Episode 23 – The People’s Choice…again…
The old TBR list is down to a just-about-bearable 95 this week, so I need your help again in deciding which of the delectable temptations from around the blogosphere deserves that coveted spot as no. 96.
Are you up to the challenge? Here’s my shortlist – an eclectic bunch, I think you’ll agree. So which is it to be? The winner will be announced next Thursday…
With my usual grateful thanks to all the reviewers who’ve intrigued and inspired me over the last few weeks, here are:
The Blurb – The focal point of the novel is the small town of Soutbek. Its troubles, hardships and corruption, but also its kindness, strong community and friendships, are introduced to us in a series of stories about intriguingly interlinked relationships. Contemporary Soutbek is still a divided town – the upper town destitute, and the lower town rich, largely ignorant – and through a series of vivid scenes, the troubled relationship between Pieter Fortuin, the town’s first coloured mayor, and his wife Anna is revealed.
Verity says: “This is a story about people, impoverished people and people trying to break free from the bonds of impoverishment. It is a story about a forgotten people who are trying their best to live in small towns on the outskirts of urban life in contemporary South Africa but where change has not yet arrived and where poverty threatens to extinguish them before it does.“
The Blurb – Milo mopes in black ink sketches, until he assembles a tollbooth and drives through. He jumps to the island of Conclusions. But brothers King Azaz of Dictionopolis and the Mathemagician of Digitopolis war over words and numbers. Joined by ticking watchdog Tock and adult-size Humbug, Milo rescues the Princesses of Rhyme and Reason, and learns to enjoy life. (Seriously – that’s really the blurb!)
Vishy says “The Phantom Tollbooth is a story that can be read by children of all ages, whether one is eight or eighty. When I was halfway through the book, I thought that I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it as a child, but now after having finished it, I think that though I would have enjoyed the story and the wordplay as a child, I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate some of the above references and the depth of some of the insights as much. I think readers of different ages will enjoy the book in different ways. “
The Blurb – The Jewel in the Crown opens in 1942 as the British fear both Japanese invasion and Indian demands for independence. On the night after the Indian Congress Party votes to support Gandhi, riots break out and an ambitious police sergeant arrests a young Indian for the alleged rape of the woman they both love. (I have no idea why I’ve never read this…)
Beth says: “I particularly enjoyed Daphne’s own journal entries where we find out her secret, and see just how destructive an Anglo-Indian rift can be, especially when an innocent man is accused of a crime he did not commit, purely because it seems impossible to some that two young people of different colours can be lovers.”
The Blurb – A disgraced college lecturer is found murdered with £5,000 in his pocket on a disused railway line near his home. Since being dismissed from his job for sexual misconduct four years previously, he has been living a poverty-stricken and hermit-like existence in this isolated spot. The suspects range from several individuals at the college where he used to teach to a woman who knew the victim back in the early ’70s at Essex University, then a hotbed of political activism. When Banks receives a warning to step away from the case, he realises there is much more to the mystery than meets the eye – for there are plenty more skeletons to come out of the closet . . .
Bill says: “This is a Police Procedural, but since it takes place in northern England, near Yorkshire, it has a different feel than an American PP. It is more thoughtful, slower-paced without any intense, thriller-type scenes that many PPs set in the U.S. have. There is a psychological and philosophical component to the story that raises it above most PPs.”
The Blurb – On June 22, 1954, in the depth of a southern winter, teenage friends Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker went for a walk in a park with Pauline’s mother. Half an hour later the girls returned alone. Honorah Parker lay in a sea of blood on a lonely track. She had been savagely murdered. In this mesmerising book, lawyer and true crime writer Peter Graham tells the whole story for the first time, giving a brilliant account of the crime and ensuing trial, dramatic revelations about the fate of Juliet Hulme and Pauline Parker after their release from prison and their strange lives today, and a penetrating insight into the crime using modern psychology.
Lucy B says: “His ability to be removed and balanced about the case without appearing callous elevates So Brilliantly Clever above the sensationalist pulp seen in so many true-crime books. Yes Hulme and Parker are murderers, but they have a back-story, a life. They are human too. His intelligent account of the murder trial and the attempted defense of insanity (used in the Parker/Hulme case) under British law makes for fascinating reading. This could be attributed to Grahram’s substantial experience as a barrister in Hong Kong.”
NB All blurbs are taken from Goodreads.
So…which should I read? Choose just one or as many as you like – the book with most votes will be this week’s winner…
Hope you pick a good one! 😉