Saturday, December 29, 2018

TBR Pile Challenge 2019: Viragos or Non-fiction?

I'm so happy that Adam from Roof Beam Reader is hosting another TBR Pile Challenge! It's my favorite book-blogging challenge (next to my own). I love it because it really inspires me to read books from my own shelves, which I am woefully bad at. Only about half of my 2018 books were from my own shelves -- better than past years, but not nearly as many as I would like.

However, I have a bit of a conundrum -- I've made up two potential lists, and I'm torn between the two. One is all Virago Modern Classics (e.g., mostly out-of-print, mid-century women writers); the other is non-fiction, a mix of history, memoirs, and biographies. Bloggers, which one should I choose?

The Virago list: 
  1. The Loved and Envied by Enid Bagnold
  2. At the Still Point by Mary Benson
  3. Fenny by Lettice Cooper (one of last year's alternates)
  4. Crossriggs by Mary Findlater 
  5. Joanna Godden by Sheila Kaye-Smith
  6. Treasure Hunt by Molly Keane
  7. Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy 
  8. Invitation to the Waltz by Rosamond Lehmann
  9. The World My Wilderness by Rose Macauley
  10. The Play Room by Olivia Manning
  11. Frost in May by Antonia White
  12. The Misses Mallet by E. H. Young 

The Little Ottleys by Ada Leverson

Jenny Wren by E. H. Young

The nonfiction list: 
  1. An Unlikely Countess: Lily Budge and the 13th Earl of Galloway by Louise Carpenter 
  2. Long Live Great Bardfield by Tirzah Garwood
  3. Terms and Conditions: Life in Girls' Boarding Schools, 1939-1979 by Ysenda Maxtone Graham
  4. Slipstream: A Memoir by Elizabeth Jane Howard
  5. Speaking of Jane Austen by Sheila Kaye-Smith
  6. Edith Wharton by Hermione Lee
  7. Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind Letters, 1936 to 1949
  8. Millions Like Us: Women's Lives in War and Peace by Virginia Nicholson 
  9. The Perfect Summer by Juliet Nicholson 
  10. The Bolter by Frances Osborne 
  11. A Very Private Eye by Barbara Pym 
  12. Bluestockings by Jane Robinson 
  13. The Other Day by Dorothy Whipple

Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester
Period Piece by Gwen Raverat

I realize there are 13 on this list, so one has to go. But which one? And I suppose I could just compromise and pick six from each list!

Bloggers, have you read any of these? Good choices or bad -- I have until January 15 to amend my list, so I'd love your input. And are you signing up for the TBR Pile Challenge? I'd love to see your lists!


  1. I'd vote Viragos! I love Olivia Manning (though haven't read that one) and Invitation to a Waltz was great. I haven't read anything off your non-fiction list, though I would be interested in the Edith Wharton bio.

    Good luck!

  2. I'd vote for some of each. That way you feel like you've accomplished something in each category, although I must say I love the idea of Viragos. And, as Reese mentioned, the Edith Wharton biography would be lovely slipped in either way.

  3. I always have one fiction and one non-fiction book on the go at the same time to make sure the non-fiction does not get left behind. As you will probably read more than 25 books next year, it would be possible to complete both lists.

  4. I would compromise and choose six from each list. I really liked Crossriggs, was slightly disappointed by Troy Chimneys. I've not read the Olivia Manning but I've loved the books by her that I have read. I read number 8 years ago and liked it. From the second list number 8 is good. I intend to read numbers 2,4,11 and 13 - sometime in the future.

  5. Like everyone ahead of me, I'd read from each list.

  6. Oh, I'd vote for the Virago, although I may be using your list for wish fulfillment (I've always wanted to do a female authors project). I've read a few of the writers on your list, although not the precise novels you've selected. I love Molly Keane and Olivia Manning (I'll have to check out The Play Room) and it would be fun to read both. As for Miss Mole, I, too, have a copy and almost used it for a category in your Classics Challenge, so I really want you to read that one! The non-fiction list looks great as well, although I don't much dip into non-fiction these days. I HAVE been thinking about the Edith Wharton bio, esp reading it in conjunction with a Wharton novel or two. When it was first published, I know the Lee's bio received rave reviews, which is when it went on my TBR list (where it's remained ever since!).

  7. I vote for Virago - but maybe you could add a couple of nonfiction too...