TBR Thursday 79… and End of Month Round-Up

People’s Choice 10 – The Result…


Well! The People’s Choice Begorrathon Special was exciting! One book raced into a clear read from the beginning and held off all challengers as it stormed towards the finishing line. So I hereby declare…

This Week’s Winner…


instructions for a heatwave

The 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.

Thanks to Naomi at Consumed by Ink for the review that brought this book to my attention.

* * * * * * *

And thanks to all who voted! It wouldn’t be the People’s Choice without you!

The book will be added to my TBR – now all I have to do is find time to read it!

* * * * * * *

TBR Quarterly Report…


At the New Year I added up the full extent of the horror of the TBR, including the bits I usually hide. So time for another count to see how I’m doing…

TBR March 2016

Woohoo! The mathematically astute amongst you will note that although the official TBR has gone up, the overall total has gone down! This is due to books moving off the wishlist onto the TBR – see? I’m the Queen of Willpower and Spreadsheets – I’m so proud of myself. If I continue at this rate, the TBR will be clear by… 2038!

* * * * * * *

Reading Ireland Month – #begorrathon16…


I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Begorrathon throughout March, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it too. I’d like to thank Cathy at 746 Books for creating this event and for all the hard work she’s done to make the bookish side of it a huge success. Not only has she inspired people all over the blogosphere to participate, but she’s pulled all the posts together to make them easy to access – here’s the link. And she has been the major contributor herself, with a series of brilliant posts that have introduced me to loads of new authors and taught me a lot about Irish literature.

Well done, Cathy – take a bow!!


I also must thank Cathy for her great giveaway, WHICH I WON!! Look what I WON!!!

* * * * *

the visitorThe Visitor is the haunting tale of Anastasia King, who, at the age of twenty-two, returns to her grandmother’s house in Dublin – the very house where she grew up – after six long years away. She has been in Paris, comforting her disgraced and dying mother, who ran away from a disastrous marriage to Anastasia’s late father, her grandmother’s only son. It is a story of Dublin and the unkind, ungenerous, emotionally unreachable side of the Irish temperament. Recently found in a university archive, The Visitor was written in the mid-1940s but was never published. This miraculous literary discovery deepens the oeuvre of Maeve Brennan and confirms her status as one of the best Irish writers of stories since Joyce.

* * * * *

the long gaze backThe Long Gaze Back, edited by Sinéad Gleeson, is an exhilarating anthology of short stories by some of the most gifted women writers this island has ever produced. Taken together, the collected works of these writers reveal an enrapturing, unnerving, and piercingly beautiful mosaic of a lively literary landscape. The Long Gaze Back features 22 new stories by some of the most talented Irish women writers working today. The anthology presents an inclusive and celebratory portrait of the high calibre of contemporary literature in Ireland.

These stories run the gamut from heartbreaking to humorous, but each leaves a lasting impression. They chart the passions, obligations, trials and tribulations of a variety of vividly-drawn characters with unflinching honesty and relentless compassion. These are stories to savour.

Aren’t I lucky? 😀


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The Around the World in 80 Books Challenge – #AW80Books

Hosted by Sarah and Lucy at the wonderful Hard Book Habit…

Well, having spent the entire month in Ireland, unsurprisingly that’s the only destination I’m adding this month, and of all the books I’ve read the one I’m going to choose for this challenge is…

the heather blazing

Click to see the review

So here’s the summary to date…


The Main Journey

  1. London  – Martin Chuzzlewit
  2. Orient Express
  3. FranceThe Sisters of Versailles
  4. Alps
  5. Venice
  6. Brindisi
  7. Mediterranean Sea
  8. Suez
  9. Egypt
  10. Red Sea/Arabian Sea
  11. Bombay
  12. Calcutta
  13. Kholby
  14. Elephant Travel
  15. Allahabad
  16. Indian Ocean/ South China Sea
  17. Hong Kong
  18. Shanghai
  19. Yokohama
  20. Pacific
  21. San Francisco
  22. Sioux lands
  23. Omaha
  24. New York – I Am No One
  25. Atlantic Ocean
  26. Queenstown (Cobh) Ireland
  27. London – The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde


I’ve got books planned for some of the gaps, but am still open to suggestions for any of the places highlighted in red. Any genre…

The Detours

That leaves 53 spots for me to randomly tour the world, so here’s where I’ve been so far…

  1. The Hebrides – Coffin Road
  2. Florida – Their Eyes Were Watching God
  3. Iceland – Snowblind
  4. Himalayas – Black Narcissus
  5. Ireland – The Heather Blazing


9 down, 71 to go!


* * * * *

Phew! It’s been a fun month…thanks for sharing it with me!

97 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 79… and End of Month Round-Up

  1. For the Alps I would recomment Ramuz ‘Beauty on Earth’, translated by Michelle Bailat Jones, herself a wonderful writer. For Yokohama something a bit unusual (for you): James Clavell’s Gai-jin, historical fiction.


  2. Congratulations on your win, FictionFan! That’s wonderful! And well done on your strict discipline and hard work to dig into that TBR pile. I can see it going down even more as I write this.

    I really like that ‘Around the World..’ challenge. I always like opportunities to try books from different places. When they’re done well, they really can teach you a lot.


    • Thank you – they both sound great and my knowledge of Irish women writers is woeful to the point of non-existence, so they should get me in training early for next year’s Begorrathon. Haha! Yes, my willpower is just amazing! 😉

      I like to travel the world in my reading so this is a perfect challenge for me, and will remind me to look out for books from new places when adding to the TBR – which of course I won’t be doing…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO pleased you won Cathy’s Reading Ireland, I was thinking ‘that woman deserves to win as she has really thrown herself heart and soul into the month.

    And I really hope you are celebrating with a half of Guinness with a whiskey chaser

    No? well I have just eaten two Hotel Chocolat brownies to celebrate your win (these are not NORMAL chocolate brownies. Each one is ONE mouthful

    But…………you do realise, Cathy’s numbers are going down, yours still seem to be rising, and there will come a point where your numbers meet and I think you should guest edit each others blogs for a day, and then Cathy can call her blog Cathy’s Book Review, whilst you, my friend, will be FictionFan onthewayto746…………


  4. Really enjoyed reading your review and looking at your map as you stretch across the globe. What a great idea – and quite the feat… Had shamefully never heard of Maeve Brennan and will keep an eye out for The Visitor now. Thank you!


    • Thank you. 🙂 I love this challenge – it’s such a great excuse to add things to the TBR, and travelling without actually having to go anywhere is my favourite kind of trip! Haha! The main reason I was so delighted to win the prize is that I don’t know any Irish women writers at all! But just think how knowledgeable I’ll be soon… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

        • I was a bit disappointed there could only be one People’s Choice winner because I loved the sound of the Edna O’Brien on that. She may well sneak onto the TBR when my back’s turned… knowing my tastes, is there a particular one you’d recommend?


          • Well I think I suggested The Country Girls, which may have been her first, but I read some short stories 2 or 3 yers ago, The Love Object, and also liked her more mature writing in that


            • Thank you – I shall investigate further. I’ve got more into short stories the last couple of years and it does seem to be a format the Irish have excelled in…


    • Sounds like an interesting read! Thanks for the rec. 🙂

      And yay re the win! There’s something special about getting a prize, isn’t there? And they do both sound intriguing…


  5. Cor – what an exciting post! Congratulations on the win – how brilliant is that? I loved ‘Instructions for a Heatwave’ – can’t wait to read your thoughts on it, and seeing all your travel plans has made me want to get the atlas out and plot some more of my own. And the fun doesn’t stop there – I’m popping over to read your Colm Toibin review now, too!


    • It is brilliant, isn’t it? No matter how many books we all have, prizes are special! I’ve heard so many good things about Instructions, I’m really looking forward to getting stuck in. Hopefully I’ll get a bit further afield this month, now that I’ve finally finished my Irish holiday. Might even make it all the way to Europe! 😉


  6. Your industry amazes me – and exhausts me! I’m rereading “the Cave and the Light”:if I could stop rereading stuff I might have more time for new books.


    • AND by all accounts she does it by dining on cheese sandwiches and spaghetti hoops on toast. I actually think she has given up sleeping, and has taught Tommy and Tuppence to open their own cans of food so that she doesn’t have to stop reading in order to feed them


      • Haha! Coincidentally we’ve just had a big row, because they thought I should have noticed their sad empty bowls quicker than I did – but honestly, it was at least an hour earlier than they were due to be fed! They must have been specially hungry today…

        BUS will actually be quite impressed by the fact that I know how to make spaghetti hoops on toast – it’s quite high on my skill level…

        Liked by 1 person

    • Believe me, it exhausts me too! And it’s a brilliant excuse to put off all the other things I should be doing! Herman’s doing well out of us this week – I’m in the middle of Gandhi and Churchill, and thoroughly enjoying it…


      • And I’ve just lent (i.e. forced upon) someone his Scottish Enlightenment one – maybe we should set up a fan club?


        • He does set a standard for making complicated subjects both understandable and enjoyable. I particularly love the fact that I never feel the need to look anything up or read the notes – that’s the way to do it!


  7. Well it was obviously you who stole my willpower hat – what stunning resolve you’ve shown! :-)Congratulations on your win too, it has been great reading everyone’s Irish posts during March and Cathy has been a superb cheerleader. Next year…


    • *gulps* Oh no, I’ve been rumbled! But yes – aren’t you proud of me? I am! 😉

      Yes, it’s been a great Begorrathon – I love these relaxed challenges where you do as much or as little as you like. This year I happened to have loads of Irish books on the TBR already, which was why I could get so much more involved than last year. But everybody else’s posts means I’ve got nearly as many Irish books back on it again…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. 1. I love how organized this post is.
    2. Also, always so cheerful. 🙂
    3. Yay for Instructions For a Heatwave winning! Now, I hope you like it…
    4. Hooray for winning Cathy’s contest. Of course, I do wish it had been me, but you clearly deserve it after all your Irish reading this month!
    5. YES to all of Cathy’s hard work! Is there a ‘blogger of the month’ award?


  9. Thankfully, my TBR isn’t near as long as yours — I’m afraid I’d give up everything except reading if it were! Congrats on your win…you needed more books, right, and these look like interesting ones!
    I’m also impressed at your spreadsheet virtuosity — you had chocolate in hand when you created them, I’m sure of it!


    • Haha! I pretty much have given up everything except reading and I still can’t catch up! The prize books do look good, don’t they? And I’m sure I’ll be able to find a little space for them…

      I love my spreadsheet – gives me a break from reading… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. And thank you! Your enthusiasm has been heartening and you’ve contributed some great posts. Those books will be with you very soon – enjoy Heatwave!! Thanks again x


  11. Doesn’t off the wishlist mean that you’ve bought books and they’ve come into the house, though … anyway, what does it matter, there are worse addictions to have! I am glad NetGalley doesn’t often have things that appeal to me, though. Happy April reading!


    • Fortunately they usually only arrive on Kindle – although I’ve noticed a rise in the number sneaking in from charity shops recently – a worrying trend! Although I’ve got a big backlog on NG, I’m taking far less from them now – it all got too much and meant I never had time to just make a sudden decision about what I wanted to read next. I’ll gradually bring that backlog down…


    • Haha! If you won’t, what hope is there for me? (Though of course you’re older than me now…) *sobs* I can’t read faster – my eyes will fall out!

      You simply didn’t cheat hard enough, sir! You must do better next time…

      Yeah, I’m not even really sure where Omaha is. Cowboy country? That might be fun, if so…


      • Hmm…the sudden, there’s no hope for us! We’re doomed. I’m a whole year older than you. I’m sorta proud about that, you know. Don’t do that! I bet you have red eyes.

        I thought I did enough! Who’s to blame for this? *eyes LF*

        Isn’t it an island? *shrugs*


        • *nods* A year and a bit now! How’re the wrinkles? I do – they match my beard perfectly… *oils beard*

          I don’t know – I think she was cheating on another one. The two of you really need to co-ordinate better…

          *laughs* Don’t! I’m confused enough! Could you very quickly write a book set in Omaha please? I can’t find one…


          • Not yet! A year in July, right? Yup. And all this time you’ve had red hair! Haha.

            I do hope I can get her to listen to me. She seems like the rebellious type.

            I know that Peyton Manning used to say it all the time just before hiking the ball.


            • No way! It counts from March! *laughs* I may have accidentally misled you on the whole red hair thing, you know, you know… should I tell you what colour it is? Hmm…

              She is! And her taste in books is terrible! Nearly as bad as…

              What? Omaha?? Why??? *laughs*


          • That’s not fair!! *stomps about* What?! Hm. Yes, you should tell me what color it is! Naturally, too.

            As BUS’s! *nods* I need to give you all TBRs. That’d fetch you all out.

            I’m not sure. It was his secret “hike” word. (Hike is when they get the ball from the center.)


            • Good to see you can still stomp, old timer! Well… I suppose you’d call it light brown, or dirty fair, or mousy. But then I’d splat you with my peashooter. Probably best to call it… hmm… let’s go with golden brown!

              *laughs* Oooh, do! Well, not me, but them!! Where are you going to find books BUS hasn’t read though? Make sure you give really gory action ones to LF – she’ll love them…

              Strange man. Has he retired now?


            • Dirty fair and mousy! Never heard that before, I must admit. So, it’s brown, then. You know, I’ve got this theory: no one has blond hair. It’s always brown. Just look at the roots and you will see. It’s almost as much of a Scientific Law as my other theory. I’m good at theories, I’ve decided. So we’ve got the same color hair. Cool.

              LF will get all my best gory adventure ones. For BUS…religious texts, haha! #IWin

              Yes, he has, the beast.


            • Not brown! Golden brown!! It’s not nearly as dark as yours, sadly – though if it was I’d end up looking like Morticia. It’s a good theory – but… Trump! What’s your other theory?

              *laughs* Yes, I think you do! But LF might retaliate by sending you lots of stuff about feeeeeelings (she reads a lot of those!) and BUS… well, who knows? But there’ll be hundreds of them…

              The Pats might have a chance now, then… *giggles*


            • You like dark hair? Mine is the lightest in my fam, can you believe. Trump is special, don’t you think? All girl names come from boy names! It’s a proven professorish theory, so don’t try to disprove it, see. #WonAlready

              Well, I don’t have to read what they send. They do have to read what I send, tho. That makes things fair, see. Hundreds. Tell her to send daggers, please. I could use 100 of them.

              *shocked* Why you… I”ll have you know Tom Brady has the winning percentage over Manning! Dadblameit.


            • I do – all my fave heroes have dark hair. But I’m too pale to even dye it dark – it’d look weird. Is it really? It always looks really dark on the videos. Special in the sense of sub-human, yes! Hmm… so what boy name does my name come from, huh? Or BUS’s?? Or Clara’s??? #VictoryIsSweet

              I suspect they may not agree to that – we shall have to have a conference to draw up some rules. I’ll chair it, ‘cos I’m the nicest. What do you need daggers for? Has your fun stick fallen off your Glock? *snorts*

              Does he really? How come every time I watch the Pats, they lose then? #Jinxed


            • But Brock Lesnar doesn’t… Well, I’ve heard the fastest way to get a tan is to divide sin by cos. *nods* It is! It’s dark, yes, but not as dark as the fams. Lightest in the family, or so I’m told. Yours is easy, it comes from Larry. BUS’s from Shaun. And Clara…Clark! See? Amazing.

              Well, I always need more weapons. You would love the fun stick. *looks at it admiringly*

              You must be filthy bad luck!


            • Yes, that’s why he’s not in my gallery… *crosses fingers behind back* Haha! Ooh, that made me shudder – took me back to those awful maths classes. BUS’s is much darker than mine – probably nearly as dark as yours. *laughs lots* I see! Yes, I must submit – you’ve totally proved your theory! Why did I never realise it before…?

              Does it turn the gun into a peashooter? That would be fun…

              *nods sadly* Yup! That’s why Rafa never wins anything any more. Bet you’re glad you have me as a fan, now!


            • Goodness. BL is in your gallery! What a wonder. I’m shocked even. And you said you didn’t like muscles! Haha, I heard that somewhere and just had to repeat it. Well, ’cause I haven’t published it yet, see. I’m like Einstein, the sudden.

              It’s just an extra big mag, see. Nothing that special at all.

              Hahahahaha. Hmm. I didn’t know this about you. You shoulda warned me!


            • *laughs* No, no!! I meant I was fibbing about the reason he wasn’t in there! No sub-humans allowed in my gallery! Oh! Well, I’m happy that your brain is like Einstein’s – I always suspected as much. But pleeeeease don’t copy his hairdo!!

              Oooh! So you can kill more people between reloading?? #SuperCool

              But then you might not have let me be PEP… *worried*


          • Haha. I thought that was a bit too odd to be true, in truth. Poor chap just never combed his hair. That was his problem, you know. He should’ve combed it a bit.

            Hahaha. If you wanna be violent, I suppose.

            Nah, it’s different for music. I might’ve never told you about the Pats, tho, haha.


            • I can’t imagine Brock looking good in a Darby outfit, can you? A comb would have been insufficient for the task – he should have used a lawnmower!

              Phew, that’s a relief! I don’t usually jinx my musical heroes, it’s true – but I’m sure I warned you about my unfortunate impact on sporting heroes. Poor Pats!


            • There would be a bit of a problem with his hairdo though – he’d have to wear a wig…

              Apart from you? Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Chrissie Hynde, Janacek, Maxim Vengerov… tell me when to stop…


            • Oh, so he does – for some reason I’d got it into my head that he was bald or shaven-headed. Hmm… the kiss-curl question remains open then…

              What’s funny about Lou Reed??? You laugh at me more when I’m being serious than when I’m joking!!! I used to go to his concerts every time he came to Glasgow back in the day…


            • Wait. You want Brock to have a kiss-curl? Haha. That’d be so hilarious. But I can maybe see it. *nods*

              Well…it’s just that….nothing really. It’s just that you like him, AC, David Bowie… It’s just…funny.


            • All men should have kiss-curls! When I’m Queen, it’ll be the law. Of course, you’ve already got one… *nods approvingly*

              It’s just, you cheeky young whippersnapper, that you think I’m so ancient you can’t imagine me ever having been young… *gazes over top of spectacles*


            • Noooooooo!!!! We agreed I would have to give permission before you changed anything style-wise… !!!

              Well, admittedly it doesn’t happen often…


    • They sound great, don’t they? I do too – and The Long Gaze Back sounds like it will be brilliant for letting me sample lots of different authors – maybe in preparation for next year’s Begorrathon!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I can tell you that ‘The Long Gaze Back’ is definitely an extraordinary collection. Also, one of the authors is a Professor of mine 🙂


  13. Naomi’s review for Instructions For a Heatwave was so good. I’m not surprised this book won, honestly!

    Good luck on your Around The World in 80 Books challenge! I couldn’t think of any suggestions for the places highlighted in red, sorry 😦 I still have much reading and literary traveling to do. I’m still quite young, so hopefully when I’m in my 40s and beyond I will be able to recommend books from all over the world easily.


    • It looks good, doesn’t it?

      Ha! After half a lifetime (I’m being optimistic there) of reading I still can’t fill in the blanks! I spent about two hours trying to find a book set in Omaha and have come to the conclusion there isn’t one – I might have to write my own… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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