TBR Thursday 142… on Tuesday!

Episode 142…

Well, I wasn’t proposing to do another TBR post till after the annual FictionFan Awards, but I’ve been on a real reading kick for the last few weeks which means I’m powering through the books I had lined up quicker than expected, and I’ve been the lucky recipient of some fab books that I’d really like to fit in before Christmas. (Tragically this means the TBR has leapt up again to 218, but you know what? I don’t care!)

So here they are…

Magical Crime

Courtesy of NetGalley. One of my favourites of the lighter crime series, starring stage magician Eli Marks. This isn’t due out till January but I won’t be able to wait till then. (Although the blurb makes this sound like a cosy, in truth the books always seem to me a little too gritty to really fall into that category, and they’re always excellently plotted, usually with a nod to Golden Age style. There is lots of humour in them though.)

The Blurb says: What does Eli Marks have up his sleeve this time? Well, let me tell you, no matter the mystery, his sleight of hand always does the trick.

Eli’s trip to London with his uncle Harry quickly turns homicidal when the older magician finds himself accused of murder. Not Uncle Harry! A second slaying does little to take the spotlight off Harry. Instead it’s clear someone is knocking off Harry’s elderly peers in bizarrely effective ways. But who? The odd gets odder when the prime suspect appears to be a bitter performer with a grudge…who committed suicide over thirty years before. While Eli struggles to prove his uncle’s innocence—and keep them both alive—he finds himself embroiled in a battle of his own: a favorite magic routine of his has been ripped off by another hugely popular magician.

What began as a whirlwind vacation to London with girlfriend Megan turns into a fatal and larcenous trip into the dark heart of magic within the city’s oldest magic society, The Magic Circle. No one does intriguing magic and page-turning humor like John Gaspard. Pick it up and see if you can figure out the trick first.

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Classic sci-fi

Courtesy of the publisher. I’ve loved a few of these Oxford World’s Classics issues of some of the greats of science fiction and horror over the last couple of years, because the introductions really enhance the stories by setting them in their literary and historical context. So I begged a copy of this – one I’ve wanted to re-read for a while…

The Blurb says: One of the most important and influential invasion narratives ever written, The War of the Worlds (1897) describes the coming of the Martians, who land in Woking, and make their way remorselessly towards the capital, wreaking chaos, death, and destruction.

The novel is closely associated with anxiety about a possible invasion of Great Britain at the turn of the century, and concerns about imperial expansion and its impact, and it drew on the latest astronomical knowledge to imagine a desert planet, Mars, turning to Earth for its future. The Martians are also evolutionarily superior to mankind.

About the Series For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.

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Gorgeously Factual

Courtesy of Yale University Press. Somehow I always feel the ideal Christmas season requires a lavishly illustrated, gorgeous factual book and this fits the description perfectly. It’s not just pretty pictures though…

The Blurb says: Beginning with new evidence that cites the presence of books in Roman villas and concluding with present day vicissitudes of collecting, this generously illustrated book presents a complete survey of British and Irish country house libraries. Replete with engaging anecdotes about owners and librarians, the book features fascinating information on acquisition bordering on obsession, the process of designing library architecture, and the care (and neglect) of collections. The author also disputes the notion that these libraries were merely for show, arguing that many of them were profoundly scholarly, assembled with meticulous care, and frequently used for intellectual pursuits. For those who love books and the libraries in which they are collected and stored, The Country House Library is an essential volume to own.

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Award-winning Fiction

The Saltire Society’s Literary Awards are Scotland’s premier awards for fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I already had a copy of this one courtesy of the lovely people at Saraband, so was thrilled to hear last week that it has won the award for First Book of the Year 2017. So I really have to bump it up to the top of the TBR… and another gorgeous cover, isn’t it?

The Blurb says: Ian McEwan’s Atonement meets Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth in this extraordinary debut.

A novel set between the past and present with magical realist elements. Goblin is an outcast girl growing up in London during World War 2. After witnessing a shocking event she increasingly takes refuge in a self-constructed but magical imaginary world. Having been rejected by her mother, she leads a feral life amidst the craters of London’s Blitz, and takes comfort in her family of animals, abandoned pets she’s rescued from London’s streets.

In 2011, a chance meeting and an unwanted phone call compels an elderly Goblin to return to London amidst the riots and face the ghosts of her past. Will she discover the truth buried deep in her fractured memory or retreat to the safety of near madness? In Goblin, debut novelist Dundas has constructed an utterly beguiling historical tale with an unforgettable female protagonist at its centre.

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads, Amazon UK or NetGalley.

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

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36 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 142… on Tuesday!

  1. How annoying, these are all really tempting! I love the sound of the Gaspard, quite clearly my sort of thing. I think combining magicians and murder is an excellent idea and I would have liked Jonathan Creek a lot more if Alan Davis wasn’t in it. No offence to him, he just irritates me. Did you know the original choice for the role was Rik Mayall? That would have been quite something. Anyway. War Of The Worlds is gloriously disturbing and I think, as an island nation, that fear of invasion is something that niggles us all subconsciously. A factual, illustrated book about libraries? What more needs to be said! I can see me curled up with this by the fire, shovelling chocolate orange into my face and nodding off here and there. Perfect. I didn’t want to like Goblin, but by the end of the blurb I was keen to read it. Pah. A stellar selection, FF!

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    • They do all look fab, don’t they? Sometimes I look at my TBR posts and wonder what was I thinking? But other weeks, like this one, I think ooh, aren’t I lucky?! I used to like Jonathan Creek when it was Caroline Quentin, but gave up when she left – Alan Davis is a nice enough chap but *whispers* he’s not really a very good actor… Rik Mayall would have been great! I wonder why he turned it down. Hahaha – when was it that chocolate oranges became the spirit of Christmas – that picture sounds just like my festive plan! Goblin doesn’t sound my kind of thing at all, but Saraband sent me a little batch of books and the two I’ve read so far have both been brilliant and probably not ones I’d have picked for myself… I’m hoping Goblin will be the same. Plus I love that cover so much… 😀

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  2. Oh, the Gaspard looks terrific, FictionFan! There is just something about a magician, isn’t there? I may have to check out that series, myself (not that my own TBR has a lot of room in it *sigh*). And I’ve always wanted a real home library – the kind you read about in those ‘country house’ mysteries. I’ll bet that Yale University Press book’s gorgeous.

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    • I love these Gaspard books – he’s manages to combine really excellent plotting with a lot of humour. Plus… magic! The library book is gorgeous – I haven’t started reading it yet but I couldn’t resist flicking through to look at the pictures. Of course, I shall be examining the rugs for blood stains… 😉

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    • Don’t they? It’s a long time since I read WotW so I’m looking forward to that. Oddly, I’ve hardly read any Verne – I really must put that right sometime… when I’ve got a minute! Hahaha – I think she’s set off the annual festive chocolate orange addiction – I’m going to have to make a special supermarket run today now to stock up…

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  3. All of those are! My goodness! I disliked the movie adaptation of The War of the Worlds which starred Tom Cruise, preferring the 1953 version. Never read the book though.

    I love coffee table books. The Country House Library is one I might have to own.

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    • Yes, the Tom Cruise movie was… different! I may watch it again, though, after I re-read the book. Can’t remember if I’ve seen the earlier one, but I love the Jeff Wayne concept album with Richard Burton…

      It’s gorgeous, isn’t it? But it’s making me kinda jealous, as I look round at the heaps of unshelved books…

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  4. YES!! No wonder your TBR keeps growing — with selections like these, who could refuse?? Not sure if I ever read The War of the Worlds, but it seems I saw the movie (or at least pieces of it). I probably should re-read that one. And I didn’t want to like Goblin, but it sounds like a strong first novel.

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    • Great batch, isn’t it? Some weeks I can’t remember why I asked for the books, but all of these really appeal. I loved The War of the Worlds but it’s years since I read it, so it’ll be good to revisit it. And Goblin could go either way, I think – but it definitely sounds intriguing. And great cover!

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  5. You are a temptress 😉 so I’m not even going to chuckle about the number this week.
    I would read any of them even the one I’d normally say no to but I am most drawn to The Country Library and Goblin which sounds very intriguing.

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    • I’ve given up! I might as well build it up before I write this year’s resolutions… 🤣 I really want to get stuck into Goblin but I’ve vowed to read The Catcher in the Rye next and save all these as a reward… 😉

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  6. I’m feeling like you these days about the state of my TBR. It’s well over 400 now and I just don’t care! With the way the world’s going, why stress about my TBR? (But I won’t let it get over 500! She says now…) 😉 Anyway, this week, I am safe – although you got me with your Modern Crime Awards post, so…

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    • Yeah, I realised that the bigger it is at the end of the year the easier it’ll be to achieve next year’s New Year’s resolutions… so I’m having a little spree… 😉 Ah, I shall see if I can capture you when I review them… 😂

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    • I’m looking forward to re-reading The War of the Worlds. Sometimes I think these comparisons to other books backfire – Goblin wouldn’t be my usual choice but it does sound intriguing and the publisher seems to find really excellent authors, so fingers crossed!

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  7. I’m suddenly interested in H.G. Wells since reading A Lady and her Husband and learning about Wells’s affair with Amber Reeves. Of course, that has nothing to do with the book… except that the person who wrote the preface says he wrote her into many of his books.

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  8. A lovely plumptious TBR indeed! I like the look of the libraries one, oddly enough! I’m shattered at the moment so although I have lots of fascinating books on my TBR, I’m leaning towards picking off all the easy novels …

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    • A great batch! Yes, I know what you mean – life gets so exhausting at this time of year that heavy reads are sometimes too much. I think that’s partly why I like the lavish coffee table style book – flicking through the pretty pictures is sometimes as much as my poor tired mind can cope with… 😉

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