The Last Ten

You may have seen this meme doing the rounds recently. It originated as a tag on a book vlog apparently ( I don’t watch these so rely on other people highlighting interesting content).

  1. The last book I gave up on

The LibrarianEarlier this week I decided to part company with The Librarian by Salley Vickers. It’s the choice for the book club meet up in January. I wasn’t that excited by the selection because I wasn’t very enamoured by her earlier book The Cleaner of Chatres. But I hoped the fact that this plot involves books might prove more interesting. For anyone who doesn’t know this book, it concerns a woman who begins a new job as a children’s librarian and embarks on a mission to get more children enthused about reading. Right from the first few pages I knew I was going to have a problem with this novel. The writing style just jarred on me. In part it read like a synopsis of a story, with lots of telling, and very little showing. It also was very laboured and overly detailed. I lasted to about 60 pages and then decided it was a waste of time to go further when I had many other, greatly superior books awaiting me.

2. The last book I re-read

I’ve done very little re-reading in the past year.  The last book I re-read was Peter Pan by J M Barrie – and that was only because it was a set book on a children’s literature course I was pursuing.

3. The last book I bought

WinterThe end of 2018 was signalled by a flurry of book purchases. Some were gifts for various family members but I also took the opportunity to acquire a few new items for myself. They included Winter by Ali Smith which is second novel in her Seasonal Quartet collection. I had planned to hold off reading this collection until all four had been published, but this was on offer at the bookshop and seemed too good an opportunity to miss.





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

I’ve never said I’ve read a book when I haven’t. I usually have the reverse problem – always involving a crime novel –  where I discover just after starting a new book that I had already read it even if I can’t recall the details of the plot.

5. The last book I wrote in the margins of

I do this only for books I’m studying for a course or where I am trying to get more knowledgeable about a particular topic in order to share the knowledge with other people. interest, as well as ordinary bookmarks.

6. The last book I had signed

Katherine of AragonThis would be Katherine of Arragon by Alison Weir, the first in her Tudor Queens series.  I took my copy along when she was in Penarth to talk about the second in the series —about Anne Boleyn. She kindly signed both books for me.





7. The last book I lost

My copy of Voss by Patrick White has disappeared without trace. If anyone finds it please let me know. It’s a rather sad looking paperback edition which I purchased via e-bay.

8. The last book I had to replace

I’ve been trying to think of circumstances in which this would happen and I’ve drawn a blank. I don’t tend to borrow books from other people , I always return books borrowed from the library and I’m not in the habit of losing my own books over a cliff edge or in the bath. If the case arose that the book club chose a book I no longer owned, I’d either get a library copy or go to the meeting relying on my memory.

9. The last book I argued over

The Great Coat

I’ve had a few ‘spats’ over the years and a few ‘differences of opinion’ but arguments – never as far as I can recall. The last ‘difference of opinion’ was two days ago when my mum, who was spending Christmas with us, was engrossed in Helen Dunmore’s The Greatcoat. We often chat about the books we’re reading even if we have very different tastes. My mum thought The Greatcoat was superb, whereas I was underwhelmed by it and found the plot implausible beyond belief.  We are still on speaking terms though….




10. The last book you couldn’t find

I know without any doubt that I have How Late it Was How Late by James Kelman on my shelves. I started reading it at the beginning of the year so I know it’s in the house somewhere. I can even remember that it’s a bright red cover with just the book title in block letters but no other artwork. Can I remember where I put it though? I can blame no-one other than myself. I have a semi alphabetical system but when I run out of space, books get shoved in anywhere……..


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

20 thoughts on “The Last Ten

  • Pingback: More of the last book I … | book word

  • Nice idea for a list post. I enjoyed this and was provoked by some of your comments, in a good way. I am thinking of imitating this, stealing a good idea, on my blog (Bookword). I hope you are ok with this.

    • No issues at all with you using this Caroline – it wasn’t my idea anyway but something that was developed by a vlogger…

  • I am curious about Ali Smith’s seasonal books, although I have hesitated. I didn’t love The Accidental, the one book I read by the author.

    • Can’t remember if I read The Accidental but I read How to Be Both and thought it was excellent

  • That is a shame about The Librarian – I was tempted to read it because of the title (shallow, I know because you can’t judge a book by its title, anymore than by its cover). I wonder what the rest of your book club make of it?

    • It’s hard to predict what the other members will think of The Librarian. Sometimes the discussion helps me appreciate a book more but I have a feeling this one will not….

  • I’m almost attempted to do this meme, except that I have a few posts in train so probably won’t. When I saw the title in my inbox, I thought it was going to mean “the bottom ten” as against “the top ten” as in last and first, but I’m very glad it was something different, and far more interesting. The book to replace would be for me a book I’d lent and was never given back but REALLY wanted. I’ve done that a couple of times. but it’s never the same.

    I’d have to go a long way to find the last book I gave up on, because I rarely give up on books. I try very hard to make sure I don’t choose to read something I’m going to dislike so much I’d give up on.

    As for the last book I said I’d read but actually hadn’t, I’m like you and I don’t do that – at last not consciously because I don’t want to then be asked more and be found out. However, it’s quite possible that I’ve thought I’ve read a book because I feel I know it so well from, say movies or just general knowledge, but may not actually have. However, if this has happened, and it quite possibly has, I couldn’t name it because I think I’ve read it!! (Let me reassure you though, that I HAVE read all the Austens!!) This little conundrum most often comes up in those lists of best 100 books etc where you tick off to see how you compare. I go through and tick them, but there’s usually one or two where I think, did I actually read that or did I just see it??

    • You’ve just reminded me that yes I sometimes go through those 100 best books type of lists and have to really think hard whether I did in fact read the book or just think I did. I read voraciously when I was in my mid teens, often just picking a book from the library because it was by a ‘foreign’ writer – the more obscure sounding the better. But I’d be hard pushed to remember them all….

      • Yes, that’s the period in particular, that I wonder about too. Have I heard so much about the book and/or seen it that I now believe I’ve read it.

  • Oh, The Cleaner of Chartres, that’s the book that put me off reading Sally Vickers ever again. And (without having read the offending book) I’m with you over Helen Dunmore: underwhelming…
    A shame about Voss! I thought I had a spare paperback I could have sent you, but I just checked my shelves and I must have sent it to the OpShop when I tracked down a first edition for my collection.

    • That’s sweet of you to think of donating your spare copy. I thought mine had fallen down the back of the bookshelf but I can’t see it. I’ll just have to clear all shelves and move the whole case….

  • “I have a semi alphabetical system but when I run out of space, books get shoved in anywhere…” LOL! I know that feeling. I have a good number of books shoved in different rooms, shelves, drawers, whatever, which is causing me much grief at the moment.

    • It’s amazing the crevices one can find for books. I found one in the laundry basket last week – it must have been on the bed when I did a switch over and got gathered up with the sheets ready for the wash….A narrow escape

  • Judy Krueger

    Your post today reads almost like a short story. I enjoyed it immensely. So are you going to admit your DNF to your reading group?

    • Oh yes I’ll be very honest about it – I read so little of it that it would be impossible to fudge my comments anyway

  • Lorraine Mills

    I absolutely agree about The Librarian. I have just read it for my book club meeting, also in January, and would have given up if it wasnt for the fact that I didn’t finish the last book!

      • Lorraine Mills

        Yes, it was a banal subject but detailed! I hated the writing style (immediately afterwards I read a short story by Lionel Shriver, who writes so beautifully, which highlighted that). The plot was flimsy. I could go on. The only positives are that there were no clever devices ie skipping around in time or characters! I cannot understand the hype that came with this book.

        • I’m reassured now that I wasn’t just having a bad day since your reasons for disliking it echoed my own.

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