TBR Thursday 215…

Episode 215

A tiny increase this week in the TBR – up 1 to 218 – thus proving the trend is still down. (Yes, I’ve obtained my diploma in the Art of Fake News, and am now studying for my Masters…)

Here are a few I’ll be reading soon. Period.


Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

I thoroughly enjoyed a collection of Conrad’s novellas which I read a year or so ago, so time to give one of his novels a try. This will also tick off another of the compulsory destinations on my Around the World challenge…

The Blurb says: Jim, a young British seaman, becomes first mate on the Patna, a ship full of pilgrims travelling to Mecca for the hajj. When the ship starts rapidly taking on water and disaster seems imminent, Jim joins his captain and other crew members in abandoning the ship and its passengers. A few days later, they are picked up by a British ship. However, the Patna and its passengers are later also saved, and the reprehensible actions of the crew are exposed. The other participants evade the judicial court of inquiry, leaving Jim to the court alone. He is publicly censured for this action and the novel follows his later attempts at coming to terms with his past. The novel is counted as one of 100 best books of the 20th century.

* * * * *


The Lying Room by Nicci French

I enjoyed a couple of this crime-writing duo’s Freida Klein series, but the idea of eight books for one story isn’t for me, though I know plenty of people enjoyed them, so I gave up part-way through. This one claims to be a standalone, so I’m hoping it won’t have a cliffhanger ending. Must admit, I’m rather put off by the blurb’s use of the most overused cliché in the cliché-riddled morass of current crime fiction – “how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves?” I’m trying to think when I last saw a blurb that didn’t say that…

The Blurb says: A trusted colleague and friend. A mother. A wife. Neve Connolly is all these things. She has also made mistakes; some small, some unconsciously done, some large, some deliberate. She is only human, after all.

But now one mistake is spiralling out of control and Neve is bringing those around her into immense danger.
She can’t tell the truth. So how far is she prepared to go to protect those she loves?

And who does she really know? And who can she trust?

A liar. A cheat. A threat. Neve Connolly is all these things.

Could she be a murderer?

* * * * *

Scottish Classic

Cloud Howe by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

One from my Classics Club list. I loved the first part of the A Scots Quair trilogy, Sunset Song, when I re-read it a couple of years ago. When I first read the trilogy many years ago, I remember not being as impressed by the other two books, but I’m hoping my older self might appreciate them more. We’ll see…

The Blurb says: A powerful and evocative saga of Scottish life through three decades, Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s magnificent trilogy moves from the years of The Great War to the hungry Thirties. From the hills of Kinraddie and the jute mills by Segget Water to the grey granite walls of Duncairn, A Scots Quair tells the life of a woman and the story of a people. This is the second novel in the trilogy A Scots Quair which continues to follow the life of Chris Guthrie as she embarks on her second marriage to the minister Robert Colquhoun.

* * * * *


A Darker Domain by Val McDermid

I’m reading the Karen Pirie series all out of order but it doesn’t seem to be lessening my enjoyment of them – each one so far has worked well as a standalone. This is the second, and it’s been sitting on my Kindle for over two years… 

The Blurb says: Twenty-five years ago, the daughter of the richest man in Scotland and her baby son were kidnapped and held to ransom. But Catriona Grant ended up dead and little Adam’s fate has remained a mystery ever since. When a new clue is discovered in a deserted Tuscan villa – along with grisly evidence of a recent murder – cold case expert DI Karen Pirie is assigned to follow the trail.

She’s already working a case from the same year. During the Miners’ Strike of 1984, pit worker Mick Prentice vanished. He was presumed to have broken ranks and fled south with other ‘scabs’… but Karen finds that the reported events of that night don’t add up. Where did he really go? And is there a link to the Grant mystery?

The truth is stranger – and far darker – than fiction.

* * * * *

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads.

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

45 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 215…

  1. Lord Jim is on my classics club list. I’ve only read one other book by Conrad – Heart of Darkness – which was tense and a little difficult to understand in parts. Lord Jim sounds more straightforward.

    • I’ve only read a collection four of his novellas, including Heart of Darkness. I loved them, but agree Heart of Darkness isn’t the easiest read in the world. In fact, I never got around to writing a review and decided it will require re-reading before I do, so I’m kinda hoping Lord Jim is more straightforward!

  2. I’ll be honest with you: I much prefer the Nicci French standalones, so I am glad to see them return to their old hunting grounds. And it pains me to see how ignorant I am about Scottish classics…

    • I haven’t read any of their standalones. I liked their style in the Frieda books, but never enjoy running story arcs like that, so I have my fingers crossed this one will work better for me! Haha – at least you have an excuse for not having read too many Scottish Classics. Imagine how guilt-ridden I feel… 😉

    • I have high hopes since I loved the collection of novellas I read so much! But I do think I tried to read Lord Jim when I was pretty young and didn’t get along with it at all. I suspect and hope that was to do with my age rather than the book though…

  3. As it happens, I have just started re-reading Sunset Song, as I have been able to get hold of the other two books in the series, but wanted to refresh my mind on the first instalment before continuing, as it is a long time since I read it. I’ve read a fair amount of McDermid, but I’ve never come across this particular series, I prefer her stand alone novels on the whole and became rather tired of Tony Hill. I might give this other one a try at some point and see how I get on.

    • I’m hoping that the other two books will work better for me this time round – I suspect I first read them when I was around the age of Chris in Sunset Song and maybe was less interested in her as she aged away from me. Now I don’t have that problem! 😉 I find McDermid variable but when she’s on form she’s great. This Karen Pirie series – the ones I’ve read – has been a bit odd in that there doesn’t seem to be a consistent style to them, so that I find they almost read like standalones. I’ve enjoyed them all so far, though…

  4. Glad to see you have a McDermid there, FictionFan. She is awfully talented, and you’ll likely enjoy that one a lot – well, I hope you will. And as for the Nicci French, I’ll be interested to see what you think of that. I confess I’ve not read their standalones, but I have enjoyed the Frieda Klein novels.And thanks for mentioning the cliche/blurb thing. Hmm….guess I’ll have to go back to the blurb I’m writing for my next book and do something about that… 😉

    • I’ve been enjoying the Karen Pirie series and I know lots of people rate this one as one of the best, so I have high hopes! Hahahaha – oh dear, I’m sorry! But you must remember that I’m just an out-of-touch grump when it comes to contemporary crime fiction! You should never, ever pay any attention to my opinions… 😉

    • That’s good to hear – I was late getting to this series so still have a couple of the early ones to catch up on. I’m looking forward to it – when she’s good, she’s very, very good…!

  5. Elevator going up? Oh dear. But at least it only went up one floor. You need another book series (perhaps one with every book like The Long Call) to bring it down nicely.

    • Hahahaha – excellent logic! I must admit abandoning books is a great way to get the TBR down – I should put all the Fifty Shades books on so I can abandon them all later when I need a sudden drop… 😉

    • I’m increasingly moving away from modern crime too, but McDermid is a long-time favourite. She can be very dark too, especially her Tony Hill serial killer series – I gave them up several books back. But this Karen Pirie series has been much more my level so far, so fingers crossed…

  6. I think I’ll pass on the Nicci French (based on the blurb!), but fancy the other three choices – so it’s just as well that they are already on my TBR 🙂

    • Haha – well, three out of four ain’t bad! The Nicci French blurb doesn’t appeal much to me either but I did like their style in the early Frieda Klein books, just not the overarching story arc, so I decided I’d give this standalone a try and see whether they’re worth pursuing further. I’m much more confident about the other three… I think…

  7. I’ve seen Val McDermid books on folks’ blogs for years, yet haven’t ever read one. I see that I added one of her stand-alones to my wishlist almost ten years ago, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten!

    • I’ve found her variable over the years – sometimes she’s too dark for my tastes, like some of her Tony Hill serial killer series. And sometimes she just seems to miss the mark somehow. But when she’s good, she’s very, very good and I must say I think this Karen Pirie series is the best stuff she’d done in years…

  8. I never read Lord Jim. Sure, it’s a classic, but I somehow managed to avoid quite a few of them (despite being an English major, ha!) Shh, don’t say that too loud — they’re liable to come after me and snatch my diploma right back!

    • Hahaha – worse! They might come after you and make you read all the classics!! 😱📚 I reckon you could read nothing but classics all your life and not get through them all, so I try not to feel too guilty about the zillions I haven’t read. If they’d hurry up and invent immortality I’d have plenty of time, so it’s their fault… 😉

    • Yes, I reckon I must have been in my early twenties when I last read them and I’m wondering if I preferred Sunset Song because Chris was around my age in it. I don’t remember much about the other two, but I’m hoping maybe I’ll connect more to an older version of Chris now…

    • I find her variable – her Tony Hill books got too dark for me after a bit, for example. But so far I’ve really enjoyed all the books I’ve read in her Karen Pirie series and they do all seem to work as standalones…

    • I was devastated when Spicer resigned purely because there would no more SNL skits of him! I hope we both enjoy Nicci French, and I do recommend McDermid. Her books are variable though – some of them, like the Tony Hill series, are very dark and quite gruesome. This Karen Pirie series is more my level – I’ve enjoyed them all so far.

  9. I haven’t read any of these, and as others have said only Heart of Darkness (which I too found very difficult) so I’m interested in Lord Jim and also your mention of his short stories, maybe I should give him another go?

    • I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the collection of his novellas, which included Heart of Darkness, but I have a bit of a love affair with colonial era history and literature which I’m sure helped my understanding of them. Plus these Oxford World Classics editions have great introductions and notes which I find really add to my reading experience of the “harder” classics. I should be starting Lord Jim today so I have my fingers firmly crossed…

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