TBR Thursday 114…

Episode 114…

Hurrah! The TBR has plummeted massively this week- down 2 to 196!! This is a result of my legendary iron self-control – I don’t know why you ever doubted me! And furthermore, I’ve reached the last third of Trotsky! I’ll miss the old codger, you know – he’s quite funny… sometimes even intentionally…

Here are some I should get to soon…


First up, the winner of the Classics Club spin is Lorna Doone, so somehow I need to fit it in, in time to review it by the 1st May. *gulp* Of course, it’s one of the longer ones on my list…

The Blurb says: First published in 1869, Lorna Doone  is the story of John Ridd, a farmer who finds love amid the religious and social turmoil of seventeenth-century England. He is just a boy when his father is slain by the Doones, a lawless clan inhabiting wild Exmoor on the border of Somerset and Devon. Seized by curiosity and a sense of adventure, he makes his way to the valley of the Doones, where he is discovered by the beautiful Lorna. In time their childish fantasies blossom into mature love—a bond that will inspire John to rescue his beloved from the ravages of a stormy winter, rekindling a conflict with his archrival, Carver Doone, that climaxes in heartrending violence. Beloved for its portrait of star-crossed lovers and its surpassing descriptions of the English countryside, Lorna Doone is R. D. Blackmore’s enduring masterpiece.


thomas-more-john-guyCourtesy of NetGalley. I’m not sure what appealed to me most about this – the words “John  Guy”, my favourite Tudor historian, or the words “Very Brief” in the subtitle, most welcome as a little palate cleanser between the tomes of Russian history I’m continuing to accumulate!

The Blurb says: ‘If the English people were to be set a test to justify their history and civilization by the example of one man, then it is Sir Thomas More whom they would perhaps choose.’ So commented The Times in 1978 on the 500th anniversary of More’s birth. Twenty-two years later, Pope John Paul II proclaimed Thomas More the patron saint of politicians and people in public life, on the basis of his ‘constant fidelity to legitimate authority and . . . his intention to serve not power but the supreme ideal of justice’.

In this fresh assessment of More’s life and legacy, John Guy considers the factors that have given rise to such claims concerning More’s significance. Who was the real Thomas More? Was he the saintly, self-possessed hero of conscience of Robert Bolt’s A Man for All Seasons or was he the fanatical, heretic-hunting torturer of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall? Which of these images of More has the greater historical veracity? And why does this man continue to fascinate, inspire and provoke us today?

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scarweatherCourtesy of NetGalley again. My addiction to these British Library Crime Classics re-issues continues unabated. Doesn’t Dorothy L Sayers sound like a total stuck-up book snob in this quote? And yet, oddly, she also sounds just like me… 😉

The Blurb says:  John Farringdale, with his cousin Eric Foster, visits the famous archaeologist Tolgen Reisby. At Scarweather – Reisby’s lonely house on the windswept northern coast of England – Eric is quickly attracted to Reisby’s much younger wife, and matters soon take a dangerous turn. Fifteen years later, the final scene of the drama is enacted. This unorthodox novel from 1934 is by a gifted crime writer who, wrote Dorothy L. Sayers, ‘handles his characters like a “real” novelist and the English language like a “real” writer – merits which are still, unhappily, rarer than they should be in the ranks of the murder specialists.’

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Sherlock Holmes on Audio

sherlock-holmes-stephen-fryWOW!! Courtesy of Audible via MidasPR. Stephen Fry narrating the complete Sherlock Holmes stories, including the long ones? How could I possibly resist that?? Over 70 hours of listening pleasure to dip in and out of. I shall start with The Valley of Fear, I think, since it’s also on my Classics Club list. Stephen Fry is up against Derek Jacobi though – until now my favourite Holmes narrator. Will Jacobi be knocked off the top spot??

The Blurb says: “…it was reading the Sherlock Holmes stories as a boy that first turned me on to the power of writing and storytelling.” (Stephen Fry)

Ever since he made his first appearance in A Study In Scarlet, Sherlock Holmes has enthralled and delighted millions of fans throughout the world. Now Audible is proud to present Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes: The Definitive Collection, read by Stephen Fry. A lifelong fan of Doyle’s detective fiction, Fry has narrated the complete works of Sherlock Holmes – four novels and five collections of short stories. And, exclusively for Audible, Stephen has written and narrated nine insightful, intimate and deeply personal introductions to each title.

He writes: “Popular fiction offers different kinds of superheroes to save the world by restoring order to the chaos, confusion and criminality of our times. Heroes with remarkable gifts are as in vogue now as they have been since they first appeared, perhaps even more in vogue. But although the very first one was launched in serial published form just like his masked and body-suited successors, it was not in DC or Marvel comic books that he made his appearance; rather it was in the sedate and respectable pages of Mrs Beeton’s Christmas Annual in the mid-Victorian year 1887.”

Stephen Fry is an English actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, comedian, television presenter, film director and all round national treasure. He is the acclaimed narrator of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter audiobooks and most recently recorded The Tales of Max Carrados for Audible Studios. Stephen has contributed columns and articles to newspapers and magazines, appears frequently on radio and has written four novels and three volumes of autobiography.

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads or Audible.

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

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48 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 114…

  1. Stephen Fry would be a wonderful voice to listen to – our paths haven’t crossed yet. And yet I imagine Jacobi is no slouch either. Loved him as Cadfael. Did he voice any of those as audios?
    I went to the town library today and they had one Jane Casey on the shelf, but it was the 6th Maeve story so I will wait until the earlier ones are back from loan. I have already 4 more books in my arms than I intended to borrow anyway. 🙂


    • I’ve listened to Stephen Fry in a few things, though I’m struggling to think what at the moment. He did some of the Jennings books which I loved in childhood and thoroughly enjoyed revisiting. And I’ve wanted to listen to the Harry Potter books for ages, but just don’t see how to fit them in! Phew! Fortunately Jacobi has only done a few abridged versions of Cadfael – I had a horrible feeling I was going to end up adding zillions of them to my TBR there…

      Oh, I hope you manage to get book 1 soon. I’m glad you didn’t take book 6, since it kinda ties up the running storyarc so is full of spoilers for earlier books. Plus it’s my least favourite of the entire series… still good, but there were things about it that annoyed me…


  2. I am quite impressed, FictionFan! Your TBR down by 2? That calls for a reward, if you ask me. As to what’s coming up, I can see why you’re so much enjoying the British Library’s Crime Classics. There are some great ones there, and I like the fact that many aren’t the ‘big names’ you think of when you think of Golden Age crime fiction. Lots of opportunity to explore other authors’ work.


    • I agree – some well deserved chocolate fudge cake, I think! The Crime Classics are great and I love reading these fogotten authors. Some are better than others, of course, but so far they’ve all been fun in one way or another. They seem to have been hugely successful for the BL too.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Sherlock Holmes sounds brilliant! Gotta admit, I get so used to freebies sometimes I forget to be grateful, but I was thrilled to be offered that one. Haha – Sayers was so snobby about crime writing, but since I am too then I’m happy to go with her recommendation… 😉


  3. I don’t usually listen to books — there’s something so *gratifying* about feeling the pages and smelling old book or new book scent! — but the Sherlock Holmes is one to catch my eye. You’ve done so well at reducing your TBR. I’ve finally finished Brooklyn, and it was delightful — thank you for recommending it!


    • I don’t either, really – I used to when I had a long commute. But I’ve been trying to train myself to get back into it, because there are some fabulous narrations these days – lots of really top class actors doing a lot of the classics. They’ll never replace “proper” books for me though. The Sherlock Holmes one looks brilliant – and the short stories are just the right length for listening to. Oh, I’m so glad you enjoyed Brooklyn! Colm Toibin is one of my favourite authors – I haven’t read anything of his that I didn’t love! Have you seen the movie? It’s great too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All of these appeal to me…….. Oh Dear!
    I didn’t know that Stephen Fry had recorded the Max Carrados books, so I’ve actually picked up one more than your list!


    • I’ve had the Max Carrados one for ages but still haven’t got around to listening… hmm, maybe I’ll do one for a Tuesday ‘Tec post. The stuff that’s coming out on Audible these days is great – the whole audiobook thing has really taken off, and they’re getting some great narrators for all kinds of books. I just wish I was a better listener – I can only do short doses or my attention wanders…


  5. I have never doubted your iron self-control, and that plummet proves your mettle, I’m getting worried now after a sudden influx of books after the fog cleared.
    I almost feel responsible for Lorna Doone winning the spin but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it more than I did! I do like the sound of the narrated Sherlock stories, and Stephen Fry is a great narrator so I’ll be keen to hear who you rate highest in the narrating stakes…


    • *preens* Yes, I’m definitely the Queen of Willpower… till next week! Haha! Well, the mean side of me hopes you get millions because I don’t like it when I’m ten books ahead of you… 😉

      Oh dear – Lorna Doone! Oh, well, maybe I’ll love it. Right? *sobs quietly* At least, I’ll be able to turn to Stephen if it gets too much for me – it’ll be hard to beat Jacobi though since I think he’s a fabulous Watson… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Of these, Scarweather is the most tempting, especially since it has the Dorothy Sayers Seal of Snobbery… er, Approval, I mean!

    I say a piece of cake is in order after your TBR fell by two whole books! Congrats!


    • I like the sound of Scarweather too – and while these Crime Classics are variable in quality, they’re always fun. Haha! I always think she sounds like such a book snob, and then realise she’s saying exactly the kind of thing I say frequently on the blog… I shall hang my head in shame and try to be kinder… 😉

      Yummy – chocolate fudge cake, for definite! While I’m reading, of course… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m excited about your 70 hours of sherlock holmes. I always think about the person narrating these-how can they talk for that long? Talking in a sound booth for hours on end sounds exhausting to me…


    • I know! And they make it sound so easy, the good ones! I reckon I couldn’t do it for more than about ten minutes without my voice beginning to squeak. I love the idea of having the entire Holmes collection to dip into – can’t wait to get started… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, yes! Please bake me some! It’s a long book so you’d better bake lots and lots… 😉 I’m thrilled to bits about the Holmes – favourite ‘tec and one of my favourite narrators – lucky me! 😀


  8. I like that there’s an archaeologist in Scarweather, but Sherlock Holmes sounds more exciting because I’ve been wanting to get to that for a while. Now I’m excited to hear what you have to say about it. Congratulations on the TBR list! 🙂


    • The Sherlock Holmes sounds as if it’ll be wonderful – can’t wait to get to it! I love the Holmes stories and always enjoy Stephen Fry, so my expectations are ridiculously high… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Legendary will of iron is the word (are the words?), FictionFan – I am prostate with admiration… I seem to remember Lorna Doone was on the required reading list at my English school, but luckily I left before I got to Year 11 or whenever we were supposed to read it.


    • Yes, that’s me, the ultimate Queen of Willpower! Till next week, anyway… 😉

      My Dad always claimed Lorna Doone was his favourite book, so I feel under serious pressure to like it. Which I suspect is why I’ve been avoiding reading it for so long…


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