TBR Thursday 58…

Episode 58


I’m traumatised to report that, because of the addition of my selections for the 20 Books of Summer challenge, the TBR has leapt up to a dramatic 148 – the highest figure since measurements began! I’m further traumatised by the fact that I have no fewer than 18 books for review over the next three months, that I gaily didn’t include in my 20 list. What do you think my chances are of reading 38 books, reviewing them and watching Wimbledon between now and 4th September?


Oh well… here’s a few I’ll get to some time…



being nixonCourtesy of NetGalley. All I know about Nixon is Watergate, and I’m still not totally clear what that was all about! So time to find out more…

The Blurb says The New York Times bestselling author of Ike’s Bluff and Sea of Thunder brings new life to one of American history’s most infamous, paradoxical, and enigmatic politicians: Richard Nixon. Dispensing with myths to achieve an intimate and evenhanded look at the actual man, Evan Thomas delivers the best single-volume biography of Nixon to date, a radical, unique portrait of a complicated figure who was both determinedly optimistic and tragically flawed.

What drove a painfully shy outcast in elite Washington society—a man so self-conscious he refused to make eye contact during meetings—to pursue power and public office? How did a president so attuned to the American political id that he won reelection in a historic landslide lack the self-awareness to recognize the gaping character flaws that would drive him from office and forever taint his legacy?

In Being Nixon, Evan Thomas peels away the layers of the complex, confounding figure who became America’s thirty-seventh president.

 * * * * *



the shapeshiftersCourtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. I’m classifying this as fiction, but frankly that’s only because I don’t have a category for weird. Hoping it’s weirdly wonderful though… it seems to be dividing reviewers.

The Blurb says Summer 1978. A young boy disappears without a trace from a summer cabin. His mother claims that he was carried away by a giant. He is never found.

Twenty-five years later, another child goes missing. This time there’s a lead, a single photograph taken by Susso Myren. She has devoted her life to the search for trolls, legendary giants known as stallo who can control human thoughts and assume animal form. Convinced that trolls are real, she follows the trail of missing children to northern Sweden. But humans, some part stallo themselves, have been watching over the creatures for generations, and this hidden society of protectors won’t hesitate to close its deadly ranks.

Mixing folklore and history, suspense and the supernatural, The Shapeshifters is an extraordinary journey into a frozen land where myth bleeds into reality.

* * * * *



bitter fruitsCourtesy of NetGalley. I’m not sure why I requested this one – I have a sneaking feeling I just liked the cover. But it sounds like an interesting debut…

The Blurb says “Detective Inspector Erica Martin’s first case in the university city of Durham is Emily Brabents, a first-year student, who is found dead in the river.

DI Martin visits Joyce College, a cradle for the country’s future elite, and finds a close-knit community full of secrets, jealousy and obsession.

Her search reveals a vicious online trolling culture but could Emily, from the privileged and popular crowd, have been a victim? Should the sudden confession to the murder by the student president be believed?

And just who is the mysterious Daniel Shepherd whose name keeps appearing in the investigation…?

* * * * *



the voices beyondCourtesy of NetGalley. This is the fourth book in Theorin’s Oland Quartet – I haven’t read the other three, but I get the impression they can be read as standalones – linked by setting rather than plot. We shall see…

The Blurb saysSummer on the beautiful Swedish island of Öland. Visitors arrive in their thousands, ready to enjoy the calm and relaxation of this paradise. Amongst them is Jonas Kloss, excited at the prospect of staying with his aunt, uncle and older cousins. But it is not as he had hoped. One night he takes a boat out onto the moonlit sea. A ship looms out of the darkness and the horror he finds on board is unimaginable.

Fleeing for his life, Jonas arrives at the door of an elderly islander, Gerlof Davidsson. Once Gerlof has heard his tale of dead sailors and axe-wielding madmen, he realizes that this will be a summer like none other Öland has ever seen.

For one man – the Homecomer – this is a very special journey. He seeks revenge that he’s waited a lifetime to exact…

* * * * *


NB All blurbs taken from NetGalley or Goodreads.

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

49 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 58…

  1. I’ve heard really good things about Theorin and mean to get to him at some point. As for your higher than usual TBR list, you have all my sympathy, especially with the tennis coming up…


    • I’ve only read one of his books before – The Asylum, which I was quite impressed by. What little I’ve read about him suggests the Oland books are supposed to be some of his best. Haha! Thank you – I’ll just have to hope for lots of rain breaks!


  2. Eeek! This is shocking stuff indeed. I wish you all the very best with the books, I hope you find time for them in amongst the tennis. I like the sound of Bitter Fruits, for obvious reasons 🙂


  3. Go with the tennis – the books will wait!
    All of these sound interesting, and the Nixon may well make it on to my TBR – I have been prejudiced against him almost all my adult life, not primarily because of Watergate, but because of McCarthy, so maybe this book can provide a more balanced picture.


    • The problem is I think if you leave them alone for too long they start to breed! The Nixon does look interesting, and like you I’m hoping it might let me see past the Tricky Dicky image. I wonder if in 20 years I’ll be reading a bio of ex-President Trump! Andy’s doing well.


      • If I’m still here in 20 years I can assure you I won’t be reading anything about Trump!
        Andy struggling today.


        • Maybe he’ll be a fantastic President, bringing golf courses to the entire world! And if nothing else at least he seems to have decided on a slightly more sensible hairdo for the campaign. (Boris, please note!)

          No problem in the end… 🙂


  4. The one about Nixon does not tempt me in the least. Mostly, he’s the one who got caught. Politicians should be limited to one term and out they go. The Shapeshifters sounds interesting. Puts me in mind of X-files.


  5. Ooh dear – I haven’t counted my TBR recently but I’m glad I’ve picked books from it and around it for my 20 Books of Summer challenge! I would read the Nixon out of those. I’m quite picky on what I select to review now, and haven’t found anything I fancied in the LibraryThing Early Reviewers programme recently, which is probably a blessing. I do have a review copy of a pony book by a lovely author on its way but that won’t be too much of an imposition! Good luck with your plans – read, read, read!


    • I don’t understand it – I have iron willpower and yet my TBR keeps getting bigger. How can that be?? 😉 I got so carried away with the fun of making lists for the 20 books I didn’t think through the consequences…

      The Nixon looks interesting, though quite heavyweight. I think I’ll have to have a break from factual after that for a bit, to catch up with all the crime and fiction.

      It’s NetGalley that’s the killer for me – I’m better at restraining myself than I used to be, but I still must request half a dozen or so a month. But I love it really… 😀


  6. FictionFan – One can hardly blame you for adding to your TBR. There are just too many good books out there. I know for myself that I will never, ever, ever get to the point where I’m up to date with everything I would like to read. It’s very frustrating; but at the same time, it’s also so good to know that there’s a lot of good stuff out there awaiting me.
    As to your additions, I’m really glad the Theorin is among them. I like his writing very much, and I really hope you’ll like that one. As to Nixon? I wonder if any of us really understood him. A complicated person…


    • The unfortunate thing is that I love making lists nearly as much as I love reading – a fatal combination! But I agree – I’d much rather have a list that’s too long than no list at all. I don’t think there’ll ever be a world book shortage though…

      I’ve only read one of Theorin’s books, The Asylum, and I enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to this one. Yes, of all the Presidents, Nixon seems one of the most intriguing – I haven’t read anything about him but of course have seen All the President’s Men and more recently Frost/Nixon. Time to get a bit of ‘proper’ history…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh, dear, FF, your TBR list sounds daunting! Perhaps you should consider moving it to the winter months, when tennis season is ended?? Or maybe not. Anyway, while I tend to gravitate more to fiction than nonfiction, that one about Nixon sounds intriguing. The man seemed to be a few bricks shy of a load, you know what I mean? And anybody who tries to explain “odd” has his work cut out for him!


    • Haha! I know – it’s all gone horribly wrong! I’ll just have to hope for a really rainy summer…

      The Nixon one does sound good, and I agree – he seems like a strange guy. All I know about him comes from films – All the President’s Men and Frost/Nixon basically. Watergate was on the news night after night when I was a kid, but I never understood it and was sooooo bored with it. Maybe I’ll feel differently now I’m… ahem… grown-up!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh that TBR that reproduces itself like, well, rabbits. I just wanted to say that I thought your little photo above was a baby elephant. I had to watch it a few times to realize it was a dog!!!


  9. I think you should put the Nixon to the top of the pile, and then both you and Big Sister should read it together and have an erudite debate on your blog about it – a sisterly Q + A

    Don’t you love it (not) when one of your followers tells you how to do a post.

    I think it will be really interesting, and either persuade the rest of us lightweights to read the book, or, make us feel glad that we didn’t

    A win win for us, then. Not quite sure, for you

    I’ve stopped counting my TBR. When i got my new Kindle Voyage, last year, I left most of the unread stuff on the old Kindle ‘in the cloud’ and wander up there, from time to time, to see what is in one of the two unread folders (another neat way of hiding the true number) and bring down a book at a time to the Voyage.

    So, the answer is clearly, buy a new ereader, and only have what you are currently reading on it then you will feel marvellously pure as long as you hide the reader with the evidence of your shame, or just don’t visit the cloud that often


    • Goodness! BigSister and me arguing about politics in public?! They’d take the internet off the air! I’m surprised you can’t hear us when we ‘talk’ politics over the phone…

      You see, the tragic thing is my TBR doesn’t even include the forgotten Kindlies – there’s about another 50 of them. And 110 on the wishlist – though to be fair there’s some crossover in that one. The true figure is probably closer to 240 but I just can’t bring myself to admit to it! Especially since my New Year’s resolution is to get it down to 70 by the end of this year… *laughs maniacally*


      • I think you should just retitle your blog FictionFan746books and then you’ll be a matching pair with Cathy, and can own a virtual very long mantlepiece together with all your books ranged one side, all her books ranged the other – and an absolutely ginormous box of chocolates as divider. You are each allowed ONE chocolate for every book you finish reading and have to post a review of the same, to prove it. Your various followers will make sure the rules are kept


      • They wouldn’t have to take it off the air – it would spontaneously combust! Though I suspect we might agree about Nixon…….


  10. Now you’re choosing books by the cover, are you? Your standards are slipping. 😀

    The Nixon one sounds interesting. I have some vague recollection about Watergate. Nixon’s eyes bothered many people, so I don’t know how he managed to make it to the White House.

    Sweden is also playing a part in your selection, isn’t it? Do mysterious things happen when you get so close to the Arctic Circle?

    I have to say that none if these truly tempt me, but I’d love to read a review of the one on Nixon. Happy reading!


    • Haha! It’s not something I do often, but I really can’t remember why I picked that one. And it is a good cover…

      I must say I’m regularly baffled by whom the US elects. Not that I’m feeling superior – after all we elected Thatcher three times and then, when you’d think we’d have learned better, went on and elected Blair three times! (I even voted for Blair on one of those occasions!)

      It must be the long dark nights. Or the snow. Or the drink.

      The Nixon one should be interesting but it looks pretty massive, so it might be a while…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. How many?? Oh dear I like your updates it makes me feel positively virtuous. 😉 As for the new additions, I like the look of Bitter Fruits and could easily be persuaded by The Voices Beyond but I’ll wait and read your reviews before committing myself.


    • Haha! I’m glad I make you happy! Yes, Bitter Fruits looks interesting and I haven’t read many debuts this year. I’ve onyl read one Theorin before and enjoyed it so I have high hopes for The Voices Beyond…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Well, I will try to bite my typing fingers and not go on a long political rant, but one could not pay me a thousand dollars to read a biography of Nixon, and revisit the awfulness of what he did and tried to do during his forty years in public life. Suffice it to say that his combination of paranoia, sociopathy, and megalomania, easily apparent many years before, ultimately made him the one American President who actually delberately tried to destroy democracy in this country. There is no balanced portrait of Nixon. Whatever few things he did to the positive side, like somewhat improving relations with China, or having economic positions which were not completely supply side, are overwhelmed by the lives he ruined, the imagined enemies he wanted to destroy, the willingness to subvert any aspect of our political system in order to obtain his ends.

    I have never been a fan of Evan Thomas’ various political essays, and I could not imagine reading this book. At least the author of the biography of Stalin which you recently reviewed did not attempt to somehow rehabilitate his image, or to try to argue that he was a complex person. My parents hated Nixon long before he became President, before he lost to JFK, before he was Vice President under Eisenhower. They remembered Jerry Vorhees, Helen Gahagan Douglas; Nixon inveterately labeling Democratic candidates and positions as part of the “Dean Acheson school of cowardly communist containment.” Then of course much later we have the order to have the National Guard fire on students at Kent State; the appointment of a racist to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the virulent anti-semitism which became public because of the White House tapes; the use of the CIA, FBI and IRS to hound American citizens; Nixon’s “enemies list”; the willingness of his top advisors to even consider murder of journalists as a possible way to achieve his ends. All of this, as horrifying as it was to learn about, was not really that surprising, given Nixon’s history. Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein not that long ago said that if people really understood the depths of what was being done by the Nixon Adminstration under the more benign appellation of “Watergate,” they would scarcely have been able to comprehend the enormity of the darkness of it.

    I might read one of the mysteries, though!


    • HahaHA! So, you’re quite a fan of the man then? Oddly your non-rant has had the effect of making me keener to read the bio – I had no idea about most of these things! While I remember the Watergate hearings, just, I wasn’t at all interested at the time, and I don’t remember anything else about his Presidency. Admittedly, that was back in the days before the BBC developed its obsession with all things American (I suspect because the journalists would rather spend a few weeks in Washington than Iraq, given a choice). Now when I watch the news I often think I know more about what’s going in America than in Scotland! But as far as political bios are concerned, if I only read ones about politicians I admire, I wouldn’t read many! I promise I shall keep my usual sense of cynicism…


  13. I’m probably more tempted by The Shapeshifters and Bitter Fruit than by the others, though all of them are intriguing. Wow. You’ve got quite the reading load.


    • Haha! I know! I wish I could learn to say no sometimes. I must say The Shapeshifters sounds wonderfully strange – I hope it’s as good as the blurb makes it sound…


  14. Ps – sorry to lower the tone of that excellent and impassioned series of interjections about American politics, but, I forgot to say, the REALLY important stuff – how much I love your gif on this post. Particularly as for some reason, the first time I saw it the dog was at the point of being completely covered by the throw, so I had absolutely no idea what was underneath the material which was settling down!


    • Lower away! Who knew everyone would be so worked up about Tricky Dicky? I’ll be too afraid to write a review now… 😉

      Haha! I love the gif too – that’s just how I feel about life sometimes! And the way he does it is so energy efficient…

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I’m glad I’m not the only one who picks books because of their covers and requests too many books on NetGalley.

    1. I hope you like the Theorin. I read the first Oland book while my husband read the second, and they were both fantastic.

    2. I’m not too interested in Nixon because Watergate just seems so atrocious and depressing— and drawn out!

    Hope these picks turn out to be good!


    • NetGalley should be banned! It’s toooo tempting!

      Oh good – glad to hear it about the Theorin books. I certainly enjoyed the only one I’ve read, but it wasn’t part of the Oland set.

      The Nixon bio is… OK, so far. Not setting the heather alight…

      Sorry about delay in responding. Summer and tennis are taking up far too much of my time at the moment! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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