my woefully neglected list of books for the Classics Club challenge. With less than a year to go I find I’ve read 28 out of the targeted 50 so time to put a spurt on.
  8. Ditto for the Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith which is on the list at number 5 and I did actually start reading it about a year ago but other things intervened. I don’t normally go for overt humour in novels but this sounded wry rather than laugh out loud.
  9. And now it’s time for some crime. Those misty/rainy days are perfect excuses for insulting in something a little dark but not too bloodthirsty. The British Crime Classics imprint sounds the perfect solution to me and thanks to the generosity of Ali at I am the possessor of The Hog’s Back Mystery by Freeman Wills Crofts which is set deep in the English countryside. You can see Ali’s review here and why I’m keen to read this.
  10. 1947 club: This is an initiative by Karen at Kaggsy’s Ramblings and Simon of Stuck in a Book which will run October 10-15. It’s only a few weeks ahead but I still don’t know what I am going to read. Maybe Hans Fallada’s Alone in Berlin which is based on the true story of a working class husband and wife who, acting alone, became part of the German Resistance. .More on the 1947 club is here


The order in which these books appear in my list has no significance at all. I reserve the right to read in whatever sequence I want ….

I equally reserve the right to read only some of them or indeed none of them if something else comes along that exerts a greater pull. 🙂


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

19 thoughts on “Books On My Autumn TBR List

  • Very nice list with lots of good reading ahead. Enjoy!

    • Choosing books for the list is hard enough – actually getting to read them is another challenge alltogether

  • A nice selection I have a few mo yan on shelf have only read red sorghum by him . I have read one ackroyd book as well he did a diary of Oscar wilde many many years ago which read as a teen

    • I also have a copy of Sorghum – as recommended by my Chinese friends!

  • Here’s another cheer for Oscar and Lucinda! I have a love/hate relationship with Carey, but this one is a clear favourite. But I’m not a fan of Alone in Berlin: it was written in a matter of weeks and I think it shows. It needs a good edit IMHO 😉

    • Maybe I need to find an alternative for the 1947 club read in that case – I could always go for Agatha Christie

  • I liked the Hog’s Back Mystery and really liked The Vicar of Wakefield. Couldn’t finish the Finkler Question…

  • Alone In Berlin is incredible – I read it on a transatlantic flight a few years ago and had nightmares afterwards, it’s that vivid and engaging. I wasn’t a massive fan of The Vicar of Wakefield (so…moral), but it’s a very *classic* classic; I hope you enjoy it!

  • I think I’ll be reading Agatha Christie for the 1947 Club, but I can highly recommend Alone in Berlin, which I read a few years ago and loved. English Music sounds intriguing – I have read some of Peter Ackroyd’s non-fiction but have yet to try his fiction.

  • Looks like I’m not alone in saying that I loved Oscar and Lucinda when I read it many years ago. I tried to get hold of the movie after, but I didn’t ever manage it. I still wonder how it compares…

  • I loved Oscar and Lucinda so much that I’ve read it three times. Will be interested to see what you think of it. Haven’t yet got around to An Elegy for Easterly but Gappah’s The Book of Memory was one of my books of last year.

  • You have some great reading ahead of you. I loved Oscar and Lucinda (and I don’t think you need to be an eccentric Aussie to enjoy it) and Candide is one of those books I read a long time ago but keep remembering when I read books that owe a debt to it. I hope you will like The Vicar of Wakefield too… I’ve reviewed it, but there are some spoilers so you may want to defer reading what I thought of it till after you have finished the book.
    But I was not so keen on The Good Women of China, and although it’s a while since I read it, I think it’s for the same reason that I wasn’t very enthusiastic about Svetlana Alexievich’s Secondhand Time. It’s excerpts from journalistic interviews, which offer neither the sort of analysis that we are used to with western journalism, nor the opportunity for empathetic engagement as we might find in a novel.
    I can’t recommend Alone in Berlin highly enough: I’ve read a fair few novels by Fallada since his work became available in English, ( but IMO Alone in Berlin is his best.
    Happy reading!

  • I loved Oscar and Lucinda and I’ve read Candide in French (show-off!) and played the overture to the opera in band, and remember it being v good, too. I managed to source an EH Young for the 1947 club. And once again I’m glad that I have the fairly relaxing situation where I just read through my TBR in order of acquisition – no difficult choices for me, although I have been alternating big fat Viragoes with other reads!

  • Sarah

    Ooo, I didn’t realise ‘Alone in Berlin’ was written in 1947! I’ve been meaning to read it for ages and am still umm-ing and ahh-ing over suitable 1947 candidates – I may join you and we can compare notes! 🙂


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