TBR Thursday 292 – The People’s Choice…

Episode 292

(A reminder of The People’s Choice plan. Once a month, I shall list the four oldest books on the TBR, then the next four, and so on, and each time you will select the one you think I should read, either because you’ve read and enjoyed it, or because you think the blurb looks good. And I will read the one you pick within three months! If I begin to fall behind, I’ll have a gap till I catch up again. In the event of a tie, I’ll have the casting vote.)

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OK, People, time for the next batch of four, three fiction and one crime this time, and this will be the last batch from 2016. Having missed the last couple of months, this won’t be the usual three months ahead pick – the winner will be an October read, if I can fit it in! The Secret River is one I’ve heard lots of good things about from various people, but it was Rose’s review that pushed it onto my TBR. I bought The Sea because I had enjoyed Banville’s later The Blue Guitar so much. And similarIy, I got No Country for Old Men because I had enjoyed McCarthy’s The Road (plus I loved the film of No Country). Blackout was acquired when I was going through a Nordic crime phase, and had enjoyed several of Jonasson’s other books. All of these sound great to me and I still want to read them all, so you really can’t go wrong…

I’m intrigued to see which one you pick…

Historical Fiction

The Secret River by Kate Grenville

The Secret RiverAdded 14th October 2016. 18,972 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.81 average rating. 334 pages.

The Blurb says: The Orange Prize-winning author Kate Grenville recalls her family’s history in an astounding novel about the pioneers of New South Wales. Already a best seller in Australia, The Secret River is the story of Grenville’s ancestors, who wrested a new life from the alien terrain of Australia and its native people. London, 1806. William Thornhill, a Thames bargeman, is deported to the New South Wales colony in what would become Australia. In this new world of convicts and charlatans, Thornhill tries to pull his family into a position of power and comfort. When he rounds a bend in the Hawkesbury River and sees a gentle slope of land, he becomes determined to make the place his own. But, as uninhabited as the island appears, Australia is full of native people, and they do not take kindly to Thornhill’s theft of their home.

The Secret River is the tale of Thornhill’s deep love for his small corner of the new world, and his slow realization that if he wants to settle there, he must ally himself with the most despicable of the white settlers, and to keep his family safe, he must permit terrifying cruelty to come to innocent people.

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Fiction

The Sea by John Banville

The SeaAdded 26th November 2016. 29,059 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.53 average. 195 pages.

The Blurb says: In this luminous novel about love, loss, and the unpredictable power of memory, John Banville introduces us to Max Morden, a middle-aged Irishman who has gone back to the seaside town where he spent his summer holidays as a child to cope with the recent loss of his wife. It is also a return to the place where he met the Graces, the well-heeled family with whom he experienced the strange suddenness of both love and death for the first time. What Max comes to understand about the past, and about its indelible effects on him, is at the centre of this elegiac, gorgeously written novel among the finest we have had from this masterful writer.

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Fiction

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

No Country for Old MenAdded 27th November 2016. 164,364 ratings on Goodreads, with a 4.10 average. 309 pages. 

The Blurb says: In his blistering new novel, Cormac McCarthy returns to the Texas-Mexico border, the setting of his famed Border Trilogy. The time is our own, when rustlers have given way to drug-runners and small towns have become free-fire zones.

One day, Llewellyn Moss finds a pickup truck surrounded by a bodyguard of dead men. A load of heroin and two million dollars in cash are still in the back. When Moss takes the money, he sets off a chain reaction of catastrophic violence that not even the law – in the person of ageing, disillusioned Sheriff Bell – can contain.

As Moss tries to evade his pursuers – in particular a mysterious mastermind who flips coins for human lives – McCarthy simultaneously strips down the American crime novel and broadens its concerns to encompass themes as ancient as the Bible and as bloodily contemporary as this morning’s headlines. No Country for Old Men is a triumph.

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Crime

Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson

BlackoutAdded 27th November 2016. 4,688 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.70 average. 220 pages.

The Blurb says: On the shores of a tranquil fjord in Northern Iceland, a man is brutally beaten to death on a bright summer’s night. As the 24-hour light of the arctic summer is transformed into darkness by an ash cloud from a recent volcanic eruption, a young reporter leaves Reykajvik to investigate on her own, unaware that an innocent person’s life hangs in the balance. Ari Thór Arason and his colleagues on the tiny police force in Siglufjörður struggle with an increasingly perplexing case, while their own serious personal problems push them to the limit. What secrets does the dead man harbour, and what is the young reporter hiding? As silent, unspoken horrors from the past threaten them all, and the darkness deepens, it’s a race against time to find the killer before someone else dies …

Dark, terrifying and complex, Blackout is an exceptional, atmospheric thriller from one of Iceland’s finest crime writers.

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

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VOTE NOW!

(Click on title and then remember to also click on Vote, or your vote won’t count!)

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58 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 292 – The People’s Choice…

    • It’s a great batch, isn’t it? Yet again I think of all the mediocre stuff I’ve read over the years while these have been languishing on my TBR – crazy! I look forward to knowing what one you decide on – it’s all very close at the moment, so every vote counts! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve gone for Secret River and did so without reading the comments which would have suggested which way the vote was going. (See how seriously I’m taking this!) And my vote has currently put it in the lead – just! I really hope you read The Sea soon though – like Secret River, it’s on my list too.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The voting has been so close this time – every time I look something different has just nudged into the lead! The Secret River is still near the top but who knows? I’d like to read all four of these… 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m afraid I made it a three-way tie, as I voted for Banville (perhaps for sadistic reasons!) I tried to read The Sea shortly after he won the Booker but didn’t get very far; since Banville’s a fine writer, I’m assuming I probably wasn’t in the mood for a “luminous” novel at the time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, well, at least you’re honest about your sadism! 😉 I’ve only read one Banville – The Blue Guitar – and I adored his writing although the book itself wasn’t overly profound. I tried a couple of his Benjamin Black crime novels but they didn’t work for me at all. So The Sea could go either way, I feel…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, no! I voted for No Country for Old Men which has made this a four-way tie! I’ve read the first two (well, the first one was obvious) but am most intrigued by No Country. Can’t wait to see which book wins and will be happy for you with whichever that is.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve just voted for No Country for Old Men too – Cormac McCarthy seems like an author I *should* like, but the only book of his I’ve tried to read is All the Pretty Horses. I came across it because I was looking for more literary Westerns after I absolutely loved Lonesome Dove. I couldn’t get into it because of the lack of speechmarks, but I do still want to give him a try, so I am interested to see what you make of No Country!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The only McCarthy I’ve read is The Road, and I found his style very off-putting at first but gradually it became kind of mesmeric. And of all the many books I’ve read, The Road is still one I often think of and ponder over, so I’d be very happy to try another of his novels. Lonesome Dove is hiding somewhere on my TBR, I believe…

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        • Just checked and it is indeed on my TBR and will be due to appear on a People’s Choice Poll in about three months time, so have your voting finger ready! It does sound great – another one I’ve wanted to read for years. So why haven’t I???? *sighs*

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Spoiled for choice here, FictionFan! Lots to like! I really do think you’d like the Grenville – I do. But my vote’s for No Country…. Still, you should read the Grenville, too… I know what you mean about having books on your TBR for a long time, I’ve had some on mine for an embarrassingly long time. Funny how even the good ‘uns can slip down on the list until you look up and it’s five years later and you still haven’t read them…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s neck and neck in the voting at the moment – still no clear leader! I really would like to read all four of these – no idea why I let books that really appeal linger so long while I read others that have far less appeal. I must find a way to stop acquiring so many books!!! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve read the Grenville and the Jonasson some years back and would be happy to read any of the others, so not an easy choice. I went with Grenville as I’ve enjoyed a number of her books (though it’s about 10 years since I read The Secret River and I don’t have a sharp recall of it).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t read any Grenville before and have heard so many good things about her, especially this book, so I’d be very happy if it wins. But then I’d be happy whichever of these wins – an exceptionally good batch this month! Jonasson was a big favourite of mine back in my Nordic phase and it’s been too long since I read one of his books.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I had no hesitation in voting for The Secret River. It’s one of those books that completely captivated me and transported me to another world. I found it difficult to put down and it has remained in my mind as a wonderful book – a dramatic and vivid story and thought-provoking as well. I read The Sea before I began blogging and it too has stuck in my mind as an enjoyable book, so I say read both, but definitely read The Secret River – I loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yours was probably one of the reviews that nudged The Secret River onto my TBR – I know I’d seen several before Rose’s finally tipped me over the edge. It sounds great so I’ll be very happy if it wins! The Sea sounds good too, but it’s falling behind in the voting a little so it may have to wait a little longer.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A good crop of books this time. I was torn between The Sea and The Secret River (hmmm, two water-based titles). Javier Bardem said the role he played in the movie version of No Country for Old Men was so dark, it haunted him afterward. So any one of the four will be a compelling read..

    Liked by 1 person

    • They are – all four of them still appeal to me and make me wonder why I’ve read so many mediocre books over the years while these ones have languished on my TBR! I can believe that about No Country – it’s years since I watched it but I still remember how disturbing I found it. If the book wins, I shall have a great excuse to watch the movie again too. 😀

      Like

  8. These do all sound good! My personal choice would probably be The Sea because it sounds lovely and thoughtful but I feel like you might enjoy No Country for Old Men more so it’s getting my vote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • All four still sound great to me, and I’ll be very happy if No Country wins – I’ve wanted to read more McCarthy for years after loving The Road so much. It’s neck and neck still at the moment – no clear leader has emerged. Exciting! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I loved Jonasson when I was going through my Nordic crime phase so I’d be very happy if he wins! Black Out had fallen behind for a bit but it’s caught up again and is neck and neck with two of the others – exciting! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, that’s how I felt about The Road! He could give even the dystopian bleakness of nuclear winter its own kind of beauty. And I must say it’s one of the books that I most often think of and ponder over years after reading it, so I’ll be very happy if No Country wins! 😀

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    • Oh, I think all four of these sound great! I loved Jonasson when I was going through a big Nordic crime phase a few years ago and it’s been too long since I read one of his books, so I’ll be very happy if it wins. Neck and neck with two others at the moment – exciting! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I don’t feel qualified to cast a vote here, because I’ve never read any of these! Gee, I must’ve been living under a rock or something, ha! But I will add my best wishes that you “win” a good one (seems you can’t miss because they all sound interesting!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve voted on your behalf – I think the poll doesn’t show up on some platforms annoyingly. The Secret River sounds great and I’ve heard so many reliable people praise it – I’ll be very happy if it wins! Still too close to call… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I struggled with his writing style in The Road but some of the images are wonderful and it’s a book I still often think about and mull over, years after reading it. So I’ll be very happy to read another of his books. Still too close to call though… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Judging from the comments, this is possibly your closest People’s Choice yet, very exciting. I would go with No Country, at least I’ve heard of that one through the film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s been incredibly close and still keeps changing as late votes drift in. I’d be hard out to pick one myself this time – they all look great! I’ve added your vote, but I’ll have to keep you in suspense till next Thursday…

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  11. For some reason I don’t see the vote widget, it happened before. So, my vote is for Blackout by Ragnar Jonasson. The story sounds interesting, but I think I like even best where the story takes place. If there are descriptions of the landscape it would make for a fascinating read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve added your vote – it’s odd and annoying that the widget doesn’t show up on some platforms! I’ve read a few books by Jonassen before and he does his Icelandic settings brilliantly, so I suspect it will be the same in this one. It’s still close but Blackout is in with a very good chance… 😀

      Like

  12. I voted for Blackout, I don’t know much about the others. I read the first in this series and I plan to read Blackout soonish. I hope. I was assuming No Country for Old Men would be too violent for me. I would be happy to hear your thoughts on any of these books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Excellent choice! I went through a big phase of Scandi crime a few years ago and he was one of my favourites, so I’ll be happy if it wins! No Country might well be pretty violent – I seem to remember the film was – but I did love The Road so I want to try more of his novels at some point.

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  13. So I voted for Cormac’s book, but based on the results, it doesn’t look like it’s going to win. I picked it because I’m just so curious about it! I’ve seen the movie trailer for it, and that’s about it, so really excited to see what you think of it. Will it be as terrifying as The Road (also a book of his I’ve never read!) LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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