TBR Thursday 217…

Episode 217

Oops! A tiny little increase in the TBR this week – up 1 to 215. But it’s not my fault! It’s all these politicians! How is a girl to concentrate when the “civilised” world is going into meltdown?? Still, they might all be useless, but at least our new PM is more entertaining than the last one…

Here are a few more I’ll be putting to the vote soon…

American Classic

For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

I surprised myself by loving my introduction to Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises, a few years ago, so am hoping he works the same magic with this one, which actually sounds more like my kind of thing…

The Blurb says: High in the pine forests of the Spanish Sierra, a guerrilla band prepares to blow up a vital bridge. Robert Jordan, a young American volunteer, has been sent to handle the dynamiting. There, in the mountains, he finds the dangers and the intense comradeship of war. And there he discovers Maria, a young woman who has escaped from Franco’s rebels…

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Vintage Sci-Fi Shorts

Menace of the Monster edited by Mike Ashley

I thoroughly enjoyed the other volume I’ve read in this series of vintage sci-fi from the British Library, Menace of the Machine, so I have high hopes for this one. I’ve already dipped into it to find a Tuesday Terror! story and the porpy and I were both cowering behind a barrel of ant spray after reading De Profundis – we’re hoping they’re not all quite as scary as that one!

The Blurb says: The field of classic science fiction is populated with bizarre and fearsome creatures, be they lifeforms from other worlds, corrupted beasts from our own planet or entities from unimaginable dimensions.

Collected within is a diverse host of these otherworldly beings, from savage prehistoric revenants to nightmare predators encountered in the dark of space; from alien visitors on trial under US law to unfamiliar species under the knife in an intergalactic hospital; and from warlike Martians to the peaceful creatures for whom Man might be the monstrous invader…

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Horror

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

This has been on my TBR since 2014, mainly because I’ve only read one ghost story of Hill’s and it was bland, unscary and derivative. This one is of course much praised, so hopefully it will be better, but my expectations are low. I did see a theatre adaptation of it many moons ago and, hmm, well, let’s just say I snored more than I shrieked… but the book is always better, right? Right?

The Blurb says: The classic ghost story by Susan Hill: a chilling tale about a menacing spectre haunting a small English town.

Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford—a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway—to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow’s house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images—a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black. Psychologically terrifying and deliciously eerie, The Woman in Black is a remarkable thriller of the first rate.

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Scottish Classic

The New Road by Neil Munro

I know nothing about this one other than it regularly appears on lists of Scottish classics. The blurb might be short but it still sounds intriguing… 

The Blurb says: The New Road tells the story of Aeneas McMaster – a young man haunted by the disappearance of his Jacobite father 14 years earlier. It is also the story of the Highlands at the time when General Wade’s road was carving its way between Stirling and Inverness into the traditional strongholds of the Clans.

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

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So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

41 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 217…

  1. I’m another who hasn’t been especially pleased with Susan Hill’s work, FictionFan. Still, I also don’t like to dismiss a book out of hand. I will be interested in what you think of this one when you get to it. In the meantime, Menace of the Monster sounds quite good, and I don’t usually read a lot of science fiction! I hope you’ll enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s odd because she does seem to be very popular, and usually even if I don’t enjoy a popular writer I can see why other people might. But with Hill, in that story anyway, I couldn’t see it at all. Hopefully this one will do the trick! And if it doesn’t scare me, I’m almost certain Menace of the Monster will! 😱🦔

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve heard of the Woman in Black, but have never read it, or indeed any other Susan Hill. Judging by the comments and reviews here, I don’t think I’ve missed very much. I might try the Neil Munro sometime though, as I quite liked his Para Handy tales when I read them years ago.

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    • I’m hoping that The Woman in Black will be better than I’m expecting – I know a lot of people have loved it but (and I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m a know-it-all) I think a lot of them maybe haven’t read many real Victorian ghost stories, so don’t find her as derivative as I did. I enjoyed the Para Handy stories too long ago, and the ancient TV series of them back in the ’60s – one of my earliest TV memories. So I have high hopes for The New Road, although it sounds very different in style…

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  3. Oh dear. None this week, I’m afraid. Going up 1 on your TBR is understandable, considering the stress you’re experiencing. Having a soothing piece of chocolate. That will make it allllllll better.

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    • What??? Not even the one about the Jacobites?? Not even the monsters??? I’ll need to work harder! Haha – I am so tired of UK politics at the moment – I’m beginning to wonder if dictators are really such a bad idea… 😉

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  4. Actually, I thought the stage adaptation of The Woman in Black was better than the book, so… Although it works better if you are in a small theatre and suddenly find the woman standing right beside you!!!

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    • I saw it in London after it had been running for years, and the cast sleepwalked through it as if they were totally bored with it – which made it very boring for the audience too. I’d go again to a new fresh production, and yes, haha!, horror really does work better in smaller venues! 😀

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  5. I saw a stage version of The Woman in Black so I didn’t expect it to be too scary. I’ll be interested to know what you think of the book. I must find time to read Hemingway…

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    • It had a reputation for being scary at the time I went to see it, so when it wasn’t that made it even more disappointing. But maybe the book will work better – fingers crossed! Hemingway surprised me – I had a real love/hate thing going on with The Sun Also Rises, but love won out in the end. I’m intrigued to see how I get on with this one… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve only read one – The Sun Also Rises – and ended up loving it almost against my will! I’ve been intending to read more ever since – this one sounds very much like my kind of thing, so fingers crossed!

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  6. I enjoyed Menace of the Machine so much (thanks to you!) that I now have Menace of the Monster on my shelf, along with the End of the World collection. I’m not sure which I want to read first. The ant story tempts me that direction, but I’ve always had a thing about end of world scenarios. Decisions, decisions!

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    • Ooh, I’m glad you enjoyed Menace of the Machine! I haven’t got the End of the World one yet, but I must – I like that kind of story too. The monster one is probably the one that would least attract me in fact, but I was lucky enough to get sent a copy and I must say the ant one still lingers in my mind! I think I prefer “natural” monsters to the Godzilla type, but I think this has some alien monsters in it too, and they’re always fun… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. OMG that gif is hilarious!!! And i’m very excited for your review of The Woman in Black. I haven’t read it myself, although I’ve seen the movie from a few years ago AND I saw it on the stage, a local theatre production did it. It was surprisingly terrifying!

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    • Hahaha – our Boris does love to win! I believe the child survived… 😉 I haven’t seen the movie and the theatre one I saw wasn’t done very well, so I’m really hoping the book works better for me – fingers crossed! I might make it my Hallowe’en read… 🎃😱🎃

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  8. Gee, I never read For Whom the Bell Tolls, either. And yes, I really was an English major, ha! Oh, well, it’s not too late to remedy it, providing I can tick off some of the older books on my TBR first. And I do understand how your total could increase — after all, it’s not every weekend that Rafa ties the knot!

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  9. I would like to read more Hemingway as well. So far I’ve only read The Old Man and the Sea (and no, it wasn’t because I was forced to in school). Hopefully, you will enjoy The Sun Also Rises! Apropos the discussion about expectations – is The Woman in Black part of a challenge?

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    • I did enjoy The Sun Also Rises – the only one I’ve read so far. The one I’ll be reading soon is For Whom the Bell Tolls, so I’ll see how that goes and then consider The Old Man and the Sea – did you enjoy it? No, I bought The Woman in Black years ago when another blogging friend was praising it highly, but then it got lost in the depths of the TBR. Then I read another story by her which I didn’t think much of, so I’ve had no incentive to dig this one out. But I’m trying gradually to whittle away some of the ancient lingerers – it’s leading to quite a high percentage of abandonments, I must admit…

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      • Ah yes. So let me try again: I hope you will enjoy For Whom the Bell Tolls 🙂 .

        I enjoyed The Old Man and the Sea, but I suspect it is quite different from Hemingway’s other novels. It reads more like a fable, but I thought it was beautifully written and several existential themes were handled in a straight-forward, non-sentimental way, which still touched me deeply. Also, I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘Man fighting against himself’ stories, but I guess that is not for everyone.

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        • Haha – thank you! 😀

          I must say that sounds great and I’m kinda wishing I’d picked it now rather than this one. I loved the way he wrote about masculinity in The Sun Also Rises, and some of his writing is sublime. I can still see the dusty roads of Spain, and taste the wine… 😀

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  10. I wasn’t very impressed by my first Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, but I keep thinking I should give him another try. Maybe I would have better luck with The Sun Also Rises.

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    • I had very mixed feelings about The Sun Also Rises while I was reading it, but some of the scenes have stayed in my mind meaning its stature has grown for me over time. I think, like Steinbeck, he could turn into a real love/hate author for me…

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  11. Woman in Black was seriously underwhelming I’m sorry to tell you. The plot idea was solid but oh dear, the writing was bad – I hate it when people load up their text with adjectives…. The only reason I got to the end of it was that it was the only book I had with me on a night flight from US back home to UK.

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    • Oh, thanks for the link – Jack’s review is much more informative than the short blurb which was all I could find. It does sound interesting – I hope we both enjoy it!

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