TBR Thursday 203…

Episode 203

Well, people, I’ve read nothing this week. Nada. Zilch. Don’t ask me why – I don’t know. Don’t ask me what I’ve been doing with all that extra time I must have had to do other things in – I don’t know. Don’t ask me when I’m suddenly going to start reading again – I don’t know. Don’t ask me when I’ll ever write the outstanding reviews that have been waiting so long I’ve pretty much forgotten the books – I don’t know. Don’t ask me how many books are on my TBR – I don….

Oh, OK, I do know the answer to that last one actually. Up 2 again to 224, which considering I haven’t finished a book since 18th June isn’t as bad as it might be. Don’t you judge me!

Here are a few more that I should be reading soon, but don’t ask me when – I don’t know…

All oldies this week and all from my 20 Books of Summer list, which would be going much better if I was actually reading…

Historical Fiction

This is a re-read of a book which I remember enjoying so I should be on safe ground with it. And it will complete another of the Main Journey destinations on my Around the World challenge…

The Blurb says: India 1942: everything is in flux. World War II has shown that the British are not invincible and the self-rule lobby is gaining many supporters. Against this background, Daphne Manners, a young English girl, is brutally raped in the Bibighat Gardens. The racism, brutality and hatred launched upon the head of her young Indian lover echo the dreadful violence perpetrated on Daphne and reveal the desperate state of Anglo-Indian relations. The rift that will eventually prise India – the jewel in the Imperial Crown – from colonial rule is beginning to gape wide.

* * * * *

Spy Thriller

I might be the only person in the entire blogosphere who has never read a le Carré novel, but that’s about to change! This one is from my Classics Club list…

The Blurb says: Alex Leamas is tired. It’s the 1960s, he’s been out in the cold for years, spying in Berlin for his British masters, and has seen too many good agents murdered for their troubles. Now Control wants to bring him in at last – but only after one final assignment.

He must travel deep into the heart of Communist Germany and betray his country, a job that he will do with his usual cynical professionalism. But when George Smiley tries to help a young woman Leamas has befriended, Leamas’s mission may prove to be the worst thing he could ever have done.

In le Carré’s breakthrough work of 1963, the spy story is reborn as a gritty and terrible tale of men who are caught up in politics beyond their imagining. With a new introduction by William Boyd and an afterword by le Carré himself.

* * * * *

Science Fiction

Another from my Classics Club list and the winner of the last Classic Club spin, although I’m very late reading it. Have I read it before or haven’t I? I don’t know! I certainly feel as if I know the story but I’ve realised that with a lot of these classics I think I’ve read long ago, I probably actually know them from a film or TV adaptation. Time will tell…

The Blurb says: After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path. Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life. On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare.

* * * * *

Don’t know what to categorise it as…

Oh, dear! After my reaction to Book 1 in the Jackson Brodie sorta-crime/maybe-literary/possibly-contemporary/maybe-none-of-the-above series, I can’t say I’m looking forward to this one at all. But at least my expectations are so low that if it surprises me this time, it can only be in a good way…

The Blurb says: It is summer, it is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident – a near-homicidal attack which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander – until he becomes a murder suspect.

As the body count mounts, each member of the teeming Dickensian cast’s story contains a kernel of the next, like a set of nesting Russian dolls. They are all looking for love or money or redemption or escape: but what each actually discovers is their own true self.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

61 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 203…

  1. In all seriousness, FictionFan, I’m not going to judge you at all. We all have those weeks when reading just doesn’t happen, for whatever reason. The lovely thing about books is that they’re still there when you’re ready to read again. I’m glad to see you’ve got some great books on your list. I’ll be especially interested in what you think of the Atkinson. You’re right that it doesn’t fit neatly into a particular category. It’s set up in an unusual way, too. I’ll be keen to know your reaction to it. The Spy…. is, to me, a classic, so I’m really hoping you’ll enjoy that one. On the Beach is, too.

    • I just seem to have stopped midway through three books that I was actually quite enjoying! I suspect I might have to start them all again, since my sieve-like memory will have forgotten what’s going on by now… 😉 I’m dubious about the Atkinson – I feel I may be allergic to Jackson Brodie sadly, but I’m really looking forward to the le Carré and to On the Beach.

  2. On the Beach has definitely caught my attention. Nuclear apocalypse, the remoteness of Australia, the close quarters of a submarine, traveling by sea in hopes of finding life – suddenly I have no memory of my current TBR and must find a copy of this book. 😏

    • Hahaha – I love when a book blurb just grabs me like that! It’s a great story, even though I can’t remember whether I’ve actually read it before or just seen an adaptation. Real classic sci-fi/dystopia… I hope you (and I) enjoy it! 😀

    • Well, that’s good to hear! I still feel I ought to like the series, but you know what it’s like when you’ve been disappointed in a series book – it’s hard to gee yourself up to get back on the saddle, so to speak…

  3. I’m a fan of the early Le Carre novels, especially The Spy Who Came In From The Cold and Call For The Dead, his first novel, so I’ll be interested to hear what you think.

  4. You have my sympathies. I’m struggling too at the moment 🙄 And as for the 20 books of summer….. 🤷 Sometimes it’s just a matter of going with the flow. All will come good in time. Just don’t ask me when that will be! 😂
    At least you have some seriously good titles here which might tempt you. Eventually. Hopefully the tennis mojo is still up and running… 🎾

    • This is why I always fail with the 20 Books, I’ve now remembered! My reading always dips in the summer – a combination of tennis and the fact that I’m a cold weather girl. Even moderate heat makes me very lethargic and lazy about everything. Just as well I live in Scotland so it only happens for a few weeks every year! Yep, got the Pimms and strawberries on order… 😁🎾

  5. No judging here. Sometimes reading just doesn’t happen and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Especially for those of us who read almost constantly. Kind of a reboot. Enjoy your time doing whatever else you might enjoy. And take care…

    • Yes, I find an occasional break revives my enthusiasm so I’m not forcing myself – at some point soon I’ll get the urge again! And meantime there’s plenty of tennis to watch and even some rare sunshine! 😀

  6. On the Beach is a terrific novel. And the film version, which is great, was shot in my hometown of Melbourne. Ava Gardner was quoted at the time as saying ‘Melbourne was the perfect place to make a film about the of the world’, though the quote later turned out to have been made up by a journalist.

    • Hahaha! How rude of her! I wish it had been true… 😉 I honestly can’t remember if I know the story from the book or the film, but I’ll definitely watch the film after I’ve read it… I love comparing films to the book.

  7. I seem to slump about April May each year (coincides with my annual holidays) and have to claw myself back into a regular rhythm. And I have never read Le Carre neither not one bit

    • Gosh, I’ve been surprised by how many people haven’t read Le Carré – I really thought everyone but me had! Yes, I always slow down in summer which is why I always fail with the 20 Books challenge – a combination of tennis and the lethargy that comes over me as soon as it gets warm. Haha – though “warm” is relative. Our high summer is probably about the equivalent of your mid-winter… 😉

    • Thanks – no, no stress, just summer laziness and lethargy! And tennis-watching… 🎾 I’ve been amazed by how many people haven’t read Le Carré – I really thought everyone but me had!

    • Oh, good! I must say they all appeal (except the Atkinson, but fingers crossed I like it better than book 1). Now I just need to finish the three I stopped in the middle of…

  8. I’ve never read le Carre either!

    Also, it makes me feel relief to hear you confessing that you’re not reading as much lately… I mean, I don’t want you to suffer a reading slump or whatever, but it reassures me that we all go through ups and down with reading and blogging. Thanks! And good luck busting the slump!

    • I’m really surprised by how many people haven’t – I thought everyone had! I feel better about my own omission now!

      Oh, I go up and down all the time – I’m really a binge reader. Sometimes I’ll read for hours every day and then suddenly get bored and not read more than a chapter or two for days. Usually I have a backlog of reviews to post so it seems as if I’m reading steadily, but actually it’s rare for me. And my enthusiasm for writing reviews comes and goes too… at the moment it’s gone! 😉

  9. Gotta be The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. I’ve been not getting to it for years. I once had a whole week in a summer house getaway, and it was right there on the bookshelf, and still I didn’t get more than a few pages into it. The problem for me with spy novels, and mysteries in general, is they make me feel dim-witted: I never catch on, never see anything coming, can’t even keep track of the breadcrumbs left on the path. It’s not a feeling I cherish.

    The only thing worse is feeling too dull to finish a classic . . .

    • Hahaha! I take the entirely opposite view when I fail to read a classic – I blame the book! It’s so much more fun… and I do enjoy writing grumpy reviews of classics! With crime and thrillers I don’t mind being a bit lost while I’m reading so long as it all makes sense by the end, though if they get too confusing I lose interest. I actually prefer when I can’t work the solution out – if I do, I always feel a bit let down. So again, I blame the book… 😉

  10. Couldn’t help laughing at your ‘classification’ of the first Jackson Brodie although it did not exactly encourage me to read it…

    I recently finished Michael Gilbert’s Smallbone Deceased (after reading your review) and enjoyed it very much. I will definitely look into more British Crime Classics.

    Nothing wrong with taking a break from reading, after all it is meant to be fun, not an obligation. And the weather is nice and Wimbledon is on 🙂

    • Hahaha – I fear I couldn’t bring myself to encourage anyone to read it! A huge disappointment to me, though loads of people loved it!

      So glad you enjoyed it – I’m loving the vintage books more and more. I keep meaning to do a post of my top ten of the BL books since I’ve read so many of them now. ECR Lorac is the other author I’ve most enjoyed, and I loved Richard Hull’s Murder of My Aunt. Gilbert’s Death in Captivity is also great, but I’m feeling a bit disappointed in the third one of his they’ve released, Death Has Deep Roots – it’s just not grabbing me, though that may be related to my current reading slump…

      Yes, when reading begins to feel like a duty rather than a pleasure, then a break is in order! And Rafa will fill in the time nicely… 😀 🎾

      • I would love to see your top ten of BL books! In the meantime I may have a look at ECR Lorac. That is, if I manage to finish the five books or so I am reading at the moment. It is almost too hot to read or do any activity for that matter….

        • I know – the heat makes me too lethargic to do anything except moan, which I’m very good at! 😉 Thanks for the motivation – I shall begin mulling over my list… 😀

  11. No judging from here, FF — I totally get it! We all have “down-times.” Psst: I’ve never read le Carre either, so don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. As for the rest of this week’s selections, meh. No wonder you’re on a reading break, ha!

    • Hahaha! I’ve not tempted you then? 😉 I actually like the looks of three of these if I ever get back on track. But I do need breaks every now and then or even reading can begin to feel like work! I’ve been amazed by how many people haven’t read le Carré – I really thought everyone has! I feel better now… 😀

    • Aaaarghhhhhh!! If it goes up to 444 I’ll have to hire an assistant to help with my spreadsheet!! 😂 Yes, sometimes my brain just says enough – no more reading for a week or so. Should be getting back to normal soon I think… 😀

  12. I’m another one who hasn’t read le Carre – it seems there are quite a few of us here! I haven’t read The Jewel in the Crown either, though I probably should as I’m sure I would enjoy it.

    • I’ve been amazed by how many people haven’t read le Carré – I really thought everyone had, except me! Maybe I should run a readalong… 😉 I loved The Jewel in the Crown back when I first read it and unusually for me still remember quite a lot of it. I think you would enjoy it – it does seem very much your kind of thing. And it’s book 1 of a quartet, which I didn’t know till recently, so if I enjoy it again this time, I’ll need to look out the other three…

  13. Add me to the list of “never read a le Carré” novel. Two stand out from this group. I’m drawn to the cover and the story line of that first book. Also, I’d think I’d enjoy On the Beach.

    • And considering the book on punctuation I’m currently reading, I’m cringing at my misplaced quotation mark in my previous comment! 😑

      • Hahaha! Not only had I not noticed, I had to read it three times before I could spot what was wrong with it! Proving that honesty isn’t always the best policy… 😉

    • I’m gobsmacked by how many people haven’t read le Carré – I thought everyone had, except me! Maybe I should set up a readalong… 😉 I remember really enjoying The Jewel in the Crown when I first read it long ago, and On the Beach is a great story, although I’m not sure if I’ve read it or just seen the film.

  14. Summer is the time I read mostly non-fiction books – this week I picked up from the (use it or lose it!) mobile library, books on unusual vegetables, tiny churches & Tudor social history – and returned some unread/unwanted crime fiction. It seems easier to dip into snippets of interesting facts, than tackle a whole novel, when other activities & thoughts fill the long summer days.

    • I’m the opposite – I find non-fiction needs more concentration so when I’m all lethargic in the heat I turn to a bit of crime for relaxation – usually the lighter end of crime though! Dark crime is definitely winter reading. I’m intrigued at the thought of unusual vegetables… 😉

  15. I thought One Good Turn was better than Case Histories and it went down well the year I included it in the Summer School (books set in Edinburgh). Thanks for reminding me about The Jewel in the Crown. I’ve been thinking about having a reread of something extensive over the long winter nights and I would love to reread those four books.

    • The Edinburgh setting might give it the edge for me – I was surprised when the first book took place in Cambridge since I’d assumed the whole series was based in Edinburgh. I think I only ever read the first book in the Raj Quartet – if I enjoy it as much as I remember, I’m hoping to go on and read the other threee too this time.

  16. It happens FF, and like you I can never account for how I’ve spent the time when I usually would have been reading – where do those hours go?

    I’ve read the Brodie & the others don’t appeal, so for once my TBR is safe from you and your tempting ways 😀

    • I wish it was because I was out creating a wonderful garden or surfing Australian beaches, but I have a feeling that actually I just nap a lot when it gets warm… 😉

      I shall give the reviews an extra polish to see if I can’t win you over… 😀

  17. I too, have never read a La Carre novel-so I’m looking forward to your reaction to see if I’m missing out on anything…

    Also, taking breaks from reading is healthy, and good for us. Even taking time away from doing things you love is a good idea, no explanation needed!

  18. I’ve had On the Beach on my TBR for a loooong time. Our local library doesn’t have it and I don’t really want to buy it new and so until I find it in a thrift store it will probably remain there. Unless, maybe, you write a glowing review of it!

    • I don’t think I’ve ever heard you mention a Kindle, but if you do use one then you can download On the Beach free from the wonderful http://www.fadedpage.com which is full of out of copyright goodies, especially Canadian ones since it’s a Canadian site. That’s where I got my copy… 😀

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