TBR Thursday 141…

Episode 141…

A massive drop in the TBR this week! Down 2 to 217! Well on the way to single figures, see? I may have to stock up on a few more books before I run out…

This might be the last TBR post before Christmas, since the annual FictionFan Awards will be kicking off soon, so here are a few that I’m determined to fit in before year end… somehow or other!

Dickens for Christmas

I’ve had a tradition for many years of reading Dickens over Christmas, which is why I included five of his novels on my Classics Club list. This will be a re-read of one that I love for all the weird and wonderful characters…

The Blurb says: When Nicholas Nickleby is left penniless after his father’s death, he appeals to his wealthy uncle to help him find work and to protect his mother and sister. But Ralph Nickleby proves both hard-hearted and unscrupulous, and Nicholas finds himself forced to make his own way in the world. His adventures gave Dickens the opportunity to portray an extraordinary gallery of rogues and eccentrics: Wackford Squeers, the tyrannical headmaster of Dotheboys Hall, a school for unwanted boys; the slow-witted orphan Smike, rescued by Nicholas; and the gloriously theatrical Mr and Mrs Crummles and their daughter, the ‘infant phenomenon’. Like many of Dickens’s novels, Nicholas Nickleby is characterised by his outrage at cruelty and social injustice, but it is also a flamboyantly exuberant work, revealing his comic genius at its most unerring.

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Crime

I have a lot of very talented blog buddies, which is great for me but a killer for my TBR! Angela Savage is one of them and I’ve been intending to read this, her debut novel from before I ‘met’ her, for ages. She’s written another two in the series and is currently working on a non-series novel, so I better get a move on!

The Blurb says: Thirty-something Australian Jayne Keeney works as a PI in Bangkok. Shaken by a serious incident, she heads north to visit her close friend Didier in Chiang Mai, though there’s no relief for her there.

Murder is in the air and the police, led by Lieutenant Colonel Ratratarn, have no interest in justice. But Jayne does. With some help from Arthur Conan Doyle, she digs deep – past the tacky glamour of the city’s clubs and bars, arrogant expats, corrupt officials, and a steamy affair – to find out just what happened behind the Night Bazaar.

Angela Savage has brought the streets of Thailand vividly to life. In Jayne Keeney she has created a gutsy heroine. This is an unforgettable debut novel and the start of an exciting new series.

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Factual

Courtesy of NetGalley. When The Graduate came out in 1967, I was too young to see it, but I did watch it several times in the following decades. It didn’t have quite the impact on me that this book claims it had on those who saw it when it came out, but nonetheless there are some scenes that are etched indelibly in my memory. And of course, there’s the music…

The Blurb says: When The Graduate premiered in December 1967, its filmmakers had only modest expectations attached to what seemed to be a small, sexy, art house comedy adapted from an obscure first novel by an eccentric twenty-four-year-old. There was little indication that this offbeat story–a young man just out of college has an affair with one of his parents’ friends–would turn out to be a monster hit, with an extended run in theaters and seven Academy Award nominations.

The film catapulted an unknown actor, Dustin Hoffman, to stardom with a role that is now permanently engraved in our collective memories. And just as it turned the word plastics into shorthand for soulless work and a corporate, consumer culture, The Graduate sparked a national conversation about what came to be called “the generation gap.”

Now, in time for this iconic film’s fiftieth birthday, author Beverly Gray offers up a smart close reading of the film itself and vivid, never-before-revealed details from behind the scenes of the production–including all the drama and decision-making of the cast and crew. For movie buffs and pop culture fans, Seduced by Mrs. Robinson brings to light The Graduate’s huge influence on the future of filmmaking, and it explores how this unconventional movie rocked the late sixties world, both reflecting and changing the era’s views of sex, work, and marriage.

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Crime

I have a lot of very talented blog buddies, which is great for me but a killer for my TBR! No, you’re not suffering from déjà vu – this is another one! Caleigh O’Shea is the pen name of my blog buddy Debbie who blogs over at Musings by an ND Domer’s Mom, and this is her newly-released debut novel…

The Blurb says: Texas journalist Josh Griffin lives for scoops, but he’s never faced real danger to get one. Nor has he ever been emotionally drawn into his stories. Then he gets an anonymous tip that teenaged golf superstar Lexi Carlisle has been kidnapped, and Josh embarks on an investigation destined to change his life forever. Lexi Carlisle is the daughter of Josh’s college sweetheart; watching Amanda agonize over her missing daughter while refuting police insinuations that she had something to do with the crime is more than Josh can handle. And when he unravels the web of lies spun by Lexi’s crazed kidnapper — who has killed once and isn’t afraid to do so again — Josh realizes the story takes second place to the girl’s rescue.

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Christmas Crime on Audio

Narrated by Jenny Agutter and Daniel Weyman, doesn’t this sound like perfect festive fun?

The Blurb says: A collection of four short stories from P. D. James, published together for the first time.

As the acknowledged “Queen of Crime”, P. D. James was frequently commissioned by newspapers and magazines to write special short stories for Christmas. Four of the very best of these have been rescued from the archives and are published together. P. D. James’ prose illuminates each of these perfectly formed stories, making them ideal listening for the darkest days of the year.

While she delights in the secrets that lurk beneath the surface at enforced family gatherings, her Christmas stories also provide enjoyable puzzles to keep the reader guessing. From the title story about a strained country-house Christmas party to another about an illicit affair that ends in murder and two cases for James’ poet-detective Adam Dalgliesh, each treats the reader to James’ masterfully atmospheric storytelling, always with the lure of a mystery to be solved.

The four stories are: The Mistletoe Murder; A Very Commonplace Murder; The Boxdale Inheritance; The Twelve Clues of Christmas.

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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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56 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 141…

    • I’m not good at reading books slowly, except factual stuff. With fiction I have to keep up a reasonable speed or I forget the beginning before I get to the end! (I wish I was joking about that! 😉 ) It’s always been one of my favourites because of Wackford Squeers and then the Crummles – two of his best character inventions. Looking forward to reading it again… 😀

  1. Nicholas Nickleby is just one of Dickens’ books I’ve yet to read – looking forward to reading your thoughts about it. I remember seeing a TV adaptation years ago and thinking I’d like to read it – one day I’ll get round to it. 🙂

    • There was a fabulous adaptation many years ago of a theatre version that, I think, the National Theatre put on – I have the DVD somewhere and am looking forward to watching it again too after I read the book. It ran to about nine hours from memory – in the theatre they performed it over three nights. That must have been fun!

  2. Oh, so very glad you’ve got Behind the Night Bazaar to read, FictionFan! It’s a very well-written book, with a real sense of Thailand. And the other two in the series are at least as good. The others on your list look like fine reads, too. See? All of those great books and you’re still reducing the TBR so much! You are much to be admired. You deserve a piece of chocolate for that, I think.

    • I’ve been meaning to read Behind the Night Bazaar for ages but, well, you know how that goes! I’m looking forward to it. 😀 Yes, the TBR reduction is pretty amazing – though the two books that arrived in the post today may have set my plan back a little. I’ll still have that chocolate though… 😉

  3. All of these sound good. Love Nicholas Nickleby! First read it as an undergraduate. So good.

    P.D. James for Christmas sounds scrumptious! That’s a must have!

    • It was one of my first Dickens and I loved it too, but have loved it even more each time I’ve re-read it. Thank goodness for Dickens! 😀

      Doesn’t it? Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a few good murders… 😉

    • Brilliant, isn’t it? Well, it was, anyway, till book post arrived this morning… I’ll still have the chocolate though! 😉 Ah, I’ll see if I can tempt you when I review them! Simon and Garfunkel are fab – I ended up spending hours listening to them last night after looking for this one… 😀

  4. You’ll be down to single digits in no time at all with your legendary willpower… I remember reading Nicholas Nickleby a long, long time ago and not being quite enamoured of it – but I was a flighty child then. And I love that Mrs Robinson song!

    • Could you please write to my postman and explain about the willpower thing? He turned up again this morning with more books – I’ve realised he’s a major part of the conspiracy against me… I do find I love a lot of Dickens more now than I did when I read them back in my teens – I think we voracious readers often read books that are really more suited to the… ahem… more mature reader. So you’re probably still a little young for it… 😉

      • Goodness yes, the books I read in the days before PG and age rating… It has put me off some authors, perhaps undeservedly, but it has also made me appreciate others earlier.
        As for your postman, he should take lessons from mine. Now that I am no longer home to take in his parcels, he generally takes them back to the depot. And I have so little time to go and pick them up from there (it closes early) that I end up ordering fewer books…

        • Yes, me too – and I also read some that I think I possibly only loved at that age and might have hated if I’d waited till now, like DH Lawrence, for example.

          Haha – you need to build a little ‘book-drop’ shed. Our houses all have little bin stores outside that don’t get used for bins any more, and the posties all drop stuff into them. ‘Ware spiders, though… ugh!

  5. Mercy me, I’ve been mentioned in the famous FF blog … and with such impressive company, too. Thanks for the shoutout! Now I expect you to leave your honest opinion about my debut novel — I’m bracing myself! Really, it’s the only way I can learn, so don’t hold back!! Reading Dickens at Christmastime somehow seems right to me — and congrats on reducing your TBR!

    • My pleasure! I’m looking forward to reading it, and shall indeed be honest in my opinion (even though I’m biased!). In the unlikely event I really hated it, I’d tell you privately though, but I’m sure that won’t be the case. 😀 It might be a few weeks yet before I can read/review it though. I love reading Dickens at Christmas – I can’t imagine not, actually!

      • I’m going to hold you to honesty, even if you don’t want to publicly bash it. I’m writing the second in the series now and if the first is just plain awful, I’ll know I have LOTS of work to do!!

        • I will be, Debbie – I know the importance of feedback, but also remember every reader is different – things that bother one might not bother others, so don’t give too much weight to any one person’s opinion… not even mine! 😉 BTW, one piece of feedback – the book was incorrectly listed on Goodreads as Unplayable Life and didn’t have the cover showing. I got them to sort it out but it’s always worth checking the various listings – it wasn’t showing up on a title search, for example, which would make it much harder for people to post reviews there. 😀

  6. Sadly, all of these sound interesting, but my Dickens for Christmas is going to be Pickwick – and A Christmas Carol, of course.
    Well done on the massive reduction to the TBR.

    • I re-read Pickwick two or three years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it all over again. I’m going to see if anyone has done a new audio version of A Christmas Carol to add to my collection, I think… 😀

      • Apropos of nothing, I thought you might like to know that the archive on my Kindle has passed the thousand mark in the six years since you gave it to me – think of all the shelves I’ve saved!

        • Good heavens! Not just shelves – I feel you’ve pretty much saved Dundee! Glad you’ve got so much use out of it – mine is my most essential piece of equipment. I must see how many are on it… 867 apparently, but I’ve had it for a year or so longer. So why does my house still look like the back of a charity shop???

  7. I’d like to read Nicholas Nickleby… actually I’ve just read a few Dickens novels and I have many still to read!
    You deserve two pieces of chocolate for two books down this week! Oooh, that’s dangerous – a chocolate incentive!

  8. Of the six or seven Dickens novels I still haven’t read, Nicholas Nickleby is probably the one I’m looking forward to the most. When I get round to posting my second Classics Club list I’m sure it will be on there. 🙂

    • A worthy contender for your list! Some of his best characters are in it – Wackford Squeers and his awful daughter, the entire Crummles family, and the poor little schoolboys at Dotheboys Hall. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it! I can’t wait to read it again. 😀

  9. the Mrs. Robinson book looks really interesting, I bet you’ll have some good facts you can whip out at Christmas parties after reading that one.

    Hmmm I’ve never read a PD James book,is that maybe because I’m Canadian?

    • I like the look of it too and sometimes these kinda geeky books really work for me. Plus, great excuse to watch the movie again!

      Hmm… perhaps. Or perhaps it’s your unblemished youthful complexion! Haha – she was very popular, over here at least, round about the 80s and 90s but I’m pretty sure a lot of younger readers have never come across her. She is excellent, though like a lot of these English crime authors from ye olden times can be horribly snobbish…

    • It’s falling like a stone now! 😉 I’m looking forward to the Mistletoe Murders having to restrain myself from reading them too early and having nothing festive for the Christmas season!

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