TBR Thursday 342…

Episode 342

Phew! A little flurry of finished books and no new arrivals means the TBR has fallen this week, down 2 to 177!

Here are a few more that are reaching the top of the heap…

Winner of the People’s Choice

It became even more exciting than usual this month when the poll suddenly stopped working halfway through! Happily, although they weren’t showing up on the blog the votes were being recorded on Crowdsignal’s site, the poll host, where I was also able to delete the myriad of multiple votes from people who’d tried several times to get their vote to record. So I think the final result is accurate! Mr Bowling Buys a Newspaper put up a very strong performance but in the end it was pipped at the post by just one vote. The winner is…

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Blurb says: Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it.

Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is.

Never Let Me Go breaks through the boundaries of the literary novel. It is a gripping mystery, a beautiful love story, and also a scathing critique of human arrogance and a moral examination of how we treat the vulnerable and different in our society. In exploring the themes of memory and the impact of the past, Ishiguro takes on the idea of a possible future to create his most moving and powerful book to date.

Good choice, People! It’ll be an October read.

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Fiction

Dr. B. by Daniel Birbaum

Courtesy of 4th Estate via NetGalley. I picked this one purely on the basis of the blurb, but sadly it’s getting pretty negative ratings on Goodreads. However given my track record of disagreeing with the majority on books, maybe that means I’ll love it! Maybe. 

The Blurb says: In 1933, after Hitler and the Nazi Party consolidated power in Germany, Immanuel Birnbaum, a German Jewish journalist based in Warsaw, is forbidden from writing for newspapers in his homeland. Six years later, just months before the German invasion of Poland that ignites World War II, Immanuel escapes to Sweden with his wife and two young sons.

Living as a refugee in Stockholm, Immanuel continues to write, contributing articles to a liberal Swiss newspaper in Basel under the name Dr. B. He also begins working as an editor for the legendary German publisher S. Fischer Verlag. Gottfried Bermann Fischer had established an office in Stockholm to evade German censorship, publishing celebrated German writers such as Thomas Mann and Stefan Zweig.

Immanuel also becomes entangled with British intelligence agents who produce and distribute anti-Nazi propaganda in Stockholm. On orders from Winston Churchill, the Allied spies plan several acts of sabotage. But when the Swedish postal service picks up a letter written in invisible ink, the plotters are exposed. The letter, long a mystery in military history accounts, was in fact written by Dr. B. But why would a Jew living in exile and targeted for death by the Nazis have wanted to tip them off?

* * * * *

Queen of Crime

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie

Courtesy of HarperCollins. Sometimes out of the blue HarperCollins send me a couple of Christies. I don’t know why – they don’t seem to be new editions. New print-runs maybe? Anyway, whatever the reason I always enjoy getting them – nice covers! This one has always been a favourite – how could it not be, with such an iconic title? 

The Blurb says: When the Bantrys wake to find the body of a beautiful, young stranger in their library, Dolly Bantry knows there’s only one person to call: her old friend Miss Marple.

Who was the young girl? What was she doing in the library? And is there a connection with another dead girl, whose charred remains are discovered in an abandoned quarry?

Miss Marple must solve the mystery, before tongues start to wag, and the murderer strikes again.

* * * * *

Jerome on Audio

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome read by Ian Carmichael

Another couple for the #20(Audio)BooksOfSummer challenge! First, one of my favourite books of all time. I’ve read it so often I practically know it by heart but it still makes me cry with laughter and even at one point – the same point every time – actually cry. Ian Carmichael, who was once a wonderful Bertie Wooster, seems like a very appropriate choice for narrator…

The Blurb says: A comic masterpiece that has never been out of print since it was first published in 1889.

Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a ‘T’. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks – not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.’s small fox-terrier Montmorency. Three Men in a Boat was an instant success when it appeared in 1889, and, with its benign escapism, authorial discursions and wonderful evocation of the late-Victorian ‘clerking classes’, it hilariously captured the spirit of its age.

* * * * *

Forster on Audio

Howard’s End by EM Forster read by Edward Petherbridge

Why have I never read or seen Howard’s End? Baffling. Since Breakfast at Tiffany’s and I didn’t get along, I abandoned it and am swapping this one in to replace it. This one is on my Classics Club list. I fell in love with Edward Petherbridge many years ago, when he played a wonderful Newman Noggs in a fabulous RSC stage production of Nicholas Nickleby which was filmed for TV – a very rare event back in 1982. So I’m looking forward to his narration as much as to the book – fingers crossed!

The Blurb says: Howards End is the story of the liberal Schlegel sisters and their struggle to come to terms with social class and their German heritage in Edwardian England. Their lives are intertwined with those of the wealthy and pragmatic Wilcox family and their country house, Howards End, as well as the lower-middle-class Basts.

When Helen Schlegel and Paul Wilcox’s brief romance ends badly the Schlegels hope to never see the Wilcoxes again. However, the family moves from their country estate, Howards End, to a flat across the road from them. When Helen befriends Leonard Bast, a man of lower status, the political and cultural differences between the families are exacerbated and brought to a fatal confrontation at Howard’s End.

Considered by some to be Forster’s masterpiece it is a story about social conventions, codes of conduct, and personal relationships in turn-of-the-century England.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

43 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 342…

  1. I really will be interested in what you think of Never Let Me Go, FictionFan. Sorry that the poll technology didn’t work as it should have, but The People have spoken! I think an Agatha Christie is pretty much always worth (re)reading/listening, so I’m happy to see you’ve got one coming up. It’s good to see Three Men in a Boat, too; we all need a good laugh now and again, don’t we? I must say I’m in awe of that precipitous plummet in your TBR list! Remarkable! Chocolates for you! Now, just keep an eye out for that conspiracy to load you up with books in the next weeks! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happily the poll people sorted the problem out really quickly once I reported it, although they voted about a million times in the process! Took me an age to delete all their votes! 😂 Yes, it’s always fun seeing which Christies HarperCollins send – it appears to be entirely random, but I’m always up for a re-read! Three Men in a Boat is a delight, and I have high hopes for the narrator. I’m sure I’ve cracked it now, and the TBR will continue to fall… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I like the sound of Dr B too, though the reviews on Goodreads so far are a bit disappointing. The Christie is one of my many favourites so I’m looking forward to a re-read of it! Hmm, I didn’t enjoy the sequel nearly as much as Three Men in a Boat, although it’s many years since I read it – I may appreciate it more now if I ever get to it again.

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  2. Howard’s End is on my CC list too – I’ll be interested in what you think about it. I’ve seen the movie and enjoyed it but it’s been a very long time. The Body in the Library was fun. I have yet to read Three Men in a Boat but I intend to!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Three Men in a Boat is great fun – even though I know it so well it still makes me laugh! And I always like the Christie books with Dolly Bantry in them – one of my favourite secondary characters. I don’t know why I’ve never seen Howard’s End, but if I enjoy the book it’ll give me the nudge to watch the film!

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  3. You’ve got some good ones this time! You can’t go wrong with Christie, and it looks as if The People did you a favor in their selection. I’ve never read Three Men in a Boat, but you’ve piqued my interest on it, too. Drat!

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  4. I had a feeling that would win, since he is a Nobel Prize winner. It didn’t get my vote, because I’m a little more pedestrian in my taste. 😃
    Loved The Body in the Library!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, don’t tell anyone, but secretly I’d have voted for one of the crime novels too… 😉 The Body in the Library is great – I always like the books with Dolly Bantry in them!

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  5. How could your TBR pile be falling so quickly? Clearly you’re losing some out the window, or mice are carrying them off. Nice list you’ve got here. I can’t believe I haven’t read Howard’s End, and Never Let Me Go sounds quite good. I’ve never forgotten Remains of the Day, and I read it years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, abandonment! I’m having a dreadful time with new releases this year – abandoning as many as I finish, possibly more. For me, fiction has completely lost its way at the moment, concentrating on all the fashionable whining “victimhoods” rather than bothering to tell good stories. I’m actually thinking of stopping acquiring new releases completely, and concentrating on the many good books from the past that I’ve not yet read.

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  6. Howard’s End is a rare case of “film better than the book” for me, but I think that’s partly because I just don’t get on with Forster’s style. It’s very well written though so I hope you enjoy it. The Body in the Library, however, is fantastic and a favourite of mine!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember loving A Passage to India long ago and I’ve enjoyed some of his shorter horror and SF. But I feel I was underwhelmed by A Room with a View – again long ago so my memory is vague. So Howard’s End could go either way! The Body in the Library will be a treat, and I’m looking forward to reading a Christie again, after a few years of listening to them instead!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve read three of these! My first pick would be Three Men in a Boat since we all need to laugh more, second choice a re-read of The Body in the Library. We had a copy of this when I was a child and I must have read it twenty times, but cannot remember who did it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I try not to be swayed too much by ratings on Goodreads because I frequently love books with low ratings and hate books with high ratings! So I still have high hopes for Dr B… we’ll see! 😀

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  8. I love Lucy. (see what I did there?) I think several of these sound good and I look forward to you reviews. I don’t recall ever hearing about Three Men in a Boat before. (or Jerome K. Jerome!)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Kazuro is one of the writers (of which admittedly, I have many) that I truly regret never having read any books from yet, because I think I would enjoy his mix of literary mystery / general weirdness? He’s definitely a ‘must read eventually’ for me, so I’m interested to see what you think of this one.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m glad I read Never Let Me Go, but couldn’t say I enjoyed it – unlike listening to Three Men in a Boat, which was a real treat! I’m a bit intrigued by Dr B. and I look forward to hearing how you find that and also Howards End.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure Never Let Me Go will work for me, but there’s only one way to find out! I’m loving Three Men in a Boat – Ian Carmichael is just perfect for the book! I seem to remember you had a different narrator? I should be starting Howard’s End tomorrow or the next day, but I’ve fallen behind with “real” books because of the audio challenge so it might be a while before I get to Dr B…

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  11. I re-read Howard’s End a few years ago after reading Zadie Smith’s riff on it, On Beauty, and really enjoyed my revisit (oh, in 2006 it turns out, more than a few years ago!). Love Three Men and the two sequels, too, so some good ones there. And congrats on the TBR fall. I still have a space on mine but almost all of it turns out to have arrived in the last year – three shelves’ worth, eeps! And I am sadly behind with my blog reading and have had to skim past lots.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m afraid I didn’t get on with Howards’ End at all – it might be one that works better as paper than audio. But the Ian Carmichael narration of Three Men in a Boat was wonderful – perfect! I’ve tried to ban myself from NetGalley for a while to see if I can get through some of my TBR backlog, but who knows how long my willpower will last! 😉

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