TBR Thursday 281…

Episode 281

Since I feel as if I’ve hardly finished anything this week being stuck yet again in the middle of several massive books, it’s a surprise to me that the TBR appears to have gone down 1 to 198! I’m sure my spreadsheet has a life of its own.

Confused spreadsheet gif

Here are a few more that should be coming up soon…

Winner of the People’s Choice Poll

Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Half of a Yellow SunWell, Dear People, for the fifth time in six months you have chosen the approximately 600-pages option, and this time sadly also the one I least wanted to read! The vote was neck-and-neck all the way through, and how I hoped that Barbara Vine’s A Dark-Adapted Eye would win (304 pages and sounds great). But it was not to be – a very late vote broke the deadlock, and Adichie won. Oh well! A lesson to me to delete books I’ve gone off! Maybe I’ll love it. (Or maybe I’ll just pretend A Dark-Adapted Eye won and read it instead… 😉 )

The Blurb says: Ugwu, a boy from a poor village, works as a houseboy for a university professor. Olanna, a young woman, has abandoned her life of privilege in Lagos to live with her charismatic new lover, the professor. And Richard, a shy English writer, is in thrall to Olanna’s enigmatic twin sister. As the horrific Biafran War engulfs them, they are thrown together and pulled apart in ways they had never imagined.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s masterpiece, winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, is a novel about Africa in a wider sense: about the end of colonialism, ethnic allegiances, class and race – and about the ways in which love can complicate all of these things.

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Classic Crime Fiction

The Conjure-Man Dies by Rudolph Fisher

The Conjure-Man DiesCourtesy of the Collins Crime Club – Harlem imprint. This wasn’t on my original Classics Club list but it seems perfect to fill one of the remaining slots, so I’ve bumped Anatomy of a Murder to make room for it… 

The Blurb says: A unique crime classic: the very first detective novel written by an African-American, set in 1930s New York with only Black characters.

When the body of N’Gana Frimbo, the African conjure-man, is discovered in his consultation room, Perry Dart, one of Harlem’s ten Black police detectives, is called in to investigate. Together with Dr Archer, a physician from across the street, Dart is determined to solve the baffling mystery, helped and hindered by Bubber Brown and Jinx Jenkins, local boys keen to clear themselves of suspicion of murder and undertake their own investigations.

A distinguished doctor and accomplished musician and dramatist, Rudolph Fisher was one of the principal writers of the Harlem Renaissance, but died in 1934 aged only 37. With a gripping plot and vividly drawn characters, Fisher’s witty novel is a remarkable time capsule of one of the most exciting eras in the history of Black fiction.

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Fiction

Nightshift by Kiare Ladner

NightshiftCourtesy of Picador via NetGalley. Continuing my bid to read more contemporary fiction, I picked this on the basis of the blurb. Must admit so far I have abandoned more of my contemporary fiction choices than I’ve finished, so I’m hoping this one fares better…

The Blurb says: Nightshift is a story of obsession set in London’s liminal world of nightshift workers.

When twenty-three-year-old Meggie meets distant and enigmatic Sabine, she recognises in her the person she would like to be. Giving up her daytime existence, her reliable boyfriend, and the trappings of a normal life in favour of working the same nightshifts as Sabine could be the perfect escape for Meggie. She finds a liberating sense of freedom in indulging her growing obsession with Sabine and plunges herself into another existence, gradually immersing herself in the transient and uncertain world of the nightshift worker.

Dark, sexy, frightening, Nightshift explores ambivalent friendship, sexual attraction and lives that defy easy categorisation. London’s stark urban reality is rendered other-worldly and strange as Meggie’s sleep deprivation, drinking and obsession for Sabine gain a momentum all of their own. Can Meggie really lose herself in her trying to become someone else?

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Vintage Crime

The Man from London by Georges Simenon

The Man from LondonCourtesy of Penguin Classics via NetGalley. This will be my first experience of one of Simenon’s non-Maigret novels. Though Maigret is what he’s best remembered for, a lot of bloggers over the years have praised some of his other books at least as highly, sometimes more so. The blurb certainly makes it sound appealing…

The Blurb says: On a foggy winter’s evening in Dieppe, after the arrival of the daily ferry from England, a railway signalman habitually scrutinizes the port from his tiny, isolated cabin. When a scuffle on the quayside catches his eye, he is drawn to the scene of a brutal murder and his once quiet life changes forever. A mere observer at first, he soon finds himself fishing a briefcase from the water and in doing so he enters a feverish and secret chase. As the murderer and witness stalk and spy on each other, they gain an increasingly profound yet tacit understanding of each other, until the witness becomes an accomplice.

Written in 1933, soon after the successful launch of the Inspector Maigret novels, this haunting, atmospheric novel soon became a classic and the inspiration for several film and TV adaptations.

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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?

62 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 281…

    • Ha! So it’s your fault then! Don’t you know the Suffragettes chained themselves to railings so you would have the right to vote, and this is how you repay them! *stomps off, huffily*

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  1. Ha! Mine choice won! Sorry about the length…..and I’m thinking that there’s a cat involved in the disappearance of book #199. Check the goldfish tank. A friend of mine’s cat just dumped one of her books there. She found the goldfish reading it.

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    • Yes, it might surprise me in a good way, but I abandoned Americanah so I’m not hopeful! I’m looking forward to the Simenon though – and not only because it’s quite short… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Conjure-Man Dies sounds excellent – looking forward to reading your thoughts on that! I’m not convinced by the blurb for Nightshift, but I have long thought that night shift workers operate in a completely different world, with different social rules and atmosphere (a world I am glad to no longer be part of), so I’m intrigued by the idea of a book making use of that.

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    • I love the sound of The Conjure-Man too, and it’s far more interesting than some of the books left lingering on my Classics Club list! Nightshift sounds intriguing, but yes, I think it could could go either way – brilliant or dreadful. Let’s hope it’s brilliant! I’ve never worked night shifts, though being a very nocturnal person I was always tempted. It does always seem like a rather mysterious world…

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  3. MY choice didn’t win but I hope you enjoy the winner! I have read it but I can’t remember much about it. The Simenon looks interesting, I ‘ve just finished a Maigret that I enjoyed a lot.

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  4. I quite enjoyed Half of a Yellow Sun, but it wasn’t my choice for you. I hope you end up liking it. The Man from London is the only Simenon novel I’ve read – I found it very atmospheric and you’ll be pleased to know that it’s also very short!

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    • Oh that’s good to hear! I’ve wanted to try some of the non-Maigret Simenon’s for a while – they always seem to get high praise around the blogosphere, maybe even more than the Maigret novels. 😀

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  5. Whoops, too bad we voted for the one you really didn’t want, I thought the political angle might outweigh the other stuff. You can always DNF and switch to the Barbara Vine if it doesn’t work for you, I’ve read a few of her novels as Ruth Rendell, and she may have been a safer bet. Nightshift sounds a bit random, but maybe worth a try.

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    • Haha, I’m going to have to find a way to stop you all picking me a 600-page novel every month! The blurb of Half of a Yellow Sun does make it sound like my kind of thing, but I abandoned Americanah so that’s left me wary of her writing. I really must try to fit the Barbara Vine in anyway, even if it didn’t win – I’m in the mood for it! Nightshift could go either way, I feel – brilliant or dreadful. Let’s hope it’s brilliant… 😀

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  6. You know, FictionFan, we won’t tell anyone if you choose to read A Dark-Adapted Eye instead. It’ll be our little secret… In the meantime, that Simenon looks good. I have to say I do like his Maigret seres. There’s something about vintage crime fiction, isn’t there? I’m so glad you almost always have at least one example of it on your TBR list…

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    • I really must fit A Dark-Adapted Eye in even if it didn’t win – I’m just in the mood for it! I’m looking forward to trying one of Simenon’s non-Maigret novels – they get so much praise around the blogosphere, maybe even more than the Maigret ones in some quarters. And I’m loving all the vintage crime that’s coming my way – it’s become a real staple of my bookish diet. 😀

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    • Ah, that’s good to hear! Several people have recommended it as one of her best, and I’m just in the mood for it so I think I’ll have to fit it in even if it didn’t win… 😀

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  7. FWIW, I loved Adichie’s book Americanah and really liked her other novel, Purple Hibiscus. She’s a great writer, so hopefully Half of a Yellow Sun will engage you. It’s on my TBR list.

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    • Ah, unfortunately I didn’t get on with Americanah at all – in fact, I abandoned it halfway through, which is why I’m so reluctant about Half of a Yellow Sun. But they do sound very different so I’ll try to go into it with an open mind!

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  8. I agree with others, read the Barbara Vine and save Adichie until you feel ready for it! I did vote for Half a Yellow Sun and think it’s brilliant, but at the right time. Or just hang it and go with the Simenon which sounds perfect!

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    • I definitely think I’ll have to fit the Barbara Vine in soon, even if it didn’t win – I’m just in the right mood for it. The blurb of Half of a Yellow Sun makes it sound very much like my kind of thing, but unfortunately I abandoned Americanah which is why I’m so reluctant to read more of her stuff. But I’ll try to approach it with an open mind!

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  9. Well, assuming you do read Half of a Yellow Sun, at least I can see what you think of it. 600 pages does not appeal, however.

    I am not getting much reading finished because I am reading a very long book (The Mirror and the Light, about 750 pages). It is good but slow going.

    The Conjure-Man Dies sounds interesting. I had not heard of it previously. I would definitely be interested in The Man from London. I have one or two of Simenon’s non-Maigret novels to read, and one of the most memorable novels I ever read was The Accomplices, a non-Maigret book.

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    • I’m so tired of long novels – I don’t mind reading the occasional one, but who knew The People would pick me one every single month?? 😉 I loved Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, but I must admit the length of The Mirror and the Light has put me off. I’ll read it one day, but I’ll have to be in the right mood. I’m glad you’re enjoying it!

      The Conjure-Man Dies sound really interesting – I hope it’s great! And I’m pleased to hear you enjoyed your non-Maigret Simenon – I often get the impression around the blogosphere that people who’ve read both actually seem to prefer the non-Maigret ones. I should get to both of them soon, I hope. 🙂

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  10. Well, I’m disappointed, too, since I voted for the Barbara Vine.

    As an irrelevant side note, I just read a book with the word conjure in it. Conjure Women by Afia Atakora.

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    • I’m definitely going to have to fit the Barbara Vine in soon even if it didn’t win – I’m just in the mood for it! (Unlike poor Adichie… 😉 )

      Conjure Women looks interesting and the cover on Goodreads is great! Did you enjoy it? You really have to start your monthly round-ups again, you know… 😀

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      • It was good enough, but I wouldn’t say it was great. In fact, that’s how I’d classify several of my most recent selections. Still, nothing I felt the need to abandon. (though I came close with The Sweet Taste of Muscadines” by Pamela Terry and was ultimately glad I stuck with it) My favorite book (of the year so far!) was The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. I also enjoyed Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia quite a bit. Two I was looking forward to that fell short for me were The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse and The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate.

        Maybe that will make up for my lack of monthly roundups! 😉

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        • Much better! 😀 I’ve never read anything by Matt Haig – I think he started out writing for children and that kinda put him off my radar, although his more recent books seem to have been more for adults. Must give him a try sometime. And the various reviews I’ve seen of Mexican Gothic have made it sound appealing – if only I had infinite time! I’m having a run of pretty good books but nothing that’s really blown me away for a while, and I’m still abandoning more books than usual – not sure whether that’s the books’ fault or a residue of my slumpiness…

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  11. Maybe Half of a Yellow Sun will surprise you, but I’m a firm believer in books having their time to be read and if it’s not the right time, well, I’d go with the Barbara Vine.

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    • I definitely think I have to fit the Barbara Vine in soon even if it didn’t win – I’m just in the mood for psychological thrillers at the moment. Maybe Half of a Yellow Sun will surprise me, but I abandoned Americanah which has left me reluctant to read more of her books, especially 600-page ones!

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  12. I missed the vote, but I’d have voted for A Dark-Adapted Eye, which I think is brilliant. But I did enjoy Half of a Yellow Sun, which is a completely different type of novel. I hope you’ll find it better than you think you will.

    I’m tempted by The Man from London.

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    • I definitely think I’m going to have to fit A Dark-Adapted Eye in soon even if it didn’t win – everyone who’s read it seems to think it’s great! The blurb of Half of a Yellow Sun makes it sound like my kind of thing, but I abandoned Americanah, which has left me reluctant to read more of Adichie. But maybe it will surprise me in a good way! 🙂

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  13. Half of a Yellow Sun and The Conjure-Man Dies are both on my list now, so I’ve been well tempted! However, it does look as if you’ve been given a pass by your voters to postpone Yellow Sun until the time is right if you prefer (and if that time comes) 🙂. I’m not sure about Nightshift and will be interested in your thoughts when you read it. The atmosphere and psychological undercurrents in The Man from London do appeal. I hope there’s some good reading here for you.

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    • My reluctance over Half of a Yellow Sun is because I abandoned Americanah, but they do sound like very different books so maybe this one will work better for me – and hopefully you! The Conjure-Man Dies sounds so intriguing, doesn’t it? I love when a book I’ve never heard of but love the sound of pops unexpectedly through the letter box – it’s like getting a surprise present! I hope it lives up to my hopes for it! I’m looking forward to the Simenon too – I enjoy the Maigret books, but his non-Maigret ones often get even more enthusiastic reviews around the blogosphere. And Nightshift could go either way, I feel… we’ll see!

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    • Hahaha, yes, but unfortunately my spreadsheet is even more likely to add books when I’m not looking! 😉 Nightshift sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? Could be brilliant or could be awful, I feel… let’s hope it’s brilliant!

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  14. Oh, dear. Looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you, FF. Don’t blame me — I voted for the Vine. But 600 pages?? *shudders* At the rate I’m reading these days, it could easily be Christmastime before I could finish that one!!

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    • Haha, I know, Debbie – the very thought of 600 pages puts me off! Who knew The People would keep voting for the longest book every time?? 😉 I think I’m going to have to fit the Vine in even though it didn’t win – I’m just in the mood for it… 😀

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  15. I’d say, your game, your rules. If you really don’t feel like reading Half of a Yellow Sun, why not skip it for now and read the other one? After all reading is meant to be fun! Of course, there is a chance, it might surprise you in a positive way. 🙂

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    • But I believe in democracy – if I can accept Brexit, I ought to be able to accept The People picking Half of a Yellow Sun! 😉 I’m definitely going to fit the Barbara Vine one in soon though – this has made me realise I really want to read it, and I’m in psychological thriller mode at the moment. And as you say, maybe Half of a Yellow Sun will surprise me in a good way! 😀

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    • I always knew you had excellent taste! 😉 I’m definitely going to read A Dark-Adapted Eye soon even if it didn’t win – I’m just in the mood for psychological thrillers at the moment. 😀

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