A – Z of TBRs: X, Y and Z

And so I come to the last letters in the alphabet,  X, Y and Z in my A – Z of TBRs, a series of posts in which I’ve been taking a look at some of my TBRs  to decide whether I really do want to read them all. Some of them were impulse buys, or books I bought as part of those 3 for 2 offers, but most of them are books I bought full of enthusiasm to read each one – and mainly because I wanted to finish books I was already reading, they have sat on the shelves ever since. And then other books claimed my attention.

X  – is for Xingu and other stories by Edith Wharton Xingu is the first story in this IMG_20180517_155637127_HDR.jpgcollection of seven short stories. It’s about a group of ladies who form a book group called The Lunch Club – but it’s more

‘And what do you think of “The Wings of Death”? Mrs Roby abruptly asked her.  It was the kind of question that might be termed out of order, and the ladies glanced at each other as though disclaiming any share in such a breach of discipline. They all knew there was nothing Mrs Plinth so much disliked as being asked her opinion of a book. Books were written to read; if one read them what more could be expected? To be questioned in detail regarding the contents of a volume seemed to her as great an outrage as being searched for smuggled laces at the Custom House. (location 77)

Why, I wonder, would anyone want to smuggle laces – and why would it be necessary?


Y – is for The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. I’ve had this book for 8 years. According to Wikipedia this book focuses on a religious sect called the God’s Gardeners, a small community of survivors of the same biological catastrophe depicted in Atwood’s earlier novel Oryx and Crake, which I read soon after it was first published in 2003. The earlier novel contained several brief references to the group.

Figuring out the Gardener hierarchy took her some time. Adam One insisted that  all Gardeners were equal on the spiritual level, but the same did not hold true for the material one: the Adams and the Eves ranked higher, though their numbers indicated their areas of expertise rather than their importance. In many ways it was like a monastery, she thought. The inner chapter, then the lay brothers. And the lay sisters, of course. Except that chastity was not expected.

Since she was accepting Gardener hospitality, and under false pretences at that – she wasn’t really a convert – she felt she should pay by working very hard. (pages 55 -56)


Z– is for Zoo Time by Howard Jacobson, a book I’ve had for eighteen months. It’s described on the book jacket as ‘By turns angry, elegiac and rude’,’ a novel about love – love of women, love of literature, love of laughter. It shows our funniest writer at his brilliant best.’

I haven’t read any of his books, although I have a copy of The Finckler Question, the 2010 Man Booker Prize winner still to read. Looking at Zoo Time today I’m wondering of I really do want to read it – I’m not very good with ‘funny’ books, often wondering what’s so funny about them. It’s about a writer, whose readership is going downhill, with lots of problems.

Things had not being going well in my neck of the woods: not for me, on account of being a writer whose characters readers didn’t identify with, not for my wife who didn’t identify with my characters or with me, not for Poppy Eisenhower, my wife’s mother, where the problem, to be candid, was that we had been identifying with each other too well, not for my local library which closed only a week after I’d published a florid article in the London Evening Standard praising its principled refusal to offer Internet access, and not for my publisher Merton Flak who, following a drunken lunch in my company – I had been the one doing the drinking – went back to his office and shot himself in the mouth. (page 23)

What do you think? Do you fancy any of them? Would you ditch any of them?

13 thoughts on “A – Z of TBRs: X, Y and Z

  1. These look interesting, Margaret. And I give you all credit for doing this alphabet journey. It’s been really interesting! I’m especially interested in what you’ll think of the Atwood; she is such a talented writer, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Margot – I’ve enjoyed looking at my TBRs and I’m thinking I’ll write a follow up post about the results – which books I read or decided to cull.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My first and only experience with Howard Jacobson was not a happy one. I gave up on Finckler – it was self indulgent and dull I am sorry so I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for reading anythng else by him

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting – I’ve read mixed reviews of his books and wondered what I would make of his books. I suppose the only way to find out is to start reading one 🙂


  3. I read Oryx and Crake just after it came out but like you never got round to the next book in the trilogy, or the third one for that matter. I’d like to find time to read them at a stretch but I don’t think it will be this summer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a feeling The Year of the Flood is going to sit on my shelves for a while yet before I get round to reading it. It’s a paperback of over 500 pages in a small font, which doesn’t help.


    1. Yes it will! I found it on my shelves after I’d listed my books for the What’s In A Name challenge post. I’m hoping I’ll like it – otherwise I’ll fall back on Z: a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Fowler (which I can borrow from the library) or Zed Alley by Dorte Hummelshoj Jakobsen -if short stories count.


      1. I think I might search out The Z Murders by J. Jefferson Farjeon but not sure at the moment. Not doing that well with the challenge, only read 2 out of 6 so far.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I’m not doing too well with it either – only 2 read so far as well. But I am about halfway into The Grapes of Wrath (book with fruit or vegetable in the title), so halfway through the year! and nearly half the books read. 🙂


  4. Choices for X and Z – not easy letters to cover! And I’m intrigued by both of them. I ought to want to read the Atwood; I do struggle with her…

    I hope you decide to make a summary post(s), Margaret; it would be so interesting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think laces would refer to bits of lace, which was an expensive item back in the 1600s and 1700s and was often smuggled.


Comments are closed.