Middlebrow Syllabus Reading Challenge


Now this is a fun reading challenge! I’ve been enjoying this sort of book for a few years now. I only discovered them due to blogging and reading blogs. It’s been so much fun. The books are old. No one is having Game of Thrones type sex or violence. They are ordinary life books. I love them!

First, thank you to Scott at Furrowed Middlebrow blog for putting this together. (Sorry I somehow missed it when I’ve been on your wonderful blog!) Now that I see your lists, I’ll grade myself on them all eventually.

Second, thank you to blogger Mrs K Investigates for bringing this challenge to my attention. And, for typing the list–I hope it is ok to copy/paste? Please?

Below is my “progress” to date. Click on the linked title of a book I’ve read to read my review.  I’ll check in next December to see what I may have added. I think I will be throwing a few into Classic Club Spins this year.


Linked titles lead to my reviews, if available. If not, to Amazon from whom I make nothing.

1) MARGHANITA LASKI, The Village (1952)

2) SYLVIA TOWNSEND WARNER, Lolly Willowes (1926)

3) BARBARA PYM, Excellent Women (1952)

4) E. M. DELAFIELD, Diary of a Provincial Lady (1930)

5) F. M. MAYOR, The Rector’s Daughter (1924)

6) ELIZABETH TAYLOR, A Game of Hide and Seek (1951)

7) D. E. STEVENSON, Miss Buncle’s Book (1934)

8) ELIZABETH BOWEN, The Heat of the Day (1948)

9) E. H. YOUNG, Miss Mole (1930)

10) DODIE SMITH, I Capture the Castle (1948)

11) DOROTHY L. SAYERS, Gaudy Night (1935)

12) MARGARET KENNEDY, The Feast (1950)

13) PAMELA FRANKAU, A Wreath for the Enemy (1954)

14) RUMER GODDEN, China Court (1960)

15) MOLLIE PANTER-DOWNES, One Fine Day (1947)

16) JOSEPHINE TEY, Miss Pym Disposes (1946)

17) LETTICE COOPER, The New House (1936)

18) NANCY MITFORD, The Pursuit of Love (1945)

19) ELIZABETH VON ARNIM, The Enchanted April (1922) I’ve been reading this on & off for more than a year–review eventually

20) WINIFRED WATSON, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (1938)

21) ANNA BUCHAN (as O. Douglas), The Proper Place (1926)

22) AGATHA CHRISTIE, The Hollow (1946) I’m trying to read ALL of Agatha so….

23) EVADNE PRICE (as Helen Zenna Smith), Not So Quiet… (1930, aka Stepdaughters of War)

24) JAN STRUTHER, Mrs Miniver (1939)

25) ELIZABETH ELIOT, Alice (1950)

26) ENID BAGNOLD, The Squire (1938)

27) ANGELA THIRKELL, Cheerfulness Breaks In (1940)

28) MARY CHOLMONDELEY, Red Pottage (1899)

29) STELLA GIBBONS, Cold Comfort Farm (1932)

30) WINIFRED HOLTBY, South Riding (1936)

31) DOROTHY WHIPPLE, Someone at a Distance (1953)

32) ROSE MACAULAY, The Towers of Trebizond (1956)

33) IVY COMPTON-BURNETT, A House and Its Head (1935)

34) NOEL STREATFEILD, The Winter Is Past (1940)

35) ANTONIA WHITE, Frost in May (1933)

36) BARBARA COMYNS, Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead (1955)

37) CICELY HAMILTON, William—An Englishman (1919)  I own this one.

38) VITA SACKVILLE-WEST, All Passion Spent (1931)

39) RUBY FERGUSON, Lady Rose and Mrs Memmary (1937)

40) MARGERY SHARP, The Nutmeg Tree (1937)

41) DIANA TUTTON, Guard Your Daughters (1953)

42) A. M. CHAMPNEYS, Miss Tiverton Goes Out (1925)

43) NGAIO MARSH, Surfeit of Lampreys (1940, aka Death of a Peer)

44) ROSAMOND LEHMANN, Invitation to the Waltz (1932)

45) EDITH NESBIT, The Lark (1922)

46) KATE O’BRIEN, The Land of Spices (1941)

47) SYBILLE BEDFORD, A Favourite of the Gods (1963)

48) NORAH LOFTS, The Town House (1959)

49) WINIFRED PECK, Bewildering Cares (1940)

50) MARGERY ALLINGHAM, The Tiger in the Smoke (1952)

51) MARY RENAULT, The Friendly Young Ladies (1943)

52) DAPHNE DU MAURIER, Rebecca (1938)

53) EDITH OLIVIER, The Love-Child (1927)

54) MURIEL SPARK, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)

55) BRYHER, Beowulf (1956)

56) JANE & MARY FINDLATER, Crossriggs (1908)

57) REBECCA WEST, The Return of the Soldier (1918)

58) DORA SAINT (as Miss Read), Thrush Green (1959)

59) JOSEPHINE ELDER, The Encircled Heart (1951)

60) SHEILA KAYE-SMITH, Joanna Godden (1921)

61) F. TENNYSON JESSE, The Lacquer Lady (1929)

62) OLIVIA MANNING, The Great Fortune (1960)

63) SUSAN TWEEDSMUIR, Cousin Harriet (1957)

64) JEAN RHYS, Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

65) RICHMAL CROMPTON, Family Roundabout (1948)

66) DAISY ASHFORD, The Young Visiters (1919)

67) ANN BRIDGE, Peking Picnic (1932)

68) ADA LEVERSON, Love’s Shadow (1908)

69) GEORGETTE HEYER, The Grand Sophy (1950)

70) RACHEL FERGUSON, Evenfield (1942)

71) STELLA BENSON, Living Alone (1919)

72) ROSE ALLATINI (as A. T. Fitzroy), Despised and Rejected (1918)

73) AMBER REEVES, A Lady and Her Husband (1914)

74) JANE DUNCAN, My Friend Muriel (1959)

75) MARY BELL, Summer’s Day (1951)

76) NAOMI MITCHISON, The Bull Calves (1947)

77) GLADYS MITCHELL, When Last I Died (1941)

78) SUSAN ERTZ, Madame Claire (1923)

79) JOANNA CANNAN, Princes in the Land (1938)  I own this

80) G. B. STERN, The Matriarch (1924, aka Tents of Israel)

81) DOROTHY EVELYN SMITH, Miss Plum and Miss Penny (1959)

82) BETTY MILLER, On the Side of the Angels (1945)

83) MONICA DICKENS, Mariana (1940)  I own this–possible for the 1940 Club in April

84) LEONORA CARRINGTON, The Hearing Trumpet (1974)

85) STORM JAMESON, Company Parade (1934)

86) ELIZABETH CADELL, The Lark Shall Sing (1955)

87) E. ARNOT ROBERTSON, Ordinary Families (1933)

88) HELEN ASHTON, Bricks and Mortar (1932)

89) ELIZABETH GOUDGE, The Bird in the Tree (1940)

90) RADCLYFFE HALL, The Well of Loneliness (1928)

91) ELIZABETH JENKINS, The Tortoise and the Hare (1954)

92) NORAH HOULT, There Were No Windows (1944)

93) MARY STEWART, Nine Coaches Waiting (1958)

94) MOLLY KEANE (as M. J. Farrell), Full House (1935)

95) MARY WEBB, Precious Bane (1924)

96) CLEMENCE DANE, Regiment of Women (1917)

97) VIOLET TREFUSIS, Hunt the Slipper (1937)

98) RUTH ADAM, I’m Not Complaining (1938)

99) CELIA BUCKMASTER, Village Story (1951)

100) ELINOR MORDAUNT, The Family (1915)

Are you working on this challenge? Leave me a comment or a link to your post.

8 thoughts on “Middlebrow Syllabus Reading Challenge

Add yours

  1. I’ve read more of these than I expected – 11 in total. My favourites would be All Passion Spent (wonderful portrayal of a woman determined to enjoy her twilight years) and The Enchanted April (one day I will get to Positano). Least favourite – I Capture the Castle (awful)


I enjoy reading your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: