The last book I …

I found this meme on Booker Talk blog in December 2018 and because I enjoyed it I offer my version now. I have altered it slightly from the original  (my comments were getting too repetitive).

  1. The last book I gave up on

This was The Divinersby Margaret Laurence. It’s a long book and I read about 100 pages, expecting to be as caught up in it as I was in The Stone Angel. That was a great novel about a feisty older woman and an early inclusion in my #olderwomen in fiction series. But it didn’t happen.

2. The last book I reread

That would be Good Evening, Mrs Craven: the wartime storiesby Mollie Panter-Downes collected and published in one volume by Persephone Books. I was following up on books I had missed out on when I wrote a post called Books with Mrs or Miss in the title.

3. The last book I bought

There was a bundle of 5 books: 

Dancing Lessons for the Advanced in Ageby Bohumil Hrabal

Guard your Daughtersby Diana Tatton

River by Esther Kinsky

Ballet Shoesby Noel Streatfield

The Story of Tracy Beakerby Jacqueline Wilson

Look out for comments on some of these in the future on the blog.

4. The last book I said I’d read but hadn’t

I don’t do this. What’s the point?

5. The last book I wrote in the margins of

Un Sac de Billesby Joseph Joffo, a text for my French language class

6. The last book I had signed

I don’t do this either. But people often ask me to sign my books, and I do it, although I don’t know why they want me to.

7. The last book I gave away

I gave Unshelteredby Barbara Kingsolver and TheWoodby John Lewis-Stempel at Christmas, as well as about 20 copies of my own short story collection, Better Fetch a Chair. I am hoping to borrow both the Kingsolver and the Lewis-Stempel.

8. The last book I had to replace

The Diary of a Young Girlby Anne Frank, which I wanted for the 2018 Decades Project

9. The last book I argued over

Girl on a Trainby Paula Hawkins. I said I wouldn’t read novels with girlin the title (except A Girl is a Half-Formed Thingby Eimear McBridewhich is brilliant) and I was told that I should try it, even though the speaker said she hadn’t been able to follow it very well. I think there are enough books I want to read without having to read something that doesn’t appeal.

10. The last book I couldn’t find

Anne Frank 1940 (school photo, photographer unknown)

The Diary of a Young Girlby Anne Frank, which I wanted for the 2018 Decades Project. But then I did find it. Oxfam has my extra copy.

Over to you

Do any of my answers resonate with you? Try this for yourself.

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8 Responses to The last book I …

  1. Jennifer Evans

    Ooh I like this challenge Caroline. I’ve given up on The Sea The Sea many times. I hate giving up on books, but as my time is getting shorter, I do so more frequently.
    I never re-read for the same reason.
    I gave The Librarian by Salley Vickers to my granddaughter who is one. She loved it, as it’s about the importance of books for children – a subject she is passionate about.
    Thanks for making me think about this.

    • Caroline

      I’m with you on not wasting too much time on deciding to give up on a book. There’s always another one to read.

      I don’t know the Librarian. Given my Decades Project theme of children’s literature perhaps I should give it a go. Do you recommend it?

      Caroline xx

  2. I do agree about avoiding books with Girl in the title and not bothering with a book if you’re not feeling drawn to it – life is too short!

    • Caroline

      The books with girl in the title thing has got me into trouble more than once. I have been accused of making prejudiced decisions. I am prejudiced, but I also know that books that play on the GIRL theme aim to capture a particular kind of reader with a particular kind of story. It isn’t me and I dotty want to read it.

      As for your other point – there’s plenty more to read.

  3. booker talk

    Couldn’t agree more about the pointlessness of reading something you are not drawn to. I think about the books I could be reading instead that do appeal to me.

    • Caroline

      Some people can moralised about how you SHOULD finish what you start. Get off my TBR shelf I say!
      Thanks for this meme.


  4. Jennifer

    I haven’t read The Librarian but I like Salley Vickers. According to my granddaughter iit’s a novel about the importance of books and reading for children. I guess Lucy Mangan covered this in her memoir. It’s also a theme in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, which is one of my favourite books.

    • Caroline

      Thanks for these recommendations. I will have to look at both the Salley Vickers and the Betty Smith. I reviewed the Lucy Mangan Bookword last year, and I think you commented then too.

      best wishes
      Caroline xx

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