TBR Thursday 149…

Episode 149…

A tiny drop in the TBR since I last confessed – down 1 to 223. But it’s the beginning of a massive fall, I’m certain. Any day now…

Here are a few more that will soon bounce to the top…

Factual

Courtesy of Duke University Press via NetGalley. There was a time not so long ago when I believed America had begun to escape from its racially divided past. Recent events have disabused me of that notion. So unfortunately this feels quite timely…

The Blurb says: One August night in 1931, on a secluded mountain ridge overlooking Birmingham, Alabama, three young white women were brutally attacked. The sole survivor, Nell Williams, 18, said a black man had held the women captive for four hours before shooting them and disappearing into the woods. That same night, a reign of terror was unleashed on Birmingham’s black community: black businesses were set ablaze, posses of armed white men roamed the streets, and dozens of black men were arrested in the largest manhunt in Jefferson County history. Weeks later, Nell identified Willie Peterson as the attacker who killed her sister Augusta and their friend Jenny Wood. With the exception of being black, Peterson bore little resemblance to the description Nell gave the police. An all-white jury convicted Peterson of murder and sentenced him to death.

In Murder on Shades Mountain, Melanie S. Morrison tells the gripping and tragic story of the attack and its aftermath—events that shook Birmingham to its core. Having first heard the story from her father—who dated Nell’s youngest sister when he was a teenager—Morrison scoured the historical archives and documented the black-led campaigns that sought to overturn Peterson’s unjust conviction, spearheaded by the NAACP and the Communist Party. The travesty of justice suffered by Peterson reveals how the judicial system could function as a lynch mob in the Jim Crow South. Murder on Shades Mountain also sheds new light on the struggle for justice in Depression-era Birmingham. This riveting narrative is a testament to the courageous predecessors of present-day movements that demand an end to racial profiling, police brutality, and the criminalization of black men.

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Vintage Crime

Courtesy of NetGalley. Colin Watson’s Flaxborough series was one of the great joys of my youth, and it’s shameful that he’s never made an appearance on my blog to date. (It’s so tragic to think that my youth now counts as ‘vintage’, but moving swiftly on…) For a long time they’ve been quite hard to get hold of, so I’m delighted to see that Farrago are issuing Kindle versions of some of them – I hope maybe all of them eventually. This is one I haven’t re-read in a long time…

The Blurb says: Tuesday nights have suddenly turned quite ridiculously noisy in the country town of Chalmsbury, where the good folk are outraged at having their rest disturbed. It begins with a drinking fountain being blown to smithereens – next the statue of a local worthy loses his head, and the following week a giant glass eye is exploded. Despite the soft-soled sleuthing of cub reporter Len Leaper, the crime spate grows alarming. Sheer vandalism is bad enough, but when a life is lost the amiable Inspector Purbright, called in from nearby Flaxborough to assist in enquiries, finds he must delve deep into the seamier side of this quiet town’s goings on.

Witty and a little wicked, Colin Watson’s tales offer a mordantly entertaining cast of characters and laugh-out-loud wordplay.

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Scottish Classic

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. This is one of the books on my Classics Club list, so I was delighted to be given the chance to read it in the OWC edition – the introductions are always great for helping to put these classics in their literary and historical contexts. It goes without saying that I’m ashamed that I’ve never read this one before…

The Blurb says: One of the supreme masterpieces of Romantic fiction and Scottish literature, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner is a terrifying tale of murder and amorality, and of one man’s descent into madness and despair. James Hogg’s sardonic novel follows a young man who, falling under the spell of a mysterious stranger who bears an uncanny likeness to himself, embarks on a career as a serial murderer. The memoirs are presented by a narrator whose attempts to explain the story only succeed in intensifying its more baffling and bizarre aspects. Is the young man the victim of a psychotic delusion, or has he been tempted by the devil to wage war against God’s enemies? The authoritative and lively introduction by Ian Duncan covers the full range of historical and religious themes and contexts, offers a richer and more accurate consideration of the novel’s relation to Romantic fiction than found elsewhere, and sheds new light on the novel’s treatment of fanaticism. Copious notes identify the novel’s historical, biblical, theological, and literary allusions.

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Pop Science on Audio

The first, I believe, of this style of book that attempts to explain the complex science of the universe in ways that are accessible to the non-scientists among us. It was written to go with Sagan’s famous TV series of the same name, which I’ve never seen – my fascination with this subject is of fairly recent date. As a plus, one of the narrators is LeVar Burton, the lovely Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation

The Blurb says: Cosmos is one of the bestselling science books of all time. In clear-eyed prose, Sagan reveals a jewel-like blue world inhabited by a life form that is just beginning to discover its own identity and to venture into the vast ocean of space. Featuring a new Introduction by Sagan’s collaborator, Ann Druyan, and a new Foreword by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos retraces the fourteen billion years of cosmic evolution that have transformed matter into consciousness, exploring such topics as the origin of life, the human brain, Egyptian hieroglyphics, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, the evolution of galaxies, and the forces and individuals who helped to shape modern science.

Includes introductory music: Heaven and Hell by Vangelis from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage used with permission from Druyan-Sagan Associates, Inc. 

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NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads or Audible.

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

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37 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 149…

  1. Oooh! Bump In The Night and the James Hogg are instantly appealing! Vintage is my favourite type of anything so you are in good company, FF. I’m sure I would enjoy Shades Mountain too – although I always find it makes me sad to realise that some sectors of society really haven’t changed that much at all, despite these supposed enlightened times. Geordi La Forge could get me interested in just about anything!

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    • My brother recommends the Hogg (which is usually the kiss of death as far as I’m concerned, but never mind 😉 ) I think you’d love the Flaxborough books – they’re very you-ish! Lots of sly humour and fun being poked at what goes on behind respectable net curtains. In one of them, there’s actually a group of girls called the Lucys! They’re promoting washing-powder from what I recall. I think that’s in Broomsticks Over Flaxborough – my favourite of all the books. 😀 (Shades Mountain has been abandoned – the ARC was so badly formatted it was unreadable. Grrr!)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well I must certainly give the Flaxborough books a spin – especially if they have a group of Lucys! I’m sure they are a wonderful, upstanding bunch of young ladies… ahem…
        Shame about Shades Mountain… feel a bit sorry for the author but the foremost thing about a book is that it has to be readable. Does this mean a classic FF scathing review is in the pipeline..?! *gets hopes up*

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        • Naughty flirts, if memory serves me right… must be the name that does it! 😉

          Haha – sorry! I didn’t make it past the first para so just send some rather pointed feedback to the publisher. I haven’t written a really scathing review for ages… maybe I should re-read Moby-Dick…

          Liked by 1 person

    • It’s great, isn’t it? I hope she sued them! 😉 Haha – no I haven’t read it, but if it ends with a world with no new books then it ought to be listed under horror stories… 😀

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  2. You’ve definitely got some tempting ones there, FictionFan! The Morrison sounds interesting, if difficult to read. That said, though, I’m glad that authors don’t let us forget how much work we still have to do as a society. On a lighter note, I love the title, A Bump in the Night. I’d be interested in that one on that score alone!

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    • I had to abandon the book about race because the ARC was so badly formatted unfortunately. I think it may be the first time I’ve abandoned a book on the first page! 😉 Bump in the Night should be brill – I love the Flaxborough books, they’re so wickedly funny. Too long since I re-read them…

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  3. The only one of these I haven’t read is the Morrison, so that would be my choice. I’ll be interested in what you make of the Hogg – not only have I read the book, I saw the opera staged (this justly neglected work………).

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    • Unfortunately the advance copy of the Morrison turned out to be so badly formatted, I’ve abandoned it. Grrr! Hahaha – I hope it’s only the opera that’s just neglected and not the book! Though ForeignFilmFan enjoyed it, I believe, which probably means I’ll hate it… 😉

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  4. Still chuckling over that meme! The only one I’d gravitate to here is Cosmos. I watched bits and pieces of it on TV eons ago and I’ve always been fascinated by space. Plus, Sagan’s descriptions are awesome!

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  5. I have read The Private Memoirs and Confessions, in that same OWC edition. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of it as I really enjoyed it, but remember it being quite challenging and like nothing else I’ve ever read!

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    • Oh, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it! I’m a bit apprehensive because my brother liked it and our tastes are sooo different! 😉 But at least the OWC intro will fill me in on all the stuff I don’t understand… I hope!

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  6. I’ve read the James Hogan book, back in university unfortunately so I don’t remember a darn thing about it. I’m sure it will be somewhat interesting at the very least, although I don’t know how fast it will go. That science book on the other hand-Geordie La Forge as narrator? Can’t go wrong there! LOL

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    • I’m ashamed I’ve never read The Private Memoirs – I’m so under-read in Scottish literature! It sounds as if I could either love it or hate it from the blurb… Ha! Yes, I love the idea of Geordie talking to me about the universe… kind of like a dream date, really… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner sounds really interesting. I’m always looking to read more Scottish lit, so I’ll be adding this one to the wishlist for sure.

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    • I’m always totally ashamed at how little Scottish lit I’ve read, so am making an effort to read some of the classics. The Private Memoirs does look interesting, if a little weird… but I’m hoping the intro will explain it to me if I get too baffled… 😉

      Thanks for popping in and commenting. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Another publisher does do paper copies, but it’s one of those print-on-demand things and, firstly, most of them are ridiculously overpriced and, secondly, I found the quality was rubbish – pages would fall out halfway through! So I stopped after I’d bought two or three of them. I hope someone does do a proper reissue – they deserve it…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Regretfully, most of these are very tempting. I KNEW I should just have skipped over this post….. *S continues to mutter darkly for some while about not needing to read EVERY post, EVERY email that’s clogging up my inbox, and look what’s happened now….. grumble*

    😉 😀

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    • Hahaha – you might be lucky – maybe I’ll hate them all! I had to abandon the factual one over formatting issues, so that’s one down – three to go… 😉

      Now, get back to your emails – and make sure you read EVERY ONE!!

      Like

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