Wednesday, the 26th of January, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today’s pick is from the series, A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell. The series as Wikipedia describes it is ‘often a comic exploration of movements and manners, power and passivity in English political, cultural and military life in the mid-20th century’ and was ‘inspired by the painting of the same name by Nicholas Poussin’. My pick is book 7 of the series The Valley of Bones.

Somewhat autobiographical, the books trace the life of Nicholas Jenkins (the narrator) and his friends, starting from when he is at school and then university in the first book, A Question of Upbringing (1951) through various developments in his life like his introduction to society and different people he meets and such. The Valley of Bones (1964), set in 1940 focuses on the Second World War, examining different philosophies towards military life and the impact of the war on civilians. Protagonist Nicholas Jenkins finds himself a second lieutenant in the infantry in this one, and the book examines military life at close range.

I had heard of the series off and on, though I didn’t really have much idea what it was about or like except that it traces different stages in the life of the main character. I came across this book on the shop-soiled pile in my neighbourhood book shop may be three years ago and picked it up, but haven’t gotten down to reading it since, mostly wondering whether I should look for earlier books in the series first. But having read the background to the series, and especially the fact that these books have a comical touch to them, I think I will just give this a try even if I haven’t read earlier volumes so far.

Have you read this series or anything else by Powell? Which ones and how did you find them? Looking forward o your thoughts and recommendations!

Cover image and book info from Goodreads and Wikipedia

Lisa’s pick this week is The Deadly Hours by Susanna Kearsley, C.S. Harris, Anna Lee Huber and Christine Trent, a historical mystery set over different periods of time and places from 1730s Italy to 1870s England involving a series of connected murders.


12 thoughts on “Shelf Control #170: The Valley of Bones by Anthony Powell

  1. Oh no! You have to start from the beginning because half of the fun of this series is that the characters weave around, appear and reappear, and it won’t make any sense and you won’t enjoy it so much and it will put you off! I’m saying this as someone who has read it twice; last time, my husband read it on audio book too and loved it so much he got ahead of our readalong then begged me to hurry up with it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve not read them and have been a bit put off by the feeling that they all have to be read, and in order. I’m intrigued that you’re planning to jump in in the middle, and will be interested to hear if you find the book works on its own, without the background of the earlier books…

    Liked by 1 person

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