TBR Thursday 135…

Episode 135…

My TBR has dropped massively this week – down 2 to 212! I’ll be back under that 200 mark before you know it! Unless I acquire any of the zillions of books on my wishlist(s), of course. And we all know about my willpower issues…

Still, could be worse!

So, while I contemplate the great tragedy that I will never know the joy of chewing my own ear (hmm… unless I cut it off first, of course… hmm…), here are a few that should reach the top of the heap soon…

Factual

Courtesy of Princeton University Press. I have this theory that Princeton have a spreadsheet entitled ‘Reviewers who Can’t Resist all the Weird Books Nobody Ever Requests for Review’ and that the single entry on it reads ‘FictionFan’. Why else would they keep offering me books like this?

The Blurb says: In 1953, a man was found dead from cyanide poisoning near the Philadelphia airport with a picture of a Nazi aircraft in his wallet. Taped to his abdomen was an enciphered message. In 1912, a book dealer named Wilfrid Voynich came into possession of an illuminated cipher manuscript once belonging to Emperor Rudolf II, who was obsessed with alchemy and the occult. Wartime codebreakers tried–and failed–to unlock the book’s secrets, and it remains an enigma to this day. In this lively and entertaining book, Craig Bauer examines these and other vexing ciphers yet to be cracked. Some may reveal the identity of a spy or serial killer, provide the location of buried treasure, or expose a secret society–while others may be elaborate hoaxes.

Unsolved! begins by explaining the basics of cryptology, and then explores the history behind an array of unsolved ciphers. It looks at ancient ciphers, ciphers created by artists and composers, ciphers left by killers and victims, Cold War ciphers, and many others. Some are infamous, like the ciphers in the Zodiac letters, while others were created purely as intellectual challenges by figures such as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman. Bauer lays out the evidence surrounding each cipher, describes the efforts of geniuses and eccentrics–in some cases both–to decipher it, and invites readers to try their hand at puzzles that have stymied so many others.

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Crime

Courtesy of NetGalley. I have loved Jane Robins’ true crime books (here and here), so am hugely excited to read her first venture into fiction…

The Blurb says: Felix and Tilda seem like the perfect couple: young and in love, a financier and a beautiful up-and-coming starlet. But behind their flawless facade, not everything is as it seems.

Callie, Tilda’s unassuming twin, has watched her sister visibly shrink under Felix’s domineering love. She has looked on silently as Tilda stopped working, nearly stopped eating, and turned into a neat freak, with mugs wrapped in Saran Wrap and suspicious syringes hidden in the bathroom trash. She knows about Felix’s uncontrollable rages, and has seen the bruises on the white skin of her sister’s arms.

Worried about the psychological hold that Felix seems to have over Tilda, Callie joins an Internet support group for victims of abuse and their friends. However, things spiral out of control and she starts to doubt her own judgment when one of her new acquaintances is killed by an abusive man. And then suddenly Felix dies–or was he murdered?

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Crime

Courtesy of NetGalley. I’m possibly even more hugely excited about this one! The second novel from Jane Harper following her brilliant debut, The Dry. Will it be the tricky second novel? Or will I have to start doing meditation classes to get my excitement under control?

The Blurb says: Five women reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking along the muddy track. Only four come out the other side.

The hike through the rugged landscape is meant to take the office colleagues out of their air-conditioned comfort zone and teach resilience and team building. At least that is what the corporate retreat website advertises.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a particularly keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing bushwalker. Alice Russell is the whistleblower in his latest case – and Alice knew secrets. About the company she worked for and the people she worked with.

Far from the hike encouraging teamwork, the women tell Falk a tale of suspicion, violence and disintegrating trust. And as he delves into the disappearance, it seems some dangers may run far deeper than anyone knew.

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Horror/sci-fi/fiction on audio

A re-read for my Classics Club challenge. I decided to go with the audio version because it’s the wonderful Derek Jacobi doing the reading, possibly my favourite narrator of all time! I think his voice will suit this story perfectly…

The Blurb says: Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation, genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.

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

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29 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 135…

  1. I miss my younger days when I’d visit the local circulating library once a week and borrow a book and a couple of comic-books, read them all, and return for another lot. I didn’t buy books till I was in my twenties.

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    • I was much the same – most of what I read came either from the library or borrowed from my older sister’s bookshelf. I joke about my massive TBR, but actually I loved when a new book was a special treat for a birthday or Christmas – something to treasure and read over and over…

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  2. With Derek Jacobi as narrator, FictionFan, I don’t think you can go wrong with that version of Frankenstein. And the new Jane Harper looks terrific. It is hard for an author when the first novel has been so well-received; I hope you like this one as much. And please, don’t chew off your ear. Unless you want to be in one of those weird tabloids or something. 😉

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    • I shall try to time Frankenstein so he’s reading the scary bits to me over Hallowe’en! I have high hopes for the Jane Harper, but I always feel a bit sorry for authors who’ve had such success with a debut – the pressure of expectations must be so stressful. Fingers crossed! Hahaha – well, everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame… 😉

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  3. Well, this time you’ve got a bucket full of winners!! I’d have a hard time choosing where to start with this list. Each one sounds as intriguing as the next. I don’t think you can go wrong with the Frankenstein though (and to think she wrote it at age 18!!!)

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  4. I’ll be honest, ‘unsolved’ sounds a bit too out there for my taste, but ‘white bodies’ sounds like a good read, even though there is a woman on the front cover (but at least she’s not wearing a red jacket?) LOL

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    • Ha! Somehow I can never resist these quirky books when Princeton offer me them, even though they’re never books I’d actually think of requesting or buying. But mostly I end up enjoying them. Yeah, the blurb of White Bodies makes it sound like one of those psychological thrillers I avoid like the plague, but she’s such a good writer I’m going to put my prejudices in a box under the bed… 😉

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    • I’ve found a marvellous new system for audiobooks! Select one of the “relaxing” videos on youtube and stare at the screen while listening – it increases my concentration levels dramatically. I listened to Treasure Island while watching waves crashing onto a shore. For Frankenstein I may try to find an Alaskan landscape…

      My TBR is seriously out of control now… I’ve given up!

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  5. I am SO excited for the new Jane Harper! I have no clue when it’s coming out in the US, though. It’s funny, my supervisor is reading The Dry right now and she’s *hating* it! She said, “It’s soooo slow!!” We have very different tastes! Oh well.

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    • I’m about half-way through and LOVING it! She’s one of these really readable writers who leads you on from chapter to chapter effortlessly. This works as a standalone, but I also strongly recommend her first one, The Dry…

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