TBR Thursday 93…

Episode 93…

A massive drop in the TBR this week – down 1 to 176! This is clearly the start of a downward trend and I expect to be down to single figures quite soon. Unless something goes wrong with my willpower, but that’s highly unlikely, don’t you think?

Here are a few that will be moving onto the Reading section of my spreadsheet soon…


Sometimes, I can’t help but feel that there’s a malicious booksprite picking on me. Or perhaps I’m being punished for something I did in a past life – wrote a scathing review of Chaucer or something. It seemed like a safe idea, when creating the annual FictionFan Awards, to make the prize be a promise that I’d read the author’s next book. I mean, authors always stick to similar subjects, don’t they? So when SC Gwynne won the 2014 prize with Rebel Yell, his brilliant biography of Stonewall Jackson, I settled down to wait patiently for another fascinating slice of American history to come along. So imagine my… delight… when his next book turns out to be all about a particular pass in American football. All I know (or want to) about American football is that you don’t play it with your feet…

the perfect passCourtesy of NetGalley and another of my 20 Books. If SC Gwynne can make me enjoy this, forget the Booker – the man deserves the Nobel Peace Prize!

The Blurb says: Hal Mumme spent fourteen mostly losing seasons coaching football before inventing a potent passing offense strategy that would revolutionize the game. That transformation began at a tiny college called Iowa Wesleyan, where Mumme was head coach and Mike Leach his assistant. It was there that Mumme invented the purest and most extreme passing game in the 145-year history of football, where his quarterback once completed 61 of 86 passes (both national records). His teams played blazingly fast—faster than any team ever had before. They rarely punted on a fourth down (eh?), and routinely beat teams with ten or twenty times Iowa Wesleyan’s students. Mumme did it all with average athletes and without even a playbook.

In The Perfect Pass, S.C. Gwynne explores Mumme’s genius and the stunning performance of his teams, as well as his leading role in changing football from a run-dominated sport to a pass-dominated sport. He also shares the history of a moment in American football when the game changed fundamentally and transformed itself into what tens of millions of Americans now watch on television every weekend. Whether you’re a casual or ravenous football fan (or… me?), this is a truly compelling story of American ingenuity, innovation, and how a set of revolutionary ideas made their way into the mainstream of sports culture that we celebrate today.


* * * * *


dirt roadJames Kelman is Scotland’s only Booker prize winner, though not for this novel, of course. To my shame, I haven’t read any of his books (mainly because I think there’s a very good chance I’ll hate them due to his reputation for extreme sweariness). Time to find out… Courtesy of NetGalley…

The Blurb says: From the Booker Prizewinning James Kelman, comes a road trip through the American South. Murdo, a teenager obsessed with music, wishes for a life beyond the constraints of his Scottish island home and dreams of becoming his own man. Tom, battered by loss, stumbles backwards towards the future, terrified of losing his dignity, his control, his son and the last of his family life. Both are in search of something new as they set out on an expedition into the American South. On the road we discover whether the hopes of youth can conquer the fears of age. Dirt Road is a major novel exploring the brevity of life, the agonising demands of love and the lure of the open road.

It is also a beautiful book about the power of music and all that it can offer. From the understated serenity of Kelman’s prose emerges a devastating emotional power.

* * * * *


from the dust returned 2The last of my 20 Books and it’ll be a miracle if I make it in time. I was blown away by Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. Time to find out if that book was a one-off or if he can do it again…

The Blurb says: High on a hill by a forked tree, the House beckons its family homeward, and they come–travelers from the lyrical, lush imagination of Ray Bradbury.

From the Dust Returned chronicles a community of eternal beings: a mummified matriarch who speaks in dust; a sleeping daughter who lives through the eyes and ears of the creatures she visits in her dreams; an uncle with wings like sea-green sails. And there is also the mortal child Timothy, the foundling son who yearns to be like those he loves: to fly, to sleep in daytime, and to live forever. Instead, his task is to witness the family’s struggle with the startling possibility of its own end.

Bradbury is deservedly recognized as a master of lyricism and delicate mood. In this novel he weaves together individuals’ stories and the overarching family crisis into a softly whispered, seductive tale of longing and loss, death and life in the shadowy places.

* * * * *


4.50 from paddingtonFor the Agatha Christie Blogathon in September, a re-read of one of Agatha Christie’s finest books. It’s not too late to join in – if you’d like to participate, click on the logo on my sidebar to the right…

The Blurb says: Agatha Christie’s audacious mystery thriller, reissued with a striking new cover* designed to appeal to the latest generation of Agatha Christie fans and book lovers. (*New in the 1970s, that is, when I collected every one of the Fontana editions of Christie books with the fabulous cover designs by Tom Adams. They may be yellow, tatty and dog-eared from too many re-reads now, but there will always be a place for them on my bookshelves…)

For an instant the two trains ran together, side by side. In that frozen moment, Elspeth witnessed a murder. Helplessly, she stared out of her carriage window as a man remorselessly tightened his grip around a woman’s throat. The body crumpled. Then the other train drew away.

But who, apart from Miss Marple, would take her story seriously? After all, there were no suspects, no other witnesses… and no corpse.

* * * * *

NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.

* * * * *

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

44 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 93…

  1. Oh, I do hope you’ll enjoy 4:50 From Paddington, FictionFan! I really like the characters in that one, and it’s a nice little mystery, too, in my opinion. And I don’t blame you for adding the Bradbury; the man could write a story. I hope you’ll enjoy that one. As to the Gwynne??? Well, perhaps you’ll start falling in love with US football, and supporting one of the teams; you never know… 😉 – or perhaps you do 😉

    • 4.50 from Paddington will be a re-read, so I have the luxury of knowing in advance that I’ll love it! One of my favourites. I’m looking forward to the Bradbury but trying not to set my expectations too high after being blown away by The Martian Chronicles. And the football book… well… we’ll see! 😉

  2. Now, did the Professor force you into becoming a Pats fan? I’m suspicious… It was either Tom Brady’s good looks bewitching you, or the Professor!

    Dirt Road looks good, and you know by now I don’t mind cursing! haha 😉

    • Professor who? Oh, yes, that’s right – I vaguely remember someone by that name who used to visit me… 😉 Haha! He did make me be a Pats fan, but I’ve resisted all attempts to turn me into a Gronk fan…

      Apparently his Booker prize winning novel is mainly noted for its cursing – you’d love it! 😉

      • I know! Where is the Professor as of late? Is he too busy strumming his guitar to bother with us punchylanders anymore?! Is he in hot pursuit of a new katana? Maybe he’s been kidnapped by Daddy Salami, or worse, he ran off with Clara just to upset you! *fretful face*

        Hah! You know, I hardly ever swear, just for the record. But now I have to dive into this book and see what a potty mouth he is!

        • Huh! Clara can have him as far as I’m concerned – if she can catch him, that is! I always knew he was fickle… Have you noticed all the romantic lovesongs he’s been recording recently? Suspicious… *stomps off*

          Haha! Of course, he’ll be swearing in Scots so you’ll need to get working on that accent…

  3. I’m SO looking forward to your review of the Gwynne – I may be the only person on the planet who knows (or cares!) less about American football than you………. 4.50 from Paddington is one of my favourites – always worth a reread. The Bradbury is more my thing than yours, I think. I’ll be interested in your take on it.

    • Ha! If I enjoy it, I’ll get you a copy for Christmas! Yes, I like 4.50 from Paddington too – I like most of the Miss Marples admittedly, even when she’s not in them very much. Well, I’m hoping that if Bradbury writes as well as he did in the Martian Chronicles he’ll be able to carry me over the fantasy hurdles…

      • I read most of it in bits and pieces – it started off as a series of short stories which Bradbury rewrote as a novel about 15 years ago.

        • Yes, I saw that – interesting. That’s more or less the same as the way The Martian Chronicles came about and it definitely reads more like a collection of short stories than a novel. It’ll be interesting to see if this one feels more integrated…

  4. Well, golly, ALL of these look super!! I’m glad it’s you who has to choose and not me! I’d start with the Agatha Christie, but you know how I love mysteries. As for Dirt Road, you had me at “music” and “the American South.” Happy reading, FF!!

    • Even the football one?! Haha! I may have to actually watch some American football to understand that one. The Agatha Christie is a really good one. Dirt Road – well, it could go either way, I think. We’ll see!

  5. The 4.50 from Paddington is wonderful – I wish you happy wallowing in a re-read! I’d love to read the Kelman, once I’ve stopped reeling from the fact that there’s only been one Scottish Booker winner…

    • Yes, I love that one – I love most of the Miss Marples, in fact. She’s my favourite Christie ‘tec. Isn’t it shocking? But in truth, there are surprisingly few great contemporary Scottish writers in lit-fic – we seem to have specialised in crime or something. Most of the current Scottish fiction writers are living in and writing about London. Even this book doesn’t sound as if it’s going to have much to say about Scotland, but I’m hoping I might be wrong. Tragic that the only contemporary Scottish writer writing about Scotland most of us know is the dreaded Irving Welsh – ugh! (And he lives in Ireland!)

    • I haven’t got one *sobs* I think you should read this book for me – it seems only fair. If I read it, I’ll probably have to watch some games to make any sense of it… *shudders*

        • OK! 1) Why do they call it football? 2) Do they have all those breaks because they’re unfit or are they just lazy? 3) Is it because of the nose-tackling that elephants don’t play?

          Yay! Go Pats! Has Julian shaved yet? I’d hate for him to trip…

          • Because it’s solid and real. Beaks are necessary, since the ball goes dead after a tackle or if it hits the ground. Running around in circles after a ball, or puck, is just odd, see.*laughs* Elephants would crush too many people, see.

            I think he has…he’s me.

            • Hmm… unconvincing! Beaks?? Goodness, they better be careful or they’ll burst the ball! Well, see, but if they played with a round ball this problem wouldn’t happen. Can a thing that isn’t round actually even be called a ball? But wouldn’t that be good? A couple of trained elephants on the wings could play havoc with the opposition’s offence!

              So glad – I hope the beardy fashion is passing! You’re much more c&a than Julian – he doesn’t even have a kiss curl!

            • Breaks, I meant! Dang keyboard. Yes, but Brady wouldn’t get beautiful spirals if he threw a round ball, see. But elephants would never play be the rules. I wouldn’t either, but that’s neither here or over there.

              Julian is so cool, tho!

            • That’s right – blame the keyboard! But if it was round he could kick it rather than throw it – like real football! You mean you’re an elephant?!? No wonder you can do circular breathing!

              He is, rather, but Tom’s prettier.

        • You’re doing well then! I’m reading 13, 14 and 15 at the moment (I nearly always have three on the go) so it’s going to be a real stretch to fit another five in after these, not to mention managing to review them! Fortunately, I don’t think Cathy will punish me too badly… 😉

            • I usually have a factual, a fiction and a “light” book on the go – crime, sci-fi etc. I can’t cope with two books in the same genre at the same time – my brain gets confused!

    • Ah, well, I may find I have nothing whatever to say in my review of the book, so I might just have to fill the whole post with pictures of Tom, and maybe Julian Edelman, pre-beard… this could be more fun than I first thought…

    • It’ll be great to re-read a book I know I love – relaxing! I’m looking forward to the Bradbury – hoping it’ll turn out to be one of the best of my 20 Books of Summer challenge. I’ll need to speed up if I want to get to it in time though…

  6. I’d pick the Bradbury – I’ve only read his Something Wicked This Way Comes and it was awesome! I’ve been meaning to read more by him ever since, but you know how that goes…

    Congrats on the downward TBR! You’ll be in single digits in no time! I intentionally culled some from my list because it was making me anxious. It’s now only a mere 544 titles! 🙂

    • Haha! I fear the downward trend has been zapped by a little spate of NetGalley approvals of ancient requests that I’d assumed I wasn’t getting! Oh well! I’m the same with Bradbury, although it was The Martian Chronicles I read and loved! I wish it was easier to fit in eveything we’d like to read – extra heads are the answer I think. They should be able to do that with gene therapy now, really… 😉

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