TBR Thursday 267…

Episode 267

Hmm, the new year splurging has begun. Only a little so far on the TBR – up 1 to 194 – but the wishlist has grown dramatically, and it’s mainly your fault. All these posts about books to look forward to in 2021, and best-of lists for 2020, not to mention recommendations for my challenges – frankly it’s all very stressful! I need a spa day…

Here’s another batch of ones I knead to get to soon…


Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

Next up for my Spanish Civil War challenge, I suspect this is probably the best known book about the subject in the English language. I also suspect it might be too one-sided and polemical for my taste, but we’ll see…

The Blurb says: Homage to Catalonia is George Orwell’s personal account of his experiences and observations fighting for the Republican army during the Spanish Civil War. The war was one of the shaping events on his political outlook and a significant part of what led him to write, in 1946, “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for Democratic Socialism, as I understand it.”

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Review-along: Scottish Classic

The Silver Darlings by Neil M Gunn

A few of us have been discussing what book we could read as a review-along – i.e., those of us who blog will post our reviews on the same day, and those who don’t blog will post their opinions in the comments section. It came down to a shortlist of two: this, and Vanity Fair. So I’m suggesting we do both, though a few months apart. This one first, a highly rated Scottish classic from an author I haven’t tried before. Sounds great, though! I’m suggesting a review date of Wednesday 24th March to allow time for possible difficulties in getting hold of it. (If that date doesn’t work for anyone, let me know.) Rose and Christine are in – I’m hoping Alyson will be too if she hasn’t already read it (or fancies re-reading it). And anyone else who would like to join in will be very welcome – the more the merrier!

The Blurb says: The Silver Darlings is a tale of lives hard won from a cruel sea and crueller landlords. It tells of strong young men and stronger women whose loves, fears and sorrows are set deep in a landscape of raw beauty and bleak reward. The dawning of the Herring Fisheries brought with it the hope of escape from the brutality of the Highland Clearances, and Neil Gunn’s story paints a vivid picture of a community fighting against nature and history and refusing to be crushed.

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English Classic

Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp

Another one from my Classics Club list. Margery Sharp is an author I’ve heard so many people around the blogosphere praise, and this will be my introduction to her work. I’m not sure it’s my kind of thing, but I have my fingers crossed!

The Blurb says: Cluny Brown has committed an unforgivable sin: She refuses to know her place. Last week, she took herself to tea at the Ritz. Then she spent almost an entire day in bed eating oranges. To teach her discipline, her uncle, a plumber who has raised the orphaned Cluny since she was a baby, sends her into service to be a parlor maid at one of England’s stately manor houses.

At Friars Carmel in Devonshire, Cluny meets her employers: Sir Henry, the quintessential country squire, and Lady Carmel, who oversees the management of her home with unruffled calm. Their son, Andrew, newly returned from abroad with a Polish émigré writer friend, is certain that the world is once again on the brink of war. Then there’s Andrew’s beautiful fiancée and the priggish pharmacist. While everyone around her struggles to keep pace with a rapidly changing world, Cluny continues to be Cluny, transforming the lives of those around her with her infectious zest for life.

* * * * *


The Less Dead by Denise Mina

Courtesy of Random House Vintage via NetGalley. I’ve only read a couple of Denise Mina’s books and have thoroughly enjoyed them, so I have high hopes for this one…

The Blurb says: When Margo goes in search of her birth mother for the first time, she meets her aunt, Nikki, instead. Margo learns that her mother, Susan, was a sex worker murdered soon after Margo’s adoption. To this day, Susan’s killer has never been found.

Nikki asks Margo for help. She has received threatening and haunting letters from the murderer, for decades. She is determined to find him, but she can’t do it alone…

A brilliant, thought-provoking and heart-wrenching new thriller about identity and the value of a life, from the award-winning author of The Long Drop and Conviction.

* * * * *

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

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So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

58 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 267…

  1. I’m in for the reviewalong of the Silver Darlings, I’ve never heard of it, but should hopefully be able to get it as an ebook from Amazon. I’m also up for a re-read of Vanity Fair later in the year, as its an old favorite.
    The Denise Mina book has grabbed my attention from this week’s list also, I’m not keen on her series, but I have enjoyed a few of her standalones over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hurrah! My copy of The Silver Darlings is a Kindle one so it is available as an e-book. I wish more of these Scottish classics were available as audiobooks, but I guess there isn’t the market. (Loving David Rintoul’s narration of Whisky Galore, btw!) Vanity Fair will be a re-read for me too, and this time I’ll be doing the audiobook of it, narrated by Georgina Sutton, whom I’ve never heard of but she gets almost universally glowing reviews. I’ll have a paper copy to fall back on if it all goes horribly wrong! I’m thinking probably June or July for that one.

      I didn’t fancy Mina’s early stuff much – too Gritty Grotty Glasgow for my taste – but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a couple of her recent standalones. Especially The Long Drop, which I thought deserved to become a classic of the future.


  2. You know, it’s hardly our fault if you can’t say no to temptation, FictionFan! So don’t go blaming your faithful readers for your lack of self-control. 😉 😉

    As for your choices, I like Denise Mina’s work very much – I think she’s very talented. I think that’s the one I would grab first. The rest do look interesting, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is your fault! It is! It IS!!! You all pick on me!! *drums heels on floor and screams*

      I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a couple of Mina’s recent standalones, so I’m looking forward to this one. The only one I have doubts about this week is Cluny Brown, so it’ll probably end up being my favourite… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, that poor cat looks as if it’s got no insides! Yes, the Orwell could easily feel like duty rather than pleasure, but we’ll see! And Cluny Brown certainly has lots of fans in blogworld…


  3. The first two, not so much, but I’m tempted by the last two. They’re totally different, so I can’t really say which appeals to me more.

    That’s quite a heavy duty kneading job going on….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve quite enjoyed all of the Margery Sharp books I’ve read, including Cluny Brown, but I don’t think they’re your usual sort of reads so I’m curious to hear what you think. I’ve read a lot of George Orwell books, but not that one – I’m not particularly tempted by it, though it should be interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know Margery Sharp is very popular around the blogosphere, but I’m not convinced I’ll like her. Only one way to find out though! Must admit the Orwell feels a bit like duty – I don’t see how I can do a Spanish Civil War challenge without reading it, but it doesn’t hugely appeal, However, I’m hoping to be proved wrong…


  5. I knead to read some Orwell too! I think (and hope) the Margery Sharp will be better than you think,I haven’t read anything by her yet, but I can imagine the blurb trying to aim for a particular market (maybe I’m just being cynical)!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, that poor cat! I’m sure its insides have been squidged to mush by now! I loved Orwell’s 1984, but have somehow never managed to get far with anything else by him, so I’m not sure how this one will go. And Margery Sharp certainly gets a lot of love around the blogosphere so maybe she’ll surprise me! Fingers crossed!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hmm, I think I might knead a spa day, too — do you know if that kitty is available for hire?!? Cluny Brown sounds interesting to me for some reason. I’ve never read any of Sharp’s works, so I’ll be interested in seeing how you like it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, it looks adorable but I must admit when my two do it to me, their little claws make it feel like some kind of medieval torture rather a relaxing massage! Margery Sharp gets a lot of love around the blogosphere, so we’ll see… I’m still not convinced it’s my kind of thing…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Every time anyone mentions the Clearances, my brain starts singing “Letter from America” by the Proclaimers. In a Scottish accent, even though I’m not Scottish. The Silver Darlings sounds very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Not tempted by the Margery Sharp sorry – I tried two books by her but didn’t get enamoured with either.

    I have a voucher for a spa day that I’m desperate to use but there’s no chance right now. So looking forward to the time when things like this can make a return….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to hear that! I can’t remember who recommended The Silver Darlings to me years ago, but it was someone who read quite a lot of Scottish fiction and he (for some reason, I’m sure it was a he) thought this was one of the best, so I have high hopes. I hope you’ll pop in and add your tuppence-worth to the review-along!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Homage to Catalonia was really good, I liked it, even though I was expecting it to be very political.

    I haven’t heard about Margery Sharp. I am looking forward to reading your review for Cluny Brown though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s good to hear! I though it might be very dry and polemical, but I don’t see how I could really leave it off a SCW list!

      Margery Sharp gets a lot of love around the blogosphere. She doesn’t sound like my type at all, but I’m ready to be proved wrong… 😀


  10. I’d never heard of The Silver Darlings, but it sounds like just my thing, so I’m quite tempted to join in with your reviewalong! I love Vanity Fair as well – I haven’t read it since I was a teenager but it was one of my favourite novels back then, so I look forward to reading your thoughts on it later this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, do join in! We’ve had fun with the review-alongs in the past – it’s good exchanging views while the book is still fresh in all our minds. The Silver Darlings might be a bit hard to find in a bookshop, but it’s available for Kindle if you use that. 😀 Vanity Fair will be a re-read for me too – one of my favourite classics from way back. This time I’m planning to listen to an audiobook version. Probably June or July for that review-along, I think! 😀


  11. Good to see you are continuing the Spanish Civil War challenge. I hope Homage to Catalonia will exceed your muted expectations. The Margery Sharp story sounds quite fun! Btw. I am quite impressed with your TBR, to be honest, I had my doubts if you would ever get below 200 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel I ought to like Orwell, but somehow he always gets up my nose a bit. We’ll see! I’m hoping I enjoy the Margery Sharp – she seems to generate a lot of love around the blogosphere. Haha, I was horrified when it went over 200 and kept climbing! If I could get it back down to around 120 – a year’s worth – I’d feel much happier about it. The thought of owning hundreds of unread books weighs me down… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read Garnethill but I know that was the one that made her name when she was starting out. I’ve only read a couple of her recent standalones and thought they were great, so fingers crossed for The Less Dead!

      Liked by 1 person

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