TBR Thursday #8

Dust off your shelves

 

TBR Thursday is a weekly post hosted by yours truly.  If you’d like to participate in TBR Thursdays, please feel free!  Link me in your post so I can take a look at what you’ve got on your shelves and so we can cry together about how we are never going to actually finish reading through our TBR piles.

TBR Thursday is going to become more and more important for me as the need to save some money grows! Scottish Fiance and I are in the midst of some Exciting Life Things, so I’m reigning in the book-buying extravaganzas. I’m hoping to continue this semi-failing project of only reading what I’ve got in the flat.

 

Rules:

  • Pick four books from your shelf or you Kindle that you haven’t read yet (the longer they’ve gathering dust the better!)
  • Post a short description of the books
  • Post a few short sentences on when you bought it, why you want to read it, etc.

 

 

Fantasy

Ink by Alice Broadway

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Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever. When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.

Ink was a pure cover buy — I hadn’t even thought to look at the back until I was in line at the till.  The cover of Ink is about 80% foil, which is an expensive decision on the publisher’s part.  This says that they were confident this debut novel would sell!  I keep admiring it on my shelf, but not picking it up to read it.  I think the time has come.

 

Science Fiction

The Martian Chronicles by Ray  Bradbury

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The Martian Chronicles tells the story of humanity’s repeated attempts to colonize the red planet. The first men were few. Most succumbed to a disease they called the Great Loneliness when they saw their home planet dwindle to the size of a fist. They felt they had never been born. Those few that survived found no welcome on Mars. The shape-changing Martians thought they were native lunatics and duly locked them up.

But more rockets arrived from Earth, and more, piercing the hallucinations projected by the Martians. People brought their old prejudices with them – and their desires and fantasies, tainted dreams. These were soon inhabited by the strange native beings, with their caged flowers and birds of flame.

I read one or two Ray Bradbury books when I was little, and I don’t think I appreciated them at the time.  I finally read Fahrenheit 451 the year after I graduated college, and it was absolutely incredible!  Now that I’ve read much more sci-fi, I want to dive back into Bradbury and this looks like the perfect place to start.

 

Alternate History

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule. To commemorate their Great Victory, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s Ball in Tokyo.

Yael, a former death camp prisoner, has witnessed too much suffering, and the five wolves tattooed on her arm are a constant reminder of the loved ones she lost. The resistance has given Yael one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female racer, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move.

But as Yael grows closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

You might think, ‘oh, another Hitler-wins-the-war alternate history.  How boring.’  That’s what I thought too until I actually sat down and read the back of the book.  This sounds like Inglorious Basterds, but with motorcycles and shapeshifters.  Fuck yeah.

 

History

The Husband Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New York by Anne de Coucy

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Towards the end of the nineteenth century and for the first few years of the twentieth, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The citadel of power, privilege and breeding in which the titled, land-owning governing class had barricaded itself for so long was breached. The incomers were a group of young women who, fifty years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world – the New World, to be precise. From 1874 – the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known ‘Dollar Princess’, married Randolph Churchill – to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour and sophistication of the Gilded Age.

Anne de Courcy sets the stories of these young women and their families in the context of their times. Based on extensive first-hand research, drawing on diaries, memoirs and letters, this richly entertaining group biography reveals what they thought of their new lives in England – and what England thought of them.

If you’ve been hanging around here for awhile you may have noticed that I really like Anne de Courcy.  She has a serious knack for combining the fluffy bits of history (the debutantes, the fashion, etc.) with the darkest bits (war, oppression, etc.).  She’s so highly readable in part because she uses the real stories of real people — usually women, who wouldn’t have had their stories told in their own time — who lived through these times.  The Husband Hunters is her most recent book and I snatched it up in hardback.  I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’ve been needing some history in my life again.

 

That’s it for this week!  What’s lurking on your shelf?  Have you read any of these books? Do you want to start a support group for our book buying addictions?  Let me know!

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