TBR Thursday 158…

Episode 158…

Better news this week, but only a little. The TBR has dropped by a miniscule 1 to 220. Still, it’s just a matter of continuing to take baby steps…

Here are a few more that will slide my way soon…

Vintage Crime

Courtesy of the British Library. This one popped through my letterbox last week out of the blue. I know nothing about either the book or the author, but the blurb makes it sound as if it’ll be a lot of fun! An immoral masterwork? Oooh…

The Blurb says: In this darkly comic, quite immoral masterwork, Edward is an effete, poor young man who has something in store for his only relative, his wealthy aunt. First published in 1934, this classic mystery is considered a masterpiece of the inverted detective story, in which it is known “whodunit.” The question is “how will they catch ’em?” Highly unpredictable, it contains one of the most surprising denouements in all of detective fiction.

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Scottish Fiction

Courtesy of Canongate via NetGalley. Another one I know nothing about other than the blurb, but the Shetland setting appeals and Canongate do a good job in promoting quality Scottish fiction, current and classic, so fingers crossed for this début…  

The Blurb says: Shetland: a place of sheep and soil, of harsh weather, close ties and an age-old way of life. A place where David has lived all his life, like his father and grandfather before him, but where he abides only in the present moment. A place where Sandy, a newcomer but already a crofter, may have finally found a home. A place that Alice has fled to after the death of her husband.

But times do change – island inhabitants die, or move away, and David worries that no young families will take over the chain of stories and care that this valley has always needed, while others wonder if it was ever truly theirs to join. In the wind and sun and storms from the Atlantic, these islanders must decide: what is left of us when the day’s work is done, the children grown, and all our choices have been made?

The debut novel from one of our most exciting new literary voices, The Valley at the Centre of the World is a story about community and isolation, about what is passed down, and what is lost between the cracks.

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More Vintage Crime

Courtesy of NetGalley again. Farrago are gradually reissuing all twelve of Colin Watson’s Flaxborough Chronicles – this is number 4. I’ve read them all before, some of them many times, so am only selecting the ones I haven’t re-read for a long while, but they’re all great fun…

The Blurb says: Whatever can have happened to Lil?

Flaxborough butcher Arthur Spain is worried that his sister-in-law hasn’t been in touch lately, so he pays her a visit. But Lil’s not at home, and by her porch door are a dozen bottles of curdling milk… Alarmed, he calls in the local police, D.I. Purbright and his ever-reliable Sergeant Sid Love.

It transpires Lilian Bannister is the second middle-aged woman in the town to mysteriously vanish, and the link is traced to a local lonely hearts agency called Handclasp House. So when a vulnerable-seeming lady with the charming title of Lucy Teatime signs up for a romantic rendezvous, the two detectives try extra hard to look out for her. But Miss Teatime has a few surprises of her own up her dainty sleeve!

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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Classics Club

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. A few years back, I listened to Heart of Darkness on audio with Kenneth Branagh narrating, during my daily commute. Frankly, I didn’t have a clue what was going on – not a unique occurrence for me with audiobooks, which I find require a different kind of concentration. I decided this was one that needed to be read on paper, so stuck it on my Classics Club list. And to be extra safe, I begged a copy from OWC so that if I still don’t understand it, their intro and notes should help! Plus I get a bonus of ‘Other Tales’…

The Blurb says: The finest of all Conrad’s tales, Heart of Darkness is set in an atmosphere of mystery and menace, and tells of Marlow’s perilous journey up the Congo River to relieve his employer’s agent, the renowned and formidable Mr. Kurtz. What he sees on his journey, and his eventual encounter with Kurtz, horrify and perplex him, and call into question the very bases of civilization and human nature. Endlessly reinterpreted by critics and adapted for film, radio, and television, the story shows Conrad at his most intense and sophisticated.

The other three tales in this volume depict corruption and obsession, and question racial assumptions. Set in the exotic surroundings of Africa, Malaysia, and the east, they variously appraise the glamour, folly, and rapacity of imperial adventure. This revised edition uses the English first edition texts and has a new chronology and bibliography.

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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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53 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 158…

  1. Ha, I love that baby steps gif – you and me both, dear FictionFan, you and me both!
    I have to admit the British Library one does sound tempting – I just like unusual crime narratives.
    As for Heart of Darkness, I know it’s been dissed in recent years for colonial attitudes and there are a few cringeworthy moments and phrases, but overall (like Orwell) this was a man ahead of his time, who shows what a thin concept civilisation is and how easily it can break down. Take it with a huge pinch of metaphorical salt and with memories of the horrors of Belgian Congo…

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    • Haha – I love that gif too – I want that outfit! The BL one sounds like fun so I had to fit it in to the already crowded schedules…

      I’m intrigued by the different reactions to Heart of Darkness. Some people seem to find it quite racist while others seem to think it’s actually anti-colonial. When I listened to it, I didn’t really come to a conclusion because the format wasn’t working for me, despite Branagh’s excellent narration. So I’m looking forward to reading it, and glad to hear you think it’s a good one overall. I can usually make allowances for colonial attitudes, though I’m never sure whether that’s a good thing…

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  2. The aunt murder one sounds fantastic!! An immoral, inverted detective story… dead aunts… it’s got everything! What a nice surprise this must have been for you. I can’t wait for the review of this one. I do hope it lives up to its promise 🙂
    Another Flaxborough Mystery, excellent – and I feel that surely Lucy Teatime must be a distant relative of some sort, don’t you? I like her already… 😉

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  3. Poor wee overdressed tot! I hope you can remain upright despite your TBR trials 🙂 I’m looking forward to your review of the Shetland novel; that setting really appeals.

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    • Hahaha – I would die of happiness if I had a suit just like that! Wouldn’t I look just spiffy walking down the high street?? 😉 I have my fingers firmly crossed for the Shetland novel…

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  4. I love that Baby Steps gif, FictionFan! And I have to do the same thing with my own TBR, but we won’t talk about that, shall we? You’ve got some interesting-looking additions this week. The Murder of My Aunt got my attention right away, mostly because of the title. I’ll be really interested in what you think of that one!

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    • Hahaha – me too! And I want that outfit! 😉 I love the sound of The Murder of My Aunt – here’s hoping it lives up to the blurb! And I’m sure my TBR will fall dramatically soon…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree with Margot–that beginning image is adorable!
    All of this week’s books are tempting, though I’ve already read Heart of Darkness. It was required reading in high school. 😀

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    • Hahaha – isn’t it? And I love that little suit! 😀

      They do sound like a good batch. For some reason we weren’t forced to read any Conrad – seems odd really. But I’m looking forward to it… I think.

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  6. That toddler should be the first thing I see each day. What a charmer! 😂 I’m excited by the Tallack – which won’t surprise you, I’m sure 🙂 And I shall wait with bated breath for your thoughts on Heart of Darkness. After which I may be able to get my own conflicted thoughts in order!

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    • Isn’t it the cutest gif? And I so want that outfit! Wouldn’t I just look so spiffy in it?? 😉 I have my fingers firmly crossed for the Tallack. And if I don’t understand Heart of Darkness, I’ll just read the intro and then I should be able to sound as if I know what I’m talking about… 😀

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  7. Murder of my aunt – sounds like a French lesson, or was that the pen…… I’ve read the Conrad (several times) and the Watson (more than several times), so I’ll wait for your review of the Tallack (great name!).

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    • Ha – funnily enough that’s what I thought of too! It sounds like more fun than a French lesson, though. 😀 I’m looking forward to Heart of Darkness and have my fingers firmly crossed for the Tallack – yes, great name indeed!

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    • Lonelyheart 4122 will be a re-read so I know it’s great already and I have high hopes for The Murder of My Aunt! I’m not sure how I’ll get on with Heart of Darkness either but hopefully it will be wonderful…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I read Heart of Darkness as a set text and was bored rigid by it, but just recently I’ve been wondering if I should give it another go and now you’ve posted this – hooray! That already makes it seem more fun. Is this a new British Library edition? It sounds great!

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    • I tried another Conrad book many years ago – Lord Jim – and really disliked it, so I’ve ignored him ever since. But my tastes have definitely changed as I’ve… ahem… matured, so I’m going into this one hopefully! The Murder of My Aunt? Yes, it’s the latest release in their Crime Classics series, which I’m totally addicted to… 😀

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  9. That poor baby has a long way to walk 😉
    I love the title of The Murder of My Aunt and the synopsis sounds appealing too – also like the sound of The Valley at the Centre of the World so I’ll be seeing what your conclusion on that one is.

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    • Hahaha – she’ll be twenty-seven before I get through my TBR! I love the sound of both of them too – in fact, all four of these appeal to me this week. 😀

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  10. The first one! The first one! I like reading books where you know who did it, but you’re yet to find out how or when he/she will be caught. It’s a nice change of pace, but I wouldn’t want to read solely those kind of inverted mysteries.

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  11. I read Heart of Darkness about 20 years ago (god, I’m old) and really loved it. It was so unlike anything I’d read up until that point. I’d quite like to reread actually.

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  12. I will definitely be reading the Malachy Tallack. he came to speak to my writing group once (ever so nice, and interesting), just after 60 Degrees North came out. I’ll be interested to see what his fiction is like 🙂

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    • Oh, I didn’t know about 60 Degrees North – looks interesting! So this is a departure for him rather than a complete debut then – it’ll be intriguing to see how he does with fiction…

      Liked by 1 person

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