The new resolutions are well under way – which makes it surprising, if not baffling, why the TBR has actually gone up 1, to 161! Mind you, I’m writing this on Sunday – by the time your read it on Thursday, I’m sure things will be headed in the right direction… (update – Thursday: 162)
Last year I discovered that I really don’t enjoy challenges – I never succeed and hate to fail! So this year I’ve only signed up for one, so far…
This is a read-along set up by Ali at Heavenali – read her post for more details of what’s involved. What I like about it is the relaxed feel – Ali has made it clear she’s happy for people to only do the bits that appeal to them.
I tried Virginia Woolf many years ago and wasn’t overly thrilled by her. However there’s no doubt my tastes have changed a lot since then, so this event is a good incentive to try again. I’ll be joining in with phase 1 – to read either Mrs Dalloway or To the Lighthouse during Jan/Feb 2016 – and then deciding whether to go any further depending on how I get along. And just to start the challenge off with a swing, I was a lucky winner in Ali’s generous giveaway, so am now the proud owner of…
The Blurb says “Mrs. Dalloway is a novel by Virginia Woolf that details a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway, a fictional high-society woman in post-World War I England. It is one of Woolf’s best-known novels.
Created from two short stories, Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street and the unfinished The Prime Minister, the novel addresses Clarissa’s preparations for a party she will host that evening. With an interior perspective, the story travels forwards and back in time and in and out of the characters’ minds to construct an image of Clarissa’s life and of the inter-war social structure. In October 2005, Mrs. Dalloway was included on TIME magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels written since 1923.“
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I must admit to also being severely tempted to join in with the Victorian Bingo Card, which I spotted on Margaret’s blog, BooksPlease, and which is hosted by Becky’s Book Reviews. To achieve this one, you only need to complete one line (horizontal, vertical or diagonal), but there’s nothing to stop you from going for the whole card! (Bwahaha! That’s why I’m psychologically unfitted to do challenges…). However, rather than trying to gear my reading towards it, I think I might do this one as a retrospective at the end of the year and see if I can complete any of the boxes…
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And meantime, here are a few more that are getting close to the top of the pile…
Courtesy of NetGalley and my favourite publisher of historical biography, Yale University Press. Part of their English Monarchs series, this is a massive tome that should keep me occupied for some weeks to come…
The Blurb says “Henry IV (1399–1413), the son of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, seized the English throne at the age of thirty-two from his cousin Richard II and held it until his death, aged forty-five, when he was succeeded by his son, Henry V. This comprehensive and nuanced biography restores to his rightful place a king often overlooked in favor of his illustrious progeny.
Henry faced the usual problems of usurpers: foreign wars, rebellions, and plots, as well as the ambitions and demands of the Lancastrian retainers who had helped him win the throne. By 1406 his rule was broadly established, and although he became ill shortly after this and never fully recovered, he retained ultimate power until his death. Using a wide variety of previously untapped archival materials, Chris Given-Wilson reveals a cultured, extravagant, and skeptical monarch who crushed opposition ruthlessly but never quite succeeded in satisfying the expectations of his own supporters.”
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Courtesy of Santa Claus, who gave me this and the film because, having enjoyed a few ‘books of the film’ and ‘films of the book’ last year, I’m going to do a little more of that this year. This one looks like fun, since I’ve neither read the book nor seen the film before…
The Blurb says “High in the Himalayas, the old mountaintop palace shines like a jewel. Built for the General’s harem, laughter and music once floated out over the gorge. But now it sits abandoned; windswept and haunting.
The General’s son bestows the palace to the Sisters of Mary, and ‘the House of Women’, as it was once known, becomes the Convent of St Faith. Close to the heavens, the nuns feel inspired, working fervently to establish their school and hospital. But the isolation and emptiness of the mountain become increasingly unsettling, and passions long repressed emerge with tragic consequences…”
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Courtesy of NetGalley. Having loved John Banville’s writing in The Blue Guitar, I’m keen to see how it translates to crime under his pen-name Benjamin Black…
The Blurb says “Two victims – one dead, one missing. Even the Dead is a visceral, gritty and cinematic thriller from Benjamin Black. Every web has a spider sitting at the centre of it.
Pathologist Quirke is back working in the city morgue, watching over Dublin’s dead. When a body is found in a burnt-out car, Quirke is called in to verify the apparent suicide of an up-and-coming civil servant. But Quirke can’t shake a suspicion of foul play. The only witness has vanished, every trace of her wiped away. Piecing together her disappearance, Quirke finds himself drawn into the shadowy world of Dublin’s elite – secret societies and high church politics, corrupt politicians and men with money to lose. When the trail eventually leads to Quirke’s own family, the past and present collide. But crimes of the past are supposed to stay hidden, and Quirke has shaken the web.”
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Courtesy of NetGalley. It’s make or break time for the Ruth Galloway series. I thought the last one was frankly poor and it may be time to lay the series to rest. But I’ll give it one last chance… plus, isn’t that just such a great cover?
The Blurb says “In the next Ruth Galloway mystery, a vision of the Virgin Mary foreshadows a string of cold-blooded murders, revealing a dark current of religious fanaticism in an old medieval town.
Known as England’s Nazareth, the medieval town of Little Walsingham is famous for religious apparitions. So when Ruth Galloway’s druid friend Cathbad sees a woman in a white dress and a dark blue cloak standing alone in the local cemetery one night, he takes her as a vision of the Virgin Mary. But then a woman wrapped in blue cloth is found dead the next day, and Ruth’s old friend Hilary, an Anglican priest, receives a series of hateful, threatening letters. Could these crimes be connected? When one of Hilary’s fellow female priests is murdered just before Little Walsingham’s annual Good Friday Passion Play, Ruth, Cathbad, and DCI Harry Nelson must team up to find the killer before he strikes again.“
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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.
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I think these should start the year off brilliantly!
So…what do you think? Do any of these tempt you?
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