TBR Thursday 225…

Episode 225

Oh, dear! Oh, dear, oh, dear, oh, dear!! The postman arrived, NetGalley trapped me AND I visited the local charity shops since I last reported. The result is a massive increase in the TBR – up SIX to 212. I’m so ashamed…

Here are a few that have nearly reached the top of the heap…

History

The Battle for Spain by Antony Beevor

First up for my brand new Spanish Civil War challenge. It seems to make sense to get an understanding of the history before embarking on the fictional accounts…

The Blurb says: To mark the 70th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War’s outbreak, Antony Beevor has written a completely updated and revised account of one of the most bitter and hard-fought wars of the twentieth century. With new material gleaned from the Russian archives and numerous other sources, this brisk and accessible book (Spain’s #1 bestseller for twelve weeks), provides a balanced and penetrating perspective, explaining the tensions that led to this terrible overture to World War II and affording new insights into the war – its causes, course, and consequences.

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Fiction

I Married a Communist by Philip Roth

A re-read of the second book in what is known as Roth’s American Trilogy. I tried to listen to this as an audiobook last year but didn’t get along with the narrator’s accent, so am reverting to the paper copy. I remember enjoying this but not being as blown away by it as I was by American Pastoral first time round, but it has undoubtedly lingered in my mind – always the sign of a great (or terrible!) book… 

The Blurb says: I Married a Communist charts the rise and fall of Ira Ringold, an American roughneck who begins life as a ditchdigger in 1930s New Jersey, becoming a big-time radio hotshot in the 1940s. In his heyday as a star – and as a zealous, bullying supporter of ‘progressive’ political causes – Ira marries Hollywood’s beloved leading lady, Eve Frame. Their glamorous honeymoon is short-lived, however, and it is the publication of Eve’s scandalous bestselling expose that identifies Ira as ‘an American taking his orders from Moscow’.

In this story of cruelty, betrayal, and savage revenge, anti-Communist fever pollutes national politics and infects the relationships of ordinary Americans; friends become deadly enemies, parents and children tragically estranged, lovers blacklisted and felled from vertiginous heights.

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Fiction

The Leopard by Guiseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

My brother, ForeignFilmFan, recommended this and the film of it to me long ago. There’s also a novel about the writing of this book, called Lampedusa, which my Canadian bloggie friends have been talking about recently, some loving it, some hating it, and it’s due out over here next month, so I’d like to read this first and then see if it inspires me to read that one. Plus, it will take me to Sicily for my Around the World challenge…

The Blurb says: The Leopard is a modern classic which tells the spellbinding story of a decadent, dying Sicilian aristocracy threatened by the approaching forces of democracy and revolution.

In the spring of 1860, Fabrizio, the charismatic Prince of Salina, still rules over thousands of acres and hundreds of people, including his own numerous family, in mingled splendour and squalor. Then comes Garibaldi’s landing in Sicily and the Prince must decide whether to resist the forces of change or come to terms with them.

‘Every once in a while, like certain golden moments of happiness, infinitely memorable, one stumbles on a book or a writer, and the impact is like an indelible mark. Lampedusa’s The Leopard, his only novel, and a masterpiece, is such a work.’ Independent

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Fiction

Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha

Courtesy of Faber & Faber via NetGalley. I requested this based purely on the blurb, and it’s getting great reviews. However I have a feeling from those reviews it will “trigger” me – it sounds as if it might be another of these tedious liberal identity politics tub-thumpers that America has been churning out during the Trump years. I sympathise, I really do, but I’m also bored. I’ve been forced to be “woke” for so long that I seriously need a nap now. However, maybe it will surprise me…

The Blurb says: Grace Park and Shawn Mathews share a city – Los Angeles – but seemingly little else. Coming from different generations and very different communities, their paths wouldn’t normally cross at all. As Grace battles confusion over her elder sister’s estrangement from their Korean-immigrant parents, Shawn tries to help his cousin Ray readjust to city life after years spent in prison.

But something in their past links these two families. As the city around them threatens to erupt into violence, echoing the worst days of the early 1990s, the lives of Grace and Shawn are set to collide in ways which will change them all forever.

Beautifully written, and marked by its aching humanity as much as its growing sense of dread, Your House Will Pay is a powerful and urgent novel for today.

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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?

50 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 225…

    • I always enjoy reading history though it takes me a long time to get through them. I’ve enjoyed some of Philip Roth’s book but not others. For me, his American Trilogy is by far his best – American Pastoral, which is a wonderful book, I Married a Communist, and The Human Stain, so I’d recommend them if you ever manage to fit him in. 😀

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  1. Totally understand TBR overload – I just popped out to return some borrowed magazines at the mobile library van parked next to the charity shop…… needless to say I found several interesting books in the charity shop & the mobile library just happened to have all the next books in a number of series that I had started from my own TBR, My shelves now have a large stack of owned & library books. (Thank you for your recent choices – thankfully I not much tempted currently by such angst – so the TBR is protected on that front LOL)

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    • Hahaha – I don’t even know why I went into the charity shops – I usually avoid them like the plague because I know there will always be something tempting on the shelves. And if I go into one, I always feel guilty if I don’t then also go to the other two in the High Street. No willpower! I do seem to have been reading some miserable stuff recently – I really must see if I own any happy books… 😉

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  2. It’s not your fault, FictionFan! I suspect a feline conspiracy with your postie and the Netgalley people. And we should all be supporting charity shops, so you were doing the right thing to go there!

    Now, as far as your choices this week go, they do look interesting – and varied. I’m especially interested in The Leopard, and I am really interested in the larger things you share with us about Spain and the Spanish Civil War. So there, you’re doing us a public service by having those books.

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    • I think it’s mind control – it’s the Russian bots sending me subliminal messages so I’ll be too busy to notice if they invade! And as for charity shops – pah! They should be banned!

      The Leopard does sound good, though I think I’ll have to google that period of history before I begin – I know nothing about Garibaldi! I’m looking forward to getting into the Spanish Civil War challenge – if only the postman lets me… 😉

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  3. Tempted? Not this week I’m afraid.
    Pat yourself on the back though. Going up by six is not your fault. Blame The House with the Green Shutters for driving you to seek good books.

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  4. Love that meme — wish Dallas could do that!! As for being tempted this week, sorry, no. The only one that *might* hold any interest is The Leopard (though it puzzles me why the author only wrote that one novel).

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    • Hahaha – isn’t the dog great? So cute! Yes, I don’t know why he only wrote one. Maybe the book about the writing of the book explains that. I think some authors really only have one book in them, though – look at Harper Lee…

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  5. I had trouble moving past the dog to read your post. That’s just too cute!! I don’t think any of these tempt me much. I’ll scroll back up and watch the dog a few more times now…..

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  6. “I’ve been forced to be “woke” for so long that I seriously need a nap now.” 😂😂😂

    I’m eagerly awaiting your thoughts on the Beevor, and The Leopard has been on my radar for yonks so you might persuade me with that one too.

    Hope you come out of that cage soon, FF 😉

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    • Hahaha – I’m in an awfully grumpy old woman mood these days – clearly I’m not eating enough chocolate! 😉

      The Beevor gets great reviews so fingers crossed! And The Leopard sounds interesting though my brother and I don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to books… 😉

      Aren’t I cute, though? 🐕

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  7. Oh dear, up six… well, it happens to the best of us, FF! Don’t despair, just get some chocolate to fortify yourself for some long reading sessions! 🙂

    i’m reading Your House Will Pay right now! I actually am really liking it. I love the characters, especially as they’re grappling with complex questions of forgiveness and justice. Grace and Shawn, the two main characters from the two different families, are struggling with nuances in the complicated and heartbreaking situations they’ve been dealt. I don’t know how you’ll get on with it, but for me it’s moving quickly and I am reluctant to set it aside.Hoping it works for you.

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    • Hahaha – I feel there may soon be a world chocolate shortage if I go on at this rate though… 😉

      That’s good to hear! Certainly the reviews I’ve seen of it have been pretty well all very positive, so I have my fingers crossed despite being a bit bored with a lot of the stuff coming out of both America and Britain in these troubled times. But if she’s handled it well without too much “message” thumping then it does sound interesting… 😀

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  8. First of all, my mind is blown that you a) have a brother b) his ‘name’ is so closely tied to yours-does he have a blog too?

    Secondly, I do hope that The Leopard is a tad more interesting than Lampedusa haha

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    • Haha! Yes, he only comments very occasionally, though, so it’s not surprising you haven’t come across him. He just called himself that as a sort of joke first time he left a comment because I use FictionFan and he knew I’d know it was him since he really is a foreign film fan! 😀 No, he doesn’t blog – I keep trying to talk him into a film blog…

      Hahaha – I love that you and Karissa have completely opposite views about Lampedusa… I must read it and see which of you is right… 😉

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  9. I read The Leopard a few years ago for the Classics Club and I remember I struggled with it at first because I wasn’t familiar with the historical context, but once I got into it I thought it was an interesting read. I hope you enjoy all your Spanish Civil War reading! I’ve just finished a book set in the aftermath of the war and it has left me wanting to know more about it, so I’ll be looking for some recommendations. 🙂

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    • Good to know – I’ll keep going then if it doesn’t grab me straight away. I don’t know anything about that period either, so I might google Garibaldi before I begin! I read your review of the Allende earlier, and as I said over on your blog I’ll put it on the maybe list – the story appeals but I suspect the style might not… 🙂

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    • I only know what the blurb tells me so it could work for me or not – my brother and I don’t always share the same taste when it comes to books. But it does sound intriguing, and he tells me the film is worth watching too…

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  10. I really need to read The Leopard – Anne and I are at complete opposites with our feelings toward Lampedusa so you’ll have to choose between us when you read it! Your House Will Pay is also on my TBR though I don’t expect to get to it anytime soon.

    I’m curious, when you buy books at thrift shops are you looking for particular titles or do you just buy what strikes your fancy?

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    • Haha – I love that you and Anne reacted so differently to Lampedusa – it’s made me really want to read it and see which of you is right! 😉 That’s why I shoved The Leopard up my list, so I could read it before Lampedusa comes out over here next month. I’m less sure about wanting to read Your House Will Pay but sometimes low expectations can lead to a pleasant surprise. 😀

      A bit of both – I go in to look for books on my huge wishlist but if they don’t have any I kinda feel bad about not buying anything, so I always end up taking one or two anyway! This time I got one I’ve wanted to read for a long time – Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier – and one that I’m not sure is really my kind of thing but has great reviews – The Sealwoman’s Gift by Sally Magnusson. Don’t know when I’ll get to them though…

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    • Haha – I’m glad you’re glad that my willpower has tragically failed again… 😂

      The Leopard does sound intriguing and I can’t remember reading any books set in Sicily before so that should be interesting… 🙂

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  11. Hooray! I love it when your TBR goes up 😀 That gif is great too.

    I had no idea there was a film of The Leopard, I’ll see if I can find it. The book took me a little while to get into but then I found it really atmospheric. One of those ones where the feeling of it stays with you, I found. Hope you enjoy it!

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    • The dog is great – he will appear again… 😀

      Fair warning – it’s quite likely to be in a foreign language with subtitles. My brother didn’t choose the name ForeignFilmFan for nothing! The book’s premise sounds good although I’ll probably need to google the period in advance since I know nothing about Garibaldi other than that he made biscuits. 😉

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  12. In so far as the Spanish civil war is concerned watch out for the acronyms! I haven’t read this one but mainly ones by Paul Preston who is excellent. I’ll be really interested to see what fiction you’re going to read as well. We’ve got a memorial to volunteers who went in my local park and as far as I remember a large percentage of volunteers who went to fight from the UK were Scottish.

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    • I’m already baffled by who was who but then I never completely mastered all the factions in the Russian Revolution either! I have looked at the Paul Preston history and might read it at some point, but it seems to have a reputation for being heavily biased towards the Republican side, and I’d really rather know more about the whole thing before deciding whether I want to take a side. I have a feeling it may be a “faults on both sides” scenario. Yes, apparently more people went from Scotland, relative to population size, than any other country – one of the books on my list will hopefully tell me why…

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