On having destroyed my TBR

(this baby was the very last book in my TBR)

Hello, beautiful people!

As you might have seen on social media, I recently destroyed my TBR (to be read) pile once and for all. Wait, what? I know that most people in the book community have TBRs, so I thought I would talk a bit about destroying my TBR and what it means for my reading life again. It might have looked like a weird decision for some people, as it means that *gasp* I don’t have a single book to read anymore, so there we go.



WHY DID I DECIDE TO DESTROY MY TBR ONCE AND FOR ALL?

Like some readers, when I was much younger, I didn’t have a TBR. My parents either bought books for me, or I’d borrow anything interesting the library had, read the book straight away, then repeated the process over and over again. Then, as a teenager, I started watching BookTube videos, before joining Tumblr, where it was all about the popular fandoms, such as The Mortal InstrumentsThe Hunger GamesVampire Academy and so on. Thanks to all of this, I learnt about so many books and kept making lists of all of those I wanted to read (that was my pre-Goodreads days). 

Discovering the online book community sure changed my life on many levels, and with that came the beginning of having a TBR. It was so reassuring to know that I would always have a book I could pick up next and knew I wouldn’t run out of them, especially as I was reading in English more and more, while living in France (meaning I had to buy everything online). I have never been one to have a huge TBR though; from memory, my TBR never exceeded twenty-one books. Well, the fact that I mostly read on my ereader also helped tremendously with that… That, and not being able to afford buying physical copies that often.

And then, came 2017. Last year, I joined bookstagram, started buying way too many books because there were so many books I wanted to read and own*, but after a few months… My reading tastes changed a lot, to say the least. Well, there was something else… I didn’t really want to have a TBR anymore. Of course, it was nice to have many books to have to pick up from, but some of them were staying there so long that my excitement for them was lessening, and I didn’t want that to happen. Back then, I still had twenty-one books in my TBR and spent last summer getting through them, until I only had three of them left. Ahem. After that, I went to London twice and bought a lot of new books, most of them classics, because that’s all I wanted to read. But ever since that happened, I have managed my TBR really well and it only went beyond ten books after Christmas and my birthday, because I asked for books. So you see, I still had a manageable TBR, it wasn’t stressing me out or anything.

*I am absolutely not blaming bookstagram for this, of course, just the fact that I, Lucie, bought way too many books and it wasn’t the wisest decision. I just was attracted by shiny new books, please don’t judge me.

But for a while… I had been thinking how much I missed not having a TBR. How I missed going to the bookstore, picking a book up and reading it straight away. Like I was saying before, I stopped doing that because I was reading in English and there weren’t any English bookstores nearby. But it’s not true anymore, for I have moved to Paris since then, my favourite bookstore sells English books for a reasonable price and they have so many books I genuinely want to read (thank you very much, changes in reading tastes). That’s how I came to read all the books I had left in my TBR this summer, destroying my TBR once and for all in August.



How do I feel about not having a TBR, right now? I am the happiest. Now, I just go on Goodreads, browse my to-read shelf, looks at what I’m most excited about, get it, read it and start all over again. This is all I wanted, after all.

AND SO NOW… WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?

For now, I do not want a TBR anymore. I want to have the freedom to pick one book after another for a while. Like I was mentioning before, I can’t afford to buy physical books that often, but I have my e-reader, which is a way cheaper solution. My book buying habits have changed very much: I’d rather buy really long books, classics and non-fiction, because that’s what takes me the longest to get through, so it’s more encouraging to own them as physical copies (maybe it doesn’t make sense, but for me it does). The rest, I pretty much get as e-books already, except for when they’re written by my favourite authors.

I’m also very excited to go back to the library soon. We have so many of them in Paris and you can even find books in English, if you know where to look for. I also get my free fix of audiobooks thanks to libraries, so they’re pretty much perfect. I’m also going to start borrowing more books from loved ones. I am so eager to read Robin Hobb’s books and my boyfriend owns the beginning of the series (for now), so I’ll have those! I have also mentioned recently that historical fiction might be my favourite genre again and it’s my mom’s as well, so I’ll be able to borrow so many of her books*. It does mean reading a bit more in French once again, which isn’t a bad thing at all. I know that destroying my TBR is also linked to what my reading tastes are like now, there are so many books I want to discover and I will do so, one at a time.

*by the way, she finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and adored it! I’m so happy we can share books we love like this again, I had missed it a lot.

However, it does not mean that I’m swearing off TBRs for ever. I have some exceptions to my absence of TBR wants, such as month-long readathons. In October, I’ll be participating in #Victober like last year, so I’ll get five books for my TBR, but they’ll all be read by the end of it. The same thing will probably happen for #NonFictionNovember. I love making TBR lists for these types of challenges and I still want to do that, so I’ll get all the books at the same time, it will be simpler. We’re also talking about a tiny TBR that will be read very quickly, so it’s not really the same as having a TBR of twenty books and I’ll be back to not having a TBR in no time.

Anyhow, like I’ve mentioned before, I am so happy I do not have a TBR anymore, as I’ve wanted it for quite a while. I know that most people here in the bookish community have TBRs and I think that it’s great, we’re all different, we all enjoy different things and that’s just my opinion on the whole topic. I think that TBRs are amazing, they just aren’t for me, at the moment.

What do you think about TBRs? Would you rather have a big or a small TBR? Have you recently been without one? 

Lots of love,
Lucie

TOP 5 // Classics I want to read this summer

Hello, beautiful people!


It’s been a while since I last wrote a ‘top 5 books I want to read’ post and I had really missed those, because I love talking about books I really want to read, especially when it comes to classics. Now that I’m almost on holidays, I have way more time to read classics and I couldn’t be happier about that, I feel like I haven’t read that much of them this year (sure Lucie, you managed to read War and Peace, Middlemarch and Shirley, which were quite lengthy ones, and others). So today, I’m here to talk to you about those I desperately want to read; funnily enough I found two of them second-hand yesterday, when that post had been drafted for a week.


Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (1848)

It has occurred to me that I haven’t read anything by Elizabeth Gaskell since Victober 2017 and I’m a bit mad at myself for that, especially since I have so little of her novels left to read (Mary BartonSylvia’s Lovers and Cranford, but I never know if that one is considered a novel or not). Granted, I also have her biography of Charlotte Brontë and some of the novellas and short stories left after that, but still, it’s not the same. Anyhow, Mary Barton was Gaskell’s first novel and I’m so looking forward to reading it. The main character, Mary, rejects her working class lover Jem Wilson, thinking of marrying Henry Carson, the mill-owner’s son, in the hope of making a better life for herself and her father, a trade unionist. But when Henry is shot down in the street and Jem becomes the main suspect, Mary finds herself painfully torn between the two men. It sounds so good and I still can’t believe I found the Penguin English Library edition of it (see the picture at the beginning of the post), as it’s out of print!


The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (1860)

I recently read Middlemarch by George Eliot and adored it so much that I’ve been thinking about picking up the rest of the author’s works. I had heard from several readers that The Mill on the Floss was more approachable than Middlemarch, but I got through that one, so I’m confident I’ll enjoy the first as well. The Mill on the Floss follows Maggie Tulliver, who is always trying to win the approval of her parents, but her personality often brings her into conflict with her family. It is said to have an interesting portrayal of sibling relationships, which is one of my weaknesses in literature and that it’s considered George Eliot’s most autobiographical novel. Moreover, I’ve heard such amazing things about the heroine of this novel and I cannot wait to meet her. By the way, have I mentioned that I’m planning on getting the Penguin English Library edition? It’s absolutely gorgeous, but no one is surprised. 

Let’s take a moment to stare at it:




L’Œuvre by Emile Zola (1886)

You might not know that about me, but Emile Zola is one of my favourite French writers. I have a very special relationship with L’Œuvre (The Masterpiece in English), because I’ve been meaning to read it for almost nine years, ever since we had to imagine what happened after one of the scenes for a class. Yet, I never got around to read it, still telling myself, years after years, that I needed to get to it. This summer, I have no more excuses, because I borrowed my grandmother’s copy and I can’t wait to finally know what happened after that scene. L’Œuvre is the story of a young artist moving to Paris to find success and is conquered by the flaws in his own genius. While his childhood friend becomes a successful novelist, the artist’s originality is mocked at the Salon and he gradually turns to a doomed obsession with one great canvas. It is said to be a quite autobiographical novel for Zola and to provide unique insight into Zola’s relationship with the painter Cézanne. 

The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy (1887)

I haven’t read anything by Thomas Hardy since The Mayor of Casterbridge in February (which was amazing) and I really miss his writing, so I have to read as many of his works as possible this summer, starting with The Woodlanders. This one narrates the rivalry for the hand of Grace Melbury between a loyal woodlander and a sophisticated outsider. According to the Penguin Classics edition, The Woodlanders, with its thematic portrayal of the role of social class, gender, and evolutionary survival, as well as its insights into the capacities and limitations of language, exhibits Hardy’s acute awareness of his era’s most troubling dilemmas. It sounds amazing, as all of the works of Thomas Hardy that I’ve read so far, I cannot wait to get to it.

Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier (1941)

Last but not least, we’re leaving 19th century to move on to modern classics and Daphne du Maurier, as always. I adore Daphne du Maurier, both as a writer and as a woman, she’s one of my biggest inspirations. Frenchman’s Creek is the only one of her most popular novels I have left to read and I’m so looking forward to it, I have missed Cornwall, her words, her characters and the atmosphere she always manages to create. It’s going to be my sixth novel by her, then I’ll try her short stories, because I’m so curious about The BirdsIn the meantime, this novel follows Lady Dona St Columb, who seems to be involved in every intrigue of the Restoration Court, but she secretly despises the Court life. She retreats at her husband’s Cosnish estate, but it used to be the base of a French pirate, hunted down by all Cornwall. Upon meeting him, Dona’s thirst for adventure has never been more aroused and together they embark on a quest, which will force Dona to make the ultimate choice, between sacrificing her lover to death, or risk her own life to save him.


That’s it for the classics I want to read the most this summer! I also want to read more French literature once again, The Three Musketeers (Les Trois Mousquetaires) by Alexandre Dumas and Guermantes’ Way (Le Côté de Guermantes) by Marcel Proust are also patiently waiting for me, but I’ve mentioned them on other ‘top 5’ posts and I haven’t forgotten about them.

Are there any classics you want to get to this summer?

Lots of love,
Lucie

TOP 5 // 20th century classics I want to read the most

Hello beautiful people!


For the last few months, I’ve read a lot of classics and I couldn’t be happier, because I had put them on the side since high school, when I used to adore them. I have noticed that I’m naturally going towards 19th century literature, because that’s the one I’ve always loved, but I would really like to discover more classics by exploring the 20th century. Actually, it will be one of my reading goals for 2018, but we’ll talk about that in a few weeks. Long story short, this is why I made a list of the five 20th century classics I really want to read in the upcoming months, because I know it will motivate me to read them as soon as possible (it worked so much when I last did this in August). If you have any recommendations for 20th century literature that I should read, please let me know!

Howards End by E.M. Forster (1910)

I studied E.M. Forster a little in one of my English classes a few years ago, but have yet to read a book by him. All I know about this one is that it’s about three middle-class families in the Edwardian era and I’m very curious to read more Edwardian authors (as I’m obsessed with Victorian literature, I need to move forward). Besides, there is an on-going TV series about this novel starring Hayley Atwell (it started last Sunday) and as I love her so much, I’m very motivated to finally read some E.M. Forster.

The Guermantes Way* by Marcel Proust (1920)

I read the first two books in the In Search of Lost Time series by Marcel Proust two years ago and absolutely adored them. Now, those books can be hard to read, because they’re made of very long sentences and most of the time, you don’t have any chapter to stop to (I hate stopping after a sentence and not having chapters, oops), which is why I’ve had that one on hold for more than a year. I have no idea where I stopped, so I’ll have to start all over again. I’m so excited to read Marcel Proust again and that one in particular, because it will follow the narrator in aristocratic and literary salons in 19th century Paris (!!).

*Le Côté de Guermantes for me, as I’m reading it in French

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf (1927)

Virginia Woolf is one of those well-known authors I still haven’t read anything by. I’ve been meaning to read her books forever, but she intimidates me a lot, for she’s such an important literary figure! Mrs. Dalloway is probably her most popular one, but To the Lighthouse intrigues me a lot more. All I know is that it’s about a family and that it’s set on the isle of Skye. I don’t need anything more and I’m looking forward to finally discover this author.

Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1933)

I am fascinated by the jazz age and yet, I haven’t read many books set during that time period. I read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald years ago and really enjoyed it, but never got around to read any of his other books. A few weeks ago, I met up with a bookstagram friend at Shakespeare and Co. and we talked about the Roaring Twenties, the Diviners and Francis Scott Fitzgerald; she ended up buying one of his books and it has stayed on my mind ever since. I really want to read Tender is the Night because it’s his second most popular work and it’s a tragic romance set in the late 1920s on the French Riviera. 
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier (1969)

I couldn’t write a post about 20th century literature without mentioning Daphne du Maurier, could I? I’m so obsessed with her books, I want to read them all. While, as we speak, I still haven’t read Rebecca (because I saw the adaptation and still remember everything about it…), I read three of her books this year and absolutely loved them. The next one on my list is The House on the Strand, du Maurier’s take on time travel and I couldn’t be more excited because it is set in Cornwall (as always), involves a manor and the fourteenth century.


Lots of love,
Lucie

Victober 2017 TBR

Hello, beautiful people!

This year, I’ve decided to join #Victober, a read-a-thon focused on reading Victorian literature during the month of October and hosted by Katie (Books and Things), Ange (Beyond the Pages), Kate (Kate Howe) and Lucy (Lucythereader). While you don’t have to read a certain number of books for this readathon (read one book? You did it!), there are challenges for those interested and that’s what I based my TBR off (I’m very competitive with myself when it comes to readathons). Oh, and as October means Halloween, my TBR also is inspired by that because I want to get in the mood.

The challenges are:

  • Read a Victorian book by a Scottish, Irish or Welsh author
  • Read a lesser-known Victorian book (less than 12.000 ratings on Goodreads)
  • Read a supernatural Victorian book
  • Read a Victorian book that someone recommended to you
  • Read a Victorian book by a female author


1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde // Read a Victorian book by a Scottish, Irish or Welsh author

If you didn’t know, Oscar Wilde is an Irish writer and while I have yet to read what he wrote, I’ve been admiring him for such a long time and went to an exhibition about him in Paris last year. October is the month I will finally read The Picture of Dorian Gray, and I couldn’t be more excited, because I know I’m going to love it and it’s a short read, which is perfect for a readathon!

2. Gothic Tales by Elizabeth Gaskell // Read a lesser-known Victorian book

Elizabeth Gaskell’s Gothic Tales is, without a doubt, the book I’m most excited to read for Victober. I discovered Elizabeth Gaskell last year with North and South, which I absolutely loved, and read Wives and Daughters this September. When I discovered she had written gothic short stories (and that they aren’t that known), I was over the moon. When I read the description of the contents of this edition, it made me so curious, take for example: The Poor Clare, which is about “an evil doppelganger is formed by a woman’s bitter curse”, or Lois the Witch is “a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria”. It seems like a perfect read for Halloween time and I can read one of the novella whenever I want, which is also perfect for readathons.

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker // Read a supernatural Victorian book

I’ve been saving up Dracula for October, because I think it’ll be the best month to finally read it. I’ve been meaning to get to it for such a long time and I hope I won’t be too terrified (we never know with me). I’m very curious to finally read it, as I’ve only read about vampires in young adult novels (*cough* Twilight *cough*), but I want to know the real deal with vampires. My friend Clara loves this book and said it changed her opinions on vampires, so I trust her.

4. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins// Read a book that someone recommended to you

I first heard about The Woman in White on my favourite blog (which is in French, sorry), and it intrigued me so much. Victoria (mangoandsalt) absolutely loved it and I’ve wanted to read it ever since. Andreea (Infinite Text) also said we could count this one as her recommendation, so it definitely fits in this category. Anyhow, once again, I thought it was a perfect read for October, as it’s a mystery novel and it is said to be “the first and most influential of the Victorian genre that combined Gothic horror with psychological realism”. Moreover, if you want to read The Woman in White for Victober, there is a Goodreads group, because it’s a popular choice for this year’s Victober and it’s way less intimidating to read a big book (around 700 pages) with other people.

5. Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon // Read a book by a female author

Lady Audley’s Secret is a very famous Scandal novel and I have to say that the title intrigues me. From what I gathered, it’s about an anti-heroine, morality and madness in the Victorian age. Besides, this novel apparently established Mary Elizabeth Braddon established her as the main rival of the master of the sensational novel, Wilkie Collins. I’ll be reading Wilkie Collins for the first time in October, so I thought it would be interesting to be able to compare the two.

Are you taking part in Victober? What are your favourite Victorian novels?

Lots of love,
Lucie

TOP 5 // Classics I want to read the most



Hello beautiful people!


Lately, I’ve been in a huge mood to read English classics, which couldn’t make me happier, as classics used to be a big part of my reading life. Because I have so many of them on my wishlist – I’m going to London soon and I’ll buy tons of them – I thought I would share the five of them I want to read the most lately. 


Emma by Jane Austen


I still have three of Jane Austen novels to read and because of the YouTube channels I’ve been watching lately or my craving for period drama, I’m so excited to continue to read them. Emma is the one I’m the most excited to get to because many of my friends told me it was either their favourite or second favourite Jane Austen. That’s all I need to be excited. After Emma, I’ll also have to get to Mansfield Park and Persuasion, then to move on to her youthful writings.


When it comes to the Brontë sisters, I read Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights six years ago, but as Anne Brontë isn’t well-known in France, I never got around to read one of her novels. I’m really curious to read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and I’ve heard it was considered scandalous when it was published, but quite a sucess and that it was very mysterious and feminist. 

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Ever since I read Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee, I’ve been eager to read more of Tolstoy’s novels. I read Anna Karenina while I was still in high school and had absolutely loved it. I think I’ll reread it in the future, because I don’t remember it that well, but for now, I really want to read War and Peace, because I’ve had the 2016 mini-series on my laptop for a year, but also because I’m very curious about the way he wrote it, considering how huge it is (more than a thousand pages).

Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Last year, I read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and really enjoyed it. I wanted to read more of her novels, but I didn’t know where to head next, until I watched Ellie Dashwood’s most helpful video. I really want to read all the books she mentioned, but I think I will to start with Wives and Daughters, because it sounded absolutely amazing when she talked about it. Besides, Elizabeth Gaskell wrote a biography about Charlotte Brontë and I need to read it.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

I don’t know anything about this one, except that it’s one of the first mystery and “sensation” novels and that some people consider it to be the first example of detective novels. Besides, this novel was written during the Victorian era (that’s my thing) and Wilkie Collins was a close friend of Charles Dickens, one of my favourite writers!


Have you read any of these books? What classics do you really want to read?


Lots of love,
Lucie