TBR Thursday 185…

Episode 185

The TBR has been up and down over the last couple of weeks – loads of books in, loads read, leaving the final count up just 1 at 226. It’s felt a bit like a game of snakes and ladders…


I wish I could do that! Anyway, here are a few more that should slither my way soon…

Natural Science

Courtesy of Atlantic Monthly Press via NetGalley. I read a previous book of Tim Flannery’s on climate change and was impressed by his obvious expertise and arguments more than his style, which seemed a bit didactic and overbearing. But I suspect that was because he was so outraged at the lack of world action, so I’m hoping he’ll be approaching this less contentious subject a bit more calmly. It’s already in the running for the prize for longest blurb of the year, and it’s only January…

The Blurb says: In Europe: A Natural History, world-renowned scientist, explorer, and conservationist Tim Flannery applies the eloquent interdisciplinary approach he used in his ecological histories of Australia and North America to the story of Europe. He begins 100 million years ago, when the continents of Asia, North America, and Africa interacted to create an island archipelago that would later become the Europe we know today. It was on these ancient tropical lands that the first distinctly European organisms evolved. Flannery teaches us about Europe’s midwife toad, which has endured since the continent’s beginning, while elephants, crocodiles, and giant sharks have come and gone. He explores the monumental changes wrought by the devastating comet strike and shows how rapid atmospheric shifts transformed the European archipelago into a single landmass during the Eocene.

As the story moves through millions of years of evolutionary history, Flannery eventually turns to our own species, describing the immense impact humans had on the continent’s flora and fauna–within 30,000 years of our arrival in Europe, the woolly rhino, the cave bear, and the giant elk, among others, would disappear completely. The story continues right up to the present, as Flannery describes Europe’s leading role in wildlife restoration, and then looks ahead to ponder the continent’s future: with advancements in gene editing technology, European scientists are working to recreate some of the continent’s lost creatures, such as the great ox of Europe’s primeval forests and even the woolly mammoth.

Written with Flannery’s characteristic combination of elegant prose and scientific expertise, Europe: A Natural History narrates the dramatic natural history and dynamic evolution of one of the most influential places on Earth.

* * * * *

Vintage Crime

Courtesy of the British Library. I’ve nearly caught up with my backlog of vintage crime review books now – just another couple to go (unless the postman has other ideas). I read another of Julian Symons’ books, The Colour of Murder, just before Christmas – review to follow – and enjoyed it, so am looking forward to this one. And it’s in the running for shortest blurb!

The Blurb says: When a stranger arrives at Belting, he is met with a very mixed reception by the occupants of the old house. Claiming his so-called “rightful inheritance,” the stranger makes plans to take up residence at once. Such a thing was bound to cause problems in the family—but why were so many of them turning up dead?

* * * * *

True Crime

Courtesy of Random House Vintage via NetGalley. I have had this since July 2017 but it kept sliding down the TBR as I got distracted by new shiny things. I was originally tempted towards it when fellow blogger Marina Sofia revealed that she had lived in the same neighbourhood as the killer, though fortunately at a later date. It’s in the running for least informative blurb of the year…

The Blurb says: On the Saturday morning of January 9, 1993, while Jean Claude Romand was killing his wife and children, I was with mine in a parent-teacher meeting…”

With these chilling first words, acclaimed master of psychological suspense Emmanuel Carrère begins his exploration of the double life of a respectable doctor, 18 years of lies, five murders and the extremes to which ordinary people can go.

* * * * *


This one fits into two of my challenges, the Classics Club and the Five Times Five. I’m always slightly ambivalent about Steinbeck – his prose can be sublime but I find he veers towards bathos in his attempt to manipulate his readers’ emotions. I’m hoping this one might avoid that pitfall. It’s in the running for most intriguing blurb…

The Blurb says: A Depression era portrait of people living in an area near a sardine fishery in Monterey, CA known as Cannery Row.

From the opening of the novel: “Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, ‘whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches,’ by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, ‘Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men,’ and he would have meant the same thing.”

* * * * *

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?

37 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 185…

    • Oh, that’s good to know! I must admit the blurb makes it sound great – can’t wait to get to it now!. I’ve only read The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men before, but I’m looking to read more of his stuff over the next couple of years.

      Thanks for popping in and commenting. 😀


  1. I enjoyed both CANNERY ROW and OF MICE AND MEN but that was many years ago. I hope to reread both the Steinbeck classics. This year, I also plan to read more nonfiction, especially history and politics, two of my favourite subjects. As for my reading in 2018, I mostly fell victim to the snakes.


    • I enjoyed Of Mice and Men too, way back when I was a teenager, but have never re-read it in case it doesn’t have the same effect on my adult self. But I’m hoping to read a few more of the Steinbeck novels over the next couple of years. I read an awful lot of heavy history over the last couple of years, so am going to try to go for some lighter non-fiction this year to give my brain a rest… 😉 Haha – yes, those snakes are slippery little so-and-sos…


    • Haha – this is a bad time of year for TBRs!! I have high hopes for Europe – he struck me as very knowledgeable and a good communicator in his last book, even if he was a bit didactic.


  2. Europe, a Natural History sounds interesting, I’m curious about what all it covers! Will be looking forward to your review of it 🙂 I read The Adversary this past year and thought it was a pretty good read of a completely insane story. Can’t wait to hear what you think of it!


    • Europe does sound good, doesn’t it? And I thought he was a good communicator in his last book, even if he was tub-thumping a bit too hard. Oh, that’s good to hear about The Adversary – it’s one I meant to read ages ago but it slipped through the TBR cracks… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know what you mean about Steinbeck, FictionFan. I hope you’ll like Cannery Row; at the very least it’s not a doorstop-sized book. The Symons appeals to me, as does The Adversary. And that’s interesting, too, because I usually don’t go for true crime (I went through a short period years ago of reading a lot of it, but not so much now).


    • Yes, I’m thrilled that Cannery Row is a reasonable size! I have high hopes for it – the blurb makes it sound great. I enjoyed the only other Symons I read, so I’m looking forward to it too. I read some true crime but generally I prefer older crimes – it feels less intrusive somehow. But I couldn’t resist this one because of MarinaSofia’s connection to the place…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Um none? (Sorry. In somewhat of a reading funk lately.) I’m not a Steinbeck fan (though that does not detract from his brilliance as an author).

    Here’s an idea: eat one piece of chocolate every time your TBR goes up 1 and two pieces of chocolate every time it goes down 1.


    • Hahaha – I know, it’s horrifying, isn’t it? And yet I’m totally taken with the idea of shuffling off my old body at the New Year and emerging in a brand new shiny one!! I wish they’d invent a pill…

      I’ve read so much vintage crime over the holidays – there will be a surfeit of reviews… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Whew, safe again! Although seeing that beastly snake, I’m not so sure. Haven’t read Cannery Row (how did my schoolteachers miss that??) The two crime novels look somewhat tempting, but I, like L. Marie, have been in a reading funk of late. I think I’m spending so much time trying to finish my own book that I’ve put other authors aside. Dear me, I need to fix that!!


    • Hahaha – didn’t you like the snake? I love the idea of emerging with a whole new body and getting rid of my old one, though… 😉 I haven’t read Cannery Row either and I’m hoping it might be a bit less depressing than the only two books of Steinbeck that I have read! Oh, dear, I’ll have to work extra hard to tempt you both – what you both need is a TBR spreadsheet… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • The snake is pretty horrifying, isn’t it? But I do like the idea of getting a new body every now and then! The story behind The Adversary sounds pretty horrific, but I’m told the book is very good…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, wouldn’t a new body be terrific? New knees instead of the old, worn-out ones, new skin to replace the old, sun-damaged (Australian) skin…
        I’m already looking out for the book myself…


  6. LOL I seem to recall Tim Flannery being a bit like that as well, but should be interesting to see how ‘outraged’ he is about the natural history of Europe. And that GIF!!! Oohhhh gawd.


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