TBR Thursday 223…

Episode 223

So the first TBR Thursday of the year and the first report since I set my annual target to reduce the TBR by 40. Hmm. Well, I’m rushing to do this before the postman arrives because I fear the situation is going to deteriorate badly when he does. At this precise moment it’s up by 1 to 206. Could be worse… let’s face it, WILL be worse…

Here are a few that are at the top of the heap…

Scottish Classic

Grey Granite by Lewis Grassic Gibbon

The winner of the last Classics Club Spin is this, the third volume of A Scots Quair trilogy. I loved the first one, Sunset Song, and found the second, Cloud Howe, disappointing, so anything could happen with this one… fingers crossed!

The Blurb says: Chris Guthrie and her son, Ewan, have come to the industrial town of Duncairn, where life is as hard as the granite of the buildings all around them. These are the Depression years of the 1930s, and Chris is far from the fields of her youth in Sunset Song. In a society of factory owners, shopkeepers, policemen, petty clerks and industrial labourers, “Chris Caledonia” must make her living as bets she can by working in Ma Cleghorn’s boarding house. Ewan finds employment in a steel foundry and tries to lead a peaceful strike against the manufacture of armaments. In the face of violence and police brutality, his socialist idealism is forged into something harder and fiercer as he becomes a communist activist ready to sacrifice himself, his girlfriend, and even the truth itself, for the cause. Grey Granite is the last and grimmest volume of the Scots Quair trilogy. Chris Guthrie is one of the great characters in Scottish Literature and no reader of Sunset Song and Cloud Howe should miss this last rich chapter in her tale.

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Vintage Crime

The Listening Walls by Margaret Millar

Courtesy of Pushkin Vertigo. I’ve seen Margaret Millar mentioned by various vintage crime fans around the blogosphere, so am looking forward to trying her for myself…

The Blurb says: Amy Kellogg is not having a pleasant vacation in Mexico. She’s been arguing nonstop with her friend and traveling companion, Wilma, and she wants nothing more than to go home to California. But their holiday takes a nightmarish turn when Wilma is found dead on the street below their room-an apparent suicide.

Rupert Kellogg has just returned from seeing his wife Amy through the difficulties surrounding the apparent suicide of her friend in Mexico. But Rupert is returning alone-which worries Amy’s brother. Amy was traumatized by the suicide, Rupert explains, and has taken a holiday in New York City to settle her nerves. But as gone girl Amy’s absence drags on for weeks and then months, the sense of unease among her family changes to suspicion and eventual allegations.

* * * * *

Fiction

Braised Pork by An Yu

Courtesy of Harville Secker via NetGalley. I know nothing about either book or author but I thought it sounded intriguingly strange…

The Blurb says: One morning in autumn, Jia Jia walks into the bathroom of her Beijing apartment to find her husband – with whom she had been breakfasting barely an hour before – dead in the bathtub. Next to him a piece of paper unfolds like the wings of a butterfly, and on it is an image that Jia Jia can’t forget.

Profoundly troubled by what she has seen, even while she is abruptly released from a marriage that had constrained her, Jia Jia embarks on a journey to discover the truth of the sketch. Starting at her neighbourhood bar, with its brandy and vinyl, and fuelled by anger, bewilderment, curiosity and love, Jia Jia travels deep into her past in order to arrive at her future.

Braised Pork is a cinematic, often dreamlike evocation of nocturnal Beijing and the high plains of Tibet, and an exploration of myth-making, loss, and a world beyond words, which ultimately sees a young woman find a new and deeper sense of herself.

* * * * *

Crime

Echoes from the Dead by Johan Theorin

This has been languishing on my TBR since September 2016, which is odd since I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the couple of books I’ve previously read from this author. This is the first in a quartet, of which I’ve already read the last one – yeah, must stop doing that! This will take me to one of my last Around the World destinations, I hope…

The Blurb says: ‘Can you ever come to terms with a missing child?’ Julia Davidsson has not. Her five-year-old son disappeared twenty years previously on the Swedish island of Oland. No trace of him has ever been found.

Until his shoe arrives in the post. It has been sent to Julia’s father, a retired sea-captain still living on the island. Soon he and Julia are piecing together fragments of the past: fragments that point inexorably to a local man called Nils Kant, known to delight in the pain of others. But Nils Kant died during the 1960s. So who is the stranger seen wandering across the fields as darkness falls?

It soon becomes clear that someone wants to stop Julia’s search for the truth. And that he’s much, much closer than she thinks…

* * * * *

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

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So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

38 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 223…

  1. Up by 1? That’s not bad! Give yourself some chocolate because it could have been worse.

    I’m sort of tempted by The Listening Walls, but as you mentioned, Gone Girl comes to mind. Could this be what inspired Gone Girl?

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    • Haha – any excuse for chocolate! 🍫

      Intriguing thought! Unfortunately I haven’t read Gone Girl (or should that be fortunately?) so I won’t be able to tell how similar it is to this one…

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  2. LOL, and tempted… I’m not even going there! Can’t add to my TBR for fear the books will fall on me and I’ll end up buried in them. Sigh. Your gifs always make me laugh.

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    • I always hope the gifs will distract people from my lack of willpower… 😉 Haha – as soon as I do my annual count-up I feel an overwhelming need to go on a splurge so that I have time to read them all before the end of the year… 😂

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  3. Not content with scaring Porpy half to death, Miss Piggy is feeling the need to head bang at the state of your TBR!! Here is your new mantra…kindness to all animals 😉😂

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  4. None of them are really jumping out at me this week, but I hope you get on a bit better with Gray Granite. I have read the first two, and my thoughts are similar to yours, so I don’t feel a particular desire to read the final instalment. The blurb makes it sound rather heavy and depressing, but perhaps you will be surprised by it.

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    • I don’t really want to read it either, so it’s probably good that it came up on the spin – at least it’ll force me to get it over with. And my expectations are so low that if it surprises me at all, it can only be in a good way…

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  5. Oh, you do have some good ‘uns there, FictionFan! I really hope you’ll like the Theorin. I think he creates an excellent sense of place and local culture; I really do. And I’ve always thought Margaret Millar did a great job of creating psychological suspense without gore. Hopefully you’ll find that to be the case here. Oh, wait, was that your postie I heard? You’d better hide. Now. 😉

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    • I really enjoyed the last in Theorin’s Oland quartet so I have high hopes he’ll break through my current contemporary crime block – I love the vintage stuff but I’d like to get back to reading at least some recent stuff too! Good to hear you recommend Margaret Millar – I’m hoping to indulge in a binge read of it at the weekend. Hahaha – after all that the postie brought me nothing today! I’m a bit worried they’ve maybe had to hire a special van to carry them all – need to make sure Tommy’s not sleeping under the letterbox tomorrow… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m intrigued by Braised Pork, only because it sounds so strange. I’ll wait for your review before I decide if intrigue becomes temptation. 😉 Wait…. Miss Piggy appears in the same post with Braised Pork?? 😱

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    • Hahahahaha! Brilliant! Yes, that was extremely tactless of me – no wonder she’s looking upset! 😂🐷

      It does sound intriguing, doesn’t it? I have no idea what to expect – could be wonderful, could be dreadful. Only time will tell… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Echoes from the Dead sounds most intriguing. And since it’s been on your TBR for going-on-four-years now, I vote you tackle it first! After all, there are a couple of others to read, too, and you can work on that Around the World challenge at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since it looks as though the emphasis is on the son and politics, this one might work better for me than Cloud Howe. I do feel it would be a shame not to finish the trilogy now anyway…

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  8. Did my eyes deceive me, or did I just see Miss Piggy head banging over a couple of doughnuts?! Anyway, I can’t believe you haven’t been to Sweden yet – quite a lot of crime fiction to choose from. Having said that, I don’t think I’ve read Theorin, but I’m not sure. I got through a lot of Scandi crime in my youth and don’t remember all the authors. I will look out for your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! How could anyone be in despair when they have doughnuts, especially since one is chocolate?? I was surprised too – I thought I’d “done” Scandi early on in the challenge and it was only when I was looking out final books I realised poor Sweden hadn’t appeared. I read a couple of Theorins a few years ago when I was going through a Scandi phase, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Of course that was before I began to go off contemporary crime, so we’ll see if the magic still works… 😲

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  9. Oh dear, I made the mistake of looking at another post of yours. I am so tempted by two here, Grey Granite and Braised Pork. Oh dear….My favorite bookstore is having a 20% sale and I received a gift certificate to spend there as a Christmas present…..Will I be mising much if I just read the third volume of the trilogy?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read Grey Granite yet, but I suspect it would be better to have read the first two parts first. However, in truth, the first volume Sunset Song is the famous one – the other two don’t have nearly as good a reputation, and I certainly didn’t think the second was a patch on Sunset Song, which is great. Braised Pork does sound intriguing, doesn’t it? Should get to it soon… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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