TBR Thursday 63…

Episode 63


What goes up must come down – that’s right, isn’t it? So when will my TBR start coming down??? 152… and still rising…

Oh well, at least there are some goodies coming up…



the crossingCourtesy of Hodder & Stoughton. I loved Miller’s last book, Pure, and have waited four years for him to produce another. I must say the blurb of this doesn’t appeal to me terribly much but I’m hoping the quality of his writing will carry it…

The Blurb says “Who else has entered Tim’s life the way Maud did? This girl who fell past him, lay seemingly dead on the ground, then stood and walked. That was where it all began.

He wants her – wants to rescue her, to reach her. Yet there is nothing to suggest Maud has any need of him, that she is not already complete. A woman with a talent for survival, who works long hours and loves to sail – preferably on her own. A woman who, when a crisis comes, will turn to the sea for refuge, embarking on a voyage that will test her to the utmost, that will change everything …

From the Costa Award-winning author of Pure comes a viscerally honest, hypnotic portrait of modern love and motherhood, the lure of the sea and the ultimate unknowability of others. This pitch-perfect novel confirms Andrew Miller’s position as one of the finest writers of his generation.

 * * * * *



the blue guitarCourtesy of NetGalley. Banville is one of those authors I feel I should have read, but haven’t…

The Blurb says “From John Banville, one of the world’s greatest writers, comes The Blue Guitar, a story of theft and the betrayal of friendship. Adultery is always put in terms of thieving. But we were happy together, simply happy. Oliver Orme used to be a painter, well known and well rewarded, but the muse has deserted him. He is also, as he confesses, a petty thief; he does not steal for gain, but for the thrill of it. HIs worst theft is Polly, the wife of his friend Marcus, with whom he has had an affair. When the affair is discovered, Oliver hides himself away in his childhood home. From here he tells the story of a year, from one autumn to the next. Many surprises and shocks await him, and by the end of his story, he will be forced to face himself and seek a road towards redemption.

* * * * *



the night ferryNetGalley again. I’m gradually working my way through Michael Robotham’s  books – so far they’ve all been great…

The Blurb says Ali Barba, a Sikh detective with the Metropolitan Police, is recovering from injuries sustained in the line of duty when she receives a letter from her estranged friend, Cate, imploring her to come to their high school reunion. Alarmed by the urgent tone of the note, and eager to make amends for her unforgivable past behavior, Ali goes to the reunion. Cate is pregnant, but before Ali has the chance to congratulate her, Cate hurriedly whispers, “They want to take my baby. You have to stop them.” It is the only hint of Cate’s troubles Ali manages to get. As they are leaving the reunion, Cate and her husband are run down by a car and killed. The mystery darkens when it is discovered that Cate had faked her pregnancy by tying a pillow underneath her dress.

All Ali has to go on is a file in Cate’s desk that contains two ultrasound pictures, letters from a fertility clinic, and various papers that seem to confirm the unborn baby’s existence. As she puts together the pieces, her search takes her to Amsterdam and into the company of some very unsavory people on both sides of the Channel who’ll do anything to thwart her investigation.

* * * * *



three moments of an explosionAnd NetGalley! Again, China Miéville is a name that’s being heard more and more often – time to find out why…

The Blurb says “In this extraordinary series of stories, defying definitions and literary stereotyping, he once again proves why he ‘is one of the most interesting and promising writers to appear in the last few years in any genre’ (Carlos Ruiz Zafon). In these stories, glistening icebergs float above urban horizons; a burning stag runs wild through the city; the ruins of industry emerge unsteadily from the sea; and the abandoned generations in a decayed space-elevator look not up at the stars but down at the Earth. Ranging from portraits of childhood to chilling ghost stories, from dystopian visions to poignant evocations of uncanny love, with beautiful prose and melancholy wit, this breath-taking collection poses searching questions of what it is to be human in an unquiet world. It is a humane and unsentimental investigation of our society, our world, and ourselves.”

* * * * *


NB All blurbs taken from NetGalley or Goodreads

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

54 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 63…

  1. Oh, I’m so happy you’ve got The Night Ferry on your TBR now, FictionFan. Robotham is such a talented writer. I’ve honestly rarely been disappointed in his work (can’t lie and say each book reaches the heights, but still…). This one’s a good ‘un, I think, and I hope you will, too.

    • I’m looking forward to it, and I’ve got his new one too for soon after! Yes, it’s nice to turn to someone whose work you know you enjoy sometimes, and I’ve liked all of his so far – some more than others, as you suggest, though. Glad to hear you think this is one of the good ones! 🙂

  2. Like you, I am a Miller fan – and, like you, I’m a little unsure about the subject matter of this book. He was interviewed on Front Row last night, and I found myself even more ambivalent. I’ve probably left it too late for Galley approval (I’m ignoring Galley at the moment, with 12 on the Galley TBR though one of them will get reviewed in a day or so. I’ve done that thing I know I shouldn’t – started reading another book with the review of the one finished only in my mind, and not written. This means, if the next one was any good (yes) I have surrendered myself to its world. I’ve done it twice – got 2 stacked up for praising reviews and am two thirds of the way through the third. 3 very different good books on a run is always dangerous. Banville has also been on my ‘American author you really need to read’ list. I have a feeling I may have started one and we released each other early. But American Pastoral is rather lurking at the top of the American novel pile and must be the first embarked on in the general GANny territory pile.

    I mght have to go see if NetGalley still likes me…………………

    • That’s a pity – I was hoping it might be a case of misleading blurb syndrome. Oh well – perhaps it will surprise me! It wasn’t a NG one – I begged a copy from the publisher. But the Banville was through NG. Again I’m not too sure about the blurb of it either, but lots of reviews of his other stuff have persuaded me that I *should* like him…

      I’ve got over thirty outstanding on NG at the mo – it’s this pesky challenge! I’ve actually been limiting how many I request but that only has an effect if I were to actually read some of them!

      Woohoo! Glad AP’s making it to the top of the heap – I reckon it’ll be October before I can get the second batch of the GAN Quest properly underway, so you should be safe from any more arm-twisting for a while. Though, a few pages in, I’m quite taken with the Rushdie and thinking it might be a Fancifull must… I shall read a bit more before deciding though…

      • I’ve just been approved for William Boyd, and he is sneakily athletic and generally manages a bit of TBR leapfrogging, so I reckon, that when i finish my current book – and hopefully manage then to write reviews of the 3 excellents a pending, before turning the first page of the Boyd, that that is where the reading will go next.

        Irealised the Miller wasn’t NG as soon as i could find no evidence of it there. I’ve only done one book from a publisher email (not on the Galley – offered a fine selection, I took only an author I really rate……..and, what do you know, am less than enthused, so kind of leery of getting connected with specific publishers with their lists. It somehow seems worse once you’ve exchanged happy bright eyed and bushy tailed emails with someone all about how impatient you are to read this favourite author’s next work…………and then feel damp squibbed. That’s why re-reading is such a pleasure. Especially with an author long since shuffled off this mortal

        • Boo! I was declined for it! I don’t know why since I’m usually highly complimentary about him – I blame you! Well, I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it – since it seems I’d have to actually pay money to read it (unheard of!!). Yes, I know what you mean about begging for books – I very rarely do it for fiction for the same reasons, though I did for this one. But generally it’s factuals I ask for and only after checking out reviews of any previous books. I find I very rarely give a factual book less than 4 stars – I think because I’m much more careful about which ones I choose since they represent such a time investment. No publisher has sent me a list though – I’ve always had to do my begging book by book…

          • I may have to craft a begging letter and go cap (well, swimming hat) in hand – not really a hat person, they flatten curls – to the publishers and see how I do.

            I think it must be in some ways potluck, perhaps it depends how many you have unreviewed from that publisher and whether the quota they must have surely is filled or not.

            I’m itching to start it but holding off till I’ve written my reviews and got them scheduled for the 3 books I’ve finished and not yet reviewed in the last week or so

            • I’m trying to stay clear of new releases for a bit till I catch up – I’m going to be behind with reviews right through till November or December and I don’t like always being late with them – it makes me feel guilty.

              Yes, I can never work out why I get declined, but since I get approved for at least 90% of my NG requests, I try not to obsess! In fact, sometimes when I’m overloaded a few declines can be quite a relief…

              Hope it’s great – I shall look forward to your review!

  3. ForeignFilmFan gave me one of Banville’s books, which was well-written and interesting, but not quite my thing, and I have been reading Mieville for a few years now. I hope you enjoy this collection, which I haven’t yet read.
    My TBR was increased by 1 today – the latest (and alas! last) Terry Prattchett arrived today, and is taking priority over everything except breathing.

    • Banville’s another that I’ve been meaning to try for years – not sure about the blurb though, but I’ll see. Glad you rate the Mieville – I’ve never been sure whether I would love or hate, so time to find out!

      Yes, I saw that on the news yesterday – well, I hope it’s great, but I guess it’ll still be special even if it’s not… enjoy!

  4. I must say I am a bit unsure about the Miller – but that is why we have fabulous reviewers such as yourself to rest out such things and let us know what they are like! I was drawn to The Blue Guitar because I liked the cover (!) but we all know what they say about books and covers. I was sort of interested until I read the bit about him having to face himself and seek redemption. But The Night Ferry sounds great! All very mysterious. I hope Ali isn’t an alcoholic… 😉 (unlikely if she is a Sikh but I find it best never to make assumptions)

    • Ha! Like food-tasters of old – I hope I don’t get poisoned! Yes, neither of the blurbs do much for me, but Miller is a great writer and Banville’s supposed to be so I’m hoping they’ll transcend their blurbs. Robotham’s one of my favourite finds in the last few years – at the thrillerish end of crime mostly. I’m about 99.9999999999% sure you’d enjoy him!

  5. YES!! The Night Ferry sounds most exciting! An “icky” class reunion, a mysterious pregnancy, hit and run death — oh, yeah, this sounds great! Thanks, and I’ll be eager to hear if your review finds it lives up to the blurb.

    • All the Robothams I’ve read so far have been either good or great – one of my favourite finds of the last couple of years and I’m enjoying catching up with his back catalogue. So I’m very hopeful of this one… 😀

  6. LOL, TBRs are definitely an exception to the old rule of what goes up, must come down. Except of course physically speaking when an individual stack gets so high that it topples down.

    • Yep, I’m so pleased his old books keep turning up on NG as well as the new ones – love Robotham! I’m not so sure about the Miller, but I loved his writing in Pure, so I’m hoping… (So, so mean!! 😉 )

  7. I am keen on the Miller. I have enjoyed his contemporary novels as much as his historical ones, in fact the only one that left me cold was Casanova. I have read Mieville and have a few more waiting on my shelves but I have not been a science fiction mood for a while now. He skews to the weird and is very smart. He also tends to write very different novels each time. Quite honestly I would be hard pressed to find a better place to start with him than his brilliant Perdido Street Station.

    • I’ve only read ‘Pure’ – as usual I intended to investigate his ither stuff but never got round to it. But it was his writing I enjoyed as much as the story so, even though the blurb of this one doesn’t immediately appeal to me, I’m hoping he’ll win me round.I’ve seen a lot about Mieville recently and they do usually seem very much off the beaten track – this one is short stories, I believe, so should give me a feeling for his style. If I enjoy them, I’ll certainly take your recommendation as a pointer for where to go next with him… 🙂

  8. I’d go for the Robotham book. I have a major crush on him and his character Joe O’Loughlin. And, yes, I know that The Night Ferry is not a Joe book. Still….

    • Me too! I’m gradually working my way through his back catalogue while reading all his new ones as they come out. And I quite like that he varies the main perspective sometimes – it keeps them feeling fresh. Looking forward to it!

  9. I thought I’d read a few of Banville’s books, but find that in the last 9 years I’ve read just one – The Sea which I thought was good. I’ve also read Vengeance written under his pen name Benjamin Black which I enjoyed. I quite fancy reading more of his books, so TI’d go for The Blue Guitar.

    • Oh, I’d forgotten that he also writes as Benjamin Black! I haven’t read them either but have often been tempted by reviews. Well, if I like this one that’ll be several more to add to the TBR then… *chokes a little* Good to know you rate him. 🙂

  10. 152! Goodness. Now, how many books do you have on your bookshelves? Yes, you can count the kindle monster, as well.

    You should take all these off your list, except The Blue Guitar! It has a nice title, at least. Though I’m not sure why it has the title it does.

    • Ooh, maybe 600 or so paper books and another 400 or so on the Kindle? But that’s nothing – you should see BUS’s collection! She has a room just for books…

      But don’t you think a blue guitar would look strange? It doesn’t seem like a guitary colour to me. Nor me, but I’m hoping the book will be a bit clearer than the blurb…

  11. I’d be interested to read how you get on with the China Mieville. I really struggled with “The Kraken”. I think the author must have one of the biggest vocabularies going but the anything goes plot meant no dramatic tension and ultimately it was a big disappointment for me!

    • Hmm… I’m wondering if he might be too weird for me – I just had a look at some of the reviews for this one and I’m a bit worried! However these are short stories, so that might be easier to get a handle on his style than jumping into a full-length novel… I’ll keep my fingers crossed and my dictionary close by…

        • Yes, sometimes when I go back to look at the blurb after reading, I wonder if the blurb-writer actually read the book! Generally I’d rely on reviews rather than blurbs, but that doesn’t work with pre-releases…

    • I have two of Robotham’s at the moment – this one and his new one. I just wish I could catch up with myself! I can’t decide whether I like the sound of The Blue Guitar or not – but he’s supposed to be a great writer, so I’m hoping…

      • Read the new one last as it is further along in the history of the Joe and crew…I wish more would be re released so I can read them all. I think I saw Blue Guitar on a Penguin flyer…caught my eye there I think the first time…

        • I’m kinda following the series in two parts. I started with the newer ones and then went back to the beginning. Once I’ve read these I think I’ll only be missing two in the middle. It’s a good cover (Blue Guitar) but the blurb doesn’t thrill me – though I think it might just be a not very good blurb… I hope…

  12. Well there are worse crimes than having a big TBR … I read one John Banville for a book group I was in, disliked it and took agin him. My husband really likes Mieville – too gritty for me but I love it when he appears as a talking head on the TV, a very engaging chap. Happy reading!

    • Having looked a bit more at review for Mieville I suspect he might not be my kind of thing, but only one way to find out! And Banville – hmm! Well, I’m hopeful, but then I’ve been hopeful before… 😉

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