TBR Thursday 251…

Episode 251

Another drop in the TBR this week – down 2 to 203! At this rate I’ll soon be below the magical 200 figure for the first time in centuries… millennia, even!!


Here are a few more that should make me wag my tail soon…

History

The Gathering Storm by Winston Churchill

It tends to be assumed that Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature mostly as a gesture of gratitude for his wartime leadership. However, apparently his histories are very readable and give an insightful insider account of events. This first volume covers the lead-up to the Second World War and therefore the period of the Spanish Civil War, so it might fit loosely into my challenge. 

The Blurb says: This book is the first in Winston Churchill’s monumental six-volume account of the struggle between the Allied Powers in Europe against Germany and the Axis during World War II. Told from the unique viewpoint of a British prime minister, it is also the story of one nation’s heroic role in the fight against tyranny.

Having learned a lesson at Munich they would never forget, the British refused to make peace with Hitler, defying him even after France had fallen and it seemed as though the Nazis were unstoppable. What lends this work its tension and power is Churchill’s inclusion of primary source material. We are presented with not only Churchill’s retrospective analysis of the war, but also memos, letters, orders, speeches, and telegrams, day-by-day accounts of reactions as the drama intensifies. We listen as strategies and counterstrategies unfold in response to Hitler’s conquest of Europe, planned invasion of England, and assault on Russia. Together they give a mesmerizing account of the crucial decisions made as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

The Gathering Storm covers the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of Adolf Hitler, the capitulation of Munich, and the entry of Britain into the war. This book makes clear Churchill’s feeling that the Second World War was a largely senseless but unavoidable conflict—and shows why Churchill earned the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, in part because of this awe-inspiring work.

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Classic Science Fiction

Earth Abides by George R Stewart

Hmm… when I chose this one for my Classics Club list back in 2016, I had no idea that it would seem so relevant by the time I got to it. Not sure that reading about plagues is a good idea at the moment, but we’ll see…

The Blurb says: In this profound ecological fable, a mysterious plague has destroyed the vast majority of the human race. Isherwood Williams, one of the few survivors, returns from a wilderness field trip to discover that civilization has vanished during his absence.

Eventually he returns to San Francisco and encounters a female survivor who becomes his wife. Around them and their children a small community develops, living like their pioneer ancestors, but rebuilding civilization is beyond their resources, and gradually they return to a simpler way of life.

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Fiction

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

After loving For Whom the Bell Tolls so much, I’m keen to see if Hemingway can blow me away again with this novella – one of my 20 Books of Summer

The Blurb says: The last novel Ernest Hemingway saw published, The Old Man and the Sea has proved itself to be one of the enduring works of American fiction. It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

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Vintage Crime

Maigret and the Reluctant Witness by Georges Simenon

Another for my 20 Books, and another Maigret. I had actually put Maigret and Monsieur Charles on the list but when I looked up the blurb I discovered it’s the last in the series, and since I’ve only read a few I’m not sure I want to read the last one yet. So I’m swapping it for this one…

The Blurb says: When the head of a powerful Parisian family business is murdered in his bed, Maigret must pick apart the family’s darkest secrets to reveal the truth.

Maigret is called to the home of the high-profile Lachaume family where the eldest brother has been found shot dead. But on his arrival, the family closes ranks and claims to have heard and seen nothing at the time of the murder. Maigret must pick his way through the family’s web of lies, secrets, and deceit, as well as handle Angelot, a troublesome new breed of magistrate who has waded into the case. And it’s the estranged black sheep of the family, Veronique, who may hold the key to it all with her knowledge of the depths to which the family will sink to protect their reputation.

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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 251…

    • It’s so great, isn’t it? I love how the big dog’s expression never changes, as if what’s going on behind him has nothing to do with him… 😂

      I hope you enjoy Maigret – they quite often reduce the price of one or two of them on Kindle as teasers, and I tend to grab them when they do and keep them for odd moments when I’m between chunkier reads.

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  1. Oh, you have a Maigret on your list, FictionFan! I really hope you’ll like it. It’s one of the classic series of crime fiction, although not each entry is stellar. I’m glad to see the Churchill there, too. He really did provide such interesting insights on his times… Now, go have a piece of cake to celebrate that drop in the TBR!

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    • I wonder how much Maigret will drink this time – I worry about that man’s liver! 😉 I’m looking forward to the Churchill – obviously one will have to allow for bias, but I always felt his insight on foreign affairs was second to none, even if he was less successful in domestic politics.

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  2. I don’t think I could cope with a plague narrative at the moment, especially since the figures have been rising again up here over the last week. I need to stop reading them, it’s too disheartening. The Churchill looks good though, and at least you know where you are with Maigret.

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    • It’s so depressing to see the numbers go back up, isn’t it? I do feel we probably need to keep the pubs shut if we’re to have any hope of opening the schools, which in my boring opinion is considerably more important. Looking forward to Churchill – somehow the Second World War is beginning to feel like the good old days… 😉

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  3. The Old Man and the Sea was one of my O level texts. Ridiculous! It is far too complex for the fifteen/sixteen year old mind. I couldn’t make head nor tail of it. However, I went back to it four or five years ago and appreciated the quality, if not all of the sentiments.

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    • It baffles me, some of the books they give to kids – I’m almost certain it’s some kind of conspiracy to put us all off reading for life! I’ve loved the two Hemingway novels I’ve read, despite expecting to really dislike them, so now I have high hopes I’ll like this one too…

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    • Haha, I spend way too much time every week looking for these gifs – it’s so much fun! Churchill will take my mind off our current plague – back to the simpler days of the Second World War… 😉 But the Hemingway is probably the one I’m most looking forward to this week.

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  4. I’m still giggling over that meme! You’ve got some good ones here, FF, though no way could I endure reading about a plague right now and I sure wouldn’t want to have to wade through another fish tale! How in the world did someone as busy as Churchill find time to pen a six-volume account of the war years?!?

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    • So cute! I love the ways the big dog’s expression never changes, as if what’s going on behind him has nothing to do with him! 😂 Yeah, I’m not sure about the plague book myself – I hadn’t realised that was what it was about till I looked up the blurb for this post. It may go back on the shelf for a while. Churchill was incredible! He also painted landscapes (quite good ones, so they say) and built walls in his spare time!

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    • Haha, I’m sorry – I’m determined this time! (Mind you, we all know how good my willpower is…) 😉 I’ve loved the two Hemingways I’ve read so far, so have high hopes for The Old Man and the Sea…

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  5. I want to hug that retriever in your GIF!!!

    I read and enjoyed Earth Abides, so I’m looking forward to your thought on it.

    Congratulations on the drop in your TBR! 😀

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    • Haha, I’m determined this time… though I did just buy a book five minutes ago… 😉 I keep expecting to hate Hemingway but end up loving him, so I have high hopes for The Old Man and the Sea… fingers crossed!

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  6. I’ve tentatively added Earth Abides and await your thoughts. I’m strangely attracted to post-apocalyptic stories, perhaps feeling that imaginative brains have something to share on what might happen in the big disasters alongside scientific thought. I’ll be interested in your response to the Hemingway and I’ve already added the Maigret from your last post!

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    • I’m a bit wary of Earth Abides in case it causes a relapse in my plagueophobia, but I’ve found a lot of the books in the SF Masterworks series to be very good. The Maigret should be fun, but the Hemingway and Churchill books are the ones I’m most looking forward to from this batch, I think… 😀

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    • I’m a bit wary of Earth Abides in case it brings back on my plagueophobia, so if it looks like that’s happening it’ll be swiftly returned to the shelf for a while. But I’m really looking forward to Churchill – he had his faults, plenty of them, but I have a real admiration for him… 😀

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  7. Because I’m so interested in epidemiology/medical history etc, I have many books on my TBR about various plagues – historical fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, literary fiction. I’m currently reorganising my shelves and I’m planning to put them all together, so that I remember not to pick them up until the situation is getting better!

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    • I usually quite enjoy plague-ridden end of the world scenarios, but somehow it feels a bit too much like watching the news at the moment! I’ll see how I get on with it, but it may end up back on the shelf until things return to normal – if they ever do!

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  8. Earth Abides sounds potentially interesting, especially right now. Back in March or April I read about a Russian researcher who had been completely off-grid for weeks only to return to find the world had (seemingly) fallen apart. The book description also reminds me of an old French novel, Malevil, about a group of people attempting to rebuild society after a nuclear war.

    I really need to re-read The Old Man and the Sea. It was my first introduction to Hemingway and I’m curious as to how I’d find it now as an adult.

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    • I’m not sure if I’m in the right mood for a post-apocalypse right now, but maybe it will make me appreciate that real life isn’t as bad as it could be! I felt kinda sorry for the astronauts who had to come back from the space station recently – I bet they’d have been quite happy to stay up there a while longer!

      I’m looking forward to The Old Man and the Sea – Hemingway is rapidly becoming one of my favourite writers…

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