TBR Thursday 44…

Episode 44


It’s that time of year when we all make fabulous resolutions so that by mid-January we can all feel like complete failures for having broken them all already. So, in the spirit of the season, here are the resolutions I plan to break over the coming months…

1) Cut back on taking freebies for review.

2) Make time for re-reads.

3) Reduce the TBR to no more than 70 by the end of the year.

4) Stop reading so many new-to-me authors (since the precious gold is hidden amongst a fair amount of dross) and catch up on the back catalogues of authors I know I enjoy.

5) Read more classics, including some Dickens and a book a month for the Great American Novel Quest.

6) Read more sci-fi/fantasy.

Hmm… I currently have 17 unread review copies, and have requested 6 more, so Resolution 1 is looking a bit shaky. I think we all know Resolution 3 isn’t going to work out. Resolution 4 is problematic since the TBR currently contains books by 54 new-to-me authors.

But I’m delighted to say that the TBR has increased dramatically to 133 – delighted since the increase is because I’ve added loads of things I want to re-read plus some sci-fi – AND I’ve wasted a happy few hours making up (yet) another lovely, lovely spreadsheet scheduling all my reading for the next few months so as to keep on top of Resolutions 2, 5 and 6. I won’t stick to it, of course, but the joy of lists is surely in the making of them… a beautifully over-complicated spreadsheet feels like an achievement in itself.

So here’s some of what’s coming up – judge for yourselves if they meet my intentions…



you zoran drvenkarI enjoyed Zoran Drvenkar’s Sorry a lot, despite it being darker than my normal fare, so I’ve been waiting impatiently for this one to be released for Kindle. Doesn’t sound my kind of thing at all really, but then neither did Sorry

The Blurb saysIt’s a late-summer night in Berlin and notorious criminal Ragnar Desche isn’t too happy. He’s just found his brother, Oskar, dead, frozen stiff and sitting in his home next to a swimming pool full of marijuana plants. Someone’s flooded the pool and stolen a Range Rover, but what’s worse is that Ragnar’s huge cache of drugs is missing—and he’s going to want it back. Meanwhile, nearby, a group of teenage girls are out at the movies. Thinking about boys and worrying about acne, they notice that the prettiest member of their clique is missing. She hasn’t been seen for days, and the trouble she’s found herself in is about to set all of the girls on a collision course with the Desche gang and drag them into a fight for their lives—a fight that might turn out to be more evenly matched than it first appears.

A gritty, pulsating, psychological thriller told through the eyes of an enormous cast of characters, You is an audacious and unpredictable combination of pulp, pluck, and revenge.

 * * * * *



four revolutions in the earth sciencesFour Revolutions in the Earth Sciences – just started reading this one and it looks as if it will be interesting, though I feel I might end up arguing with him as often as I agree with him. We shall see! Courtesy of NetGalley.

The Blurb saysOver the course of the twentieth century, scientists came to accept four counterintuitive yet fundamental facts about the Earth: deep time, continental drift, meteorite impact, and global warming. When first suggested, each proposition violated scientific orthodoxy and was quickly denounced as scientific — and sometimes religious — heresy. Nevertheless, after decades of rejection, scientists and many in the public grew to acknowledge the truth of each theory.

The stories behind these four discoveries reflect more than the fascinating push and pull of scientific work. They reveal the provocative nature of science, which raises profound and uncomfortable truths as it advances. This absorbing scientific history is the only book to describe the evolution of these four ideas from heresy to truth, showing how science works in practice and how it inevitably corrects the mistakes of its practitioners. Scientists can be wrong, but science can be trusted. In the process, astonishing ideas are born and, over time, take root.

* * * * *



station elevenIt seems everyone’s raving about how good this book is, so in the end I’ve given in, despite being a new-to-me author. Courtesy of NetGalley…again.

The Blurb saysAn audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, “Station Eleven” tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

* * * * *


the way things wereWhen I read Aatish Taseer’s earlier book Noon, I had a couple of reservations about it, but overall felt he was a compelling storyteller and one to watch. So I was delighted to be offered this via Amazon Vine.

The Blurb saysThe Way Things Were opens with the death of Toby, the Maharaja of Kalasuryaketu, a Sanskritist who has not set foot in India for two decades. Moving back and forth across three sections, between today’s Delhi and the 1970s, ’80s, and ’90s in turn, the novel tells the story of a family held at the mercy of the times.

A masterful interrogation of the relationships between past and present and among individual lives, events, and culture, Aatish Taseer’s The Way Things Were takes its title from the Sanskrit word for history, itihasa, whose literal translation is “the way things indeed were.” Told in prose that is at once intimate and panoramic, and threaded through with Sanskrit as central metaphor and chorus, this is a hugely ambitious and important book, alive to all the commotion of the last forty years but never losing its brilliant grasp on the current moment.

 * * * * *

NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.

So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?


62 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 44…

  1. I do like your approach to resolutions, quite admirable! I didn’t make any this year, although I need to stop eating like every day is still Christmas… Interesting selection here, I am quite interested by ‘You’ and ‘Four Revolutions..’ The other two mildly put me off because I am generally not a fan of jumping between time frames (I am easily confused, you see). That said, ‘The Way Things Were’ does sound quite good.

    • I haven’t made any related to lifestyle – too depressing! But reading ones are fun – I like to look back later and laugh at myself…

      If ‘You’ is as good as his last one, it should be worth reading – bit darker than my norm, but I didn’t find he was gratuitous. ‘Four Revolutions’ should definitely be interesting. I’m feeling bitter about ‘The Way Things Were’ since it turns out it’s another 600-page brick! Oh well!

      • Don’t even start me on the lifestyle resolutions – the more I try to sort my life out, the messier it gets! And if I gave up chocolate and wine I’d start killing people. I was thinking I should start a seperate blog to rant about things but the internet has more than enough of those already.

        I don’t mind a bit of ‘dark’, as long as it is well written. 600 pages sounds a bit much for ‘The Way Things Were’ – rather you than me. At least I get to sit back and just enjoy the review, rather than make my way through the whole thing!

        • Oh I gave up years ago – I’ve just adopted Gloria Gaynor as my role model – “I am what I am”. Give up chocolate?!? Unthinkable!! You should have a rant blog – that’d be fun. I often have to remind myself this is a book blog to stop myself using it as a soapbox – or therapy!

          Me too, but sometimes it’s just an excuse for general nastiness – but hopefully not this one. Taseer’s last one was a slim volume, so I feel a bit like I’ve been conned! Haha! That’s so unfair though!

  2. I admire you, FictionFan, for being so organised about your reading! And I like the fact that you’re being particular about what you add to your TBR. Actually, all of what you’ve mentioned here interests me, and I’ll be keen to see what you think of those books.
    You also have a really good point about re-reading. It’s easy to get so caught up in following new books coming out ( The ‘ooooh, shiny!’ syndrome) that we forget about those wonderful books we’ve loved. Same goes for authors whose work we already love. It’s hard though to strike the balance between experiencing new things and the joy of a much-loved book/author.

    • Haha! Yes, I’m very proud of my spreadsheets! Of course, if I spent less time on them, I could read an extra book a month. 😉

      I think I only re-read a couple of books in the whole of last year – both Jane Austen. And I’m finding I really miss it – it’s so relaxing to read a book you already know sometimes. And as for series, I’ve started in the middle of so many, and really want to make time to go back and read the ones I’ve missed. So the only way to do it is to cut back on ‘new’ ones…

    • Yes, I can’t say I take resolutions very seriously myself!

      No, I haven’t – it looked a bit too ‘magical’ for me. But Lady Fancifull loved it, if I recall rightly. Have you read it?

      • I did read it. At my younger daughter’s behest. I found it confusing in the beginning. But, by the end, it had intrigued me. But, definitely out there. It was more on the creepy side than what I would consider magical though it might be for someone else. I’m still a bit conflicted about it…but I’m not reading it again.

      • You are QUITE right FF, I did and would never have thought it your cup of tea, for those magical reasons – it is creepy too, but magically creepy and or creepily magical. I’m not quite sure what the sub-genre is for books with more than a touch of the gothic which are also definitely in the lit fic field, and product of a strange imagination. They don’t really fit in to fantasy, and even magical realism doesn’t quite describe it. I guess i succumbed at an early age to mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast trilogy and never looked back

        • I remember it was your review that put me off – which sounds rude, but really isn’t! See, I think I threw Gormenghast at the wall round about page 20… but BUS loved them! But then she likes Terry Pratchett too – well, ‘is obsessed by’ more than ‘likes’ actually…

  3. Hurrah! I’m delighted to see the TBR has a mind of its own. I’m delighted to see re-reads have a place (am a HUGE re-read fan. If known and loved, why not love again. Hmm not a bad title for a rather marshmallow romance. TITLE FOR SALE!!

    I grinned hugely at your succumbing to Station Eleven. One I rated very highly. And, as my review mentions – there is no implausibility so you shouldn’t get your ‘urkk magic realism response’ And there are no vampires werewolves or zombies either, no unmagical unrealism, so I was happy.

    I shall also watch your 5. with interest.

    Perhaps you should post your spreadsheet as a post to inspire the rest of us (those who make do with Word lists and sublists as they find the messier look kind of nice and the columns a bit alarming!

    I’ve somehow surrendered to about 7 new NGs since the year began. Urk. Four revolutions looks interesting, but I know I’m unlikely to be disciplined enough. I’ll enjoy your review though, no doubt

    • I suspect my TBr has an EVIL mind of its own! Yes, I’ve been so missing re-reading – apart form a couple of Austens I don’t think I re-read anything last year. (Yoou should put your romance on NG – it will fit in well with the other 50,000!)

      Well, you know I shall blame you if it all goes horribly wrong, since it was your review that finally pushed me over the edge! But it does sound good…

      Yes, the GAN quest stuttered to a halt under the weight of new books for the last few months, but given that the books I read for it were nearly all amongst my favourite reads of the year, I will seriously be making an effort to read more this year. And Santa brought me another couple of the lovely Nonesuch Dickens books that I’ve been collecting, so that will encourage me to achieve the ‘read more Dickens’ bit…

      Haha! No, no – you must get into spreadsheets – they’re so satisfying! The ability to sort and colour code and search – such, such fun!

      I’ve not been too bad about recent requests the last few weeks, but I still find myself tempted all the time. I nearly requested Psycho yesterday, but my resolutions stopped me in the nick of time…

    • Don’t you have one? Check you dashboard on NG – I bet it’s there. It’s to show that you’ve achieved the 80% target for giving feedback to publishers, so the idea is it’s a quick way for any publisher who pops into your blog to see if you are worthy of receiving review copies…

    • Haha! Sadly, I find little in life as much fun as playing about with spreadsheets, even though I know I know I’ll never stick to a reading plan…but I’m definitely going to re-read some favourites this year…

  4. None of them–except the first. That sounds maybe sorta semi interesting. Depends on how long it is, of course. Is it thick?

    You made me laugh in the first paragraph, I must admit. It’s true. But did you know, the professor has never made a new years resolution?

    And I agree with you. I think you’ll end up breaking them all mostly. Especially no.1.

    54 new authors? Wow. I’m impressed. You must read night and day! And day and night.

    • Don’t know yet – it won’t arrive for another week or so. Knowing my luck it’ll be a brick! Not interested in the science one?

      Very wise – I think they should be banned by law. I don’t make real ones – only reading ones…

      Haha! You know me too well! I don’t think no.3 stands much chance either. But no. 6 should be fun.

      Ah, you are making the understandable error of assuming that because they’re on my list means I’ll actually read them. Some of the books have been on the list since the Professor was starring in Polar Express…

      • No, I think it would mess me up mentally. (I’m already messed up enough.) But it seems like something that you’d love. Debate with him, though! He deserves it.

        Haha. I agree. I don’t make any. *ashamed face*

        I bet, this year, you’ll be over 300 by June!

        *big cranky BUS-like face* He’s def not me. Def not. Def not.

        • It’s odd, ‘cos I sorta agree with what he’s saying and yet I still feel an urgent desire to bop him. Why do you think that might be?

          *gulps* I hope you’re talking about my TBR and not my age!

          Ooh, you better get on a train to the North Pole before BUS sees that! *hands the Professor his blue dressing gown*

            • Yes! But I haven’t read much yet – maybe he’ll procide proof that he’s right… *sceptical face*

              Imagine how many books I could read if I lived to 300! *adds 4000 books to TBR*

              *laughing lots* Don’t you call them that then? His blue robe thing…

            • You see, the professor has everything figured out: if everyone was more professorish, there’d be more wars. I think that’s all there is.

              I told you you’d go up! But wow…it happened sooner than I had anticipated. Can I add a few? You do know Polar Express is a book, right?

              Only girls wear dressing gowns! Like back in the pirate days!

            • But do we want more wars? If everyone was more Professorish, we’d have more fun… and more music – much better!

              NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, no, no, no, no, NO!!!!!!! No. Though at least no-one would be singing…

              Not true! Sherlock Holmes wore a dressing gown.

            • Oh, I suppose that’s true–about the more music. But…I’m a warrior. Wars come with warriors. That has to be the case, though the evidence might be a bit skimpy.

              *jumps back a few stories* Well! I’ll think of another one…

              He did? *grimaces*

            • Then I shall send you a list of my enemies and you can do battle with them…

              I’ll look forward to that. *sobs brokenly*

              He did! And he was a true hero…

            • I don’t want you to kill Boris! He’s cuddly!! He’s nearly as fluffy as the Professor…

              Because…*sobs*…because you’re always adding books to my TBR and you won’t let me add any to yours… *trembling lip*

              Oh, he was! He could be your Assistant Hero…

  5. I made my last NYR 7 years ago, and have kept strictly to it ever since – it was to stop making resolutions. Four Revolutions appeals, but Santa gifted me with a few interesting books, and I am currently trapped in a re-reading Terry Pratchett loop, so I won’t be reading it any time soon.

    • Yes, I don’t do lifestyle ones any more – too depressing! My Santa books will be featuring in the ‘read more Dickens’ section, and I’ll be re-reading some stuff too – Reginald Hill, probably, in my case…

  6. Thank you for making me feel much better about my 11 unread review copies and 4 still requested. You make me look like I’ve got things rather under control.

    • I know – it’s great fun, isn’t it? I love to have loads of different lists – can spend happy hours playing with them while I should be doing something more useful… 😉

      I’m still not sure about Station Eleven, but so many people have raved about it I feel I need to see if it lives up to its reputation.

  7. With your resolutions presented with such conviction surely there is no doubt you’ll succeed? 😉 Funnily enough I also started a new spreadsheet for 2015 which meant copying and pasting far too many books from the 2014 (2013, 2012…sheets) but once again it looks like everything is under control and I’ve only chopped and changed it, ooh daily, since its conception. I’m looking forward to seeing how your TBR progresses skyward over the year! 😉

    • Haha! I get the feeling you’re not convinced of my willpower… 😉 There’s nothing quite like the joy of listing all those books and imagining what fun it would be to actually getting around to reading some of them, is there? Some of mine have been on the list for so long now, I’d miss them…

  8. I love your philosophy that the joy of lists is in the making of them. I do so agree – it’s such a satisfactory achievement the making of a great list.

    I don’t call them resolutions – I call them goals – and I have made some but they are within the realms of possibility. We’ll see. I have some lovely lists though.

    • Haha! I think there must be a link between loving books and loving lists.

      Goals sound better – less pressure. Most of mine are theoretically achievable, except the one about reducing the length of the TBR – that one never seems to work out…

  9. Gosh, your post is bringing all the spreadsheets experts out of the folded linens cupboard. I’m afraid I only really do spreadsheets when changing the bed once a week.So it’s really more of a spreadduvets activity

    • Ah, you can’t be a proper reader then, ‘cos on the evidence of these comments I must conclude the ‘love reading’ gene is closely linked to the ‘love spreadsheets’ one…

  10. Hmmm, Station Eleven, you say? I’ll wait to hear what you have to say about it. And I’ll stay away from the rest. The thought of so many books sitting on my TBR pile has me shaking in my new 2015 shoes.

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