Ongoing Reading List



  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (59)

This book was a perfect fit into this category. I was pleased that I have the opportunity to read this book again. This book is also set in England, as it emerges out of the shadow of the second World War. A London author who is looking for the subject for her next book receives a letter from a stranger who lives on the island of Guernsey--he had found her address in a book he had bought secondhand. They begin a correspondence, she travels to Guernsey, it turns into a love story, not just romance, but the power of books to transform lives. This novel has a strong back drop of history and is told using the literary style of correspondence, a style I adore, we read the letters shared between herself, this stranger, her editor, her fiancee, and the fellow members of this Guernsey based literary society.

  Meet Me At The Museum by Anne Youngson completed 12/2019 (58)


 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff completed 12/2019 (57)

A very simple, short story--a classic tale of a friendship that grew out of the shared love of books. This true story is told through the 20 years of transatlantic correspondence between New York City based author, Helene Hanff and the English proprietor and staff of Messrs. Marks & Co., the sellers of rare and secondhand books located at 84 Charing Cross Road, London. The book is mostly set in the late 1940's and 50's giving a compelling look at the deprivation felt by Englanders immediately following the second World War. I will read this book again and again. This is my second read.


 Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn completed 12/2019 (56)


 Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster completed 12/2019 (55)


 Letters From Skye by Jessica Brockmole completed 12/2019 (54)


 A Woman of Independent Means by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey completed 12/2019 (53)


   Miss Austen by Gill Hornby completed 12/2019 (52)


  The Man With The Golden Mind by Tom Vater completed 12/2019 (51)


 The Witch With No Name by Kim Harrison completed 11/2019 (50)


 Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald completed 11/2019 (49)



 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare completed 11/2019 (48)


 The Cambodian Book of the Dead by Tom Vater completed 11/2019 (47)


  A Secret History of Witches: A Novel by Louisa Morgan completed 11/11/2019 (46)



  The Gingerbread Houses: A Charlie Bars Thriller (The Charlie Bars Thriller Series Book 3) By Benedict J. Jones completed 11/2019 (45)


  The Dilemma by B. A. Paris completed 11/2019 (44)


   Water Witches by Chris Bohjalian completed 11/2019 (43)


  The Familiars: A Novel by Stacey Halls completed 10/2019 (42)


  Unfollow Me: A Novel by Charlotte Duckworth completed 10/20/2019 (41)


  The Witch Elm: A Novel by Tana French completed 10/16/2019 (40)


  The Midwife's Tale: An Oral History from Handywoman to Professional Midwife by Nicky Leap edited by Billie Hunter completed 12/2019 (39)


  The Devil's Brew: A Charlie Bars Thriller (The Charlie Bars Thriller Series Book 2) by Benedict J. Jones completed 10/2019 (38)


    Brand New Friend by Kate Vane completed 10/19 (37)


 Entanglement  by Andrew J. Thomas completed 9/2019 (36)


 Skewered: And Other London Cruelties by Benedict J. Jones completed 9/17/2019 (35)


 White Elephant by Trish Harnetiaux completed 9/13/2019 (34)


  Pennies for Charon: A Charlie Bars Thriller (The Charlie Bars Thriller Series Book 1)  by Benedict J. Jones completed 9/11/2019 (33)


   Divorce Is Murder: A Toby Wong Novel (Toby Wong: Vancouver Island Mystery) By Elka Ray completed 9/2019 (32)


 Midwives (Oprah's Book Club)  by Chris Bohjalian completed 9/2019 (31)

According to Amazon this novel chronicles the events leading up to the trial of Sibyl Danforth, a respected midwife in the small Vermont town of Reddington, on charges of manslaughter. It quickly becomes evident, however, that Sibyl is not the only one on trial--the prosecuting attorney and the state's medical community are all anxious to use this tragedy as ammunition against midwifery in general; this particular midwife, after all, an ex-hippie who still evokes the best of the flower-power generation, is something of an anachronism in 1981.


 Outback Midwife by Beth McRae completed 8/31/2019 (30)

The memoir of Beth McRae which details her 40 years spent as a midwife in Australia. The book takes you from a city hospital to the bush to her work with the Aboriginal community. A very good read. 


  A Midwife's Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812 by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich completed 9/2019 (29)


  Hard Pushed: A Midwife’s Story by Leah Hazzard completed 8/2019 (28)

A moving, compassionate, and intensely candid view of modern midwifery in the UK. A glimpse into what life is like on the NHS front line working within a system at the breaking point. Part of my research into the world and practice of real life midwifery. 


 Everything Below the Waist: Why Health Care Needs a Feminist Revolution by Jennifer Block completed 8/2019 (27)

This is a badly needed book and one I have been waiting for ever since I read Pushed about the painful truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care published in 2007. While this book arrived just in time for my current round of research I was almost afraid to crack the cover. This jaw-dropping investigation into the women's health care industry shows that indeed nothing has changed unless it was for the worse. As Melissa said in her review on Amazon: "A book about feminism's unfinished revolution in women's health. It is fascinating, informative, and appalling."


 Mother and Child Were Saved: The Memoirs (1693-1740) of the Frisian Midwife Catharina Schrader (Nieuwe Nederlands Bijdragen Tot De Geschiedenis Der Geneeskunde En Der Natuurwetenschappen) Trans. by Hilary Marland with introductory essays by MJ van Lieburg and GJ Kloosterman completed 8/2019 (26) (The first read through anyway)

Catharina Schrader's memoirs span 52 years and an estimated 4,000 deliveries, which she carefully documented throughout her life as a midwife. When she was 88 years old, 'Vrouw' Schrader recorded her last birth. On October 30, 1746, she died in her hometown of Dokkum. What makes this an unique opportunity is that Vrouw Schader kept meticulous written records for all 3060 cases. For her memoir she hand picked 122 of her most complicated deliveries and this memoir is what has been translated to English. How I wish I could read all 3060 cases because it is not complications but the hidden invisible evidence of all the "normal labor, healthy child" deliveries that made up the vast majority of her work. This book was published in the 1980's and will set you back a pretty penny--for my line of work and research pennies well spent.


The Last Mrs. Parrish: A Novel by Liv Constantine completed 8/2019 (25)

I liked the idea of Amber the completely amoral envious entitled heroine with a meticulous if devious plot to grab someone else's privileged and wealthy marriage and life. This book revolves on a plot twist that I might have not seen coming from a mile away if I had not just read the much better executed "The Wives Between Us". It would take spoiling the plot to say more. Suffice it to say that getting revenge is a gray area and the ends do not justify the means. I have this same feeling about cops who lie to get a confession.


THE COMPLETE NOVELS. Voyage in the Dark. Quartet. After Leaving Mr Mackenzie. Good Morning, Midnight. Wide Sargasso Sea. With an Introduction by Diana Athill and Photographs by Brassai.   THE COMPLETE NOVELS. After Leaving Mr Mackenzie.  by Jean Rhys completed 7/2019 (24)

A late addition for the this category--I couldn't resist dipping in. The other day at #HalfPricedBooks I picked up a copy of the complete novels of #JeanRhys for $8. Quite a bargain it turns out-- I just noticed this title going for $48 on Amazon. I spent most of my weekend in front of a fan with my nose in this book escaping the heat. A popular author whose work is new to me. I have only read After Leaving Mr.s Mackenzie thus far as it fit into this category. It is a dark and quite stark read from one of the truest voices of the 20th century. 

Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (Virago Modern Classics) Mrs Palfrey At The Claremont: A Virago Modern Classic by Elizabeth Taylor completed 7/2019 (23)

Another late addition to this category and another book I couldn't resist digging into. I never heard of either of these two authors until I joined Twitter @DebbieVignovic and found @JacquiWine - she has proved a treasure trove of #TBR. The heatwave caused my reading to spike. Rest assured I will be reading the rest of her novels.


  The Wonderful Mr Willughby: The First True Ornithologist by Tim Birkhead completed 7/2019 (22)

If you haven't figured it out by now--I will pretty much read anything. This is the biography of Francis Willughby, the man who pulled the study of birds out of the dark ages and formed the foundation of modern ornithology. He lived in 17th century England--a thrilling period of scientific history.


  Dear Mrs. Bird: A Novel by AJ Pearce completed 7/2019 (21)

This novel is set in London during WWII and features a young woman who dreams of becoming a war correspondent but inadvertently becomes a secret advice columnist instead. A look into women's lives in wartime Britain.


  Mr. Murder: A Thriller by Dean Koontz completed 8/2019 (20)

A big house. A beautiful wife. Two happy and healthy children. It’s a nice life that writer Martin Stillwater has made for himself. But he can’t shake this feeling of impending disaster. One bad moment on an otherwise fine day has put Marty on a collision course with a killer—a man with a mere shadow of an identity who is desperately searching for something more...Martin’s home. Martin’s family. Martin’s life.


  Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante: A Maggie Hope Mystery by Susan Elia MacNeal completed 6/2019 (19)


 Mr. Mercedes: A Novel (The Bill Hodges Trilogy) by Stephen King Completed 7/2019 (18)


 A Star for Mrs. Blake: A novel by April Smith completed 7/8/2019 (17)



    Pelvic Liberation: Using Yoga, Self-Inquiry, and Breath Awareness for Pelvic Health by Leslie Howard completed 7/2019 (16)


  Mr. Maybe by Jane Green completed 6/20/2019 (15)


 Mrs. Sherlock Holmes: The True Story of New York City's Greatest Female Detective and the 1917 Missing Girl Case That Captivated a Nation  by Brad Ricca Category: Mr. & Mrs. completed 6/9/2019 (14)


  My Mrs. Brown: A Novel by William Norwich Category: Mr. & Mrs.  completed 5/4/2019 (13)


  The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detectiveby Kate Summerscale Category: Mr. & Mrs.  completed 5/21/2019 (12)


  The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbableby Nassim Nicholas Taleb Category: Dark Matter  completed 7/2019 (11)


  "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman and Ralph Leighton Category: Mr. & Mrs. completed 5/2019 (10)


  Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf  Category Mr. & Mrs. completed 4/2019 (9)


 Mr. Emerson's Wife: A Novelby Amy Belding Brown Category: Mr. and Mrs. completed 4/2019 (8)


  Acedia & me: A Marriage, Monks, and a Writer's Life by Kathleen Norris Category: The Reading Life completed 4/2019 (7)


  The Last Days of Night: A Novel by Graham Moore Category: My Husband Recommends completed 3/2019 (6)


 Aware: The Science and Practice of Presenceby Daniel J. Siegel, MD  Category: Meditation FINALLY FINISHED 6/11/19 (5)


 The Tragedy of Childbed Fever by Irvine Loudon Category: History of Childbirth completed 2/2019 (4)

FYI: This is an excellent book but incredibly pricey and for the record I paid $65 for a used copy from a London bookstore. Was it worth what I paid for it--absolutely yes. But I would not pay the price it is going for now on Amazon. It was worth it to me as I am a birth doula, a childbirth educator, a prenatal yoga teacher, I blog about childbirth, but more than anything I am a woman wondering what the heck has gone so wrong with birth in America today!


  The Life of Elizabeth Iby Alison Weir Category: Royal Reading Completed 3/2019 (3)


  I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh  Category: "Somebody Else's List" completed 2/2019 (2)


  The Shelf: From LEQ to LES: Adventures in Extreme Reading by Phyllis Rose  Category: The Reading Life completed 1/2019 (1)




Hi! I'm Debbie. Here at Categorically Well-Read I give an extra layer to the reading life. Learn more about me, check out my current category of books, submit your own suggestion, or check out my latest post.