TBR Thursday 263…

Episode 263

There’s been a huge drop in the TBR since I last reported – down 6 to 193! This is partly because I’ve been abandoning books all over the place, which is annoying but great for the TBR reduction plan.

I’m surviving on an almost constant diet of vintage crime, anthologies and re-reads for the time being. It’s so long since I prepared this post I’ve actually read most of these now, so will be reviewing soonish. I’ll leave you in suspense till then…

Vintage Science Fiction

Nature’s Warnings edited by Mike Ashley

Courtesy of the British Library. Another new anthology from the BL, this time in their excellent Science Fiction Classics series, and with the timely theme of warnings of environmental disaster…

The Blurb says: Science fiction has always confronted the concerns of society, and its greatest writers have long been inspired by the weighty issue of humanity’s ecological impact on the planet. This volume explores a range of prescient and thoughtful stories from SF’s classic period, from accounts of exhausted resources and ecocatastrophe to pertinent warnings of ecosystems thrown off balance and puzzles of adaptation and responsibility as humanity ventures into the new environments of the future.

Featuring stories crucial to the evolution of eco-science fiction from Philip K. Dick, Margaret St Clair, J. D. Beresford and more, this timely collection is a trove of essential reading.

* * * * *

Vintage Crime

The Lost Gallows by John Dickson Carr

Courtesy of the British Library. This is the third in the Bencolin series, and I loved the first two…

The Blurb says: It started when El Moulk’s automobile roared crazily through a London fog, its driver dead as a herring. The car screeched to a stop in front of that creaky relic of ancient horrors, the Brimstone Club. Through its cavernous rooms and gaslit passages a murderer hunted victims for a private gallows. The calling cards of a notorious hangman, a miniature gibbet, a length of rope, and an inscription from the tomb of Egyptian kings warned El Moulk and his dazzling French mistress that death was on their trail. It was a perfect case for Bencolin, a detective who preferred fantastic murders.

* * * * *

Vintage Crime

A Surprise for Christmas edited by Martin Edwards

And… courtesy of  the British Library again! Another anthology of vintage crime short stories, each with a Christmas theme. And what better time of the year for a bit of murder and mayhem?

The Blurb says: Two dead bodies and a Christmas stocking weaponised. A postman murdered delivering cards on Christmas morning. A Christmas tree growing over a forgotten homicide. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, except for the victims of these shocking and often elaborate murders. When there’s magic in the air, sometimes even the facts don’t quite add up and the impossible can happen — and it’s up to the detective’s trained eye to unwrap the clues and put together an explanation neatly tied up with a bow. Martin Edwards compiles an anthology filled with tales of seasonal suspense where the snow runs red, perfect to be shared between super-sleuths by the fire on a cold winter’s night.

* * * * *

Dalziel and Pascoe on Audio

Under World by Reginald Hill read by Colin Buchanan

Continuing my slow re-read of this series, this is book 10. By now the characters are well established, and Hill is incorporating the social issues of the day into his stories. This one was published just four years after the miners’ strike which fundamentally changed the face of British politics for a generation and hit Yorkshire, where this series is set, particularly hard…

The Blurb says: When young Tracey Pedley vanished in the woods around Burrthorpe, the close-knit community had their own ideas about what had happened, but Deputy Chief Constable Watmough has it down as the work of a child-killer who has since committed suicide – though others wondered about the last man to see her alive and his fatal plunge into the disused mine shaft. Returning to a town he left in anger, Colin Farr’s homecoming is ready for trouble, and when a university course brings him into contact with Ellie Pascoe, trouble starts…

Meanwhile Andy Dalziel mutters imprecations on the sidelines, until a murder in Burrthorpe mine forces him to take action that brings him up against a hostile and frightened community.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

41 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 263…

  1. I also have been abandoning books in favor of older books I haven’t yet read or books I simply love. I’m so tired of thinly drawn characters and agenda plots. So I can see the draw to all of these vintage books.

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    • Yes, with so many books on the TBR it seems pointless to struggle through ones that aren’t working for me, though some of them I might try again when my enthusiasm returns. But meantime the shorter, lighter style of the vintage novels is working perfectly so I’ll stick with them!

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  2. I’m going to do the same to my reading list, but I keep adding new ones, so nothing ever changes. I’m glad too see you back posting, everyone needs a break once inn a while. Just have fun and read what you want, and tell your friends here if you find something good. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Haha, yes, those new ones keep sneaking onto my list too! The only reason it’s going down at the moment is that I’m receiving fewer review copies because of the pandemic – except for the BL! Thank you! I hadn’t planned that break but I discovered I really needed it. Just too much stress going on at the moment. But I have high hopes that 2021 will be better for us all! 😀

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  3. I’ve abandoned books a few times lately, FictionFan. I think that’s perfectly fine if you’re not enjoying a book, or if it’s not the right time to read it. Why spend valuable reading time on something you don’t enjoy? As for your selection here, I really hope you enjoyed the short story collection. With Edwards editing, I’ll bet there are some great entries there. And a D/P novel is always worthy of a (re)read, in my opinion.

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    • Yes, I don’t see much point in spending time on a book that isn’t working for me when I’m already struggling to get enthusiastic. Much rather put those ones aside, and who knows, maybe I’ll come back to them at a better time. A Surprise for Christmas has some great stories in it, and they really do all have a Christmas connection which isn’t always the case with festive anthologies! D&P and Shardlake have been alternating to keep me amused – very nice of them all… 😉

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    • I’m addicted to these anthologies of vintage stories – they’re great for between heavier reads. And A Surprise for Christmas has some excellent stories in it! Thanks for popping in and commenting! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, the BL has gone completely over the top with me this year – I’ve had loads of anthologies from them, and they’re nearly all excellent! i shall be tempting you with my reviews soon… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Look at you, FF!! Getting your TBR down six is amazing — I don’t care if you have to abandon selections to do it! It’s just possible those were added on the spur of the moment anyway. I’m leaning toward A Surprise for Christmas. What could be easier than holiday-themed crime and mayhem?!!

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    • Haha, I was surprised – I didn’t realise the TBR had dropped by so much! I might go back to some of the abandoned ones when I feel more enthusiastic but I’ll stick with lighter stuff meantime, I think. A Surprise for Christmas has some great stories in it, and they actually do all have a Christmas theme which isn’t always the case with festive anthologies… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What is it with Christmas and murder or ghost stories? And I hope you don’t feel bad about abandoning books at all! I think 2020 is the year of letting go of books that don’t work for you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I know – it is odd that they seem so connected! I blame Dickens. 😉 I’m finding abandoning books quite cathartic at the moment, and I might go back to some of them when I feel more enthusiastic – at the moment the lighter stuff is working best!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Normally if I abandon a book it means I absolutely never want to read it. This year I’ve found freedom in quitting books that are just not right for me but maybe will be at another time. Right now, I’m really enjoying short stories because they are so low commitment!

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        • I’m the same – generally if I abandon it, that’s it! But this year I’ve known that quite often it’s not the book, it’s just that I can’t get into it, so I have a little list of ones I might try again. And yes, all these short stories anthologies have been my lifeline – so much easier to face something that doesn’t need a lot of commitment!

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  6. There is something weirdly theraputic about abandening books, or maybe that’s just me. I don’t DNF so often these days as I am more selective in my reading material, but it does feel good to just get rid of something which isn’t working. Nothing from your list is especially calling to me this week, but I hope you enjoy them.

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    • I’ve been finding that too – totally cathartic! I might return to some of the ones I’ve abandoned when my enthusiasm revives but at the moment it’s better to abandon a book than to get stuck in the middle of it. I occasionally abandon one I’ve carefully picked, but more often it’s ones that have been sent to me unsolicited by publishers – I love getting them and have found a few gems I wouldn’t have chosen, but there are also quite a few that are just really not my type of thing.

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    • Dalziel and Pascoe is my favourite crime series of all time, if you discount Agatha Christie and Holmes. Some of the early ones are a bit dated now but I still love the characters and it’s one of those series that got better and better as it went on.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A Christmas Stocking weaponized? Sounds like perfect reading for this holiday season. What is it with us and Christmas and murder that appeals so much? I’m reading a Christmas James Patterson book from 2019 and am enjoying it, but the chapters are so short it feels a bit flimsy. I’ve never read Patterson before so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about…

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