TBR Thursday 51…

Episode 51


Well, I think the only answer might be to come up with a new system of counting, ‘cos yet again the TBR has reached a new height this week – 142!! Maybe I should only count books that begin with Z…

Here are some of the ones that are getting near to the top of the heap…



stone mattressCourtesy of NetGalley. Another Folio Prize Nominee, this collection of short stories will be my first introduction to Margaret Atwood. I’m seriously hoping that by the time I’ve read it I’ll know what a stromatalite is…

The Blurb says “A recently widowed fantasy writer is guided through a stormy winter evening by the voice of her late husband. An elderly lady with Charles Bonnet’s syndrome comes to terms with the little people she keeps seeing, while a newly-formed populist group gathers to burn down her retirement residence. A woman born with a genetic abnormality is mistaken for a vampire. And a crime committed long-ago is revenged in the Arctic via a 1.9 billion year old stromatalite.

In these nine tales, Margaret Atwood ventures into the shadowland earlier explored by fabulists and concoctors of dark yarns such as Robert Louis Stevenson, Daphne du Maurier and Arthur Conan Doyle – and also by herself, in her award-winning novel Alias Grace. In Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood is at the top of her darkly humorous and seriously playful game.

 * * * * *



the maltese falconCourtesy of NetGalley, this was already on my TBR as part of the Great American Novel Quest. I’ve seen the film a million times but I don’t think I’ve ever read the book…

The Blurb says Sam Spade is hired by the fragrant Miss Wonderley to track down her sister, who has eloped with a louse called Floyd Thursby. But Miss Wonderley is in fact the beautiful and treacherous Brigid O’Shaughnessy, and when Spade’s partner Miles Archer is shot while on Thursby’s trail, Spade finds himself both hunter and hunted: can he track down the jewel-encrusted bird, a treasure worth killing for, before the Fat Man finds him?

* * * * *

Crime Audiobook


wolf winterCourtesy of Audible UK. Mixed reviews on this one, but somehow it appeals to me anyway – sounds nice and atmospheric, and since it snowed here a couple of days ago, it’s still the right time of year…

The Blurb says There are six homesteads on Blackåsen Mountain. A day’s journey away lies the empty town. It comes to life just once, in winter, when the church summons her people through the snows. Then even the oldest enemies will gather.

But now it is summer, and new settlers are come. It is their two young daughters who find the dead man not half an hour’s walk from their cottage. The father is away. And whether stubborn or stupid or scared for her girls, the mother will not let it rest.

To the wife who is not concerned when her husband does not come home for three days to the man who laughs when he hears his brother is dead to the priest who doesn’t care, she asks and asks her questions, digging at the secrets of the mountain. They say a wolf made those wounds. But what wild animal cuts a body so clean?”

* * * * *



twenty trillion leagues under the seaCourtesy of NetGalley. Trying to read some modern sci-fi/fantasy along with the classics, and this sounds like fun in a weird kind of way…

The Blurb says “It is 1958 and France’s first nuclear submarine, Plongeur, leaves port for the first of its sea trials. On board, gathered together for the first time, are one of the Navy’s most experienced captains and a tiny skeleton crew of sailors, engineers, and scientists. The Plongeur makes her first dive and goes down, and down and down. Out of control, the submarine plummets to a depth where the pressure will crush her hull, killing everyone on board, and beyond. The pressure builds, the hull protests, the crew prepare for death, the boat reaches the bottom of the sea and finds nothing. Her final dive continues, the pressure begins to relent, but the depth guage is useless. They have gone miles down. Hundreds of miles, thousands, and so it goes on. Onboard the crew succumb to madness, betrayal, religious mania, and murder. Has the Plongeur left the limits of our world and gone elsewhere?

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dune messiahAfter enjoying my recent re-read of Dune, time for the follow-up. I’ll be reading this alongside my blog buddy, Professor VJ Duke, who’s reading the Dune books for the first time, so that will add considerably to the fun!

The Blurb saysThis second installment explores new developments on the desert planet Arrakis, with its intricate social order and its strange threatening environment. Dune Messiah picks up the story of the man known as Muad’dib, heir to a power unimaginable, bringing to fruition an ambition of unparalleled scale: the centuries-old scheme to create a superbeing who reigns not in the heavens but among men. But the question is: Do all paths of glory lead to the grave?

* * * * *


NB All blurbs taken from NetGalley, Goodreads or Audible.

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

38 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 51…

  1. Oooh an interesting bunch, here! The Margaret Atwood sounds pretty good, I do enjoy a bit of dark humour. And I never knew that The Maltese Falcon was a book – I am rather cross with myself! I shall be interested to see what Our Mutual Friend makes of Dune… 😉

  2. The Maltese Falcon is a great book – although Humphrey Bogart has made the film his own (it’s different than the book, though). I am intrigued by Wolf Winter (I love winter landscapes) – and that’s nothing to do with Jules Verne, the Trillion Leagues under the Sea, I assume?

    • I really can’t remember reading it, which is odd since I read so much classic fiction in my youth. I expect I’ll be seeing the cast of the film as I read! It’s the setting of Wolf Winter that appeals to me most – I love these societies that are cut off from the rest of the world. I think it’s a kind of riff on the Jules Verne one – but it also sounds as if it gets a bit surreal, maybe…

  3. FictionFan. I’m sure there’s been some oversight somewhere. I just know you only have 40 books, at the most, on your TBR! 😉 And I tell myself the same thing… 😉 – I think the Dune series is one of the very good sci-fi/fantasy series out there. It’s classic. Oh, and you’ve also got the equally classic Maltese Falcon. Hmmm… my vote goes to the Hammett, but the Herbert would be great too.

    • It’s probably Excel adding them up wrongly! It was so much easier when I just had uncounted heaps all over the place. 😉 Yes, I enjoyed ‘Dune’, so looking forward to the sequel – from memory the first two or three were good and then it went downhill a bit. I’m looking forward to ‘The Maltese Falcon’, especially in a batch that seems to be very light on crime for some reason… bad planning!

  4. Haha! The TBR is out of control. But I’m guessing–even if you only counted the books that begin with Z–you’d still have a few. And that, in itself, is quite disconcerting, you must admit.

    I didn’t know the Falcon thingy was a book! I was just having speaks with a fellow on Tuesday night. He was going to watch the movie for the first time. I think I told him I was Sam S.

    Twenty Trillion sounds like a very happy book–overall, I mean. You’ll have to let me know if they fell through the bottom of earth. I’ve always been curious about that.

    Yes! Can’t wait for the next one. I’ve got about 100 pages left, I think. Paul’s about to ride a worm! I would have done that long ago, you know. And Alia…I like her!

    • Don’t laugh, meanie! You should offer to read all the books beginning with A-M, to help me out! It’s all your fault anyway!

      I’d love to watch it for the first time again! WOB has watched it so often that if you turn the sound down he can do all the dialogue…

      It sounds a bit weird! But hopefully fun… we shall see!

      I was surprised how late the worm-riding came into it when I re-read it – that’s the bit I remembered most. It must happen more in the sequel maybe. Don’t you think she’s a bit creepy? And scary?

      • I would…but… I can’t read the sudden. Maybe BUS will help you. Bet she could get through them in a…day!

        *laughing* Can he really? I always see the same part. Can’t say I’ve ever watched it the whole way through.

        Weird is perfect, mind your manners.

        *laughs about what FEF remembers* I think LadyJ takes advantage of Paul! There. Not at all! She’s quite a helpful beast.

        • Bet she could too! Probably already has!

          *laughs* Yes, it’s very… impressive. Really? You should.

          *laughs more* So sorry! Of course it is!

          Well, Lady J has been brainwashed by the evil Bene Gesserit, so she can’t be altogether blamed. But have you got to the bit where Alia… *shudders*

  5. Well I like Atwood a lot, but have stuck with her novels………could I move to short stories? – I have a couple of collections by others, balefully waiting, so I don’t know. The Maltese Falcon might (funnily enough, I came back from the library with a few ‘golden age of crime writing’ books – you know, when they didn’t feel the need to use savagely mutilated woman as the bait – and I’ve already read (and was indeed mixed) about Wolf Winter, though it did get onto my blog, though with some reservations

    Anyway (looks suitably bulb-like) winter has passed here, don’t you know. The park is ablaze with croci and snowdrops, there are daffs being very colourful and sprightly on my window sill. It just needs a poet to drop by and be jocund………..Yes I know it’s the daffs which are jocund, but if I said it just needs a poet to drop by and be gay, it gets a little ambiguous as to what exactly Is expected of the poet…………, and even some confusion about the influence of daffodills….

    • I don’t know how I’ve managed to miss her up to now – she’s one of these authors I’ve been meaning to try for years. I’m hoping the shorts will inspire me. I seem to be reading more and more short stories these days – I must be getting more comfortable with the form, I think. Yes, with the exception of a few modern authors I really prefer classic crime too, and even the occasional ‘cosy’ though they can often get too twee. For me, it’s as much to do with the foul language in modern books as the dead bodies, though the misogyny doesn’t help! And yes, I remember your review of Wolf Winter and hesitated – but if the narration is good hopefully the atmosphere will carry it…

      I thought we were coming into spring till I looked out the window the other morning to discover snow! All gone again now, though…

  6. I have looked at Wolf Winter and read some of those mixed reviews, I’ll wait for your review before deciding whether I need it or not! I have mixed feelings about Margaret Atwood so it’ll be interesting to see what you make of the short stories.

    • I don’t know if I’d have taken Wolf Winter as a book, but sometimes the audiobook can feel quite different if there’s a good narrator – but we’ll see! Really? She’s one I’ve been meaning to try for ages – I feel as if I’m the only person in the world who hasn’t read any of her books!

  7. Can’t believe you haven’t read “the Maltese Falcon” – a serious failure of big-sisterly guidance! 🙂

  8. I love short stories but have never been a big fan of Atwood’s (I feel like I’m the only person not a fan of her work, sigh. I admire her writing talent but am not moved by it). The Maltese Falcon would be a good read I’m sure!

    • I’m not sure how much she appeals to me overall, but I feel she’s someone I should have at least tried, and this seems an easier way to begin somehow. Yes I’m looking forward ti The Maltese Falcon… 🙂

  9. I’m tempted by all except the last two – I’ve read all the Dune books and loved them, but have no wish to re-read them and I didn’t like the film. The one that really tempts me is Wolf Winter – I’ve been toying with the idea of getting it. You’re not the only person who hasn’t read it!

    • I read several of the Dune books when I was in my teens or early twenties, but I’m enjoying the re-reads. Yes, I have high hopes for Wolf Winter despite seeing some mixed reviews – I’m hoping the narration will be good. And The Maltese Falcon is bound to be great – I hope!

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