Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Shamelessly Pootering


During NaBloPoMo, I was lured to write about laundry and the weather, but managed to avoid the siren call. Now, as the year draws to an end, I am equally tempted to write a Pooterish post. I want, I really really want to write about – nay, list – the books on my To Be Read pile. This Christmas week is a frantic time for me, with my and Daisy’s birthdays to celebrate before we can even get started on the Christmas festivities. What my TBR pile represents is a quieter time, when meals need not be perfectly celebratory, when sourcing lemongrass for my trifle is no longer top of my list of urgent things to achieve. My TBR pile represents three weeks of school holidays, where we are no longer rushing out every morning on the school run, no longer rushing home to eat a perfectly healthy hot lunch, and then rushing out again for extra-mural activities. My TBR pile symbolises lie-ins, lazy afternoons, reading in the bath, my husband off work and taking part in family activities. Fewer responsibilities; more leisure. And some escape into fabulous dream lands.

Here it is, in no particular order:

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert – inspired by Litlove‘s French literature posts.

The March by EL Doctorow – I gave this to my husband for his birthday, he loved it and now it’s my turn. I was a big Doctorow fan as a student, so am looking forward to immersing myself in his prose again.

Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich – a work colleague always used to recommend Evanovich to me, but I ignored him. Ms Make Tea has said her earlier books were better, but I’m giving this a go anyway.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood – my favourite author, and according to The Independent, it’s “Half-Dorothy Parker, half-Desperate Housewives”, so it’s got to be good.

In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar – a present from a friend whose literary tastes I admire. I’ve started it, but am looking forward to digging in.

1000 Places To See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz – a birthday present from my dear Argentinian friend. This is to provide solace to this traveller who is not going anywhere this Christmas. In my mind though, I’m going global. A good one to dip into while sampling the Christmas chocolates.

Talk Talk by TC Boyle. A birthday present from my husband. This may have to be first!

Panic by Jeff Abbott. Stolen off my husband’s bedside table. I know nothing about it, but it sounds like a good thriller.

The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany. A birthday present from the dear Emma C. The dustjacket says it “caused an immediate scandal due to its sexual frankness when first published in Egypt”. Sounds good to me. I can do with a bit of sexual frankness on my holidays.

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse. The last of my haul from our visit to England in September.

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory. A birthday present from my mother-in-law, who knows me well, and always gives me books. I loved The Other Boleyn Girl, so it will be interesting to see how this one compares.

Northeast Italy: Touring in Wine Country by Maureen Ashley. More travel lust. This was a birthday present from the ever-thoughtful V. It came accompanied by two exquisite bottles of Italian wine (and chocolate, and a lovely glass cheese platter – gosh, my friends know me well). To be honest, it was also a belated birthday present for himself, so I’ve got to share it.

There are two others, which are really Christmas presents, so I shouldn’t know about them. I chose them, will wrap them and then give them to my family to give to me. They are:

Cook With Jamie by Jamie Oliver. I’ve been loving Kathryn’s blog about working through Jamie’s latest cookbook and I am dying to get my hands on it. I hope to be inspired to experiment on my victims at home.

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai. I can’t let 2006 go by without reading this year’s Booker Prize winner.

Phew, that felt quite good. I can wholly recommend a little Pootering every now and then. Rachel Cooke, eat your heart out!



Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

12 thoughts on “Shamelessly Pootering

  1. Yay! Here’s to lying around reading. Your pile sounds wonderful. I read Madame Bovary for the first time last year and liked it very much.

  2. I think I like it when you shamelessly Pooter! Your list looks wonderful — just the sort of selection to lose yourself in for a day or five.

    Looking forward to hearing what you think of the Evanovich and the Gregory as both are books I read this year. One I liked very much and the other… As I said, looking forward to hearing what you think of these two.

  3. I wish I could edit my previous comment as it sounds like I didn’t like, at all, one of the books. I can’t edit so I’ll just add this: I did enjoy both books, one more so than the other. The other suffered in comparison to earlier books in the series. I hope that your experience of it will be different as you are coming to the series fresh.

  4. I loved your reading list. I liked the Evanovich, but I agree that it wasn’t as good as the other books in the series. Still, it was a fine afternoon’s read.

    I’ve never read Madame Bovary, maybe I’ll have to. I procured the Emienent Victorians because of Bloglily, and my husband snagged it and added it to the book stack he made for me, so I guess now I have to wait.

  5. I am inspired to do a bit of pootering myself. It is too bad I’ve often mentioned my TBR list, in so many words, that it would feel horribly redundant. I bet there’s some kind of list meme making the rounds I could grab on to.

    Madame Bovary is in one of my TBR book piles but it is more distant one, several inches from my bed. French lit is amazing from what little I’ve read of it. I keep meaning to try the Russians. (Lolita feels far too American to count.)

  6. I’ve just finished The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory. It was the first book I’ve read by her… but I was a bit lukewarm about it. I found it only OK. I intend to read her other books, though, so I’d love to hear how you found The Boleyn Inheritance.

    Cook With Jamie was a Christmas present I chose for myself too! I’ve already had my mitts on it and have made a few recipes although the results (apart from Kiko’s birthday cake) have not been fit for the world to see. It’s such a great cookery book though. I’ve planned much of our Christmas dinner around it, despite my husband’s protests…

  7. That is one juicy list of books; lovely and fat and full of flavour and texture. I love having a pile of different books so I can choose the next one according to the mood I am in or simply as a contrast to the last. I look forward to your reviewing them for us too..

  8. Nice list! I like list posts — they give me ideas of things to read. The Atwood and the Desai sound particularly good to me.

  9. I think this should become a meme – I might give it a go myself. A good selection, and I’ll be interested to see what you think of them all.

  10. I’m impressed you found time to post with all those celebrations to mastermind! happy Christmas to you and yours as well and enjoy your relaxing with all those great sounding books afterwards.
    I might even get back to posting after Christmas – right now the words section of my brain has been highjacked by the food and present making part – not enough megs to complete all applications without crashing! Might copy that and post it to my blog to show I’m still alive!
    Have fun.

  11. Pingback: The Books of My Numberless Dreams

  12. Janet Evanovich last book could do with a bit more …. well, what?… it is just not as good as the previous ones, but still a fine read.

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