TBR Thursday 106…

Episode 106…

The first TBR post of the New Year and unsurprisingly the TBR has leapt up over the festive season… by 9 to 185! But this is normal, so I’m not worried. No, really, I’m not! Do I look worried? Don’t answer that…

Best thing to do is to get on with some reading… here are a few that will reach the top of the pile soon…


the-massacre-of-mankindCourtesy of NetGalley. Since I love The War of the Worlds, love books about Mars, and have heard good things about Stephen Baxter’s writing, this sounded irresistible, especially since it’s been authorised by HG Wells’ estate…

The Blurb says: It has been 14 years since the Martians invaded England. The world has moved on, always watching the skies but content that we know how to defeat the Martian menace. Machinery looted from the abandoned capsules and war-machines has led to technological leaps forward. The Martians are vulnerable to earth germs. The Army is prepared. So when the signs of launches on Mars are seen, there seems little reason to worry. Unless you listen to one man, Walter Jenkins, the narrator of Wells’ book. He is sure that the Martians have learned, adapted, understood their defeat.

He is right.

Thrust into the chaos of a new invasion, a journalist – sister-in-law to Walter Jenkins – must survive, escape and report on the war. The Massacre of Mankind has begun.

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animal-farmFirst up for the Reading the Russian Revolution Challenge. I haven’t re-read this since it broke my heart as a teenager (Boxer! Sniff!) but I’m hoping I’m tougher now, and might be able to remember it’s an allegory…

The Blurb says:  One night on an English farm, Major the boar recounts his vision of a utopia where his fellow creatures own the land along with the means of production and are no longer the slaves of humans. Before long his dream comes true, and for a short while all animals really are equal. But the clever pigs educate themselves and soon learn how to extend their own power, inevitably at the expense of the rest of the community.

This well-loved tale is, of course, a satire on the Soviet Communist system that still remains a powerful warning despite the changes in world politics since Animal Farm was first published.

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the-12-30-from-croydonCourtesy of NetGalley. Inspector French was one of Martin Edwards’ tips in his guest post Ten Top Golden Age Detectives, so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on this one…

The Blurb says: We begin with a body. Andrew Crowther, a wealthy retired manufacturer, is found dead in his seat on the 12.30 flight from Croydon to Paris. Rather less orthodox is the ensuing flashback in which we live with the killer at every stage, from the first thoughts of murder to the strains and stresses of living with its execution. Seen from the criminal’s perspective, a mild-mannered Inspector by the name of French is simply another character who needs to be dealt with. This is an unconventional yet gripping story of intrigue, betrayal, obsession, justification and self-delusion. And will the killer get away with it?

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the-good-peopleCourtesy of NetGalley. Having loved Hannah Kent’s début, Burial Rites, this is one of my most anticipated books of 2017. It’s been out for a while elsewhere but is only being published over here in February, so I’ve spent much of the last few months trying to avoid reading reviews of it…

The Blurb says: Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference. Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house.

Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken…

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NB All blurbs taken or adapted from Goodreads or Amazon UK.

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

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64 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 106…

  1. Ha, ha, I had to laugh long and hard at the blurb for Animal Farm, that it still has something to say to us today even after the political changes since it was first published. I remember when the West celebrated so hard the fall of Communism and how everything was going to be right with the world now… but one absolutist way of thinking and governing is very much like another (and Orwell knew it).

    • Haha – I know! All these people who like their drab one-colour one-creed societies would probably be horrified at the comparison too. Mind you, I see a real resemblance between Mr Trump and Napoleon the Pig, don’t you? 😉

  2. I read the first volume of Stephen Baxter’s Mammoth trilogy and felt ‘meh’ so i didn’t pursue him further, although this WotW sequel does pique my interest. And I just love the covers of the reprinted detectives – very British Rail 1930s – I’d probably buy these just for the covers 😦

    • Hmm… I’ve read the first few pages of The Massacre of Mankind since I wrote this post and I’m not sure how it’s going to go – fingers crossed though! Haha! I think loads of us are in love with these covers – they’re fabulous! Must admit I’ve been enjoying the insides too – they’re not all brilliant but they’re usually fun… 🙂

  3. I downloaded Good People a few weeks ago, but haven’t got to it yet. I too am very much looking forward to reading it.

    • I’ve been holding off until nearer publication date over here, but it’s been hard! I’m glad it sounds very different to the last one too – sometimes it’s tempting to repeat when you’ve had a major success on a debut… Hope we both love it!

  4. Animal Farm is disturbingly reminiscent of modern political events, FictionFan. It’s worth reading in any case, but still….. I’m very keen to see what you think of the Kent, too. She certainly created an atmospheric and absorbing story in Burial Rites. And as to the Crofts? I think (I hope) you’ll enjoy it.

    • Isn’t it?! I’m finding it hard to believe what has happened to the world in the last couple of years… I keep hoping I’ll wake up soon! I have high hopes for the Kent, but I’m trying not to build up such high expectations she won’t be able to meet them. So far I’ve enjoyed most of these British Library Crime Classics, so more high hopes for that one! 🙂

  5. I avoided the Baxter, but only because I dislike sequels of other people’s books. Inspector French is an all- time favourite, and this is a good one. Animal Farm is a good place to kick off your Russian Revolution challenge – one book you know you will, well, “enjoy” might not quite be the word, but appreciate anyway.

    • It’s so long since I read The War of the Worlds I’m hoping this one won’t clash too much, since the deatils are vague in my mind – we shall see!I’m looking forward to the Inspector French, and not exactly looking forward to Animal Farm but hoping I might not be so devastated about poor old Boxer this time around… Haha! Note I probably won’t have problems with any of the books describing horrific things happening to actual humans…

    • Ooh, definitely move it up to the top of the list – it’s a great book! I’ve still not got over the fact it wasn’t shortlisted for the Booker the year it came out. So I have high hopes for this new one… 🙂

  6. Looks like you’ve got a great bunch rising to the top of that bloated TBR!! Nevertheless, I’m wondering if I could endure an entire book from the killer’s perspective. Something tells me that’s just too unorthodox! That Martian work looks most interesting, though, so I’d probably start there, especially since I’ve read Animal Farm already. (Oh, and tell Tommy and Tuppence I miss their Christmas portrait!!)

    • T&T thank you! They’re most annoyed at being returned to anonymity. 😉 Well, the killer book is from the Golden Age, so at least it’s unlikely to be too graphic, I hope! Animal Farm is a re-read for me too, but from decades ago so I only remember the main outlines. And the Martian one does look intriguing – I hope it lives up to expectations… 🙂

  7. I read Animal Farm in high school, for a whole semester we talked it to death. I suspect the teacher was too lazy to come up with another book to give us some variety. So no, I will never, ever read that one again. Still, I hope your reading experience will be a good one. I’ve been tempted by Kent’s book ever since I first heard she had another book come out. Fingers crossed it will be as good as Burial Rites.

    • Ha! I hate how school and university can destroy a book by over-analysing it, and it definitely all depends on the teacher. I read Animal Farm at school too, but fortunately had a decent teacher that particular year. I’m still dreading reliving the whole Boxer thing again though… Yes, I can’t wait to read Hannah Kent’s new one – every review I’ve seen of it so far has been very positive… 🙂

  8. Another who read Animal Farm years ago and loved it. I’ve actually been meaning to reread it. Wondering how it will hold up after all these years.

    • I’m imtrigued too – I think I was about fifteen when I read it, and found it incredibly powerful and heartbreaking. I’ll be interested to see what my more cynical adult self makes of it…

  9. I’ve had Animal Farm on my list for a long time, but have felt especially interested in reading it since reading Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis. Will be awaiting your review… I’m hoping it won’t make me blubber.

    • Oh, Fifteen Dogs looks interesting, but I couldn’t cope – I’d be on tenterhooks all the time in case anything bad happened to the dogs! This being my major problem with Animal Farm too – my brain might know these books are only using animals allegorically, but my heart doesn’t seem to understand that. I shall have to order in an extra box of tissues…

      • I usually feel exactly the same as you. It’s much worse for me when bad things happen to animals than humans! I was so surprised at myself that I was able to handle Fifteen Dogs. Bad things do happen, though, just so you know… 🙂

        • Yes, I’m like that too – it’s rare for me to be upset about what gets done to (fictional) humans. Haha! I’m not sure what that says about us really… 😉 Thanks for the warning – I’ll give it a miss then. I’ll have enough trouble coping with Animal Farm…

  10. I received The Good People from NetGalley too, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I enjoyed Burial Rites, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s been years since I last read Animal Farm! I’ll be interested to hear what you think of your re-read – maybe I’ll be inspired to read it again myself.

    • I’m really looking forward to The Good People – every review I’ve seen of it so far has been very positive, though I’ve been avoiding reading them in detail. Yes, I haven’t read Animal Farm since I was a teenager – long, long ago! I’m intrigued to see what my cynical adult self makes of it…

  11. I liked how you made the statement about your total without flinching! I thought I’d be loads ahead of you but my count at the end of the year was 186 and I’ve read 2 books since then… I think I’m the winner 🙂 and on that note thanks for telling me that The Good People is on NetGalley, I’ve had to be really disciplined and post my reviews without looking at any books – but I’ve requested it now!

    • Woohoo – hope you get it! I can’t bear not to go to NG in case I miss something great, but it’s a real test of my shaky willpower. Haha! That gives me the incentive I need to get reading – can’t have you beating me! Unfortunately I’m currently reading a massive Dickens book plus a factual book which is just as well it’s Kindle ‘cos I wouldn’t be strong enough to lift it… I’ll need to give up sleep…

  12. The Good People looks interesting… But you first! I need a glowing review before I add a book to my long list. You should really demand your own stamp of approval. The FF Book Award is quite prestigious!

    • Haha! Well, I shall do my best to tempt you, if it’s as good as I hope! It’s a cut-throat business, this book award stuff, though – and I prefer my throat as it is… 😉

    • I just remember being devastated by the whole Boxer thing, but I’m looking forward to re-reading it. And I have high expectations for The Good People if it’s anywhere near as good as her last one, Burial Rites!

    • Haha! But we’d all be devastated if our TBRs disappeared anyway! That’s what I keep telling myself as I add another couple… 😉 Good choices, though, especially The Good People, which I have very high expectations of…

  13. Well thank you SO much for alerting me to the fact that Hannah Kent has at last arrived for request. I’ve been checking, in desultory fashion, only to find nothing, nothing, nothing, periodically. So..I hot virtually footed over, and got a pronto approval, downloading happening. Like you, I have not read any reviews, and look forward to coming to it innocent, in due course. I shall be joining you on that one. And I suspect Animal Farm re-read will not be far behind, as I feel my fondness for Orwell pushing towards an Orwellalong following last year’s marvellous Woolfalong . Now MY school never did such revolutionary writing as Orwell, so nothing ever spoiled him!

    I did recently read another Edwards, recommended I’m afraid by another blogger – and MARVELLOUS it was too. So….who knows, you could edge me towards a hat trick here

    I keep looking at the dusty, crumpled old copy of Ten Days That Shook The World, all from my revolutionary teens and twenties reading period………….

    • Hurrah! I think I should get a job as NetGalley Scanner – I just don’t have the willpower not to check it every day… just in case! I was going to say I’m getting better at not requesting stuff, but then remembered that I’ve taken my quota already for this month, and it’s only the 7th… hmm! And then there were the three books the postie just delivered…

      Oh good, I’m glad you’ll be doing a bit of Revolutioning! I don’t know quite when I’ll get properly started because I’m in the middle of Dickens, plus the Shakespeare book I’m reading requires me to watch all of the history plays!! I really must pay more attention to blurbs! Fortunately I have the box set of the BBC Shakespeares from the 80s and have been meaning to watch my way through them all for years, so I’m enjoying it… but I’m sooooo behind schedule! I wonder if I could go back in a time machine and make them put the Revolution off for a year or so…

  14. Oooooo! The Martian ones look brilliantly brilliant! I hope they come back all brutal and mean. And dispatch nearly everyone. Except for me.

    It broke your heart? Awwwww… This is why it’s good not to have hearts. It was a sad story, I must totes agree.

  15. The 12.30 From Croyden sounds tempting! I like that it’s told from the POV of the criminal. The Hannah Kent blurb made my sensitivity radar go off – might be too sad for me! But I’ll be interested in what you have to say about it!

    • I’m loving reading these classic crime re-releases! Some of them are pretty dated, but they’re still a lot of fun. Certainly Hannah Kent’s last book was very emotional, so this one may well be – but she’s such a great writer. I have my fingers firmly crossed that this one will be just as good… 🙂

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