151. 151. 151!!! No matter what I do that dratted TBR just keeps getting bigger! It’s not my fault – I think the cats log on to NetGalley when I’m asleep. Getting close to the end of the 20 Books of Summer Challenge now and might just do it! Though the US Open starts soon…
Here are a few that should reach the top of the pile soon…
The Blurb says “Preeminent Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro shows how the tumultuous events in England in 1606 affected Shakespeare and shaped the three great tragedies he wrote that year—King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra.
In the years leading up to 1606, since the death of Queen Elizabeth and the arrival in England of her successor, King James of Scotland, Shakespeare’s great productivity had ebbed, and it may have seemed to some that his prolific genius was a thing of the past. But that year, at age forty-two, he found his footing again, finishing a play he had begun the previous autumn—King Lear—then writing two other great tragedies, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra. It was a memorable year in England as well—and a grim one, in the aftermath of a terrorist plot conceived by a small group of Catholic gentry that had been uncovered at the last hour. The foiled Gunpowder Plot would have blown up the king and royal family along with the nation’s political and religious leadership. The aborted plot renewed anti-Catholic sentiment and laid bare divisions in the kingdom. It was against this background that Shakespeare finished Lear, a play about a divided kingdom, then wrote a tragedy that turned on the murder of a Scottish king, Macbeth. He ended this astonishing year with a third masterpiece no less steeped in current events and concerns: Antony and Cleopatra.
The Year of Lear sheds light on these three great tragedies by placing them in the context of their times, while also allowing us greater insight into how Shakespeare was personally touched by such events as a terrible outbreak of plague and growing religious divisions. For anyone interested in Shakespeare, this is an indispensable book.”
* * * * *
Courtesy of NetGalley. I’ve never made it through a Rushdie novel, but I suspect that my tastes have changed enough since I last tried long, long ago to give this one a fair chance of success… it sounds brilliant!
The Blurb says “In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub–Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining.
Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world. Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights—or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, words act like poison, silence is a disease, and a noise may contain a hidden curse.”
* * * * *
The Blurb says “An immensely powerful examination of mankind’s propensity for both good and evil, inspired by the author’s wartime experience as a conscientious objector doing forestry work.
Calum and Neil are the cone-gatherers—two brothers at work in the forest of a large Scottish estate. But the harmony of their life together is shadowed by the obsessive hatred of Duror, the gamekeeper. Set during World War II yet removed from the destruction and bloodshed of the war, the brothers’ oblivious happiness becomes increasingly fragile as darker forces close in around them. Suspenseful, dark, and unforgettable, this is a towering work of fiction, a masterpiece of modern Scottish literature.”
* * * * *
I was blown away by McIlvanney’s Laidlaw trilogy, and this one comes with a personal recommendation from BigSister, my earliest reading guru, so can’t wait to get to it…
The Blurb says “Winner of the Whitbread prize, by one of Scotland’s greatest living novelists.
Tam Docherty’s youngest son, Conn, is born at the end of 1903 in a small working-class town in the west of Scotland. Tam will stop at nothing to make sure that life and the pits don’t swallow up his boy, the way it did him. Courageous and questioning, Docherty emerges as a leader of almost unshakable strength, but in a close-knit community tradition is a powerful opponent.”
* * * * *
NB All blurbs taken from NetGalley or Goodreads