For my second post, I thought I’d give you a glimpse into my TBR stack. It’s a pile that grows ever bigger with each passing day, for a variety of reasons. Working in a bookshop is like being a child in a sweetshop – there are always more books to read and be excited by.. and then purchase. I’m also lucky enough to get to know about books before they’re published, and occasionally, I’m sent things to review (partly why I began this blog so that I might better marshal my thoughts – I will fully admit that I am occasionally terrible at remembering to review things in detail).
I always manage to stumble across a bookshop wherever I go. I’ve travelled to Amsterdam and Brussels and somehow managed to pinpoint their branches of Waterstones without even trying! I love a secondhand bookshop too, and I always find myself drawn to them, lured by that gorgeous smell of old pages. The best sorts of days out will often consist of more than one bookshop, even if it is just to browse. London is one of my most beloved cities, not least for its plethora of places where one can immerse oneself in a book – from Foyles at Charing Cross, to Persephone Books and the London Review, there’s always somewhere new and delightful waiting to be discovered.
My most recent acquisitions are two novels from Colin Dexter’s Morse series, bought from a wonderful shop in Scarborough for a paltry £2.50 each – a total steal. Now, I didn’t come to Morse as many did with John Thaw, but instead with Shaun Evans as Endeavour. I absolutely loved his portrayal of the character and simply had to know more about him. After the mild disappointment in realising that there were no tie in novels for the series that I had watched, I was lifted once more by the knowledge that there were many instead which focused on Morse as an older, more grizzled detective. The two I bought this past weekend are the smaller, older editions with black covers and I find that I prefer them to the glitzy golden spines of the newer editions (of which I have one, where the gold is already beginning to peel off..). I’m very much excited to read more of Endeavour’s adventures.
Also lurking near the top of my list is Where the Crawdads Sing, a book very kindly sent to me by the publishers. My colleague Louisa read this one and absolutely raved about it, so its pretty high up on my list. I received this one at the same time as two others that I’d been hoping for, Lanny by Max Porter and The Road to Grantchester by James Runcie. I’ve read Lanny and absolutely loved it – it’s a gorgeous book, about nature and change, and what it is to be different. Much like my beloved Secret Garden, nature takes the fore in Porter’s second novel, but he retains that same sense of wonder and mystery that so imbibed his first book. The Grantchester novels too, are ones that I like to dip into every now and again. They fulfil my need for crime fiction whilst simultaneously being rather cosy – but not too cosy!
I’ve also got a couple of other books waiting patiently on my bedside table; V.E. Schwab’s The Near Witch and Bridgid Kemmerer’s A Curse So Dark and Lonely have happily filled the SF/YA fantasy hole in my bookshelf, along with Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice. Now, this last I tried reading a few weeks ago, just before bed and I think it wasn’t quite the right time for me to begin it because it did not grip me at all. I’m not sure if my expectations are entirely too high for this one, I’ve heard so many good things about it and I was expecting to adore it from the very first chapter. I didn’t connect with it immediately so I might leave this one for a while before I try again.
Also among my TBR is Wakenhyrst, the graphic novel of The Handmaid’s Tale and a very intriguing proof called Maggsie McNaughton’s Second Chance that I picked up when I popped into work today – and was kindly sent my way by PanMac. This one is billed as perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant, the breakout novel of 2018, so I’m very interested in this one. I don’t tend to read a lot of ‘feel good’ fiction (not sure what that says about me..) so it should be a nice departure from crime/general fiction. There’s also a few history books that have been loitering for too long on my list, but I’m mostly excited for The Longest Day, published by Carlton Books – a vivid description of D-Day published to coincide with its 75th anniversary, this one contains many evocative photographs and images that all enhance the telling of the story of the crucial 24 hours, from both sides.
If I listed everything on my TBR, I’d be here until next year (!) but there’s a quick list here below to give you a glimpse of how varied, or alternately how out of control my collection is!
- The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
- Unnatural Causes – Richard Shepherd
- The Heart’s Invisible Furies – John Boyne
- American Gods – Neil Gaiman
- Blood and Sugar – Laura Shepherd-Robinson
- Walt Disney: The Biography – Neal Gabler
- Monty Python at Work – Michael Palin
- Rival Queens – Kate Williams
- The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs – Steve Brusatte
Of course, my list of things I’d like to read and don’t yet actually own is a whole different kettle of fish, and perhaps something I’ll look at in a future post.