Reading plans

The Last 10 Books Tag, 2020

Lisa @ AnZLitLovers has uncovered another meme that gives me a great excuse for not making any inroads into my backlog of book reviews.

The last book I gave up on

The Harpy by Megan Hunter. I loved the cover artwork but found this tale of a vengeful wife too disturbing to read more than half the book. Luckily it was a library copy so I didn’t feel guilty for wasting my money.

The last book I re-read

I’ve had to dig deep into the memory for an answer to this one because it was so, so long ago that I re-read anything. It was probably one of the nineteenth century classics that was on the syllabus for my Open University course. That would make it about 2010, well before I started this blog and kept records of what I was reading. It might have been A Portrait of A Lady by Henry James or Middlemarch by George Eliot. But that’s just guess work.

The last book I bought

The end of 2020 was marked by a book buying splurge. It happens every year so I don’t know why I should be surprised. The last purchase to arrive was At The Lucky Hand by the Serbian author Goran Petrović. This was the first book in my new annual subscription to the Asympote book club. The publishers, Deep Vellum describe it as a novel that “explores what it means to read and be a reader – ultimately acting as a love letter to the power of literature.

The last book I said I read but actually didn’t

Ok, this was a genuine mistake rather than a deliberate attempt to mislead. A friend was raving about the book she’d just read which I said I’d also read but hadn’t found it that interesting. But when she started talking about some plot elements I was completely confused; it sounded nothing like the book I’d read. Nor did she recognise anything I mentioned. My fault it turned out. I thought she was talking about The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves. But it was The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides that she’d read.

The last book I wrote in the margins of

I never do this to books unless they are texts I had to read for work or for study purposes. Books read purely for pleasure are “annotated” with the aid of copious quantities of post-it notes. It’s a seriously flawed system however. I never write on the post-it note so, all too frequently, when I come to write my review I’m baffled why I marked that passage. Second problem is that the sticky strip loses its stickiness after a time so when I pick up the book, they fall out and, since there is no writing on the note I have no idea where in the book they originated. On the plus side, it does mean that when I donate my book to the library/charity shop etc, it looks in good condition.

The last book I had signed

This is The Wild Silence by Raynor Winn, the follow up to her award-winning memoir The Salt Path. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get this because it came out when all bookshops in the UK were closed down by government decree (politicians having mistakenly decided books are not “essential” purchases). But the brilliant team at Book-ish in Crickhowell swung into action with on line ordering and mailing. They then went one step further and organised an author event with Raynor Winn, tickets for which included a copy of her book. So now I have two copies. I think I shall do a give-away for one of them.

The last book I lost

Actually there are two, and they have been been “lost” in the same place. My dad is a voracious reader. In normal circumstances he’s well served by his local library and a book exchange among members of his wood carving club. But of course with the library closed (no prizes for guessing why) and the club unable to meet (same reason), his supplies have run dry. So I made an “emergency” dash, taking him two books by Jane Harper – The Dry and Force of Nature – that I hadn’t yet read plus some goodies from a local little free library. Despite asking nicely for him return the Harpers at some point, they’ve gone. Passed onto a friend who is also a voracious reader, who has since passed them to someone else. So they are circulating somewhere in South Wales and, I fear will never make their way back to me. Never mind, if they kept people company during the long days of lockdown I’m happy.

The last book I had to replace

It’s actually a book for my husband. His copy of Unconditional Surrender , the final part of the Sword of Honour trilogy by Evelyn Waugh, has just fallen apart. We can’t get that particular edition anywhere which is a shame because he really likes the artwork.

The last book I argued over

It wasn’t an argument as such, just a very animated discussion with my niece about Normal People by Sally Rooney. She loved it. I didn’t. I suspect that it spoke more to her generation than to mine.

The last book you couldn’t find

I wanted to read Voss by Patrick White as part of Australian Reading Month in November. But it’s completely disappeared. I have a feeling it’s fallen down the back of a bookcase. I could, of course, just buy another copy but I’m rather fond of the retro cover of the edition I’d found in a second hand shop.

PS – I hope my Australian readers don’t feel too upset that the books I’ve lost and the book I can’t find all happen to come from their country….. it’s not deliberate I promise!


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

16 thoughts on “The Last 10 Books Tag, 2020

  • Pingback: The Last 10 Books Tag – The Irresponsible Reader

  • What an interesting post! I always think I’ve read On the Road but I really don’t think I have! I gave up on five books last year, which is about usual for me.

    • I just took a look at the record I kept for last year and found I had abandoned 8 books but I counted only those where I had read about 80 pages or more. There were a heap more where I just read one chapter

  • I have a hard time lending books as I know I’ll never see them again except for one friend. I read the first Jane Harper but not inclined to read more. I keep saying to myself focus, focus, focus, TBR, TBR,TBR. You know how it goes!! All the best to you and your dad for 2021. 🐧🌻🌻🌻

    • I can get the Jane Harpers from the library if I really want them but I have so much crime fiction already I may just give them a miss. Your manta is one I should learn too having bought 100 books last year so my TBR went down by only 5 from the previous year

  • Aw bless you, Karen – I do hope those lost books miraculous make their way back to you, that would be rather fun. I ‘lent’ my friend my copy of God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew getting on for two years ago… I am guessing I am not getting it back! 😅 I also second not writing in books!

    • After a two year gap I suspect that you are not going to see that book again. Though I bet if you went out and bought yourself a replacement copy your friend would miraculously turn up with the original 🙂

  • This post really set me to thinking. I will add that I’ve picked up “Normal People” several times and never got past page five. Wishing you and yours a blessed and healthy 2021.

  • Sheree @ Keeping Up With The Penguins

    Bahahaha! Such a funny coincidence that the books you’ve lost and can’t find are all Australian 😂😅 I’m probably not in the position to act as my country’s spokesperson, but I reckon most of us won’t take it personally 😜 I’m bummed on your behalf that you won’t get your Harper’s back, but also kind of in love with your dad passing them on to his voracious reader friends. Bless!

  • It’s a great meme and some interesting responses there! I wish the year wasn’t running out so quickly so I could take part! 😀

  • A great theme for a blog post. Filed for future reference. BTW: the cover of The Harpy is arresting, but I am not tempted by the contents. Thanks for the warning!

  • Ha ha, Australians at crossed swords over the Harper books! (I’m not commenting since I haven’t read either of them, though of course you can reasonably infer from that why not).
    But Voss, oh my, that’s a disaster. I mean, it’s not just Oz Reading Month, it’s one of the few Australian books that have made it into the exalted company of 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.
    PS Me too with the sticky notes…

  • I’m an Australian too and the Jane Harpers are a complete waste of time, well not really, they’re competent entertainments, but of no literary value at all (and the Miles Franklin Awards judges are idiots for suggesting otherwise). I’m with your husband on Sword of Honour and with your niece on Normal People.
    And I re-read all the time, how can you not?

  • LOL at the Australian comment (I’m Australian). But I do encourage you to read the Jane Harper books when you can find new copies, they’re worth it. Also Voss. Good luck.

  • I’ve had that happen with books I’ve lent! Now I consider a book lent a book given! It’s always a surprise when I get it back!


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