TBR Thursday 144…

Episode 144…

All fired up and ready to smash the TBR! You’re going to be amazed by how dramatically it’s going to fall over the next few weeks! You do believe me, don’t you? Don’t you?? It’s currently standing at 214.

Here are a few I’ll be getting to very soon…

Crime

(Isn’t that the most dreadful cover ever produced? Since the title is well-nigh illegible, it’s Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith.) For the Classics Club and because I’m fed up with being the last person living who hasn’t read it…

The Blurb says: In Patricia Highsmith’s debut novel, we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith’s perilous world – where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.

The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction and proved her mastery of depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

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Vampire!

Courtesy of the publisher, Saraband. I was sent an unsolicited copy of this. Normally, I avoid vampire stories like the plague (Hmm! Is that a pun, I wonder?). But I’ve read a few Saraband publications recently, a couple of them well outside my comfort zone, and have thoroughly enjoyed them all, so will they be able to do it again? We’ll see…

The Blurb says: “A flint-hard, gorgeously written nightmare.” Laird Barron. One night in 1980, a man becomes a monster. Travis Stillwell spends his nights searching out women in honky-tonk bars on the back roads of Texas. What he does with them doesn’t make him proud – it just quiets the demons for a little while. But when he crosses paths with one particular mysterious pale-skinned girl, he wakes up weak and bloodied, with no memory of the night before. Finding refuge at a lonely motel, Travis develops feelings for the owner, Annabelle, but at night he fights a horrible transformation and his need to feed. A riveting new vampire story for fans of Cormac McCarthy, Joe Hill and Anne Rice.

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Fiction

For the Reading the Russian Revolution Challenge. This sounds wonderful, so I really hope it lives up to my high expectations – fingers crossed!

The Blurb says: In The Man Who Loved Dogs, Leonardo Padura brings a noir sensibility to one of the most fascinating and complex political narratives of the past hundred years: the assassination of Leon Trotsky by Ramón Mercader.

The story revolves around Iván Cárdenas Maturell, who in his youth was the great hope of modern Cuban literature—until he dared to write a story that was deemed counterrevolutionary. When we meet him years later in Havana, Iván is a loser: a humbled and defeated man with a quiet, unremarkable life who earns his modest living as a proofreader at a veterinary magazine. One afternoon, he meets a mysterious foreigner in the company of two Russian wolfhounds. This is “the man who loved dogs,” and as the pair grow closer, Iván begins to understand that his new friend is hiding a terrible secret.

Moving seamlessly between Iván’s life in Cuba, Ramón’s early years in Spain and France, and Trotsky’s long years of exile, The Man Who Loved Dogs is Padura’s most ambitious and brilliantly executed novel yet. This is a story about political ideals tested and characters broken, a multilayered epic that effortlessly weaves together three different plot threads— Trotsky in exile, Ramón in pursuit, Iván in frustrated stasis—to bring emotional truth to historical fact.

A novel whose reach is matched only by its astonishing successes on the page, The Man Who Loved Dogs lays bare the human cost of abstract ideals and the insidious, corrosive effects of life under a repressive political regime.

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Factual on Audio

Off to Antarctica for the Around the World in 80 Books Challenge. What little I know about Shackleton comes from the old Channel 4 production starring Kenneth Branagh, and I seem to have forgotten everything about it! So this might read as much like an adventure story as a factual book to me – I’m hoping so, anyway…

The Blurb says: The astonishing saga of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas, as Time magazine put it, “defined heroism.” Alfred Lansing’s scrupulously researched and brilliantly narrated book — with over 200,000 copies sold — has long been acknowledged as the definitive account of the Endurance’s fateful trip. To write their authoritative story, Lansing consulted with ten of the surviving members and gained access to diaries and personal accounts by eight others. The resulting book has all the immediacy of a first-hand account.

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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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65 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 144…

    • Hurrah – I thought I was the last of a dying breed! 😉 Isn’t it awful? It doesn’t even suggest anything to me about what kind of book it might be – ugh! Fortunately, I’m expecting the insides to be better than the outside…

      Liked by 1 person

      • How embarrassing – can I join your tiny club of peeps who have not read it???
        But more intrigued am I by ‘The Valley of The Sun’ … you’ve had me looking on amazon for it and I was hoping to pause in my books purchases for a few weeks 🙈

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        • Haha! Welcome to the club – it turns out there’s more members than I thought! 😉

          Yes, In the Valley of the Sun isn’t my usual kind if thing at all, but for some reason the blurb really intrigues me…

          Thanks for popping in and commenting! 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  1. *reads post through fingers in case any more interesting books tempt me* I have also never read Strangers on a Train, nor have I seen the film. For some reason I thought it was one of those naughty movies. But it does sound rather good and Hitchcock did have an eye for such things. Another Russian one! Hurrah! Thanks to you, I have become a full-on fan of the Russian Revolution so I particularly look forward to your review of this. As with the vampire one – vampire things are definitely not my thing either but I trust your instincts. I shall be interested to see how that one turns out.
    214! This, dear FF, is utter madness 😀

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    • Ooh, all these other people who’ve not read it are crawling out of the woodwork – I’m not alone after all! The film is wonderful – one of my top 5 films of all time (though I feel I’ve said that about 100 films at least). That’s one of the reason I’ve never read the book – scared it won’t match up. Haha – I get excited every time I see a book about the Russian Revolution too. I’m sure that pesky Trotsky book must have brainwashed me! The vampire one – hmm! Well, we’ll see! Oh, 214 is only a couple of years worth – no problem! (Note to self: don’t tell her about the other 200 on the wishlist…)

      Liked by 1 person

      • You are never alone, FF! Especially not when it comes to the ‘classics’. Who even decides what constitutes a classic, anyway? Damn Hitchcock for being such an excellent film maker – he ruins the book versions for the public!!
        There… there’s a… wish list?! *faints* Forward, brave comrade, into the battles with page and pen! (I don’t really know what that means, but it sounds revolutionary 😉 )

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        • Yes, “classics” is a funny old word – can mean anything really. I think I shall be a classic from now on! Haha – fortunately Hitch messes with the stories so much usually the books still come as a surprise, and I’ve heard people say he’s changed this one quite a lot!

          More than one wishlist, I fear… but that’s a good thing! Imagine if I OWNED all the books I want to read! *faints*

          Liked by 1 person

          • You are certainly a classic!! I’m going declare my books ‘classics’ as well, then maybe kids will be forced to study them in school. Goodness knows what that would do for the future of English Literature…
            You could build a house out of all the books and invite Anthony Horowitz to live there!!

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            • Haha – the kids would have far more fun than we had studying things like All Quiet on the Western Front! I reckon my own house will collapse from the weight if I add too many more…

              Liked by 1 person

    • Somehow the Ripley ones have never appealed to me despite so many people I trust praising them. Maybe if I love this one – and I have high hopes that I will – that’ll persuade me to read more of her stuff…

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  2. Oh, I predict you’ll have that TBR completely smashed in just a few weeks, FictionFan! *snicker* – about when I get through my own… *sigh* – I’ll especially be interested in what you think of the Padura. In my opinion, he has a very different sort of writing style, and adds a real sense of atmosphere to his work.

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    • I’m stunned by how many people haven’t read it – I’ve had the impression for ages that everyone but me had! Yes, I’m looking forward to the inside despite the outside too… 🙂

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  3. I want to read Strangers on a Train. I loved The Kind Worth Killing! thanks for making me add to my tbr…hehe

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  4. The TBR piles toppling over…and it’s going away….OK, I’ll cross my fingers for that. (ha!) STRANGERS ON A TRAIN – haven’t actually read the book – have seen the movie and read Peter Swanson’s updated version THE KIND WORTH KILLING. Oh, and I’ve joined the Classics Club and have my post up today for it. Am doing it ‘kay’-style. Thought about putting this book on the list, but passed over that one. ENDURANCE has been on my list for quite a while. I’m pretty fascinated with anything about the Arctic or Antarctica. Happy New Year to you!!

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    • Haha – this is the year I take control of that pesky TBR! 😉 Oh, I hope you enjoy the Classics Club – I’m loving it. I’ll be over to look at your list later! Yes, I like stories about the Arctic and Antarctic too – the last great wildernesses – perfect for adventures! Happy New Year – good to see you back blogging. 🙂

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    • It sounds great, doesn’t it? And I’ve heard lots of good things about the quality of his writing. It’s a serious brick, though! Really looking forward to Strangers – great excuse to re-watch the film. Yeah, the vampire one… hmm! But Saraband are proving to me that they really seem to have high standards in terms of writing and originality…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love the film – up there in my Top 5 movies of all time! That’s the plan, if I enjoy the book enough, which I’m hoping I will. 🙂

      Endurance sounds great – I’ve only listened to the first chapter but I think the narrator’s going to be good too.

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  5. I’ve read, but not seen, Strangers on a Train, and the Shackleton looks interesting. Living where I do, polar exploration comes up on a daily basis.

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    • I’m the other way round – love the film, haven’t read the book. Ha! I’m thinking Shackleton and the lads got off lightly – apparently Minnesota is currently colder than Mars! 😉

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  6. I haven’t read Strangers on a Train either (and that cover wouldn’t make me remedy that, ha!) It sounds pretty fascinating though. As for the vampires, no way. Not interested. I prefer peaceful dreams at night, thank you very much!

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    • The cover’s terrible, isn’t it? What were they thinking?? If the book’s as good as the film, it should be a treat! The vampire one will be well outside my comfort zone but this publisher has a good track record with me for quality, so I’ll see how I get on…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Good to see Strangers on a Train even with that horrendous cover – bizarrely I’m also intrigued with the book about Shackleton.
    I fear that you think by growing everyone else’s TBRs you are somehow shrinking your own 😂

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  8. I’M SO GLAD YOU’RE FINALLY GOING TO READ STRANGERS ON A TRAIN! *crazy happy dance*

    Also, can I just say: FINALLY, someone else besides me is going to review a vampire book. I was starting to feel silly!

    Finally, did you mean SarabandE books? I’ve read a few of theirs and really enjoyed them, including This is Not Your City by Caitlin Horrocks and Limber by Angela Pelster. In fact, the publisher sent me the copy of Limber. It was this crazy tree story/essay sort of work with a press release on paper made out of seeds that you could plant.

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    • HAHA – ME TOO!!! *dances along*

      I never read vampire books but this one sounds intriguing enough for me to at least give it a try. No, different publisher – how confusing that there should be two with such similar names! Saraband tends to concentrate on a lot of new Scottish writing, which is what attracted me to them. They also publish as Contraband, which seems to be their crime imprint. And so far I’ve been hugely impressed with the quality and originality in their catalogue…

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  9. You didn’t get me this week – but only because Strangers on a Train is already on my TBR, ha ha! 🙂 I just watched the movie for the first time last week. It was… underwhelming. I’m hoping the book is better.

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  10. Ugh the cover of that first book-yikes! It literally hurts my eyes. I think Endurance will be a good one to listen to, hopefully the narration sounds as action-packed as the blurb!

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  11. If it makes you feel better you aren’t the last person because I haven’t read Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. Actually I haven’t watched the film either and that is more shocking as I am a big fan of Hitchcock. Both book and film do sound great. 😀

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    • Hurrah! I’ve been surprised in fact by how many people haven’t read it – I really thought it was one of those books everyone had, except me. The film is brilliant – one of my favourites. I shall hopefully be doing a comparison assuming I enjoy the book… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I also haven’t read Strangers on a Train, but think the book is already on the shelf (phew – but as the books are three deep on the shelf it’s difficult to check !!) The film is good.
    Thankfully I’ve read enough about Shackleton not to be tempted this time, but the vampire one is calling – not because of the blood sucking horror, but the ‘human’ dilemma story. Well written vampire books are another example of people coping with moral & physical peril.

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    • Haha – fortunately my shelf is mostly Kindle, so easier to search through! Everything I hear about the book suggests it’s a classic, so fingers crossed!
      I don’t know much about Shackleton, so I’m enjoying this one. But the vampire one intrigues me a lot – I too thought the blurb sounded more interesting than simply a vampire horror story. I’m always happy to go outside my comfort zone if something intrigues me… fingers crossed again! (I’ll have arthritis soon at this rate… 😉 )

      Like

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