The 100 Books Tag

A few weeks ago I said that I don’t do this thing very often, but here I am doing it again, and planning something else for the not so distant future.

FictionFan posed these questions to celebrate her 100th TBR Thursday post,  and I  just had to come up with some answers of my own.


(I hope that literary cupcakes will be welcome at this centenary celebration)

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What is the 100th book on your TBR list? (In the unlikely event that you don’t have 100 books on your TBR, what book’s been on there longest?)

I don’t keep a record of my unread books, and I don’t shelve them separately. I could use LibraryThing to work out what the 100th book was, but what I decided to do was pick a room and count the unread books until I reached the magic number.

My 100th book was:

‘The World is Not Enough’ by Zoe Oldenbourg.

This story, set in twelfth-century France, at the time of the Third Crusade, chronicling the lives and loves of one family, has been waiting for a long time. I really want to read it but I think it’s the kind of book that needs exactly the right moment.

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Open your current book to page 100 (or randomly, if you don’t have page numbers on your e-reader) and quote a few sentences that you like.

“The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine and fifty swans”

From ‘The Wild Swans at Coode’ by William Butler Yates, in the Wildlife Trust’s new Autumn anthology.


(‘Swan’ by Kristin Vestgard)

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When you are 100, what author(s) do you know you will still be re-reading regularly? (This should be an easy one for those of you who are already over 100…)

This is a question I struggle to answer, but ….

It would be lovely if that could be a time – and to have the time – for re-reading the big Victorian classics.

Agatha Christie too….

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Link to your 100th post (if you’re a new blogger then link to your tenth post, or any one you like). Do you still agree with what you said back then?

I’ve counted back, and this couldn’t have fallen better if I’d planned it myself.


There are so many books in the world, the accumulation of years and years of authors writing away, and that is lovely for devoted readers, but it can also be a little worrying. How do we know that we have found the very best books for us? How do we know that the very best book of all is a book we haven’t found yet?

I worry much less about those things since I discovered the work of a wonderful author named Margery Sharp, and that is why I am so thrilled that Open Road Media has taken the first step to introduce her to a wider audience, many of whom I know will fall in love with her, by issuing ten of her works as e-books.

I still agree with every word!

And this reminds me to say that there will be a third Margery Sharp Day, on 25th January 2017.

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Name a book you love that has less than 100 pages. Why do you love it?

‘Rock Crystal’ by Adalbert Stifter

(Just 81 pages in my NYRB Classics edition!)

“Two children—Conrad and his little sister, Sanna—set out from their village high up in the Alps to visit their grandparents in the neighboring valley. It is the day before Christmas but the weather is mild, though of course night falls early in December and the children are warned not to linger. The grandparents welcome the children with presents and pack them off with kisses. Then snow begins to fall, ever more thickly and steadily. Undaunted, the children press on, only to take a wrong turn. The snow rises higher and higher, time passes: it is deep night when the sky clears and Conrad and Sanna discover themselves out on a glacier, terrifying and beautiful, the heart of the void.”

I love it for the simplicity of the story, the beauty of the prose, and the evocation of the two children and the world about them

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If someone gave you £100, what would be the five books you would rush to buy?

My first inclination would be to tour the second-hand bookshops of the south-west, but, if I was to step into  my favourite local independent bookshop, what might I buy?


‘Bookshops’ by Jorge Carrión. I read a wonderful piece in the Guardian a few weeks ago, I’ve read some lovely reviews, and I never could resist a book about books or bookshops.

‘The Forgotten Smile’ by Margaret Kennedy, because I’m still building my collection of her books.

‘The Invention of Angela Carter’ by Edmund Gordon. I’ve been waiting for this biography for such a long time.

‘Every Good Deed and Other Stories’ by Dorothy Whipple, because it’s top of my Persephone wishlist.

‘Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks’ by John Curran. I’ve brought the library’s copy home a few times, and I really want a copy to keep.

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Looking at The Guardian’s list of “The 100 greatest novels of all time”, how many have you read? Of the ones you haven’t, which ones would you most like to read? And which will you never read?

I’ve read 35. That doesn’t sound very good, but I don’t believe in reading books just because they’re classics, and I don’t believe that the same books can work for everyone, because we all have different lives, different experiences and different reading histories. I believe in reading the books you believe will speak to you; and in looking at lists simply for reminders and suggestions of books I might want to read; nothing more.

I want to read ‘Clarissa’ and ‘The Brothers Karamazov’, but I don’t expect to read James Joyce or Samuel Becket in this lifetime.

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What book do you expect to be reading 100 days from now?

I have no idea. I have plans but they’re pretty flexible and I try to read as the mood strikes.


(‘Our House is Filled with Birds’ by David Brayne)

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Free Question – Create a 100 themed question of your own choice and answer it.

My question:

“Can you create 100 stars from 20 5-star books! Don’t look at book lists, make your selections from the books you can see and the books you can remember!”

My answer:

‘The Feast’ by Margaret Kennedy
‘The Moonstone’ by Wilkie Collins
‘A Pin to See the Peepshow’ by F Tennyson Jesse
‘The Snow Child’ by Eowyn Ivey
‘The Innocents’ by Margery Sharp
‘Case Histories’ by Kate Atkinson
‘Possession’ by A S Byatt
‘South Riding’ by Winifred Holtby
‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexandre Dumas
‘In a Dark Wood Wandering’ by Hella S Haasse
‘The Meaning of Night’ by Michael Cox
‘Oscar and Lucinda’ by Peter Carey
‘The Custom of the Country’ by Edith Wharton
‘Nights at the Circus’ by Angela Carter
‘Great Expectations’ by Charles Dickens
‘The Return of the Solidier’ by Rebecca West
‘Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke
‘Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie’
‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte
‘The Great Western Beach’ by Emma Smith

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I’m not going to name names, because I’ve seen a great many people doing this already, and because don’t want to push anyone to do anything they don’t want to do, but if you’ve been thinking of answers – or wondering what you might answer – please consider yourself tagged!

18 thoughts on “The 100 Books Tag

    1. The anthology is so good that I knew I’d find something lovely to share, but finding Yeats was just perfect. I love finding the right images for these sorts of post, so I’m pleased to know that you appreciated them.


  1. Thank you for the link! So glad you did the tag – loved reading your answers and looking at the pictures! I also love your last question – I’m think of doing a follow-up post answering everyone else’s “free” question so will enjoy thinking about this one. Haha! Poor Ulysses – I think almost everyone has picked that as the one they won’t ever read… including me! 🙂


  2. Enjoyed this very much–and loved the art choices. Oh, that David Brayne is lovely…how appropriate to find your 100th post was happy news about Margery Sharp!


  3. I love the sound of Rock Crystal. It’s a book that’s been on the periphery of my radar for several years, so I really must get around to buying it one day. Maybe I’ll treat myself to a copy for Christmas!


  4. What a fun post. I am glad you do the posts you see on other blogs. I often miss them so if you do them I know I will see them. You are a blog mentor. Love those cupcakes and the photo of the swan. I have Friday through Sunday at home this weekend so I might try to do the questions on my own blog. Would be fun. I need to think about those 100 stars though. Keep having bookish fun.


  5. Beautiful as always, Jane! I too, love the sound of Rock Crystal; I’m always on the look out for Christmas themed books. And a great last question. One I’ll ponder on with pleasure 🙂


  6. I love your answer to the last question! I’ve read about half of those and most of them were five star books for me too – the others are all books that I would be interested in reading. The World is Not Enough and Rock Crystal both sound appealing to me as well.


  7. I just added Rock Crystal to my list – when I got to that question, I couldn’t think of a book I loved under 100 pages!
    Great last question!


  8. Great answers – I’ve really been enjoying this tag as it has been on many of my favourite blogs. Sadly, I think it would be too hard for me to do though, because I don’t keep track of TBR and regularly I clear down my blog posts.


  9. I think the 100th post was PERFECT! I love your list of 100 5 star books and I of course completely agree that at 100 we will re-read the same books! 😀


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