TBR Thursday 54…

The People’s Choice 7…The Result!


A dramatic fall in the TBR for the second week in a row – down 1 to 138! That is, until I add in the one you chose in last week’s People’s Choice – oops! Back to 139.

It was another exceptionally close vote with the top two neck and neck for a few days. But in the end, by one vote, the winner is…

mister pip

Yes, Mister Pip squeaked it! (I’m so sorry – I couldn’t resist! I shall turn myself into the Pun Police immediately…)

The BlurbOn a copper-rich tropical island shattered by war, where the teachers have fled with most everyone else, only one white man chooses to stay behind: the eccentric Mr. Watts, object of much curiosity and scorn, who sweeps out the ruined schoolhouse and begins to read to the children each day from Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations.

So begins this rare, original story about the abiding strength that imagination, once ignited, can provide. As artillery echoes in the mountains, thirteen-year-old Matilda and her peers are riveted by the adventures of a young orphan named Pip in a city called London, a city whose contours soon become more real than their own blighted landscape. As Mr. Watts says, “A person entranced by a book simply forgets to breathe.” Soon come the rest of the villagers, initially threatened, finally inspired to share tales of their own that bring alive the rich mythology of their past. But in a ravaged place where even children are forced to live by their wits and daily survival is the only objective, imagination can be a dangerous thing.


Thanks to all who voted, and to katenich at Blogging Around My Bookcase for the review that brought this book to my attention.

So now all I have to do is find time to read it…


And here’s a few that I’m looking forward to reading soon…



Pleasures of the TableCourtesy of the British Library. I loved the BL’s London: A Literary Anthology, and this is similar in format – a gorgeous hardback filled with lush illustrations, I believe from the BL’s own collection. A feast for the senses…

The Blurb – This beautifully illustrated collection of food writing includes delectable scenes of cooking and feasting from novels and stories, poems that use food to tempt and seduce, and fine writing by and about great cooks. Napoleon famously declared that an army marched on its stomach; less familiar is the idea that great authors were as eager to feed their stomachs as their imaginations. Far-ranging in both time and place, this exploration of literary eating and great writing about food will amuse, surprise, and make the mouth water. The anthology begins with examples of hospitality, ranging from Chaucer’s convivial Franklin to Walter Scott’s bountiful breakfasts and dinner with Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Ramsay. Next comes eating to impress – dazzling banquets from Flaubert to F. Scott Fitzgerald – and some great fictional love feasts (there is no doubt that in literature food and love go together rather better than love and marriage). Many of our most vivid memories of food in literature were laid down in childhood, and nostalgia is to the fore in such classic scenes as Pinocchio aching with hunger, Ratty and Mole picnicking, enchanted Turkish delight in Narnia, and a seaside picnic from Enid Blyton. A section on distant times and places ranges from seethed tortoise in ancient China to seal’s liver fried in penguin blubber as a treat for Captain Scott. Those who relish simplicity rather than excess will enjoy Sydney Smith’s delicate salad dressing and Hemingway’s appreciation of oysters.

* * * * *



some luckCourtesy of NetGalley, here’s the review from the ever-fragrant Lady Fancifull which inspired me to read this one…

Lady Fancifull says“Jane Smiley’s ‘Some Luck’ is Volume 1 of a trilogy, examining a tumultuous 100 years from just after the end of the Great War to 2020. Smiley does this by taking an ordinary family from Iowa, from mixed European settler stock, and following them forward through the generations, as children grow and become parents, and those children grow, in a world which is endlessly, rapidly in change.

Like Smiley’s Pulitzer prizewinning A Thousand Acres, this first volume of the trilogy shows the author as a writer with a deep connection to rural place and landscape, and to the powerful hold than ‘land’ can exert. She effortlessly shows how a story can be both deeply and uniquely personal, familial, and how the personal is always shot through with the ripples, tugs, and in-roads which the wider world and its history makes in the lives of each unique individual, as we all come from place, and live through time.”

 * * * * *



a good way to goCourtesy of NetGalley. I thoroughly enjoyed Peter Helton’s effortless and entertaining writing style in Indelible, so am keen to see how it transfers to the police procedural format…

The Blurb – On his first day back at work following his suspension, DI McLusky finds himself in the midst of a major murder enquiry when a body is discovered in the canal at Netham Lock. Chained, weighted down, tied to a buoy by the neck, it has all the hallmarks of a premeditated, ritualistic killing. As he questions those who knew the victim in an attempt to uncover the dead woman’s secrets, McLusky’s investigations are disrupted by the discovery of a second body. Bound and gagged like the first – but there are differences. If McLusky could only work out what connects the victims, he would be one step closer to catching the killer – and preventing more deaths.

Meanwhile, his rival DI Kat Fairfield is pursuing a routine investigation which takes a decidedly sinister turn …

* * * * *

falling in loveCourtesy of NetGalley. After enjoying Donna Leon’s By Its Cover, I intended to go back and read some of the earlier books in the Commissario Brunetti series. Needless to say I haven’t done so, but couldn’t resist the new one anyway…

The Blurb – Donna Leon’s Death at La Fenice, the first novel in her beloved Commissario Guido Brunetti series, introduced readers to the glamorous and cutthroat world of opera and one of Italy’s finest living sopranos, Flavia Petrelli. Now Flavia has returned to Venice and La Fenice to sing the lead in Tosca.

Brunetti and his wife, Paola, attend an early performance, and Flavia receives a standing ovation. Back in her dressing room, she finds bouquets of yellow roses – too many roses. Every surface of the room is covered with them. An anonymous fan has been showering Flavia with these beautiful gifts in London, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, and now, Venice, but she no longer feels flattered. A few nights later, invited by Brunetti to dine at his in-laws’ palazzo, Flavia confesses her alarm at these excessive displays of adoration. And when a talented young Venetian singer who has caught Flavia’s attention is savagely attacked, Brunetti begins to think that Flavia’s fears are justified in ways neither of them imagined. He must enter in the psyche of an obsessive fan before Flavia, or anyone else, comes to harm.

* * * * *

NB All blurbs taken from NetGalley or Amazon.

* * * * *

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


66 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 54…

  1. Ah, when the people speak, one has to listen, FictionFan! I do hope you’ll enjoy it. Meanwhile, that Donna Leon has my attention. I do like her series very much.


    • Indeed! I am merely a servant of the public! I hope they have chosen well… 😉 Yes, I enjoyed the one Donna Leon I’ve read, so I’m looking forward to this one. I think the Peter Helton should be good too – fingers crossed!

      Liked by 1 person

    • So do I, or I’ll be holding you responsible… 😉 Unfortunately it’ll probably be a few months before I get to it – that’s the problem with the ginormous TBR. But I’m looking forward to it… 🙂


    • Aha! So it’ll be you fault if it all goes horribly wrong then! 😉 Seriously though, it does look good – I’m looking forward to it. And so does the Jane Smiley – in fact, they all do, which is the problem! I liked the Donna Leon I read before – there’s a feel of more classic crime novel, rather than all the fast-paced gritty stuff in the usual police procedural today…


  2. WooHoo to Mister Pip! I can’t remember which one I voted for now but I am pleased that this one won. It sounds like such an unusual book. I really hope it is good.
    Pleasures Of The Table!!!!! I am quite literally leaping up and down at the very thought. Food is my most favourite thing and I could lose myself in this. Oh, the unbound joy…
    I know I should be tempted by A Good Way To Go but somehow I just cannot drum up the enthusiasm. It just seems a bit run-of-the-mill. I am sure I am completely wrong, but there you go.


    • Katenich certainly made it sound appealing and it was Booker nominated (not that that is always a guarantee!) so I’m looking forward to it. I always like seeing what the ‘people’ pick – it’s never the one I think they will!

      Isn’t it just splendid?! And I have to tell you it’s even more lusciously gorgeously tempting in real life. Can’t wait for John Wilkes Booth to hurry up and bump off Abe Lincoln, so I can get started on it…

      I liked Indelible, but it wasn’t a police procedural – it was almost a cosy but not quite. But I liked his writing and his humour, so I thought I’d see if it transfers to the police procedural format – I’m not totally sure myself…


      • And the people have spoken! Let’s hope they have spoken well.
        I would be in danger of just eating the book itself in my excitement. Reading about food is almost as great as eating it. Once again, I am hungry. Everything makes me hungry. Pah.
        I am sure it is beautifully written and brilliantly plotted, but something inside me just said “Oh, more dead bodies in unusual circumstances that might be connected. They probably are…” Could be because I write about random bodies myself and I might just need a break from them!
        (The hunt for local lorne sausage continues… no luck so far but I am going to try a posh-looking butchers in town at the weekend…)


        • They’d better have – or there will be tantrums and flouncing!!

          The selection of excerpts look great too – it should be one that will be a pleasure to review! I shall keep an eye open to see if anyone mentions sausages… (If you can’t find them, we could set up a north-south smuggling enterprise – there’s probably millions of Scottish ex-pats who would pay a high price for a slice of lorne. When I worked in London, any Scot who went home for the weekend was obliged to bring back bags full of square sausage, tattie scones and snowballs and share them out… )

          I know – police procedural can get a bit samey. It tends to depend on how likeable the ‘tec is for me…


  3. Oh, goodness. You know, now that I stop to think on…139 books is a lot! Think about it for a second. Wouldn’t fit on my shelf! Do you keep all the titles in a Word document? *laughing* Sorry!

    Well, look at the cover to Pip. If I’d known it had flowers on it, I wouldn’t chosen it. Amazing what a blown up picture can tell. Pun Police! *laughing*

    My fav of all them is Falling in Love, believe it or not. The cover is tops. And it looks like it will be a good one! (The food back, I would find vexing. If I was in a hungry mood, it would drive me insane, if I wasn’t…I probably wouldn’t read it.)


    • I know – it’s cruel to laugh at me! Even for me it’s more than a year’s worth!! *tosses hair huffily* An Excel spreadsheet, actually, if you must know… *stomps off*

      But I expect it’s rainforesty type flowers rather than pretty garden stuff – so more warriorish. But I was surprised you picked that one – not your type of thing at all, I’d have thought…

      Good choice, I think! I hate the name – it makes it sound like a romance, though it isn’t! But I wouldn’t be caught dead reading a book with a title like that on public transport – my reputation would be ruined! (The food book looks scrumptiously delicious! All that food and no calories…)


      • An Excel Spreadsheet to boot! That is tops! *does not laugh–publicly* About 2.5 years?

        That’s true. They should have thrown a snake in there, then. Just so warriors like me knew for sure. I know…look what you’re doing to me! Between this…and Chani! I’m retiring.

        It did fool me at first! You mean like a T for instance? Now, I find this incredibly interesting: why would your reputation be ruined? (But…but…and no enjoyment! *goes and gets some cherry cake*)


        • *grinds teeth and growls* Er… no, about thirteen months probably…

          It’s not my fault! This is what comes of being a fickle flirt – if you’d stayed away from girls like I told you, this would never have happened! And Ringer must be devastated that you dropped her the minute you laid eyes on Chani! *disapproving (and slightly jealous) glare*

          A T? Some strange American thing I presume? My reputation as a warrioress! They don’t read books called ‘Falling in Love’! And I’m in big trouble if the feminists catch me… (But I could eat cake while reading… *eyes light up*)


          • That’s not too bad! You have room for the book I’m about to add.

            I’ve decided–the sudden–I don’t like any of them. I like Chani as a character…but that’s it. Ringer…gets horrid in the second book. Now, Aravis, I like her.

            Yes, you know…a T. It’s that thing that rides on the tracks into town? But…you told me that warrioress (and warriors) like…that sort of thing! Glad to see you’ve recanted. (*hands FEF a piece* I still have it left over.)


            • *trembles with fear*

              I’ve downloaded the entire audiobook collection of Narnia if I ever get through the one I’m supposed to be listening to at the moment. Some fab actors narrating – The Horse and His Boy is Alex Jennings, who you won’t know, but he’s got a lovely voice. Your Chani would love him…

              A train?!? Does this mean America has banned ‘r’ ‘a’ ‘i’ and ‘n’ now too?? Good Oodlez! .t’s becomi.g .lmost .mposs.ble to comm…c.te with you! Oh… er… umm… yes… but warriors do love to fall in love! They just don’t read books about it! (Left over from what? *hopes it’s not Christmas*)


            • Not at all! Chani only likes Paul–for whatever reason. Girls! Well, tell me when you listen to Horse and His Boy.

              *laughing lots* No! It’s not a train. It’s…a…I’m not sure what you would call it! A rail? I googled it…but I still can’t find the proper word for it… Well, maybe female warriors (I might still debate that) but I don’t neither none of it! (Birthday!)


            • I wonder why she does love him? Apart from being a useless Emperor, he’s awfully patronising to her. If I was her, I’d dump him and catch the next worm back to the desert. I will!

              A tram? Like a bus on rails? Isn’t it odd how different our languages are sometimes? What is a chipwich? It came up in a book I’m reading at the moment. Then how do you explain you falling in love with Chani? *puzzled expression* (Oh, was it your birthday? You should have told me… *laughs*)


            • He killed her! Fool! Yes, I agree with you, but I suppose that’s true love. *thinks*

              It is quite funny, too! It’s not a bus, though. It’s lots of cars…on a track. You know, the T! Like a monorail? That’s maybe closer. I think you’d love a chipwich actually. It’s an ice cream sandwich! I think this professor felt bad for Chani. It didn’t seem like Paul loved her back like she deserved. I think if I was Paul, I would’ve just taken her and gone somewhere far away. The kingdom wasn’t worth it, see. (Didn’t you know? I got the biggest and bestest birthday surprise ever!)


            • Nah! True love can only be when both people respect each other, and Paul really patronised Chani…she was a doormat!

              We don’t have monorails *sad face* – but we do have the Clockwork Orange! *happy face* Ooh, that sounds nice! Send me one!

              Yes, that’s what he should have done. I think depsite everything he said, he actually enjoyed being the Messiah and having all the power, and wasn’t willing to give it up. Men! Tchah! I bet Chani would have gone anywhere for him. (Did you? I’m glad!! That must’ve been because you’re such a dadblamed sweetie pumpkin pie…)


            • But I think he liked her… Yeah, his actions showed that he needed to be beaten or something.

              So, I tried to google that, but all I got was some sort of dystopian novel. What is it? *sends FEF lots*

              I think you’re right. He seemed to enjoy it. Not all men would do that! He was a dadblamed fool, you know, you know. I know Chani would have… (*laughing* Am not!)


            • Oh, I’m sure he loved her, but he never treated her as a proper partner.

              It’s the nickname for our little subway – which is just one line that goes round in a circle, and the trains are orange. *hopes they don’t melt*

              He was! I’m glad you think so too! No, most of his characters were pretty horrible people really – the women too. Chani and Alia were the only half decent ones, and Alia was so weird… (*laughs too* But… you must be! There’s no other rational explanation!)


            • I would’ve been nicer, which is ironic, since I’m a warrior, and they don’t marry.

              *laughing* Orange cars?! How interesting. That’s very cool, you know. Whoops…they probably will. Tell you what, just put them in a blender when you get the package, mix it up…and there you go!

              That’s true. And Stil…he was my favorite, btw. I liked him lots. (*laughs* Umm…there has to be!)


            • You would have, and you’d have had to marry Chani, given your feelings for her. (Heartless, indeed! Tchah!)

              It is – we’re awfully proud of it. Woe betide anyone who ever tries to paint them a different colour… *dons warrior outfit* That sounds… delicious. Should I take them out of the parcel first?

              I liked him more in Dune – he was a bit too servile in this one. He should have bopped Paul and taken over. (OK – perhaps it’s because you’re so admirably heroic! *knows the sweetie pumpkin pie thing is the truth really though*)


            • Nah, Chani wouldn’t like me! (Look how you’ve ruined me…)

              Yes, I’d declare war, too, if I were you. Orange cars are something to be proud of. I wonder where’d they’d take you, though. See, the T thing will take you into Pittsburgh. Under the Steel Building. *laughing* Of course! Unless…you like cardboard!

              That’s a very good point. I guess he came to like Paul, but still…someone should have yelled at Paul. You know, Chani should have, actually. (*laughing* It’s because I’m heartless, double-dadblameit!)


            • Oh, I bet she would! She’d have been dazzled by your worm-hunting skills, not to mention your… (*chuckles wickedly*)

              They just go round the old parts of the city really – great for avoiding traffic. Is the Steel Building made out of steel or called after someone called Steel?

              They both should have – and then smacked him over the head and taken away his drugs! *purses lips disapprovingly* (*laughs lots* Oh yes – that must be the reason! Or maybe it’s because you’re so c&a and f…)


            • Well, I never hunted worms that big…plus, I wouldn’t be wearing my bowtie. So, she’d hate me lots!

              Traffic is awful. But it’s horrible in LA. Never go there and drive. Umm…you know…maybe both? Probably after a fellow…and I’m sure it’s made of steel, too, though.

              *nods* They were all addicts–that’s a good point you made just there. Stunningly good point. (Humph noodles! BUS knows you’re just making things up!)


            • Only because you’ve never had the chance. The bowtie thing is more of an issue, though…

              I won’t! It’s because they drive on the wrong side of the road. The book I finished last night mentioned Pittsburgh and for a moment I thought the hero was going ot go there – but sadly, he didn’t. (Wasn’t that fascinating? *laughs*)

              Ooh, I’m not sure I’ve ever made a stunningly good point before! *preens* (BUS would agree with me, I’m sure!)


            • Yes, bowties constrict the throat, see.

              *laughing* Too bad he didn’t! I’m not sure what he’d do here, though. Maybe go see the ketchup factory.

              It just might be your first. Congratulations, madam! (she would not!)


            • Not always tightly enough though…

              Oh, you love your town! Aren’t there any famous Pittsburgh authors? Or books set there?

              *curtseys* (Would!)


            • Hey, dadblameit!

              Umm…I’m not sure! We are the city of bridges…so, I could show lots of bridges. And a haunted opera house!

              (Most definitely wouldn’t not never!)


            • *chuckles*

              Well, since you proved useless on that score, I wiki’d and apparently you’ve got loads of famous authors associated with Pittsburgh! 193 in fact – though I’ve only ever heard of 5, and two of them weren’t born there, and one of them just wrote a book with Pittsburgh in the title. John Dickson Carr, Willa Cather, Micahel Chabon, Martha Grimes and Gertrude Stein!! Better than Kirkintilloch, I assure you…

              (*laughs and gives in*)


            • *laughing lots* Useless?! How horrid would it be if I said I never heard of any of them. Maybe Gertrude Stein. But that’s from a football thingy I watched. You need to help me, see.


            • Totally useless! You have heard of Michael Chabon – you’ve read my reviews of two of his books. He wrote the one about the comic books? He also was one of the scriptwriters on John Carter! The only other one I’ve read is John Dickson Carr, who wrote detective novels way, way back – I might try to do one of his stories for Tuesday ‘Tec sometime.


  4. Well of course Pip tempts – one of the ones I voted for I do believe, and I will obviously heartily recommend the Smiley – but oh, but OH! How do you get BL approval? Just looking at the cover provoked much dribbling and drooling….


    • The food book is even more gorgeous in real life – truly delectable! My system is simple – if I see a book I fancy in the forthcoming releases on Amazon, I send a pathetic begging e-mail to the publisher. Sometimes it works, sometimes not – but it tends to work more for factual than fiction. I guess they don’t get as many requests, and sometimes, like this one, they’re really not suitable for NetGalley issue. Quite often they don’t reply to the e-mail and then the book just arrives at some point in the future, and other ones I just never get a response at all. But I’m doing a roaring trade in great history books and quirky stuff… I’ve had to stop asking at the moment till I catch up…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow. What a list of books!
    Mister Pip’s cover is lovely. I would have chosen a different book by Dickens were I in his shoes. Probably The Pickwick Papers or Oliver Twist. But that’s me.
    Donna Leon’s book tempts me mightily.


    • Yep, lovely, lovely books!! If only I could work out a way to read twice as many… 😉

      Yes, I’d have liked a different one too – Great Expectations isn’t my favourite. Pickwick would have been good, or Nicholas Nickleby – I like all the stuff about acting in that one…

      I have high hope for the Donna Leon – I thoroughly enjoyed the last (and only) one I read!


      • I already have a copy of your book for review (at my own request) – I’m currently doing a course of weight training so I’ll be strong enough to lift it! 😉 Hoping to read it towards the end of May – good luck with it meantime.


  6. Excellent! I look forward to your review of Mister Pip.

    I’m curious . . . Is Let the Great World Spin on your TBR list? It’s such a goodie and I don’t see in on your list of already reviewed . . .


    • Yes, the people have chosen well (I hope) although there are couple I’m sorry didn’t get elected and am having to fight hard not to sneak them on too! Jane Smiley looks good…but then they all do! That’s the problem…

      Liked by 1 person

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