TBR Thursday 131…

Episode 131…

Woohoo! The TBR has dropped down another 1 to 194! Admittedly this is mainly due to abandoning books rather than reading them – I’m spending so much time staring at the news like a rabbit at a snake that my reading is down to almost nil at the moment. As is my reviewing – I have such a backlog of unwritten reviews that I may have to disappear for a bit soon till I have something ready for posting.

Talking of abandoning things, I’ve finally abandoned the 20 Books of Summer challenge. Since I abandoned five out of the first ten books, I guess my list wasn’t as much fun as I anticipated, and I’m now so far behind on it I can’t be bothered even trying to catch up. I’ll still be reading the other books but… no deadlines! I hope my fellow participants are doing better!

Here are a few that should get to the top of the heap soon, if I ever get back to my normal reading patterns…

Factual

For the Reading the Russian Revolution Challenge, this is apparently a highly biased eye-witness accounts of events as recorded by a British journalist…

The Blurb says: This first-person chronicle by John Reed, a legendary journalist who was present at the flash point of the Russian Revolution in 1917, provides an intense and informative eyewitness account of one of the greatest events of the twentieth century.

Capturing the spirit of those heady days of excitement and idealism, Reed’s true-to-life account follows many of the prominent Bolshevik leaders, as well as vividly capturing the mood of the masses. Verbatim reports of speeches by leaders, and comments of bystanders — set against an idealized backdrop of the proletariat united with soldiers, sailors, and peasants — are balanced by passionate narratives describing the fall of the provisional government, the assault on the Winter Palace, and Lenin’s seizure of power.

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Sci-Fi

For the Classics Club. This is a re-read, but from so many years ago I have only the vaguest memory of it. If the blurb sounds like a million other sci-fi/fantasy books, that’s because they’ve all copied this one…

The Blurb says: For twelve thousand years the Galactic Empire has ruled supreme. Now it is dying. But only Hari Sheldon, creator of the revolutionary science of psychohistory, can see into the future–to a dark age of ignorance, barbarism, and warfare that will last thirty thousand years. To preserve knowledge and save mankind, Seldon gathers the best minds in the Empire–both scientists and scholars–and brings them to a bleak planet at the edge of the Galaxy to serve as a beacon of hope for a fututre generations. He calls his sanctuary the Foundation.

But soon the fledgling Foundation finds itself at the mercy of corrupt warlords rising in the wake of the receding Empire. Mankind’s last best hope is faced with an agonizing choice: submit to the barbarians and be overrun–or fight them and be destroyed.

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Crime

Another one for the Classics Club and another re-read. I don’t read much American police-based crime because the obsession with guns bores me – give me an obscure South American poison any day! (Well, not literally, you understand…!) But I remember enjoying this series long ago, so hope it might live up to my memories…

The Blurb says: As a cop with the city’s famed 87th Precinct, Steve Carella has seen it all. Or so he thinks. Because nothing can prepare him for the sight that greets him on a sweltering July night: fellow detective Mike Reardon’s dead body splayed across the sidewalk, his face blown away by a .45.

Days later, Reardon’s partner is found dead, a .45-caliber bullet buried deep in his chest. Only a fool would call it a coincidence, and Carella’s no fool. He chalks the whole ugly mess up to a grudge killing…until a third murder shoots that theory to hell. Armed with only a single clue, Carella delves deep into the city’s underbelly, launching a grim search for answers that will lead him from a notorious brothel to the lair of a beautiful, dangerous widow. He won’t stop until he finds the truth—or until the next bullet finds him.

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Adventure

Something a bit lighter for the Reading the Russian Revolution Challenge. This comes high up on the Goodreads list of books set during those events…

The Blurb says: THE GOLDEN SABRE is a 1981 novel written by award-winning Australian author Jon Cleary. During the Russian Revolution of 1917, an American mining engineer and English governess flee across country.

In the Russia of 1917 Matthew Cabell, an American oil prospector, befriends a Russian Prince and Princess and their English governess. Their journey across Russia to the Caspian Sea, in the family Rolls Royce, is full of wild adventure and narrow escapes.

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads or Amazon UK.

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

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36 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 131…

  1. I know what you mean about rabbit at a snake or deer in the headlights or whatever the current metaphor is. Yet life and reading must go on! Perhaps this explains your abandonment of books lately, though.
    I do believe Ten Days that Shook the World is a classic, although I have to confess I haven’t read it, so that one tempts me most.

    • I’m sure it is why I’ve been abandoning books all over the place – my concentration levels are so low that it’s taking either something special or something familiar and comforting to hold my attention. Maybe I’ll go back to some of these abandoned ones sometime when life is more normal – whatever that is!

      Yes, Ten Days is one of the ones that appears on every list of books about the Revolution, and it is frequently quoted in every history book I’ve read, including Trotsky’s own. So it seems like an essential read…

  2. It’s the opposite for me. I’m actively trying to avoid the news which means I’m reading more.

    Sorry to hear the 20 books of summer challenge didn’t work out for you. It happens.

    • I’m going to have to break my fixation because it’s definitely affecting my overall mood and concentration levels. I’m sorry about the 20 Books but I wasn’t getting anywhere and it was beginning to make what little reading I’m doing feel like work. Next year!

  3. Life is far too short for bad books at the best of times. I’m reading constantly and burying my head in the sand about current affairs. Happy to say none of your picks tempt me this week, my list is at an all time high.

  4. Ah, Asimov’s Foundation novels! My husband resident Asimov expert claims that’s his best series, FictionFan. I hope you’ll enjoy it. And you’ve got some Ed McBain, too. I admit to bias, but I do like that series. Now, go reward yourself with a piece of chocolate for whittling that TBR pile down yet again! 🙂

    • Your resident Asimov expert is clearly a man of impeccable taste! I loved the Foundation series back in my youth and am looking forward to reacquainting myself with it. And the same goes for Ed McBain – I read loads of them in my teens and thoroughly enjoyed them, so fingers crossed I still will. Ah, yes – chocolate! You’re right, I do deserve some… 😉

  5. I’m also avoiding the news, I just can’t stand all the back and forth. Hope you get caught up on your reviews…I hate when I have several waiting to be written, it makes me enjoy my reading time less!

    • I wish I could avoid it – I seem to be addicted! But I’m going to have to make a determined effort because incessantly watching it doesn’t make it any better. Some of my unwritten reviews are getting so old I may have to re-read the books… 😉

  6. Congrats on abandoning that challenge and decreasing your TBR list. This calls for special chocolate. Hope you have some chocolate truffles at hand. I might have to find some myself to celebrate your achievement.

    The Golden Sabre sounds intriguing. 😀 To think that was 100 years ago! Wow!

    • Haha – I like your attitude! Chocolate truffles are definitely required – for medicinal purposes, obviously… 😉

      It does – I’m in the mood for a good adventure story. A bit of escapism…

  7. Sorry to hear about the reading challenge. All the best with your reviews. I am four books behind and already worried that I will forget stuff because I don’t make notes when writing.

    • Ah well, it just didn’t work out this summer, but there’s always next year! I do make notes but even so, the longer I leave it the harder I find it to write a review – generally speaking I try to do it within a couple of days of finishing when the book is still fresh in my mind. Some of these are getting so old I might have to re-read them… 😉

  8. I used to really like Ed McBain’s books and a few years ago thought I’d read some of his. I read Cop Hater and loved it, but haven’t picked up any more since. It’s a real step back in time to the 1950s. Hope you enjoy this one.

    I’m not doing too well withe the 20 Books of Summer challenge – or in my case the 10 books of summer – I’ve read 6. I don’t think I’ll read the other 4 before 3rd September.

    And I’m sick and tired of the news – too much bad stuff in the world!

    • It’s literally decades since I last read an Ed McBain so I’m intrigued to see how they’ve held up – and whether my tastes have changed too much to go back in time. Fingers crossed!

      I think this summer has just been too hard to really concentrate on reading challenges. When the news is so disturbing I can only really concentrate on lighter stuff or familiar re-reads, so I’m just going to go with that flow for a bit till I get back into the mood for heavier stuff. Oh well, we’ll all have another chance with this challenge next year…

  9. “give me an obscure South American poison any day! (Well, not literally, you understand…!)
    The sort of throwaway witticism that usually makes me spill hot tea on myself as i burst out in a snort of laughter – you are a very dangerous writer.
    Cleary and McBain – two favourite authors from my teenage years! Cleary in particular wrote so many different styles of novels, although I favoured the boys-own adventure ones.

    • Hahaha – sorry about that! I just had this sudden vision of BigSister slipping snake venom into my Christmas pudding this year… 😉

      Ah, that’s good to hear! As far as I can remember I haven’t read Cleary before but his stuff does sound appealing and I’m in the mood for a good old-fashioned escapist adventure yarn – don’t know why I don’t read more of that kind of thing. I also loved McBain in my teens so I’m hoping I still will – it’s been a loooooong time!

  10. The only one of these I haven’t read is the Cleary – to my knowledge I’ve never read anything of his, so that would be the one.
    I agree about the news – Barcelona! 😦

    • I’m surprised – I thought you’d have read some Cleary for sure back in the day. I don’t think I have either but I’m quite in the mood for a good escapist adventure yarn.

      Oh, I know – there are no words left…

    • I have to be a butterfly when it comes to reading – if I try to read too much of any one genre I run out of steam. I’m behind on the Classics Club too and I seem to be knocking off all the short light ones instead of knuckling down to some of the heavyweight fiction. Oh well! I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end… 😉

  11. I’m not doing very well with my 20 Books of Summer list either. I’ve read 12 and I think 15 is the most I can realistically hope for now. The Golden Sabre sounds intriguing…I’m definitely tempted by that one!

    • I think so much has been happening this summer it’s affecting us all to some degree, but you’ve done better than me and I’m (fairly) sure Cathy won’t hit us. 😉 I’m looking forward to The Golden Sabre – I’m in the mood for something light and escapist. I may bump it up to the top of the list…

  12. I’m now at the stage where I have to close my eyes and ears to the news – it’s all too much!!
    As for the 20 books of summer challenge, if I’m lucky I might just sneak over the finishing line for the first time although I have outstanding reviews to write from June for books outside the challenge which is just depressing because my note-taking is pants (I prioritised cocktails over clear and legible notes) But at least your TBR is falling *snigger* by one!

    • I know – and it gets worse every day. I’m going to make a major effort to stop watching. It’s definitely affecting my mood and concentration, which I don’t feel can be a good thing! Ooh, well done! I’ve never made it but I usually get to within one or two books except for this year. Ha! I do take notes but even so if I leave it more than a couple of weeks I find it really hard… and some of my outstanding ones are from much longer ago than that. Don’t you snigger at me, madam – you wait! I’ll be beating you any day now… 😉

  13. Last week was HORRIBLE and I, too, was sucked into news and Twitter and it drove my concentration into the toilet. But I’m doing better this week. It’s so understandable about the 20 Books. I knew when I signed up that sticking to a list of 20 books was going to be a superhuman effort for me, and I went ahead and signed up anyway. I’m going to continue (after the deadline of course) but my list is pretty unrecognizable from the original! 🙂

    The McBain sounds interesting. I’ve never read those before.

    • The news just lurches from bad to worse at the moment and I can’t seem to just ignore it however hard I try. I should know better than to join in with the 20 Books – really I hate challenges with deadlines, and shouldn’t sign up for them. Must try to remember that for next year! I hate to fail… 😉

      I read a lot of the McBains many years ago and thoroughly enjoyed them, but whether they’ll have stood up to the test time I don’t know – but I’ll soon find out!

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