TBR Thursday 210…

Episode 210

And… down again! After going up by 2 last week, the TBR has fallen by 2 this week – down to 223 again. It’s enough to make a girl seasick…

Here are a few more that will be cruising my way soon…

Fiction

Mother of Pearl by Angela Savage

Angela is a blogging friend of mine who has previously written three crime novels starring her Thailand-based Australian detective, Jayne Keeney. She’s been working on this latest novel for the last couple of years and it’s something of a departure for her, taking her into the field of mainstream, rather than genre, fiction. It has just been published in Australia but doesn’t yet have a date for a UK release, so Angela has very kindly sent me a copy, which I’m delighted about, being far too impatient to read it to want to wait!

The Blurb says: A luminous and courageous story about the hopes and dreams we all have for our lives and relationships, and the often fraught and unexpected ways they may be realised.

Angela Savage draws us masterfully into the lives of Anna, an aid worker trying to settle back into life in Australia after more than a decade in Southeast Asia; Meg, Anna’s sister, who holds out hope for a child despite seven fruitless years of IVF; Meg’s husband Nate, and Mukda, a single mother in provincial Thailand who wants to do the right thing by her son and parents.

The women and their families’ lives become intimately intertwined in the unsettling and extraordinary process of trying to bring a child into the world across borders of class, culture and nationality. Rich in characterisation and feeling, Mother of Pearl, and the timely issues it raises, will generate discussion amongst readers everywhere.

* * * * *

Thriller

The Noble Path by Peter May

Courtesy of Quercus via NetGalley. Another reissue of one of May’s very early novels from back before he became a star and I became a fan. I thoroughly enjoyed the last one they put out, The Man with No Face, so am intrigued to read this one, although I must admit the subject matter isn’t something that would normally appeal to me. However, May is one of the best thriller writers out there, so if anyone can win me over, he can…

The Blurb says: THE EVIL WRATH

Cambodia, 1978: Amid the Khmer Rouge’s crazed genocide, soldier-of-fortune Jack Elliott is given the impossible task of rescuing a family from the regime.

THE PAINFUL TRUTH

Eighteen-year-old orphan and budding journalist Lisa Robinson has received the impossible news that her father is, in fact, alive. His name is Jack Elliott.

THE NOBLE PATH

As Jack tracks the hostages and Lisa traces her heritage, each intent on reuniting a family. Yet to succeed, they each must run a dangerous gauntlet of bullets and betrayal.

* * * * *

Political Memoir on Audio

Kind of Blue by Kenneth Clarke narrated by himself

To say Ken Clarke is on the opposite side of the political divide to me would be an exaggeration. He is the most centrist of right-wingers while I am more centrist than left-wing these days, so there’s a small rivulet between us rather than a wide gulf. Plus he’s amusing, intelligent and has a lovely, soothing, smoky voice that conjures up visions of comfortable armchairs, panelled walls, wood fires and an excellent vintage…

The Blurb says: Ken Clarke needs no introduction. One of the genuine ‘Big Beasts’ of the political scene, during his 46 years as the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe in Nottinghamshire he has been at the very heart of government under three prime ministers. He is a political obsessive with a personal hinterland, as well known as a Tory Wet with Europhile views as for his love of cricket, Nottingham Forest Football Club and jazz.

In Kind of Blue, Clarke charts his remarkable progress from working-class scholarship boy in Nottinghamshire to high political office and the upper echelons of both his party and of government. But Clarke is not a straightforward Conservative politician. His position on the left of the party, often led Margaret Thatcher to question his true blue credentials and his passionate commitment to the European project, has led many fellow Conservatives to regard him with suspicion – and cost him the leadership on no less than three occasions.

Clarke has had a ringside seat in British politics for four decades, and his trenchant observations and candid account of life both in and out of government will enthral listeners of all political persuasions. Vivid, witty and forthright, and taking its title not only from his politics but from his beloved Miles Davis, Kind of Blue is political memoir at its very best.

* * * * *

Queen of Crime

Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

Courtesy of HarperCollins. This new edition popped through my letterbox unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago and, as regulars know, I don’t ever need much of an excuse to revisit Ms Christie! This was always one of my (many) favourites so I know the story very well, but oddly it never matters to me in Christie novels if I already know whodunit. I can read them again and again anyway. Isn’t the cover great? The colours are even more vibrant in real life.

The Blurb says: A sun-drenched story of desire and murder with a conclusion you’ll never see coming…

‘The best Agatha Christie since And Then There Were None’―Observer

The moment Arlena Stuart steps through the door, every eye in the resort is on her.

She is beautiful. She is famous. And in less than 72 hours she will be dead.

On this luxury retreat, cut off from the outside world, everyone is a suspect. The wandering husband. The jealous wife. The bitter step-daughter.

They all had a reason to kill Arlena Stuart. But who hated her enough to do it?

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

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

41 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 210…

  1. Ken Clarke’s memoir would possibly tempt me as, me being more left of centre, his politeness has always appealed more than his politics, plus I enjoyed his commentary when he used to present a jazz programme on the radio.

    The Christie is one I hope you enjoy: I had the luck of holidaying by the island where not only did she write the novel but where she also set it, albeit under a different name. (Ditto with And Then There Were None.)

    • I’m usually able to enjoy political memoirs even if I disagree with the person’s politics so long as they don’t rant too much, and Clarke’s way too laid back to rant! He’s using jazz greats as the chapter titles, so it might even inspire me to do a bit of listening.

      Yes, you posted (or maybe re-posted) about Evil Under the Sun recently, didn’t you? I thought at the time that it was time for a re-read and then serendipitously this popped through the letterbox. Always room on my TBR for a Christie re-read… 😀

  2. Although I’m not keen on political memoirs I am tempted by Ken Clarke’s memoir too – for his voice and his wit, more than his politics. I didn’t know he was a working- class scholarship boy – in fact I know nothing about his life. I enjoy the calmness of his interventions during PMQs in contrast to others’ rants. I also find Jacob Rees-Mogg very entertaining.

    Your TBR ship is hardly cruising – it makes me feel seasick (:

    • I’ve listened to the first couple of chapters and so far am enjoying it very much, though we’re still in his pre-politics life. I always find I can enjoy political memoirs even of people whose political opinions are opposite to mine so long as they don’t rant – and I somehow can’t imagine Ken Clarke ranting! I like getting the reflective view of events that seemed so important when they were happening. Haha – yes I feel that way about Rees-Mogg too, although he really is way on the other side of the political divide from me! And secretly, I have a soft spot for Boris the person though I’m scared rigid at the thought of Boris the PM! 😉

      Haha – it reminds me of my one and only trip on a hovercraft…

    • I’ve been a huge fan of Peter May for years, so dig that book out and get reading! 😉 Hahaha – that makes me feel so much better! Of course, I haven’t included my wishlist which is big enough to make the boat sink…!!

      Thanks for popping in and commenting! 😀

  3. Although I’ve loved Peter May’s books so far, I’m not too sure about this one. I’ll hang fire and see…
    Love the cover of the Agatha Christie, one of my favourites too.

    • Yes, I’m not keen on the blurb of this one either, but we’ll see – at least it’s bound to be well written! I don’t know how many he wrote in his early, pre-TV, life – I always had the impression there were only two or three, so I’m hoping they republish them all.

      It’s a great cover – I wonder if they’re going to be republishing them all. I can’t cope!! 😉

  4. Like you, I don’t share many of Ken Clarke’s political opinions, but he has always struck me as being fairly decent and grounded, so I might give him a go.
    Christie is indeed very re-readable. In general, I don’t tend to re-read crime fiction, but I make an exception for Christie and Conan Doyle, probably because I first read them in my early teens, and so there is a degree of familiarity about them. Evil Under the Sun is a good one, and would certainly make it into my top 10 Christie novels if I ever get round to making a list.

    • I usually find that once they reach the stage of being “elder statesmen” rather than ambitious politicians, they’re usually quite fun, and give a lot of insight into recent history. So far, Ken is entertaining me…

      I’m far more likely to re-read old favourites than recent crime novels too, with Christie and Conan Doyle at the top of my list. I’d add Reginald Hill – some of his books are nearer to literary fiction than crime novels, and I can read them again and again. I don’t know if I could limit myself to a Top Ten for Christie – I’ve lost count of the ones I’ve described as favourites. Thank goodness she was so prolific!

  5. Oh, they all look great, FictionFan! I know you’re going to love Mother of Pearl – lucky you to get a copy! And there’s a Peter May on your list, so I’m sure you’re going to enjoy that one, too. And as for your Christie, Evil Under the Sun is a great late-summer read without being too light, if I can put it that way. I always really liked the description of the hotel there – and the proprietress.

    • Yes, it was so good of Angela to send me a copy – can’t wait to read it! The Peter May is intriguing – the blurb makes it sound different from his usual, but at least I know it’s bound to be well written! I’ve always loved the hotel proprietress in Evil Under the Sun too, and I also like the young girl’s story. I’m intrigued to see if all the new covers will follow this colour-band style…

  6. Congratulations to you on that drop! Here’s hoping you’ll find more series to ditch.
    Congratulations also to Angela on the publication of her novel!

    This is one of my favorites from Agatha Christie. I return to the audiobook every now and then

    • Unfortunately I seem to be back on track of enjoying most of the books I’m reading which simply adds more to my wishlist! 😉 Looking forward to reading Angela’s book – it’s been a real labour of love for her. 😀

      I have so many favourite Christies it would probably be quicker for me to list the ones that aren’t! I don’t have the audio of this one, so a nice new paper copy is a great excuse to revisit it… like I need an excuse…

  7. One day I will get around to reading Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy. I always confuse him with another author – Peter James. Though why I have no idea since they couldn’t be more different as authors….

    • His Lewis Trilogy is really excellent, but I find most of his books are, and it’s been interesting to get the chance to read these early ones that haven’t been available for a while. Yes, Peter seems to be an annoyingly common name for British crime writers – there’s a Peter Robinson too.

  8. No wonder your TBR is so well-padded — with selections as GOOD as those you’ve listed here, we all need to sign off the Internet and curl up with a book! Well done, FF (drat, now my own TBR is going to have to go on a diet, ha!)

  9. You find the best gifs to accompany your posts!! 😂

    I agree that the cover on the Christie is wonderful. You’ll be happy to know that I put two of hers on my Kindle at your recommendation, just to get me started. 😉 I’m also well into (and enjoying) a sci-fi you recommended.

      • Death on the Nile and The Secret Adversary. Just from some of the comments above, I’m thinking I should also add this Christie, as well!

        I’m reading the short story collection, Menace of the Machine. Very good, so far! Have you read The End of the World collection compiled by the same editor? Or Menace of the Monster? Both sound fun, too!

        I’ve got two Sci-Fi short story collections by Ted Chiang on my wish list. My oldest brother said they’re excellent. Have you read anything by him? (one inspired the film Arrival) Not sure why I’ve had this sudden craving for Sci-Fi.

        • Death on the Nile is one of my top three – it’s the Poirot I always recommend! And The Secret Adversary is a lot of fun – I love Tommy and Tuppence. But you should probably add all the rest too – there’s only about another 70 of them… 😉

          It’s a good collection, isn’t it? I haven’t read the others, purely due to time restraints, but I’m sorely tempted by them. However the BL has sent me a couple of the vintage sci-fi novels they’ve recently republished, so I’m looking forward to them.

          I actually hardly ever read modern sci-fi and when I do I usually don’t enjoy it much. I find it’s too science-y for me – the older stuff doesn’t care if it has to have people do impossible things. But I’ll be interested in hearing what you think of the Chiang collections – I’m always willing to be tempted to try again… 😀

  10. Although I don’t fancy Ken’s autobiography, I must admit that one of the fallouts of Brexit that I didn’t foresee is that I’m warming to some of the Tory old guard 😀 I’ve been agreeing with him and Michael Heseltine interviews…me of 20 years ago would be flabbergasted – I’m fairly shocked now!

    • Haha! I’ve found over the years that most of them mellow enough over the years that they’re bearable by the time they reach “elder statesman” status. Of course, there are exceptions! Plus I’ve definitely moved further from the left with each passing year – my disgusted brother refers to me as an “extreme centrist”. He means it as an insult, but I quite like the idea… 😂

  11. Completely agree regarding Peter May. I haven’t read any of his early books, but I will await your opinion on this one.

    How do you get people to send you Agatha Christie novels, without even asking? Sounds nice 🙂. Anyway, I have that particular one on my kindle, it is one of my (many) favourite Christies as well.

    I am not in the mood to read about politicians at the moment. I did have a good chuckle about Trump’s Greenland takeover attempt the other day, though.

    • I have my fingers crossed – the blurb doesn’t appeal much, but I’ve rarely been disappointed in a Peter May book.

      Hahaha! I wish I knew! I’ve spent years trying to cultivate publishers but it’s still a rare experience for me to get book post that I haven’t actually grovelled and begged for. So it’s always a special treat! So many great Christies – there are very few of them that wouldn’t count as favourites of mine!

      Oh dear – he’s so absurd, and then he gets all huffy when people call him absurd! 😂 I’m hoping he decides to buy Scotland so he’ll stop visiting us once we tell him we’re not for sale… 😉

  12. Once I regain my sea legs (that video made me turn green), I think I’ll go with the Agatha Christie. I’ve only read AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, so maybe it’s time to read another. If I can pull myself up from the depths of despair over climate change and our current political situation….

  13. Oi that video at the top made me seasick!!! The Peter May looks great, and political memoir is decidedly a strong pass for me. I have a feeling your review of it will be humorous however, so I do look forward to reading your reactions of it 🙂

    • Haha – me too! Peter May is always good and often great so I have high expectations of this one. The political memoir is definitely for Brits only, I’d imagine – I don’t think poor old Ken has much of an international following! 😉

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