TBR Thursday 304…

Episode 304

The seesaw has sawed. Or seed. Or seesawed. Yeah, I’ll go with that – the seesaw has seesawed! What I’m trying to say is the TBR has gone down again, by two to 186! Perfect reason to recycle this gif…

Here are a few more that should tip the balance even more soon… 

Fiction 

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Ondaatje is one of those many authors I feel I should have read, but haven’t. He’s Karissa’s favourite, and her praise for him eventually brainwashed me into adding this one to my TBR! I’m also hoping it might fill another box on my Wanderlust challenge…

The Blurb says: With unsettling beauty and intelligence, this Golden Man Booker Prize–winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II.

The nurse Hana, exhausted by death, obsessively tends to her last surviving patient. Caravaggio, the thief, tries to reimagine who he is, now that his hands are hopelessly maimed. The Indian sapper Kip searches for hidden bombs in a landscape where nothing is safe but himself. And at the centre of his labyrinth lies the English patient, nameless and hideously burned, a man who is both a riddle and a provocation to his companions—and whose memories of suffering, rescue, and betrayal illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.

* * * * *

Vintage Crime

These Names Make Clues by ECR Lorac

Courtesy of the British Library. Always delighted to see ECR Lorac’s name pop up in the BL’s Crime Classics series, and this one sounds like she was having fun at the expense of her writing friends!

The Blurb says: Chief Inspector Macdonald has been invited to a treasure hunt party at the house of Graham Coombe, the celebrated publisher of Murder by Mesmerism. Despite a handful of misgivings, the inspector joins a guestlist of novelists and thriller writers disguised on the night under literary pseudonyms. The fun comes to an abrupt end, however, when ‘Samuel Pepys’ is found dead in the telephone room in bizarre circumstances.

Amidst the confusion of too many fake names, clues, ciphers and convoluted alibis, Macdonald and his allies in the CID must unravel a truly tangled case in this metafictional masterpiece, which returns to print for the first time since its publication in 1937.

* * * * *

Crime

Still Life by Louise Penny

Another one that’s been hanging around my TBR for years, added originally because of all the glowing reviews I’ve seen around the blogosphere for this series. And another one that might fill a Wanderlust box!

The Blurb says: The discovery of a dead body in the woods on Thanksgiving Weekend brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Surete du Quebec to a small village in the Eastern Townships. Gamache cannot understand why anyone would want to deliberately kill well-loved artist Jane Neal, especially any of the residents of Three Pines – a place so free from crime it doesn’t even have its own police force.

But Gamache knows that evil is lurking somewhere behind the white picket fences and that, if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will start to give up its dark secrets…

* * * * *

Fiction

Stamboul Train by Graham Greene

I think I read this during my major Graham Greene phase many years ago but I don’t have a clear memory of it, so it sounds like a re-visit is overdue. Plus… it might tick off a square on my Wanderlust card! (You can tell it’s getting towards the end of the year and I’m getting desperately worried about my challenge failures, can’t you? 😉 )

The Blurb says: Published in 1932 as an ‘entertainment’, Graham Greene’s gripping spy thriller unfolds aboard the majestic Orient Express as it crosses Europe from Ostend to Istanbul.

Weaving a web of subterfuge, murder and politics along the way, the novel focuses upon the disturbing relationship between Myatt, the pragmatic Jew, and naive chorus girl Coral Musker as they engage in a desperate, angst-ridden pas-de-deux before a chilling turn of events spells an end to the unlikely interlude. Exploring the many shades of despair and hope, innocence and duplicity, Stamboul Train offers a poignant testimony to Greene’s extraordinary powers of insight into the human condition.

* * * * *

Review-alongers!

Now that we’ve had a chance to recover from Vanity Fair, it’s time to pick a new book, with a view to reviewing February-ish. Alyson and Christine, I nominate you to select two or three books each and stick the titles in the comments below. I’ll list your selections on next week’s TBR Thursday post and we can see which takes the popular fancy!

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

59 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 304…

    • I enjoy getting away from the review books occasionally to read some of the older books sitting on the TBR, so I’m looking forward to this batch. Hopefully the Lorac will be just as good as the other ones of hers that the BL has reissued – it certainly sounds appealing… 😀

      Like

  1. So glad you’re coming up on Still Life, FictionFan. I think that’s an excellent series overall. Some of the novels are better than others, as you’d guess. But Penny’s worst is better than a lot of people’s best. I really hope you’ll enjoy that one. And an E.C. Lorac, too! That should be a good ‘un. Looks like you’ve got some quality reading coming up. Now, go have a chocolate to reward yourself for that lower TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Still Life has been on my TBR for literally years, so I’m glad I’m finally getting to it even though I’m concerned that if I like it my poor TBR will suffer a huge hit with the rest of the series! 😉 The Lorac sounds appealing – looks like she was having a bit of fun with the characters this time! Haha, I wonder how long it will be before the TBR starts to creep up again… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Exciting! I’m very keen to hear your thoughts on The English Patient. I think you’ll either love it or hate it. Sounds like I’m covering all bases, but I predict it will bring forth a strong reaction one way or t’other. And Still Life – woo hoo! Important to read this first book in the series but it’s one of the weakest in my opinion. I’m not sure it’s your cup of tea but I’d love to be proved wrong. I’m looking forward to learning what recommendations Alyson and Christine give us 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Intriguing! Well, even if I hate The English Patient, I always prefer books that provoke a strong reaction to ones that are just okay. I’ve heard before that Still Life is weak in comparison to some of the later ones, so I’ll bear that in mind and try to judge it accordingly. I’m torn – I’m also not sure it’s really my kind of series but so many people love it I feel I need to at least try it and see!

      So far, all quiet from Alyson and Christine – have I driven them away, do you think? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m going through a little Graham Greene phase at the moment, and happily I’m finding I love him just as much as I did during my big phase back in my teens and twenties! They occasionally feel a bit outdated now, but still wonderfully written. Hope you manage to get hold of a copy!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, but how long before it starts to creep back up again?? 😉
      I feel I must be the only person in the world who has neither read nor seen The English Patient! Looking forward to finding out if it lives up to its reputation. The Lorac sounds like a lot of fun – can’t wait!

      Like

  3. Well, I read the English Patient a long time ago, and remember admiring Ondaatje’s writing. So I’d vote for that one. But I remember little of it. Odd, though, that I remember how the movie opened, with a completely dark screen and only the sound of tinkling medicine bottles. That image/sound has stayed with me for…hmmm…20+ years?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is odd how we sometimes remember just one scene or line from a book or a film, and yet it has the power to conjure up the feeling we had about the whole thing even when the details are long gone! I feel as if I must be the only person in the world who has neither read nor seen The English Patient – looking forward to changing that!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve read most of Penny’s series and enjoyed them very much. Sure, some are better than others, but that’s to be expected with a series. As for the others, I’ve heard of them but not read them. Maybe one day…. Congrats on that seesaw, ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I find even Greene’s less good novels are always enjoyable just because his writing style is so good! I think I’ve read this one before long ago, but my memory of it is so vague it’ll be like reading it for the first time again. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ll be curious to see what you think of the Louise Penny. I get irritated with some things in the series, but am totally hooked on it. Definitely one to be read in order. I read the most recent last month and felt she was at the top of her game with it.

    For a read-along, I vote for Journey to the Centre of the Earth as my top pick, then maybe The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I still haven’t heard anything from the Classics Club folks. It’s only been two weeks, so I hate to nag them. 😏

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure how I’ll get on with Still Life – the series never quite sounds like my kind of thing somehow, but so many people love them that I feel I must at least give them a try!

      Both excellent choices, and both on my CC list for next year too – you have The Tenant of Wildfell Hall on your list too, don’t you? I was thinking we’d see what Alyson and Christine come up with this time, and then do one from our new CC lists next time – maybe for June-ish review?

      Like

      • Still Life was for my book club and I enjoyed it well enough (reminded me of Donna Leon and Brunetti). I wasn’t as sure with the second book, but the third I was a fan. So, give it three books before passing judgment!!

        I do have the Brontë on my list. I’ll just wait and see what y’all come up with.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, I’ll keep my fingers crossed it grabs me! I feel as if I’m the only person in the world who has neither read it or seen the film so I’ll be glad to put that right whatever I end up thinking of it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. All of these would stay on my TBR, it’s a been a time since reading The English Patient, but thought highly of it and the Lorac will be consumed as soon as it makes its way over here. Still Life might be on the slowish side for you, but Penny’s characters are wonderful so her weaker books are still well worth not missing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, these aren’t a choice – these are all due to be read in the next few weeks! I feel as if I’m the only person left living who hasn’t read or seen The English Patient, so I’ll be glad to put that right! The Lorac sounds great – I always enjoy her, and it sounds as if she was having a bit of fun in this one. I’m not sure how I’ll get on with Penny, but so many people love her I feel I have to at least give her the opportunity to win me over… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t even heard of Still Life! I’m very interested in the Graham Greene, hope the Lorac will be great and fun and I avoided The English Patient for years because I watched the film and hated it, then last year, I think, I read it and watched it and loved them both – hoorah!! Hope you do too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Still Life is the first book in the Three Pines series, with Inspector Gamache, if that rings any bells. Half the people I follow seem to be raving about the series all the time! I’m confident I’ll enjoy the Greene and the Lorac, and hopeful but less confident about The English Patient. It’s funny when reading the book makes you appreciate a film you previously hated – the same happened to me with Space Odyssey. It went from being a film I’d abandoned every time I tried to watch it to being an all-time favourite – the power of books! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I like all of the books in this post. Except for Still Life, I have not read them, but I certainly would … and I will be interested if you review them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Here I am! Thanks for the reminder about the suggestions, good to have a deadline to push me along … 😉
    I’ll be interested in your response to Stamboul Train as I’ve not read much Greene. I’m working my way through Penny’s CI Ganache series. I do enjoy her writing, her characters and the setting and welcome each book as a very comfortable read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh good, looking forward to hearing your suggestions! Still haven’t heard from Alyson, so you may be our only hope… 😉

      I read tons of Greene when I was in my teens and early twenties. He was my favourite author for a long time. But apart from the biggies I can’t remember now which I read, so I’m just revisiting them randomly. Good to know you’re another Three Pines fan. I’m feeling under a lot of pressure to like them – I might get lynched by mobs of angry readers if I don’t… 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hope this isn’t too late, this took some thinking and scanning of my lists. Here are my three suggestions:
        Plumb by Maurice Gee. I decided I had to have an NZ author in the mix. This is more a character exploration than a plot driven novel.
        Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin. I’ve been planning to read something by Baldwin since I saw a documentary about him some time back.
        The City and the City by China Miéville. A crime meets SciFi story which I enjoyed a decade or so ago and am interested to reread.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Interesting choices! Plumb’s on my wishlist from you mentioning it ages ago and Go Tell It on the Mountain is on my Classics Club list, so I have to read it by February whether it becomes the popular choice or not! China Miéville… hmm. Well, we’ll see what the majority think… 😉 I still haven’t heard from Alyson at all – I’m hoping she’s just on a break and nothing’s wrong. If she doesn’t come up with any suggestions, Kelly’s mentioned a couple so we should still have a good range of possibles.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I really liked The English Patient, but I read it over 20 years ago so I wonder how I’d get on with it now…

    The Lorac looks a total delight!

    I’m intrigued to know what the next review-a-long will be – I think VF would still be buried deep in my TBR if it wasn’t for the last one 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • It sounds quite appealing so I’m hopeful, though I’m reading a great book about the war at the moment – The Young Lions – so it has stiff competition! 😉 The Lorac is going very well so far! I’m still waiting to see what the girls suggest for the review-along – could be anything! 😀

      Like

  11. These Names Make Clues sounds like a lot of fun – I’m tempted!

    I didn’t care for Still Life, but I seem to be in the tiny minority on that one. it seems everyone else loves this series. I hope you enjoy it! (Also, I know that sometimes the first one in a mystery series is not the best and that they usually get better as they go along – but if I couldn’t give it at least a 3 star rating, I’m reluctant to try another!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m enjoying These Names Make Clues so far! I’m glad to know there’s someone who doesn’t love Three Pines – now if I end up not enjoying it I won’t feel so alone… 😉 I agree – I expect the first book in a series to be weaker but it still has to have enough to make me want to read me more…

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Two Canadians on your list this week 🙂 I love Louise Penny, I really hope you do too, although she’s got a ton of books so it’s a dangerous affair…

    I’ve never read the English Patient – or seen the movie! I’m ashamed as a Canadian to say that LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’d forgotten that Ondaatje was Canadian! It’s all you Canadian bloggers – you’re brainwashing me… 😉 Haha, yes I’m a bit worried about my TBR if I enjoy the Louise Penny! I’ve never seen The English Patient either – if I enjoy the book, I might try to watch it then

      Liked by 1 person

Please leave a comment - I'd love to know who's visiting and what you think...of the post, of the book, of the blog, of life, of chocolate...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.