TBR Thursday 153…

Episode 153…

The drop in the TBR continues for the sixth week in a row – down 1 to 218! OK, maybe not the biggest dive in the world, but still…

Here’s another batch of some that are teetering on the edge…

Short Stories

Courtesy of Pushkin Press via NetGalley. The only Chekhov I’ve read is one short, and pretty dire, detective story, (though I’ve enjoyed performances of some of his plays), so I’m hoping this collection will convince me his reputation as a master of the short story is deserved…

The Blurb says: New translations of the greatest stories by the Russian master of the form.

Chekhov was without doubt one of the greatest observers of human nature in all its untidy complexity. His short stories, written throughout his life and newly translated for this essential collection, are exquisite masterpieces in miniature.

Here are tales offering a glimpse of beauty, the memory of a mistaken kiss, daydreams of adultery, a lifetime of marital neglect, the frailty of life, the inevitability of death, and the hilarious pomposity of ordinary men and women. They range from the light­hearted comic tales of his early years to some of the most achingly profound stories ever composed.

* * * * *

Crime

Just published, the latest in Margot Kinberg’s Joel Williams series. Many of you will know Margot through her excellent blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist

The Blurb says: They Said It Was a Tragedy. They Said It Was an Accident. They Lied.

Second Chance is a Philadelphia alternative school designed for at-risk students. They live on campus, they take classes, and everyone hopes they’ll stay out of prison. And then one of them dies. When Curtis Templeton falls from a piece of scaffolding near the school, it’s called a tragic accident. A damned shame. A terrible loss. And everyone moves on.

Two years later, former police detective-turned-professor Joel Williams and two of his colleagues do a study of Second Chance for a research paper. When they find out about Curtis’ death, they start asking questions. And no-one wants to answer them.

The search for the truth takes Williams and his research partners behind the scenes of for-profit alternative education – and straight into the path of someone who thought everything would stay buried.

* * * * *

Fiction

This has been sitting on my Kindle since March 2013, from back in the good old days when the Booker used to showcase Commonwealth talent rather than being just another small cog in the American cultural domination machine. I don’t really know why it’s taken so long to reach the top of the heap, because it sounds very much my kind of thing…

The Blurb says: Winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize & Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

A powerful, taut and intense tale of a friendship overshadowed by betrayal, set against the tawdry hopes and disappointments of a post-apartheid South Africa.

When Laurence Waters arrives at his new post at a deserted rural hospital, staff physician Frank Eloff is instantly suspicious. Laurence is everything Frank is not-young, optimistic, and full of big ideas. The whole town is beset with new arrivals and the return of old faces. Frank re-establishes a liaison with a woman, one that will have unexpected consequences. A self-made dictator from apartheid days is rumoured to be active in cross-border smuggling, and a group of soldiers has moved in to track him, led by a man from Frank’s own dark past. Laurence sees only possibilities-but in a world where the past is demanding restitution from the present, his ill-starred idealism cannot last.

* * * * *

Scottish Crime

Courtesy of Severn House via NetGalley. I read surprisingly little Scottish crime (too many of them portray a grim, violent, gun-totin’, gangster-ridden culture I don’t recognise) so this will be my introduction to Caro Ramsay’s work. I can only hope it’s better edited than the blurb, which I’ve copied exactly from Goodreads…

The Blurb says: When a six-week-old baby is stolen from outside a village shop, Detective Inspector Costello quickly surmises there?s more to this case than meets the eye. As she questions those involved, she uncovers evidence that this was no impulsive act as the police initially assumed, but something cold, logical, meticulously planned. Who has taken Baby Sholto ? and why?

Colin Anderson meanwhile is on the Cold Case Unit, reviewing the unsolved rape of a young mother back in 1996. Convinced this wasn?t the first ? or last – time the attacker struck, Anderson looks for a pattern. But when he does find a connection, it reaches back into his own past . . . 

* * * * *

NB All blurbs taken from Goodreads.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

47 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 153…

  1. Well, it’s a move in the right direction, at least! It’s all about those small victories…
    I haven’t read much Chekhov but I’ve never been dazzled by the little I have, so I will be interested to see your review of this. Chuffed to see the fabulous Margot making an appearance! It sounds like a super yarn and very much my sort of thing. The blurb from Ramsey’s book is interesting. Let’s be generous and hope it is a horrible oversight from somewhere along the line. But secretly I am hoping it is a one-star wonder… 😉

    Like

    • Yes… except the postman’s been since I posted this… *kicks book-shaped cardboard box under settee*

      Interesting – a couple of commenters have said much the same about Checkov… could this be heading for a 1-star??? I’m looking forward to Margot’s book. Great cover, isn’t it? Ha – I feel I may comment to the publishers that a tatty blurb might put potential purchasers off… I’m sure they’ll be delighted to get my pearls of wisdom… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Those blasted postmen – it’s a conspiracy, I tell thee!
        I thought I was just being a bit dim and missing the point with Chekhov, which could still prove to be the case. I’m glad I’m not the only one! Margot’s cover looks superb indeed 🙂
        Seriously, a blurb that bad really will put people off, which would be a great shame if it’s actually a good book. I reckon that if that’s the case then tell them, but if the book is bad then keep quiet! (After you do a scathing one-star review, obviously 😉 )

        Like

        • He always looks kind of pityingly at me as he hands the parcel over – I suspect he must understand the perils of the TBR. I don’t know why I too the Chekhov, TBH -seemed like a good idea at the time…

          Haha – but I can’t give a Scottish author 1 star! I might get drummed out and forced to seek refugee status in England – fate worse than death… 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, FictionFan 🙂 – I do hope you’ll enjoy it. You’ve got some good stuff there, too. I’ll be especially interested in what you think of the short story collection and of the Caro Ramsay (I must spotlight something by her at some point!).

    Like

    • Looking forward to it, Margot! 😀 I feel I’ve been neglecting contemporary crime and especially Scottish crime too much recently, so I’m looking forward to trying Caro Ramsay – I know she has a good reputation. As for the Chekhov… well… we’ll see… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I’m so glad I posted this before the postman delivered this morning… *kicks book-shaped box under the settee*

      Doesn’t it? And a great cover too… 🙂

      Like

  3. I’ll be waiting for your thoughts on the Chekhov too. My limited experience of his work (entirely short stories so far) has left me somewhat baffled. I feel like I’m missing something here. But now I’m full of confidence that you’ll enlighten me! 😀

    Like

    • Interesting – I was expecting lots of people to rave about Chekhov but so far the response has been… muted. Haha – thank you for your confidence! I’m sure I’ll have something to say about it anyway… 😉

      Like

  4. Down is better than up!
    Chekhov wrote detective stories? – who knew!
    The Kinberg sounds good – I enjoyed the last one.

    Like

    • Unless you’re flying over the Atlantic… 😉

      Yeah, there was one of his stories in one of the BL anthologies – hmm! My advice would be that he shouldn’t give up his day job! I’m looking forward to Margot’s new one… 🙂

      Like

    • Yes, this is the fourth in the series! Sometimes I wonder why all my friends are so much more talented than me… 😉 I’ve been meaning to try Galgut for years – I have my fingers crossed for it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Margot’s book is a must, but Chekhov’s short stories don’t really tempt me. The blurb for Caro Ramsay’s book looks like some of the typos I had in my blog when I transferred it to WordPress.com – I’m still editing them!

    Like

    • Yeah, I’m not sure why I went for Chekhov’s stories – I’ve kind of lost the notion for them now. But maybe they’ll amaze me! Ha – I shouldn’t be so mean about the typos, but really – you’d think publishers would make sure the blurbs look appealing…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Two from this list particularly intrigue me — Margot’s book and the Scottish crime story. I’m not sure you can go wrong with either one! I haven’t read much Chekhov, but these short stories might be good for when one doesn’t have a lot of time for reading. (What am I saying?? We MAKE time for reading, don’t we?!)

    Like

    • I’m looking forward to both the crime ones too – it feels an age since I read some contemporary crime! I’ve sort of lost the notion for the Chekhov stories now, but maybe they’ll amaze me! Ha – I wish I could make twice as much time for reading – then my TBR might keep falling!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ll be interested to hear more about the Damon Galgut book when you read it. I’ve read one of his others, Arctic Summer, and really liked his writing, but the subject (the life of EM Forster) didn’t interest me much. The Good Doctor sounds more appealing.

    Like

    • I’ve been meaning to read some of Galgut’s work for ages – nearly everyone seems to praise his writing and the blurb of this one does appeal to me. Fingers crossed!

      Like

    • I’m looking forward to the Caro Ramsay – I’m beginning to feel the need for some contemporary crime! Yes, it’s pretty impressive, isn’t it? I’ll be down to single figures any time now… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve had a Chekhov collection sitting on my shelves unread for about ten years. Tried a couple of the stories but I was missing the magic I was led to believe existed

    Like

    • It’s funny – he has such a good reputation for short stories and yet everyone who’s commented has been less than overwhelmed. At least it means my expectations are now much lower, which might work in his favour…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. This just isn’t on FF, I rely on your TBR posts to feel better about my own, it can’t keep falling! See if you can do better next week 😀

    I really like Chekhov’s short stories (I don’t think I’ve read the one you mention) and I like Pushkin editions too, so I’m sorely tempted… See, you have to add to your TBR for my sake!

    Like

    • Haha – I’m on a roll, I feel! My sadly neglected willpower seems to be back in full force… 😉

      Well, I’m glad to hear from someone who enjoys him! I was expecting lots of people to encourage me, but every other commenter has been a bit underwhelmed. Still, it’s all piqued my interest… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it’s good to have another vote for Chekhov. I was surprised at how many people commented that they didn’t really like him – I was expecting the complete reverse. If I survive Gone with the Wind (doubtful) I should get to it soonish…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Gone With the Wind! Oh dear. You may never recover. Chekhov can depend on the translation. My understanding is that Payne’s “40 Stories” are the best. I think that’s the one I’ve read.

        Like

        • I’m struggling badly – 4 days and I’m only about a hundred pages in! I think this is a new translation of Chekhov if I remember rightly from the publisher puff – hopefully new might mean good, though it doesn’t always…

          Liked by 1 person

Please leave a comment - I'd love to know who's visiting and what you think...of the post, of the book, of the blog, of life, of chocolate...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.