TBR Thursday 282…

Episode 282

During my recent disappearance, I didn’t pick up a book for an entire week, but they still kept arriving through the letter box! Result – the TBR is up a horrendous 4 to 202… aarghhhh!!! So I’m now reading up a storm in an attempt to catch up…

Homer reading gif

Here are a few I should be getting to soon…

Vintage Sci-Fi

Spaceworlds edited by Mike Ashley

SpaceworldsCourtesy of the British Library. Another themed anthology in the BL’s Science Fiction Classics series, which I’m enjoying as much as their vintage crime series. And the covers are just as good too… 

The Blurb says: Astronauts constructing a new space station must avert destruction from a missile sent by an unknown enemy; a generation starship is rocked by revelations of who their secret passengers in the hold truly are; a life or death struggle tests an operating surgeon – in orbit, with an alien patient never seen before.

Since space flight was achieved, and long before, science fiction writers have been imagining a myriad of stories set in the depths of the great darkness beyond our atmosphere. From generation ships – which are in space so long that there will be generations aboard who know no planetary life – to orbiting satellites in the unforgiving reaches of the vacuum, there is a great range of these insular environments in which thrilling, innovative and deeply emotional stories may unfold. With the Library’s matchless collection of periodicals and magazines at his fingertips, Mike Ashley presents a stellar selection of tales from the infinite void above us.

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Fiction

Last Days in Cleaver Square by Patrick McGrath

Last Days in Cleaver SquareCourtesy of Random House Cornerstone via NetGalley. It’s odd how once you get interested in a subject you start noticing books you might otherwise have passed by. I’m hoping this one will be a good addition to my Reading the Spanish Civil War challenge… 

The Blurb says: It is 1975 and an old man, Francis McNulty, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, is beset with sightings in his garden of his old nemesis, General Franco. The general is in fact in Spain, on his deathbed, but Francis is deeply troubled, as is his daughter Gillian, who lives with him in Cleaver Square.

Francis’ account of his haunting is by turns witty, cantankerous and nostalgic. At times he drifts back to his days in Madrid, when he rescued a young girl from a burning building and brought her back to London with him. There are other, darker events from that time, involving an American surgeon called Doc Roscoe, and a brief, terrible act of betrayal.

When Gillian announces her forthcoming marriage to a senior civil servant, Francis realizes he has to adapt to new circumstances and confront his past once and for all. Highly atmospheric, and powerfully dramatic, rich in pathos and humour, Last Days in Cleaver Square confirms a major storyteller at the height of his powers.

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Vintage Crime

Two-Way Murder by ECR Lorac

Two-Way MurderCourtesy of the British Library again! ECR Lorac has become one of my favourites in this series, so I’m always delighted to see her name pop up…

The Blurb says: It is a dark and misty night – isn’t it always? – and bachelors Nicholas and Ian are driving to the ball at Fordings, a beautiful concert hall in the countryside. There waits the charming Dilys Maine, and a party buzzing with rumours of one Rosemary Reeve who disappeared on the eve of this event the previous year, not found to this day. With thoughts of mysterious case ringing in their ears, Dilys and Nicholas strike a stranger on the drive back home, launching a new investigation and unwittingly reviving the search for what really became of Rosemary Reeve.

All the hallmarks of the Golden Age mystery are here in this previously unpublished novel by E.C.R. Lorac, boasting the author’s characteristically detailed sense of setting and gripping police work.

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Thriller

Bullet Train by Kōtarō Isaka

Bullet TrainCourtesy of Random House Vintage via NetGalley. I chose this one purely on the basis of the blurb. Must admit early reviews are pretty mixed but I’ve got my fingers crossed…  

The Blurb says: Five killers find themselves on a bullet train from Tokyo competing for a suitcase full of money. Who will make it to the last station? An original and propulsive thriller from a Japanese bestseller.

Satoshi looks like an innocent schoolboy but he is really a viciously cunning psychopath. Kimura’s young son is in a coma thanks to him, and Kimura has tracked him onto the bullet train headed from Tokyo to Morioka to exact his revenge. But Kimura soon discovers that they are not the only dangerous passengers onboard. Nanao, the self-proclaimed ‘unluckiest assassin in the world’, and the deadly partnership of Tangerine and Lemon are also travelling to Morioka. A suitcase full of money leads others to show their hands. Why are they all on the same train, and who will get off alive at the last station?

A bestseller in Japan, Bullet Train is an original and propulsive thriller which fizzes with an incredible energy as its complex net of double-crosses and twists unwinds to the last station.

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Fiction

A Town like Alice by Nevil Shute read by Robin Bailey

A Town Like AliceAn extra one this week, since I’ve actually already started this one. Recommended by Rose after I’d enjoyed Shute’s On the Beach, and so far I’m loving every minute of it. Robin Bailey’s rather old-fashioned upper-class voice is perfect for the time and class the book is set in…

The Blurb says: Nevil Shute’s most beloved novel, a tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from the Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback.

Jean Paget, a young Englishwoman living in Malaya, is captured by the invading Japanese and forced on a brutal seven-month death march with dozens of other women and children. A few years after the war, Jean is back in England, the nightmare behind her. However, an unexpected inheritance inspires her to return to Malaya to give something back to the villagers who saved her life. Jean’s travels leads her to a desolate Australian outpost called Willstown, where she finds a challenge that will draw on all the resourcefulness and spirit that carried her through her war-time ordeals.

NB I didn’t use the Audible blurb for this one since it contains a huge spoiler – you have been warned!

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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?

64 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 282…

    • Hahaha, I thought you’d be pleased! But it’s purely temporary – you wait! There’ll be such a huge drop when I start reading all these crime books I’ve got lined up… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. If you ask me, FictionFan, I think there’s been some feline malfeasance to account for the increase in your TBR. It’s certainly not your fault! As to this week’s selection, it’s good to see a Lorac there. She really did write well, and I ought to read more of her work than I have. And I wonder what you’ll think about a A Town Like Alice. I’ll be especially interested in your thoughts on that one.

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    • I do think they have to take a good deal of the blame, Margot – we’ve been reviewing cat toys recently (for Amazon Vine) and it seems to me I’ve spent most of my reading time trying unsuccessfully to persuade them to chase things! 😉 I’m looking forward to the Lorac – I like that the BL really seems to take account of which authors their readers are liking best. I’m about halfway through A Town Like Alice now, and loving it – what a great storyteller he was!

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    • Two excellent choices! I’m loving A Town Like Alice – about halfway through now – and I thought On the Beach was wonderful too. He’s a great storyteller – pick them up and dust them off! And Lorac is always enjoyable… 😀

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  2. I loved a Town like Alice when I read it years ago, I hope you continue to enjoy it. The Science Fiction anthology looks as though it may have potential also, it is a genre I can only handle in short story form for some reason.

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    • I’m about halfway through A Town Like Alice now, and loving it – he’s such a great storyteller, isn’t he? I agree SF works better in short story form, like horror. Both of them are quite hard to sustain over the longer novel form, I think. And I seem to be very in tune with the editor of this series, Mike Ashley – he always find stories that appeal to me. I’m enjoying the SF as much as the vintage crime now – I think I’ll soon only have time to read BL books!

      Rose has her copy of The Silver Darlings at last, btw, so once she knows when she’ll be ready to review it, I’ll post a new review-along date… if we can all remember our thoughts… 😉

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    • The Franco one does sound intriguing, doesn’t it? Oddly I keep spotting new releases with a connection to the Spanish Civil War ever since I started my challenge. I’m almost certain to enjoy the Lorac, and Bullet Train sounds good, even though a lot of people seem to be finding it a bit disappointing – we’ll see!

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  3. Definitely tempted by Two-Way Murder.
    As for the TBR climb, yikes!!! Okay, everyone, let’s not panic just yet. Some of those might turn out to be John Steinbeck-like and will cancel themselves out.

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    • Hahaha, yes, who knows how many of these will end up on the abandoned pile, keeping John company! 😀 Not Two-Way Murder, though – I’m almost certain to enjoy anything ECR Lorac wrote…

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    • I usually find Japanese crime very different to our home produced stuff, so I’m intrigued to see if the same applies to thrillers – fingers crossed! Aaarghh, no! Never!! Never, I tell you!! *faints*

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  4. If thrust into my hands, I’d read any of these. But you know that it’s the first one that will undoubtedly end up in my TBR as well. Born of the Sun is already waiting there.

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    • This is the start of my high octane adrenalin-filled summer, so here’s hoping I survive! Born of the Sun is fantastic – if this one is even nearly as good, I’ll be well satisfied! Hurrah for Mike Ashley and the BL! 😀

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  5. Cleaver Square and the Lorac look brilliant but what caught my attention (and my breath) was that you didn’t pick up a book for a week. I hope you allowed yourself time off and didn’t beat yourself up over the head?!

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    • I’m nearly finished it now, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I also loved On the Beach, which is darker (being about the end of the world!). He’s got a great storytelling style – quite plain, relying on the story itself rather than lots of literary flourishes. I’ll be reading more of his stuff, for sure.

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    • I should be getting to Bullet Train very soon and since I’m in thriller mode at the moment my hopes are high! I hope I don’t have to pull the communication cord at any point… 😉

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  6. This looks like a pretty good batch, FF! I’m interested in reading your reviews once you finish some of them. With selections like these, no wonder your TBR is porking up!

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  7. I could be tempted by A Town Like Alice, but I’ve got another Nevil Shute novel, Pied Piper, on my Classics Club list so should probably read that one first!

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    • I’ve only read this and On the Beach, and loved them both so I’ll definitely be looking to read more. Pied Piper looks as if it could be great – he has a lovely undramatic style that works really well for these emotional stories. Hope you enjoy it!

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  8. Ooo, that Patrick McGrath looks intriguing and I’m with you about Lorac, one of my favorites of the BL authors. Always interesting to find out what Poisoned Pen Press (US publisher of the BLCC books) has slated in the not-so-distant future.

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    • I used to get them from Poisoned Press via NetGalley before the BL started sending me the lovely paper copies. It’s so great that they’re available at such a good price for Kindle. I’m just about to start reading the Patrick McGrath tonight, so fingers crossed!

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    • I know!! I blame the postman!! I should finish Alice this weekend and have really enjoyed it so far. He’s a great storyteller! Yes, I was furious when I saw the spoiler – they really need to be more careful.

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  9. Last Days in Cleaver Square by Patrick McGrath would be my choice, which is not exactly surprising, as I’m reading again about the Spanish Civil War. 🙂

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    • There seems to be quite a lot of new fiction coming out with connections to the SCW at the moment for some reason – or maybe it’s just that I’m noticing them more! I should be starting Last Days in Cleaver Square tonight – fingers crossed!

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  10. Town Like Alice is a fabulous book – years since I read it but it’s stayed with me. The film is excellent too.

    I just returned Bullet Train to the library. Read about 20 pages and just couldn’t get into it but that might have been my mood at the time.

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    • For some reason I’ve never seen the film either, so I still have that to look forward to! I should finish the book this weekend and have thoroughly enjoyed it, although the Malayan bit worked better for me than the Australian section.

      I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews for Bullet Train on Goodreads so I don’t think you’re alone. Japanese fiction tends to either really work for me or really not – I have my fingers crossed Bullet Train fall into the former category. We’ll see!

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    • Two-Way Murder has only just come out over here so I don’t know if there’s a delay in them getting to your part of the world.
      Haha, wouldn’t it have been awful if I’d hated it? 😉 I should finish it tonight – I’ve raced through it. Apart from the story being so good, the narrator is also doing a wonderful job so it’s been double pleasure. Review soon….ish! 😀

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  11. Japanese books are always of interest to me, not sure why, but they are. I’m excited to read a story about a bullet train too-the speed will add to the suspense no doubt! Sort of like Murder on the Orient Express but hyper speed LOL

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    • Haha, Poirot’s moustaches wouldn’t be able to take the pace, and Miss Marple’s knitting would be all over the place! 😉 It does sound fun though, and Japanese books always have a different feel to them than our own Western writers, so I have high hopes…

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  12. Yes, I’ve lots of interest in your choices this week. A Town Like Alice is already on my list, after enjoying On the Beach. I’ve also added Last Days in Cleaver Square which seems to have some complexities which appeal. I’ll keep my eyes open to see if a copy of Two-Way Murder pops up somewhere, but I need more information about Bullet Train before I can finally decide on that one.

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    • I should be finishing A Town Like Alice tonight so can definitely recommend it, and the audiobook with Robin Bailey is an excellent narration of it too. Last Days in Cleaver Square is next up and is very short, so it shouldn’t be long before I get it reviewed. Two-Way Murder is a safe bet coming from Lorac, I think. Bullet Train sounds great but those mixed reviews have me a little worried – but then, when did I ever agree with anyone about books… 😉

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