TBR Thursday 75…

The Begorrathon special…


A dramatic drop in the TBR this week! Down two to 160!! At that rate, I’ll have run out of things to read in less than two years!*

*(Later that same day… 2 approved by NetGalley. Back up to 162. Hurrah! My fears of running out were premature!)

begorrathon 2016

March is Begorrathon time (posh name: Reading Ireland Month 2016) – an event celebrating all things Irish, run jointly by Cathy at 746 Books and Raging Fluff. Though books are a big part of it, posts are also welcome on anything Irish – music, film, restaurants, recipes, your personal shillelagh collection, etc. For all the details, please pop over to Cathy’s blog – here’s the link – where you’ll find it’s the best sort of challenge – very relaxed, minimum rules, maximum fun!

So I’ve trawled through the TBR and boosted all the Irish books up the list in preparation. Here are the ones I hope to read and review during the Begorrathon… might not get through them all, what with review books and GAN Quests and New Year’s Resolutions and all, but we’ll see…



the heather blazingI already included this in last week’s TBR Thursday, but when Cathy reminded me about The Begorrathon, I put it back to March.

The Blurb – The sea is slowly eating into the land, and the hill with the old watchtower has completely disappeared. The nearest house has crumbled and fallen into the sea. It is Ireland in the late twentieth century. Eamon Redmond is a judge in the Irish High Court. Obsessed all his life by the letter and spirit of the law, he is just beginning to discover how painfully unconnected he is from other human beings. With effortless fluency, Colm Tóibín reconstructs the history of Eamon’s relationships – with his father, his first “girl”, his wife, and the children who barely know him. He gives us a family as minutely realized as any of John McGahern’s, and he writes about Eamon’s affection for the landscape of his childhood on the east coast of Ireland with such skill that the land itself becomes a character. The result is a novel that ensnares us with its emotional intensity and dazzles with its crystalline prose.

* * * * *


the dublinersOK, I’ve been putting it off long enough – time for some Joyce! Jilanne recommended this one to me so long ago it’s embarrassing – she says The Dead is, perhaps, her favourite story of all time…

The BlurbAlthough James Joyce began these stories of Dublin life in 1904, when he was 22, and had completed them by the end of 1907, they remained unpublished until 1914 — victims of Edwardian squeamishness. Their vivid, tightly focused observations of the life of Dublin’s poorer classes, their unconventional themes, coarse language, and mention of actual people and places made publishers of the day reluctant to undertake sponsorship. Today, however, the stories are admired for their intense and masterly dissection of “dear dirty Dublin,” and for the economy and grace with which Joyce invested this youthful fiction.

* * * * *


let the great world spinThis should really be in with the GAN Quest books, but I didn’t include it in the current batch and I’m tired of waiting. But I’ll still be reading it with an eye on whether it shapes up as a Great American Novel. It sneaks into The Begorrathon too, though, since McCann is Irish. DesertDweller has recommended it to me twice, so it must be good!

The Blurb says: New York, August 1974. A man is walking the sky. The city stands still in awe. Between the newly built Twin Towers the man is striding, twirling and showboating his way through the air. One hundred and ten stories below him, the lives of eight strangers spin towards each other…

Set against a time of sweeping political and social change, from the backlash to the Vietnam War and the lingering sceptre of the oil crisis to the beginnings of the Internet – a time that hauntingly mirrors the present time – these disparate lives will collide in the shadow of one reckless and beautiful act, and be transformed for ever.

Weaving together themes of love, loss, belonging, duty and human striving, Let the Great World Spin celebrates the effervescent spirit of an age and the small beauties of everyday life. At once intimate and magnificent, elegant and astonishing, it is a lyrical masterpiece from a storyteller who continues to use the wide world as his canvas.

* * * * *



the cold cold groundJust about every crime blogger has recommended Adrian McKinty at one time or another – most recently Carol at Reading Writing and Riesling. This one’s been sitting on my Kindle since August 2013 – better read it before it biodegrades…

The Blurb says: Featuring Catholic cop Sean Duffy whose outsider status in the mostly Protestant RUC makes it as hard to do his job as the criminals he’s fighting, this is the start of a new series set in Troubles-era Belfast. A body is found in a burnt out car. Another is discovered hanging from a tree. Could this be Northern Ireland’s first serial killer, or another paramilitary feud?


* * * * *


in the woodsAnother one that’s been recommended by loads of people, but it was Lady Fancifull that persuaded me in the end…

The Blurb says: ‘You’re twelve years old. It’s the summer holiday. You’re playing in the woods with your two best friends. Something happens. Something terrible. And the other two are never seen again.’

Twenty years on, Rob Ryan – the child who came back – is a detective in the Dublin police force. He’s changed his name. No one knows about his past. Even he has no memory of what happened that day.

Then a little girl’s body is found at the site of the old tragedy and Rob is drawn back into the mystery. For him and his DI partner, Cassie, every lead comes with its own sinister undercurrents. The victim’s apparently normal family is hiding layers of secrets. Rob’s own private enquiries are taking a toll on his mind. And every trail leads inexorably back . . . into the woods.

* * * * *



brooklynLoved the book – how will the movie compare? I’ve heard only good things about this, and it comes out on DVD at the end of Feb – they must have heard about The Begorrathon…

The Blurb says: Saoirse Ronan and Domhnall Gleeson star in this romantic drama adapted from the novel by Colm Tóibín. Set in the 1950s, the story follows young Irish woman Ellis Lacey (Ronan) as she travels to New York City in search of a better life. Initially homesick, she begins to adjust to her new surroundings with the help of Italian-American Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen) with whom she becomes romantically involved. After news of a family crisis, Ellis returns to Ireland where she enjoys spending time back in her hometown and becomes acquainted with a young man, Jim Farrell (Gleeson), finding herself torn between two very different paths. The cast also includes Jim Broadbent and Julie Walters. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards including Best Picture.

NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.

* * * * *

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


Are you joining in The Begorrathon? You know you want to…

95 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 75…

  1. Oh, what a relief to know you’re not going to run out of books to read, FictionFan!! That’s enough to keep anyone awake at night! As to your TBR items….they all do sound interesting. Glad to see the McKinty there; he is really talented. I like the Sean Duffy series very much. And the French is a good ‘un, too.

    • I know!! I was terrified for a moment there!! I’ve read one of the McKinty books ages ago and enjoyed it, so I’m looking forward to that, and to the French – I’ve heard so many good things about that series. And if I enjoy them I’ll have to add all the other books in the series to the TBR, so that should stave off book starvation for a while longer… 😉

    • Sorry to hear you’re still going through a bad spell, Bill. Yes, I didn’t add any to my list this time – just shuffled the queue round a bit. There are a lot of great Irish writers out there…

  2. March will be very Irish on my blog, too. At least I hope so. I’d like to read Brooklyn, or anything else by Toibin, really. I’ve heard nothing but great things. I’ve never read the entire Dubliners, but what I’ve read of it has been surprisingly accessible. So enjoy! (And I’m glad you won’t run out of books any time soon!)

    • I like these relaxed challenges where there are no targets! And it’s encouraged me to prioritise lots of books I’ve been meaning to read for ages. Toibin is brilliant – he’s become one of my favourite authors over the last few years and I’m gradually working through his back catalogue. Brooklyn is very good – I think you’d enjoy it. I think I started Dubliners at one point but don’t remember much about it, so we’ll see! Haha! Panic averted!

  3. I think Joyce’s short stories are excellent and French and McKinty are brilliant too in crime matters, so you can’t go wrong with any of those choices really.
    Only 160 indeed – must try harder….

    • All of these are books I’ve been wanting to read for ages so the Begorrathin has been a good excuse to push them up the list. Glad to hear you rate all these – I hope I like both the crime ones, ‘cos I really need a few more series on my list… 😉

  4. Let the Great World Spin and In the Woods looks pretty awesome! Especially the latter. I do wish I had a shillelagh collection! Now that would be something *thinks*

    162?! *shakes head* No self-control, madam!!

    • We really need to get you reading some crime! If In the Woods is good, then we can start you on that while I think about what else to put on your list… *thinks* I wish you had too – wouldn’t that be so cool? And useful, for keeping the leprechauns in order…

      You can talk! Your TBR is currently at 247… 248… 249…

      • Now, now. Let’s not get all vicious with my dull TBR. Last time I checked there was only no books on it. Which is pretty good, you must admit. Sometimes i think I am a Leprechaun, you know, you know.

        What?! Since when? This is a lie!

        • No books?!!!! *faints dead away* That’s like the worst episode of Tuesday Terror ever!!! We must fix it… *rushes off and adds another 50* I think you should be – then you could pop over the Atlantic on a rainbow and give me pots of gold…!!

          250… 251… *chuckles wickedly*

          • You know, you said before that BUS made you read when you were a yonker, so…you should blame her, I’m thinking, for your TBR troubles. *nods* Oh no. Leps never share their gold, remember. And I’d have to get a red beard.

            *holds ears*

            • *huge wide eyes* What a brilliant idea!!! I shall put BUS in charge of the Professorial TBR!!! You’ll be far too wise to ever say no to her… *shudders* I’ll get her to prepare your first list immediately…

              Ah but I wouldn’t let you get a red beard unless you gave me all your gold…

            • Ah, I bet she wouldn’t give me that many! Maybe 5. And I bet they might all be Twain books! Or the Ender series.

              You know, I don’t think I want a red beard. *nods and keeps gold*

            • Huh! She gave me far more than 5, let me tell you! Probably the Ender ones, yes, and another 5,000 or so fantasy and sci-fi, but I’m not sure she’s a big Twain fan, you know, you know…

              How greedy! Well, you can keep your rotten gold, sir! I shall grow the beard instead… *stomps off, stubbly*

            • I’ve reduced it to one – that was the good news! The bad news is I think it’s long past time we did a readalong… but because I’m extraordinarily kind, you can pick the book. Either War and Peace, Emma or Thuvia, Maid of Mars…

              *laughs lots and then scowls suddenly* You did!! But you said it was a compliment! Dare I ask what suddenly made you think of that…??

              Amazing would certainly be one word for it…

            • I think you’re right! We must needs do a readalong, so that’s good news, in fact. Hmm…this is such a hard choice…but how about Thuvia, Maid of Mars? I do hope John is in it. Is that choice okay with you?

              Oh, it was a compliment, promise! I just forget why it was a compliment. Well, I actually got it from a book. And I was thinking about that book recently, see. And I thought I might’ve done that.

              The best word for it, too. Now, now.

            • *laughs* What a surprise! I was so sure you’d pick Emma, too. Well, whenever you like – let me know when you want to start…

              Haha! I vaguely remember now – the guy in the book said it to some girl and you wanted to see whether a girl would take it as a compliment or something. Maybe Mark was really trying to grow… girls!! *gags a bit*

    • I’ve been meaning to see the film since it came out, but as usual didn’t get round to it, so decided to pre-order the DVD instead – can’t wait! I love Toibin, so I have high hopes for The Heather Blazing… 🙂

  5. All of these sound good. I love Dubliners, but then, I love Joyce – his books always remind me of the old saw – “this is the sort of thing that people who like this sort of thing will like”, so I hope you enjoy it too.

  6. What a relief! I was worried you’d run out of books. I think I have Dubliners on my shelf and never read all of them. I guess I had best dust it off and get busy!

    • Haha! Me too!! Whew! Yes, I’ve had it on my shelf for ever – I think I even started it once but don’t remember anything about it. Hmm… is that a good or bad sign, I wonder… If you read it this month then you could link your review to the Beggorathon! 🙂

    • The good news – or bad news, depending on how you look at it – is that I review everything I read! Unless I abandon it less than halfway through…

      Haha! Thanks! I will…

  7. Mercy, you’re bound and determined to nudge me to add to my own TBR, aren’t you?! All these look exceptional, but the ones begging for my most immediate attention are In the Woods, The Cold Cold Ground, and Let the Great World Spin. I’ve seen trailers for Brooklyn, and it, too, sounds quite good. I’m off to read more about this Begorrathon now!

  8. Hurrah! Finally you have surrendered to Tana French. Or, at least you are planning on doing so. You could even add to that TBR (it sounds to me like you might run out of things to read very very soon, so this would be a very politic and proactive move) with her other titles. And once nicely going with Tana, you could even really embrace the hard stuff – Ulysses (which I must admit has been (unread) on my own bookshelves for half my life. Then there’s reading Beckett! But, if you think you are submerging in difficulty again, what about a delicious read of some Oscar Fingel O Flaherty Wilde (that sounds like a bit of a sweetie read for myself, too)

    Perhaps we need BigSis to persuade us all into Ulysses. I Loved Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man back in my teens, but never got further into Joyce’s more difficult world

    Thanks for the begorrathon reminder. I’m hoping to re-read To The Lighthouse and get a review done before Feb is out, for Ali’s Woolfalong. Woolf another writer I adored in my teens and twenties, where I chomped up difficult stuff far more readily than I do now. I reckon my literary teeth and gums need softer stuff and pureed reading more these days.

    Hmmmmmmmmmmm just noticed the ‘preferably books, but anything Irish……..reviews of Guinness, Irish whiskey………possibly imbibed whilst reading Ulysses? And accompanied by a soundtrack of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwEQq8fEhLc (you’ll just have to look!)

    • I actually bought it while you were going through your French rave-a-thon, but… well… you know what it’s like! Onto the Kindle – out of sight, out of mind. So the Begorrathon seems a good reason to excavate it. Better be good… or else! Hehe! They say Ulysses is the book most often abandoned – I am one of that happy throng! Maybe once my senility is more advanced I’ll be able to enjoy it better – I think the problem arises from expecting it to make sense!

      Well, Woolf proved to be too exhilaratingly, ecstatically, supremely rapturous for me, so I can see why you loved her! 😉 You’ve been very quiet on the blogging front recently – bad books? Trapped in 1900?

      Ooooh, I haven’t listened to that this millenium – thanks for the reminder! And the clothes! I swear I had every one of those outfits – the girls’ ones at least! Batwings! Whatever happened to them? And those elasticated ruched tops – so itchy! But so flattering…

      • I have a blog post today, but have been work busy and then, yes, not bad books so much as ok books, so not reaching my ecstatically supremely rapturous-o-meter for blog inclusion ( love it!)

        By virtue of searching for a definitive link, and listening to many, I woke this morning with de da ling ling lang lang chorusing steel guitars in my head, as one does, riding over the Cork and Kerry mountains, hoping to avoid Captain Farrell. Great stuff. Yes I loved the waving armed dancing and fashions to suit. Nostalgia rules

        • Yes, with one or two exceptions I’ve had a pretty OK-ish sort of start to my reading year too. Onwards and upwards!

          Young people today don’t know they’re alive… *waves walking stick rebelliously above head*

  9. I have Let The Great World Spin on my shelf, too, and had planned to read it for Reading Ireland last March, but it didn’t happen. Reading Ireland snuck up on me last year, but this time I’m planning ahead (or, at least, I’m trying to). I’m hoping to read one of Maggie O’Farrell’s books, but it would also be good to finally get to LTGWS. Looks like you have lots of good options!

    • Yes, I missed it last year too – already had too much on my plate when it came around. But happily I already had all of these on the TBR, so I only had to do a bit of shuffling this time. Let the Great World Spin looks great – I’ve been wanting to read it for sooo long! I read and enjoyed a Maggie O’Farrell ages ago – After You’d Gone – and always meant to read more. Perhaps your review will tempt me…

      • (hah! Maggie O Farrell (yes I enjoyed After You’d Gone though I can’t remember much about it now) – is she any relation to Captain Farrell and those Cork and Kerry Mountains…….Whack for my Daddy o, there’s whiskey in the jar (hic)

        • Haha! I think we should make sure you only get Lemonade in the Jar-o from now on! Yes, I don’t remember anything about it either – pre-reviewing days for me, so they all just blur into one massive blob of books, I fear! But I remember enjoying it and thinking must read more. Well, it’s only been about a decade…

  10. That pile is sounding a wee bit anemic. But at least your current selection is filled with nougat (enveloped by lovely dark chocolate) you can savor for weeks while seeking additional sustenance. I also oved “Let the Great World Spin,” although it took a short period to figure out what McCann was doing.

    • I was worried when it dropped to the 160 mark – almost empty! They’re a tempting looking bunch, aren’t they? And in every case I’ll have someone to blame if it all goes wrong, which is always a bonus. Oh good! Glad to have another endorsement for Let the Great World Spin – I love the sound of that one, so I’m really hoping I love the actual book as much!

      Haha! I tend to blame the computer – I think “they” move the keys around when I’m not looking…

  11. Seriously, you have to read Tana French. Read this one. Read all the rest of them. Seriously. LOL

    And I think I have that McKinty book on my Kindle. Probably. Of course, I have not read it. I will, I will. Did I say to READ TANA FRENCH!!! That is all.

    • Hmm… reading between the lines, do I get the impression you quite like Tana French then? 😉 I’ve been meaning to read her for sooo long! But another series – might just tip me over the edge completely…

      Kindles are too easy to hide books on, aren’t they? You could read the McKinty in March and tie it in with the Begorrathon…

  12. YAY!!! *Does happy dance* My favorite made the list! It’s successfully on your radar… *Bows* Now I must once again scheme on getting it moved up! I’m quite impatient, I’m told. Can’t wait! Can’t wait!

    • It will be read in March, come hail or shine! (Sadly in Scotland it’s more likely to be hail…) But what if I hate it?! I may have to flee the blogosphere for fear of revenge! Or maybe you will… 😉

    • Oh good! I always like hearing positive endorsements of books I’m hesitant about. I suspect I’ll like Dubliners a good deal more than I’d like Ulysses anyway! Yes! She did a good job with getting us all to acquire In the Woods, so we can gang up on her if it’s rubbish! The books that LF and I both like are a tiny subset of all books… 😉 but these do sound good. Looking forward to the Begorrathon – should be fun!

  13. Well it looks like you are going to have a good month – typically I don’t have a lot in the way of Irish fiction – I know I clearly need more books! but I might manage to find a couple – I really want to read Brooklyn after enjoying Nora Webster and Tana French’s books are brilliant but her next one isn’t published until August! I will sign off saying that I’m so very glad that you aren’t short of books it would have been a shame to get your TBR down by a whole two!!

    • I don’t usually either, but I seem to have acquired a few this year and a couple from even longer ago than that! Yes, I definitely think this means you’ll need to go on a book-buying spree – look on it as a duty rather than a pleasure, and then you won’t have to feel guilty…

      I think you’d love Brooklyn – I preferred Nora but it was marginal. I haven’t read any Toibin that was less than very good. And I’m looking forward to trying Tana French. Haha! I was worried about the downward trend for a moment there – thank goodness for NetGalley! 😉

  14. Let the Great World Spin is excellent! I look forward to hearing your thoughts. I have a copy of Dubliners that’s been on my shelf for a while but I’m a little intimidated by Joyce…

    • Oh good! I don’t think I’ve seen anyone say they didn’t like it, which is highly unusual. (*gulp* I hope I won’t be the one… 😉 ) I believe Dubliners is supposed to be his most accessible – I must say I can’t even imagine trying Ulysses or Finnegan’s Wake. I started Ulysses when I was younger and braver – got to page 11, I believe…

  15. Ooh, I’m a huge fan of Tana French! You’ve to read In the Woods! Looking forward to your thoughts on this as well as the others. 🙂

    • Oh, good to hear! I must say I don’t think I remember seeing a negative review of her books – she seems to be highly appreciated all round. Can’t wait to read it… 🙂

    • Oh dear! That doesn’t sound too hopeful! I was kinda hoping Dubliners might be more approachable than his other stuff. Oh well – I shall get in extra chocolate supplies to keep my strength up…

    • Just been looking at your list and intrigued to see which ones you will choose! I love these short, open challenges – they prompt me to shove books I’ve wanted to read for ages up the priority list! Hope we both enjoy the Begorrathon… 🙂

  16. Thank you so much for the shout out although I’m starting to doubt my authenticity to host The Begorrathon without a sheilleligh collection. I mean look…I can’t even spell it! I’ll be reading The Cold Cold Ground too so it will be fun to compare. I’m starting to think I should host a Ulysseys readalong as I haven’t read it either. Or else I’m going to devise a Darby O’Gill and the Little People drinking game….

    • I don’t think anyone can spell it – it must be a magic word, under a leprechaun curse! Haha! A Ulysses readathon could be hysterical – or nightmarish! Or very short if none of us get past page 10… The drinking game, on the other hand… now that’s tempting… 😉

      • I have Ulysses in the 746. I have visions where I’m sitting in 13 years time with Ulysses, Infinite Jest and the Brothers Karamazov left and I just decide to give up the whole 746 challenge 😉

        • Hahaha! I just acquired 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, and immediately changed it in my head to 1000 – Ulysses got bumped even before the 15th century novel in Catalan…

  17. Dubliners is very good. I was digging around my TBR and found quite a few books that qualify for this challenge (hooray for an “organized” queue!). Let the Great World Spin has been on my shelf for ages (and is even sitting next to me now). I’ve picked it up so many times and never actually opened it. Everyone has said the best things about it and perhaps this challenge can be just the right push.

    • I was the same – didn’t have to add a single one and was able to move up some that have been hanging around for far too long. I’m really looking forward to Let the Great World Spin – it looks like just my kind of thing and I’ve seen so many rave reviews (and a few less enthusiastic ones, too, admittedly). Hope we both enjoy it! 🙂

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