TBR Thursday 231…

Episode 231

I seem to be in  major reading slump this week and not one of the 213 (up one) books on the TBR is calling my name! I can only hope the postman has gone on holiday and doesn’t visit till I get back in the swing…

Here are a few that hopefully will tempt me soon…

Lit-Crit

Scotland’s Books by Robert Crawford

I bought this ages ago in one of my periodic fits of feeling I ought to know my own literary heritage better. I assumed, wrongly, that it would be one of these list-style books, like 1001 Books Before You Die, etc. It turned out to be a hefty tome full of essays on various aspects of Scottish literature. Not what I was looking for at the time, so it has lain neglected on my shelves ever since. Time to bite the bullet and see if I can struggle through it… and maybe even learn something! 

The Blurb says: From Treasure Island to Trainspotting, Scotland’s rich literary tradition has influenced writing across centuries and cultures far beyond its borders. Here, for the first time, is a single volume presenting the glories of fifteen centuries of Scottish literature.

In Scotland’s Books poet Robert Crawford tells the story of Scottish writing and its relationship to the country’s history. Stretching from the medieval masterpiece of St Columba’s Iona – the earliest surviving Scottish work – to the imaginative, thriving world of twenty-first-century writing with authors such as Ali Smith and James Kelman, this outstanding collection traces the development of literature in Scotland and explores the cultural, linguistic and literary heritage of the nation. It includes extracts from the writing discussed to give a flavour of the original work, full quotations in their own language, previously unpublished works by authors and plenty of new research. Informative and readable, this is the definitive guide to the marvellous legacy of Scottish literature.

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Historical Fiction

The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson

Courtesy of HarperCollins via NetGalley. This one caught my eye because I’ve just finished reading a history of the Yorks, so for once I actually know who Elizabeth of York is! Better read it quick before I forget again… 

The Blurb says: Elizabeth of York, her life already tainted by dishonour and tragedy, now queen to the first Tudor king, Henry the VII.

Joan Vaux, servant of the court, straining against marriage and motherhood and privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of her queen. Like the ravens, Joan must use her eyes and her senses, as conspiracy whispers through the dark corridors of the Tower.

Through Joan’s eyes, The Lady of the Ravens inhabits the squalid streets of Tudor London, the whispering walls of its most fearsome fortress and the glamorous court of a kingdom in crisis.

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Adventure

The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. When I saw they were bringing out a new edition of this adventure story, I couldn’t resist! Who doesn’t need a bit of swashbuckling in their lives every now and then? Doesn’t it sound like fun?

The Blurb says: ‘If love were the only thing, I would follow you-in rags if need be … But is love the only thing?’

Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda is a swashbuckling adventure set in Ruritania, a mythical pocket kingdom. Englishman Rudolf Rassendyll closely resembles the King of Ruritania, and to foil a coup by his rival to the throne, he is persuaded to impersonate him for a day. However, Rassendyll’s role becomes more complicated when the real king is kidnapped, and he falls for the lovely Princess Flavia. Although the story is set in the near past, Ruritania is a semi-feudal land in which a strong sword arm can carry the day, and Rassendyll and his allies fight to rescue the king. But if he succeeds, our hero and Flavia will have to choose between love and honour.

As Nicholas Daly’s introduction outlines, this thrilling tale inspired not only stage and screen adaptations, but also place names, and even a popular board game. A whole new subgenre of ‘Ruritanian romances’ followed, though no imitation managed to capture the charm, exuberance, and sheer storytelling power of Hope’s classic tale.

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Fiction on Audio

Brighton Rock by Graham Greene

I loved Graham Greene when I was young, but have been rather disappointed by a couple of his books I’ve read recently. This has left me scared to revisit the ones I adored. This is one I’ve never read before and is considered one of his best, so fingers crossed it will revive my love. It’s narrated by Samuel West.

The Blurb says: A gang war is raging through the dark underworld of Brighton. Seventeen-year-old Pinkie, malign and ruthless, has killed a man. Believing he can escape retribution, he is unprepared for the courageous, life-embracing Ida Arnold. Greene’s gripping thriller, exposes a world of loneliness and fear, of life lived on the ‘dangerous edge of things’.

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

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So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

48 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 231…

  1. Definitely tempted by The Lady of the Ravens. Which I have. It’s on my shelf, collecting dust like so many other books.

    Sorry to hear about the slump. Not sure Scotland’s Books is something that would get me out of that. 🤔

    (Plus one, yay! 😉)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha – yeah, Scotland’s Books looks a bit more like duty than pleasure! I may not get past the introduction… 😉 The Lady of the Ravens does look good though, so I’ll have to stop slumping soon!

      😋

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a reading slump back in February when I was going through an awful time of anxiety, so I hope you’re OK and just in a reading slump per se. I picked up a jolly modern novel to while away the time, and that got me going again. So you have my permission to run into The Works and grab something summery and cheery!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Liz. Yes, I’ve been a bit off recently but it’s nothing major – maybe if we could see a bit of spring springing I’d feel more like myself! Ha – you remind me I have a light romance lingering on the TBR – I might dig it out! Or of course there’s always Wodehouse… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually really like litCrit books, and am reading one at the moment as a matter of fact. Too bad about the reading slump, I’ve had one of these myself recently, it’s really strange how it can just come out of nowhere. Maybe you’ve been reading too much of the same kind of stuff for a while, that’s certainly the downside of my own rabbit hole approach to reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For me it depends on whether the writing is full of academic jargon or not – a lot of lit-crit writers seem to enjoy being impenetrable! So I won’t know with this one till I start it – it might grab me or it might get thrown on the abandoned heap very quickly… I know – I can never work out why a slump comes on, though I do feel I’ve been overdosing on classics recently and need some light entertainment. Maybe my brain has gone on strike… 😉

      Like

  4. I was in a bit of a reading slump at some point, but found that a random visit to the library and just browsing some of the shelves and taking out a HUGE pile (without necessarily intending to read all of them) has got me into the groove again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Life goes like this, doesn’t it, FF. Sometimes we just need a break. And chocolate. Chocolate can only help. Let me tempt you with some, like you tempt us with books… 🍫 🍫 🍫😂

    Like

  6. Sorry to hear you’re in a reading slump, FictionFan. Sometimes just one disappointing experience is enough to do that; sometimes it builds up. Either way, I hope you get your mojo back again soon. Of the books you’ve listed here, I’m especially interested in the Hickson. I hear it’s good, and if it is, it sounds like the sort of thing that could draw me in, so I’m looking forward to your thoughts on it when you get there.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I’ve maybe been reading too many classics – my brain is overworked! Time for some light reading, I think, till I get back in the groove… The Lady of the Ravens does sound good. I haven’t read anything else Hickson has written so I’m looking forward to getting to know her!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t read much Greene either, but I LOVED Brighton Rock. Now, I was about twenty when I read it, so you might have to take that into consideration, but I do remember it being very good indeed. Hope the slump ends soon lovely

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh good! I was about twenty too when I went through my big Greene phase and for a few years he was my favourite writer, so I really hope I can get that love back! Thanks – I’m sure it will pass soon. I just need to find that one perfect book… 😉

      Like

    • It does sound like fun and it’s one of those books where the name is so familiar it’s clearly influenced a lot of other writers and filmmakers. Yeah, I’m always scared to try anything that might require too much brainwork when I’m in a slump, so something light and entertaining sounds just right – thanks for the recommendation! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m with you on the reading slump, FF. Things haven’t been good in my neck of the world for a long time, and reading just isn’t at the top of my list right now. Don’t fret — you’ll be back with your nose in a book before you know it … and I will, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I totally understand – sometimes it’s just too hard to concentrate on a book. Just try to give yourself a bit of pampering and some space and I hope you’ll feel a bit less down soon. It takes time, though… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I read a Joanna Hickson last year (First of the Tudors) and really enjoyed it, so I’m definitely tempted by The Lady of the Ravens. That first book sounds daunting. Fifteen centuries in one volume?? 🙀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I’m pretty sure Scotland’s Books is not the book to pull me through a reading slump! Maybe I’ll postpone it for a week or two… 😉 Oh, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed a Hickson – I’ve never read her before and just fancied the blurb so it’s good to know she gets your seal of approval. It sounds more tempting than the lit-crit book, for sure… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Drives me up the wall! But fortunately they don’t usually last too long…
      The Prisoner of Zenda sounds great – it’s one of those books I’ve always known the name of but have never read, so I’m looking forward to it!

      Like

  10. I hope your reading slump clears soon, FF! I’ve had poor concentration lately what with all the horrid world news. It’s too much. So Agatha Christie and Wallace Stegner (Crossing to Safety) are both soothing to me at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s been a pretty depressing time the last few months, but I suppose I better make an effort to read some of these books before the plague gets me! 😉 The vintage crime stuff has been my comfort reading, and comfort listening, recently. Ooh, I haven’t come across Wallace Stegner – I shall investigate! Thanks! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, that’s great to hear! That’s how I used to feel about Greene, especially The Heart of the Matter, and I think I’ve just been unlucky with the last couple I’ve read. I listened to the first chapter of Brighton Rock the other night and I must say I thought it was one of the best first chapters I’ve ever read, so fingers crossed! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Doesn’t it sound great? I think you should take up swashbuckling – you’d be great at it! And you’d look so marvellous in the clothes! *swoons* Can you ride?

      Like

  11. Ok this made me laugh b/c I’ve gotten interested in a particular topic, learned something about history and wanted to keep the learning going but…too many books get in the way, and then i forget all I learned about the historical period from the last book, so even though I’m reading a book about the same subject years later I’ve forgotten all about it! I feel your pain 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha – I’m glad it’s not just me! I’m hopeless – all that Russian Revolution reading a couple of years ago and I can barely remember anything about it now. This was why I always had to stay up all night studying before exams… 😂

      Liked by 1 person

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