TBR Thursday 177…

Episode 177…

Well, I read up a storm during my break but unfortunately all the books were about a million pages long, so the actual number read wasn’t huge. BUT… the TBR has gone down FOUR to 228! Impressive, eh? Proves conclusively that it’s when I hang around with you lot that things go wrong…

So, friends, here’s another batch that I should get to soon…

Factual

Courtesy of Particular Books (Penguin Random House). I love this kind of book on a rather quirky subject written by a real enthusiast. What particularly attracted me to this is that it includes the Bell Rock Lighthouse, built by Robert Stevenson, grandfather of Robert Louis of that ilk. Plus I adore the title – it conjures up images of wild storms and human endurance…

The Blurb says: Lighthouses are striking totems of our relationship to the sea. For many, they encapsulate a romantic vision of solitary homes amongst the waves, but their original purpose was much more utilitarian than that. Today we still depend upon their guiding lights for the safe passage of ships. Nowhere is this truer than in the rock lighthouses of Great Britain and Ireland which form a ring of twenty towers built between 1811 and 1904, so-called because they were constructed on desolate rock formations in the middle of the sea, and made of granite to withstand the power of its waves.

Seashaken Houses is a lyrical exploration of these singular towers, the people who risked their lives building and rebuilding them, those that inhabited their circular rooms, and the ways in which we value emblems of our history in a changing world.

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Fiction

Courtesy of Archipelago. I requested this ages ago since I thought it might fit into my Russian Revolution challenge, and then forgot to include it. Still, if the first novella is good, I can still add it to the final list…

The Blurb says: Two novellas from one of the most exciting writers in contemporary Russia.

Horsemen of the Sands gathers two novellas by Leonid Yuzefovich: “Horsemen of the Sands” and “The Storm”. The former tells the true story of R.F. Ungern-Shternberg, also known as the “Mad Baltic Baron”, a military adventurer whose intense fascination with the East drove him to seize control of Mongolia during the chaos of the Russian Civil War. “The Storm” centers on an unexpected emotional crisis that grips a Russian elementary school on an otherwise regular day, unveiling the vexed emotional bonds and shared history that knit together its community of students, teachers, parents, and staff.

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Vintage Crime

Courtesy of Collins Crime Club. I’ve only read two of the CCC books so far and have found them a little more thrillerish and perhaps a little pulpier than the more detective mystery-based British Library Crime Classics. That’s not a criticism – I love good quality pulpy thrillers! I’m intrigued to see if this one falls into the same category. The blurb makes it sound like it will…

The Blurb says: A sensational wartime crime novel about a BBC announcer who abuses his position to commit crimes against the rich and famous…

By day Ernest Bisham is a velvet-voiced announcer for the BBC; the whole country recognises the sound of his meticulous pronouncements. By night, however, Mr Bisham is a cat-burglar, careless about his loot, but revelling in the danger and excitement of his running contest with Scotland Yard. But as he gets away with more and more daring escapades, there will come a time when he goes too far . . .

When Donald Henderson’s Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper caused something of a sensation, his publishers were keen to capitalise on their author’s popularity, quickly reissuing The Announcer (originally published under his pen-name ‘D. H. Landels’) with the more alluring title A Voice Like Velvet. Despite a small edition of just 3,000 copies, it was his best reviewed work, as suspenseful and offbeat as his earlier success.

This Detective Club classic includes an introduction by The Golden Age of Murder’s Martin Edwards, who explores Henderson’s own BBC career and the long established tradition of books about gentlemen crooks. The book also includes a rare Henderson short story, the chilling ‘The Alarm Bell’.

* * * * *

Horror

Courtesy of Collins Chillers. I was thrilled to receive a selection of three horror anthologies newly published by this imprint from HarperCollins – an imprint I wasn’t previously aware of! The porpy, however, is muttering about the state of his quills and demanding danger money. Here’s the first – I’ve never come across these authors before, but it sounds great…

The Blurb says: A collection of the finest supernatural tales by two of the best Victorian writers of weird tales – Erckmann–Chatrian, authors who inspired M. R. James, H. P. Lovecraft, and many others.

Emile Erckmann and Louis Alexandre Chatrian began their writing partnership in the 1840s and continued working together until the year before Chatrian’s death in 1890. At the height of their powers they were known as ‘the twins’, and their works proved popular translated into English. After their deaths, however, they slipped into obscurity; and apart from the odd tale reprinted in anthologies, their work has remained difficult to find and to appreciate.

In The Invisible Eye, veteran horror anthologist Hugh Lamb has collected together the finest weird tales by Erckmann–Chatrian. The world of which they wrote has long since vanished: a world of noblemen and peasants, enchanted castles and mysterious woods, haunted by witches, monsters, curses and spells. It is a world brought to life by the vivid imagination of these authors and praised by successors including M.R. James and H. P. Lovecraft. With an introduction by Hugh Lamb, and in paperback for the first time, this collection will transport the reader to the darkest depths of the nineteenth century: a time when anything could happen – and occasionally did.

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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?

36 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 177…

  1. Well, I hope the porpy is ready for some action, FictionFan! It looks as though you’ve got some great stories there! And A Voice Like Velvet looks appealing, too. For now, though, I say a piece of chocolate is definitely in order for reducing your TBR that much! I am most impressed! 🙂

    • Haha – the poor porpy nearly fell off his perch when another three anthologies arrived! I’m sure I’ve seen A Voice Like Velvet mentioned in some of the intros to other vintage crime books or maybe in Martin Edwards’ books, so I have high hopes for it! I’m impressed too! I’m on a strict willpower kick at the moment – but will it last…?? 😉

    • The lighthouse one sounds good, doesn’t it? And I’m in the mood for some lighter non-fiction after a few heavyweight history books recently.

      I know! My willpower is at peak strength at the moment, but how long will it last?? 😉

    • I know!! Only another 60 or so and I’ll meet this year’s target… 😉 I like the sound of both of those too, though I still seem to be in a post-Tombland mini-slump at the moment – not reading nearly as much as usual…

    • That’s fab! Mine’s gone up about 100 overall in the same time as it’s taken you to go down 200! I wonder what number we’ll meet up at…?? 😉 Yes, I like the sound of the lighthouse book too.

  2. 4 down – clearly we are a bad influence on you. 🙂 I must say, thankfully, that I’m not particularly drawn to your selections this week – but you did get me earlier in the week with the C.J. Sansom! And my TBR list is up to 325.

    • I’m glad you recognise that! I’ve always known it’s you lot tempting me that’s the main problem! 😉 325 is great, considering how much culling you had to do to get to it – I’m proud of you! Plenty of room for all those Sansoms then… *runs off, giggling*

  3. Reading doorstops again, are you? Such a sense of satisfaction when you finally get to page 1,000….I have to say that I’m a sucker for lighthouses. Got married at the base of one on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Used hurricanes and lighthouses as the metaphor for our wedding invitation. Ha! I am not going to be reading much from here until December. I’m planning to participate in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Putting a stake in the ground, and am planning at the moment in addition to my children’s writing. Fingers crossed I make it through. Cheers!

    • Yes, though with some it’s more a sense of relief! Haha – I’m not sure that I’d like my marriage to be too much like a hurricane, but I agree there’s something romantic about the idea of lighthouses. Good luck with NaNoWriMo – you can do it! *waves pompoms enthusiastically*

  4. A Voice Like Velvet sounds great! I’m very much enjoying the resurgence of interest in Golden Age crime that’s happened over the past few years, and this sounds like a great example.

    • Me too! In fact, I’m finding I’m reading far more vintage than contemporary at the moment – both the Collins Crime ones and the British Library series are totally addictive… 😀

  5. Strangely…the book about lighthouses intrigues me. Maybe it’s because I find them so mysterious-and wouldn’t it be so cool to live in one for a short while? I should check on Air BnB 🙂

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