TBR Thursday 330…

Episode 330

Running late… no time for GIF searching. Just time to say, TBR up 2 to 175! 

Here are a few more I should get to soon… 

Science Fiction

The Origins of Science Fiction edited by Michael Newton

Courtesy of Oxford World’s Classics. Another in their lovely hardback series, many of which are anthologies of classic horror or science fiction, all with OWC’s trademark introductions and notes. I’ve loved all the ones I’ve read so far, so have high hopes for this one…

The Blurb says: This anthology provides a selection of science-fiction tales from the close of the ‘Romantic’ period to the end of the First World War. It gathers together classic short stories, from Edgar Allan Poe’s playful hoaxes to Gertrude Barrows Bennett’s feminist fantasy. In this way, the book shows the vitality and literary diversity of the field, and also expresses something of the potent appeal of the visionary, the fascination with science, and the allure of an imagined future that characterised this period. An excellent resource for those interested in science fiction, and also an essential volume for understanding the development of the genre.

In his introduction, Michael Newton draws together literary influences from Jonathan Swift to Mary Shelley, the interest in the irrational and dreaming mind, and the relation of the tales to the fact of Empire and the discoveries made by anthropology. He also considers how the figure of the alien and non-human ‘other’ complicated contemporary definitions of the human being.


Trespasses by Louise Kennedy

Courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing via NetGalley. No reason for this one – I just liked the sound of the blurb. And I love the cover, though of course I’d never be shallow enough to allow that to sway me… 😉

The Blurb says: Cushla Lavery lives with her mother in a small town near Belfast. At twenty-four, she splits her time between her day job as a teacher to a class of seven-year-olds, and regular bartending shifts in the pub owned by her family. It’s here, on a day like any other – as the daily news rolls in of another car bomb exploding, another man shot, killed, beaten or left for dead – that she meets Michael Agnew, an older (and married) barrister who draws her into his sophisticated group of friends.

When the father of a young boy in her class becomes the victim of a savage attack, Cushla is compelled to help his family. But as her affair with Michael intensifies, political tensions in the town escalate, threatening to destroy all she is working to hold together.

As tender as it is unflinching, Trespasses is a masterfully executed and intimate portrait of those caught between the warring realms of the personal and political, rooted in a turbulent and brutally imagined moment of history – where it’s not just what you do that matters, but what you are.

* * * * *


Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda

One obliquely for my Spanish Civil War challenge. I loved the only other book I’ve read by this author – In Diamond Square – and was tempted to add this one by Jane’s review. It isn’t directly about the war but Jane tells us that “the cover blurb says that it can be seen ‘as an allegory for life under a dictatorship’”. It sounds totally weird and possibly wonderful… or possibly not! We’ll see…

The Blurb says: Death in Spring is a dark and dream-like tale of a teenage boy’s coming of age in a remote village in the Catalan mountains; a place cut off from the outside world, where cruel customs are blindly followed, and attempts at rebellion swiftly crushed. When his father dies, he must navigate this oppressive society alone, and learn how to live in a place of crippling conformity.

Often seen as an allegory for life under a dictatorship, Death in Spring is a bewitching and unsettling novel about power, exile, and the hope that comes from even the smallest gestures of independence.

* * * * *

Dalziel and Pascoe on Audio

Arms and the Women by Reginald Hill read by Jonathan Keeble

Continuing my slow re-read of my favourite police procedural series, this is Book 18, and we’re now reaching the later books I’ve only read a couple of times before, so am vague about the plots. I have a feeling this one falls into the lighter category – more humour and less concentration on social issues. But I could be wrong! We’ll see!

The Blurb says: Ellie Pascoe is a novelist, former campus radical, overprotective mother–and as an inspector’s wife, on high alert of suspicious behaviour. When she thwarts an abduction plot, her husband, Peter, and his partner, Andrew Dalziel, assume a link to one of their past cases. An attack on Ellie’s best friend, Daphne, and a series of threatening letters from Ellie’s foiled kidnappers prove them wrong. Packed off to an isolated seaside safe place, Ellie, Daphne, and their bodyguard, DC Shirley Novello, aren’t about to lie in wait for the culprits’ next move. They’re on the offensive. No matter how calculated their plot of retaliation is, they have no idea just how desperately someone wants Ellie out of the picture. Or how insanely epic the reasons are. 

* * * * *

NB All blurbs and covers taken from Goodreads, NetGalley UK or Audible UK.

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So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

41 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 330…

  1. Well, as I see it, you can’t go far wrong with Dalziel and Pascoe, so I’d go for that one as a matter of course, FictionFan. Death in Spring sounds a bit like magical realism, which can sometimes work beautifully when it’s done well. Hmm… for me, anyway, a lot depends on the writing style. If it’s too burdensome, then I can’t get caught up in the story. I hope you’ll enjoy this. And Trespasses does look quite good. I hope it’s got some depth to it, and isn’t too ‘thrillery,’ if that makes sense!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure about Death in Spring, but I did enjoy the other book of hers that I read although it didn’t have any magical realism in it. Trespasses seems to be getting quite good reviews, so fingers crossed for that one! And it’s always good to have a Dalziel and Pascoe book on the list since that guarantees a good read! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I always enjoy when the list is quite varied like this one, since hopefully it means there will be at least two or three good reads amongst them! If so, I’ll see if I can tempt you come review-time… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The Dalziel and Pascoe audiobook sounds best of this bunch to me. I’ve looked for these in our Library but failed to find any. I wonder if that’s because they didn’t gain an audience here?? At any rate, I’m not giving up hope! And you know, that sci-fi might be quite good, too — from a researcher’s point of view, anyway. I’ll be interested in reading your reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a pity that the audiobooks aren’t available through your library. I think the books used to be available over in the US but I don’t think he ever reached as big an audience over there as over here, possibly because his books quite often included social questions of the time over here, which makes some of them feel specifically British, if you know what I mean. The sci fi one looks as if it will be good on the basis of the stories that are included in it – fingers crossed!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m not sure how I’ll get on with Death in Spring given that I’m not a fan of magical realism, but we’ll see. I did enjoy the only other book of hers that I’ve read, although it didn’t really include any magical realism. Always good to have a Dalziel and Pascoe book on the list since that guarantees a good read!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve already got me hooked on the British Library SF anthologies… now you’re tempting me with another collection?? You’ll have to tell me how Michael Newton compares to Mike Ashley as far as writing introductions!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, happily OWC don’t produce a lot of these anthologies – I think I’ve had most of them and that comes to about five over the same number of years, maybe! I don’t know Michael Newton at all, but usually the introductions and notes are excellent, though coming at it from a slightly more academic angle than the Mike Ashley ones. Mostly it’s been horror anthologies and collections that they’ve produced before and the people who have written the introductions for them have taught me loads about the genre!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve now added Trespasses to my list as I see it’s on order at the library. I’ve been reading (and listening to podcasts) based on factual and fiction stories of Irish history, so this appeals. I still have In Diamond Square to read, and could well be interested in Death in Spring after that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I only know the broad basics about Irish history, mostly based on the fact that we heard so much about Ireland because of the Troubles when I was younger. It’s something I’ve always felt is a gap in my knowledge and one of these days I intend to read a proper history of Ireland! Trespasses seems to be getting positive reviews so hopefully it will live up to them. In Diamond Square was very good and really didn’t have any magical realism in it to speak of, so it’ll be interesting to see whether I still enjoy her style in Death in Spring…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I thought the early TV episodes of Dalziel and Pascoe were very good, although the series diverged quite a lot from the books as it went on, mainly because the woman who played Ellie left for some reason so they had to make Peter and her split up and get divorced – which simply doesn’t happen in the books!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dalziel and Pascoe sounds excellent, and Trespasses might have potential as well. I’ve a feeling I wouldn’t get on very well with Death in Spring, but hopefully you enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I only vaguely remember that particular Dalziel and Pascoe, but I seem to remember it being fun that it followed the women who are recurring characters in the series rather than the men for once! Trespasses is getting very positive reviews so I’m hopeful about it, but Death in Spring might not work for me simply because of the magical realism element. But we’ll see!


    • I only have a vague memory of Arms and the Women, but I seem to remember it being fun that it followed the women who are recurring characters in the series for once rather than the men! The science fiction anthology ought to be good based on the authors who are included in it. And Trespasses seems to be getting good reviews so I have my fingers crossed for it!


  6. Ohhh the science fiction collection sounds really interesting, mainly b/c I’m curious what science fiction would be like at that period of time – what kind of ideas seemed fantastical at that time? Trespasses looks really good too!

    Liked by 1 person

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