TBR Thursday 137…

Episode 137…

Well, last time I admitted that my TBR had gone up to a horrifying 212, and cheered myself up by saying it could be worse.

How right I was! It’s now at 217 218!

Still, could be… aaaarghhhhhh!!! Noooo!!!!! Help Me!!!!!!

Oh, I beg your pardon! I’ll be fine once I’ve had my medicinal chocolate. Meantime, here are a few that are at the front of the pack…


Courtesy of NetGalley. The latest entry in Elly Griffith’s Stephens and Mephisto series, set in the rather seedy world of seaside variety theatre in post-war Brighton…

The Blurb says: What do a murdered Brighton flowerseller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? One thing’s for sure – it could be the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto.

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ current case of the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred…

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Courtesy of NetGalley. I loved Banville’s sparkling prose in his last book, The Blue Guitar, so am hoping I’ll love this just as much…

The Blurb says: A rich historical novel about the aftermath of betrayal, from the Booker prize-winning author.

‘What was freedom, she thought, other than the right to exercise one’s choices?’

Isabel Osmond, a spirited, intelligent young heiress, flees to London after being betrayed by her husband, to be with her beloved cousin Ralph on his deathbed. After a sombre, silent existence at her husband’s Roman palazzo, Isabel’s daring departure to London reawakens her youthful quest for freedom and independence, as old suitors resurface and loyal friends remind her of happier times.

But soon Isabel must decide whether to return to Rome to face up to the web of deceit in which she has become entangled, or to strike out on her own once more.

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Courtesy of NetGalley. This is one of the books for my Murder, Mystery, Mayhem challenge. I seem to have been seeing a lot of reviews for Michael Innes’ books recently – there seems to be something of a revival of interest in him. Time to find out why…

The Blurb says: The members of St Anthony’s College awake one bleak November morning to find the most chilling of crimes has happened in their quiet, contained college. Josiah Umpleby, President of the college, has been shot in his room during the night.

The college buzzes with supposition and speculation. Orchard Ground and the lodgings are particularly insulated: only a limited number of senior staff have access and even fewer have their own keys.

With the killer walking among them, Inspector John Appleby of the New Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. As tensions rise and accusations abound, can Appleby determine which of the seven suspects had motive and malice enough to murder a colleague in cold blood?

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Audible Original Drama

Courtesy of Audible via MidasPR. Having loved Audible’s dramatisation of Treasure Island so much, I couldn’t resist trying their new dramatisation of Northanger Abbey. Being an out-of-touch old codger, I don’t recognise most of the young cast, but the linking narration is done by the wonderful Emma Thompson…

The Blurb says: A coming-of-age tale for the young and naïve 17-year-old Catherine Morland, Northanger Abbey takes a decidedly comical look at themes of class, family, love and literature. Revelling in the sensationalist – and extremely popular – Gothic fiction of her day, the story follows Catherine out of Bath to the lofty manor of the Tilneys, where her overactive imagination gets to work constructing an absurd and melodramatic explanation for the death of Mrs Tilney, which threatens to jeopardise her newly forged friendships.

This Audible Originals production of Northanger Abbey stars Emma Thompson (Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy and BAFTA winner, Love Actually, Harry Potter, Sense and Sensibility), Lily Cole (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Snow White and the Huntsman, St. Trinian’s), Douglas Booth (Noah, Great Expectations, The Riot Club), Jeremy Irvine (Warhorse, The Railway Man, Now Is Good), Eleanor Tomlinson (Poldark, The Illusionist, Alice in Wonderland) and Ella Purnell (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Never Let Me Go, Kick-Ass 2), amongst others.

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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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78 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 137…

  1. I am certainly tempted by the Innes and I have the Banville on my must read pile, however, much as I love her Ruth Galloway series I haven’t warmed to Griffiths’ Mephisto novels so I can’t help you there I’m afraid.

    • I’ve only read one Banville but loved his writing. I’ve been meaning to backtrack to some of his earlier stuff, but as usual have left it so long he’s now got a new one out! The reviews I’ve been seeing of Innes make me think that should be a good read – fingers crossed. But I have to disagree on Griffiths – I’ve really tired of poor old Ruth and her eternal unrequited love, and have been thoroughly enjoying the Mephisto books… 🙂

  2. Jumping up and down in excitement! Three reasons.

    You mentioned a ‘Christmas’ book – it’s on the way! 😀

    You mentioned a booker prize winner that I’ve never heard of. (Notice my avoidance of the difficult choice between ‘who’ and ‘whom’.) This give me a plausible excuse to spend time reading up on him – much more urgent and important than the washing up.

    And – here’s where I got really excited – I know all bar one of the Northanger cast. Clear evidence that despite the recent birthday, I am not yet an out-of-touch old codger! Woo hoo! 😀 😀 😀

    (S pulls the blanket over her head and retires to the cage for a quiet moment or two….)

    • Hahaha – glad to have got you so excited! 😀 I hadn’t even realised the Griffiths book was a Christmas one – I was so excited at a new one in the series I grabbed it without really looking at the blurb. What fun!

      I’ve only read one of Banville’s books and not the Booker one, but I loved his style – such beautiful turns of phrase and so witty. I have high hopes for this one.

      Hahaha – I’m both im-pressed and de-pressed by that. Happy for you but now feel even more codgery – must brush up on yoof kulchur before it’s all too late… Still, at least I know who Emma Thompson is… 😉

      • 😀 Watch Poldark. Tell yourself you’re watching Eleanor Tomlinson’s Demelza. There might be the occasional glimpse of Aiden Turner’s chest…. don’t be distracted…

        Or just revel in knowing who Emma Thompson is. She’s probably unrecognised by the yoof of today and needs our support 😉

        • Banville – forgot to comment on him now I’ve learned who he is. An Irish writer…. enough said. What is it about irish writers and language. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on this latest read. And have added him to my list of writers I ought to experience at least once.

          • They do seem to have a kinda natural talent for wonderful prose, don’t they? The only one I can recommend to you so far is The Blue Guitar – some long-term Banville fans felt it was a bit light, but it was the lightness of it that I loved…

        • Oooh, but… I’m really very easily distracted, you know! However, sometimes distraction can be a good thing… 😉

          Hahaha – it always appals me when I say something like “I loved Marc Bolan” and some young thing says “Who’s Marc Bolan?” Makes me want to slap on extra wrinkle cream… 😀

  3. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the Mephisto books too and have read The Vanishing Box – my review to follow soon. This one hasn’t appealed as much as the earlier ones, but I did like it. I read the Innes book a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I thought it was masterly and needed lots of concentration. And the Barnes’ book appeals to me – I’ve enjoyed the few book of his that I’ve read.

    • I love the post-war Brighton setting and anything about the theatre always appeals to me. But I’m so far behind it’ll still be weeks before I get to it, so I’ll have time to check out your review first. Oh, that’s good to know about the Innes – I’m almost sure I read some of his books way back in my teens but as usual remember nothing about them… not even whether I enjoyed them! Ah, it’s a Banville, not a Barnes – I’ve only read one of his books before but loved it, so fingers crossed…

  4. Definitely Northanger Abbey! Love the book, and having watched that clip, I already love the cast. I remember the weird 1987 movie adaptation. *shudders* 😣 😖 😫

    As for the climb in your TBR list, it will be okay. Just keep taking that chocolate and you’ll be fine.

    • I loved the cast too – again, like with Treasure Island, they look as if they really had fun making it, and I was intrigued to know they actually do it together – I had wondered if they were all in separate studios just doing their own lines. Can’t wait to get to it! Ha – I haven’t seen the movie, and it sounds like I’ve been lucky… 😉

      The problem is I need so much chocolate these days I’m afraid of causing a world shortage…

  5. Here you are *passes you some chocolate – just for medicinal purposes, mind.* Feel better? 😉
    As to the books, I hope you’ll like the Innes. I thought it was an interesting example of one of those Golden Age novels where the focus is on alibis and where everyone was and so on. And it has a real sense of the uni atmosphere of that time. And Emma Thompson narrating Northanger Abbey? How on earth could you resist that?

    • Phew! Thank you – I needed that! The postman had just been, and I was feeling quite faint again… 😉

      I’m looking forward to the Innes – everyone who’s read any of his stuff seems to admire him, and I like these complicated mysteries, trying to break the alibis and so on. And if Northanger Abbey is half as much fun as Treasure Island was, then it will be a real treat!

    • NetGalley and these British Library Crime Classics which I seem incapable of resisting! Haha – I’m glad for you – it’s always a treat to visit a blog and escape unscathed… 😉

    • I’m fairly sure I read one or two from your shelves back in the day but really don’t remember them at all – sounds good though! And I’m looking forward to the Griffiths too – a nice historical crime sounds just about right at the moment… 😀

  6. Can you please stop tempting me with all those awesome Audible Originals? I don’t want to restart my Audible membership. It’s expensive, and I’m happy with the audios I can get through the library. But how can one resist Emma Thompson???

    • Haha – sorry about that! I know – they’re ridiculously expensive really. I’m so lucky to get freebies via the publicity company, because I wouldn’t be able to afford them as one-off purchases and also don’t want to get back into a membership deal. I wonder if they do the same kind of publicity thing on your side of the pond – worth asking? In the beginning they offered me specific books which often didn’t interest me, but now that I’ve built up a relationship with them, they let me pick more or less any book I want, which is fab.

  7. I’m excited for you to read Northanger Abbey. It’s so full of silly drama because the author was making fun of the genre at the time. According to my spreadsheet, I have no books to review for Grab the Lapels that were sent to me by an author. Hooray! If I look at Goodreads, though, I’ve marked 360 books that I would like to read. Only a small handful are ones I want to buy. The rest I either own or are available at one of my local libraries (I’m lucky; there are a LOT of libraries around here). Therefore, it’s easy to put books on that Goodreads list!

    • I love Northanger Abbey! It’s so witty and Catherine is such a likeable heroine. And Emma Thompson always seems to me to ‘get’ Austen – she really brings out all the wit and has such a gorgeous speaking voice. Should be great, I hope!! 😀 Woohoo – well done! I’m impressed! I think I have about 33 review copies at the moment, but from NetGalley and publishers rather than directly from authors (which I avoid). Haha – I avoid starting a wishlist at GR – I’m bad enough with the one on Amazon! But the wishlist doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the TBR – it’s actually owning all these books and not having read them that does my head in… *stuffs another bit of chocolate in mouth*

    • That’s good to know – I haven’t come across any reviews of it yet. I’ve only read his last one, which I loved – his prose is wonderful. I’ve been meaning to backtrack to some of his earlier stuff, but you know how that goes… 😉

  8. I enjoyed Hamlet, Revenge by Michael Innes and would like to read more of his books, so I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on Death at the President’s Lodging. I was tempted by the Banville book on NetGalley a while ago, but didn’t succumb – I wonder if I’ll regret that decision when I see your review!

    • Innes seems to be enjoying something of a revival at the moment, and every review I’ve seen has been positive, so I’m looking forward to sampling him. Hope I don’t end up having to add all his books to my TBR though! Ha – well, meanly, I hope you do end up regretting the Banville because that will mean that I’ve loved it… 😉

  9. Once you’ve gone over 200, you might as well just give in to all temptation. I did that about 20 years ago. 🙂

    The Banville tempts me most. Especially because I still haven’t read any of his books. But the Northanger Abbey sounds wonderful, too! I hope it is!

    • Hahaha – I must admit I seem to have been hit by a great feeling of freedom since I fell over the 200 barrier… 300 here I come! 😉

      I have high hopes of the Banville – if it’s as good as his last one, he’ll be earning a place on my favourites list. And Northanger Abbey is almost certain to be great with Emma Thompson in it – she really seems to understand the Austen wit. 😀

  10. Death at the President’s Lodging sounds pretty good to me. Not that I need to add anything else to my list, of course! And I so love the clip of the dog with his blanket — I rather feel just like that today!!

    • Everyone who’s read Death at the President’s Lodging seems to have enjoyed it, so fingers crossed! Haha – I love that dog gif. Not the first time it’s appeared, and it won’t be the last – some days it just sums up how I feel… 😉

    • I re-read it not long ago and loved it just as much as before – it’s such a light, witty novel. And Emma Thompson seems like the perfect choice for narrator. Haha – I’m glad I’m not alone with not knowing the younger ones! They look like a great bunch though, and as if they had a lot of fun making it… 😀

  11. I’ve read the Innes and was very fond of it: but bear in mind this was during my period when I was really, really homesick for Cambridge and thought I’d never get the chance to study abroad again.
    As for review copies, I really don’t want to start counting mine… and so many dates to juggle!

    • That’s good to hear – everyone who’s read him seems to rate him, so I have my fingers crossed! It’s funny – you sound so English when you speak I had to think for a moment before realising that of course Cambridge was ‘abroad’ to you!

      Ugh – I know! I used to try to review on publication date but I’ve been way too far behind for that for well over a year now…

  12. Hey, my TBR is still worse 😀 but hey. I only got 2 books in the last two weeks! That’s like… unheard of, in terms of the last few years. Hope is shining on the horizon!
    And I should read Northanger Abbey for sure 🙂 just one of those books that you’ve been planning to read for forever…

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