TBR Thursday 48…

Episode 48

 

Oh, dear! The TBR has risen to its highest ever level of 138! And since nearly every book I’m reading at the moment is about a million pages long I seem to be getting through fewer than ever. Oh well – could be worse. The chocolate factories could have gone on strike…

Anyway, if I ever get through my current batch, here are a few upcoming delights to tantalize or appal you…

Factual

 

the innocents abroadSince I’m just about to read Huck Finn’s America, I thought I’d follow it up with his travelogue of “Abroad”. Will he convince me he’s an “Innocent” though?

The Blurb says ‘Who could read the programme for the excursion without longing to make one of the party?’

So Mark Twain acclaims his voyage from New York City to Europe and the Holy Land in June 1867. His adventures produced “The Innocents Abroad”, a book so funny and provocative it made him an international star for the rest of his life. He was making his first responses to the Old World – to Paris, Milan, Florence, Venice, Pompeii, Constantinople, Sebastopol, Balaklava, Damascus, Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Bethlehem. For the first time he was seeing the great paintings and sculptures of the ‘Old Masters’. He responded with wonder and amazement, but also with exasperation, irritation, disbelief. Above all he displayed the great energy of his humour, more explosive for us now than for his beguiled contemporaries.

 * * * * *

Fiction

 

the amazing adventures of kavalier and klayPart of the Great American Novel Quest. I loved the writing of Telegraph Avenue but wasn’t so sure about its depth. How will this one stack up…?

The Blurb says Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America – the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men. With exhilarating style and grace, Michael Chabon tells an unforgettable story about American romance and possibility.

* * * * *

Crime

 

The Shut EyeCourtesy of NetGalley. Love Belinda Bauer, so every new one is a much anticipated treat…

The Blurb says Five footprints are the only sign that Daniel Buck was ever here.

And now they are all his mother has left.

Every day, Anna Buck guards the little prints in the cement. Polishing them to a shine. Keeping them safe. Spiralling towards insanity. When a psychic offers hope, Anna grasps it.

Who wouldn’t? Maybe he can tell her what happened to her son…

But is this man what he claims to be? Is he a visionary? A shut eye? Or a cruel fake, preying on the vulnerable?

Or is he something far, far worse?

* * * * *

Sci-Fi Re-Read

 

do androids dream...In line with my resolution to read more sci-fi, I thought I’d ease into it with a re-read. My memories of this one are quite vague, but the blurb makes it sound much duller than I remember…

The Blurb says A final, apocalyptic, world war has killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending the majority of mankind off-planet. Those who remain venerate all remaining examples of life, and owning an animal of your own is both a symbol of status and a necessity. For those who can’t afford an authentic animal, companies build incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep . . . even humans.

 * * * * *

Audiobook

 

trigger warningCourtesy of Audible UK. Everyone says Neil Gaiman is great at narrating his own stuff, so we shall see. This collection includes some old stuff and some new – but most of it will be new to me…

The Blurb saysGlobal phenomenon and Sunday Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman returns to dazzle, captivate, haunt, and entertain with this third collection of short fiction, following Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things, which includes a never-before published American Gods story, “Black Dog”. In this new volume, Neil Gaiman pierces the veil of reality to reveal the enigmatic, shadowy world that lies beneath.”

* * * * *

 

NB All blurbs taken from NetGalley or Goodreads.

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

48 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 48…

    • You haven’t? Oh, I’d have been sure you’d have read it! I’m hoping it’ll be a jolly read after some of the misery-fests I’ve read recently. And if Kavalier and Clay is as good as Telegraph Avenue, then we should both enjoy it… I hope!

    • It’s been on the TBR for ever, it feels like! Hoping it will be fun. And I have really high hopes for the Bauer – she’s never less than very good, and sometimes she’s brilliant!

  1. I am spoilt for choice today! It would be a travesty to over-look Innocents, of course, whilst the Bauer one sounds very interesting, and a bit creepy – nice! Generally I am not a fan of post-apocalyptic shenanigans but I have a vague recollection of Do Androids Dream… and the blurb has ignited a flicker of excitement. And then I LOVE Neil Gaiman – I have never heard him narrate so this sounds like a real treat. FF, I am in danger of disappearing completely under a pile of books 🙂 (Don’t worry, I have plenty of chocolate to keep me going)

    • I’m being forced to read Innocents against my will by a certain person who shall remain nameless! But it’ll be his fault if I hate it…

      Bauer’s a great writer – have you read any of her stuff? Rubbernecker was one of my top books in the last few years, so I have high hopes for this one. Do Androids was turned into the film Bladerunner, which is why I think the blurb doesn’t give a real flavour of it. And the Gaiman includes The Truth is a Cave and Down to the Sunless Sea, both of which I’ve raved about on here in the past…

      Haha! I know how you feel! I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by my TBR myself at the moment. Fun, ain’t it?

  2. This is like putting a child in a candy store again. I love Neil Gaimen, but I also thoroughly enjoyed The Innocents Abroad. In fact, Twain’s book made me laugh twice. Once before I moved to Portugal and once after I had lived there for a time. I recall an incident when I was living in Portugal and were doing some shopping in an open air praça to take to family when we went to visit in the states. A group of Americans identified by their clothing if not from their words. Harry and I generally spoke in Portuguese when we went out. We queued up behind the Americans and waited. We were not disappointed. They were trying to find the cost and hoped to get a deal. The shop woman did not understand English, and the Americans did not understand Portuguese. The Americans became very frustrated and eventually Harry and I stepped in and translated for both shop keeper and tourists. But, it took me right back to when I read MT.

    • Haha! I must admit we always used to make affectionate fun of American tourists – and Canadians, including our own relatives. They really do have such a lovely innocence about them, especially about all our ancient monuments! One of the stories that’s passed into an urban myth over here is of one American tourist, looking up at Edinburgh Castle from the streets below and saying “Gee! I wonder why they built the castle so close to the railway station…” 😉

  3. Mmm how could I pass up the Gaiman, despite the fact I don’t do Audible. I suppose at least the author reading his own work (if he has skills in the area) ought to have a good idea of what how best to say what he wrote. Chabon is already ON the TBR, following a nudge from I think Jillanne half a life time ago – I had never heard of him before – slinks away in SHAME.

    Oh…..and big congrats on your shiny NetGalley badge – well done, that truly is, in WordPress’s rather overworked phrase, AWESOME!

    • loads of people seem to think his books are better narrated than read, but this collection is available in book form too if you prefer that. I’d probably have read it myself except that I seem to be on Audible’s list for freebies now so it seemed like a chance to try the narration…

      It’s only a couple of years since I heard of him too (Chabon) and I’ve only read the one book so far. But this one Kavalier and Clay was being touted as the ‘new great American novel’ when it cam out a few years back… so we will see. On the other hand, Matt didn’t rate it at all.

      Haha! Thanks! I don’t think it’s quite as impressive as you think though. Apparently you get it for being quoted on a publisher’s book page three times. So it basically comes down to how many 5-star raves you give out…

      • Oh stop with the modesty! You write wonderful reviews.It’s not just 5 starring something, it’s doing so in a particular way that also means the publisher’s can show off the fact intelligent readers had good things to say – otherwise it would just be a chorus of ‘Great! Loved it! and look how we all despise those reviews and identify them as shills

        C’mon, polish your thankyou speech and put on your posh frock

        • Well, thank you very much! I owe it all to my mother, my father, my manager, my publicist, my make-up artist, my cosmetic surgeon, and most of all to Thornton’s, without whom none of this would have been possible… 😉

          I’d love to know which reviews it is though, but would find it way too tedious to go through all the book pages to find out…

  4. As far as I can tell, there was nothing ever very innocent about Mark Twain. That said, I haven’t read Innocents.

    Kavalier and Klay came out while I was in grad school and working at a bookstore. Everyone there loved it, but I was too busy ready Virgil and Homer to read current fiction. My husband read it and enjoyed it. Perhaps it’s time to pull yet another book off our shelves and put it in the pile by the bed.

    Don’t know if I could bear to read a missing child story at the moment. I’ve never been good with these types of mysteries. That said, the wee bit of a novel start I’ve got sitting in the drawer contains a secondary plot line about a missing girl and her father who was accused of murdering her…

    Your comment about the sci-fi sounding duller than you remember sent me into spasms of laughter. Perhaps you don’t need to re-read it.

    My first vote would be for Gaiman, anything Gaiman. After reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane, I decided that I needed to read more of his work, and more, and….

    • No he strikes me as the wicked type! Should be fun…

      Yes, Kavalier and Clay was the one that got him known over here I think, though it was really at the time of Telegraph Avenue that I heard about him. Kavalier and Clay looks as if it might be a bit darker, which might or might not be a good thing. But I really thought he was a writing virtuoso in Telegraph Ave…

      Belinda Bauer does write some pretty dark stuff but she usually manages to inject enough lightness in to keep it bearable. Personally I can take the darkness so long as it’s not unremitting – you should turn that wee bit into a big bit… 😀

      HahaHA! Well, I didn’t quite mean it the way it sounded! It’s just – that blurb doesn’t make it sound like something that could have turned into the film Bladerunner, does it?

      Yes, I’ve been wanting to try more of his stuff since I read The Truth is a Cave, so this was too good an offer to pass up…

  5. Neil Gaiman’s writing is 10x better when he reads it aloud. He has a wonderful voice and will give his characters voices/accents when reading dialog (he’s good at it too!). I picked up Trigger Warning on the day it came out and have been reading long/short stories depending on my available time.

    • I’ve only just listened to a bit of the introduction so far, so he hasn’t had much chance to shine. But hopefully I’ll get on to the stories at the weekend. It seems to be a very varied collection both in terms of subject matter and in the lengths of the stories – some of them only last a few minutes on the narration, while others are over an hour. I think I’ll be jumping around to find stories that match whatever time I have available too… 😀

  6. IA!!!!!!! *maybe dancers: maybe* That’s rather awesome. I didn’t know it was coming up. 138 is a bad number, you should make it 140.

    The Sci-Fi one seems interesting. I’m trying to think what sort of pet I’d want to own.

    • New system! (Fabulous dance! I knew you’d be a natural!) Finally getting round to some of the old stuff instead of constantly reading new. It better be good… *frowns severely*

      I’d want a sabre-tooth tiger.

      • (It was the most awkward thing–ever!) Well, I’m quite thrilled. But I don’t know…I think you’ll semi like it. You won’t take to it like the 5th Wave, though.

        Nice choice! But I’m getting concerned of your interest in large predator animals…you know, you know.

        • I don’t know – I have high hopes for IA, you know, you know! I do like his humour, even if he can’t spell it properly…

          Well, T&T are being bullied by a neighbouring tom at the moment, who keeps coming in the catflap and eating all their food. Wouldn’t it be kinda fun if he popped in…and there was a sabre-toothed tiger in the kitchen?? How we’d laugh!

          • *laughs* His humor is awesome in IA. Don’t rip it, or I’ll…I’ll!

            *mouth drops* Tommy should be ashamed of himself! Do you let that bloke eat the food? Imagine strange cats running about your house.

            • But… but… you ripped P&P…

              Poor Tommy! He can’t help his sweet loving nature! Though he does growl and guard the door sometimes! So does Tuppence. But this tomcat is BIG!!! I don’t when I’m around, but I have to sleep sometimes! And Tuppence freaks badly if I shut the catflap – it’s really all her fault! (Plus, I’m a bit scared that maybe he’s genuinely hungry – he doesn’t look like a stray, but I’d hate to think he was starving, especially when it’s so cold.) You should come over and then we could take shifts at guard duty…

            • You asked me to, if I recall correctly.

              Maybe it’s Bob! Maybe he came your way. He was always stealing everyone’s food. *nods* I should have known Tuppence was the cause for the trouble in the end. This is what I would do: wait till that big Tom dude is in, then shut the catflap. Then, I’d keep him.

            • Me?!? I think not, sir! I merely said that if your public demanded it I wouldn’t pout… but I lied!

              Aw, I wish it was Bob – he could have all the food and some cat treats! I have discussed the issue of keeping him (assuming he’s a stray) with the current residents, but Tommy rampaged and Tuppence flounced so that plan didn’t seem to be going so well… so I just leave out extra food when I go to bed now and it’s all gone in the morning.

          • *laughing* You did lie! I think you’re still pouting over it.

            Yeah, me too. Poor Bobby. Oh well. Oh…you should just bring him into the fold! I’m sure T&T would get used to him. Have you even ever seen him? I’d be worried of getting attacked in the night, if I were you!

  7. I’ve read quite a few of these – Twain, Dick,some of the Gaiman, and also the Chabon, although if you had asked me I wouldn’t have remembered who wrote it. So my TBR is fairly safe this time.

    • The good thing is that since I’m cutting back on new stuff in favour of old this year, you’ll probably always have read loads of them already. Did you like Kavalier and Clay?

    • The Facts Of Life And Death is the only Bauer I don’t have, either….I’m just finishing Dark Side, which has been great. And – no surprise here – The Shut Eye is on my TBR list too. Is NetGalley where I’m getting “awesome” from? I’ve been over-using it too, recently. When you give feedback to MY, do you post your entire review? Because I just give a star rating and a link….I hope that is sufficient!

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