TBR Thursday 343…

Episode 343

Another drop in the TBR this week – down 2 to 175! This is mainly because I’m running out of steam on the #20(Audio)BooksOfSummer challenge and drifting back to paper books…

Here are a few more I’ll be sniffing soon…

Factual

Homage to Caledonia by Daniel Gray

One of the last few books for my Spanish Civil War challenge. While it’s true that Scottish support went pretty overwhelmingly to the Communists/Republicans, I’ll be interested to see if the book acknowledges that there was support for the Fascists/Nationalists too, as readers of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie will be aware. Sometimes we like to airbrush bits of history out…

The Blurb says: Thirty-five thousand people from across the world volunteered to join the armed resistance in a war on fascism. More people, proportionately, went from Scotland than any other country, and the entire nation was gripped by the conflict. What drove so many ordinary Scots to volunteer in a foreign war?

Their stories are powerfully and honestly told, often in their own words: the ordinary men and women who made their way to Spain over the Pyrenees when the UK government banned anyone from going to support either side; the nurses and ambulance personnel who discovered for themselves the horrors of modern warfare; and the people back home who defied their poverty to give generously to the Spanish republican cause.

Even in war there are light-hearted moments: a Scottish volunteer drunkenly urinating in his general’s boots, enduring the dark comedy of learning to shoot with sticks amidst a scarcity of rifles, or enjoying the surreal experience of raising a dram with Errol Flynn. They went from all over the country: Glasgow, Edinburgh. Aberdeen, Dundee, Fife and the Highlands, and they fought to save Scotland, and the world, from the growing threat of fascism.

* * * * *

Crime

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths

I loved the first book in Griffiths’ new Harbinder Kaur series, The Stranger Diaries, but for some unknown reason I missed this second one when it was released. And now the way too prolific Griffiths has already produced a third! I need to learn how to speed read! 

The Blurb says: The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…
And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…
And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

* * * * *

Du Maurier on Audio

The Rendezvous and Other Stories by Daphne du Maurier read by Edward de Souza

Another couple for the #20(Audio)BooksOfSummer challenge! First, another collection of stories. I prefer du Maurier as a short story writer than a novelist, on the whole. I don’t know Edward de Souza well, but his narration of this collection gets heaps of praise from Audible reviewers!  

The Blurb says: A happily married woman commits suicide for no apparent reason; a young man tries to break some important news to the beautiful girl he had hoped to marry; a con girl plays the same bold game too often and a novelist embarks on a romantic adventure but is woefully disappointed.

In all these stories, glimpses into personal lives are vividly portrayed, but they are all written with warmth and are wonderfully evocative.

This collection includes 14 of du Maurier’s short stories.

* * * * *

Hardy on Audio

The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy read by Samuel West

Having loved Timothy West’s narration of Trollope last week, now here’s his son narrating Hardy! I’ve listened to Samuel West before, narrating Brighton Rock, and I thought he was wonderful, so I’m expecting great things of this one. It’s the longest remaining book on my challenge…

The Blurb says: In this classically simple tale of the disastrous impact of outside life on a secluded community in Dorset, Hardy narrates the rivalry for the hand of Grace Melbury between a simple and loyal woodlander and an exotic and sophisticated outsider. Betrayal, adultery, disillusion, and moral compromise are all worked out in a setting evoked as both beautiful and treacherous. The Woodlanders, with its thematic portrayal of the role of social class, gender, and evolutionary survival, as well as its insights into the capacities and limitations of language, exhibits Hardy’s acute awareness of his era’s most troubling dilemmas.

* * * * *

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

* * * * *

So…what do you think? Are you tempted?

44 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 343…

  1. Definitely any or all of these are a possibility for me! The Postscript Murders is on my list after I finally read The Stranger Diaries recently (it did live up to my expectations). I’ll await your verdict on Homage to Caledonia, I’ve enjoyed a number of your Spanish Civil War recommendations.

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    • I’m not sure about Homage to Caledonia – I have a feeling it might be a bit polemical, but I’ll be starting it soon so we’ll see! I’m looking forward to The Postscript Diaries – if I ever manage to get away from these audiobooks, that is! I’m beginning to feel as if I’m being tortured… 😉

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  2. I’m sure I will get round to the Du Maurier one day but I’m trying to space her books out so I don’t charge through them all in one goal. And I will definitely be interested to hear what you have to say about the Thomas Hardy. My first encounter with him was Jude the Obscure, which put me right off, but maybe I’ve judged him too harshly!

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    • I’ve still not read many of du Maurier’s novels but I’ve read lots of her short story collections over the last few years, and thoroughly enjoyed them. Ha, I’ve never read Jude the Obscure, mainly because I’ve heard so many people say what a miserable book it is. I’ve seen it said that he was so hurt by the reaction to it when it came out that he never wrote another! One day I might try it – always looking for opportunities for one-star reviews… 😉

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  3. Love anything by Du Maurier. Not heard of the Postscript Murders, another for my TBR perhaps. Thomas Hardy was one of the authors we studied at school. No urge to read him again, although his books are good.

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  4. I actually have a copy of The Woodlanders, acquired in the hope that it wouldn’t be as depressing as the other Hardy novels I was made to read at school. I’m not so sure now from your précis .m

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      • I’ve read surprisingly little Hardy – surprisingly because I always love them when I do! For some reason, I don’t mind that he gets depressing. I think it suits my cynical grumpiness… 😉 I always enjoy du Maurier best in short story form, so I’m looking forward to this collection!

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  5. They all look great, FictionFan! I find it really difficult to keep up with Elly Griffiths, too. She is just so skilled and prolific! And Homage to Caledonia sounds very interesting. It is really interesting to see how much (if any) history gets conveniently ‘forgotten’ in books like this; I wonder how evenhanded he’ll be, and I’m looking forward to your thoughts on that one.

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    • I don’t know how Elly Griffiths does it – she seems to produce about three a year! And yet the quality is usually still very high. Clearly she writes faster than I read! 😉 Yes, I have some doubts about Homage to Caledonia from the blurb – it looks very one-sided. But hopefully the actual book will be more nuanced. I should be starting it soon, so we’ll see!

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    • I’ve still not read many of du Maurier’s novels, but apart from Rebecca I do usually prefer her short stories. These ones sound a bit different from her usual – not horror or spooky stuff. I’m looking forward to The Postscript Murders, if only I can ever escape from all these audiobooks…!! 😉

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  6. The Woodlanders is one of my favourite Hardy novels – not as tragic as some of his others, but still a very moving read. And I love du Maurier’s short stories! I don’t think that particular collection is her best, but there are still some great stories in it.

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    • Oh, that’s good to hear – it’s one I haven’t read before, so I’m looking forward to it. Yes, the description of this du Maurier collection makes it sound as if it’s a bit different in style to her usual short stories, but I have my fingers crossed…

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    • I’ve been going through a little Hardy phase the last few years though there are still loads I haven’t read. I love his writing, so I have high hopes for this one!

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  7. I’ll be interested in your thoughts on The Postscript Murders. I have it tagged at the library. I’m also tempted by your du Maurier collection. I have a book on the shelf that includes several of her novels along with short stories. I’ve been putting off reading from it since it’s an old library book (the only way I could find the novel I wanted) and it has tiny print on yellowed pages!

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    • I’m looking forward to The Postscript Murders – I loved The Stranger Diaries! Ha, yes, these older books suggest people must have much better eyesight back in the day – or maybe they all carried magnifying glasses! I usually enjoy du Maurier’s short stories a lot, so I have high hopes for this collection…

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  8. I’ve got my eye on the Elly Griffiths book. I’ve read some of her works and enjoyed them, and this sounds intriguing as well. But, gee, you’re so right about having to learn to speed read!!

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    • Elly Griffiths is so prolific – I think she has three different series on the go at the moment, and she sometimes produces standalones too. I don’t know how she does it! I’m looking forward to The Postscript Murders – the first book in the series, The Stranger Diaries, was great!

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  9. I liked The Postscript Murders, just not as much as The Stranger Diaries, but they are different. Harbinder Kaur is a great character and I liked focus on the older characters. And they went to a literary festival. And Natalka was a good character too. I guess I liked it more than I initially thought.

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    • That’s interesting – a few of you have commented about the two books being different from each other. She’s so incredibly prolific! I hadn’t even realised she intended Harbinder Kaur to have a series – I thought The Stranger Diaries was a standalone. And next thing I knew there were TWO follow-ups! Haha, I always like when I look back at a book and realise I enjoyed it more than I thought at the time… 😀

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  10. I must be in a “mood” today, because none of these tickle my fancy. Usually there’s at least one. Perhaps I got out on the wrong side of the bed…or maybe should have stayed in bed, LOL. Although Homage to Caledonia might interest me when I’m out of this funk.

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    • Homage to Caledonia might be great, though the blurb makes me fear it might be a bit too biased, but I’ll be starting it soon so we’ll see! I’ll let you off with the other ones this week since I’m feeling kind… 😉

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    • I must admit this collection is not my favourite so far – if you do decide to try her short stories sometime I’d suggest going for a different collection, maybe Don’t Look Now and Other Stories… 😀

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