TBR Thursday 260…

Episode 260

Oh, dear! Back in lockdown, back in reading slump! I’ve only finished one book in the whole of October so far – this is becoming critical! It’s extremely hard to keep a book blog running if you can’t be bothered to read books or write reviews, I’ve discovered. I may have to come up with something creative – a cake-tasting blog, perhaps? All this is my excuse for why the TBR has crept back up by two to 199. Still below the magical 200, though…

Here are a few more that will be sliding off soon…

Horror

Weird Woods edited by John Miller

Courtesy of the British Library. Another themed anthology of vintage horror stories from the BL’s Tales of the Weird series – it makes the porpy and me so happy that they’re doing the same for vintage horror as they’ve done for vintage crime!

The Blurb says: Woods play an important and recurring role in horror, fantasy, the gothic and the weird. They are places in which strange things happen, where you often can’t see where you are or what is around you. Supernatural creatures thrive in the thickets. Trees reach into underworlds of earth, myth and magic. Forests are full of ghosts.

In this new collection, immerse yourself in the whispering voices between the branches in Wistman’s Wood on Dartmoor, witness an inexplicable death in Yorkshire’s Strid Wood and prepare yourself for an encounter with malignant pagan powers in the dark of the New Forest. This edition also includes notes on the real locations and folklore which inspired these deliciously sinister stories.

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American Classic

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. I’m sure there was a creaky old black and white TV adaptation of this when I was a kid, but apart from the character names I remember nothing else about it. Sounds as if it could be wonderful… or awful! We’ll see…

The Blurb says: The second of Cooper’s five Leatherstocking Tales, this is the one which has consistently captured the imagination of generations since it was first published in 1826. It’s success lies partly in the historical role Cooper gives to his Indian characters, against the grain of accumulated racial hostility, and partly in his evocation of the wild beautiful landscapes of North America which the French and the British fought to control throughout the eighteenth century. At the center of the novel is the celebrated `Massacre’ of British troops and their families by Indian allies of the French at Fort William Henry in 1757. Around this historical event, Cooper built a romantic fiction of captivity, sexuality, and heroism, in which the destiny of the Mohicans Chingachgook and his son Uncas is inseparable from the lives of Alice and Cora Munro and of Hawkeye the frontier scout. The controlled, elaborate writing gives natural pace to the violence of the novel’s action: like the nature whose plundering Copper laments, the books placid surfaces conceal inexplicable and deathly forces.

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Vintage Crime

The Progress of a Crime by Julian Symons

Courtesy of the British Library again! I’ve loved the previous books of Julian Symons that they’ve re-published, so have high hopes for this one. The cover’s very different from their usual style, isn’t it? 

The Blurb says: The murder, a brutal stabbing, definitely took place on Guy Fawkes night. It was definitely by the bonfire on the village green. There were definitely a number of witnesses to a row between a group of Teddy Boys. And yet, was it definitely clear to anybody exactly what they had seen?

In the writhing, violent shadows, it seems as if the truth may have gone up in smoke.

* * * * *

Historical Fiction

Shadowplay by Joseph O’Connor

Since I’m currently listening to Dracula, this seems like the obvious one to choose for my next listen, especially since I’ve seen some great reviews appearing around the blogosphere. It’s narrated by Anna Chancellor, whom I love, and Barry McGovern, whom I don’t know very well but am told is great, so I’m looking forward to filling some of the dark lockdown evenings with this…

The Blurb says: 1878: The Lyceum Theatre, London. Three extraordinary people begin their life together, a life that will be full of drama, transformation, passionate and painful devotion to art and to one another. Henry Irving, the Chief, is the volcanic leading man and impresario; Ellen Terry is the most lauded and desired actress of her generation, outspoken and generous of heart; and ever following along behind them in the shadows is the unremarkable theatre manager, Bram Stoker.

Fresh from life in Dublin as a clerk, Bram may seem the least colourful of the trio but he is wrestling with dark demons in a new city, in a new marriage, and with his own literary aspirations. As he walks the London streets at night, streets haunted by the Ripper and the gossip which swirls around his friend Oscar Wilde, he finds new inspiration. But the Chief is determined that nothing will get in the way of his manager’s devotion to the Lyceum and to himself. And both men are enchanted by the beauty and boldness of the elusive Ellen.

This exceptional novel explores the complexities of love that stands dangerously outside social convention, the restlessness of creativity, and the experiences that led to Dracula, the most iconic supernatural tale of all time.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

56 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 260…

  1. Very tempted by Shadowplay. Have been for ages but something always holds me back from grabbing a copy.

    I’m in the same boat (read : sinking ship) as you are with regards to reviewing and blogging. In case you hadn’t noticed. Leaning more towards a wine tasting blog, though. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m looking forward to Shadowplay, especially since I’m enjoying Dracula more than I remembered doing the first time I read it.

      Wine-tasting is a much better idea – maybe we could combine them and have a party blog! It’s so annoying not being able to get properly lost in a book, though. Pah!

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  2. Shaddowplay looks like the best of the bunch for me this week, and the audiobook sounds great. I don’t know either of these narrators, but it sounds like ideal listening for this time of year anyway. Too bad your reading slump has returned, though its probably not surprising. I’ve a feeling we’re all the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thoroughly enjoying the Dracula audiobook, so am really in the mood to follow it up with Shadowplay. Yes, I think we seem to be split between people who are slumping and people who are devouring books as if there’s about to be a famine. But I’ve definitely noticed a huge dip in the number of reviews around the blogosphere. Pah! I though I was just about getting back to normal too.

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  3. I honestly think this lockdown and the pandemic in general are so draining on all of us, FictionFan. I know I’ve found it harder to keep up with nearly everything than I used to before this all happened. Fortunately, books wait on the TBR ’till we’re ready to read them… At any rate, the Symons sounds good. I’ve liked the work of his that I’ve read, and I hope you’ll like that one, too. And if you don’t get through a lot of books right now, you don’t. You could always start blogging about Rafa. Or about Mr. Darcy. Or…… until you get your mojo back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • When you find yourself listening to fifteen versions of Don’t Cry for Me Argentina and comparing how they hit the top notes, you know you’re definitely in a book slump… 😉 I’m so fed up with the pandemic now – bring on the vaccine! The Symons does sound good and I shall be reading it at just the right time of year. Yes, I think I have to throw my reading schedule on the fire and just stick to re-reads and comfort reads for a bit… maybe a re-watch of P&P might help… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I haven’t read Last of the Mohicans but remember the tv program – I think it’s going to be good, if not more. It is difficult keeping up a blog when you have no reading to write about, I know that feeling well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh good! It sounds like the kind of adventure story I usually love, so fingers crossed! Ha, yes, the constant pressure to finish books and get a review written is the downside of blogging, for sure! I’m sure I’ve had many reading slumps in the past and not even been really aware of them…

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  5. Oh dear! So sorry about the reading slump! And books that inspire one-star reviews don’t help matters.

    A great group of books this week. Weird Woods, The Progress of a Crime, and Shadowplay sound intriguing. Here’s hoping they really are!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sure the two things are connected – my ratings are much lower this year in general. I feel sorry for the poor books… 😉

      They do all look good! And none of them sound too heavy, so fingers crossed. 😀

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  6. Find the Daniel Day Lewis film of The Last of the Mohicans and then read the book (breaking my usual rule) because reading the book with the film score playing in your head will definitely liven up your reading experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting! I’ve actually had the film for ages but have been holding off watching it till I read the book. Don’t know if I can bring myself to watch the movie first, but I shall listen to the soundtrack!

      Liked by 1 person

        • Haha, it is unusual! I tend to find that if I watch the movie first, then I struggle with the book – took me years to be able to appreciate the book of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, for instance, because of the differences to the film.

          Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so annoying, because it ought to be the perfect opportunity for us all to catch up with our TBRs, and I’d love to be able to obsess less about the dismal news! Shadowplay sounds great, and since I’m loving my re-read (or re-listen) of Dracula, I’m just in the mood…

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  7. Sorry to hear you have hit a reading slump – I am going through something very similar and have only read one book this month, too! But both Shadowplay and The Last of the Mohicans sound great, so hopefully they will tempt you and get your reading back on track. 🤞📚😃

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I totally empathize with your reading slump. Just this morning, I abandoned a book less than one-third through (because of something awful that happened to the main character’s dog). The vintage crime looks interesting to me. And speaking of dogs, I LOVE that poor pup who can’t extricate himself from the escalator — he looks like he needs a hug!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, the pup is adorable, isn’t he? Someone should have explained to him how escalators work, though. 😉 I’ve been abandoning so many books recently – it can’t all be the fault of the books, I feel! I think I’m going to stick with vintage crime and horror for a bit – they’re the only things that are properly holding my attention at the moment. Bring on the vaccine!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Several of these sound promising, but I’m especially intrigued by Shadowplay.

    I hope your slump ends before the spooky season does. I’ve been on a roll this month with lots of creepy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shadowplay is definitely the popular choice this week – sounds great, and will be a perfect follow-on to Dracula, I hope!

      Oddly enough, the only thing I’m still reading avidly are all these horror and sci-fi anthologies I’ve acquired. A short story never seems as off-putting as starting a new novel does at the moment. So the porpy will still be quivering… 🦔

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Happy to say I’m not tempted by any of these but I can be swayed by your reviews.
    I was tempted to start a new blog this year reviewing donuts. If you want to use that idea you’re welcome to it! I’m struggling to find reading time due to excess volumes of work, then can’t concentrate when I do try to read. Donuts seemed like a good idea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, reviewing donuts sound wonderful! I wonder if bakers would be willing to send free samples… 🍩🍩🍩

      I’m sure I’ve probably always had occasional reading slumps and just not really noticed, but the blog makes me so aware if how little I’m reading. And as for writing reviews, I just can’t seem to get my act together at all! I need a stern talking-to… 😉

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  11. The woods in horror one! So excited for you to review that, it looks great. And there’s something incredibly unnerving about the forest, even though I love hiking, I’m fully aware of how scary they are at night. Have you seen The Blair Witch Project? Yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That Weird Woods one interests me. I’ve noticed that some books/authors seem to view the woods as an innately creepy place. But as someone who lives in a fairly forested part of the world I don’t really see them that way and I wonder if it’s a cultural difference?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting – I wonder if it is? I have no idea if this is right or not, but I wonder if in Europe it’s because so many of the old fairy tales we still know today came originally from the Black Forest area via the Brothers Grimm, so woods were a part of the story just because of the setting. Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel…

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s just something I’ve noticed recently in a couple of books set in England/from English authors. They use the forest as a setting and seem to assume that’s enough to create a creepy atmosphere without further additions. Maybe I should ask other Canadians how they feel about the forest!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Not tempted, hooray! I’m not in a slump, though I’ve had less reading time so far this month, but I did just DNF two books in a row and I’m hoping that’s down to high standards and not some kind of inability to enjoy what I’m reading. Hope one of these tempts you nicely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m definitely abandoning far more than usual, so I’m assuming I’m being tougher on books than I normally am – so unfair on them! Still, it will pass eventually, and think of how many great books I’ll have waiting by then… 😉

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  14. So sorry to hear about the ongoing slump! I’m not devouring books as quickly as I was earlier this year. Too much anxiety about politics ad everything else! Glad to say, though, that you didn’t snare me with your offerings this week. Good luck with this batch, hope you find a winner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I must say the US election is partly at the root of my problem too, even though it doesn’t directly affect us. I find myself watching far too much coverage of the campaigns! It’s been a strange old year – next year will be better, and we’ll all be able to catch up with our reading then, I hope!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I hope it will be of some comfort to hear that I have gone straight on to the library site & downloaded the Shadowplay ebook. Of course I may never get around to actually reading it, because like everyone else on here I’m being very picky with my reading choices lately, but I’ll show willing and give it a go 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hurrah! I think Shadowplay looks great, and oddly I’m finding audiobooks easier than actual reading at the moment – highly unusual for me! I hope you enjoy it if/when you read it. This pesky virus has gone on too long now, and I think we’re all suffering anxiety at some level – fingers crossed for a vaccine! Just think how huge our TBRs will become if this goes on much longer… 😉

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