Well, I did brilliantly during my little break and got the TBR down to a magnificent 129! So I moved up a few from my supplemenatry TBR – i.e., the books that are on my Kindle that have never been read – and now it’s back up to 139. But I feel good, ‘cos List 2 is therefore down by ten. Now if only I can stop myself from adding any to List 2 from List 3… the wishlist! (Am I good at fooling myself or what, eh? I’m thinking I might cut the TBR dramatically in half by creating a List 4…)
Never mind! Here are some that will be moving to the Have Been Read List very soon…
Courtesy of NetGalley and Yale University Press, who are producing some fabulous biographies at present. If this is as good as the John Knox one (also from Yale) that I’m currently reading, I’ll be well pleased…
The Blurb says “Josef Stalin exercised supreme power in the Soviet Union from 1929 until his death in 1953. During that quarter-century, by Oleg Khlevniuk’s estimate, he caused the imprisonment and execution of no fewer than a million Soviet citizens per year. Millions more were victims of famine directly resulting from Stalin’s policies. What drove him toward such ruthlessness? This essential biography, by the author most deeply familiar with the vast archives of the Soviet era, offers an unprecedented, fine-grained portrait of Stalin the man and dictator. Without mythologizing Stalin as either benevolent or an evil genius, Khlevniuk resolves numerous controversies about specific events in the dictator’s life while assembling many hundreds of previously unknown letters, memos, reports, and diaries into a comprehensive, compelling narrative of a life that altered the course of world history.“
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Should I ever finish The Grapes of Wrath (16 days and still over a third to go – even chocolate isn’t cheering me up any more) then I shall reward myself with a re-read of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. This is the Austen I have read least often – perhaps only twice – but I have walked down those famous steps in Lyme Regis…
The Blurb says “Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?” (Shall we all guess the answer?)
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The Blurb says “Death and Mr. Pickwick is a vast, richly imagined, Dickensian work about the rough-and-tumble world that produced an author who defined an age. Like Charles Dickens did in his immortal novels, Stephen Jarvis has spun a tale full of preposterous characters, shaggy-dog stories, improbable reversals, skulduggery, betrayal, and valor – all true, and all brilliantly brought to life in his unputdownable book.
The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club, featuring the fat and lovable Mr. Pickwick and his Cockney manservant, Sam Weller, began as a series of whimsical sketches, the brainchild of the brilliant, erratic, misanthropic illustrator named Robert Seymour, a denizen of the back alleys and grimy courtyards where early nineteenth-century London’s printers and booksellers plied their cutthroat trade. When Seymour’s publishers, after trying to match his magical etchings with a number of writers, settled on a young storyteller using the pen name Boz, The Pickwick Papers went on to become a worldwide phenomenon, outselling every other book besides the Bible and Shakespeare’s plays. And Boz, as the young Charles Dickens signed his work, became, in the eyes of many, the most important writer of his time. The fate of Robert Seymour, Mr. Pickwick’s creator, is a very different story – one untold before now.“
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The Blurb says “Andrew J. Rush has achieved the kind of critical and commercial success most authors only dream about: his twenty-eight mystery novels have sold millions of copies in nearly thirty countries, and he has a top agent and publisher in New York. He also has a loving wife, three grown children, and is a well-regarded philanthropist in his small New Jersey town. But Rush is hiding a dark secret. Under the pseudonym “Jack of Spades,” he writes another string of novels—dark potboilers that are violent, lurid, even masochistic. These are novels that the refined, upstanding Andrew Rush wouldn’t be seen reading, let alone writing. Until one day, his daughter comes across a Jack of Spades novel that he has carelessly left out and begins to ask questions. Meanwhile, Rush receives a court summons in the mail explaining that a local woman has accused him of plagiarizing her own self-published fiction. Rush’s reputation, career, and family life all come under threat – and unbidden, in the back of his mind, the Jack of Spades starts thinking ever more evil thoughts.“
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NB All blurbs taken from NetGalley or Goodreads.