TBR Thursday 168…

Episode 168…

Another major fall this week – the TBR is down 2 to 224! I’ve really got the hang of this now! In fact, I’m enjoying it so much I think I’ll do it again…

Here are a few more that should slide off soon…

Classic Scottish Fiction

From my Classics Club list. The book is a collection of several of Willa Muir’s works but the one I’ll be reading first is Imagined Corners. I know nothing about either author or book, other than that it appears regularly on lists of great Scottish novels…

The Blurb says: Imagined Corners, Muir’s first novel, is set in a provincial Scottish town unwilling and unready for change. Ensnared by stifling religious and moral codes and adrift in her marriage, Elizabeth Shand feels increasingly isolated in Calderwick. However, the arrival of the charismatic and bohemian Elise begins to unravel the knots that bond and bind the townsfolk, offering a glimmer of hope for Elizabeth.

The story of Elizabeth’s evolving independence bears a stark contrast to Muir’s role as colleague and devoted wife to the poet Edwin Muir, giving insight into the mind of one of Scotland’s finest yet often overlooked writers.

* * * * *

Crime

Courtesy of the publisher, Little, Brown Book Group. I’ve been enjoying Val McDermid’s return to a Scottish setting in her Karen Pirie series, so am looking forward to this latest installment…

The Blurb says: When a body is discovered in the remote depths of the Highlands, DCI Karen Pirie finds herself in the right place at the right time. Unearthed with someone’s long-buried inheritance, the victim seems to belong to the distant past – until new evidence suggests otherwise, and Karen is called in to unravel a case where nothing is as it seems.

It’s not long before an overheard conversation draws Karen into the heart of a different case, however – a shocking crime she thought she’d already prevented. As she inches closer to the twisted truths at the centre of these murders, it becomes clear that she’s dealing with a version of justice terrifyingly different to her own . . .

Number one bestseller and queen of crime Val McDermid returns with her most breathtakingly atmospheric and exhilarating novel yet.

* * * * *

Factual

Courtesy of Yale University Press. This rather massive tome is the winner of the 2018 Wolfson History Prize. I’m pretty sure it’ll exercise my brain and absolutely certain it’ll exercise my biceps..

The Blurb says: Centuries on, what the Reformation was and what it accomplished remain deeply contentious. Peter Marshall’s sweeping new history—the first major overview for general readers in a generation—argues that sixteenth-century England was a society neither desperate for nor allergic to change, but one open to ideas of “reform” in various competing guises. King Henry VIII wanted an orderly, uniform Reformation, but his actions opened a Pandora’s Box from which pluralism and diversity flowed and rooted themselves in English life.

With sensitivity to individual experience as well as masterfully synthesizing historical and institutional developments, Marshall frames the perceptions and actions of people great and small, from monarchs and bishops to ordinary families and ecclesiastics, against a backdrop of profound change that altered the meanings of “religion” itself. This engaging history reveals what was really at stake in the overthrow of Catholic culture and the reshaping of the English Church.

* * * * *

Crime

Courtesy of Canongate via NetGalley. Ambrose Parry is a nom-de-plume for the writing partnership of husband-and-wife team, Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman. I find that idea as intriguing as the blurb…

The Blurb says: Edinburgh, 1847. City of Medicine, Money, Murder.

Young women are being discovered dead across the Old Town, all having suffered similarly gruesome ends. In the New Town, medical student Will Raven is about to start his apprenticeship with the brilliant and renowned Dr Simpson.

Simpson’s patients range from the richest to the poorest of this divided city. His house is like no other, full of visiting luminaries and daring experiments in the new medical frontier of anaesthesia. It is here that Raven meets housemaid Sarah Fisher, who recognises trouble when she sees it and takes an immediate dislike to him. She has all of his intelligence but none of his privileges, in particular his medical education.

With each having their own motive to look deeper into these deaths, Raven and Sarah find themselves propelled headlong into the darkest shadows of Edinburgh’s underworld, where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to make it out alive.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

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40 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 168…

  1. Well done, FF! This calls for extra wine and chocolate rations for you 🙂 This is a very serious-looking selection you have here. That big one looks like it would give you a stern talking to!

  2. My Netgalley request for The Way of the Flesh was denied and I have been putting off buying it so far but I look forward to seeing what you think.

    I can’t stop watching that dog! Brilliant 😂

    • What??? We should march on them with placards! How dare they?!! I don’t know what to expect – I’ve only read two Chris Brookmyres before – loved one, abandoned one…

      Hahaha – I wish I was a dog… 😂

  3. Well done, FictionFan! Chocolate for you! I am impressed. As for the titles you shared here, the McDermid reminds me that I must check out the Karen Pirie stories. She is so prolific that it’s hard to keep up. Still, she’s talented enough that it’s worth wanting to. The Marshall looks interesting, too. I’d be interested in how he handles the topic.

    • I’m the uncontested Queen of Willpower!! (This week…) I know – McDermid is at well over thirty books now, I think, and rising! But the Karen Pirie books really are worth reading if you get time – more traditional police procedurals than her recent stuff, and of course, mostly set in Scotland… 😀 It may be some time before I review the Marshall… 😉

  4. Either one of the crime books would tempt me (and does), but if I had to pick I’d start with the Val McDemid book. Or maybe not – it’s not first in that series, which I’m determined to read. Have heard good reports on it. So, did you take a plunge on that slide? LOL LOL

    • Both crime books look good, don’t they? I’ve enjoyed the Karen Pirie series so far but missed a couple and haven’t read them strictly in order, so they do work fine as standalones, I think. Hahaha – wouldn’t it be great to be that dog? 😂

    • Hahaha – wouldn’t it be great to be the dog? I love how it just shoves all the humans out of the way… 😂

      I’m intrigued by the classic, especially because yet again to my shame I haven’t heard of it before – I’ll be drummed out of Scotland at this rate!

  5. Wasn’t The Way of All Flesh a novel by Samuel Butler? I remember reading it in translation on one of those endless summer holidays we seemed to have as children.

    • Ha! Yes, though I don’t think I ever read it. When I looked for the cover on Goodreads I discovered it’s one of those titles that seems to have been recycled by many authors… 😉

  6. Haven’t read any Muir, so I’ll be interested to see what you think.
    The others all sound appealing though.

    • The Reformation book is looking like fun so far – very readable (mind you, I’m only at page 14!). I’m intrigued by the Muir, having yet again never heard of it…

  7. Whew, safe again! And look at you, FF — getting all successful with that TBR-lowering task. You really must tell us how it’s done (and I do hope making lots of spreadsheets doesn’t have anything to do with it!)

    • Haha – lots and lots of spreadsheets! I’m keeping my fingers crossed this is a new trend, but experience tells me that every drop is followed by a rise of twice as much! 😉

  8. The Marshall book sounds tempting, despite the length, as I have just started reading Lamentation by CJ Sansom which begins with the burning of heretics. I’ll be interested to hear what you think of The Way of all Flesh – there were things that I liked and things that I didn’t, but I enjoyed it in the end.

    • I just started Heretics and Believers and, funnily enough, was thinking about Sansom’s books as I read the preface – most of the little I know about the Reformation comes from Sansom and Shardlake! I hope you enjoy Lamentation – I think it might be his best yet. I’m intrigued about The Way of All Flesh – I’ve had a mixed reaction to Brookmyre myself in the past, so we’ll see…

  9. Congratulations on such a huge drop! Your TBR list can probably wear a bikini now.

    All sound interesting! I have to wonder if Raven and Sarah will wind up together in the Ambrose Parry novel. I just have a weird feeling about them. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the instant dislike for each other and the matching intelligence. Perhaps they’ll examine forensic evidence on their first date.

    • Hahaha – that’s a deeply discombobulating thought! 😂

      It does sound as though they might, although my British class consciousness makes me doubt a doctor would have lowered himself to dally with a housemaid back in those days, especially in respectable old Edinburgh. Maybe she’ll turn out to be the daughter of a gentleman… 😉

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