TBR Thursday 336 – The People’s Choice…

Episode 336

(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 another batch of four – the final books from 2019, and all fiction this time. I like to run three months ahead with these polls, so the winner will be a September read. Amazon had a Kindle daily deal on all Toni Morrison books and I bought, I think, five of them – I’ve read three and still have Jazz and The Bluest Eye to go. Australian blogger Rose is a fan of Tim Winton, and when I asked her where I should start with him, she recommended Cloudstreet. Sansom’s Winter in Madrid will be a re-read, to tie in with my Spanish Civil War challenge. I do have a preferred choice this month, but I’m not telling you which!

I’m intrigued to see which one you pick…

Fiction

Jazz by Toni Morrison

Added 10th November 2019. 26,843 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.86 average rating. 229 pages.

The Blurb says: In the winter of 1926, when everybody everywhere sees nothing but good things ahead, Joe Trace, middle-aged door-to-door salesman of Cleopatra beauty products, shoots his teenage lover to death. At the funeral, Joe’s wife, Violet, attacks the girl’s corpse. This passionate, profound story of love and obsession brings us back and forth in time, as a narrative is assembled from the emotions, hopes, fears, and deep realities of black urban life.

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Fiction

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Added 10th November 2019. 207,795 ratings on Goodreads, with a 4.09 average. 208 pages.

The Blurb says: Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison powerfully examines our obsession with beauty and conformity—and asks questions about race, class, and gender with her characteristic subtly and grace.

In Morrison’s bestselling first novel, Pecola Breedlove—an 11-year-old Black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others—prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.

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Fiction

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

Added 1st December 2019. 22,625 ratings on Goodreads, with a 4.00 average. 426 pages. 

The Blurb says: Hailed as a classic, Tim Winton’s masterful family saga is both a paean to working-class Australians and an unflinching examination of the human heart’s capacity for sorrow, joy, and endless gradations in between. An award-winning work, Cloudstreet exemplifies the brilliant ability of fiction to captivate and inspire.

Struggling to rebuild their lives after being touched by disaster, the Pickle family, who’ve inherited a big house called Cloudstreet in a suburb of Perth, take in the God-fearing Lambs as tenants. The Lambs have suffered their own catastrophes, and determined to survive, they open up a grocery on the ground floor. From 1944 to 1964, the shared experiences of the two overpopulated clans — running the gamut from drunkenness, adultery, and death to resurrection, marriage, and birth — bond them to each other and to the bustling, haunted house in ways no one could have anticipated.

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Historical Fiction

Winter in Madrid by CJ Sansom

Added 18th December 2019. 15,624 ratings on Goodreads, with a 3.85 average. 549 pages.

The Blurb says: 1940: The Spanish Civil War is over, and Madrid lies ruined, its people starving, while the Germans continue their relentless march through Europe. Britain now stands alone while General Franco considers whether to abandon neutrality and enter the war.

Into this uncertain world comes Harry Brett: a traumatized veteran of Dunkirk turned reluctant spy for the British Secret Service. Sent to gain the confidence of old school friend Sandy Forsyth, now a shady Madrid businessman, Harry finds himself involved in a dangerous game – and surrounded by memories.

Meanwhile Sandy’s girlfriend, ex-Red Cross nurse Barbara Clare, is engaged in a secret mission of her own – to find her former lover Bernie Piper, a passionate Communist in the International Brigades, who vanished on the bloody battlefields of the Jarama.

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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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48 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 336 – The People’s Choice…

  1. Can’t wait to see where the votes fall on this one. I couldn’t vote for Jazz, because I’m done with gun violence. I vaguely recall reading The Bluest Eye, and think I liked it. But as I say, it’s a vague memory. This group of four books left me feeling a bit depressed. And that was just after reading the blurbs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m tired of gun violence myself, which is why I’m more and more reluctant to read American crime fiction. I’ve had a mixed reaction to Toni Morrison. I think Beloved is one of the greatest books of all time, but the other ones haven’t impressed me quite so much so far. However loads of people have said that The Bluest Eye is one of her best. Haha yes, it’s quite a heavyweight bunch this month, although I get the impression that Cloudstreet might have some humour in it, maybe… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’d be very happy if Cloudstreet comes up – I’ve wanted to read it for ages but just never seem to have had the time to fit it in. But in general it’s a pretty good batch this month, so The People will probably find something to make me happy… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll be happy if either of those wins. Rose’s enthusiasm for Tim Winton has left me keen to try him, and while the Samson would be a re-read I think I’ll probably get more out of it this time because I know a bit more about the Spanish Civil War than I did when I first read it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, as I get closer to the current day in these polls I’m finding the books are nearly all ones I still want to read, unlike some of the really ancient ones fishing about in the depths of the TBR! Cloudstreet would be a good choice – Rose’s enthusiasm for him has made me keen to try him! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve heard people say that The Bluest Eye is one of her best. But Cloudstreet and Winter in Madrid seem to be the two in contention at the moment, and either would be a good choice!

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    • I’ve heard people say that The Bluest Eye is one of her best, so I’d be quite happy if it wins! Even if it loses, the Sansom will get read at some point anyway, as part of my SCW challenge… 😀

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    • I hadn’t heard of Miss Chloe, but it looks interesting! I’ve had a mixed experience with Morrison so far, loving some and not being quite so impressed with others. But I’ve heard The Bluest Eye is one of her best, so I’ll be happy if it comes up. Rose’s enthusiasm for Tim Winton has made me keen to try him… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, yes, it’s quite a heavy batch this month! Cloudstreet dies sound as if it might have some humour in it at least, and Rose’s enthusiasm for his writing is a good sign, so I’ll be quite happy if it wins! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I voted for Cloudstreet. I read it more than ten years ago, so I don’t remember any details, but I do remember enjoying it quite a bit. I’ve not read either of Sansom’s non-Shardlake novels.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good to have another recommendation for Cloudstreet – I’ll be quite happy if it wins! I haven’t enjoyed Sansom’s other books as much as the Shardlake novels, but I think I might get more out of this one now that I know a bit more about the SCW than I did when I first read it – I seem to remember feeling a bit lost…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I voted for The Bluest Eye, because it’s the only one I’ve read, and I know it’s good. However, the Winton sounds really interesting. I haven’t read him. I read all of Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series, but it bothered me that no one in it seemed to have a sense of humor, so I haven’t read any more by him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve had a mixed reaction to Toni Morrison so far, loving some and not being quite so impressed by others. But from what people say I get the impression that The Bluest Eye is one of her best, so I’ll be quite happy if it wins! Cloudstreet does sound good and Rose’s enthusiasm for him makes me keen to try him. Ha, I hadn’t really noticed that about the Shardlake novels – as you know, I love them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll be quite happy if Winter in Madrid wins! Although it would be a re-read, I think I’d get more out of it now because I know a bit more about the Spanish Civil War than I did when I first read it – I seem to remember feeling a bit lost…

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love the Shardlake novels and although I didn’t love Winter in Madrid quite so much when I first read it, I always felt that was because I didn’t know enough about the Spanish Civil War. So I have high hopes for it now that I’m better informed! It is a good batch this month – they all still appeal to me… 😀

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  4. I haven’t read any of these, so I don’t feel right in voting. Gee, it doesn’t seem fair to click on the title with the most pages — or even the least pages — sight unseen. I’ll just wait eagerly for your informed readers to vote and then look forward to your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Suffragettes would be most unhappy at you not using your right to vote! 😉 Seriously, it’s quite a hard choice when you don’t know any of the books, but I guess we all mostly pick books by their blurbs anyway – I know I do! It’ll be interesting to see what The People decide… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I came back becasue I realised the back blurb on my Aust edition of Cloudstreet was quite different to the US one (that didn’t sound like something I would want to read at all!)

      The Aust blurb goes like this:
      “No. 1 Cloudstreet: a broken-down house on the wrong side of the tracks, a place teeming with memories, with shudders and shadows and spirits. From separate catastrophes, two families – the Pickles and Lambs – flee to the city and find themselves thrown together, forced to start their lives afresh. As they roister and rankle, the place that began as a roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts. Winner of Australia’s prestigious Miles Franklin Award, Cloudstreet is Tim Winton’s great family drama, a twenty-year story of life and love, full of boisterous energy, joy and heartbreak. His visceral evocation of the Australian landscape is nowhere more extraordinary than in this classic.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for that! I must say that does sound much more fun, and much more in line with Rose’s review that attracted me to the book in the first place! The person who wrote the new blurb must have been feeling grumpy that day… 😉

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m only at the end of 2019 for polls – I still have books going back to 2014 on my TBR! I’m on a bit of a ban too at the moment, mainly of review copies so I can actually make time to read some of these older ones…

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  5. Oh I’m delighted to see i’m in the majority with my pick of Cloudstreet – we will see if it wins out! I’m also interested in Jazz by Toni Morrison. It sounds dire (as many of her books do) but she’s such an incredible writer you know it’s worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nope, just squeezed in before the finishing bell! It’s still very close but it looks like Winter in Madrid is going to et pipped at the post. However because it’s part of my challenge, I’ll be reading it before the end of the year anyway… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I voted for Bluest Eyes. The blurb of Jazz sounded too disturbing, Cloudstreet sounds like too much of a family saga (not my preference) and I like Sansom‘s Shardlake, but my mum wasn‘t too keen on this one here… 😝

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm, I found that too, that I didn’t enjoy Winter in Madrid as much as the Shardlake novels. I’m hoping a re-read might change my mind… I think Cloudstreet is much more fun than that blurb makes it sound – the various reviews of it I’ve seen certainly suggest that’s the case! 🤞 I think the Morrison vote got split because there were two of her books to choose from – she’s been lagging behind all the way.

      Liked by 1 person

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