TBR Quarterly Report
At the New Year I added up the full extent of the horror of the TBR, including the bits I usually hide. So time for another count to see how I’m doing…
Well, that’s pretty stupendous! The overall total has actually decreased by 1! So at the rate of 1 down every three months, I’ll be clear by… er… em… 2111! Hope they’re working hard on that immortality thing…
I see the review copies have leapt up again. I just cannot seem to control that addiction, even though there are loads of books languishing on the TBR I’d much rather read than most of the new releases I take for review. So my new system is that, before I click request on NetGalley or Amazon Vine, I ask myself “Would you really rather be reading this than Amitav Ghosh’s The Sea of Poppies (which has been on my Kindle since Feb ’14)?” Or if it’s a crime novel, “Would you really rather be reading this than Raven Black by Ann Cleeves (added Dec ’13)?” It’s actually working so far – my requests in March have dropped dramatically to 3, rather than the seven or eight I normally end up with each month. So I’m feeling pretty smug…
* * * * * * *
The Around the World in 80 Books Challenge
Last check-in was in December, and I’ve been on quite a few journeys since then…
I’ve visited a few of the spots on the main journey – the places Phileas Fogg travelled through in the original book. First off, I had fun watching cricket in Bombay with Aravind Adiga in Selection Day. Then a slightly more harrowing journey across the Atlantic to Queenstown in Ireland aboard the Lusitania, courtesy of Erik Larsen’s Dead Wake. To recuperate, Victoria Blake allowed me to steep myself in a bit of art and culture on a time-travelling trip to 16th century and present-day Venice in Titian’s Boatman. Another sea journey, from Britain to Australia in Rachel Rhys’ A Dangerous Crossing – though at least the ship didn’t sink this time – with part of the journey being via the Indian Ocean. (I actually had another one lined up for this slot, so may swap them later.)
I also made some detours along the way. I helped John Bude solve a murder and break up a counterfeiting ring in Death on the Riviera. And then I got harrowed all over again in revolutionary Kiev with Mikhail Bulgakov and The White Guard. And harrowed yet again by The Accusation – Bandi’s collection of short stories set in North Korea under the totalitarian regime of Kim Il-sung.
So here’s how I’m doing on the main journey. To see all the detours so far, click here.
The Main Journey
- London – Martin Chuzzlewit
- Orient Express – Travels with My Aunt
- France – The Sisters of Versailles
- Venice – Titian’s Boatman
- Mediterranean Sea
- Red Sea/Arabian Sea
- Bombay – Selection Day
- Calcutta – A Rising Man
- Elephant Travel
- Indian Ocean/ South China Sea – A Dangerous Crossing
- Hong Kong
- Pacific – Moby-Dick: Or, The White Whale
- San Francisco
- Sioux lands
- New York – Three-Martini Lunch
- Atlantic Ocean
- Queenstown (Cobh) Ireland – Dead Wake
- London – The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
30 down, 50 to go!
* * * * * * *
The Classics Club
Only two off my Classics Club list this quarter, making a total of 6 – still behind schedule, but I have several planned for the next couple of months.
5. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens – 5-stars even though I didn’t rate it as one of his best. Because… Dickens!
6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier – and another 5! A true classic of suspense filled with wonderfully atmospheric descriptive writing.
6 down, 84 to go!
* * * * * * *
Reading the Russian Revolution
Just a couple so far in my newest challenge, although I’m thrilled to say I will have defeated Trotsky any day now – perhaps even today! To see the full challenge, click here.
1. Animal Farm by George Orwell – an interesting and cautionary re-read in these days of “fake news” and “alternative facts” although I found I had some issues with Orwell’s message. Only 3 stars.
2. The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov – on the other hand I was blown away by this one, set over a few days in Kiev at the height of the Revolution. No issues with this brilliantly written book – a definite 5-star.
* * * * * * *