TBR Thursday 172…

Episode 172…

After last week’s disaster, I’m back on track this week – a little older, a little wiser and down one to 232. (That’s the TBR, not my age.) Little jumps are definitely the way to go…

Here are a few more that I should leap over soon…


Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. Another exciting anthology of classic horror stories to send the fretful porpentine into a frenzy...

The Blurb says: John Polidori’s classic tale The Vampyre (1819), was a product of the same ghost-story competition that produced Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The present volume selects thirteen other tales of mystery and the macabre, including the works of James Hogg, J.S. LeFanu, Letitia Landon, Edward Bulwer, and William Carleton. The introduction surveys the genesis and influence of The Vampyre and its central themes and techniques, while the Appendices contain material closely associated with its composition and publication, including Lord Byron’s prose fragment Augustus Darvell.

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Courtesy of Little, Brown Book Group via NetGalley. This sounds like an intriguing way to visit South Korea for my Around the World challenge. Getting mixed reviews so far, though, so fingers crossed…

The Blurb says: Yu-jin is a good son, a model student and a successful athlete. But one day he wakes up covered in blood. There’s no sign of a break-in and there’s a body downstairs. It’s the body of someone whom Yu-jin knows all too well.

Yu-jin struggles to piece together the fragments of what he can remember from the night before. He suffers from regular seizures and blackouts. He knows he will be accused if he reports the body, but what to do instead? Faced with an unthinkable choice, Yu-jin makes an unthinkable decision.

Through investigating the murder, reading diaries, and looking at his own past and childhood, Yu-jin discovers what has happened. The police descend on the suburban South Korean district in which he lives. The body of a young woman is discovered. Yu-jin has to go back, right back, to remember what happened, back to the night he lost his father and brother, and even further than that.

The Good Son deals with the ultimate taboo in family life, and asks the question: how far will you go to protect your children from themselves?

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Courtesy of Serpent’s Tail via NetGalley. The Booker Prize has become a joke now, with mediocre crime bestsellers jostling alongside graphic novels. I’m betting next year it will include cross-stitch manuals and colouring books. Entirely British/Irish/North American with not a sniff of Africa or India or any other area of the Commonwealth it used to showcase so well. Not sure how this one snuck onto the longlist, because it actually sounds rather interesting. Written by a Canadian, thankfully, because obviously we don’t want books written by actual Barbadians, do we? (Do I sound grumpy? That’s because I am… 😉 )

The Blurb says: When two English brothers take the helm of a Barbados sugar plantation, Washington Black – an eleven year-old field slave – finds himself selected as personal servant to one of these men. The eccentric Christopher ‘Titch’ Wilde is a naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor and abolitionist, whose single-minded pursuit of the perfect aerial machine mystifies all around him.

Titch’s idealistic plans are soon shattered and Washington finds himself in mortal danger. They escape the island together, but then Titch disappears and Washington must make his way alone, following the promise of freedom further than he ever dreamed possible.

From the blistering cane fields of Barbados to the icy wastes of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-drowned streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black teems with all the strangeness and mystery of life. Inspired by a true story, Washington Black is the extraordinary tale of a world destroyed and made whole again.

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Vintage Crime

Courtesy of the British Library. I adored the only other Richard Hull I’ve read, The Murder of My Aunt, so I’m looking forward to this one hugely…

The Blurb says: Great Barwick’s least popular man is murdered on a train. Twelve jurors sit in court. Four suspects are identified but which of them is on trial? This novel has all the makings of a classic murder mystery, but with a twist: as Attorney-General Anstruther Blayton leads the court through prosecution and defence, Inspector Fenby carries out his investigation. All this occurs while the identity of figure in the dock is kept tantalisingly out of reach. Excellent Intentions is a classic crime novel laced with irreverent wit, first published in 1939.

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

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

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40 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 172…

  1. I have my eyes on Washington Black myself, and have heard on the whole good things about The Good Son. I did read Polidori’s Vampyre and it is clear that it led to quite a bit of obsessions with all things dark and tenebruous during the so-called era of stability the Victorian times.

    • Yes, all that Victorian repression seems to have resulted in all kinds of deliciously dark ideas in their writing. I’m intrigued by The Vampyre because I thought Carmilla was the first modern English-language vampire. I’m glad to hear about The Good Son – I haven’t seen a review from someone I know, and it’s always hard to make a judgement based on reviews of people you don’t know.

  2. Daren’t add any more to the the tbr list, but I am grumping with you about the Booker. How long is it going to take before the sponsor realise they are no longer promoted by the most prestigious prize in literature but by a running joke?

    • The very fact that hardly anybody in the blogosphere even comments much on the long or shortlist any more is a real sign of its decline, I think, but this year’s was the worst longlist ever. If it’s supposed to be a literary fiction prize then it should stick to that. Picture books? Ye Gods! 😉

  3. An excellent selection this week, FF! ‘Tis the season for all things creepy and this compilation looks interesting. By the way, I read the short story of whats-his-name’s music thing last night – very good indeed! I loved the descriptions of that weird city street and the strange houses. very atmospheric 🙂 I did have an odd dream, though, about sharing a house – so I perhaps won’t read something like that in bed again! But anyway. I like the sound of Good Son and mixed reviews can be a very positive sign, perhaps of something a bit different. And more brilliant vintage crime! I can’t wait!! 😀
    The Booker has indeed become a joke so I am expecting my nomination any day now… 😉

    • It looks like a great list of stories – some I’ve read and know are excellent, which gives me high hopes for the ones that are new to me. Ooh, I’m glad you enjoyed the story – it’s super-creepy, isn’t it? He’s great when he restrains himself from writing two hundred unnecessary pages listing every adjective in the English language – twice! Hahaha – the porpy snuffled a bit in his sleep too… 😉 Good Son could go either way, so I have my fingers crossed, and this week’s vintage one looks brill! 😀

      Haha – you’re way too good for the Booker! You should aim for the Pullitzer!

  4. The Good Son does sound interesting, FictionFan; my fingers are crossed for that one, too. And I’ve heard good things about Washington Black, too. Now, I’m curious: how do you feel about the Booker Prize? I couldn’t quite catch it from your post… 😉

    • I feel The Good Son could go either way with me, so I have my fingers crossed for it! And if Washington Black lives up to the blurb it should be well worth reading. Hahaha – Yes, I tried to be even-handed in my opinion of the Booker… 😉

    • Hahaha – I do get bitter about it, but it used to be exciting to see the longlist and now it’s cringe-making! 😉 This week’s vintage crime should be excellent, and I love the autumnal colours on the cover! 😀

  5. OK, I’ll say that GOOD SON has a mega-creepy cover. That would have been the kind of cover that I would lay face-down when my daughter was a little girl. I remember one day I found her (she was about 4 or 5) staring at the cover of a book I was reading that had a dripping dagger on the cover – dripping with blood naturally. LOL

    • Hahaha – yes, that’s very true – some covers really are NOT suitable for children. I agree this one is particularly creepy and I get the feeling from the blurb and reviews that it’s pretty dark, We shall see… 😀

  6. So don’t hold back – tell us what you really feel about the Booker! I’ll be interested in what you think about the Polidori, and the Hall appeals.

    • Oh, you know me – I’d always like to be even-handed about these things… 😉 I’ll enjoy The Vampyre for the interest of it even if the story itself doesn’t blow me away, and this week’s vintage crime should be fab… fingers crossed!

    • I didn’t – it was one of those books that was always on the periphery of my TBR but never quite made it all the way on. But it was because it was so well received that I decided to take a chance on this one… fingers crossed!

  7. Loved the preamble to Washington Black as I couldn’t agree more – I’ll look out for those colouring books 😉 I have to say I’m following in your footsteps around classic crime so I’m also taken with the Excellent Intentions.

    • Hahaha – the Booker seems determined to push my blood pressure over the limit these days… 😉 I’m really looking forward to Excellent Intentions – can’t remember, did you read The Murder of My Aunt? If not, it’s definitely one of the best of the BL books so far… 😀

  8. There was a column in the paper this morning asking why aunts have such a bad time (aunt Spiker, aunt Petunia etc.) and now The Murder of My Aunt?! Sounds fab!

    • Hahaha – well, as Bertie Wooster always says – Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen! 😉 The Murder of My Aunt is a great little book with a really fab first person narrator… very funny! 😀

  9. Well I am relieved that you didn’t snare me with your TBR this week, FF. Highly entertained by your observations about the Man Booker. I don’t have strong feelings about it probably because I’m in the US and haven’t even really been aware of it until a couple of years ago. But I agree, if they’re going to expand the pool of eligible authors they should cast a very wide net and try to finddeserving authors in underrepresented countries.

    • What??? I shall have to try harder next week!! Grrr… the Booker makes me so angry because it used to include all sorts of interesting writers from around the Commonwealth alongside the best of British writers, and now it’s usually entirely Britain and America, and has gone totally downmarket in its choice of books! *reaches for the medicinal chocolate*

  10. Excellent Intentions does sound good, but I like that you can do South Korea while reading Good Son. As to whether it’s any good or not, well, I’ll wait for your review. Sounds like a creepy topic!!

    • If Excellent Intentions is as good as his other book, then it’ll be a treat, and I love the autumnal colours on the cover. 😀 Yes, I’m intrigued by The Good Son but I have a feeling it might be darker than I prefer… we shall see!

  11. I was doing so well, your first 2 choices didn’t appeal at all, but then I really liked Half Blood Blues so I’d be interested to read Esi Edugyan again, and vintage crime always appeals… my TBR will not be following yours downwards I fear!

    • Haha – I don’t expect mine will continue downwards for long either if experience is anything to go by! I didn’t read Half Blood Blues but it was because it was so well received that I decided to go for this one, so fingers crossed. And if Excellent Intentions is as much fun as The Murder of My Aunt was, then it’ll be a treat – plus, love those autumn colours on the cover! 😀

  12. I’m tempted by Washington Black, but I already have a copy of Half-Blood Blues which I really need to read first. Excellent Intentions sounds good – I haven’t read anything by Richard Hull yet, so still have The Murder of My Aunt to look forward to as well. 🙂

    • I was tempted by Half-Blood Blues but never got around to reading it or acquiring a copy so decided not to miss this one too. The Murder of My Aunt is one of my top 5 of these BL classics so far, so I have high hopes for Excellent Intentions. 😀

  13. I’ve got Washington Black on my shelf right now, and I have to read it in the next few weeks because I’m interviewing the author in October! And questions you’d like me to ask Esi please pass them along!!!

  14. Washington Black sounds tempting and I hadn’t heard of it so thanks for letting me know about it. I have to say that I find the comments about the Booker being a joke to be interesting. I wasn’t aware of the controversy.
    x The Captain

    • It does, doesn’t it? I’m looking forward to reading it.
      Yeah, the Booker has changed so dramatically since it opened up to allow non-Commonwealth countries in, and now it seems to be including all sorts of genres it would never have considered in the past. So it’s really hard to see it as a serious literary fiction prize any linger, sadly.

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