Tuesday, March 2

Books and the BBC

I said once that I would never post the books I'd read on my blog, that I'd be too embarrassed (by quantity of material read, not necessarily quality). But since I've started reading more regularly, and gotten such enthusiastic comments from you, I decided to occasionally post my literary pursuits. I wholeheartedly welcome your comments and recommendations.

An author of a blog I happened to see recently admitted to reading 90 books in a single year. THAT IS NOT ME. My recent average had been about 2 or 3 a year until this last one, so 1 or 2 a month is something for me to be personally pleased with. Maybe I'd find more time for reading if it wasn't for the darn BBC, but more on that below.

My 2009 completed reading list
Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir by Marina Nemat
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Cranford Chronicles by Elizabeth Gaskell, (includes Mr. Harrison's Confessions, Cranford, and My Lady Ludlow)
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A Girl From Yamhill: A Memoir by Beverly Cleary
James Herriot's Cat Stories by James Herriot
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (LDA #1)) by Alexander McCall Smith
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Tears of the Giraffe (LDA #2) by Alexander McCall Smith
My Own Two Feet: A Memoir by Beverly Cleary
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Morality for Beautiful Girls (LDA #3) by Alexander McCall Smith
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Kalahari Typing School for Men (LDA #4) by Alexander McCall Smith
The Full Cupboard of Life (LDA #5) by Alexander McCall Smith
1/2 dozen Sherlock Holmes short stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (LDA #5) by Alexander McCall Smith

2010 completed reading list
Blue Shoes and Happiness (LDA #7) by Alexander McCall Smith
The Good Husband of Zebra Drive (LDA #8) by Alexander McCall Smith
The Miracle at Speedy Motors (LDA #9) by Alexander McCall Smith
The Law of Dreams: A Novel by Peter Behrens
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

I'm currently reading Rhythms of Renewal, written by a woman I know and admire, and will read Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson for book club this month.

Selection from my ever-changing to-read list
John Adams by David McCullough
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The Milagro Beanfield War
by John Nichols
The Hiding Place
by Corrie Ten Boom
by Guy Gavriel Kay
Tess of the D-Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
The Bourne Identity
by Robert Ludlum
The Princess Bride
by William Goldman
by Daphne Du Maurier

Now, my beef with the BBC. They're killing me! I admit, I like movies and television. I like big budget Hollywood movies, I like low budget indies, I like foreign films, I like a few tv shows, but nothing sucks me in like programming from the BBC. I'm sure I've only just skimmed the surface of what they have to offer, which makes me think I'll be glued to the tv or computer screen until the end of time. To give you an idea, here are a couple more lists. Again, comments and suggestions will be gladly received.

Selection of enjoyable watching
Foyle's War
Black Adder
Little Dorrit
State of Play
The Forsyte Saga
Pride and Prejudice
Horatio Hornblower
Monarch of the Glen
MI-5 (If you're harboring the copy of season 7 from my local library, please return immediately!)
Shakespeare Retold
The Office
All Creatures Great and Small
Fawlty Towers
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
North and South

Selection of may-watch-some-day
Life on Mars
That Mitchell and Webb Look
Jeeves and Wooster
Prime Suspect
Place of Execution
As Time Goes By
God on Trial

To watch tonight, if I ever remove myself from this chair
The 39 Steps

If you're looking for a new addiction and haven't yet experienced what the BBC can do for you, try out Masterpiece. It's a great way to get hooked.


moomer said...

Excellent...I'm envious of your reading list! It is well-rounded & makes me feel I need to branch out (instead of reading all the LDA books for the 3rd time). FYI, I own As Time Goes By AND Jeeves & Wooster when you're ready.

Scrappycook said...

You will love I Capture the Castle - one of my favorites! I love to read and if I had TV, I would be sucked into the BBC shoes (instead I buy the DVDs or watch them from the library). My favorite book so far this year is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley.

damiec said...

I have to second that Capture the Castle suggestion. It's an absolute treat, and if you like the BBC classics, it should be your cup of tea. And if you do love it, put Cold Comfort Farm on your reading list too!

Amy said...

I love BBC.

I love British authors.

I love David McCullough (getting off the British kick now).

I love books.

Awesome post.

Robyn said...

I love the Beebs too! Have you seen Gavin & Stacy? British humour at its best!

nopinkhere said...

I Capture the Castle is a sweet book. Given that you like the BBC shows, I'm sure you'll love it. I would be embarrassed to count how many books I read. I read A LOT, and it's not usually stuff I'm willing to tell the world I'm reading either.

Brittney said...

I am an BBC addict. Have you seen the new Jane Austen movies that they did last year? Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey. P&P is excellent of course as well. The BBC of North and South is the BEST! I bought it, I loved it so much. Wives and Daughters is very good too.

Susan said...

Love seeing the book lists. I've read about half of your 2009 but might check out some of the other names I'm not familiar with. Curious as to what were your favorites . . .

Sheila said...

We have read a LOT of the same books! Wow!

Are you on Goodreads.com? It is fun to use. I'm on there if you want to "friend" me. Here's the link:


- Sheila

jamie christine said...

Asking you how you kept track of the books you read is probably a silly ?? but I can't help wondering since I can't seem to do it!!! Also want to advise that you move Tigana to the very top of your to read list--L O V E!!!!

Megan said...

Since reading consistently happened as a phenomenon for me this year, I felt more compelled to record the titles. First I just wrote them down, then I signed up on Goodreads.com to keep track. I've only been recording what I've read since the beginning of 2009 so it's been pretty easy. Now, you may have a more difficult time seeing as how you're one of those reading wonders, but the online way may work well for you. I wondered if you'd read Tigana :-)

I am on Goodreads. I'll have to check out your link. I only have one friend, currently. I'm a little intimidated by the idea of seeing others' extensive reading lists, but maybe I'll give in and be more literarily social.

Megan said...

I'll have to check out Gavin & Stacy, thanks for the tip!

I think I've watched all the recent Jane Austens except Persuasion. I missed it when it aired 2 weeks ago and I guess I missed it last year when they featured all of hers. I love the 1995 version. Did you watch the Emma miniseries?
I'm also a fan of Wives and Daughters. Have the book, too, but haven't made it that far.

I feel like it's difficult to name favorites since they're all so different from each other. Stand outs would be: A Thousand Splendid Suns, I love the LDA series, The Help...
Life of Pi was interesting but hard to get into. Prep was somehow attractive but annoying. The Law of Dreams was different from my other reading in a good way and I loved the protagonist and the book more after discussing it with my book club.
I'm looking forward to mixing it up this year and moving into more genres.

Nance said...

Thanks for posting your lists of read and to read. I'm one of those crazy people that reads way too much but is always looking for suggestions from other people... I've taken notes on your post and your comments.

Sara said...

Your book list looks great! And I also love the BBC - have you seen The Wire in the Blood?

Megan said...

I was just looking at that online today and was wondering what it's like. Do you recommend it?

Stef said...

I'm excited to try North and South! Elizabeth Gaskell wrote one of my all time favorites called Wives and Daughters and so I'm eager to read more of what she's written.

Thanks for this list. I'm terrible with reading, but would like to read more, so I'm going to take your suggestion on a few of these and try them out. Kristen Hannah is an excellent author, just FYI :)

Anonymous said...

Love BBC. My current favorite is Kingdom but all time is As Time Goes By.

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Anonymous said...

If you love foreign movies, try
Water, Blue Umbrella, Children of Heaven, Color of Paradise and of course Farewell My Fair Concubine.
I feel I learn so much from foreign movies and it'd be hard to find the material in the form of interesting reading.


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If you like Mitchell and Webb they have a series for radio called That Mitchell and Webb sound, it's awesome. You obviously enjoy quirky British humour, so Mitchell and Webb did a sitcom (kinda like The Office)called Peep Show. Stephen Fry and Hugh Lorry had their own sketch show called A Bit of Fry and Lorry and those two together are just amazing. I hope you will find this post helpful, and have "jolly good time" watching , cheers Klara

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The 2 Spies said...

I came to your blog looking for a different post... but stumbled on this great list... thanks so much! Where I live there is no English library or TV so... Kindle is my library (I'll look up your suggested reading) and the internet is my TV.... BBC here I come!! Thanks

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I love BBC.

I love British authors.

I love David McCullough (getting off the British kick now).

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