TBR Thursday 78 – The People’s Choice Begorrathon Special…

The People’s Choice 10… #begorrathon16


The TBR now stands at a terrifying 166! Between mammoth books, exciting blog posts all round the blogosphere, and my sudden enthusiasm for TV & movie-watching I’m getting nowhere fast with reading, and yet adding books to the TBR seems to be too easy, not helped by Amazon’s Kindle spring sale…

And, talking of exciting blog posts, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this year’s Reading Ireland Month. The participating bloggers have been inspiring me all month over books and authors I’ve never tried before, but who sound unmissable. So… time for you to help me decide which of the ones that appealed most should be added to the TBR. I’d like to add them all, but I’m trying to be realistic… *waits for the laughter to die down*

So which one will you vote for? Which of these tantalising books deserves a place? The winner will be announced next Thursday…

With my usual grateful thanks to all the reviewers who’ve intrigued and inspired me over the last few weeks, here are:

The Contenders…


the sea the seaThe BlurbWhen Charles Arrowby retires from his glittering career in the London theatre, he buys a remote house on the rocks by the sea. He hopes to escape from his tumultuous love affairs but unexpectedly bumps into his childhood sweetheart and sets his heart on destroying her marriage. His equilibrium is further disturbed when his friends all decide to come and keep him company and Charles finds his seaside idyll severely threatened by his past.

madamebibilophile says: “The Sea, The Sea is a novel that tackles major themes: the nature of love, the meanings we attach to our lives, how we decide what is real when we can only view from our own perspective, how we recognise what really matters. Arrowby’s narcissism is contemptible, but the skill of Murdoch’s writing shows him as an everyman (despite his belief in his own extraordinariness) and places us in a position where to judge him harshly is to judge ourselves.

See the full review at Madame Bibi Lophile Recommends


instructions for a heatwaveThe Blurb – It’s July 1976. In London, it hasn’t rained for months, gardens are filled with aphids, water comes from a standpipe, and Robert Riordan tells his wife Gretta that he’s going round the corner to buy a newspaper. He doesn’t come back. The search for Robert brings Gretta’s children — two estranged sisters and a brother on the brink of divorce — back home, each with different ideas as to where their father might have gone. None of them suspects that their mother might have an explanation that even now she cannot share. Maggie O’Farrell’s sixth book is the work of an outstanding novelist at the height of her powers.

Naomi says: As with all the best books (in my opinion), this book is all about the characters and their interactions; what they say to each other and what they keep to themselves. Yes, there is a plot, but it would be flimsy without the interesting characters. As long as I could read about their lives, I was happy – it almost didn’t even matter to me what was going on.”

See the full review at Consumed by Ink


the lostThe Blurb – Not everyone who’s missing is lost When two teenage girls go missing along the Irish border, forensic psychologist Paula Maguire has to return to the hometown she left years before. Swirling with rumour and secrets, the town is gripped by fear of a serial killer. But the truth could be even darker. Not everyone who’s lost wants to be found Surrounded by people and places she tried to forget, Paula digs into the cases as the truth twists further away. What’s the link with two other disappearances from 1985? And why does everything lead back to the town’s dark past- including the reasons her own mother went missing years before? Nothing is what it seems As the shocking truth is revealed, Paula learns that sometimes, it’s better not to find what you’ve lost.

jorobertson2015’s review is actually of the 4th book in the series, A Savage Hunger.

Jo says: “If you’ve never read this series before I think you would get way more enjoyment of the plot if you start at book 1 in the series. Then I can guarantee you will want to read the rest pretty quickly to catch up! The background descriptions of the troubles in Northern Ireland make this a very detailed and unique police crime procedural written with a great knowledge and understanding of that time. Bringing a present day missing persons case into the mix but still making it feel relevant to the past is a very clever trick indeed. An intelligent and thought provoking read and I can’t WAIT to see where Paula goes from here!”

See the full review at mychestnutreadingtree


my oedipus complexThe (dreadful) Blurb – The story of the title deals with a little boy named Larry and his feelings towards his father. When his father returns home from World War II, Larry is resentful and jealous of losing his mother’s undivided attention, and finds himself in a constant struggle to win back her affections.

Cathy’s review is actually of Frank O’Connor’s book on the art of the short story, The Lonely Voice, but it inspired me to want to read more of O’Connor’s own work.

Cathy says: Frank O’Connor, the Irish writer and critic died on this day (March 10th) fifty years ago. Born Michael O’Donovan in Cork in 1903, he went on to wrote plays, biographies and essays and has become known as one of the twentieth century’s greatest short story writers. His book The Lonely Voice, based on lectures he gave at Stanford University in the 1960s is now considered to be one of the first in depth and most influential examinations of the short story form.”

See the full review at 746 Books


house of splendid isolationThe (spoilerish) Blurb – Josie, the ailing, elderly inhabitant of an Irish country mansion, dwells in the shadowy world of remembered pain and loneliness. McGreevy, the terrorist, reintroduces the possibility of compassion and tenderness, but there is an inevitably violent conclusion to their understanding as the police net closes. With extraordinary skill and empathy, Edna O’Brien shows two faces of a divided land: the yearnings of a woman whose youthful joy was broken, and the intransigent idealism of her captor. Brave and moving, The House of Splendid Isolation is Edna O’Brien at her very best.

lailaarch says: Reading House of Splendid Isolation, I bemoaned the fact that I had never read anything by Edna O’Brien before.  I was thoroughly engrossed in the compelling story and propulsive writing style.  O’Brien has crafted a moving story with some thrilling scenes – I was reading the scene where McGreevy breaks into Josie’s house while my husband was working at night, and my son was asleep, and I was convinced I heard a noise outside. (I was totally creeped out!)”

See the full review at Big Reading Life


NB All blurbs and covers are taken from Goodreads.

As usual I love the sound of all of these so…over to you! Choose just one or as many as you like – the book with most votes will be this week’s winner and added to my TBR…


Hope you pick a good one! 😉


54 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 78 – The People’s Choice Begorrathon Special…

  1. You know, FictionFan, I think there must be something in the air or some such thing. My TBR has been increasing exponentially lately! Perhaps it’s that it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere and that means new things are coming to life….

    Anyway, to your additions here… I’ve always liked Frank O’Conner’s work. I like his funny, but uncompromising and realistic look at life. Still, the others on your list look terrific, too. That McGowan definitely got my attention. Hmm…..hard to choose!


    • It’s frightening! I’m trying really hard, too – I’ve even culled all the ones I don’t feel are absolute must-reads. I give up!

      Cathy linked to one of O’Conner’s stories and I really loved it – nice gentle humour and great observation. The McGowan series looks intriguing and I’ve seen lots of positive reviews for them over the last couple of years. It’s a difficult choice again this time…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What? I was the only one that voted for The Lost?! Okay, you must read that one and tell me all about it, you know. I’m very curious.

    I voted twice, of course. Just for kicks. I think it’s kind of me to allow to books. Throw the others out, I say. *nods*


    • Ooh, it’s in second place now! But if it doesn’t win, you can read it and tell ME all about it! *nods*

      *laughs* Very kind – thank you! You should really do something about my TBR, you know, you know. I think it’s probably all your fault. What was the other one you voted for?


      • But…it might take me 10 years at least to get through it, and I’m sure you couldn’t wait that long…could you? Aha, I win. You read, you read.

        The one that’s losing–terribly! Ah…this is so not fair. Can I please rig your polls? I can fix your TBR that way.


        • But there might be a character like Cassie in it, or Chani, and then you’ll be turning those pages like a wind turbine in a hurricane…

          *laughs lots* You’ve never asked permission before! I suspect someone must already be rigging it – I’ve never seen a book race that far ahead so quickly before…


  3. I am ENORMOUSLY impressed at how stirringly well you have done on reading Ireland. Now I LOVE Irish writing but unfortunately have only read ONE and am struggling to review it because it wasn’t a happy read, but one which had me making bad comparisons between the author and a certain Mr Toibin. It’s a book which has sat on the NetGalley TBR for 2 years, whilst I waited for the powerful memory of Mr Toibin in similar territory to fade a little.. Except it remains as strong.

    I have been heavily drawn away into other reads, either nudged by other bloggers or just because I have been offered them by Vine or Galley and needed to get them there for March releases. Or a couple of end of the month slots which are filled by OTHER THINGS (there might be a birthday post looming not to mention a recovery from a birthday post looming.

    Now, though the PHYSICAL TBR has loomed, toppled over and been rebuilt and reorganised several times this month, as the postman, inexplicably, seems to bring me second hand books almost every day the Kindle TBR has has a rapid decline, due to some savage culling of very elderly started and never finished NetGalleys. I have written 4 ‘this is why I couldn’t review this title 2 years ago’ short explanations to the publishers of very well archived titles which I struggled with on a couple of pickups, but to continue with them felt like too much of a chore, with so many marvellous reads clamouring for time and attention. So……….the NG total is only 17, and 9 of those are titles not yet published, but stacked to be read closer to the due date. Its a moot point how many of the 8 well archived will achieve proper cover to cover reading and reviewing

    I’m hoping I might manage a poem and a tract as re-reads before the begorrathon expires like a lamb in the face of the arrival of April showers suite, the droght of March having been pierced to the root. At least those two are loved re-reads


    • Still more Oirish on the way! It all worked this year because I already had so many Irish books on the TBR, but now it’s completely stripped of them. Of course, it just means I’m even further behind with everything else – GAN Quest, NetGalley books etc etc. I think I’ve got 32 NG ones at the moment – most of them dramatically overdue. And I’ve already culled out nearly all of the ones I no longer really want to read… thank goodness I seem to be able to resist Vine books though! I’ve kind of given up trying to read NG books in time for publication – it just meant I was never getting a chance to read anything else.

      I do hope you get time to join in with the Begorrathon though, bejabers! And I look forward to your birthday post – and even more to your intriguing recovery post…


  4. This is a heated contest. I voted for The Lost, but where oh where is my Irish-ish suggestion, FF? *dances around like a child waiting for the bathroom* Okay, okay, I’ll be patient.


    • Haha! You’re supposed to be helping me practice restraint, not encouraging me! But you’re right – I really do want to read them all… *sobs* The O’Farrell really appeals and has rushed into an early lead…


  5. I read The Sea, The Sea years ago.I was off work at the time with a terrible cold and it must be good because I managed to read it whilst feeling rotten. And I can still parts of it but I know I struggled to understand some of it. I’ve also read Instructions for a Heatwave which I thought was both disappointing and compelling reading – so I don’t know which one I’d suggest you read first.


    • Iris Murdoch is one of those writers I’ve meant to try for years – decades! – and have never got around to. I’ve always thought I might not enjoy her style (don’t know why, really) but this review made it sound great. I have read another O’Farrell years ago – After You’d Gone – but really remember nothing about it except that I think I enjoyed it. The problem is they all sound as if they could be great!!


  6. Oh my goodness, thanks for including a link to my post on House of Splendid Isolation! A nice surprise. I say read them ALL! 🙂 They all sound terrific. (Instructions for a Heatwave is on my TBR, and I think now I must ass The Sea, The Sea as well!)


    • My pleasure! You made the book sound so good 🙂 Haha! You’re supposed to be helping me cut the TBR down – not encouraging me to add them all!! Though I really want to (and it won’t be the first time one sneaks on even if it doesn’t win the poll… 😉 )

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with TJ. Add them all! But, if I had to choose, I would go with Maggie O’Farrell (of course), or the Edna O’Brien. That one sounds good, too. I think I’m going to add it to my list right now. 🙂
    Thanks for the link!


    • My pleasure – thanks for the great review. 😀 Haha! This is a conspiracy! I really do want to add them all though – but I must resist! Maggie has leapt into a commanding lead – but sometimes strange things happen with these polls over the course of the week…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm… let me guess… the one that might require sunscreen? I remember that summer of ’76 – I got sunstroke and had to be sent home from work! (This was in a past life – obviously I’m not nearly old enough to have been working in the ’70s…)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, once again, it seems I’ve voted with the majority (how did that happen??) Anyway, vanishing husband, contorted family relationships, wounded people…makes Instructions for a Heatwave rise to the top for me. And I only voted once, honest!!


    • It’s gone into a runaway lead! It’s quite unusual for one book to pull so far ahead of the rest so quickly – it must be an omen. It sounds great though – but then they all do! Haha! You’re very restrained – some people have been known to vote for all five on occasion *glares around*

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The only one I’ve read is THE LOST so….what you do think I voted for? Plus I liked it a lot. Still say 166 in a TBR is a tiny, tiny amount. I have more than that on 1 of my bookcases. LOL


    • Haha! 166 is way too much for me – it weighs on my mind! I kinda wished I’d never started counting… 😉

      The Lost sounds great and I’ve seen so many positive reviews of her books. But then the problem is they ALL sound great…!


  10. Thanks for the mention! I decided my post was one vote, so I’ve cast my ‘second’ one for the O’Farrell because I really liked it, but they all sound wonderful – no help at all really 😉


    • My pleasure – thanks for the great review! 😀 They do all sound wonderful – that’s the problem! And I’ve really meant to try Iris Murdoch for years – and Edna O’Brien. And Claire McGowan. Oh dear…!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I have cast my vote! Although I have to admit to not being particularly inspired by one book – I think this is my way of subconsciously helping your TBR! Beat it down with a stick, I say.


    • I love the sound of that one, and really feel I should have at least tried Edna O’Brien, but then I feel that about Iris Murdoch too. And Claire McGowan… *sobs*


    • I’m ashamed that I’ve never read anything by Murdoch. Secretly, I suspect that one might have to sneak onto the TBR at some point even if it doesn’t win the vote…


  12. I’m glad to see the one I chose solidly in the lead, though I was tempted by the Iris Murdoch book. I haven’t read a book by her in ages! And that was Henry and Cato!


    • It looks like a runaway victory this week – that’s quite unusual! I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read any of Iris Murdoch – given how much I read it always amazes me how little I’ve read… 😉


  13. My TBR list is heading in the same direction as yours.., I am reading on average one book a night and still cant keep up and still discovering more I want to read. I blame the internet for opening the wide world of books up to me 🙂 But seriously I must do something soon I will not be able to walk across my office floor. Maybe I should just remove all the unsolicited ones? But then sometimes there are some jems amongst them. What to do? First – I must write up the 6 or 7 reviews that need writing….


    • Fortunately I don’t get unsolicited ones, which at least means the entire TBR is made up of books I chose. But it does get ridiculous – if I include my wishlist I have about three years worth of books waiting to be read. Realistically I know it’s never going to happen, so why do I keep adding to the pile? It’s crazy…

      Liked by 1 person

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