TBR Thursday 240…

Episode 240

Two in, two out this week, so the TBR total remains the same – 217. My reading slump is improving but the reviewing backlog is still growing! I may not be here again next week till I write a few more…

Here’s what should be reaching the top of the pile soon………………ish.

Fiction

The Moustache by Emmanuel Carrère

Courtesy of Random House Vintage via NetGalley. I loved Carrère’s true crime book, The Adversary, so couldn’t resist this even though I can’t quite imagine how two books could sound more different! I suspect this one may actually be more his usual style than the other was – it sounds intriguingly quirky…

The Blurb says: One morning, a man shaves off his long-worn moustache, hoping to amuse his wife and friends. But when nobody notices, or pretends not to have noticed, what started out as a simple trick turns to terror. As doubt and denial bristle, and every aspect of his life threatens to topple into madness – a disturbing solution comes into view, taking us on a dramatic flight across the world.

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Science Fiction

Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Courtesy of Orion via NetGalley. I’ve taken nearly 500 books from NetGalley over the years, and reviewed the vast bulk of them. However every now and then one gets left behind in the rush, so I have a dozen or so very old ones lingering still unread. This is one of them – it’s been on my list since 2016, I’m ashamed to say. It still sounds as intriguing as it did back then, and it’s had a lot of positive reviews. There seems to be a dispute among reviewers as to whether it should be described as science fiction or literary fiction, which makes it sound even better to me… 

The Blurb says: Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.

At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success, but when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crew mates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.

As Augustine and Sully each face an uncertain future against forbidding yet beautiful landscapes, their stories gradually intertwine in a profound and unexpected conclusion. In crystalline prose, Good Morning, Midnight poses the most important questions: What endures at the end of the world? How do we make sense of our lives?

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Fiction

Love by Roddy Doyle

Courtesy of Random House Vintage via NetGalley. I’ve never read anything by Roddy Doyle and am not at all sure he’ll be my kind of author. But Cathy at 746 Books has been gradually wearing down my resistance with her great reviews of his books, the blurb sounds intriguing, and frankly I find the cover irresistible…

The Blurb says: One summer’s evening, two men meet up in a Dublin restaurant. Old friends, now married and with grown-up children, their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a grief he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be.

Neither Davy nor Joe know what the night has in store, but as two pints turns to three, then five, and the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwine around them. Their first buoyant forays into adulthood, the pubs, the parties, broken hearts and bungled affairs, as well as the memories of what eventually drove them apart.

As the two friends try to reconcile their versions of the past over the course of one night, Love offers up a delightfully comic, yet moving portrait of the many forms love can take throughout our lives.

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Vintage Science Fiction

The Man with Six Senses by Muriel Jaeger

Courtesy of the British Library. I loved Jaeger’s The Question Mark, previously also published by the BL, so am looking forward to this one…

The Blurb says: Hilda is besotted with Michael, because Michael has a gift. Through some mutation, his mind is able to perceive ‘lines of energy’ and ‘the vast ocean of movement’ – things beyond the limits of the five senses and perhaps even common understanding. But the gift, as so often in life, comes with a price. There are those who, in their resentment, come to covet the gift, threatening the blissful period of learning and freedom of thought that seemed so possible a future for Hilda and Michael. And then there are the expectations of society, whose demands for the idealised normal spell danger and disarray for the pair.

Muriel Jaeger’s second foray into science fiction sees her experimenting again with an impressive talent for blending genres. The Man with Six Senses is a sensitive depiction of how the different, or supernaturally able, could be treated in 1920s Britain, but also a sharp skewering of societal norms and the expectations of how women should behave – and how they should think. Thought-provoking and challenging, The Man with Six Senses still resonates today in a society whose expectations and structures still continue to trap those who fall outside the limits of acceptance.

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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?

59 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 240…

    • Yes, I was pleased to see it has so many positive reviews – it made me wonder why I’d left it unread for so long! Hope we both enjoy it – I’d love to hear how you get on with it. 😀

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    • I had no idea he’d written children’s books! His books don’t usually appeal to me much but I must say the blurb of this one sounds good, so this seems like the moment to give him a try…

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  1. I’m not sure if any of those books really appeal to me, but The Moustache has a fascinating blurb. There are some books on my NetGalley shelf that have been there even longer than 2016 – I’m still hoping to read them one day!

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    • Haha, The Moustache does sound weird, doesn’t it? One of these could-be-wonderful/could-be-awful books, I think. I’m much better with NG now – I only take books if I have space for them, but I got carried away in the early days and some just fell by the wayside. Like you, though, I still plan on reading them all some day…

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    • Haha, it does, doesn’t it? I’m hoping it’ll be good quirky rather than bad quirky! I’m not usually attracted to Roddy Doyle’s books but the blurb of this one does sound good – we’ll see. The problem is that I’ve left some of these books for so long that I’ll really struggle now to write reviews, and during the first days of the crisis I was failing to keep notes. But I’m determined to get them all written over the next week and clear the decks…

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  2. Another vote for Roddy Doyle here. With my penchant for Irish and British novelists, I’m surprised to believe I’ve never read one of his.

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    • To be honest, his books don’t usually appeal to me at all – they seem to have quite a lot of crude humour and are very sweary – blokes’ books! 😉 But the blurb of this one sounds more my kind of thing and he does get praise from all over, so time to at least try him…

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  3. I immediately had to check out my options for Good Morning, Midnight! My library app only offers the audio (which is a no-go for me), so I’ve put it on my wishlist at Amazon. I notice they compare it to (and I hate when they do that!) Station Eleven, which I loved, but seem to recall you didn’t.

    I have The Question Mark waiting in my Kindle, so I’ll be curious to see what you think of The Mad With Six Senses.

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    • Good memory – I didn’t love Station Eleven, although I didn’t hate it either – it was a kind of middling read for me. Good Morning, Midnight does sound good and I don’t know why I’ve allowed it to linger for so long. I was pleased to see it has had loads of positive reviews. so I have high hopes that I might be twisting your arm to get it off the wishlist onto the TBR soon!

      I could do with a bit of vintage sci-fi so I’m looking forward to it. I hope you enjoy The Question Mark – it’s one that’s stayed in my mind which is always a good sign – or sometimes a bad sign! But this time it’s a good sign… 😉

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  4. Oh-oh, I didn’t know of the existence of “Love”. Look away, Liz. Tomorrow holds a post from me with five substantial beautiful non-fiction books to read and review … we will not mention the two novels that arrived yesterday because I was sad last week and clickety-clicked …

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    • I’m so far behind with reading blog posts but am looking forward to seeing your non-fiction picks soonish! Haha – we readers are terrible. We buy books when we need cheering up and then we buy more to celebrate feeling happy! I hope your spending spree achieved the desired effect of cheering you up… 😀

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    • I’m getting back to normal with reading, but the reviews are a real struggle at the moment. Usually I quite like writing reviews of books I either love or hate – it’s the ones that don’t make much impression that are the hardest. I’m determined to get caught up this week, though, even if I have to double my chocolate intake! 😉

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    • Hehe, Kermit is cool! Tragically I actually remember typing on that kind of typewriter in my youth – ah, we clerks had muscles back in those days! 😉 Good Morning, Midnight really appeals, so I have my fingers crossed it’s as good as it sounds…

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    • Yes, that was the one that made his name, I think, and it sounded awful! Kind of bloke-ish, I always thought, full of crude humour and lots of swearing, and most of his other books have sounded much the same. This one sounds more my kind of thing, so I’ll give it a try – but it’s perfectly possible it’ll get thrown at the wall quite quickly!

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  5. Good Morning, Midnight definitely interests me because of the subject and reported quality of writing. I’ll be interested to see what you think of this Roddy Doyle, it’s time I read one of his books. I’m glad for you that you are getting some pleasure from reading again; the writing, well, it has to give some pleasure too, so it’ll come on stream when you are ready.

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    • I’ve blitzed three reviews today so I’m feeling supercharged! Only another seven to go – so long as I don’t finish any other books in the meantime… 😉 I’d forgotten what Good Morning, Midnight was about which may be why I let it linger so long, but it does sound good and I was pleased to see it had so many positive reviews, so my hopes are high. The Roddy Doyle is more of a risk – his books never appeal to me much, but this blurb got through my defences so this is his chance to prove he deserves his place on my TBR… 😉

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    • Do you? Now see, that reassures me because I wouldn’t have had him down as your kind of author either so maybe I have the wrong idea about him. The blurb sounds good, though, so hopefully I’ll become a fan! Haha, The Moustache sounds weird, but will that be good-weird or bad-weird? We shall see… 😉

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  6. The Moustache sounds a bit out there, so I might keep it in mind if I want something different. I’ve never read any Doyle either, he has never really appealed to me, but I’ll be interested to know what you make of him.

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    • The Moustache does sound quirky and totally different from the other book of his I’ve read, so it could go either way! I’ve always thought Doyle sounded kind of bloke-ish but I’ve been surprised by some of the bloggers who’ve liked him – people whose tastes I often agree with – so I felt I should at least try him once. And the blurb of this one appeals more than his earlier books… we shall see!

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  7. Good Morning, Midnight sounds like the best of this lot. I’m surprised you’ve waited four years, though, to get around to reading it! (I won’t even bother to admit to you how long some of those books have been on my TBR, hee hee!)

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    • Ha! It’s not even close to being the oldest on my list either! My problem is that I tend to read the books I’ve acquired most recently first, so the older ones just drift further and further down the pile. It does sound good, though, and I’m looking forward to finally getting to it… 😀

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  8. Haha, I can’t wait for your review of The Moustache, it sounds …. different! The Man with Six Senses appeals to me, although I am trying to tilt the balance of my reading a bit so I at least occasionally read novels written in this decade…

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    • Haha, The Moustache dies sound weird, and I feel it could either be good-weird or awful-weird! We shall see! Yes, I seem to have been stuck in vintage territory recently too so I’m trying to read more new releases, but to be honest I usually enjoy the older stuff more. Odd, considering what a modern young thing I am… 😉

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  9. You have some really interesting choices here, FictionFan! And a nice mix of genres, too. Makes me think about my own TBR list – it ought to be more varied, I suspect. But what can I say? I go for crime fiction…

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  10. Thankfully you didn’t catch me this week with your offerings. I’ve got enough to read on my own, as usual! My zest for writing reviews hasn’t been good for a year or more now, so I can’t blame it on the quarantine! 🙂 I hope you get caught up – or just decide to skip a few, that’s fine too!

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    • I’m not sure I can blame it on the quarantine either though that started it. But now it’s mainly that some of the books I read so long ago I’ve forgotten them! Haha, if only I wasn’t such an obsessive – skipping them feels like cheating… 😂

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  11. I like the idea of vintage science fiction, so I’ll go with Six Senses! But I’m very impressed with your getting through the backlog – I just can’t seem to do it, they pile up and then I let myself off . . . oh well

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