TBR Thursday 206…

Episode 206

Well, if I’d written this little blurb yesterday as I should have done, I’d have been boasting that the TBR hadn’t increased since I last reported. Sadly, due to heat apathy, Mueller monosyllables and Boris bedlam, I’m writing it now instead… and the postman’s been! Up 3 to 227, and not a single one of them is made out of ice-cream…

Here are a few more that I should be reading soon if I don’t melt (a couple I’ve started already, in fact). I seem to be having a vintage week, by accident rather than design…

Fairy Tales

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. Snow White and Other Tales is the latest in their hardback range of collected short stories which I’ve been loving so far, both for the content and for the lovely books themselves, which are always much more vibrant and gorgeous than the cover pics suggest …

The Blurb says: The tales gathered by the Grimm brothers are at once familiar, fantastic, homely, and frightening. They seem to belong to no time, or to some distant feudal age of fairytale imagining. Grand palaces, humble cottages, and the forest full of menace are their settings; and they are peopled by kings and princesses, witches and robbers, millers and golden birds, stepmothers and talking frogs.

Regarded from their inception both as uncozy nursery stories and as raw material for the folklorist the tales were in fact compositions, collected from literate tellers and shaped into a distinctive kind of literature. This translation mirrors the apparent artlessness of the Grimms, and fully represents the range of less well-known fables, morality tales, and comic stories as well as the classic tales. It takes the stories back to their roots in German Romanticism and includes variant stories and tales that were deemed unsuitable for children. In her fascinating introduction, Joyce Crick explores their origins, and their literary evolution at the hands of the Grimms.

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Fiction

One for my 5 x 5 Challenge from the wonderful William McIlvanney. So far I’ve loved everything of his I’ve read – will this one continue that trend? I haven’t read any short stories by him before. I wonder if they’ll be as short as the blurb…

The Blurb says: These are the stories of the casualties of social and emotional struggle, who defy defeat with humour, resilience, and inspiring faith in their dreams. The walking wounded. These are the stories of ordinary people.

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Fiction

Another 5 x 5 Challenge book, and also one of my 20 Books of Summer. My reaction to Toni Morrison has been mixed – loved Beloved but wasn’t so blown away by Song of Solomon. Maybe that’s good since it means I’ll be approaching this one with more realistic expectations…

The Blurb says: On the day that Jacob, an Anglo-Dutch trader, agrees to accept a slave in lieu of payment for a debt from a plantation owner, little Florens’s life changes irrevocably. With her keen intelligence and passion for wearing the cast-off shoes of her mistress, Florens has never blurred into the background and now at the age of eight she is uprooted from her family to begin a new life with a new master. She ends up part of Jacob’s household, along with his wife Rebekka, Lina their Native American servant, and the enigmatic Sorrow who was rescued from a shipwreck. Together these women face the trials of their harsh environment as Jacob attempts to carve out a place for himself in the brutally unforgiving landscape of North America in the seventeenth century.

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Christie on Audio

I find these Hugh Fraser narrations are giving a new lease of life to all these Christies I’ve read and re-read over the years. This is one I don’t remember so well, so I’m looking forward to rediscovering it…

The Blurb says: An old widow is brutally killed in the parlour of her cottage…

Mrs McGinty died from a brutal blow to the back of her head. Suspicion fell immediately on her shifty lodger, James Bentley, whose clothes revealed traces of the victim’s blood and hair. Yet something was amiss: Bentley just didn’t look like a murderer.

Poirot believed he could save the man from the gallows – what he didn’t realise was that his own life was now in great danger…

* * * * *

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?

46 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 206…

  1. The McIlvanney and the Morrison both look great, FictionFan. And you basically can’t go wrong with Agatha Christie, if you ask me. Mrs. McGinty’s Dead was my first Christie, so I have a special fondness for that one, and with Fraser narrating, what’s not to love? Sorry to hear it’s so blistering hot. You know, the confluence of the terrible heat with – er – this week’s political events does make a person wonder, I’m just sayin’… 😉

    • I’ve just started the McIlvanney and so far it’s excellent. It’s years since I read Mrs McGinty’s Dead and I can’t really remember the plot much, so I’m looking forward to Ms Christie bamboozling me all over again. The one joy of having a rotten memory! Hahaha – yes, I felt the whole world was conspiring to do a hell impersonation yesterday! Still, things can only get better… can’t they??? 😱

  2. The heat’s getting to me too 🥵 I have the Agatha Christie audio in my Audible basket. This was one of my favourites so I’m looking forward to listening.
    Well done on adding to the TBR btw 😉

    • Ugh! It’s so awful today I can only use the laptop for about 15 mins at a time. And I’m going to run out of ice-lollies soon! 😱 It’s so long since I read Mrs McGinty I can’t actually remember the plot, so I’m glad to hear it’s a goodie! Hahaha – so mean! 😉

  3. I do enjoy the occasional collection of short stories and have not read anything by William McIlvanney. Perhaps this would be a good introduction to his writing style. I shall await your verdict once you read it. 😉

    • I love McIlvanney, but I often wonder if he’d work as well for non-Scots. It’s not that he uses a lot of dialect usually, but his books are so firmly set in Scottish culture. You must read some of them and tell me what you think!

    • The heat is too much for me – my brain turns to mush! But hopefully it’s beginning to cool down now and I’ll be able to get into all of these books… 😀

  4. The Christie (which I haven’t read) and the fairy tales (some of which, I’m sure, I have) are grabbing my attention this week, FF. Sorry to hear you, too, are suffering this infernal heat. It’s been so hot here that Darling Doggie Dallas doesn’t want to go outside to potty and when he does, he can’t get back in fast enough!

    • The fairy tales are good so far, familiar, of course, but I’m enjoying the translation. Ugh! Poor Dallas, I know how he feels. T&T enjoy the heat a bit more, but even they are finding it too much at the height of the day. Hopefully it’s beginning to cool down a bit now though. I want snow!

  5. It’s been a while since I read an Agatha Christie so that is the most tempting at the moment. I hope it cools down soon where you are and that things do indeed get better politically for you! (And us in the US as well.)

    • I’m enjoying the Christie so far though it’s been too hot to concentrate on anything! Hopefully it’s cooling down a bit now though – my northern blood isn’t meant to be boiled! Haha – I’m trying just to view politics as an entertainment now and forget that the world as we know it seems to be imploding!

  6. I already listened to the Christie on audio – Hugh Fraser does a great job narrating. Snow White and Other Tales could tempt me, it has been a while since I’ve read any fairytales.

    And yes, the last couple of days have been bad. At least the weather is meant to become more tolerable tomorrow. Not sure about the rest…

    • I do love Hugh Fraser as a narrator, especially when Poirot is involved. I love that he makes him sound like David Suchet’s Poirot! So far I’m enjoying the translation in Snow White – it feels modern without being full of anachronistic modernisms, if that makes any sense.

      It’s finally cooling down here, thank goodness – my northern blood isn’t made to cope with this heat! I’m afraid it makes me totally lethargic and unable to think straight. Maybe the world will spontaneously self-combust before our political leaders can destroy it… 😉

  7. Gosh, you are a gifted writer, FF. That opening paragraph! I was just watching the monosyllables. I have to see it in small doses. I keep rewinding also. All three of these sound fab, and I’m not familiar with that particular Morrison book. I’ve had the same results with her. When she’s on, and not over my head, she is ON. Enjoy your new reads!

    • Why, thank you! 😀 Yes, the Mueller thing was painful to watch, and especially since over here the coverage kept cutting away to show Boris becoming Prime Minister! What a day! 😉 I do love Morrison’s prose and Beloved blew me away, but Song of Solomon really didn’t work for me. Fingers crossed for this one!

  8. I pity you in the sweltering heat, FF, it’s enervating and impossible to get away from without air conditioning or fridge rooms. We’re having a relatively mild winter here. I look forward to reading the McIlvanney, I haven’t read his short stories either. I have read A Mercy; I read most of Toni Morrison’s books some years ago, but while I was totally immersed while reading them, I haven’t retained individual impressions of the stories. I will be interested to see how you find the world of fairy tale. I’ve spent some time dipping into folk and fairy tales at different points of my life. I have the Jack Zipes’ translation of the Grimms tales, which is also known for presenting the unsanitised version of the rather raw and sometimes murderous story elements in some of the stories. I wonder how Joyce Crick’s approach differs?

    • Ugh! If this becomes the norm, we’ll really have to start making our houses air-conditioned – something we’ve never needed here, and which of course adds to the global warming problem! The McIlvanney is wonderful so far – I was happily sobbing my heart out over it yesterday afternoon, and have my tissues ready for another session today! He “gets” the Scottish psyche so perfectly – what a talent! I’m also thoroughly enjoying this transaltion of the Grimms – it’s nicely modern without having any anachronistic modernisms, if you see what I mean. Makes them easy to read but never jarring. She has retained the brutal elements – never quite understood why these stories are supposed to be suitable for kids! Thank goodness for Disney… 😉 Haven’t started the Morrison yet, but I have my fingers crossed…

    • Ugh – it’s been horrible, but it’s cooling down now, thank goodness! I’m thoroughly enjoying this translation of the fairy tales – nicely modern language but without any anachronistic stuff. Very readable!

  9. Yesterday was just too much for me weatherwise, I ended up taking a freezing cold bath, it was the only thing that helped. Shame there isn’t a similar quick fix for the mess which is Brittish politics.
    Your TBR sounds great. I might re-discover the fairy tales at some point to see how they measure up to adult reading. Mrs. McGinty has gone off the radar a bit. I don’t think it is quite up there among Christie’s greats, but I do actually remember who the murderer was, and Hugh Fraser is an excellent narrator.

    • It’s been horrible – I really can’t stand heat. Give me snow any day! Haha – well, at least life under Boris is unlikely to be dull! I’m trying to pretend it’s all just a reality TV show…

      I’m really enjoying this translation of the fairy tales – it’s nicely modern language but without any anachronisms. Very readable! I’m beginning to remember Mrs McGinty now I’m getting into it, and I think I remember now who the murderer is, but we’ll see. I love the Hugh Fraser narrations – they’ve really brought the books back to life for me. I also love the Joan Hickson narrations of the Miss Marple books – have you tried them?

  10. Oh dear! Keep hydrated! As for the TBR pile, keep chocolated! (Not a word, but you get the idea.)

    The fairy tales and Agatha Christie sound very tempting!

    • Ugh – it’s been horrible, but it’s finally cooling down a bit today! Hahaha – chocolated should definitely be a word! Though I have to eat my chocolate fast at the moment, before it melts… 😉

      So far, I’m enjoying both!

  11. I’d be attracted by the Grimm retellings if I hadn’t already got Philip Pullman’s selection waiting from a few years ago, but if you’d offered me any of the others I wouldn’t say no…

    • Hmm… I hate putting people off, and lots of people loved them, but I really disliked the Pullman versions. There were some horrible anachronisms in there, obviously deliberate and intended to add humour, but it didn’t work for me at all. I’m enjoying this transaltion much more – nicely modern but without modernisms. Very readable!

      • That’s fine, I got them mainly for his notes as I have the Routledge collection of the 19th-century translations (also with notes! I’m a sucker for learned notes).

        • Ha! I’m partial to notes and introductions too. I haven’t read the intro to this collection yet since I always read them afterwards, so they can tell me everything I failed to spot. 😉

  12. What an interesting mix of books!

    I’ve read two of these – A Mercy, which is not my favourite Toni Morrison book and and it was only at the end that I could understand the beginning. It is thought provoking and moving. I found it a difficult book, both to understand and to appreciate. In fact once I’d read it I went back to the beginning and read it again, almost straight away and then found myself turning back to the first page again.

    I’ve also read Mrs McGinty’s Dead which I think is up there amongst Christie’s best books.

    • My experience of Morrison has been mixed so far but I’ve only read a couple. A Mercy must have something though if you were driven to read it twice back to back – it’s extremely rare for me to want to do that.

      I’m beginning to remember the plot of Mrs McGinty now I’ve started listening and I think I remember whodunit and vaguely why, but we’ll see. But I do think I loved it too first time round – don’t know why I’ve never re-visited it before…

      • It’s rare for me to read a book back to back too – I can’t think of another one! But I found it so confusing the first time sorting out the characters and following the the plot that when I got to the end I wanted to re-read it in the light of what I knew then to see if I could understand it better – if you see what I mean!!
        The writing is lovely, though and the mood is melancholy and touching. And it’s short!

  13. The heatwave was horrible wasn’t it? Commuting in London when its 38 degrees is just hell – and those uncomfortable buses that our new PM wasted so much money on when he was the most useless mayor we’ve ever had, become the temperature of molten lava and are unusable in my opinion, grrr.

    On a happier note – books! I’m really keen to read more Morrison so I’ll be interested to see what you make of A Mercy 🙂

    • Dreadful! I do sympathise – I must admit I was so glad I could just stay in during the days and sneak out late in the evening if I needed to go to the supermarket. I used to hate working during extreme heat – much worse than being cold.

      I’m hoping this Morrison will revive my enthusiasm which was a bit dampened after Song of Solomon…

  14. Mrs McGinty’s Dead is one of the very few Fraser-narrated Christies that I couldn’t make it through and ended up returning – I hope you enjoy it more than me! I hope that the weather calms down a bit for you – it’s supposedly back down to 22C here today, but I can’t go outside without burning so I’m not convinced.

    • Oh, that’s a pity! I haven’t really got properly into it yet – sometimes I’m in the mood for audiobooks and sometimes not. But I do love Hugh Fraser’s narrations, so fingers crossed! It is much cooler but still too warm for me – I’m a winter person, much rather be too cold than too hot.

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