Vegetables, then Pudding

I have too many books right now. The TBR pile is now a full shelf. A rather large shelf. Ok, more than one large shelf. Fiction, non-fiction, classics, smart thinking, philosophy, science, long, short, new, old, fantastically free, bargain bucketed or painfully purchased. It keeps growing!

So, I really need to motor through them. I have therefore decided to constantly have two books on the go: one will be my “Pudding Book” and the other, my “Vegetable Book”. The premise is simple: when carousing a 7-year-old to eat her cabbage, you dangle the promise (or prohibition) of pudding. I will be doing the same thing, but, like a proper adult and stuff, chastising myself when I fail to finish my bookish broccoli.

This isn’t to say that the books I have purchased (or otherwise purloined) are dull or not worth reading – on the contrary. But rather that a fair proportion aren’t what you’d call holiday reading. The Vegetable books are many and varied, at this point in time, so the reasons why and wherefore they may prove trying, are equally many and varied. Their vegetable equivalents range from intolerable (e.g. Brussel sprouts) to quite-nice-actually-but-still-a-vegetable-so-will-never-beat-a-biscuit (e.g. carrots). My current Vegetable book is It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis. Written in the 1930’s, it is a political dystopia comparable to Orwell’s 1984, and US democracy is under threat from a demagogic President. Erudite in the extreme, with an agitated style, it is, on the vegetable scale, a runner bean. Crunchy and sweet, at its best, stringy and bitter at its worst. Review to follow.

Then comes pudding. This can take whatever form I choose, so long as I am excited by it. My current Pudding book is The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss. This is the sequel to The Name of the Wind, which was one of my favourite books of last year and perhaps the best fantasy I have ever had the pleasure of reading. Witty, lyrical and spellbinding (in every sense of the word) it is pure indulgence. A rich chocolate cake, covered in thick butter cream, with succulent strawberries on the top. Yum. Review to follow. Click here for my review of The Name of the Wind.

But, I must eat my greens before I can eat my sweet.

In case anyone is interested, here is my current TBR list. I have divided them into puddings and vegetables, but this is purely a reactionary label. A vegetable might turn out to be a pudding, or vice versa, once I actually tuck in. Like one of those weird fruity courses that should be savoury but isn’t… Not my best simile.

Please let me know in the comments what your Vegetable and Pudding books are!

(last updated 16/7/17)


A Rising Man by Abir Mukherjee

Alice by Christina Henry

Candide by Voltaire

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Cousins by Sally Vickers

Dictator by Robert Harris

Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

How to Be Human by Paula Cocozza

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Mister Memory by Marcus Sedgwick

Moab is My Washpot by Stephen Fry

New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

Noises Off by Michael Frayn

Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Subtly Worded by Teffi

The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet

The Cairo Pulse by B.B. Kindred

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Time Traveller’s Guide to Restoration Britain by Ian Mortimer

The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

Waterland by Graham Swift



Agnes Grey
by Anne Bronte

Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

East West Street by Philippe Sands

Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland

Hamlet: Globe to Globe ­by Dominic Dromgoole

I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin and Raoul Peck

If This is a Man by Primo Levi

Mimesis by Erich Auerbach

My Name is Leon by Kit De Waal

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Poetics by Aristotle

Queer City by Peter Ackroyd

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The Mistresses of Cliveden by Natalie Livingstone

The Optician of Lampedusa by Emma Jane Kirby

The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek

The Republic by Plato

The Vanishing by Sophia Tobin

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

The Water Kingdom by Philip Ball

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

You Don’t Know Me by Imran Mahmood



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