TBR Thursday 109…

Episode 109…

It’s inexplicable!! Despite the phenomenal and unprecedented amount of willpower I’ve gone through this week, somehow my TBR seems to have gone up 3… to 197!! 197!! It’s beyond human understanding! The worst thing is it was only 194 when I started writing this post… before the emails started arriving from NetGalley! Still at least the postman hasn’t brought any today… yet!

So I better start speed-reading or I’m going to drift over the 200 mark, which just can’t be allowed to happen! Here are a few that are getting near the top of the heap…


the-accusationCourtesy of NetGalley. Heading off to North Korea on my Around the World tour, though this isn’t a holiday I’m expecting to enjoy exactly…

The Blurb says: The Accusation is a deeply moving and eye-opening work of fiction that paints a powerful portrait of life under the North Korean regime. Set during the period of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il’s leadership, the seven stories that make up The Accusation give voice to people living under this most bizarre and horrifying of dictatorships. The characters of these compelling stories come from a wide variety of backgrounds, from a young mother living among the elite in Pyongyang whose son misbehaves during a political rally, to a former Communist war hero who is deeply disillusioned with the intrusion of the Party into everything he holds dear, to a husband and father who is denied a travel permit and sneaks onto a train in order to visit his critically ill mother. Written with deep emotion and writing talent, The Accusation is a vivid depiction of life in a closed-off one-party state, and also a hopeful testament to the humanity and rich internal life that persists even in such inhumane conditions.

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the-cheltenham-square-murderCourtesy of NetGalley. Having enjoyed John Bude’s Death on the Riviera recently, I jumped at the chance to read this one. Hurrah for the British Library Crime Classics!

The Blurb says:  In the seeming tranquility of Regency Square in Cheltenham live the diverse inhabitants of its ten houses. One summer’s evening, the square’s rivalries and allegiances are disrupted by a sudden and unusual death – an arrow to the head, shot through an open window at no. 6. Unfortunately for the murderer, an invitation to visit had just been sent by the crime writer Aldous Barnet, staying with his sister at no. 8, to his friend Superintendent Meredith. Three days after his arrival, Meredith finds himself investigating the shocking murder two doors down. Six of the square’s inhabitants are keen members of the Wellington Archery Club, but if Meredith and Long thought that the case was going to be easy to solve, they were wrong…

The Cheltenham Square Murder is a classic example of how John Bude builds a drama within a very specific location. Here the Regency splendour of Cheltenham provides the perfect setting for a story in which appearances are certainly deceiving.

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the-white-guardNext up for the Reading the Russian Revolution challenge. Another one that I suspect may be a tough read…

The Blurb says: White Guard, Mikhail Bulgakov’s semi-autobiographical first novel, is the story of the Turbin family in Kiev in 1918. Alexei, Elena, and Nikolka Turbin have just lost their mother—their father had died years before—and find themselves plunged into the chaotic civil war that erupted in the Ukraine in the wake of the Russian Revolution. In the context of this family’s personal loss and the social turmoil surrounding them, Bulgakov creates a brilliant picture of the existential crises brought about by the revolution and the loss of social, moral, and political certainties. He confronts the reader with the bewildering cruelty that ripped Russian life apart at the beginning of the last century as well as with the extraordinary ways in which the Turbins preserved their humanity.

* * * * *


rather-be-the-devilThe audiobook is narrated by James Macpherson, whom some of you may remember as DCI Michael Jardine from the old TV series, Taggart. I’ve listened to him read Rebus before, and he has the perfect accent for it plus the acting skills to bring the characters to life…

The Blurb says: Some cases never leave you.

For John Rebus, 40 years may have passed, but the death of beautiful, promiscuous Maria Turquand still preys on his mind. She was murdered in her hotel room on the night a famous rock star and his entourage were staying there, and Maria’s killer has never been found.

Meanwhile, the dark heart of Edinburgh remains up for grabs. A young pretender, Darryl Christie, may have staked his claim, but a vicious attack leaves him weakened and vulnerable, and an inquiry into a major money laundering scheme threatens his position. Has old-time crime boss Big Ger Cafferty really given up the ghost, or is he biding his time until Edinburgh is once more ripe for the picking?

In a tale of twisted power, deep-rooted corruption and bitter rivalries, Rather Be the Devil showcases Rankin and Rebus at their unstoppable best.

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads or Audible UK.

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

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89 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 109…

  1. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you – all those books have united forces and are attacking us from every angle!
    I’ve read the Ian Rankin and, although it does seem a trifle unlikely that Rebus could get away with all the things he does now that he is retired, it’s still a cracking good read. And I do believe I read The White Guard in Romanian ages ago, perhaps published in a period when Romanian dictatorship was trying to make its mark in opposition to the Soviets. (Or did I dream it?)

    • It must be! The books are winning at the moment, but I shall fight back…

      Yes, I’m wondering how long the Rebus series can possibly go on, but I’d miss the old man if he really gave up. Looking forward to that one. That’s interesting – because of the relative lack of fiction relating to the period, I’ve been wondering if the reason is censorship or whether there’s a lot of stuff that’s just never been translated into English. And I do have a tendency to forget that the Soviet Bloc wasn’t as unified internally as it kinda looked from the outside.

    • Yes, I think the cover is taken form propaganda posters – I have a feeling I read that somewhere when deciding whether to take the book or not. I’m not expecting that one to be fun, but I’m hoping it’ll be interesting and not too gut-wrenching. Haha! I may just change my name and flee the country…

  2. The TBR possesses a life of its own, sometimes benign, sometimes malevolent 😱😬😬 I’m tempted by the Rankin, I’ve listened to a few of those but not this particular one..

  3. At this precise moment I am reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman, which personifies various near-forgotten gods as mostly down-and-outs in a seedy modern America. Alongside these manifestations, I might suggest adding the TBR poltergeist who adds books to your list while you sleep, the Parking Lot fairy who rewards earnest prayers with a spot near the entrance to the shopping centre, and the Greengrocer pixie who magically turns unripe pears, avocados and bananas into overripe mush in the blink of an eye.

  4. Quite frankly, FictionFan, I’d ask Tommy and Tuppence some very pointed questions about their computer time and book ordering habits! I suspect them of a conspiracy. As to those books you’ve mentioned, they look great. It’s hard to go wrong with Rankin, and The Accusation looks fascinating.

    • I must admit, as each new batch arrives, I’m pretty sure I can hear Tuppence chuckling… I’m looking forward to both of those – the Rankin should be fun and James Macpherson narrates them well. The Accusation won’t be fun, exactly, but it should be interesting, and hopefully not too harrowing…

  5. The Cheltenham Square Murder looks good. I remember you posting about Death on the Rivera but I’m thinking this one sounds even better. Adding it to my TBR!

  6. inexplicable!! I must remember that. I just knocked off the third one for this year. But (another dreaded word) … I ordered four over the weekend which will be arriving next week. (Not much time to glory in a reduction.)

    • I hope we both enjoy it! Haha – of course that’s why I do these posts. If I can’t get my own TBR down, the next best thing is to push everyone else’s up… 😉

  7. That last crime novel sounds most intriguing, so I’d start there. The important thing, of course, is to start somewhere! You just can’t let that TBR run wild — they’re like children and need reining in every so often!

    • Ooh, you should! But be warned – they’re completely addictive. You think you can stop after one, but then you find yourself craving just one more, and then another, till finally you’re breaking into people’s houses to get the money to buy your next fix… 😉

  8. I loved The White Guard when I read it – I hope you enjoy it too.
    The Bude sounds good.
    I’ve given up on Rebus- not really for any particular reason, I just didn’t read one, then they backed up, and fell off the end of my “to read” list!

    • Oh, good, I thought The White Guard might be one of those worthy but dull reads, so I’m glad to hear it’s actually enjoyable!
      I stopped with Rebus a while ago too and still haven’t read some of the ones in the middle of the series, but then I started getting review copies of each new one as it came out and am hooked again. Someday I’ll read the missing ones…

  9. I think I’ve added 5 books to my TBR just today!!! It’s now over 400 again… and I was doing so well, sitting smugly in the 375-ish area not very long ago. The Cheltenham Square Murder looks most tempting to me. But I WON’T go back to my Goodreads page, I won’t! (Not today, anyway!)

  10. I’m with Big Sis, loving The White Guard when I read it. It is still on my shelves, which always means a re-read, in theory, might happen.

    I got at one point, to 90% of all my NetGalley’s reviewed – or at least, emails to publishers explaining why I had tossed the treasure aside, unable to finish it so would not be reviewing it. And then something went wrong. Patting myself on the back is fatal, as I somehow didn’t notice I was simultaneously pressing ‘Request It’ at the rate of knots. And a lot of ‘the publisher has accepted your request’ emails are arriving, like buses, in threes.

    I think 200 sound like a nice round figure though…………

    • That’s good to hear because I thought it might be one of those worthy but dull books (as I’m 98% certain the Solzhenitsyn will be!) I actually have a great percentage on NG – I think I’m at about 92% at the moment, but of course that’s because I’ve taken so many books from them over the last two or three years. I’d kinda got it under control but this month has been full of books I really wanted – I suppose that’s better than the ones that I used to take on a whim and then wonder why! On that subject, did you spot that the new Colm Toibin has turned up there? It looks fab – a redoing of the story of Clytemnestra, so probably more in the style of Testament of Mary. (My plan is to shove your TBR up so I feel better about my own…)

  11. Only a very quiet snigger from me… can’t do the full belly laugh as I’ve had masses of books arrive from all sources this week and fear I’m getting dangerously close to that 200 mark myself – I like the sound of the The Cheltenham Square Murder but of course I have iron willpower!

  12. I’m impervious to these temptations, FF! Keeping my TBR nice and fit as part of my New Year’s resolution. (Though I’m mildly afraid only Tweet reading will be allowed in the future….) 😉

    • But that’s no good at all! You’re not allowed to keep your resolutions – that’s cheating! I’ll need to see if I can find something to tempt you with… (Haha – I know! But don’t worry – Theresa May will sort him out tomorrow… 😉 )

      • Perhaps a book about chocolates will tempt me… I shall wait and see. I’m holding out for a truffle.

        We’ll trade you. May for T! (Typing out his name hurts too much.) It’ll be interesting to see how that goes down today. Time to pummel that fragile ego of his…

        • Hehe! What did you make of our little Laura then? The one who asked him about torture etc? I had to laugh, because she’s always blunt and brutal – probably our top current political journalist at the moment – and May would have known fine well that she’d put the boot in, since she always does! No accident that she was the one May picked, I suspect… He’s going to get that every time he has a joint press conference – he can’t bully the foreign press to the same extent as the US ones! Wait till he has to deal with Angela Merkel… #GoGirls

          • I saw Laura and cheered her! How is it he manages to be so long winded, yet say nothing at all? I want to ban him from using the word ‘great’ every 5 seconds. Even though I thought May was too gracious and diplomatic, I got the feeling she’d cut him if needed. She talked a lot about trade relations. I’d like to propose a trade too — him for her! She’s a much better speaker and she appears to be of sound mind. We’ll take her! (T’s mother was born in Scotland, you know, so he’s half yours!)

            • No, no, no – I refuse to take any responsibility for him! He’s proof you should have built that wall a couple of generations ago! It just gets worse every day, doesn’t it? It can’t last – the Republicans will surely have to break with him soon…

            • If history has taught us anything it’s that it can get worse. Every day is a fresh new hell. What we do have going for us is that more people did not elect him than did. The folks who did are getting their history lesson the hard way. We’re looking like a social experiment gone wrong. Every republican is going to be under intense scrutiny. May they be on the right side of history is all I can say.

            • I hope enough of them will be. The problem is that a lot of his supporters think the objectors are just sore losers – they don’t seem to see that there’s a huge (sorry!) difference between Trump and a Bush or a Reagan. I wouldn’t have been thrilled if Ted Cruz was elected, but I wouldn’t have thought it might lead to armageddon. Have you heard about our latest petition? Went up yesterday – to prevent Trump from having a State Visit, on the grounds that the Queen shouldn’t be expected to have to host a “vulgar” misogynistic racist. Got nearly 900,000 signatures so far and still rising even at 2.30 a.m. I tweeted him the numbers, just so’s he’d know… 😉 So there will be a Parliamentary debate about it again. Can’t wait!

  13. The trick is to have a TBR in Goodreads, then another in a nice notebook, then another in Amazon, then another in… you get the idea. The White Guard is in my 2017 Challenge (of reading books I own), but it’s too soon to tell you anything about it.

    • Hahaha! Brilliant plan! Admittedly my Amazon wishlist doesn’t get included in this figure… 😉 Oh, I look forward to comparing reviews of The White Guard then – it’s part of my Reading the Russian Revolution Challenge, so I’m looking forward to it.

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