Reading The Backlist


First, thanks to blogger The Book Satchel for inspiring this post. Take time to read her post: 8 Backlist Books I Loved in2020. The post reminded me to move a Kindle book up my To Be Read list. You might just find a new one for your list as well.

Reading The Backlist

I don’t know about you, but when I find an author I enjoy I go on a hunt for everything they’ve ever written. I believe this started back in about 1975 when I first read Winds of War by Herman Wouk. I went on to read many of his books. The same with R.F. Delderfield, Patrick Dennis, and many others. These days I’ve learned of so many fascinating writers through other book blogs that it can be overwhelming to decide what to read next. I have to types of backlist reading: Current and Ongoing. Current reflects my current reading mood. Ongoing involves authors with huge lists from which I pull a title from time-to-time.

Current Backlists

I should ask, is it still called a “backlist” when the author is dead? I guess it really doesn’t matter–this is how I think of it, it’s my reading and my blog, lol.

From Muriel Spark’s list I’ve read:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was my first by her–of course! I read it in high school.

The Driver’s Seat: “Not really a presence….The lack of an absence….”

Girls of Slender Means my review is here

A Far Cry From Kensington which I read years ago in Peace Corps.

Here’s the next Muriel Spark on my list (and in my Kindle): The Finishing School [that cover is awful!]

From Barbara Pym’s List

Excellent Women: My review is here

Jane and Prudence: My review is here

Glass of Blessings: My review is here


I’ve not decided for sure which title is up next from Barbara Pym, but it will be one of the ones on audio from my library. This is one possibility.

Anne Tyler, has a long list and I’ve read most, so I won’t list them all here. The Accidental Tourist is my favorite, in case you were wondering. I had been working on Jojo Moyes list. I liked them all–especially One Plus One, which I had missed when it came out. Then the plagiarism thing happened with Giver of Stars and I went a little cold on her. I’m sure the next book will revive my enthusiasm though. Mary McCarthy is another, but my pace with her is too slow to call it a pace, but I did finish Groves of Academe this year. Finally, there’s Daphne DuMaurier, but I have to be in the right mood for her. I loved The King’s General so much, and, of course, Rebecca, but I’ve started and put down 2 or 3 others. I’ve finished My Cousin Rachel and The House on the Strand. I’ll get to them all, just at the right time for that book. The books pictured above are my likely next reads from these authors.

My Ongoing Backlists

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie, whose work I’m way behind on, has been interesting me lately. Maybe I’ll get one or two more knocked out before the end of the year. Most of these I read way before blogging, so I do not have a review to link.

Death on the Nile

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Evil Under the Sun

Dead Man’s Folly


I recently chose The Man in the Brown Suit on Serial Reader so we’ll see how that comes along. I usually fall hopelessly behind on Serial Reader books now. I was faithful when it first came out.

Dick Francis/Felix Francis is the other, but I’ve listened to so many of them I won’t list them all. They were my first audio books–I’d grab one at the library when I used to go to my cousin’s. Francis’ horsey-murders mysteries were the perfect length for the trip. My favorite is I gave up on the James Bond books after the first few “new” books back in the 80’s. The were decent, just not as good (or as bad) as Ian Fleming‘s. As you likely guessed from the book pictured above, OHMSS is my favorite Bond book.

How about you? Do you read an author’s backlist? Have you found any hidden gems? Share the title or post a link to your own post in the comments.

30 thoughts on “Reading The Backlist

  1. I dunno … I used to do this much more, back when I browsed in the library stacks in search of something good to read. These days, I feel like I am bombarded with great ideas for reading on Goodreads and other places online. I probably won’t read a backlist, at least right away, unless I really REALLY love an author.
    On another topic — really enjoyed your comments at my place on the educational … struggles? of many of the royals 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. It’s true that the Kents are the smart ones. George St. Andrews was a King’s Scholar at Eton, but then did not live up to his potential. The others all did. There is a bad temper in both the Windsors and Spencers. I think Haz must have got it from both parents.


  2. I’ve never consciously done this – there are just far too many ideas of new authors to read that I get via Twitter and blogs. But I’m thinking it would make a great project. Who would I read? Hilary Mantel I think would be one – every book she writes seems to be different (except of course for the Cromwell series).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoever you like! I’ve just found so many older authors thru blogs that it’s pretty easy. I’ve always loved doing this though. At my great advanced age I like that it shows how the author developed over time–something of which I was certainly not away in the ’70s!


      1. I’ll be interested to read your thoughts. I loved the book back in my early 20’s. That’s when I was first reading du Maurier. I reread several books in recent years; this time I think I enjoyed the idea of the plot and and what time period I’d like flashbacks to, more than the actual book, but… I still found it a good entertaining read.


  3. This is a great idea because like you once I found a book I loved I always tried to find more by that author. These days not so much as there is so much choice of new books. I think I’ll have to do a post like this too. I’ve read most of Daphne du Maurier’s books – if you liked Rebecca, I think you’d also like My Cousin Rachel.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m always looking for other books from authors I like. When I don’t know what to read, I pick up one of them because I already know I’ll like the writing style (in most cases). But I’ve one strange habit: I always keep one book unread from my favorite authors. And when they publish a new book I read that one or the older unread one, but I always keep one unread. Just to have the feeling that there is always more of that author if I really need it, I guess? 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve had a bit of a Chetan Bhagat “thing” and have so many of his books on my Kindle after reading Two States and remembering he and his big backlist existed. I also have an awful lot of Trollope on the Kindle yet am still only half way through the Barchester Chronicles ….

    Liked by 1 person

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