TBR Thursday 278… and Quarterly Round-Up

TBR Quarterly Report

At the New Year, as I do every year, I set myself some targets for my various reading challenges and for the reduction of my ever-expanding TBR. Now that last year’s slump seems to be a thing of the past, I’m storming through the books this year, which ought to mean I’ll be smashing all my targets. Ought to…

Here goes, then – the first check-in of the year…

TBR Quarterly Mar 2021

On the whole, I’m pretty OK with these figures. The shortfall in new releases will be made up very quickly since I have tons on the TBR now, which also explains why the TBR total has gone up rather than down. Of course, that will make it harder to fit other challenge books in, but hey! Who’s counting? 😉

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The Classics Club

I read four from my Classics Club list this quarter, but have only reviewed three of them so far…

73. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens – The only Dickens novel I hadn’t read before, and happily I loved the story of Little Nell and her grandfather, evil Daniel Quilp, and the usual myriad of quirky characters Dickens has created to delight us. 5 stars

74. Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp – A rom-com that neither thrilled me with the rom nor amused me with the com. Cluny’s coming-of-age story meanders unrealistically through the social classes of pre-war Britain. Just 2 stars.

75. Whisky Galore by Compton Mackenzie – unfortunately the humour didn’t work for me in this cosy wartime tale of Hebridean highlanders and a shipwreck full of whisky. An excellent narration lifted it, though. 3 stars.

So a couple of disappointments this quarter, but Dickens more than compensated!

75 down, 15 to go!

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Murder Mystery Mayhem

Doing slightly better on this challenge this quarter – I’ve read three, though I’ve only reviewed 2 so far…

41. Crime at Diana’s Pool by Victor L Whitechurch – During a garden party, the host turns up dead, face down in a pond with a knife in his back. The local vicar quickly deduces it’s murder! Quite enjoyable, but with nothing to really make it stand out from the crowd. 3 stars.

42. At the Villa Rose by AEW Mason (link to be added) – When an elderly widow is murdered and her beautiful young companion goes missing, her lover (the companion’s, not the widow’s) begs Inspector Hanaud of the Sûreté to take on the investigation. Oddly structured, but I enjoyed it a lot. 4 stars.

42 down, 60 to go!

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Reading the Spanish Civil War Challenge

Finally getting into this challenge properly and enjoying it greatly so far, and I’ve got some interesting fiction to come now that I’ve got a bit of an understanding of the factual history. I read two this quarter and had one still to review from last year. Only two reviews though – my reviewing is very behind at the moment.

3. The Spanish Labyrinth by Gerald Brenan. Gerald Brenan explains in his introduction that, having been there at the start of the Spanish Civil War, he wanted to understand what led to it, and preoccupied himself with studying this during the war. This book, first published in 1943, is the result, and is now considered a classic history of the period. Deservedly so. 5 stars.

4. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell. Orwell fought with the Trotskyite POUM faction against Franco’s Fascists, and later was involved in the left’s in-fighting during the Barcelona May Days. This is his personal memoir of his time in Spain. An excellent read, with the politics reserved for the appendices. 5 stars.

4 down, indefinite number to go!

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The People’s Choice

People's Choice Logo

I’m just finishing March’s pick so haven’t reviewed it yet, so just two reviews so far – did You, The People, pick me some good ones…?

JanuaryThe Old Buzzard Had It Coming by Donis Casey – Harley Day beats his wife, terrorises his children, fights with his neighbours and has fallen out with his relations, so when he turns up dead the general feeling in the little town of Boynton and the surrounding farming community is that the old buzzard sure had it coming! I thoroughly enjoyed this cosy-ish murder mystery, set in the early 1900s in Oklahoma. 4½ stars.

FebruaryThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – The Price family arrive in a remote village in the Belgian Congo to take over the Baptist mission there. The four daughters of the family tell us of their time there and how it affected their future lives, and along the way show us the impacts of modern colonialism. A wonderful book, well deserving of all the praise and plaudits it has received. 5 stars.

Well done, People – you did great!

2 down, 10 to go!

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Wanderlust Bingo

Wanderlust Bingo March 2021

I haven’t stepped out of my usual UK beat much yet this year, and will probably juggle with this a lot as I go along to slot things into the various categories. I’ll be spoiled for choice for books set in Scotland and England so will leave them to the end and see which boxes I’m struggling to fill. Here’s what I’m considering so far…

CongoThe Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – 5 stars. I’ve slotted this into River at the moment, but it could also fit Africa or Forest.

SpainIn Diamond Square by Mercè Rodoreda (review to follow) – set in Barcelona, I’ve put this in City, but it could also fit Europe.

Hmm… lot’s of work to do on this one, but I have a few interesting locations coming up on the TBR.

2 down, 23 to go!

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A much better quarter, in terms of both quantity and quality, not to mention enjoyability. Thanks as always for sharing my reading experiences!

PS I appear to have gone on an unintentional break by virtue of not having written any reviews! So I’m going to take that as a sign and have a couple of weeks off to get ahead of myself again. Be good, and…

Here’s to more great reading next quarter! 😀

29 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 278… and Quarterly Round-Up

  1. Great you have had some very good reads to start the year and your challenge boxes are filling too. I think that of the books you mention here, it’s the Orwell I’m particularly looking forward to reading. Wishing you a chocolate-ful Easter and may your pen / keyboard fingers run smoothly!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Enjoy your break FictionFan! Well deserved! You’ve been doing a fine job with your targets, especially the classics. It’s interesting, I always think, how we find ourselves reading one or another sort of book more frequently, even with so many other great books and genres out there. And, as always, I’m impressed with the stats you’ve kept. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I go through phases of classics or history reading followed by a glut of lighter books. I feel a definite lighter phase coming on at the moment! Thank you – a better summary than the last slump-ridden one, for sure! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I just love your spreadsheet. I’m a keen excel user myself and have list of books and so on.
    It’s so curious how the TBR pile of books tends to go up no matter how much you read, isn’t it? 🙂

    I hope you’ll have a lovely break and not be too annoyed by politics. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • My bookish spreadsheet is ridiculous, but I love it so much! I often think that if I spent less time playing with it I could halve my TBR in no time, though… 😉 Yes, I think it’s safe to say it disproves the theory of gravity – that what goes up must come down… 😀

      Haha, thank you! You’ll have spotted we have an election coming up here soon, then… 😉

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    • The first quarter always tends to go well and then it all begins to fall apart when I get diverted by shiny new books! 😉 But I’m so relieved my reading slump appears to be over… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I love having these posts as a record of “achievement”. 😀 The first quarter usually goes well while I’m all enthusiastic about my targets… and then it all starts to go downhill after that. Not this year, though! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hurrah, indeed! I’m so relieved to be enjoying reading again – now if I could only get back into a reviewing rhythm! Thank you – I need some time off to concentrate on Easter chocolate-eating… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Enjoy your break, FF! I’ve found that a well-timed pause is a wonderfully rejuvenating thing! Congrats on your accomplishments … and on putting that reading slump to rest. I’m not exactly having a slump — it’s more like lack of time, ha (puppies do that!!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, indeed, we all need to take breaks occasionally or it can begin to feel like work! So relieved my reading slump is finally over. 😀 Hahaha, puppies are wonderful little creatures, but oh, they can be exhausting! Such fun, though! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love reading round-ups and this one is really well organized. Inspires me to follow through on my assessment of goals.

    Have a good break.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – haha, I often think, though, that if I spent less time organising my bookish records and stats I’d be able to cut my TBR in half in no time… 😉 I always enjoy reading other people’s round-ups too, so will look forward to yours. 😀

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  6. Nice work FF! I think my TBR is protected from getting too out of control b/c I don’t review anything electronically. I literally refuse to use Netgalley, so publishers don’t send me too much unless i request it directly from them-phew! I think with the pandemic too, not as many publishers are sending me physical copies b/c they are mostly working from home, and the warehouses have limited hours. Still, though, I have way too much to ever get through, so I’m not complaining!

    Like

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